[Fic] Bardi's Works

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AngelNo13Bardiel
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[Fic] Bardi's Works

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:07 pm

I'll just leave these here...

They're all kinda old (mid 2004 to early 2006), but I figured "what the hell?" Tell me whatcha think.

Might put any other new ones here, if demand is good.

Nephilim ch1  SPOILER: Show

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Evangelion. But you already know how these go, so let's just get to the fic, huh?

NEPHILIM

Chapter 1: A Choice is Given

*****

'This is what humanity has done to themselves. This was their answer to it all.'

A lone ethereal figure dressed in robes and a medium-size set of wings stood atop a pile of rubble, musing these thoughts.

'And in their attempt to become one with God, they only doomed themselves.'

The entity then cast its saddened gaze over to two still bodies on the beach. 'With two exceptions.'

There was still time to help undo what the overzealous had done...

*****

Sitting up and looking out over the blood-red tide, Shinji Ikari felt (for lack of a better word) like hell. All he had seen during Third Impact was slowly being digested by his already-fragile mind. He had stopped it. But there was the question of 'Was it the right thing to do?' hanging over him. The giant Rei looming on the horizon kept telling him other than 'the right thing'.

And then there was her being there.

After all that had happened, he felt as though all he could do was hurt Asuka. Even after the first waking in this world, he had tried to kill her. He still wasn't sure what had made him attempt that. Most likely what he had experience during Third Impact, her rejection of him and the anger towards her had overtaken his senses for the moment.

But he couldn't bring himself to end her life. So she would be stuck in this Hell with him.

And so he sat there, wondering why it had all came out like this. But his thoughts were cut short by an echoing, haunting voice.

"I share your sentiments. I do not like how this has turned out, either."

The boy spun around, revealing the ethereal being that had been watching him for some time.

"Wh-what are you?", he said, noticeably scared.

"Calm yourself, lad. I am messenger of sorts," the being said. "An angel, for lack of a better human term."

Shinji's eyes widened at the sound of the word 'angel'.

The figure then spoke again, "No, not like those false ones you have been made to fight. True angels under God's leadership. You may address me as Nephilim."

A silence fell between the two for a minute before being broken again. "So why are you here then?" Shinji said.

Nephilim then sat himself on a nearby stone, likely building debris. "I am here to present you, Shinji Ikari, with another chance."

"Chance?" the boy asked.

"Yes. At the start of this millennium, I was tasked with watching over this planet of yours by the powers-that-be. And I have watched what has happened to humanity after the Second Impact. I have felt great sorrow for you, more than any other human."

Shinji gave Nephilim a confused look, "Me?"

"Yes. You have carried a great burden of loneliness on your shoulders since the end of your mother, have you not?"

Shinji's expression saddened at the mention of his mother, "Yeah, I now know what had happened to her back then."

Nephilim then added, "I am sorry, I should not have mentioned it. It is still painful for you, is it not?" Shinji nodded. "Well, since then I kept watch over the events of this city. Project E, the other fifteen Angels' arrivals, the true purpose of NERV. And I have felt angered at the ones who would give children such sadness just so they can become one step closer to being one with God. But that is another matter..."

Nephilim then stood up and approached Shinji.

"I will make this short: I have taken leave of the heavens so that I may give you the chance to make amends of what has happened here."

The boy then thought this over for a couple of minutes, "You mean, you can reverse what has happened?"

The angel shook his head, "No, that will be up to you. I can only give you passage back to the start of these dark times. I am not given enough authority to fix these things myself."

Shinji just looked at the ground, "But I'm only capable of hurting others..."

"Only if you choose to do nothing. You can make all the difference in the world if you choose to do the right thing. I know you think all you can do is bring pain and sadness. That is all just in your mind, young one. Believe me."

Shinji kept looking at the ground in silence. Nephilim continued.

"Think about it: do you want to see the ones who care about you again? Do you want to take back the regrets and what-ifs? Do you wish to start over?"

Shinji was silent for a while and then looked over at the silent, slumbering body of Asuka. "What about her?"

"No, this has to be you. I can only do this for you, because you are the only one who knows enough of the truth to fix the past. But I do know how you feel toward this girl..." Shinji looked up at the angel, who just made a small smile. "I can read people's emotions. You care a great deal for this one, do you not?"

Shinji sat uncomfortably for a bit before nodding. He then spoke to the being, "Are you going to go back with me if I do go?"

Nephilim nodded, "Yes, but I cannot directly intervene in what happens then. I can only be a guide."

Shinji fell silent for some time. Nephilim then said, "I know this will take time to decide. I shall wait." He then went back over to the stone he sat on before, awaiting a decision.

Silence fell between them for over about two hours before Shinji spoke in a tiny voice, "Yes, I want to go..."

Nephilim then walked over to the young man, "I hope you know what you are choosing." Shinji stood up and nodded. "Then stay close."

The angel closed his eyes and a soft glow came between the two. The brightness made Shinji close his eyes as well. And there was a feeling of being lifted. Then everything went white...

*****

When the light dissipated, Shinji found himself lying in a bed in the NERV infirmary.

"W-what happened...?" he said, very confused.

"You have returned."

Shinji turned quickly to see Nephilim, standing by the window. "When is this, then? How far back am I?" he asked.

"You are back to when you were recuperating from the incident with the 12th."

"I see..." Shinji then thinks for a minute. "How are you going to get around? I mean, someone's bound to notice..."

Nephilim then interrupted him, "Do not worry. Since I was charged with helping you, you are the only one who is aware of my presence."

Shinji laid back on the bed. "I need some time to get used to this again..." he states tiredly.

Nephilim nods, "Of course. I shall take my leave for now." He then fades away in a soft glow.

Shinji then stops to think for a second, 'I'm not sure about all this...but I need to try and fix things before they fall apart again.'

He then drifted off into a restless slumber, still remembering the things he saw during Third Impact.

Somewhere from the top of a low building, the angelic figure of Nephilim watched the boy sleep. 'I pray for you, lad. And the rest of this city, as well...'

*****To be continued...*****

A/N: Well, that's first chapter down. I know the idea's not exactly original, I'm well aware of that. But I'll try not to make it too cliché-ridden...

Pre-read was done by FinalMax for this chapter.

As of the fourteenth of June in 2010, I have updated all of my fics...AGAIN. Not to worry, it’s mostly just small alterations/edits and spelling/grammar fixes.

Good comments will be appreciated, bad ones will be ignored (or kept for firewood). But I do favor good/helpful criticism, so send it my way!

-AngelNo13Bardiel-


EDIT (11/12/11): Decided to change the thread title again...and fix a few things.
Last edited by AngelNo13Bardiel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:48 am, edited 5 times in total.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
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Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:41 pm

Nephilim ch2  SPOILER: Show

See Chapter 1 for disclaimer. And just for clarity: '...' = thoughts, "..." = speech.

NEPHILIM

Chapter 2: Everything Old is New Again

*****

Despite how calm he looked as he lay sleeping, the mind of Shinji Ikari was still in turmoil. After leaving the topic of Third Impact, he began thinking of what he had to do now that he was back in an earlier time.

'But what am I supposed to do?' he thought.

Then the voice of Nephilim once again was heard. 'You must make that decision.'

'How the...why can I hear you? I'm asleep right now,' the boy thought.

'I can speak to you this way as well. Not all conversation between us has to be spoken, after all.'

'...I see,' Shinji replied.

Then Nephilim began again, 'As for your earlier question, what happens now will be up to you. But I trust that you know what that will be.'

Shinji slipped into deep thought at the angel's words, 'But...how do I know what the right thing to do will be?'

'That I cannot say. Only what you know is correct is the right thing. I'm sorry if that is too vague,' Nephilim answered.

If he had been awake, Shinji would have shaken his head, 'No, I think I get it.'

'Then I shall be gone. Rest well, young one.'

Both then fell silent as the boy continued to sleep.

*****

When Shinji awoke again, the figure of the enigmatic Rei Ayanami was seated near his bed. At first, his eyes widened. The thoughts and musings he had about this odd girl came back: her origins, her cold demeanor, and what was said during Third Impact while all was one.

"Uh...hello Ayanami," he started.

"Hello Pilot Ikari. I shall go and tell the Major that you have finally awoken," the girl said.

Just as she got to the door to leave, Shinji sat up and spoke again. "Wait a second."

Rei turned to him, "Yes?"

"Since we're friends, would you call me Shinji? 'Pilot Ikari' sounds too formal."

The First Child thought this over for a second, "Alright then...Shinji." And with that, she opened the door to leave, but not before startling one eavesdropping redhead. Asuka Langley Sohryu quickly hid back behind the wall next to the door in a futile attempt at remaining unseen.

Shinji just bowed and shook his head, laughing a bit. He fell back down on the bed and thought, 'At least, I can try and be more open to others this time. Heh, easier said than done.' He then spoke up, "Come on out, Asuka. I know you're there."

Asuka came out from around the corner with an irritated expression and entered the room, "Yeah, hi there idiot."

Shinji faked his best surprised face and asked, "What, were you worried about me enough to visit?"

Asuka glared in his direction, "No, I'm only here with Misato. Don't you go and think I'd actually visit because I wanted to!"

"Of course not, Asuka," he said in a slight mocking tone. "Never crossed my mind for a second." All the while he was thinking, 'I know I'm gonna get it later from her, but this is kinda fun. I can see why she does this so often.'

Then the door opened to reveal Misato Katsuragi, who looked relieved at the boy's condition, "You should really stop worrying us like that, Shinji."

The boy smiled and said, "Yeah, sorry about that Misato."

The major then turned over towards her other young charge and back towards Shinji again. "So, did I interrupt a little moment here?" she asked in that familiar teasing tone

"Pfft, hardly," the redhead told her.

Then Shinji spoke up, deciding it was time to have some fun with the both of them, "Actually, she said something about giving me some 'special care'. Or at least, that's how she put it." He barely managed to suppress the laugh that was threatening to come out. 'Asuka's gonna kill me later for that.'

The two women just looked at him with wide-eyed expressions until Misato burst out laughing, while Asuka just looked at him and fumed.

After a minute or two, Misato managed to speak. "Ha, that was great Shinji! Never thought I'd see you use a sense of humor," she said while fighting back more laughter. "Well, anyway, they've cleared you to leave. I'll give you a few to get dressed, so we'll be outside." She then opened the door and left. Asuka left a couple of seconds later, throwing the Third Child a dirty look (and the finger for good measure).

Shinji took a moment to stand up (all the while laughing himself) and reach for his clothes, all the while keeping a small smile on the inside. 'I'm glad to be back with all of them...' He allowed himself a smile on the outside at the thought, 'Maybe things will go for the better from here on.'

After finishing dressing, he met Misato outside near her car. She mentioned something about Asuka going shopping. 'More like avoiding me for a while,' Shinji thought. And both entered and drove off to the home Shinji felt he hadn't seen in a long time...

*****

As he entered the apartment, Misato explained to him that she had some paperwork to do back at NERV. So Shinji retired to the solitude of his room, finally all alone again with his thoughts. As he sat down on the familiar bed, he heard the voice of Nephilim.

"At least you have made it back to your home," he said.

Shinji sighed, "Yeah, what a home indeed."

Then Nephilim materialized next to the boy, "It is said that home is a state of mind. Familiar, comforting, and pleasant. This is all of those, is it not?"

Shinji nodded, "Yes, I see that now. I had always been too wrapped up in leaving it all behind and running away to see that."

"But you have learned that is not the correct path, right?," Nephilim asked.

"Right. Running does nothing to solve things. And I think I'm ready to start solving," Shinji said.

Nephilim looked at the boy, "That much I see. Now you just have to figure out what you will do with this opportunity." The figure then phased out as easily as it had entered.

Shinji looked to the clock, 'Need to go start cooking. And then there's still school tomorrow.' He then remembered what would occur in a week, 'Unit-03's activation...' His brow furrowed in concentration, 'I...I think I know what I have to do.' He then picked himself up off his bed and headed into the kitchen, all while going over possibly scenarios in his mind.

*****

The next week passed, all the while Shinji observed the happenings he had missed previously more closely. An interaction he had overheard between a somewhat sullen Toji Suzuhara and a worried Hikari Horaki, shortly after Toji had been told he'd be the Fourth Child, had been one of those things.

He had been walking down the hallway that day during early evening when he caught the sight of Hikari entering Class 2-A. He stopped several feet from the door and listened closely.

"Um...Suzuhara," she started. "You have clean-up duty. You're supposed to clean the erasers and move the seats in order."

Toji's tired response came a few seconds later, "Yeah, I'll get right on it. As soon as I finish eating," he said, pointing toward the wrappings on the desk he was seated at. "Didn't get to eat lunch..."

"You always buy your lunches from the school shop?" she asked.

"Yeah," he answered. "No one's home to cook, so..." he trailed off.

"You know," Hikari said with a slight blush, "I have two sisters, Kodoma and Nozomi. I make their lunches all he time, and I always end up with a lot left over."

"That's a lot of work," Toji said, smiling a bit. "If you need to get rid of the extra, I'll help."

Hikari nodded, looking happier, "Yes, I'd like that."

Shinji noticed something else between their words, 'Heh, and I'll bet neither of them see it.' He then walked off towards the exit, making his way back home...

*****

Then there was the news about NERV's Second Branch disappearing.

"It disappeared?" he asked.

"Yeah, didn't you hear?" Kensuke Aida answered back, surprised the Third Child hadn't heard about it. "My dad's whole section was in a panic!"

The news wasn't exactly new to Shinji, but he had to keep up the part of looking naive. "No," he said, shaking his head. "I wasn't told a thing."

"I guess...they don't tell the pilots unless it's need-to-know," the spectacled boy mused.

'No,' Shinji thought, 'Misato didn't tell me because I would worry about it. But that was just one thing I couldn't change, not like I had anything to do with it...' his thoughts trailed off.

"I wonder who they got to pilot the new EVA?" Kensuke thought aloud.

"New EVA?" Shinji asked.

"Yeah, I looked around through some of NERV's files a couple of days ago. Unit-03 should be arriving at the end of the week, from the U.S. I think," the military otaku explained.

"You know," Shinji started, "you should really stop looking through those files. NERV might actually come looking for you one day. Just saying you should use a little caution."

"Do you think you could ask Misato if I could pilot it?" Kensuke asked with a pleading look.

Shinji laughed and shook his head at his friend's words, 'I bet he'll never know how close he came to getting in that one...' he thought. "I really don't think it's that easy." His face went serious. "And trust me, you don't really want to get in one. As much as you think it would be all heroics and Angel-beating, it's not that grand. There's a lot of pain that comes with it." He then turned to Kensuke. "You remember when you and Toji got into the plug, right?"

Kensuke nodded, "Yeah, but I didn't feel anything..."

"That was because I was the one linked to it. I was the only one who would've felt it. Trust me when I say it's not a privilege to get into one of those things," Shinji explained with the same seriousness. "More like some kind of curse."

Kensuke looked at Shinji with surprise, 'Hmm, never seen him get that serious before. He must really not be kidding.'

Both were quiet after that, continuing their meals.

*****

And then there was that one conversation he had caught between the First and Fourth Children the day after. Shinji had been sitting out of sight on the roof, absorbed in his thoughts of the next attack, when he had heard them.

"Who's there?" Toji had asked, sounding a little down. "Oh, it's just you Ayanami. So... I guess you know, huh?"

Rei nodded.

"Asuka acts like she knows, too. So I guess Shinji's the only one who doesn't?" he asked.

"No, something about him is different than it previously was prior to a week ago. He has...changed, for the lack of a better word," Rei explained.

"Yeah, how so?" Toji questioned.

"He seems slightly more open towards people than he was. He asked me to refer to him be first name, saying that he was a 'friend', thereby being the correct thing to do."

"Hmm, and all the while I thought he had a thing for you..." Toji mused.

Rei blinked in confusion, "I am not sure what you mean, Suzuhara."

"Y'know, a 'thing' for someone else. Like an attraction," he said.

The albino girl bowed her head, "I see..."

Toji turned to her, "You have a thing for him?"

Rei shook her head, "No, I am unsure how these feelings feel. But I can tell that it is not like that. It is something else"

"Sounds to me," Toji started, "like you consider him a friend more than anything, Rei."

The First Child looked at him a minute before speaking again, "I...I think that you may be correct, Suzuhara."

"Hey, none of that formal stuff around me. Just Toji, okay?" he asked. "I mean, since we're gonna be working together eventually, we might as well be more casual. You should try doing that with everyone. Well, except maybe Red. I don't think she'd like that too much."

"I believe I will then...Toji," Rei answered. She then turned and left the roof to ponder the Fourth Child's words. Shinji had heard the entire thing and smiled a bit, 'At least I can try and be more of a friend to her. She needs the human contact.' He then turned back to his thoughts concerning the future.

*****

Meanwhile, at that time, a conversation between Hikari and Asuka was taking place. Also concerning the Third Child's slight turn of mood.

"He has been acting a little different the last few days," Hikari stated.

"Yeah, that jerk made an idiot out of me in front of Misato when he woke up after the last battle," Asuka said with a touch of venom.

"Really? What'd he do?" the class rep asked.

"Well..." Asuka motioned for Hikari to come closer and told her what had happened in the hospital room. The pigtailed girl blushed a bit at Asuka's recounting of the boy's teasing attempts.

"That seems a bit odd for him, don't you think Asuka?" she asked the redhead.

"He just felt the need to make me look bad, I just know it," Asuka grumbled.

Hikari shook her head, "No, you know he's not that mean. He was probably just trying to liven the mood. You did say he almost died, right?"

Asuka fell a bit silent at the reminder of how close Shinji had come to death.

Hikari noticed this and took the opportunity to have some fun of her own, "What's the matter? Were you worried he wouldn't live?"

The German tornado (as she had been known during bad times) glared at her friend, "WHAT?!? What makes you think I give half-a-damn about that little boy?"

"Well, you did look a bit sad when I brought it up..." she trailed off, not wanting to enrage Asuka any more than this.

Asuka opened her mouth to retort, but she couldn't come up with a good comeback. So she just fell silent as both continued their lunches.

*****

The night before Misato had to leave for the Matsushiro Testing Facility, Shinji lay on his bed, asleep, trying to clear his head for a little while. All the things he had been going over for the last week had given him a headache, so he once again sought comfort from his S-DAT player. But it really didn't help him clear his thoughts.

'Need some respite from things, young one?' the voice of Nephilim crept into his head.

'I...guess I could use someone to talk to right now,' Shinji thought.

'I am not very good at normal conversation, I must warn you,' the angel said.

Shinji shook his head, 'That's alright, at least you'll listen.'

'Then what do you wish to speak of?' Nephilim asked.

'Do you think there was anything I could've done about the Second Branch?' Shinji thought.

'Ah, I see you will let things like that hang over you,' Nephilim said. 'No, I do not think there was anything you could have done about its disappearance.'

'Are you sure about that?' Shinji questioned.

'Do not let every little detail get to you. All you have to do is ensure that things do not end up like they did previously,' Nephilim explained.

'Alright, thanks for listening,' the boy thought.

'No need to thank me, I'll listen whenever needed.' The angel's voice then faded from his mind.

Shinji awoke a few minutes later to find that it was morning already. Lifting himself from his bed, he left for the bathroom to freshen and dress himself for school. Thirty minutes later, he emerged from the bathroom to start breakfast.

"No need to do that this morning, Shinji," a voice came from behind him.

He turned to see Misato standing there, dressed in full NERV uniform and carrying a suitcase.

"Oh, hi Misato," he said, trying not to sound worried. "Where's Asuka?"

"She left early," the major explained. "She just needs a little time to herself for now. It's best to do that with teenage girls."

"Yeah, I've learned that the hard way," Shinji said with a smile.

Misato smiled as well, 'He's changed a little, maybe for the better. At least a sense of humor is there.'

"You going somewhere?" Shinji questioned.

Misato cringed on the inside, knowing she'd have to tell him about the Fourth Child, "Yes, I have to go to Matsushiro for a couple of days. NERV's going to be receiving Unit-03 from America tomorrow, and that's where we'll be activating it. And don't worry about Asuka killing you," she teased, "Kaji's going to be staying with the two of you, so you won't be alone."

"I see..." Shinji said. "Um...is it true about the Second Branch of NERV? Did it really disappear?"

Misato jumped a little at his knowing of that disaster, "Yes, it's true. But...it's okay, we have three working EVAs and another on the way. So there's nothing to worry about."

"What about the pilot of 03?" the Third Child asked, even though he knew she wouldn't say.

Misato hesitated a minute at his question, "Uh...the Fourth Child is..." she fell into silence there. 'I can't tell him, he'll just worry about it if anything goes wrong.'

"It's okay, Misato. I'll just wait and see. Just consider it a surprise," Shinji said, trying his best to smile.

The major's eyes widened a bit at this, 'Still, I wish I could tell him. But I guess he won't mind...' Then she smiled and said, "Okay, then. We'll just let it be a surprise." She looked at her watch, "Damn, I'm gonna be late if I don't leave now. Bye Shinji!" And with that, she left the apartment.

Shinji closed the door and turned back to his breakfast, which was currently burning on the stove. 'Why do I get the feel that should be an omen or something?' he thought with a little sarcasm while throwing the burnt sausage away. Then the other resident of the apartment, the always-present Pen-Pen, tugged at the boy's leg. "I know, your meal. I'll get right on it," Shinji said. He quickly thawed out some fish and grabbed a beer from the fridge for the bird. He then left for school, knowing he still had a little guesswork about the next day to work out...

*****

That night, Kaji Ryoji had stayed over at the Katsuragi/Ikari/Sohryu apartment to keep 'damage control' as Misato had put it. Kaji and Shinji had both decided to sleep in the living room on separate futons. Shinji had been thinking a few things over about the double agent since the day before. Now was at least the time to act on some of them.

"Hey Kaji. You asleep yet?" Shinji asked quietly.

"No, not yet. Anything on your mind, Shinji?" Kaji answered.

Shinji sighed, "A lot of things, really. Tomorrow's activation has me worried."

"Oh, what are you worried about exactly?"

Shinji decided to fake innocence and play the 'unknowing boy' part, "I just wish I knew if everything is going to be alright. A lot has happened recently..."

Kaji smirked, unseen by the Third Child, "That's just part of life: you never know what it's going to hand you to solve next."

Shinji made his own unseen frown, 'If only you knew, Kaji. If only...'

"That wasn't all of what you wanted to ask, was it?" the older man questioned.

Shinji felt a bit uncomfortable about it, but Kaji was good with these kind of things. 'After all, I do need some advice on this before the next one...' He then spoke up, "Yeah, I need to ask you about...women."

Kaji laughed a bit, "So, you have someone in mind? Hmm? Or maybe you're thinking of taking Misato away, eh?"

Now it was the boy's turn to laugh, "No, I know how you feel about her. I wouldn't do that to you."

'He watches more around him than I thought...' Kaji thought, a bit surprised at the boy's observations. "Well, then, anyone I know? That might help things."

"Yes, and try to keep it down," Shinji said, hoping the man would get the hint.

"Ah, I see," Kaji said. "Not that I didn't see it before."

"Really?" the Third Child asked with some feigned ignorance.

"Uh-huh. They say opposites attract, and that holds true here, at least for you. But you two are more alike than you know, at the same time," Kaji explained.

Shinji had already known that last part, he had seen it himself during Instrumentality. "Well then, what do you think I should do? It's hard just going along like it is now."

"You surprise me, Shinji. I had no idea you thought like this."

The boy laughed nervously, "Well, it's just been nagging me for a while. Since after the Seventh Angel." This was true, he had thought about the fiery girl like that since then. Only some time back had he realized just how serious those thoughts were. But he had to face them eventually, just as long as he could bury that one ghost hanging over him.

"Heh, that was quite some time back." Kaji thought it over for a while, "Well, with her, the best idea would to just come out and explain it all to her. She's not exactly used to things like that, so it might just work. But I can't say for certain, Asuka's a complex girl..."

They both thought the same thing at those last words, 'Man, that was an understatement...'

Then the older man continued, "Was that what you were looking for?"

Shinji nodded, "Yeah, I think I might just try that. Good night, then." The boy then turned over and drifted off to sleep.

Kaji smirked again, "Yeah, I hope that works too. 'Night." He then followed suit and drifted off himself.

All the while, the figure of Nephilim had watched this exchange between the two humans. 'The boy is learning to be open. This holds well for his well-being.' The angel then faded out of this plane for the time being...

*****

And the next day, Shinji sat in the classroom, waiting for what would happen. Then Nephilim contacted him via thought.

'So, you have something worked out?' he asked.

'Yeah. I just hope it works,' Shinji answered.

'You have changed much since I brought you back,' the angel said.

'No, not really. I think I just have things more planned out than I usually do. I must do what I can to try and save my friend. Even if I must go against my father...'

Nephilim could sense the slight anger resonating after those last words, 'Yes, I have seen what a cold and unfeeling man he is...'

Shinji shook his head, 'No, I saw what he had been planning to do during Third Impact. I can see why he's like that, and I really don't hold it against him that much anymore. He just wanted to see mother again, even if he did want to end the world to it...'

'I see. Then...' Nephilim's words were then cut off by the alarm. 'Seems you have some work to do.'

'Uh-huh. Are you going?' Shinji asked.

'Yes. I must keep watch over your well-being, you see.' Nephilim then went silent.

Shinji looked to Rei and Asuka, who were already up and headed toward the door. 'Time to fix this, then...' He then got up and followed suit.

*****

Thirty minutes later, the three pilots were suited up and awaiting orders. Because of Misato being at Matsushiro at the time of the attack, the Commander would have to give the orders this time. But Shinji was already preparing for what he would have to do.

The three were placed and awaiting when the shadow of Unit-03 came out from the horizon.

"Th-that's the target?" Asuka asked.

"Correct, Pilot," Commander Ikari answered.

Rei kept her sight on the lumbering bio-machine, 'The Fourth is still inside.'

Shinji's eyes narrowed a slight bit at the sight, something that had once haunted his dreams some time ago. 'No, I won't let it get to me. That was then, this is different.'

Then Shinji spotted a small, floating figure near the shoulder of the rogue EVA. 'What is that?' he thought.

The voice of Nephilim then came to him again, "That is something I wish I would never have seen again. I will explain it to you another time." He then flew over to the other ethereal figure floating above Tokyo-3. A being looking much like himself, only dressed in dark blue robes and gray wings.

As he came within a few feet of the other, Nephilim stopped and stared down the other entity. "Hello Azrael..."

The being then looked at Nephilim with eyes that spoke of hate, "Hello Nephilim. It has been far too long, don't you agree?"

"Not long enough for me," he answered. "By your being here, I take it that means you have seen fit to try and work things to your favor?"

Azrael bowed his head and laughed, "I merely want to see things through to their end. But you seem to have changed that 'end', have you not?"

Nephilim shook his head, "No, that was the young boy's wish to return. I only gave him the choice."

Azrael looked back up and grinned, "Ah, no matter. But just why do you help them? They're only going to destroy themselves anyway."

"They have the right to exist on this world, just as anything else," Nephilim said.

"Oh?" Azrael raised an eyebrow. "Then what of them?" he said, pointing toward the form of the 13th Angel.

"You and I both know well that they should not have been," Nephilim answered.

"Ha, you still think the same things you did so long ago..." Azrael shook his head slightly. "Before we get back to business, what say we watch and see how these creatures fare in this battle?"

Nephilim nodded, and the two turned to watch the battle, before they would be settling things for themselves...

*****

During the same time, Unit-03 (now infected by the 13th Angel) had managed to get the drop on Asuka. But Shinji had been waiting for it.

"Oh no, not this time," he said. Shinji then proceeded to throw the rogue EVA unit off his teammate. "You okay, Asuka?" he questioned.

"Idiot, I'll tell you when I need your damn help!" she yelled over the comm line.

Shinji smiled to himself and turned his attention back to the form of Unit-03, now getting back up and readying itself for the next attack.

'I have to get it down. I need to get the plug out of it before...' he let the thought trail off, not wanting to see that old memory again.

"Asuka, are you still able to move?" he asked. "Rei, are you still there?"

"Of course! That was nothing," Asuka said.

"Yes," came Rei's response.

"Okay, I've got a plan, but I need you two to hold down the enemy."

"What makes you think I'm gonna follow your orders?" Asuka complained.

"Just do it, dammit!" came Shinji's angered reply, which startled both girls a bit. "We need to save the pilot first."

Then Commander Ikari cut in the comm line, "Pilot Ikari, why are you deviating from the mission plan?"

"There's still a human in there, and I'm not going to kill them."

"You will follow orders and destroy the target at any cost. Do you understand?" the Commander said, slightly upset.

Shinji cut the comm line to the bridge and concentrated for a second, 'Mother, if you can hear me in this machine, keep them from taking control. I have to save the pilot's life. Please...' He then felt the same, familiar warm feeling course through him. 'Thank you, mother.'

On the command bridge, Commander Ikari shouted down to the technicians, "Switch all control of Unit-01 from pilot to Dummy Plug!"

"We can't, Commander!" came the cries of Maya Ibuki. "The EVA's not accepting outside commands!"

'Dammit, what's he doing? This is not going according to the scenario,' thought the Commander.

Back on the battlefield, Units 00 and 02 had managed to hold down the berserk Unit-03 while Unit-01 was busy cutting away the webbing around the entry plug. After a few minutes of thrashing about from the Angel, Shinji carefully removed the plug from the EVA and handed it off to Unit-00.

"Rei, get this to a safe location," he ordered.

Rei nodded and directed her EVA towards one of the catapults down to the Geofront. 'I'm going against the Commander's orders... but I wish to help Shinji as well. I do not want to see Pilot Suzuh...Toji injured, either.' She sat the plug down onto the ground near the catapult and headed back to the battle, where the other two EVAs were trying to fight off the Angel's attacks.

"Dammit, stop moving!" Asuka shouted. She then plunged her progressive knife into the flesh of Unit-03's side. The beast howled and threw a kick to Unit-02's midsection, sending it back several yards onto its back.

Shinji looked back to the Angel, which was now crouched and ready to pounce. 'I know this pose...' he thought. Seconds later, the arms of Unit-03 stretched out to catch Unit-01's neck...but only found themselves being stuck with a progressive knife. Shinji had seen the arms coming and caught them both with the same stab. 'No, that won't work this time.' He then grabbed both arms and tore the knife through them, ripping the forearms in half.

The Angel roared in pain and rushed Unit-01. Catching it in the side, the 13th then proceeded to bite and head-butt the midsection of Unit-01. But it did little good, as Shinji picked the armless invader up and slammed it down on the pavement. He then grabbed it by the neck, as Unit-01 had done once before (under the control of the Dummy Plug). 'You will not hurt them, I will NOT let you!' he shouted in his mind.

The crack of Unit-03's neck was heard for a three-mile radius...

*****

The forms of Nephilim and Azrael had watched the spectacle unfold.

"You see? They can indeed survive what is to come for themselves," Nephilim said.

"No, there will be worse to confront them. You know that well, do you not?" Azrael asked. "Why not just give it up and come with me? We can watch it all come down again."

Nephilim then reached into his robes and drew a large, nearly-invisible sword. "No, I will not allow you to interfere with their existence."

Azrael then did the same, only the sword he pulled was pitch-black. "Then I will have to rid myself of you, much like I should have done long ago."

The two then rushed each other in an attempt to cut the other down. A clash of swords was all either met on the first attack, however.

"Why do you continue to help them, Nephilim?" Azrael asked as their swords were locked, trying to overpower the other.

"I have my reasons, and you know them. Why do you wish to see them dead and broken?" Nephilim retorted.

The two then broke the sword-lock and backed away from each other, "Just as I know your reasons, you know mine. And they will not change," Azrael said while pointing the tip of his sword towards his enemy.

"Then we can never see eye-to-eye, it seems," Nephilim countered.

For the next few minutes (if anybody had been able to see it), Tokyo-3's skies became the battleground between two angelic figures. Both constantly trying to get in the first cut on the other. The clash of ethereal swords and the sight of two angels in flight was truly a sight to behold.

But as Nephilim readied himself for another strike, Azrael suddenly sheathed his blade. "It seems it is time for me to withdraw for now," he announced. "But make no mistake, we shall continue this 'friendly conversation' next meeting. Until then..." He then bowed and then faded out of this world.

"Yes, we shall definitely continue this next time," Nephilim said and returned his weapon to its place.

*****

After the EVAs were returned to their cages, the pilots were exiting the area when they met the Commander near the door. Behind him were two Section 2 agents.

"Pilot Ikari, you interfered with the mission plan and failed to follow orders," Commander Ikari said. "Punishment is in order. Twenty-four hours in a holding cell." He then motioned to the agents behind him "Take him away."

Rei looked to both Shinji and Commander Ikari with a puzzled expression. Asuka just looked on with a surprised one.

Shinji remained silent the whole time, even as he was being handcuffed. As he was led away from his father, the boy cast him a look that (if they could kill) would have felled a normal man.

High above in the EVA cages, Nephilim watched the scene, 'I hope you know what you are doing, Gendo Ikari. It would be unwise to have your son as an enemy.'

*****To be continued...*****

A/N: Well, that's two down and about seven to go. I just hope I don't lose inspiration and/or motivation before it's over...
If anything seems a bit OOC, consider that this *is* a first try. But I know the drill there…
As for Azrael , that will be explained next chapter (not that some of you probably can‘t guess already…).

*****Now for a little behind-the-scenes Omake!*****

A tall young man, dressed in a Rolling Stones t-shirt and jean shorts (the author), sits on the edge of a mattress on the floor. He puts down the keyboard, takes off his headphones, and overlooks his current work-in-progress.

Author: Well, that makes two...

A one-foot-eight-inch-tall green-haired fairy, dressed in a black gown and carrying a scythe (his muse Mitsumi, go figure), approaches the author and seats herself on his shoulder.

Mitsumi: (with a one-fang-showing smile) And that's how many more?

Author: (tiredly) Don't remind me. I only just got down the major events in each. Now onto the names...

Mitsumi: At least the reviews have been good...

Author: (thinks it over for a second) This is true.

Mitsumi: (with a mean gleam in her eye and the scythe in her hands) Now as long as you don’t go and write anything ecchi…

Author: (sweating a bit) Now come on, what makes you think I would?

Mitsumi just continues to give him that all-knowing 'evil-eye'.

Author: (slumps shoulders) Alright, ma'am.

Mitsumi: (smiling) Good. Now if you'll excuse me, I have outfits to try on... (leaves room)

Author: (whispering) …oh Hand of God, why me?

Mitsumi: (shouting from other room) I HEARD THAT!

The author visibly shudders and cringes, knowing what he'd get if he opened his mouth again...

*****End of Omake*****

Pre-read was once again done by FinalMax. (Who was a big help with this part, reminding me of a few crucial scenes that were left out. Thanks again for all the help and feedback, man!)

As of the fourteenth of June in 2010, I have updated all of my fics...AGAIN. Not to worry, it’s mostly just small alterations/edits and spelling/grammar fixes.

As usual: good comments will be appreciated, bad ones will be ignored (or kept for firewood). But I do favor good/helpful criticism, so send it my way!

-AngelNo13Bardiel-
Last edited by AngelNo13Bardiel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
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Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:42 pm

Nephilim ch3  SPOILER: Show

See Chapter 1 for disclaimer, 2 for speech/thoughts things.

NEPHILIM

Chapter 3: Knowing the Path and Walking It

*****

'Well, at least it's quiet in here,' were the thoughts of Shinji Ikari at the moment. After being shown to the holding cells, he was promptly sent inside and hadn't seen another person for about six hours now. Since then, he'd worried himself a lot about the upcoming battle. He knew how powerful the Angel would be, and had worked out the basis of a plan. 'A lot of risk in it...but I don't have any other options,' he'd thought several times, but it did no good to calm him. 'I wonder what that other thing over the Angel's shoulder was,' he idly thought.

'I had been wondering when you would ask that,' the voice of Nephilim sounded in his head.

Shinji sat up, 'Yeah, what was that we saw?'

The form of Nephilim then appeared before the boy, 'Someone I did not want to see again.'

'Huh? Why are you still thinking instead of talking?' Shinji asked.

'There are some things I will explain that are best left from the reach of other ears,' the angel explained. 'As for your previous question, that was Azrael. Another like me.'

Shinji noticed the dark look that crossed Nephilim's face, 'Like you? Is he here to help, too?'

'No,' Nephilim thought, shaking his head, 'he has a purpose no different than those false Angels. He is what is best described as a fallen angel.'

'I don't really get it...' Shinji asked, very surprised.

'Well then, let me explain,' Nephilim started. 'It began centuries ago, in the heavens above. There was once an angel who had watched the darker events of the ancient world, like the Dark Ages and Crusades...many bloody medieval events. Watching the humans kill one another for their beliefs angered him. After nearly five-hundred years, he finally chose to cast judgment on them all himself. He had more power than I had at that time, to the point where he could walk among humans.'

'Wait,' Shinji interrupted, 'what do you mean by 'walk among humans'? Aren't you doing that now?'

The angel shook his head, 'No, only my spirit is on this plane. I cannot directly interact with this plane of existence. Let me show you.' He then demonstrated this by passing his hand through the nearby wall.

'Oh,' Shinji said with a wide-eyed look.

'Now then,' Nephilim started, 'this angel began his own bloody feud with humanity, killing hundreds of humans over the course of forty-seven years. Until, that is, the Creator managed to bind him and bring him back to the heavens. He then exiled this angel from there and in to what you would call Hell. Eventually, sometime after Second Impact, the angel escaped the realm he had been bound to and started to roam the Earth in search of a way to seek his vengeance on both the Creator and humanity. This angel was known as Azrael. I had tried to help him control his anger, but he was not one who listened to reason. Since that time, I hoped that he would change his thoughts. But seeing him out there yesterday, I see that he cannot be swayed back to the side of good.' He then looked at Shinji, 'That is the whole story.'

'I see...it must be hard for you to fight someone you don't want to,' Shinji thought. 'Much like I'd been made to do before...'

'I have no choice in it,' the angel explained, 'and he has proven that he is my enemy.' He then decided to change the subject, 'Are you sure of what you will do next?'

Shinji's expression took a worried look, 'I-I'm pretty sure I do...but I have to take a few major risks, as well.'

Nephilim then he looked into the boy's eyes and understood what he had been thinking. 'So, you are ready to take that kind of chance...I am impressed at your actions. And I pray that it comes out well...' He then faded out into the wall he had entered through.

Shinji laid back down on the cell's cold, hard bed and tried to get some rest. The next day-and-a-half after his release would test him in more than a few ways...

*****

Nine-and-a-half hours of restless sleep later, the cell door finally opened again. Standing on the other side was Misato, one arm in a sling and a bandage around her head.

"Umm...hi," she said, trying not to sound as worried as she was.

"Hi Misato," Shinji spoke flatly. "Finally free to go?" he asked with a hint of sarcasm underneath.

"Yeah...I got them to release you early," she replied, "and I’m sorry this had to happen, Shinji. I just wish I’d been here..."

Shinji rose from his seat on the bed and left the room, "It’s alright, Misato. I’m used to the Commander wanting his ‘pawns’ to behave and obey. But I just couldn‘t kill the pilot..."

"About that," Misato started, "the Fourth Child...it’s Toji."

Shinji faked his best surprised look, hoping his friend was fine, "Toji...is he okay?"

Misato’s expression brightened slightly, "Yes, he’s got some bruises and scrapes. Other than that, he’s doing just fine. Should be released tomorrow."

Shinji let out the breath he’d been subconsciously holding at the news, "Ah, that’s good to hear...what are they going to do with him and Unit-03?"

"He’s going to be taken off the combat pilot roster. Probably going to make him a backup, I guess. As for Unit-03, they’re going to try and clean anything left of the Angel out of its system before they even try reactivating it," Misato explained. "That should take a few weeks, maybe a month or two."

Shinji relaxed a little at the knowledge that they weren’t going to attempt to use Unit-03 anytime soon. "What room is Toji in?" he asked.

"C’mon, I’ll take you there," Misato said, turning to continue down the hall.

"Umm...Misato, could we stop off at the locker room first? I need to change out of this thing," Shinji said, tugging at the leg of his plugsuit. He then took a smell of his gloved hand. "And maybe a shower, too. This stuff smells horrible dried out."

Misato snickered a little, "Sure, I guess I forgot you were still in that thing." She then started walking down the hall, following after the boy. Her expression then went a little darker, "And I’m sorry about not telling you about the Fourth..."

Shinji turned around and faced his guardian, "Hey, it’s okay. I would’ve worried more had I know who was in it, anyway. Let’s just forget about it, okay?"

The major looked down at the boy, feeling relieved at his words, "Sure, I just wanted to apologize." That said, the two continued down to the locker rooms.

*****

Nearly an hour later (after a change and a thorough rinsing), Shinji walked into NERV’s hospital wing. As he approached the reception desk, he saw that Hikari Horaki and Kensuke Aida had run into some difficulty getting clearance to Toji’s room.

"C’mon, can’t you just allow it this once? He’s our best friend," Kensuke explained.

Shinji stepped past Kensuke and showed the desk nurse his NERV ID card, "It’s okay, they’re with me."

The nurse looked to the card and back at Shinji and nodded, "Seventh room on the left hall, sir."

Shinji returned the card to his pocket and looked back at the others, "I guess this means you heard about what happened, huh?" The both of them nodded. They then walked down to the room the nurse had pointed out. Opening the door, they entered to greet the room’s only occupant.

"Hey there," Toji said, sitting up.

"Hi Toji. How you feeling?" Shinji asked.

"Not that bad. Not that good either, but I ain’t complainin‘," he replied. "So...what happened? They haven’t explained it to me."

Shinji took a deep breath, "Unit-03 was infected by some sort of parasitic Angel and went berserk on activation. We were ordered to destroy it, but I went against orders and removed the plug. I just couldn’t kill a human...I didn’t know it was you at the time."

The three teens looked to Shinji with surprised expressions. "You went against orders to save me? I feel kinda honored, man," Toji said. "Especially after I beat you up and everything when you first got here..."

"Thanks, Toji. That makes me feel a lot better," Shinji said, smiling a little.

"So what happens to me now?" Toji asked.

Shinji‘s look became serious again, "Making you a backup pilot, Misato told me. And the EVA, they’re going to get rid of any of the Angel left in it. I still wish you wouldn’t have to get in one again..."

A silence fell over the room until, "Man, I can’t believe you got to pilot one..." Kensuke said. He was met with three dark glares. "Um, never mind." He went back to studying the ground.

Hikari looked to Shinji for a second, motioning him to come closer, "Hey, could you two, uh...leave the room please? I need to talk to him..." she whispered, blushing slightly.

"Don’t worry, I get what you mean," Shinji whispered back. He then remembered something he‘d thought over while in the cell. "By the way, do you know where Asuka is?"

Hikari shook her head, "No, I haven’t seen her today."

Shinji nodded and tapped Kensuke on the shoulder, "C’mon, let’s go for now," he said, motioning between the other two. Kensuke nodded and stood up. "Sorry, Toji. We gotta be going. Hope you get out soon."

"Yeah, see ya later, man," Kensuke said. They both left the room a few seconds later, leaving Toji and Hikari alone.

"So..." Hikari began. "Why did you decide to pilot it? I’d heard Shinji say it was painful..."

"My sister," Toji said. "I got her moved into this hospital in exchange."

Hikari nodded. She had known about his sister’s hospitalization after the Third Angel’s attack. "That’s a pretty noble thing to do, Suzuhara. You just might go and lose that tough-guy image of yours like that," she said with a grin.

"Nah, I’ll never let that happen," he replied, grinning the same. "Why’d you come here, anyway? Just part of being class rep, huh?"

Hikari turned away from him to hide her growing blush, "No, I just wanted to see if you were okay...and see you, too."

Toji smiled and laid his hand on hers, "Heh, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you cared." He yawned, "Anyway, I need to get some sleep now. Come back again, maybe we‘ll continue this." He then removed his hand, laid back again, and closed his eyes.

Hikari smiled at their little interaction. "See you later, Toji." She then got up and left as well, deciding to let him sleep.

*****

Sometime after that, Shinji had made it back to the apartment for a little rest. Only he wouldn’t get it just yet. One rather upset German girl had answered the door.

"Oh, you’re home," she said.

"Yeah, nice to see you too, Asuka," he answered back. He walked past her into his room to relax with his S-DAT for a little while. As he went reaching for it, he remembered his conversation with Kaji the night before the battle. ‘One more ghost I can bury for now and get off my chest,’ he thought. ‘And considering the risks I’ll be taking in the next day, I might not get another opportunity.’ He then took a deep breath, exhaled, went back to the living room, and sat on the opposite end of the couch from Asuka.

"Something I can help you with, Third?" she asked through a fake smile.

Shinji sighed, "Yeah, I just needed to talk for a bit to you. You don’t look busy or anything, so..."

"Well, come on already! Don’t just sit there and waste my time," she said impatiently.

"Look, just sit there an listen for a few minutes, will you? This is kinda serious, and I don’t need you getting upset with me right now," Shinji explained with an equally serious expression.

Asuka looked at him, slightly surprised. He usually didn’t speak up like this out of the blue, "Fine, go on."

"Sorry, it’s just that I’m worried about what’s to come," he told her.

"Whaddya mean ‘what’s to come’?" Asuka asked.

"I...I’ve got a bad feeling about the next couple of days. Like something is going to happen," Shinji said. He hated lying to her, but he couldn’t let her know he knew what would be happening. "And there were a few things I need to say if that feeling is right..."

"Yeah, like what? You gonna confess to me or something?" she questioned.

Shinji choked for a second and turned away from her, "Well...that was pretty close."

Asuka looked at Shinji for the next few, quiet minutes, "Like I’d believe it..."

Shinji turned back to Asuka and stared into her eyes, "Believe whatever you want. I’m just going to explain the truth to you. I..." he hesitated for a second, probably more nervous than he‘d ever been. ‘Maybe it would be for the best if I didn’t say it all at once,’ he thought, wondering if he were sweating bullets right then.

"You what?" Asuka asked, now greatly interested in hearing this to the end.

Shinji gulped and continued to stare eye-to-eye with the girl, "I...I like you. A lot, really. I’d been thinking about it for a long time, but...the words are just that difficult." He closed his eyes and bowed his head to get away from her gaze.

Asuka’s expression went from tired to wide-eyed at the boy’s words. ‘Did he…did he just say that?’ she thought. She shook her head to regain her senses, "Hah, do you want me to believe that, Ikari?"

Shinji stood from his spot on the couch and shakily walked over to the redhead. Trembling, he knelt down and took one of her hands in his. "I’m not sure what you believe or not right now. I just wanted to say some things I couldn’t say before." He looked up into her shocked face, staring into her ice-blue eyes again, "But I mean every word. Your spirit, your attitude, your features...they’re all equally beautiful to me. No matter how you treated me before, I still care a great deal about the young woman before me." He then brought his face to hers and kissed her on the cheek. "And that’s what I needed to say...now I need to take a walk for a bit," he said, getting up and heading to the door, leaving behind the currently shocked-as-hell Second Child.

*****

About forty minutes later, Shinji was walking through the outer forests of the Geofront, thinking about what he’d said to Asuka. ‘Well, it was what I’d needed to tell her. I can just tell her the rest if this all goes well...’ he thought. He then heard someone call for him. Turning to look, he found he’d ended up at Kaji’s watermelon patch.

"Hey there, Shinji," the older man said, watering some of his melons. "Go off wandering with your head in the clouds a lot? It’s not good for you to do that too often, y’know."

Shinji blinked a few times before answering, "Not really, I just have a lot on my mind right now."

"Really? Anything you need to get off your chest?" Kaji asked.

Shinji turned his head away, "Nah, I just did that with Asuka..."

"Ah, yes. How’d that go?" the unshaven main questioned.

"Not sure, really. She had a look on her face that spoke loud enough, though," Shinji answered.

"Ha, took her a bit off-guard, eh? That’s good. She might just have to think words like that over, then," Kaji said. "She tends to not listen well enough to others."

"I hope so..." Shinji said, looking at the ground. "I’m also worried about the next battle. I...I have this feeling that something bad is gonna happen." As soon as the word left his mouth, the Angel alarm sounded. "Great, now I really hope I was wrong..."

Kaji looked at the boy with a serious expression, "Yeah, me too."

"And one more thing, Kaji," Shinji said. "If I were you, I’d reconsider your line of work. They’re going to get rid of you before long. And I wouldn’t want Misato to go and worry herself to death if that happened." He then took off for the pyramid-shaped NERV headquarters.

Kaji, meanwhile, was currently frozen in place by the Third Child’s last few words, ‘How...how did he know about that? Maybe he’s a lot more observant than I thought.’

*****

"Where is the Angel?" Misato shouted on the command deck of headquarters.

"It’s just broken through the final defense line at Gora," one of the technicians answered back.

A loud explosion was heard a few seconds. "It just took out eighteen layers of armor!" Aoba shouted.

"Eighteen layers in one shot," Hyuga said, not liking the sound of that.

"There’s no time to launch the EVAs. Position them for combat in the Geofront," Misato ordered. "Where are the Children?"

"Section 2 reports that the First and Second Children are on their way. The Third was spotted heading to the locker rooms about five minutes ago," Maya reported.

A video window opened to show the cockpit of Unit-01, Shinji seated inside with a dark expression on his face. "Pilot Ikari here," he said flatly.

"How’d you get here so fast?" Misato asked.

"I had been taking a quiet walk when the alarm went off. Just went running in the direction of headquarters after that," he replied. "Just launch now, I need to hold that thing off ‘till the others get here."

Misato blinked and turned to the bridge technicians, "Launch Unit-01!"

Shinji once again found himself feeling the familiar anger at the 14th Angel, the same he had felt when he fought it before. ‘I won’t let it get that far into there this time,’ he thought, feeling heavily worried about his decision.

The EVA came at a stop inside the Geofront and turned to grab two rifles from the armory building, just as the Angel came through the ceiling. Unit-01 lifted the weapons in the direction of the Angel and opened fire, even though Shinji knew it would be a waste.

After it landed on the floor, the Angel released its arms length and swung them in the EVA‘s direction. Shinji attempted to dodge the ribbon-arms with some success, the left leg of Unit-01 getting sliced slightly. Shinji grimaced in pain and got the EVA to its feet in time to see the Angel’s eyes flash, signaling a cross-flare. Unit-01 leaped out of the way, barely getting singed by the attack.

In that instant, Shinji ran towards the backside of the oblivious Angel and leapt on it, pinning it to the ground. He then proceeded to pound into the Angel the same way he’d done previously.

Until, that is, the EVA ran out of power. "Out of power?" Shinji asked, looking back behind the EVA. There, he saw that the Angel’s cross-flare had taken out the cable, something he’d missed seeing. ‘Shit, there goes the plan,’ he thought with defeat.

The Angel then chose this moment to take the upper hand, throwing the powered-down EVA off of it and onto the ground. It then shot a cross-flare at the torso of the EVA, exposing the core, and started to pound on the core with its arms.

*****

Inside the plug, Shinji started to turn to his last resort. He began thinking to the EVA, ‘Mother, if you’re there, please awaken this machine. I need to protect them...I need to destroy the enemy...I have to survive. I don’t care if it means I have to be one with this machine, I...I’m ready to take that chance!’

The warm feeling inside the EVA became stronger and he once again heard that synchronized heartbeat before this had happened before. ‘Thank you, mother...’ he told the machine.

Then all became black to Shinji Ikari once again...

*****

Unit-01’s eyes blazed with a fierce white glow once again as it caught the Angel’s arm and dragged it over right into its awaiting left fist, send the Angel back and leaving it minus an arm. Unit-01 then tossed the arm aside, let out an unearthly roar, and stalked over to its downed opponent.

The Angel took a swipe with its only arm at the EVA. Unit-01 raised its arms and brought them right back down, sending out its AT field right through the Angel, cutting it in half. It then crouched and crawled its way over to the dying Angel and delivered the finishing blow to its head.

As it bent its head down to devour its adversary, it grabbed both sides of its head and thrashed about, looking like it was fighting itself. It then crouched back down to its knees and powered down after one last roar.

*****

Meanwhile, the occupants of the command deck had all watched the spectacle with varying mixture of fear and shock. Only Commander Ikari had not been either until the EVA chose not to ingest the Angel. ‘Why did it not take the S2 organ into itself? This is not going according to scenario...’

Misato looked on at the quiet battlefield with a face that was both worried about Shinji and shocked at the EVA’s actions. ‘W-what just happened? Did the EVA just try to eat the Angel?’

Rei sat in the plug of Unit-00, watching with wide eyes. ‘He made it stop...’ she thought.

Asuka watched from within Unit-02 with a strange and hard-to-place expression, especially after the Third Child‘s earlier words. ‘Shinji...’

Somewhere outside, Kaji watched the entire thing from his watermelon patch. ‘Something is wrong with your scenario, isn’t it Ikari?’ he thought with a smirk.

Above the unshaven spy, the figure of Nephilim watched the scene with a worried look. ‘I hope you know what you have done, Shinji. You might not make it out of that shell...’ he thought.

*****To be continued...*****

A/N: Not much to say, just an altered retread of ep. 19 was in order. Also, you noticed this is where the S/A I’ve been leading to begins. Expect more WAFF in later chapters to come.

And on the note of how long this one took: Yeah, I know it’s really late, I have no excuses: I got lazy and kept putting it off. But I’m going to try and stop that from here on out...

*****Now for another behind-the-scenes Omake!*****

We find our author sitting on his mattress, going over the latest chapter.

Author: Finally, got around to finishing three...maybe four won’t take this long.

From the other room, we can hear the buzz of an electric guitar.

Author: (looking at the camera) For those wondering, Mitsumi picked up a new hobby. Thankfully, this one is kinda harmless. And sounds pretty good, too.

Upon hearing her name, Mitsumi floats into the room, carrying her cherry-red six-string. And dressed in the tightest top and shortest skirt that should be allowed on a fairy.

Mitsumi: (waving to the camera) Hi all!

Author: (noticing her attire) Umm...isn’t that a little underdressed, Mitsumi?

Mitsumi: (pouting/glaring) I like this one. And their colors go great with my ‘baby’.

Author: (sweatdropping) Ah, yeah...you got that band together yet?

Mitsumi: (scratching her head) Nah, haven’t gotten ahold of anyone who’s really interested.

Author: (surprised) Really? Hmm...how about a name?

Mitsumi: (thinking for a second) A couple of good ones have come to mind, but nothing concrete…

Author: Don’t worry too much. Good names are hard to come up with.

Mitsumi: (smiling brightly) Meh, I thought you’d say that. So, how’s three coming?

Author: Finally done...

Mitsumi: Well, you put it off for long enough. A month and a half later is a bit late, you know...

Author: (sighing) I know...next one won’t take that long, I hope.

Mitsumi: (incredulously) Yeah, we’ll see.

She then leaves the room, muttering something about ‘baka author’. The author just shrugs and goes back to making last-minute revisions.

*****End of Omake*****

Pre-read was done once again by FinalMax.

As of the fourteenth of June in 2010, I have updated all of my fics...AGAIN. Not to worry, it’s mostly just small alterations/edits and spelling/grammar fixes.

As usual: good comments will be appreciated, bad ones will be ignored (or kept for firewood). But I do favor good/helpful criticism, so send it my way!

-AngelNo13Bardiel-
Last edited by AngelNo13Bardiel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:40 am, edited 3 times in total.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:42 pm

Nephilim ch4  SPOILER: Show

See Chapter 1 for disclaimer, 2 for speech/thoughts things.

NEPHILIM

Chapter 4: Welcome to the Machine

*****

Shinji found himself floating in a very familiar white space, clothed in his school uniform. ‘Great, here again…’ he thought. ‘Well, it was the only way,’ he mused, trying to feel better about his decision.

Then a voice came to him from all sides, ‘Shinji,’ it spoke. ‘Shinji, is that you?’

Shinji’s eyes went wide as he recognized the voice, ‘W-where are you?’

Right in front of him, the familiar form of a woman in a white plugsuit appeared, ‘It is you…it’s been so long, Shinji.’

‘Mother…‘ Shinji managed to get out before putting his arms around her.

Yui Ikari smiled brightly and returned the hug, ‘I missed you too, son. I’ve been away far too long.’ She looked down at him, ‘So, you’ve known I was here? You called for me twice now.’

‘No, not the whole time,’ Shinji said, breaking the hug and looking up at her. ‘I’m sorta redoing things that went wrong before.’

Yui looked blankly at her son, ‘Redoing? What are you talking about?’

Shinji sighed, ‘It’s kind of hard to explain it all…’

‘Hold on,’ Yui said, putting her hands on his shoulders. ‘Since you’re fully here, maybe I can see for myself.’ She closed her eyes and concentrated on the contents of Shinji’s mind. She saw the images that haunted his dreams…the Angels, Kaworu, Third Impact, and a robed figure with wings. She opened her eyes with a start and backed up a bit, ‘I see…you’ve already experienced it before. And there is another who brought you back.’

‘Yeah, Nephilim,’ Shinji answered. ‘Said he was a real angel, then gave me another chance. I owe him a lot for that.’ He then changed the subject, ‘So, then you also saw what father has in mind.’

Yui’s eyes shown with a slight anger, ‘Gendo…was I really that important to you? Would he really end humanity just for that reason?’

Shinji nodded, ‘Heard him say it then myself. I can’t really say I hate him as much since it was for you…’

‘But the ends most certainly do not meet the means. Both involve too much pain,’ Yui finished. ‘You know about SEELE too, I saw. Then you know about my involvement with Project E.’

‘Don’t worry, I don’t blame you for anything. You’re like me, a pawn,’ Shinji said.

‘Yes, but even a pawn can turn a game around,’ Yui stated. ‘All you have to do is see the proper moves.’

Shinji looked down and thought about it for a few minutes before looking back up at Yui, ‘I’m still not sure how I’m going to get around some things…’

Yui put her arm around Shinji, trying to console him, ‘As long as we’re stuck here, why not take the time for a talk? I haven’t seen another person in ten years, after all.’

Shinji smiled up at his mother, ‘Sure. I feel up to a talk anyway.’ He looked around him at the white space surrounding them both. ‘But it’s a strange spot for that, huh?’

Yui turned away from Shinji and floated over a bit, ‘Well, let’s see…’ All of a sudden, the white space around them became the overlook in Tokyo-3 Misato had shown him after the Third Angel. ‘This seems to be a spot you like, by the look of your thoughts,’ Yui said. They both sat down on the grass as Yui readied a conversation topic, ‘I also saw something else in your thoughts you seem to be preoccupied with.’

‘Hmm? What was that?’ Shinji asked. As soon as the words left his mouth, an image of Asuka popped into his mind. ‘Oh, her…’ he said, blushing heavily.

‘Oh, does my little boy have a girlfriend?’ Yui teased.

‘N-no, but…’ he trailed off, feeling embarrassed.

‘I saw what she means to you,’ Yui said. ‘But she doesn’t seem to see it the same way…’ she said, remembering some of his memories of the girl.

‘That’s just her way of dealing with things. I’ve seen that for myself. On the inside, she’s just like me,’ Shinji explained. ‘I’ve been hoping that things would change between us, though…’

The conversation drifted to a different topic as the two souls that occupied Unit-01 passed the time…

*****

Outside, five days had gone by. The damage to Tokyo-3 was minimal, but the image of the awakened Unit-01 hung on everyone’s mind like a bad dream. Misato Katsuragi stood before the robot, remembering the empty plugsuit she’d seen in the entry plug’s video feed. ‘Ritsuko said he’d been taken into the EVA,’ she thought. “But just what are you?” she asked at its silent face.

“Talking to yourself? That’s a sure sign of old age,” the voice of Ritsuko Akagi sounded in the major’s ears.

Misato turned to the cage’s new occupant. “Oh, hi Ritsuko,” she answered tiredly.

“Still worried about him?” the blond scientist said. “Won’t do you much good stressing over it. Which reminds me, I need to ask you something…”

“Yeah, what’s that?” Misato asked.

“Have you noticed anything strange about Asuka lately? Her synch score yesterday was unusually low,” Ritsuko explained, looking over her notes.

“Hmm,“ Misato thought over it for a minute, “She did seem kinda out of it the last several days. Like something’s been on her mind.”

“Did you ask her about it?” Ritsuko questioned.

“Nah. With her, it’s usually just best to give her wide berth and hope for the best,” Misato said.

Ritsuko shook her head, “Just like I’ve told you before, you’re not a very good mother.”

The major snapped her head towards her old friend, “Now just a minute…”

“Take it easy, Misato,” Ritsuko said, trying to calm her down. “I didn’t mean anything by it.”

Misato sighed heavily, “Sorry, it’s just that…they’re like family to me. And what with Shinji gone…” she trailed off, changing the subject quickly. “How is the recovery coming along?”

“Well,” Rituko started, “the LCL inside the plug has more-or-less become something akin to primordial soup. Shinji’s soul should still be somewhere in there, just in a form we can’t see. We’re going to try and salvage it from inside the EVA.”

“One less thing to worry about,” Misato said, feeling relieved. “Well, I can talk to Asuka and see what‘s bothering her. Might be serious.”

Ritsuko started walking back towards the command center, “Best of luck to you with that. And try to get some rest, it‘s pretty early in the morning.”

As the door shut behind her, Misato turned her gaze back towards Unit-01. ‘Shinji…I hope you come back to us soon,’ she thought.

*****

An hour later, Asuka Langley Sohryu sat up in her bed,. She looked like Hell on a bad day, badly matted hair and tired eyes. Her sleep the last several days had been brief and troubling. ‘Must have had something bad for dinner,’ she thought groggily.

‘Hah,’ another voice said. ‘You know very well why you haven’t slept well. It’s because of Shinji.’

‘Pfft, that idiot? He disappears inside of his machine and everyone weeps for the lost hero,’ she scoffed at the inner voice. ‘Once again, he’s just running away from everything. And he goes and kills the angel single-handedly, the bastard.’

She could almost feel the inner voice sigh, ‘You know that’s not why either! It’s what he said to you before the battle that’s got you spooked. And you can’t handle such kind words, can you?’

It was right, Asuka had been having the same dream of the talk they had five days ago. And it bugged her to no end. She pulled her head up to her knees, ‘Shut up! He…he didn’t mean it!’

‘Bullshit! You saw his eyes, he meant ever word of it. And you can’t handle it after how you’ve treated him before that,’ the voice explained.

Asuka couldn’t come up with anything to counter it, because it was right. The look in his face, in his eyes…he wasn’t lying at all. But she was determined not to let it get to her. She was stronger than that. ‘He can just stay inside that thing for all I care,’ she thought.

‘Don’t lie to yourself, it’s not good,’ the voice taunted her. ‘You’ve seen his hidden strength before, like during the 8th Angel and the last battle. He’s not the wimp he looks like. And if your memory is right, he’s not a bad kisser, either.’

Asuka blushed and her eyes widened at the voice’s words, ‘Th-that was just to kill time! It meant nothing!’

‘You should be in politics. You lie like one, for chrissakes,’ the voice continued its teasing. ‘Just admit it, you miss him.’

Asuka could feel the stress all over her person, ‘Alright, I do...’

‘And you care about him, too?’ the voice asked.

‘Let’s not hope for miracles here,’ Asuka answered. ‘It’s only cause he’s fun to tease.’

‘Fine, fine. But try and think over what he said. You might feel differently in time,’ the voice said before going silent.

Asuka pulled her feet to the ground and stood up, ‘Damn conscience, it’s too early in the morning for things like that.’ She reached into the closet and pulled out an outfit, then turned to head for the shower. After removing her clothing, she stepped under the hot spray of the shower head. All the while, the images of a smiling Shinji Ikari telling her that he cared a great deal about her danced in her head.

‘Idiot…after everything between us, he has to go and say that,’ she mused, water running down her face. ‘And he’d said he had a bad feeling about what was to come. He probably knew he wasn’t coming back.’ She shook her head to get rid of those thought and concentrated on the hot water, which had masked a few stray tears that had been shed…

*****

Six more days passed on the outside, while very little passed inside the EVA. Shinji had related more than a few stories to his mother, mostly the few really happy moments he had in Tokyo-3 since arriving. Yui had also told him a couple, giving the Third Child a look at what his father had been like before the accident with Unit-01. But a feeling of dread still hung heavy over Shinji.

‘What’s wrong, son?’ Yui asked.

Shinji shook his head, ‘Just worried about the future. The next angel has me kind of scared…’

‘Ah yes, Arael,’ Yui said, ‘it had been the one to break her spirit, right?’

Shinji nodded, ‘Yeah, and I can’t let it happen again. It’s one of the things that makes Asuka who she is.’

Yui looked at Shinji for a few minutes, ‘You’ve grown up to be such a good young man. I wish I had been there to help.’ She wiped a tear from her eye. ‘But I guess it’s a little late for that.’

A silence hung over them for sometime before being broken. ‘You really shouldn’t blame yourself for anything, mother,’ Shinji said. ‘You had no control over what was going to happen, just like I had none before.’

Yui quickly decided to change the subject before the atmosphere became too serious, ‘So, you have any other good times you’d like to share?’

Shinji blushed and turned away, ‘Yeah, there is this one moment I have that I hang onto when things get bad…’

‘Oh? And that would be?’ Yui asked, arching an eyebrow slightly.

Shinji fidgeted with a blade of grass for a few seconds, ‘It’s kind of…embarrassing. I’m not sure if I should share it.’

Yui laughed a little at his words, ‘Not even tell your dear mother? Come on, it’s not like I’ll laugh or anything.’

‘It’s not that,’ Shinji explained. ‘It’s just hard to say.’

‘Well then,’ Yui said, motioning at a spot on the ground next to her. ‘Come over here and let me see it for myself.’

Shinji edged over towards her and relaxed his thoughts on what he was about to share. Yui placed her hands on his shoulders again and concentrated deeply on what he was thinking. She saw him laying on a futon in a living room. There is a small breeze that comes over him, and he opens his eyes and sees Asuka asleep in front of him. He looked into her face and got closer, almost about to kiss her. But as he neared towards the redhead’s face, she muttered the word ‘mother’ and shed a single tear. Shinji pulled away slowly and covered her in his own sheets before moving across the room to a different spot and falling asleep.

Yui opened her eyes and looked into her son’s, smiling brightly. ‘That was impressively sweet and considerate of you. You really are growing up fast,’ she said, hugging him tightly.

Shinji couldn’t stop turning red at his mother’s response. ‘Well, it was around then that I started to feel differently about her. It just took me a while to realize what it all meant,’ he explained. ‘It’s something I try and remember when I feel down.’

‘Well, she’s a lucky girl to have you caring for her,’ Yui said. ‘I know I would be…’

The two continued to catch up and talk while the rest of the world went on…

*****

The next day on the outside, Asuka awoke from the same dream again. After almost two weeks of the same thing, she had begun to realize that it wasn’t just that she missed teasing the Third Child. She missed him, his presence. ‘And his cooking,’ Asuka thought, being reminded by her empty stomach.

She stood out of bed and looked at her alarm clock. ‘Fifteen after six. Guess I should get up,’ she thought. She yawned and walked out of her room into the kitchen, where Misato was sleeping at the table, face-first in paperwork. ‘Dammit, I wish I could sleep that soundly right now,’ Asuka thought bitterly. As she turned to prepare a quick breakfast, the sleeping major awoke.

“Huh…oh, hi Asuka,” she said groggily. “Having an early morning?”

“Morning, Misato,” Asuka stated flatly. “Just hungry, couldn’t sleep too well.”

Misato remembered what Ritsuko had said a week ago about Asuka. ‘Maybe I should ask her what’s wrong,’ she thought. ‘Better brace myself…’

“Hey Asuka,” Misato started.

“Hmm?” the redhead said through a mouthful of cereal. ‘Geez, I actually miss miso soup for a change…’

“Is there anything bothering you? You’ve seemed kind of out of it for nearly the last two weeks. And Ritsuko said your last couple of synch test scores were lower than normally,” Misato said, hoping the Second Child was in a good mood this morning. “Not to mention you’ve been missing school.”

Asuka thought around for an excuse. ‘Well, she was bound to ask before long…gotta make up something good…’

Then the inner voice of her conscience came back to her. ‘Why not just tell her the truth? She might be able to help,’ it said.

‘What!?! She’s not exactly the most helpful person,’ Asuka countered.

‘Well, it certainly beats losing sleep over trying to figure it out yourself,’ the voice said.

Asuka thought it over for a few minutes before answering. ‘Fine…but I’m going to hate myself tomorrow for this.’

Misato had spent the last couple of minutes waving her hand in front of the young girl’s face, trying to get her attention. “Asuka? Hello? Are you going to answer me? Or are you just gonna blank out for a while?” she said, trying to joke around.

Asuka snapped out of her thoughts and turned back towards her guardian. “Well…it was something that happened before the last battle. But I’ll only tell you if you promise something,” she said.

“Hmm? What’s that?” Misato asked.

Asuka put on her scarily serious face, “You don’t tell another person what I’m gonna tell you. Got it?”

Misato sighed, “Yeah, sure. I promise. Now what’s on your mind?”

Asuka took a deep breath to collect her thoughts. “Well, after Shinji had come home from the hospital, he had asked me to talk with him for a bit. Said he was really worried about something that was going to happen, like a bad omen or something.” Asuka turned her head away from the major to hide her reddened face, “Then he said he wanted to tell me something important. I joked and asked him if he was gonna confess. He said I was pretty close to what he was going to say.” She turned back towards Misato. “I wrote him off about it all, but he held my hand and looked in my eyes and explained how much he cared and admired me. Then he…kissed my cheek and left, saying he needed a walk.” Asuka hung her head, not wanting to see Misato’s reaction.

Misato sat speechless after hearing the redhead’s words, ‘Wow…that was kinda bold for him. Not that I couldn’t tell, he did always seem like he had a thing for her. Didn‘t think he‘d ever admit it, though…’ She looked back over at the Second Child, who looked like she was in deep thought (not to mentioned sleep-deprived). “What did you say back?”

Asuka shook her head, “I couldn’t come up with anything right then. He took me off-guard with that. And then he goes and gets absorbed into Unit-01...I just don‘t know what to think.”

Misato looked towards the ceiling, “Well, it seems to me like it made an impression on you. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be losing sleep over it.”

Asuka snapped her head up at the older woman‘s words, “What makes you think th-”

“I can tell by the look in your eyes,” Misato explained. “It’s bothering you a lot. Care to explain what’s eating you about it?”

Asuka fumbled for her words for a second or two, “He just had this look in his face, like he was dead serious about it all and meant it completely. I’m just confused about what I should be feeling…”

“Well,” the major started, “if I had to take a guess, I’d say you care about him too. At least, it looks that way to me.”

‘First my conscience, then her,’ Asuka thought. ‘Maybe they’re right. If only I could talk to him.’ The Second Child then turned back towards her guardian, “I don’t know…I still need more time to think it over,” she said.

“Well, when he comes back,” Misato said, getting up from her chair and heading for her room, “you two can sit down and have a nice, long talk. Did that help?”

“Yes, it did,” Asuka said. “Thanks Misato.”

Sure, no problem. And now,” she said, opening her door, “I need to get some real rest before work. You go to school, someone must be wondering where you are.” She then shut the door to her room and crashed on the mattress.

Asuka went back to her room, thinking over the woman’s words. ‘She’s right. I should go back to school, Hikari’s probably worried sick about me.’

‘You see, I told you she’d be helpful,’ her conscience told her. ‘Now all we need to do is wait and see if Shinji will come back..’

‘He’ll come back,’ Asuka thought. ‘I know he will…’ She then grabbed a school uniform from her closet and began to ready for another usual day…

*****

Class 2-A was quieter than usual, Asuka noted as she walked in after being absent for twelve days. The populace of the room looked to her, almost waiting for a response before being met by a very angry stare from the volatile redhead. Most of them went back to whatever they had been doing before she entered. All but three students.

“Oh, Asuka,” Hikari Horaki said, walking up to her friend. “Where have you been? I haven‘t seen you for almost two weeks!”

“Sorry about that, it’s a long story,” Asuka said, hoping to delay the inevitable.

“Hey Red,” Toji Suzuhara called out. “Where’s Shinji?”

“Well, if it isn’t the other two class idiots,” she said, not really putting any venom behind the words. “Come on over here, I’ll explain in a minute.”

The three other students followed her over to an empty corner of the room. “So, what’s this about?” Kensuke Aida asked.

“Shinji is…gone for now,” Asuka said, not really sure how to explain it to them.

Three blank stares was her response. “What do you mean ‘gone’? Where did he go?” Hikari asked, worried at the sound of the words.

“I’m not really sure if I should tell you, it might be classified,” she said.

“All the better reason to go and tell us,” Kensuke said. He felt the angry stare of the other three and quickly reconsidered, “Okay, forget I said that.”

“So…where did he go?” Toji asked, worried for his friend.

“He’s been absorbed into his EVA,” Asuka whispered. “I forgot how they explained it…but his soul is stuck inside of it right now. They’re trying to find a way of retrieving him from it, but…there might not be a way.”

A dark silence settled over the four teenagers. “Wow…Shinji…” Kensuke said. “He’d told me that EVA was a curse. Now I wish I’d believed him sooner.”

Toji just looked down at the ground, feeling at a loss for words.

Asuka looked between them, “Look, I don’t want you to worry too much, they’ll find a way. NERV’s like that.”

“Why are you being so nice today?” Toji asked, wondering what he’d missed.

Asuka sighed and took a deep breath, but the teacher entered the room at that time. All went to their seats and the day went on normally until the lunch bell sounded a few hours later. As the children went about with their meals, Hikari approached Asuka.

“Uh, Asuka. Would you come with me? I need to talk with you,” the class rep said, looking a bit nervous.

“Hmm, sure,” Asuka said. ‘Maybe Hikari can help me as well,’ she thought.

Several minutes later, both girls sat on the school roof, unpacking their lunches. “So what did you need to speak to me about, Hikari?” Asuka asked.

Hikari fidgeted with the hem of her uniform for a few seconds before answering, “Well, it’s about Toji…”

“Yeah, it’s not like I’m the only one to notice,” Asuka said, knowing about her friend’s crush on the boy. “What about him?”

“We’ve kind of come to an…understanding while he was in the hospital,” the pigtailed girl said, beginning to show a slight blush.

“What would that be? Dating? Engagement? Or maybe just living in sin,” Asuka questioned, feeling the need to tease someone.

Hikari’s face went from slightly red to beet-red in about seven seconds, “N-no! Nothing like that. We’re just finally agreeing on how we both feel. I found out it’s mutual.”

“Well,” Asuka said, “I feel happy for you. If it’s what you want, it’s great for you.”

“I also noticed you seemed to be preoccupied by something during class,” Hikari ventured.

“You mean more than usual?” the redhead joked. “I swear, that man could put rocks to sleep!”

Hikari laughed a bit before resuming her questioning, “No, really. You looked like you were thinking about something.”

Asuka bowed her head. ‘Geez, is it really that easy to see? I’m becoming easier to read than Shinji,’ she thought. “I’ve been worried about Shinji…and some things he said before the battle.”

Hikari gave her friend a questioning look, “What was that?”

Asuka motioned for Hikari to get closer, where she related the story, exactly like she had told Misato that morning. After she was done, Hikari just looked at her with a wide-eyed expression. “Wow…”

“Yeah, tell me about it. Gave me quite a shock then. Been worrying over it since,” Asuka explained. “Asked Misato about it this morning. What do you say I should do?”

Hikari thought over it for a few minutes before answering, “Well, I’d say you must feel the same. Looks like that to me.”

“Same thing Misato told me,” Asuka said.

“Then she was right,” Hikari stated. “And I think you should give him a chance when he comes back. There might be something good to come out of it. Went like that for me and Toji…” She then looked at her watch, “Lunch is almost over. You coming?”

“Not right away. It’s nice and quiet up here, gives me a good chance to think,” the redhead told her.

Hikari nodded and walked through the door to the stairwell. Asuka turned back to the view over the top of the school. ‘I just hope he does come back…’ Then she heard a slight crunch of gravel behind her. “Who’s there?” she asked. When she turned around, she met the gaze of the enigmatic First Child. “Oh, it’s just you Wondergirl,” she said, not putting much effort behind the familiar insult.

“Hello Asuka,” Rei Ayanami said.

Asuka turned with a start towards the blue-haired girl, “Going by first names now, eh?”

“Shinji said I should start doing so, to familiarize with others,” Rei explained.

“Hmm, okay,” the Second Child mused, turning back to stare at the view.

“You are worried about him, are you not?” Rei asked.

“Way to guess the obvious, Ayanami,” Asuka jokingly shot. “Yes, I am. A lot really.” She then thought something over. “Can I ask you a question?”

“You may,” Rei stated.

“Do you…like him? Shinji, I mean,” Asuka asked.

“No. I feel nothing romantically toward Shinji. However, I suspect he feels like that towards you,” the First Child said.

“Yeah, he told me something like that before the last battle,” the redhead answered, heading over to the door back down. “Just something I thought I should ask.” Asuka then turned the knob and headed back down to the classroom, where the rest of the day would slowly pass…

*****

Inside of the EVA, conversation had been all over the map for the two occupants of the giant beast. Good times and bad times, laughs and seriousness. But Shinji had been having the nagging feeling that he should be getting back soon.

Yui noticed that he had been looking a bit sad. ‘What’s wrong, Shinji?’ she asked him.

Shinji felt a bit uneasy about his words, but he needed to ask, ‘Well, I’m really enjoying our time here…but I need to get back to the others. I miss them, and there is a lot left to do before this is over.’

Yui looked at him with a sad expression. ‘I knew it would happen before long. But don’t worry about it, I’ll always be with you in heart,’ she told Shinji.

Shinji felt himself tear up again and took the opportunity to hug her tightly one last time. ‘I’m going to miss you again, but I need to go. And I’m going to try and be strong for you,’ he explained.

‘I know you will,’ Yui said. ‘Now close your eyes..’ she then closed her own and concentrated on bringing his soul back to its body.

Shinji felt himself go floating again, towards the light above himself. ‘Goodbye, mother,’ he said before disappearing.

Yui let a few tears loose at seeing him leave. ‘Goodbye, Shinji,’ she answered. ‘I hope we’ll meet again one day…’

*****

Back inside NERV headquarters, two-and-a-half days had passed. The bridge crew had been assembled for a synch test before they would try the first in a series of tries in retrieving Shinji’s soul from Unit-01.

Misato watched on as Asuka’s synch score had improved a decent bit from the last test. “I hope that advice will help,” she thought out loud.

“So, you asked her about it?” Ritsuko questioned, remembering the previous test’s results.

“Uh huh, all straightened out,” the major answered. “At least, I hope so…”

“What was the problem?” the scientist asked.

“Personal stuff,” Misato said, not wanting to break her promise.

“Anything I should know?” Ritusko said, feeling left out of the loop.

“Nope. Took a promise not to anyway,” Misato said, grinning slightly.

As Ritsuko was about to announce the end of the test, an alarm blared from the cage housing Unit-01. “What’s going on?” she asked.

“There’s an energy reading coming from Unit-01’s core,” Maya Ibuki stated.

“Put it on-screen,“ Misato ordered. A video feed popped up showing the inside of the cage, where the still-exposed core of Unit-01 had begun to glow a deep red. “Is this one of today’s experiments?”

“No, those where after the synch test,” Ritsuko explained. “This is…something else.”

The core then began to pulse with the sound of a heartbeat before a bright flash blinded the occupants of the command center. When the flash subsided, a naked Shinji Ikari was on his knees in front of the machine, coughing up LCL and trying to breathe before collapsing.

“Shinji…” Misato managed to get out before running to the walkway in the cage to retrieve him.

“Maya, call the medics,” Ritsuko said, still shocked at the scene before her. Maya nodded and put in a call to the NERV medical ward.

The video feed was seen by both other pilots. Rei watched the feed with an impassive face, although she was relieved that Shinji was alright. Asuka was glad to see the Third Child again, for much different reasons.

High above the command center, the imposing figure of Gendo Ikari watched the scene unfold in front of him. ‘Yui…is this your will?’ he thought.

*****

Shinji opened his eyes again to see the same ceiling of the NERV infirmary. “Not this ceiling again,” he said tiredly.

“Now, I know I told you to stop worrying us like that,” Misato said from the doorway.

“Yeah, sorry again Misato,” Shinji said with a slight smile. As he tried to sit up, he felt like he‘d fallen from a great height. “Ugh, I feel rough. How long was I gone?”

“About fifteen days,” Misato answered. “Do you know where you’ve been?”

“Yeah, I can hazard a guess or two,” he said, not wanting to tell her. “They’re letting me out?”

“No, not yet,” Misato said with a sigh. “They want to check you out again to make sure you’re okay. You gave us all quite a scare.”

“Sorry,” he said, feeling like he was back to his old ways.

“It’s okay,” Misato answered back. “Anyway, I’ve gotta be getting back to work. I’ll come back in a bit to see how you’re doing. Bye!” She then stepped back outside the room.

Shinji fell back down on the bed and took a deep breath. “At least I made it back…” he said. About fifteen minutes of silence passed as he tried to sleep, but that was interrupted by the sound of the door opening. As Shinji looked over towards the door, his gaze was met with a certain redhead.

Asuka looked at the resting boy she had come to talk with, wearing a pensive expression and biting her lower lip slightly. ‘Okay, you can do this, Asuka,’ she thought, not really feeling completely sure of the words as she took a hesitant step into the room…

*****To be continued…*****

A/N: Yep, first cliffhanger ending I’ve done. This marks the halfway point, but there’s still a lot left to go with this story. And I still haven’t gotten deep enough into the other main theme of the fic (y’know which part, don’t play dumb!). Thankfully, I have a pretty good idea where the next chapter goes, so it shouldn’t take very long to complete.

*****Now for more from the author and his muse! (a.k.a - Omake Time!)*****

This time, we find the author laying on his floor, whipped from his latest all-nighter.

Author: (very tired) Well, got it done before my personal deadline…I’ll take that as a good omen.

The familiar guitar riff from “Iron Man” comes sounding from the next room.

Author: (looking at the camera) Yeah, Mitsumi again. She’s been learning the classics of rock and metal since last time. (sighs) I’m so proud…

Mitsumi floats into the room after her small practice session. This time, dressed in jeans and a slightly faded “Ride the Lightning” t-shirt.

Mitsumi: Gotten done before the deadline, huh?

Author: For a change, yeah. Hell, even I’m surprised…

Mitsumi: That can’t be a good sign…

Author: (standing up and stretching) Don’t knock it, this might just last the rest of the way out.

Mitsumi: Um, I need to ask you for something…

Author: Yes?

Mitsumi: I…kinda need some instruments. Y’know, for the band.

Author: Once you‘ve formed it, huh? Sure, I’ll see what I’ve got stored away…

Mitsumi: (surprised) You’re going to use “it”?

Author: Sure, why not? Hasn’t gotten any use in several months.

The author then reaches behind him and opens a rift in space-time to a large room full of varying objects.

Author: (looking at the camera) For those wondering, this is my little piece of subspace I bought from a traveling merchant. Holds plenty of stuff and the door to it can be opened from anywhere.

The author walks into the rift and comes out several minutes later, wheeling out a rack containing a bass guitar, keyboard, drum kit, and microphone.

Author: I think this should cover it.

Mitsumi: (eyes wide) Wow…yes it will. (thinks for a minute) Not that hard to use, are they?

Author: Not really. (drops a stack of manuals on the rack) Just takes time…

Mitsumi: (looking over the instruments intently) Uh huh…

Author: Just keep practicing the guitar, you’re getting pretty good at it.

Mitsumi: How about singing for me? You’re pretty good yourself…

Author: Ah, not really. I’m not talented enough. Besides, you know anytime I try to sing with a lot of volume, it comes out tone-deaf.

Mitsumi: (looking a bit disappointed) Oh… (finding another subject) What about work on “Drained and Blue” and “Go Back to Sleep, Precious”? When are you getting to them?

Author: Hmm…sometime between upcoming chapters of “Nephilim“.

Mitsumi: How about “Know Who I Am”?

Author: You know that’s planned for Valentine’s Day…

Mitsumi: And “Id”?

Author: Under second rewrite. Went from mini-series to long one-shot. Won’t be seeing it released anytime soon, from what I can tell.

Mitsumi: Okay…I guess it’s back to the strings. (leaves room)

Author: (to himself) She’s getting pretty good. (turns toward the camera) Might give you all a taste of her work up ahead.

The opening notes to “Cherub Rock” begin to fill the air, as we pan out away from the room…

*****End of Omake*****

Pre-read was done by FinalMax once again.

As of the fourteenth of June in 2010, I have updated all of my fics...AGAIN. Not to worry, it’s mostly just small alterations/edits and spelling/grammar fixes.

As usual: good comments will be appreciated, bad ones will be ignored (or kept for firewood). But I do favor good/helpful criticism, so send it my way!

-AngelNo13Bardiel-
Last edited by AngelNo13Bardiel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:44 pm

Nephilim ch5  SPOILER: Show

See Chapter 1 for disclaimer, 2 for speech/thoughts things.

NEPHILIM

Chapter 5: Our Shadows Taller than Our Souls

*****

Asuka took a few slow steps into the hospital room before stopping beside the bed Shinji was currently laying on. Before looking up at him, she mustered the most normal face she could make at the moment. “Hey there, Ikari,” she said, trying to sound like she wasn’t slightly nervous. “Finally decide to come back?”

Shinji was currently trying to avoid direct eye contact with the sometimes-volatile redhead. ‘Probably didn’t think much about it,’ he thought, remembering their last conversation. “Uh huh,” he answered.

A heavy silence hung over the room for several slow moments before Asuka broke it. “I’ve gotta be going…visiting hours are almost over,” she said, opening the door and walking out. She got halfway down the hall before stopping to think over her actions. ‘Dammit, I couldn’t say anything…I feel so weak…’ she berated herself before resuming her trip back to Misato’s apartment.

Shinji, meanwhile, sat surprised at the girl’s demeanor. ‘Visiting hours aren‘t over for a while…’ he thought. ‘Maybe she did do some thinking after all…’

‘More than you would think,’ the familiar voice of Nephilim came to the Third Child.

Shinji looked about the room for the angel, ‘Wh-where are you?’

‘Over the hills overlooking town,’ Nephilim answered. ‘I thought it would be a good idea to talk without being face-to-face. Was it not a good idea?’

‘No, it was,’ Shinji thought, shaking his head. ‘Just didn’t know where you were.’

‘It looks like that idea of yours worked out, although it was a great risk,’ the angel brought up.

‘Planned idea fell through. That was the last resort,’ Shinji said. ‘Wasn’t too sure if it was the best idea, really.’

‘But I am glad it did work. It would pain me greatly to see you leave this plane, Shinji,’ Nephilim said. ‘I must be going now, you need rest.’ The voice disappeared, leaving Shinji alone once again.

He fell back on the bed, still feeling weakened from his stay out-of-body. ‘Should really plan these things better next time, I’m feeling too old for this…’ he thought before the lull of sleep caught up to him…

*****

Seven hours later, Shinji was awake again and had just finished dressing himself to leave the hospital when he received another visitor.

“Hey there, Shin-man,” Toji said from the doorway. “Have a nice trip?”

Shinji turned to his friend, relieved to see him walking and acting normally after his encounter with Unit-03. ‘That’s one thing off my mind,’ he thought, feeling better already. “Hi Toji. Good to see you up and around.”

“Hey, you can’t keep a good guy down! Know what I mean?” Toji said with a big grin.

“I guess,” Shinji said. “And about your earlier question, I guess that means you know where I’ve been, huh?”

Toji shrugged and seated himself in a chair. “I heard. Not saying where, but…” he trailed off. “Kinda like having your soul separated from its body, right?”

Shinji put his shoes on and stood off of the bed. “Something like that,” he answered. “Didn’t feel like two weeks, though…”

The taller boy stood and followed his friend out of the room. “They’re releasing you already?” Toji asked.

“Uh huh,” Shinji replied. “Need to get back home, anyway. Must be a mess by now.” He could only imagine the shape of the apartment without his cleaning for two weeks.

“Huh? What about Misato? Or Red?” Toji asked, a bit surprised.

“Knowing them,” Shinji started, “they’ve been living off of instant food or Misato’s cooking. And neither are that appealing. As for cleaning, their rooms are their business, the rest of the apartment is mine.”

“How did that happen?” Toji asked, feeling the need to tease the boy a bit. “Henpecked?”

Shinji shook his head, “Nah, Misato just has an…odd way of dividing up chores. And I’m bad at rock-paper-scissors.” Both he and Toji then stepped out of the hospital’s front doors.

“Uh…I think I get it,” Toji answered, feeling a bit lost. “Anyway,” he said, changing the subject, “I’ve gotta be going.”

Shinji blinked a few times, “Really? Where?”

Toji turned away from Shinji, trying to hide a slightly red face. “Uh…nowhere in particular…”

The Third Child could tell by his behavior where he was headed. “Hikari’s waiting for you somewhere, right?” he ventured.

Toji spun around to see Shinji’s grinning face. “Red told you, didn’t she?” he asked, his face almost fully red by now.

“Nope, I could see it all along,” Shinji answered. “Neither of you are that great at hiding the looks on your face when you look at the other. Took some time to put two and two together, however…”

The former Fourth Child relaxed, still surprised at his friend’s observations. “You pay attention pretty good, you know?” he asked, the same old grin back on his face.

“I’ve been told that,” Shinii said, looking toward the sky. “I think it’s good for you both. Now go, she’ll probably be mad for being late.”

Toji looked at his watch. “Still got ten, but I’ll take your word for it,” he said, taking off down the sidewalk. “See you tomorrow, man!” he shouted from further down the street.

Shinji waved back until he had passed out of sight, and let out the breath he’d been holding. ‘Makes me feel like I’ve done something good for now,’ he thought, before turning around and heading towards Misato’s apartment.

*****

As soon as he arrived back at the apartment, Shinji walked into the kitchen. A note was sitting on the table. ‘More work at NERV. Won’t be back until late,’ it said. Shinji put the note back and headed for his room, but before entering, he looked at Asuka’s door. “I should really say hi, at least,” he whispered.

He walked up to the door and knocked softly. “Asuka,” he began, “are you in there?” After getting no answer for a few seconds, he opened it slowly and saw his roommate sleeping with her back turned. ‘Tired, I guess,’ Shinji thought, walking up to Asuka’s slumbering form and pulled the sheet over her. As he did, he spotted a few dried marks on her pillow. ‘Tears…’ he thought, leaving the room. ‘something’s upsetting her.’

Shinji walked back over to his own room and entered, seating himself on the bed. “I’m home…” he said to no one in particular. He looked over at his S-DAT, once his safe haven from the world. ‘Not that I need it for that anymore…but it would be nice to relax with some music,’ he thought, putting the ear buds in and turning it on…

*****

On the other side of town, a phone call was just concluding. “Is that all?” the person on the phone asked. There was a pause as the person on the other end answered. “Got it,” the first person said before hanging up.

Kaji Ryoji looked up at the sky and lit a cigarette, remembering what he’d been ordered to do. ‘Kidnap the Sub-Commander,’ he thought. He then reached into his pocket and removed his NERV ID card. ‘It’s red…like blood,’ he thought morosely.

Then he remembered Shinji’s words before his disappearance. ‘Maybe he was right…’ the spy thought. The words had been haunting him since he heard them. ‘I can trust him with some of these things…’ he thought, ‘and maybe with telling the others…’ Putting out his cigarette, he turned towards his old flame’s apartment…

*****

Half an hour later, Shinji had gotten up and was preparing to make dinner when there was a knock at the front door. Opening it, he was met with a slightly worried-looking Kaji.

“Hi there,” the man said. “Nice to see you’re still in one piece.”

Shinji smiled and greeted him. “Hi Kaji. If you’re looking for Misato, she’s at NERV right-”

“No, I need to talk to you,” the spy interrupted.

Shinji couldn’t help but feel a bit tense at those words. “Uh, sure, come in,” he said, returning to the kitchen.

Kaji sat himself in one of the chairs around the table as Shinji sat in the one opposite of him. “Okay, now you know some things you shouldn’t. You know that, right?” Kaji asked.

“Yeah, I’ve overheard things around headquarters…being quiet makes you more observant,” Shinji answered, trying to sound convincing.

Kaji took a deep breath, “You know of SEELE, right?” Shinji nodded. “Then you know I’m working for both them and your father, right?” Kaji asked. Shinji nodded again. “Then you can see what kind of a problem I’m in. I’ve been thinking over what you told me last time I saw you. And you’re right. They’re probably going to get rid of me as soon as I finish this new assignment I’ve been given. That’s why I’ve decided to leave Tokyo-3...not just for my sake, but yours as well,” he finished.

Shinji took a minute to take in all of what he said. “Isn’t that running away, in a sense?” he asked.

“Heh, you’re one to talk,” Kaji joked. “But seriously, I didn’t want to tell Misato directly because it would look suspicious. So, I figured I could tell you.” He then handed Shinji an envelope. “Give this to Misato. Tell her it’s from me, she’ll know what it means,” he said, then got up, heading for the door.

Shinji followed him over to the now-open front door. “So…I guess this is goodbye then?” he asked sadly.

Kaji put his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Don’t look so down. This isn’t for good. I’ll be back one day, I promise.” He then stepped out of the apartment and into the night..

Shinji closed the door and walked over to the couch to sit. ‘Well, I hope he’s okay…not like there was anything I could’ve done to help there,’ he thought. Then he remembered Asuka was home.

Walking over to her door, Shinji opened it to find her still asleep. ‘Good,’ he thought, ‘I’ll need some time to figure a way to explain this to her.’ Then he looked at the envelope in his hand. ‘And as for Misato…’ he began, ‘I think I’ll let what’s in this speak for me.’

Returning to his room, Shinji put the envelope in a safe spot for the time being and went back to the kitchen to what he had been doing before his guest had come…

*****

The next morning, Shinji awoke and began his usual daily routine. After showering and dressing, he left the bathroom and saw Misato sitting at the table with her first beer of the day. “Morning, Misato,” he said, heading for the stove.

“Morning, Shinji,” she said, albeit a bit groggy. “Don’t bother, I’m not really hungry and Asuka already left.” For a moment, she wondered whether or not she should ask Shinji about his conversation with Asuka before the last battle. ‘Nah, it’d be better just to let them sort it out,’ she concluded.

“Ah, okay then,” he said, turning back towards his room. After grabbing his bag, he remembered Kaji’s visit the evening before. Retrieving the envelope, he headed for the kitchen. “Hey Misato,” he began.

“Hmm?” she asked from behind her beer can.

Shinji laid the envelope on the table in front of her. “Someone you know wanted me to give you this,” he said before stepping out of the door and the apartment.

Misato sat looking curiously at the envelope before opening it. Inside was a letter and a red-and-white capsule. Picking up the note, Misato began to read it.

‘Hey there, Katsuragi,’ it started, ‘sorry to not give you this in person, but I needed it to be inconspicuous. So I trusted Shinji with it. By the time you’ve gotten this, I’m out of Tokyo-3. I’ve been doing some thinking about my search for the truth…and I’ve decided that I need a new approach. I know if I continue the same way, they’re going to get rid of me soon. So I need to leave from here…both because I don’t want you worrying over me and I need to keep you safe. There's a capsule in this package, and inside it is a bit of what I’ve found out, a path for you. The password is our first memory. So goodbye for now, and when I see you again, I’ll tell you those three words I couldn’t say eight years ago…’ It was signed Kaji Ryoji.

Misato sat stunned by the words on the note. ‘He…he’s gone,’ she thought sadly. Going over the letter again, she silently wept for the unshaven man. Getting up from her seat, she gathered the envelope’s contents and walked to her room. After depositing them in a desk drawer, she looked out the window. ‘I hope wherever you are, you’re okay…you jerk,’ she thought with a teary smile…

*****

Three days later, a dark cloud rolled over Tokyo-3’s skies. Shinji knew exactly what it heralded. It did little for his mood, which had gotten darker in those three days. He’d seen Misato crying to herself twice and Asuka seemed intent on avoiding him. The thought of the upcoming battle didn’t help.

The school day had dragged on slowly until, a little after noon, the Angel alarm sounded and three cell phones went off at the same time in class 2-A. All three pilots started towards the school’s door and the approaching Section 2 vehicles. Before he got in, Shinji took a long look at the sky with a defiant expression.

Twenty minutes later, the three of them were suiting up for combat. Rei had already finished and left, leaving the Second and Third Children alone for the moment.

Asuka looked over at Shinji through the changing sheet. She had been avoiding talking to him for a few days because she didn’t know exactly what to say. “Hey Shinji,” she said.

Shinji pressed the pressurization button on his plugsuit and turned his head in her direction, “Yeah?”

Asuka hesitated for a second before finding the words again. “After this, I’d like to have a talk. So don’t go running away again,” she finished with her usual attitude.

Shinji smiled, glad to hear her sound like the old Asuka. “Sure, anything you say,” he answered. After she left the room, he let out the breath he’d been holding. ‘Now I just hope this goes well,’ he thought before leaving…

*****

‘Not very different than last time, other than I’m out here,’ Shinji thought as he watched the rain from Unit-01’s entry plug.

The rain continued to pour down as they took their positions. Asuka had the highest synch, so she would be doing the sniping with the positron cannon, with Rei manning the positron rifle used on the 5th Angel and Shinji being backup if the Angel entered orbit.

“Okay, we don’t have a lot of information on this Angel, other than it won’t come out of orbit,” Misato explained through the comm link. “Asuka will take point and fire at the target, Rei and Shinji will support as backup. Understood?”

“Understood,” came the three-way response.

Five minutes passed as Asuka waited for the cannon to lock on to the angel. “Hurry up, dammit. This is taking too long,” she hissed, feeling slightly irritated.

Then the light came. At first, there was nothing, but then Asuka began to yell and clutch her head. Shinji had seen it happen and rushed over towards her. With a hard tackle, Unit-01 shoved Unit-02 out of the way of the Angel’s weapon…only to become its new target.

*****

In the distance, the form of Nephilim watched the scene unfold. ‘He is willing to do such things for her. He is as noble as I thought,’ he thought. Then a familiar feeling came over him, like an evil presence. Turning around quickly in mid-air, he came face-to-face with Azrael.

“We really should stop meeting like this,” he said through a malicious smile.

“My thoughts exactly,” Nephilim answered. “Although I would rather we not meet again.”

Azrael pointed a finger towards the form of Unit-01 inside the Angel’s beam. “Do you really think they can stand against such beings? Ah, no matter, though, I have struck a deal with forces on this plane…”

Nephilim backed off a few feet with a slightly scared expression, “You didn’t…SEELE? Then that means the EVA series…”

Azrael nodded, knowing what he was thinking. “Indeed, the old men will help me see this through to the bitter end,” he said.

Nephilim reached into his robe and drew his blade, pointing the tip towards his foe. “I believe we still have unfinished business from our last meeting,” he said with a hint of anger in his tone.

“Ah, this is my favorite part,” Azrael said, unsheathing his own blade.

The two angels locked gazes for several seconds before rushing one another, fully intent on finishing what had been started last time…

*****

Shinji, meanwhile, was doing all he could to fight the Angel’s mind violation. ‘Again, I should’ve thought this through better…’ he thought, his head pounding, ‘but I promised myself I wouldn’t see her hurt like that again. And I’ll be damned if I go back on it now.’

On the command bridge, they had been able to find out what was happening to Unit-01. “It’s using it’s AT field as some type of mind probe, attacking the pilot’s mind directly,” Ritsuko explained.

Misato turned her attention back towards the video feed inside of Unit-01, showing Shinji with a pained expression on his face and closed eyes. “Shinji…” she said, barely audible, feeling completely helpless.

Asuka had awoken up and gotten Unit-02 to its feet. Looking over at Unit-01, she saw the machine convulsing like it was in pain. Aiming towards the target, she fired off two shots, both not making it near the Angel. “Dammit, not enough range,” she said.

“Rei, are you ready?” Misato asked.

“Yes,” the First Child answered.

“Then fire,” Misato ordered.

Unit-00 was knockd back a bit by the recoil of the rifle, which managed to reach the target…before being reflected by its AT field.

“No good, its AT field is too strong,” Maya reported. “And we can’t get any more power.”

“Then…what now?” Misato whispered.

*****

And elsewhere, another battle was being waged in the skies above Tokyo-3. Nephilim and Azrael continued to trade blows with each other, neither getting a hit on the other. The sounds of steel clanging and wings beating were all they heard.

Azrael made a dive-bomb with his sword raised, but Nephilim blocked the attack, putting both of them in a stalemate.

“Heh, I think we’ve been here before,” Azrael sneered. “As stubborn as always…”

“You are doing no good trying to taunt me. It will not work,” Nephilim answered, trying to keep his strength in holding back his enemy’s attack.

“And on another note, have you told the boy just what…or rather, who you are yet?” Azrael asked.

Nephilim backed quickly away, needing a breather. “No, I have not. But that will come at the proper time. He does not need to know yet.”

Azrael laughed an evil, menacing laughter and held a hand over his eyes, “Ah, but do you think he will still trust you when he finds that you are-”

“Enough!” Nephilim shouted. “He shall know when it is right. And I still believe that he will trust me.”

“We shall see then if your words are as strong as your steel,” Azrael taunted. Then both rushed the other again, renewing the battle as it had been going…

*****

Meanwhile, Shinji had just about given up on fighting his mental invader. ‘Can’t…do this much longer. Head feels like it’s going to burst,’ he thought. It was literally digging up every bad, dark memory he had and displaying them for him to see once again. His mother’s disappearance into Unit-01, fights against various other Angels, Kaworu, and finally Third Impact. All of them just as painful as they were the first time…

Then he got an idea, Frantically, Shinji began to concentrate hard on the best memories he had, the good times of his life. In particular, the memory of the night before the 7th Angel. As he put all his thinking into it, he began to feel the warm glow from within Unit-01 again. ‘Mother…thank you…’ he thought.

Inside the command center, any ideas of how to combat the Angel had been shot down, one by one. Until the Commander spoke into the comm link. “Rei,” he said.

“Yes sir,” she answered.

“Retrieve the Lance,” he ordered.

“Understood,” Rei said, walking back towards one of the catapults back into headquarters.

Sub-Commander Fuyutski looked at the Commander, shocked. “Th-the Lance? Don’t you need the committee’s approval before-”

“There is no other way to combat an Angel which remains in orbit,” Gendo answered coldly.

“You know they won’t allow this,” the older man pointed out.

“They’ve already started production on Units 05 through 13. This is a chance to set them back a bit,” the Commander replied.

‘You just like interfering with them, don‘t you Ikari?’ Fuyutski thought.

In orbit, Arael had met some resistance when it tried to break its first victim. It had been moved aside by another, more foolish creature that was doing a commendable job at holding back its beam. But it would not last, despite its use of good memories to offset the bad ones. Especially the one about a human girl. If it had a mouth, Arael would have laughed at such a show. But the images of Instrumentality had caused the Angel to lessen its attack slightly, almost as if it was surprised.

But it would not have the time to regain its senses, as while it was forcing its way into the pilot’s mind, the Lance of Longinus had managed to strike its intended target, destroying the Angel in an impressive show of its power.

Back on the command bridge, everyone sighed at their lucky break. “Target annihilated,” Shigeru reported. “The Lance reached maximum escape velocity and is being pulled into the moon’s gravitational field.”

“Then there’s no way to get it back?” Misato asked.

“No, there’s no way of retrieving an object of that mass from orbit,” Makoto said.

“What about Shinji?” Misato asked worriedly.

The video feed to the inside of Unit-01 appeared, showing a very worn-out Shinji. “I-I did it. I managed to help her…” he whispered before blacking out…

*****

Sometime before that, Nephilim and Azrael both stopped their battle to watch the Lance of Longinus part the clouds and destroy the Angel. As they looked on at the victory, Azrael saw his opportunity and swung a fierce blow, knocking Nephilim’s sword away and striking his left arm and side.

Nephilim grunted in pain as the blade cut his soul and left a large scar on both parts. “It will take much more than that…” he said, putting some distance between himself and Azrael.

Azrael sheathed his blade and looked on at him. “I know it well, but for now, I am finished with entertaining myself. I still have my own agenda to carry out,” he said. “Until next time, then…” and with that, his form faded into the rainy sky like mist.

Nephilim returned his own weapon to its holder. ‘Yes, next time…’ he thought bitterly. Looking back at the city, he saw that the EVAs had already been returned to the cages, but the rain looked as if it wouldn’t be letting up for a while…

*****

Shinji awoke some time later with a splitting headache. ‘Yeah, should’ve thought that through better,’ he reminded himself. Opening his eyes, he saw the familiar white ceiling of the NERV hospital wing. He managed to sit up and bring his legs over the side of the bed and onto the floor. Taking a couple of steps, he could feel the room sway as he tried to walk. ‘Whoa, gonna feel that for a while,’ he thought, holding his forehead and taking a few minutes to realign his balance. As soon as he’d gotten his footing again, the door opened and Misato stepped in.

“I told you to stop worrying me like that. You’re going to make me an old woman fast,” she said. “Anyway, how do you feel?”

“Bodily, not that bad,” Shinji answered. “But my head feels terrible…worst headache I’ve ever had.”

Misato sighed and stared the boy straight in the eye. “So, explain why you did that then,” she asked him

Shinji grabbed his clothes from the top of the bed and headed for the change room. “Well,” Shinji began to explain from inside while dressing, “I saw that it was going after Asuka…and I promised myself that I wouldn’t let anything happen to her.” He walked out of the room, back in his old clothes, and sat back down on the bed. “As for what that means…”

Misato shook her head. ‘He’s got it bad for her, alright,’ she thought. “You don’t have to tell me. Asuka explained what happened last time you two talked,” she said, seating herself in a chair.

Shinji looked up at his guardian with a puzzled expression. “Then…she actually thought it over?” he asked.

“More than you’d think, young man. More than you’d think,” Misato said. “And if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say she cares more than she is telling. Spent two weeks thinking your words over.”

“About that,” Shinji explained, looking down, “I didn’t exactly tell her the ‘full’ truth. There was more to it, but…”

“…but you’re still afraid, right?” Misato finished his sentence. Shinji nodded. Misato sighed again and looked up at the ceiling. “The same goes for me…someone I never told those things to. And they’re gone now…” she said, looking like she was going to cry.

“You mean Kaji, right?” Shinji asked.

Misato sniffled a little and looked back at him. “Yeah, the envelope you brought me a few days ago was from him. I’m still feeling sad, but I think he’ll be fine.”

Shinji stood up from the bed and put a hand on Misato’s shoulder. “He’ll be okay…I know it,” he assured her. “But what do you think I should do about Asuka?”

“I’ve got more work at NERV. Apartment will be nice and quiet for the night, so you two will get a good chance to talk,” Misato told him.

Shinji nodded and walked over to the door. Misato stood up a second later and followed him out, both having things to do…

*****

Walking back into the apartment after being dropped off by Misato, Shinji headed towards Asuka’s door with nervous steps. Before opening it, he took a minute to calm himself and collect his thoughts. Opening her door, Shinji spotted the redhead, dressed in a red shirt and jeans, facing away from him, looking like she was asleep.

Turning to leave, he heard her speak in a quiet voice. “Shinji…is that you?” she said sleepily.

“Yeah, did I wake you?” he asked..

Asuka shook her head and sat up in bed, “Not really…couldn’t sleep well. So why are you here?”

“You said we needed to talk, so…” Shinji trailed off.

Asuka blinked a couple of times before moving over slightly. “Well, come on. I won’t be yelling at you,” she said.

Shinji sat down and looked at the girl next to him. ‘She seems so vulnerable right now…I hope what I said before didn’t worry her that badly,’ he thought. “So what did you want to talk about?” he started.

“Why…why did you do that earlier?” Asuka said quietly.

“You mean during the battle? I saw that it was attacking you, so I had to do something…” Shinji explained.

Asuka looked up at him. “Misato told me what it did, she said it attacked your mind directly. The question is, why do it for me?” she asked. “It must have hurt a lot…”

“I told you before why I do these things for you,“ Shinji explained, “and it didn’t hurt that badly. I just kept my mind on one thought…”

“Which was?” Asuka questioned.

“That when I got back, I would finish telling you how I felt…” he finished, turning his head away from her.

Asuka sat in silence for a while after hearing that. “Yeah, you told me you cared about me. Did you mean that?” she asked, wanting to confirm it.

Shinji sighed and brought his face back towards her. “I do, but that wasn’t the whole truth…I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and I’m finally done running from the feeling.” Shinji shakily reached over and laid his hand on hers. “What I did out there today was me showing you that I would die for you…” he said, feeling his throat getting tight. “And that…”

Asuka sat intently listening to the boy’s words. ‘He really means this…’ was the only thought running through her head. “Yes?” she asked, feeling like she knew what he would be saying next.

“…I love you,” Shinji finished, not breaking eye contact with the shocked Second Child. “I couldn’t say it before for fear of being rejected…but I decided that it should be said before something happens…”

Asuka was almost to the point of tears by now. ‘He loves me,’ she thought. “You really…love me?” she asked. Shinji nodded. “But what do you mean ‘before something happens’? You said that before…” she questioned.

Shinji took a few seconds to collect his words before continuing. “Just like what happened the last two battles. The kind of things we do…there might not be another time to tell you this. It could all be over soon, and what if these things hadn’t been said?” Shinji explained. “So now you see why I tell you this…”

The two of them sat in a long silence, until Asuka looked up at Shinji through tearful eyes. “I-I…” she choked out before wrapping her arms around him. “I never knew…and after how I treated you before…” she whispered.

Shinji laid his hands around her. “Hey, I told you, I know that’s just how you deal with things. Never took it personally,” he assured the crying girl. “Can I ask you a question, then?” Asuka nodded a bit, not looking up at him. “How do you feel right now?” he asked.

Asuka took a few minutes before answering, “I…feel weak for breaking down like this. A long time ago, I promised myself I wouldn’t cry again,” she got out between sobs.

Shinji put a hand underneath her chin and picked her head up too look in his eyes, which were watering as badly as hers. “That’s no reason to feel weak. You’re the strongest person I know,” he said. Then he pulled her close and gave the girl a tight hug. “I’m crying right now because I’m happy,” he whispered into her ear. “Why are you?”

“I guess…I’m happy right now, too,” Asuka said, smiling a little. “And I…I care about you too, you idiot.” She could feel a weight come off of her as soon as the words left her mouth.

Shinji released her and sat back again. “That’s more like the old you,” he said, smiling brightly and wiping away her tears. “And that’s my favorite part of you.” Closing the distance, he pressed his lips against hers in a tender but urgent kiss.

Asuka could feel fresh tears coming to her, but she made no effort to stop them. All she did at the moment was return the kiss as best as she could. ‘He’s not bad at this,’ she thought, liking the feel of his lips.

A quarter-minute later, the two teens pulled back from each other and looked into each other’s eyes. They had found an understanding…and something more special.

Shinji let out a large yawn and looked at the clock. “It’s getting pretty late. Maybe I should be going…”

“No,” Asuka said, holding on to his hand. “Stay here with me for tonight. I need to get used to you being close with me…”

“I don’t know…it would look kinda odd to anyone who came in here,” Shinji replied, already knowing what he’d hear from Misato about it.

“It’s okay…not like we’ll do anything, right?” Asuka said. “Or will we…” she finished with a wink.

Shinji could feel himself heating up at the very thought, “Heh, that’s the old teasing Asuka I know well.” He walked back over towards the bed and laid on the left side, while Asuka got comfortable on the other side. “So what about the others?” he asked. “What should we tell them?”

“Let’s just keep it our little secret for now, okay?” Asuka said, getting cozy next to him.

‘I should have guessed,’ Shinji thought and smiled. “Okay…” he said, looking over the girl next to him. “You really are beautiful…” he mused out loud.

Asuka turned her head slightly too look him in the eye. “You mean that?” she asked.

Shinji nodded. “The most beautiful girl I know…” he said with a sigh.

Asuka laughed a little. “God, that sounded so corny. But at least I know you mean it…” she said. Turning away from him, she intertwined their fingers. “Good night, Shinji,” she whispered.

“Good night, Asuka. Sweet dreams,” Shinji answered before closing his eyes and giving her hand a small squeeze.

The two fell asleep shortly after, both knowing that something they had been missing for so long had been found…in each other.

*****

At that time, Nephilim watched their slumbering forms from outside of the window. ‘He has taken another chance…and it has become something wonderful,’ he thought, feeling genuinely happy for the boy.

But his face turned to a grimace when he looked down at the currently almost-healed wounds he sustained from his battle with Azrael. ‘He has joined forces with SEELE…that means I must hurry with my duties,’ he thought darkly.

Then Azrael’s words about telling Shinji his identity came back to Nephilim. ‘He shall know soon…before the last one comes…’ he concluded before his form faded from sight over the streets of Tokyo-3...

*****To be continued…*****

A/N: Yes! Done ahead of schedule! Definitely a first for me. Anyway, this chapter finally got to the S/A goodness you were probably all awaiting.

And then there is the deal with Nephilim’s identity. No, I’m not going to go further right now because most of you can likely guess it by now, anyway.

And on the subject of a question I received in a review, yes I knew what the Nephilims are. The name was just a randomly chosen factor, same with Azrael (although looking back now, it was a good choice, because Azrael = angel of death).

*****And now, more of ‘An Author and His Muse’!*****

As we pan inside of the room, we do not see the author at his usual spot in front of the computer. Instead, we hear music coming from Mitsumi’s practice room, in particular the author signing and Mitsumi on guitar…

Author: (singing) Into the flood again…same old trip it was back then. So I made a big mistake…try to see it once my way…

Mitsumi looks up from her strings to see the camera in the room and stops playing to bow for the audience.

Author: (turning to her) What happened? Fingers hurting again?

Mitsumi points a finger towards the camera. The author looks in that direction and jumps at the unknown arrival.

Author: (startled) Jesus, don’t you knock?

Mitsumi: (speaking to the camera) Don’t mind him. He’s just shy about his talent…

Author: Not a lot of talent, really…just something I do.

Mitsumi: (speaking to camera again) We’re having a bit of a celebration because of the chapter’s early release.

Author: Can’t believe it myself…but this had been the easiest chapter to come up with, so…

Mitsumi: What about the other works?

Author: (sighing) Ah yes. Some changes were made to those…

Mitsumi: (surprised) Really? What?

Author: Dropped “Go Back to Sleep, Precious”. Just wasn’t coming to me very easily. And “Know Who I Am” underwent some evaluation… (hands Mitsumi a piece of paper)

Mitsumi: (reading) Hmm…title and song change…not a bad idea, the old one was used a lot before anyway. But I don’t think I’ve heard a lot from this band, though…

Author: (shocked) Y-you’re kidding me…(runs to his CD shelf and comes back with a small stack of albums) It’s not quite all of them, still have another seven or eight to go. But listen and enjoy them anyway.

Mitsumi: (balancing the CDs for a second before setting the stack down) Must be good stuff. (picking up an album and looking over the tracks) Hey, I know the chords to this one! (points to song)

Author: (looking over her shoulder at said track) Well, let’s hear it…

Mitsumi: You going to sing along?

Author: (shaking his head) Nah, I don’t have the right pitch for it.

Mitsumi: (pulling the strap over her shoulder) Oh, alright…

And so, Mitsumi begins plucking out the first few chords of “Why Can‘t I Be You”. The camera once again pans away from the room…for now.

*****End Omake (try and guess the song I was singing at the start, or the band I was hinting at…)*****

Pre-read was done by FinalMax, yet again.

As of the fourteenth of June in 2010, I have updated all of my fics...AGAIN. Not to worry, it’s mostly just small alterations/edits and spelling/grammar fixes.

As usual: good comments will be appreciated, bad ones will be ignored (or kept for firewood). But I do favor good/helpful criticism, so send it my way!

-AngelNo13Bardiel-
Last edited by AngelNo13Bardiel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:44 pm

Nephilim ch6  SPOILER: Show

See Chapter 1 for disclaimer, 2 for speech/thoughts things.

NEPHILIM

Chapter 6: I Know the Pieces Fit

*****

The next morning, Shinji awoke feeling more well-rested than he had for a while. There were two odd things he noted, however. One: the room seemed different, and two: his right arm was numb and warm. As he turned his groggy eyes to the side, he saw Asuka and remembered the events of the previous night, especially why he was where he was. She was still fast asleep, laying on the arm he’d wrapped around her.

‘She looks so peaceful,’ Shinji mentally noted while slowly removing his half-asleep arm out from under the redhead. Rising quietly out of the bed, he decided it would be best if he got back to his room before Misato would try to wake either of them. ‘She’s probably home now, and this won’t look good to her,’ he thought, wiping the sleep from his eyes.

Opening the door and poking his head out, Shinji noted that no one was in the immediate path to his room. So he slipped out of Asuka’s room and down the hall to his own. Opening the door, he was nearly frightened out of his skin by Misato, sitting on his bed.

“Geez, do you have to scare me like that?” Shinji asked, holding a hand over his now kick-started heart.

Misato suppressed a laugh at the boy’s reaction. “Sorry, didn’t think that would give you a heart attack…” she said. “So what are you doing sneaking around at this hour?”

Shinji turned bright red and began to stumble for an answer, “Umm…I just, uh…had to get…”

“…back to your room before I saw you, huh?” Misato finished.

Shinji sighed and bowed his head. “Look, if you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking…” he explained.

Misato stood from her spot on the bed and walked over to the embarrassed boy. “Well then, what did happen?” she asked, almost ready to tease him right then.

“I think we’ve reached an…understanding,” Shinji said, looking at the floor. “Not sure how much of one, but it’s a start.”

Misato smiled and patted his shoulder, “That’s good news. I somehow always thought you two made a good couple…”

Shinji blushed even more, almost blood-red in the face. “C’mon, stop. I’m still not used to it yet,” he said. “And speaking of which…could you do me a favor?”

“Hmm? What’s that?” she asked.

“Could you keep this a secret? We’re kinda…hoping to keep it to ourselves for a while,” Shinji explained. “Just until we’re used to each other’s company…”

“You have my word,” Misato said, walking out the door and into the kitchen. “So how did it go, anyway?”

Shinji followed and seated himself at the table. “Better than I hoped, really. Needed to get some things off my chest. And she did too,” he said, smiling at the conversation they had.

“You see, I know how to give good advice sometimes,” Misato said, filling up the coffee pot.

Shinji looked over at what his guardian was doing. “Coffee? Not the usual morning beer?” he asked, very surprised.

Misato shook her head. “Nah, I decided it would be best to switch for a while,” she said, retrieving the pot and pouring a cup. “But tell me, you two didn’t do anything naughty…did you?” she asked, sitting down at the table.

Shinji smacked his forehead in exasperation, “Ugh…Misato. Didn’t I already tell you…”

“I know,” she interrupted with a wink and took a sip, “I just wanted to make completely sure. You are both fourteen, after all. And I know how teenagers get. But don‘t think I don‘t trust you, because I do.” Misato looked over at the wall clock. “You’d better go and get her up,” she started, “you’ve only got a little more than an hour until school.”

Shinji looked over at the clock and sighed. ‘Damn, slept longer than usual,’ he thought. “You’re right. I’ve gotta go wake her up,“ he said, getting up from the table and heading over to Asuka’s door. “And remember, Misato,” he said, turning around for a second, “you promised to keep it a secret.”

Misato made a zipping motion on her lips. “Got it. Not a soul,” she said.

Turning back towards the hall, Shinji continued walking to Asuka’s room. Opening the door and slipping inside, he was met with an awakened Asuka. “Guess we couldn’t keep it from her, after all,” she said. Shinji jumped in surprise for the second time that morning. Asuka giggled at the Third Child’s scared form.

‘Two times in one morning. Only one that hasn't teased me yet is Pen-Pen, and he's probably harassing Misato. So that means...’ Shinji thought, an idea taking shape. “So you heard us?” he asked.

Asuka nodded, “Yeah, but it’s okay. Not like she’ll go and spread the word all over town.”

Shinji sat on the bed and looked her in the eyes. “True. So how are you feeling today?” he questioned.

“Mmm…nice, really. Slept good for a change,” Asuka said, stretching and yawning before leaning over to plant a kiss on his lips. “And you?”

Shinji smiled and shrugged, “Same, I guess. Anyway, it’s time to get up, we don’t have long before school.”

Asuka turned her vision over to her alarm clock. “Ack!” she exclaimed, “gotta get ready fast!” She then pulled her self out of bed and walked towards her dresser, getting out a school uniform and undergarments. Just as she was removing the red shirt she’d slept in, Asuka looked back over at Shinji, still sitting on her bed and staring in her direction. “Why are you still sitting there?” she asked hurriedly.

Shinji smiled a sly grin, deciding to act on the idea he had a minute ago. “Just enjoying the view, that’s all,” he said casually.

Asuka turned red and threw an errant shirt off her floor in his direction. ”Quit flattering me, you need to get ready, too,” she said, grinning all the while.

Shinji laughed and plucked the thrown shirt off his head. He stood up and headed towards his room, intent on getting organized for the day…

*****

A few hours later, Asuka and Hikari were having lunch on the school roof.

“So…did you two talk it out yet?” Hikari asked.

Asuka thought around for a good answer. “Sorta,” she said, hoping to drop it there.

The class representative watched her friend closely for a few minutes after, noticing that there was something Asuka wasn‘t telling her. “Is that it? Come on…” she queried.

“Not really,” Asuka said, shaking her head. “But some things are just not to be told.”

“Uh huh,” Hikari said, “then that means you’re hiding something.”

Asuka looked around for anyone else before motioning for her friend to come closer. “Okay, I guess you won’t tell. But you have to promise me anyway,” she whispered.

“Alright, I promise,” Hikari said, wondering what could have happened.

Asuka then took the next several minutes recounting the conversation she and Shinji had the night before, making sure to leave out the intimate details. When she finished, Hikari had a dreamy look in her eyes. “That’s so…beautiful,” she said. “So that means you were wrong about him after all, huh?”

“Yeah,” Asuka mused, feeling her face heat up, “he can be pretty sweet, even if it might come out sounding old and corny.” Asuka decided to change the subject. “Remember, you promised you wouldn’t tell anyone, not even the jock,” she reminded.

“I know…not even Toji will know,” the brunette assured her friend. “But why keep it a secret?”

“We’re still getting used to being close while alone, so…” Asuka trailed off.

“Say no more, I see what you mean,” Hikari said with a wave of her hand. “Well, we’d better go, it’s almost time for class to start again,” she said, standing up and brushing her skirt off.

Asuka swore she could almost feel someone else up there with them. “You go on ahead, I’ll be right behind you. It’s a nice day, and I’d like to enjoy it a bit more,” she explained, getting to her feet and leaning on the railing.

“Okay…bye then,” Hikari said, opening the door and walking back to Class 2-A.

Waiting a few seconds after her friend’s departure, Asuka finally spoke up. “You can come out now, I know you’re here.”

Shinji stepped out from around the side of the stairwell and walked over to the Second Child. “Heh, sorry, I was just looking for you,” he said, scratching the back of his head.

“It’s fine,” Asuka said, looking out at the sky. “Guess that’s two who know now…”

Shinji walked over to the railing and placed his hand on hers. “Don’t worry too much about it. Hikari’s good about keeping secrets, right?” he asked.

“Yeah, she’s dependable. But I just hope she doesn’t tell that dumb boyfriend of hers,” Asuka explained. “We’d never hear the end of it.”

Shinji laughed a bit, thinking of his friends’ reactions. “Yeah, I can just imagine what they’d say…” he mused. The two of them shared a laugh before walking back the stairwell and leaving the roof…

*****

The next four days passed, a calm sense of peace settling over the city. Except for Shinji, who knew what would be happening soon enough. The next Angel would be appearing...but somehow, he didn’t feel as anxious or worried as he had been since his return. After the last week’s events, he felt ready to face what was to come. But that still didn’t calm him completely, and the lack of Nephilim’s presence since the last battle also had him somewhat worried.

On the fifth day, Shinji and Asuka were walking towards the school. But their trip was cut short by the familiar sound of the Angel alarm. Looking at each other, they took off in the direction of the nearest entry into the Geofront. On their way, Shinji looked to the east and saw a halo-shaped form hanging far in the distance.

Arriving at the changing rooms, Shinji noticed that Rei had already left towards Unit-00. Knowing that she’d be the Angel’s main target, he closed his eyes and sighed before walking to the locker containing his plugsuit.

“What’s wrong, Shinji?” Asuka asked, noticing the look of concentration on his face.

“Just a little worried, that’s all,” he assured her.

Asuka pulled the sheet down between them and started to change into her own plugsuit. “It’s okay, we’ll get through this,” she said. “You’re the invincible Shinji Ikari, right?” she asked sarcastically.

“Yeah, and you’re the great Asuka Langely Sohryu,” Shinji answered with the same sarcastic tone.

Pulling the sheet back up, Asuka flashed him a smirk and wink before leaving the room. Shinji pressed the button on his suit, pressurizing it. ‘Okay…I know what I’m doing this time. I’m sure of it,’ he thought, strengthening his resolve again before heading for the door…

*****

Some time later, the three pilots found themselves a distance from their enemy, which was currently hovering over a forest slightly outside of town. The Angel’s spinning double-helix halo form hadn’t moved since appearing, which meant that the command center personnel hadn’t come up with a good course-of-action.

“Just watch it and see what happens,” Misato ordered. “And be careful, we don’t know what it can do to attack yet.”

Shinji sat intently focused on the target from inside Unit-01, carrying a rifle. Asuka and Unit-02 were to his right, armed the same, with Rei and Unit-00 several yards behind wielding a sniper rifle. Minutes passed as everyone waited for something to make the first move.

That something was the Angel, which suddenly stopped spinning and broke into a snake-like form, which headed with incredible speed towards Unit-00.

“Rei! Evasion!” Misato yelled through the comm line. But it was unneeded as Unit-01 caught it by the opposite end just as the Angel reached Unit-00’s AT field.

“You’re not going anywhere,” Shinji muttered, throwing the Angel’s thrashing form onto the ground to hold it down. Strengthening the AT field around Unit-01’s hands, he reached for his prog knife, only to be knocked over by the Angel’s wild movements.

The Angel then continued its planned path straight into the torso of Unit-00, where it started to penetrate the EVA’s armor.

“Target has begun physical integration with Unit-00! It’s attempting to fuse with the EVA,” Maya reported from her station.

Inside the entry plug of Unit-00, Rei looked down in pain at the veins that had begun to show up on her own body. Grabbing the Angel by its tail, she tried removing from her, which only ended up hurting her worse.

Unit-01 rushed over to the fallen form of Unit-00 and proceeded with removing the Angel from its invasion point. “Sorry, but this is going to hurt, Rei,” Shinji whispered through the comm link. Rei could only grunt in pain.

Hefting a prog knife, Shinji willed the EVA to strike at the glowing exposed body of the Angel. As he stuck the blade deep into its flesh, Rei’s connection to the Angel made her feel the pain as well. ‘Sorry, Rei,’ Shinji said in his mind. Taking another strike at the Angel, he felt it start to attach to the EVA’s hands and into his own.

Unit-02 ran and struck its own prog knife in the Angel’s side. Inside Unit-00, Rei passed out from the pain she felt through the Angel. Shinji, noticing this, gets a tight grip on the Angel and proceeds to pull it loose from Unit-00. As it slid from the torso of the EVA, it began thrashing about heavily, trying to free itself from the hand of Unit-01.

“Asuka, you ready?” Shinji yelled.

“Oh yeah,” she answered. As Unit-01 held the Angel stretched out, Unit-02 sunk its knife deep into the target where it nicked its S2 organ. Pulling the weapon free, Asuka struck again hard a small bit to the side, cracking the Angel’s core. “Heh, nothing to it,” Asuka said proudly.

“Throw it away, it’ll probably self-destruct,” Shinji ordered. Unit-02 flung the Angel’s corpse towards the sky, where it blew up harmlessly seconds later.

In the command center, sighs of relief were heard all over. “Target self-destructed,” Aoba reported.

Misato sat back down, impressed at the pilot’s quick thinking. “What about Rei?” she asked, remembering the Angel’s first attacks.

“She’s alright,” Ritsuko said. “Unconscious, but otherwise fine.”

“Shinji, Asuka,” Misato said into the comm line. “Retrieve Unit-00.”

“Understood,” was the simultaneous response as both picked up and end of the powered-down mech.

Behind them all, the stoic face of Commander Ikari hid his upset demeanor. ‘More scenario deviations…but this will set nothing back, none the less,’ he thought, still feeling in control of his plans…

*****

Several hours later, Rei Ayanami awoke feeling her entire body ache from exhaustion. ‘I am alive,’ she thought. ‘Shinji would not let me die…’

“Nice to see you’re up,” Shinji said from the doorway.

Rei sat up and acknowledged her visitor, “Hello Shinji. Are you well?”

Shinji walked over to her bed. “Hey, I should be asking that. You had a pretty rough time out there,” he said, seating himself in a chair next to the bed. “But since you asked, not bad. You?”

Rei laid back on the bed, still feeling weary. “That is good, then. As to your question, I feel quite worn out physically,” she said tiredly.

“That’s about right,” Asuka said, entering the room. “You took a serious beating out there. But you‘re fine now.”

“Hello Asuka,” Rei said, surprised that the Second Child would visit her.

Shinji looked between the two girls, noticing their changes in disposition towards each other. “Since when did you two get along so well?” he asked, feeling left out.

Asuka shrugged, “While you were in the EVA. A little talk we had made me think that I‘ve been a bit rash to her.”

“And I now see both of you as friends,” Rei explained.

“That’s good to know, Rei,” Shinji said, smiling brightly. He stood up and walked over to the door, where he whispered to Asuka. “Hey Asuka…”

“What is it?” she asked.

“Could you leave for a bit? There’s some things I’d like to talk with her about…personal things,” he explained.

Asuka narrowed her eyes at him. “Just what is it about?” she asked with a slight angry tone.

“Please? This is important, but I can’t tell you now,” he said. “I promise that I will tell you some other time.”

Asuka thought over it for a few seconds. ‘I can trust him…I’m sure of that,’ she thought. “Okay, but make it quick, we have to get back home,” she said, leaving the room and heading for the front desk.

As soon as the door closed, Shinji sighed heavily. ‘This isn’t going to be an easy talk,’ he thought, sitting back down in the chair. A thick silence hung over the room for several minutes before being broken.

“You know a lot that you should not,” Rei stated.

Shinji wasn’t in the least surprised, Rei had always seemed like she knew even when words weren’t used. “Yeah, I do…” he said.

“How is that? I would like to know,” Rei questioned.

“I can’t tell you now,” Shinji said, shaking his head, “but I will one day.”

“And many of those are about my origins, yes?” the First Child asked. Shinji nodded. “Then you know what purpose I am for…”

“Is that what you really want?” Shinji asked, not looking her in the eyes.

Rei sat up again, looking at the boy next to her. “I…I have nothing else…” she said with a hint of sadness.

“No,” Shinji began, “because I know that you are only a tool to the Commander. Just like everyone else…”

Rei almost became angry at his words, but perhaps due to his kindness and willingness to risk his safety for her, she felt she had more reason to believe him. “But then…what should I do?” she asked, looking at her hands.

Shinji stood up and put his hand on her shoulder. “I can’t tell you that, Rei. That’s for you to decide. But I trust that you will make the right choice,” he explained. “But I can tell you that you should try to live a little more. You would enjoy it, I‘m sure. You are no one‘s puppet…” he said, opening the door and heading in the same direction as Asuka did.

Back in the room, Rei lifted her hospital gown slightly to reveal a small circular scar on her abdomen from the Angel’s invasion. ‘I see…I am still the second…’ she thought. ‘But to be truly alive, I must be one.’

Rei laid her wounded body back on the bed, feeling a little drowsy. ‘I…am no one’s puppet,’ she thought, the beginning of an idea starting to form in her mind…

*****

The next night, Shinji was laying on his bed, the rest of the house silent. Misato was at work once again, and Asuka had gone with Hikari for some shopping and a movie. Since his conversation with Rei, one immediate thought had come over his mind: the last Angel.

‘Kaworu…he’s going to be next,’ Shinji thought for the hundredth time. The Fifth Child had been an errant thought since his return, but now it became very important. Shinji still had not idea how he would even get over this obstruction. ‘I don’t want to fight him…he doesn’t deserve that. But I have to…’ he thought, beginning to feel powerless again.

‘I must say, I was very impressed with the way you handled Armisael,’ the voice of Nephilim sounded.

Shinji sat up quite suddenly, relieved at hearing the recently-absent voice. ‘Where have you been?’ he asked.

Nephilim‘s robed form came through the wall and hovered before Shinji. ‘I am sorry for my extended leave, but there were some things I had to make sure of,’ he explained.

‘I see,’ Shinji said, sighing again.

‘What is wrong, Shinji?’ Nephilim asked, noticing the boy’s discomfort.

‘Kaworu…’ Shinji thought.

Nephilim’s jaw formed into a frown upon hearing the name. ‘Yes, the final messenger…I know well of how he befriended and betrayed your trust,’ he said. ‘I am very sure you are at a crossroads on this matter, correct?’

Shinji stood up and walked over to his window, looking out at the skyline of Tokyo-3. ‘I just wish it didn’t have to be like this…he was a friend to me, and I don’t want to have to fight him again,’ he thought with a sad expression.

Nephilim thought his words over for a few minutes before coming to a decision. ‘Then I suppose it is time I told you of some alterations.’

Shinji turned back towards the ethereal angel. ‘What do you mean?’ he asked, wondering what was going to be said.

A silence feel over the apartment while Nephilim prepared his words. ‘Do you remember Azrael?’ he asked.

Shinji nodded, ‘Yeah, I remember what you told me before.’

‘Well, it would seem that he fully intends for Third Impact to happen again,’ Nephilim explained. ‘And to achieve that end, he has sided with SEELE.’

Shinji’s eyes widened at the name, remembering what Yui had told him. ‘But…how?’ he asked, feeling scared slightly.

‘Just as I am bonded to you, he chose to be bonded with them,’ the angel said. ‘They believe he will help them with starting it, unknowing that he knows it will bring nothing but extinction to humanity.’

‘So they have help from him…’ Shinji thought. ‘Does that mean I will have to fight him as well?’ he asked.

Nephilim shook his head. ‘I told you before that I am not a part of the physical plane, so I cannot interact with it. He is the same way. And that is why he has not gone after you already,’ he stated.

Shinji relaxed after hearing that part. Seating himself on the couch, he looked up at Nephilim. ‘So then, what should I do then?’ he queried.

‘Nothing,’ Nephilim said, ‘only I can defeat him, because I am the only other one on the same plane of existence.’

Shinji bowed his head, studying the floor. ‘Do you have any ideas about Kaworu?’ he asked the angel.

‘And then, there is that matter as well,’ he said with a heavy sigh. ‘There is much you still need to hear, Shinji.’

Shinji blinked a few times, unsure. ‘There is?’ he mused.

‘Indeed. Much I need to tell you of the fate of Kaworu Nagisa,’ he said, looking into the boy’s eyes.

‘Go on,’ Shinji thought, wondering what he meant.

Nephilim began to explain, ‘You no doubt saw him during Third Impact, right?’ Shinji nodded. ‘During that time, he was a soul hanging between Heaven and Hell, still wandering the Earth. He felt very remorseful at what he had done to you before his death and had hoped that his actions towards you then could atone for what had been done. But it was too late, and even after you rejected Instrumentality, there were only two people on that beach.’

‘His soul had already made its way to the heavens above,’ Nephilim continued. ‘but seeing what he had led you to, the guilt drove him to beg the Creator into granting him the task of realigning the events leading to Third Impact. The Creator conceded and sent him back, but not before separating him into two halves: the benevolent soul you knew, and the dark part of him that chose to return to Adam.’

Shinji, who had been sitting quietly during the tale, was now wearing a wide-eyed expression and felt like passing out. From the story, he had managed to figure out what Nephilim had been getting to. “Then…that means that…you…are,” he barely squeaked out.

‘Indeed,’ Nephilim said, his usual deep voice changed, becoming one very familiar to Shinji. Lifting back his hood, which normally obscured his features, the face of a slightly older-looking Kaworu Nagisa stared at the shocked form of Shinji Ikari. ‘And I want you to know that I am deeply sorry for having to lie about who I was for so long,’ he said sadly.

“Kaworu…” Shinji said, tears forming in his eyes. “But then what you told me about Azrael while I was in the cell…”

‘…was a lie,’ Kaworu finished for him. ‘And I want you to know that I am truly sorry for that. I needed to make sure you trusted me before I could reveal myself to you. And that meant that I had to tell you something to lessen your anxiety at the time.’

Shinji said nothing, and kept his vision to the ground. ‘I…I’m glad to see you again…’ he thought.

Kaworu smiled at the boy’s words, ‘I am too. But do you not consider me an enemy, at least in part?’

Shinji looked up and shook his head. ‘No, after what you’ve done for me so far, I couldn’t think of you like that,’ he explained.

Kaworu looked at the ground with a sad expression Shinji had never seen on his face before. ‘But…I still feel infinitely guilty about what I put you through before. You trusted me, and I betrayed that trust and became an enemy…’ he said, turning away from his friend.

Shinji sat silent, surprised that Kaworu felt such great sadness over his actions. Getting up from the couch, he walked over to the angel’s form. ‘I…I trust you right now, Kaworu. I really do,’ he assured.

Kaworu’s usual melancholy smile returned his face. ‘Thank you, Shinji. But until I have seen this through to its end, I cannot forgive myself,’ he explained.

Shinji was in deep thought for several moments before resuming the conversation. ‘Then, if you are Nephilim, what is Azrael?’

‘As I said,’ Kaworu began, ‘he is me as well. He is the dark part of my soul that wanted to begin Third Impact. And until I stop him for good, I cannot return to the heavens above.’

‘So he and you are both souls, then?’ Shinji asked.

Kaworu nodded. ‘More like half-souls, really. And Azrael is very displeased at my choice to return. He would have rather seen humanity end right there. But when he was cast out from me, he became vengeful towards me. And that means he will not stop until I am destroyed. He is insistent on that, because he cannot regain his lost form, he will simply bring about the destruction of everything. He stopped being a part of Kaworu Nagisa, and embraced his new destiny as Azrael. That is his standing,’ he explained.

‘So what are you now?’ Shinji asked.

‘I am both Nephilim and Kaworu Nagisa,’ he answered. ‘That is my choice and it shall stand as that. And there are other things I must explain…’

‘Hmm?’ Shinji thought.

‘Because I am no longer the 17th Angel, there will be no more to come. But Azrael has already informed SEELE of this by now. Therefore, they will be invading Tokyo-3 and NERV very shortly, maybe a day or two at most,’ Kaworu explained.

Shinji became worried at the short amount of time until the attack. ‘But what about the EVA series? They need them for Third Impact, and it would take a while to build nine EVAs,’ he questioned.

Kaworu sighed, ‘Unfortunately, they began construction very much ahead of the original schedule. Azrael was able to meet with them shortly after the 13th Angel, which helped out in their favor.’

‘What do you mean?’ Shinji asked, puzzled.

‘The original EVA series operated on Dummy Plugs containing my data, but with my exclusion from the scenario, I thought that would halt deployment,’ Kaworu explained. ‘But Azrael has found a different way: he can control them by thought through simple commands like ‘attack this target‘ and ‘go to this location‘. He is more resourceful than I thought.’

A silence hung over the room for several minutes. ‘Then…what does this all mean?’ Shinji finally asked.

‘It means,’ Kaworu began, ‘that nothing has really changed as far as the invasion. There will be the JSSDF and the EVA series to contend with. And then I still have to personally stop Azrael.’

‘So how did you find all this out?’ the Third Child questioned.

‘That is why you have not seen me around for a while, I have been needing to look into these matters,’ Kaworu stated. ‘But you will make it through this, I am completely sure of that.’

‘What about Rei? I talked a little with her, but I’m not sure what she’ll do,’ Shinji thought.

‘Rei has her own decisions to make, and I trust that she will do the right thing,’ Kaworu said.

‘And Asuka? I need to protect her…’ Shinji asked, worrying about the Second Child.

‘I say that you should tell her…everything,’ Kaworu ventured. ‘You will need her help to halt the invasion. And these are things that she should know.’

Shinji sat for several long minutes in thought. “Kaworu…” he said quietly.

‘What is it?’ he replied.

Shinji smiled a smile that showed a great weight off of his conscience, “Thank you for everything.”

Kaworu smiled as bright as he could, ‘You are very welcome. And I am glad that you have forgiven me.’ His form then faded from sight. ‘I shall see you again in time,’ he said before disappearing fully.

Shinji laid back on the couch in the dark apartment and slept on the words he was told. An hour later, Asuka came in and saw his sleeping form on the couch. Walking over to him, she shook him slightly to wake him. “Shinji…get up, Shinji,” she whispered.

Shinji sat up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “Hm…welcome home, Asuka,” he said groggily. Then Kaworu’s words about telling her everything came back to him. ‘Alright, I guess she should know,’ he thought.

Asuka smiled and kneeled down next to the couch, “Were you waiting up for me?”

Shinji stretched and sat up, making room for her. “Kinda. I had a talk with someone, too,” he said as she sat down.

“Really? Who?” Asuka asked.

Shinji sighed and began to recount the visit he received earlier that evening, along with a lot of other things. It was going to be a long night…

*****

Meanwhile, another meeting was taking place in an undisclosed location, one between Azrael and the twelve monoliths representing SEELE.

“Then production is complete?” Azrael asked.

“Indeed,” SEELE-01 answered. “But are you so sure that the last angel is no more?”

“Very much so, sir,” Azrael reported. “You may commence the invasion any time now.”

“Are we really sure we can trust him?” SEELE-11 asked.

“Indeed, he may just betray us like Ikari did,” SEELE-07 mentioned.

“I assure you gentlemen, and Chairman Keel, I will help you all see this ceremony through until the end,” Azrael said with a bow. “After all, I have helped you much with the EVA series.”

“Yes, and you have shown unswerving loyalty to us as of so far,” SEELE-01 stated. “Therefore, we will entrust you with the deployment of the EVA series. Do not fail us like Ikari has.” The twelve monoliths disappeared, leaving Azrael alone with his thoughts

‘Ha, the old fools really think they are doing something good for humanity. All they are breeding is genocide…exactly what I have been hoping for,’ he thought, floating out of the room and to the location of his nine “soldiers”…

*****To be continued…*****

A/N: Ooh, some big revelations (not like any of you saw Nephilim’s identity as a surprise) and sinister meetings were around this time. Must mean we’re almost at the closure of our tale.

But then again, I could have told you that…

*****And now, the Omake!*****

Again, we find the author sitting in front of his computer, putting the finishing touches on the latest chapter.

Author: Again, done right on time. Maybe that omen was right…

The author then notices the camera that has perched itself overhead.

Author: Oh, hi there. Nice to see you all again. (looking around the room) Not sure where Mitsumi is right now, she was just here a second ago…

The author rises and walks over towards Mitsumi’s door. Opening it slightly, he is met with a soap bucket to the face. As the author lies out cold and sprawled out on his floor, a wet towel-clad Mitsumi is seen floating into the doorway.

Mitsumi: (looking at the author) Umm…oops, my bad… (notices the camera and ducks back into her room, sporting a full-body blush) Can’t you give a girl a chance to finish dressing after a bath?!?

A couple of minutes later, the author gets to his feet in time to be greeted my a fully-dressed Mitsumi, who has a apologetic look on her face.

Mitsumi: Ah, sorry ‘bout that.

Author: (shaking his head) No big, I just forgot you mentioned a bath…

Mitsumi: So how is it coming along?

Author: Done.

Mitsumi: (hugging the author around his neck) See? I told you it would last!

Author: We can keep hoping it will. Next one will take some time, though.

Mitsumi: Ah, yeah, the EoE chapter…

Author: (nodding) Indeed. There was something I wanted to ask, though…

Mitsumi: Hmm?

Author: Do you think I should wait until Valentine’s Day to release “Alone With You” or should I just get it out of the way. I wanted to make it a special-occasion release, but I might lose the plot by then…

Mitsumi: (thinks it over for a minute) I’d go ahead and finish it, but that’s just me. Why not ask them? (points to camera)

Author: Yeah…I figured as much. (looks at camera) So, how about it?

A small printer port on the side of the camera prints a piece of paper showing “Yes - 50%, No - 50%”

Author: (sweatdropping) Meh, that really helped a lot. Ah well, I guess it’s up to me then…

Mitsumi: And on another note…I found some others who wanted to form a band.

Author: (smiling) Really? That’s great! Where are they?

Just as Mitsumi was about to answer, a knock came from the front door.

Mitsumi: Should be them now.

The author and Mitsumi head over to the door. Opening it, they’re greeted by the sight of…five other fairies, looking very similar to Mitsumi.

Author: (wide-eyed) Umm…why do they all…

Mitsumi: (interrupting) They’re my sisters.

Author: S-sisters… (faints)

Mitsumi: (looks down at the author and heavily sighs) Glad I didn’t name the band “Fear the Cute”. (turning to look at the camera) Well, it was nice of you to stop by, but he’ll be out for some time.

We see Mitsumi and her sisters waving to the camera as it pans away from the room, at least for now…

*****End Omake*****

Pre-read was done by FinalMax again.

As of the fourteenth of June in 2010, I have updated all of my fics...AGAIN. Not to worry, it’s mostly just small alterations/edits and spelling/grammar fixes.

As usual: good comments will be appreciated, bad ones will be ignored (or kept for firewood). But I do favor good/helpful criticism, so send it my way!

-AngelNo13Bardiel-
Last edited by AngelNo13Bardiel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
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Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:45 pm

Nephilim ch7  SPOILER: Show

See Chapter 1 for disclaimer, 2 for speech/thoughts things.

NEPHILIM

Chapter 7: Castles Made of Sand

*****

Inside of the Katsuragi/Ikari/Sohryu residence, all was quiet. On the couch, the two still forms of Shinji Ikari and Asuka Langley Sohryu slept.

Several minutes later, Asuka slowly lifted her head from its spot and rubbed her tired eyes, looking over at the sleeping boy next to her. A few hours earlier, he had finished recounting to her the things that had happened to him ‘last time’, as he had put it. Her breakdown, Rei’s death and origins, Kaworu, Third Impact, Nephilim and Azrael, the secret dealings of SEELE and NERV…all of it.

Asuka got to her feet, trying not to disturb Shinji as best as she could. Yawning and stretching a bit, she walked out onto the apartment’s balcony. She took in a breath of the still night’s air and looked out over the slumbering city before her.

‘And I thought I’d been through a lot,’ she thought. ‘He’d seen the end of the world firsthand…and more than anyone’s share of friend’s deaths.’ She looked back at the couch, watching Shinji turn and frown in his sleep. ‘And what he said about me before…’ Asuka shut her eyes as she remembered his retelling of her demise at the hands of the EVA series…

*****About three hours ago…*****

“And then there’s the EVA series…” Shinji said.

Asuka had been listening to him talk for over an hour. A lot of the things had seemed rather unbelievable. ‘But what reason would he have to lie to me?’ she thought. “The EVA series?” she asked.

Shinji looked at the ground, nodding. “Yeah, Units-05 through 13. SEELE had them built to be used in Third Impact. And as an invasion force…” he said sadly.

“What happened?” she questioned.

“I…I wasn’t there to help,” Shinji said, beginning to cry. “I was too busy being sorry for myself at the time. And I still haven’t quite forgiven myself for that.”

“I took them on…alone?” Asuka asked.

Nodding, Shinji continued. “I only heard it through the speakers, but when I did finally make it out there…” he stopped, feeling his throat become dry.

“What? What happened that was so bad?” she asked, becoming frightened.

“They…tore Unit-02 apart,” Shinji said. “Ate it like cannibals.”

The silence that fell over them hung in the air for several seconds. “Were they that powerful?” Asuka finally asked.

Shaking his head, Shinji spoke, “No, I saw what happened then during Instrumentality.”

“Did…did I do well?” she questioned.

Smiling and wiping his eyes, Shinji answered. “You fought like a winner. More graceful and efficient than I’ve ever seen,” he explained. “But even after you took eight of them down, the last one managed to surprise you and…then…” he finished, almost ready to break down after remembering in great detail the events after that.

Asuka couldn’t come up with anything to comfort him after hearing of what had been her fate. Reaching out and placing an unsteady hand on his shoulder, she spoke softly to him. “But…if what you’re saying it all true, then…you saved me from that just by coming back, right?” she asked.

Shinji said nothing, continuing to cry and look at the ground.

‘God, does he really care that much?’ Asuka asked herself. “Shinji,” she started, “if it means anything…I believe you. And thank you for telling me.”

Tired and emotionally drained, Shinji hugged Asuka, holding her close. “Thank you for saying that,” he said, wiping away the last few tears and closing his eyes. Smiling, Asuka closed her own eyes and drifted off to sleep…

*****End of flashback*****

‘But he’s really intent on fighting them to the end and stopping it all from happening,’ Asuka thought. She shivered slightly in the night air and walked back into the apartment, heading towards the couch she’d been sleeping on. When Shinji had finished his story, the both of them held each other for fear of what would be happening in time. And just like that, they’d fallen asleep. ‘Must have been a drain on both of us,’ Asuka thought, slowly lowering herself on the unoccupied end of the couch. Shinji stirred a bit and picked himself up, rubbing the back of his head.

“Morning,” Asuka said, trying to sound as cheerful as possible.

Shinji rubbed the sleep from his eyes and looked over at the redhead. “Hi Asuka,” he answered groggily. “What time is it?”

Asuka looked at her watch. “Three forty-seven in the morning,” she answered. “Did I wake you?”

Shinji shook his head. “No, just couldn’t sleep any longer,“ he said, pulling himself into a sitting position. “Been up long?” he asked.

Asuka looked to the floor, “Few minutes ago. Just needed to clear my head.”

Shinji edged himself over to her, placing an arm around her shoulders. “Look, I’m sorry about what I told you. I…I just felt that you should know these things,” he explained. “He told me so…”

“You mean Kaworu?” Asuka asked, looking him in the face.

Shinji nodded. “He said it would be for the best if I did. I’m sorry if it worried you,” he said, laying his head on her shoulder.

“Oh, stop already with the ‘I’m sorry’. It’s alright,” Asuka said, taking hold of his hand. “I-I just didn’t know…”

“How would you have?” Shinji asked, smiling at her concern.

“So…“ Asuka started, stretching the word out, “what now? What’s next?”

“The invasion,” Shinji answered, his tone quiet and somber. “He said they were finished with the EVA series ahead of schedule and they know about the last Angel. There’s nothing left to keep SEELE from sending the JSSDF and starting Third Impact.”

Asuka stood up and started pacing about the room. “But what do we do?” she questioned. “I mean, what can we do to prevent it?”

Shinji watched the ground in deep thought for several long minutes in still silence before looking up at Asuka. “We’re going to survive, first things. Secondly, we have to destroy the EVA series. Without them, they can’t start Third Impact. Third…I don’t know what we can do about the Commander’s plans for beginning it.” Shinji took a deep breath, leaning his head back. “Maybe Rei won’t go along with it,” he mused.

“Yeah, she’s the key to that bastard’s plan, right?” Asuka said, feeling hopeful. Shinji nodded. “Then let’s just hope she makes the right choice.” Returning to her pacing, she remembered the people of the city, particularly her and Shinji’s friends. “What about the people? If they’re sending an army, it could mean a massacre…”

Shinji shook his head. “I know, but don’t worry Hikari and the others,” he said, getting to his feet and heading towards Asuka., “I’ve been thinking about that…and I think we can get them to leave the city for a while. Maybe convince some others to do the same.” Shinji sighed and turned around, “But that’ll probably still leave a lot of people in danger…can’t warn everyone.”

“But if we can stop this, we can save the entire world,” Asuka said.

“I know,” Shinji said, “I just hate knowing that there might be innocent casualties in this…”

Asuka placed her hands on his shoulders. “Look, you said we have to survive, right?” Shinji nodded. “Then we can’t go and worry about everyone. I know that might sound cruel, but we have to do what we can to ensure that others will make it, even if they aren’t in this city.”

Shinji nodded, “You’re right.” He then walked over towards the front door and opened it. “Come on, we’ve got to go and warn some people.”

Asuka walked out ahead of him through the now-opened door. “I just hope they won’t be pissed at us for waking them at this hour of the morning,” she joked, trying to lighten the mood.

Shinji smiled and laughed a little, closing the door behind them…

*****

Rei Ayanami awoke on her bed from a fitful sleep. Going over Shinji’s words since they’d last talked, she sat up and pulled her knees up to her chin.

‘It will be drawing to a close soon…I can feel it,’ Rei thought. ‘And I do not intend for it to be a permanent end.’

Thoughts and images flowed through her mind, one of them being the form of Lilith in Terminal Dogma. ‘And she will not be needed,’ Rei thought.

Since she’d had last talked to Shinji, Rei had started forming a plan of her own. Getting up, she walked to her closet and removed a school uniform, intent on going about her daily routine…and then setting this plan of hers into motion…

*****

High above the skies of the Atlantic Ocean, Azrael floated somewhat in front of the now-fully operational EVA series, feeling as though all was falling into place. ‘Hm, it is time to begin this,’ he thought, grinning maliciously.

‘Recall the troops,’ Azrael thought, making an attempt to reach the members of SEELE.

‘What do you mean?,’ Keel Lorenz replied. ‘What of the invasion forces?‘

‘They will not be needed. The EVA series will suffice,’ Azrael thought. ‘Do not worry, Chairman Keel. I have things well under control. I will also take care of the Children, as well.’

‘Very well then,‘ Keel thought. Picking up his phone he spoke into the other line, “Cancel the invasion order.” A reply came from the other side, after which he returned the device to its holder. ‘Are you close to the city?’ he asked Azrael.

‘No, it will be some time before I will reach the target,’ Azrael answered. ‘Begin the attack on the MAGI to give me some cover. Make certain it fries their external defenses.’

‘Alright, we shall order to begin. Continue on with your operation,’ Keel said.

“Heh, the old fools really think I am completely loyal to them,” Azrael said. “Let us begin then, shall we?” he said, turning to look at the nine EVAs, who split off from one another and headed in several different directions…

*****

Two hours later, a pair of already-tired teens walked through the silent streets of Tokyo-3.

Shinji and Asuka had first gone to talk with Hikari, deciding that it would be best to stick together in case there were agents of SEELE already hunting for them. After the class rep had woken up sufficiently, they explained why she and her family would be needing to leave. The false story about NERV discreetly warning the citizens to leave in preparation of the final Angel worked about like they‘d expected.

After leaving her home, they walked over to Toji’s place. After a somewhat grumpy and angry welcoming, he managed to get in touch with Kensuke, who practically needed to be threatened to leave town. Apparently, the bespectacled boy had wanted to stick around to watch the ‘fun‘, but a stern tongue-lashing from Asuka made his mind up for him.

All three of them had told the two pilots that they’d explain it to their families and anyone they could get ahold of, so at least there would be fewer innocents in the line of fire.

Having left Toji’s and now walking along the streets, Asuka looked over at Shinji, walking closely and having a look of determination on his face. “So what’s next?” she asked.

“Next…” Shinji started, “we go to headquarters and wait out until the dam breaks, in a manner of speaking.”

“And that’s it?” she asked, feeling worried.

“That’s all we can really do now, until the enemy gets here,” he explained.

Asuka nodded as both continued their trip to the Geofront and NERV headquarters…

*****

Deep inside of Central Dogma, Misato Katsuragi sat cramped in between a set of computer banks. She had left a note at the apartment saying she had to work. In truth, she’d spent the last two days working in this spot, trying to finish Kaji’s work of uncovering NERV’s secrets. Using the chip she’d found inside of the capsule, she had managed to get past the MAGI’s security systems and deep into the myriad of files inside of the supercomputers.

Since she had began almost a week-and-a-half ago, she had finally managed to hit pay dirt in her search. Reading through the files on a laptop, she shivered slightly from the room’s cold temperature, silently wishing for the umpteenth time that the room had more heat to it.

“So…that’s what really happened during Second Impact,” Misato said, narrowing her eyes. Before she could continue, the connection to the MAGI was cut and a small noise emanated from the machine, its screen showing red emergency alerts.

“They’re on to me!” she shouted, getting to her feet quickly and picking up her gun from nearby, knocking over an empty coffee can. “No something else,” she said, noticing that it wasn’t the MAGI’s security systems that cut her off.

“Showtime,” she said as the lighting around her went black…

*****

Inside a secret room, a meeting between SEELE and Commander Ikari was taking place.

“What is the meaning of this?” Commander Ikari asked. “We have done nothing to warrant an attack on the MAGI.”

“Ah, but that is untrue, Ikari,” SEELE-01 stated. “We have information that you intend to stray from this committee’s plans and begin Instrumentality differently. That will not be tolerated.”

Smirking behind his gloved hands, the Commander spoke up. “Are you so sure of this?”

“Believe us, we have a very reliable source that has told us of your…intentions,” SEELE-07 said.

‘But how would anyone know?’ the Commander thought, not feeling in complete control of his scenario. “And what of the last Angel? Surely you can see that such actions of yours will be detrimental to your plans,” he said.

“The final Angel has already been dealt with, thanks to our source,” SEELE-01 said. “It looks like the time has come to begin Instrumentality, which means it is time to give us EVA Unit-01.”

“That was not SEELE’s original plan,” Commander Ikari stated flatly.

“With your incompetent loss of the Lance of Longinus, we can no longer use Lilith to complete the ceremony,” SEELE-04 said. “Therefore, we shall need Lilith’s only true offspring, EVA Unit-01.”

“Yes, it is time that we begin the process of merging all souls into one and become one with God,” SEELE-06 said.

“The fate of destruction is also the joy of rebirth,” SEELE-07 said. “Through the sacrament, God and humanity shall be reborn as one.”

“Death creates nothing,” Commander Ikari said coldly.

“Then we shall give you death,” SEELE-01 said before the twelve monoliths disappeared.

“Does this mean there have been information leaks?” Sub-Commander Fuyutski asked.

“No, something we did not take into account,” Commander Ikari said, pushing the glasses up on his face. “But no matter, I guess it is time we play our hand first. Find Rei and order her to go to Terminal Dogma.” After that, he stood and left the room, heading for the location he was sure she would be at.

‘Hmm, I think you’re underestimating them, Gendo,’ Fuyutski thought, leaving the room himself…

*****

Manwhile, Rei had made her way into Central Dogma and into the office of Ritsuko Akagi. The doctor had left in such a hurry that she had forgotten the remote for the Dummy Plug room.

Rei walked up to the desk and slowly took the device from its place and pocketed it. ‘And now, step two,’ she thought, walking out of the room and towards her next destination…the Dummy Plug core at the bottom of Central Dogma…

*****

The scene on the command center was complete chaos as the techs tried to halt the advance of the hackers. Ritsuko was currently holed up inside of the MAGI, attempting to strengthen its defenses with the type-666 firewall.

Out on the bridge, Misato had finally managed to get there from her hidden location. “Status report,” she ordered.

“Hackers are attempting to override the MAGI’s program systems. It’s a complete mess,” Makoto reported. “But Dr. Akagi’s currently installing some powerful hidden firewall, which should buy us some time.”

“I see,” Misato said. “Can you tell where the attack is coming from?”

“Yeah, the other MAGI computers all over the world,” Makoto said.

‘All of them? I guess that’s to be expected…’ she thought, turning to the command deck, where Fuyutski was standing. “Where’s the Commander?” she asked.

“Away. I’m in change for now,” the Sub-Commander said.

“Figures, always away,” Misato said, turning her attention back to the main screen. ‘Does this mean the committee’s making its move?’ she thought.

*****

Meanwhile, the members of SEELE were gathered in their meeting room, reading themselves for the coming ceremony.

“Ah, and so it finally comes to be time,” SEELE-03 said. “Quicker than we had anticipated, but still inevitable.”

“Yes, it does seem rather soon, but out little helper has been mo-” SEELE-09’s voice was interrupted and its monolith disappeared from the room. Around the room, SEELE-04, 06, and 11 also disappeared.

“What is going on here?” SEELE-01 asked.

‘Is it not obvious, Chairman Keel?’ Azrael’s voice sounded in the remaining member’s heads.

SEELE-01‘s monolith disappeared, revealing Keel Lorenz, who looked very upset. “Azrael, what is the meaning of this?” he asked.

‘Your plans for Instrumentality are quite ridiculous, I can tell you that much,’ Azrael said as SEELE-02, 05, and 08 vanished. ‘I must thank you that you are not very difficult to find, and that you are gathered somewhat closely.’

“What do you mean?” Keel asked, enraged.

‘I never intended to serve this committee’s plans. I just needed you to finish the EVA series and give them to me,’ the angel explained. ‘I must say, you performed your task quite well.’

“You…you…” Keel seethed as SEELE-12 left the room.

Azrael’s almost hysterical laugher filled the room. ‘And as you can see, I have no use for you any longer,’ he explained as SEELE-03, 07, and 10 disappeared.

“What are you planning?” Keel asked, having resigned himself from trying to get away.

‘Why bother telling you? You won’t be around to see it,’ Azrael said in a mocking tone.

Keel sighed and looked up, already hearing the approaching machine that would be destroying him. “It was more of a mistake to trust you than it was to trust Ikari,” he said. “At least he will still get his.”

‘All too true, Lilim,’ Azrael said, ordering the form of Unit-08 to bring its feet right down on the last SEELE member. As the EVA flew back up into the clouds, it and the others headed back towards their ‘master’, who was hovering a high distance above the ocean, several miles from Japan’s shoreline…

*****

Meanwhile, Shinji and Asuka had made it to the pilots’ changing rooms. Along the way, they heard about the attack on the MAGI. Shinji knew at once that it would mean the invasion wasn’t far behind. Pulling down the sheet in the middle of the room, Asuka began to change into her plugsuit as Shinji did the same. After a few minutes, Asuka pulled the sheet back up and walked over towards him. “You okay?” she asked.

“Yeah, just nervous as hell,” Shinji said, looking at his gloved and shaking hands.

“Umm…same here,” Asuka said. Noticing his surprised look, she quickly assumed her regular attitude. “Oh, come on, anyone would be scared in this position, even the great Asuka Langley Sohryu,” she stated proudly.

Shinji smiled at her showing of bravado. “Sure thing, Asuka,” he said. “Then why haven’t pressurized your suit yet?” he asked, pointing at her.

“Huh?” Asuka said, looking down at the baggy plugsuit she was wearing. Beginning to turn nearly as red as the suit itself, she depressed the wrist switch. “Alright…I’m a bit scared. I‘m just not sure if we‘ll make it. You said before that they took me down.”

“But I also said that you gave them the fight of your life before they did,” Shinji said, hoping to reassure her. “But I won’t let them hurt you this time, I promise. I will be there for you.”

Asuka smiled, “Heh, the knight in shining armor himself.” She then kissed him fully on the lips. “Just say it’s for luck. Now c’mon,” she said, definitely in a hurry to get to the EVA cages.

Bringing his fingers down from his lips, Shinji took a few deep breaths before following after her…

*****

Down inside of the Dummy Plug core, Rei stood looking around the room at the various copies of her floating around in the giant LCL tank.

“I am sorry that I must do this, but it is necessary that it be so,” Rei said softly. “To be my own person…and to prevent you from being used in the wrong way.”

Reaching into her pocket, she removed the remote she’d been carrying and accessed the controls for the LCL tank. Before executing the command she looked back up through tears at the soulless faces looking back at her. “Goodbye,” she said softly, pressing the last button.

The LCL in the tank turned red as the clones within began to break apart and disintegrate. Rei watched on with a few tears as her ‘sisters‘ became nothing…

*****

Back on the bridge, the attack on the MAGI had been halted with some great effort.

“Operating system status?” Misato asked.

“The type-666 firewall is up and operational,” Ritsuko said, pulling herself out of the crawlspace near Caspar. “All outside contact will be cut for quite some time. But…”

“But what?” the major asked, not liking the sound of this.

Getting to her feet, Ritsuko continued. “…the external defenses are useless. Artillery is completely shut down.”

Misato slumped down into a nearby chair, “Great…what’s next?” she asked tiredly. As soon as she said the words, the emergency alarms blared loudly around the command deck. “Shit, I shouldn’t have opened my mouth,” she cursed. “What is it now?”

“Proximity sensors around Tokyo-3’s shore spotted something entering the airspace over the ocean,” Shigeru said. “Putting it on-screen now…” Punching the last few keystrokes, the entire bridge was given a view of their latest threat…EVA Units-05 through 13, floating slowly but steadily towards NERV headquarters.

“Are those…EVAs?” Maya asked, reeling from the sight.

“Dammit, they completed the EVA series ahead of schedule,” Fuyutski said from above. “But why would they be here, unless…do they plan to start it here?”

“Status of the Children,” Misato ordered.

“Unable to locate First Child. Last seen inside of headquarters over an hour ago,” Shigeru said.

“What about Shinji or Asuka? They should still be back at the apartment,” Misato thought aloud.

“Umm…about that,” Makoto spoke up. “Maybe you should see this,” he said, bringing up the camera system on the main screen, showing the Second and Third Children heading toward the EVA cages.

“What th-” Misato got out, definitely seeing more than a coincidence.

“Dunno, both of them reported into headquarters a little over thirty minutes ago,” Makoto said.

“Well, prep Unit-01 and 02 for launch then. We’ll get the rest sorted out later,” Misato said, watching the advance of the nine white EVAs on-screen…

*****

Stepping inside of the cages, both children headed towards their respective machines, which already had the entry plugs out and awaiting them. After the normal start-up routines, Misato’s face appeared on their video links.

“Okay, now this is too much of a coincidence,” she said. “What were you both do-”

“Sorry Misato,” Shinji interrupted. “Can‘t explain now, will later. Right now, I think there are more pressing matters.”

“Yes there are,” she said firmly. “Launch them,” she ordered.

As they sped up towards the surface of the city, both Shinji and Asuka said a silent prayer. Arriving on the outside, they caught a sight of the nine white giants almost at the shore.

“As you can see, those are your targets,” Misato said. “The EVA series, Units-05 through 13.”

“We have to take them all down?” Asuka asked.

“Yes, we don’t have much information on them,” Misato said. “Sorry I can’t be more of a help…”

Shinji interrupted again, “It’s fine, Misato. I think we have a good idea what to do.”

“I hope you do,” Misato said worriedly. “Both of you just better make it back, go it?” she said with a smile.

Smiling back, Asuka replied, “Sure thing, Major.” Closing their video links to the bridge, Asuka opened a audio link to Unit-01. “So how do we do this?” she asked, opening a nearby armory building and removing a prog axe and two rifles.

Before Shinji could reply, Kaworu’s voice interrupted his thoughts. ‘Shinji, I have some things to inform…’

‘Kaworu? Where are you?’ he asked.

‘Above you, very high above,’ came the calm answer. ‘I can feel Azrael’s presence, and I need to stop him for good this time. Before I do that, I must give you a final cautioning on the enemy…’

‘What is it?’ Shinji asked.

‘Because of the lack of a Dummy Plug in these, you will need to destroy their cores. These also double as experimental S2 engines, so you must make sure to destroy those,’ Kaworu explained. ‘As for the other thing…their weapons are copies of the true Lance of Longinus. If they strike you, they will cause real physical harm to you. Keep that in mind.’

‘I will,’ Shinji said, willing Unit-01 to begin moving. ‘And good luck, Kaworu.’

‘The same to you, friend,’ Kaworu thought with a smile, continuing his trip towards his ‘other‘.

“Got a plan yet?” Asuka said, beginning to get quite impatient with him.

“Yeah, just follow me for now,” he said. “Have to make sure they don’t get too close to the city.”

And with that, Unit-02 threw the rifles to Unit-01 and both headed toward the shoreline, with the EVA series almost upon it…

*****

Approaching the hallway to the Dummy Plug core, Gendo Ikari was beginning to feel the final pieces of his scenario falling into place. Walking into the room, he saw the reddened LCL in the tank and the floating parts of the dead Rei clones inside.

“Wh-what’s going…on here?” he asked, floored. Spotting Rei sitting nearby in her school uniform, he approached her. “Rei…” he said quietly.

“Hello Commander,” Rei said in a cold tone, getting to her feet. Turning to look him in the face, the tear stains on her cheeks were quite evident.

“Rei…why did you do this?” he asked, wondering about her odd behavior. “Why destroy-”

“It was necessary,” she cut in. “For me to be unique…my own person.”

“But…why would you wish for that?” he asked, a look of shock on his face. “What about the scenario?”

“I have decided that it would be best if that did not happen,” Rei stated, walking past him. “Man deserves to live rather than be one with God.”

Gritting his teeth, the Commander turned to look back at her. “I-I raised you to do this task. You will not disobey me!” he yelled.

“No, you are incorrect, Rokobungi,” Rei said, walking out of the room and back to the elevator. "I am no one's puppet. Shinji told me so, and I now have more reason to believe him than you."

Dropping to his knees, Gendo was dangerously close to a breakdown at this point. ‘How…how did it come down to this?’ he thought. ‘Everything was planned so perfectly…’

Behind him, the silent figure that had been following him finally stepped into the room and revealed themselves. “Gendo Ikari, Commander of NERV, I assume?” they said in a mocking tone.

Picking himself up off the ground, Gendo turned to see this intruder. Dressed in black and wearing a full-face mask, their identity was undecipherable. The fact that they were using a voice distorter made them harder to identify.

“Heh, one of the old men’s lackeys, right?” he said, reaching into his pocket discreetly to remove his handgun.

“The old men are dead,” the assassin said. “Someone they shouldn’t have trusted turned on them. But it makes no difference to me either way, my orders are quite far from that.” Reaching into their holster, a large handgun with a silencer was drawn. “Now why don’t we just make this easy?”

Shaking his head, Gendo drew his own gun quickly and fired at his would-be assailant. Unfortunately, the assassin fired at the same time. A soft silenced shot and a louder one echoed through the bottom of Central Dogma, and both figures hit the ground a few seconds later. The assassin took a hit directly in their chest, almost near their heart, knocking them on their back. Gendo took a round in his mid-section and slumped to the floor again.

“Looks like we’re both going to die, now,” the person in black said, laughing a little.

“Not quite,” Gendo said, sitting up and taking aim at the person’s head. A few seconds later, another loud gunshot echoed through the room…

*****

Floating high over the forest surrounding the city, Azrael watched with delight as his ‘troops’ were nearing the shore, where the red and purple giants would be meeting them.

‘Foolish children, they will never defeat them,’ he thought, holding back a snicker. From his right, he could feel another presence fast approaching. ‘Looks like the last guest has made it, and now it is time to begin the party,’ he thought, drawing his sword in a flash and fending off Kaworu’s sudden attack.

“So nice to see you again, Nephilim,” Azrael said, taking notice of the fact that the other’s hood was down. “So you have decided to stop hiding under that guise, eh?” Pulling back his hood, it can be seen that he looks identical to Kaworu, only that his eyes glow brighter with an evil gleam.

Kaworu quickly backed up and readied his weapon for the next attack. “I am tired of being something I am not. I am Kaworu Nagisa, something you have given up.”

Azrael shrugged and laughed a bitter chuckle. “Why should it matter who I was? I can no longer regain my lost body, so I have given up on being Nagisa.” Turning back to Kaworu, he asked, “But why do you continue to be what you were?”

“Because I have never given up being what I was, physical form or not,” Kaworu answered. “But something is amiss here. The lack of troops might be what I am feeling…”

“Indeed, the invasion forces will not be coming,” Azrael explained. “Because I will not need them for what I have in store.”

Kaworu lowered his sword slightly, “Just what are you going to do?”

“There is no way I can return to the heavens,” Azrael started, “therefore, I shall raze this world and rule it in its death. The old men are already out of my way, and thanks to them, so is that meddlesome bastard Ikari. And with them dead, and those damned children not long from now, there will be none who can stop me from using the EVA series to create a beautiful genocide…”

“Y-you killed SEELE?” Kaworu asked, quite shocked. “That seems to help us as much as it helps you…”

“Heh, hardly,” Azrael scoffed. “You sound as though you will be the victor this day. I assure you, I will be the one leaving this city with his existence intact.”

“You believe too little in the power of humans,” Kaworu stated, lifting his weapon and readying it. “And I will be the one to win this day. We will not be continuing this battle again…”

Bringing his own sword to bear, Azrael grinned with a black-hearted smile. “We shall see, then. Have at you!” And with that last cry, the two halves of the final Angel flew towards one another, intent on fighting to the finish this time…

*****

“First one’s landed!” Asuka shouted as the first of the EVA series, Unit-07, made landfall on Tokyo-3’s beach.

Taking the initiative, Unit-02 jettisoned its power cable and hefted the prog axe directly overhead, bringing it down right on the enemy’s shoulder. Its right arm slightly detached from its body, Unit-07 took a one-handed swing with its massive double-sword at Unit-02, but the weight of the weapon made it fall off-balance and drop its weapon. Seizing the opportunity, Unit-01 jettisoned its own cable and ran up, grabbing the heavy sword and brought it down into the EVA’s torso. Removing the blade from the downed machine, Unit-01 sliced Unit-07 down its middle and through its core, rendering the enemy dead.

“Hey, what gives? That was supposed to be my kill!” Asuka said through the comm line.

“Listen,” Shinji started, “these weapons of theirs are copied from the Lance that was used to destroy the 15th Angel. You can’t let them hit you with it. Also, they‘re using S2 engines like the Angels. You have to destroy their cores. Got it?” Looking over at the flashing meter, he continued, “And we’ve got less than five minutes.”

Asuka nodded, “Sure thing, won‘t even need that long…”

As Units-11 and 06 made it to shore, Unit-01 ran forward and drew its prog knives. Launching the mech at Unit-06, Shinji struck the blades into the enemy’s chest, trying to strike its core. Unit-11 grabbed the purple machine and threw it to the side, nearly falling into the ocean.

4:15

Seeing her chance, Asuka grabbed up the double-sword dropped by Unit-07 and with some work, brought it right across both of Unit-11’s legs, dropping it to the ground. Rising to its feet, Unit-02 brought the blade down on the core directly, taking that EVA out of the melee.

4:03

As Unit-01 rose out of the sand, it was met with the newly-arrived Unit-12. Throwing its weapon toward the target, Shinji barely had enough time to dodge the falling sword and run to its newest threat. Grabbing the enemy by its middle, Unit-01 repeatedly punched at the section where the core was. Unit-12 brought its fists down on the other’s head, knocking it down. Walking towards its lost weapon, it was caught off-guard by a barrage of rifle fire from Unit-02, which was also trying to fend off Unit-06. Shinji took advantage of the enemy’s distraction by burying one of its prog knives deeply into Unit-12’s core. The mech slumped down and out of the fight.

3:42

Having given Unit-01 some cover fire, Unit-02 brought its attention back to Unit-06. The enemy ran with its weapon outstretched, trying to cut down the red EVA. And quick as a flash, Unit-02 hurtled itself onto the head of Unit-06 and over, grabbing the enemy by its sides and lifting it high overhead. Putting tremendous pressure on it, Unit-06’s body soon gave in to the crushing and split open like an overripe watermelon. Grabbing the exposed core, Unit-02 grasped and smashed the core in one quick motion.

3:30

“And that makes four,” Asuka muttered. As she turned her attention back to the fight, she was able to catch a glimpse of one of the enemy’s weapons hurtling towards her. Bringing up the EVA’s AT field, it stopped the weapon…until it twisted and formed into the shape of the Lance of Longinus. “Oh God…” she whispered.

3:22

But before she could feel the attack, Unit-01 charged directly in front of the Lance, taking the hit in its left shoulder. Shinji grunted in pain as he felt the spot on his own body tear open. Unit-01 landed on the ground and slowly got to its feet, drawing the spear from its point of entry. Looking up, Shinji saw three more EVAs had made their way to shore. “Ugh…have to keep this up,” he grunted through his teeth, making Unit-01 walk towards the remaining enemy units…

*****

Some distance from the shore, another fight was taking place over the forest surrounding Tokyo-3. Kaworu and Azrael traded back and forth fierce sword blows, neither gaining an upper hand over the other. Both had taken a few cuts and slashes, but they were not about to let up on each other.

Clashing steel again, Azrael took a swing with his free hand, catching Kaworu and sending him back several feet. Shaking the dizziness from his system, Kaworu looked back up at his approaching nemesis and blocked the incoming attack, sending him toward the surface. Before he could fall far, he opened his wings and rose back into the air, taking another swing at Azrael.

“My, aren’t you a persistent son-of-a-bitch,” Azrael remarked, blocking the attack and taking a swing of his own.

“I told you I would not let up this time,” Kaworu replied.

Taking his chances, he flew rapidly towards Azrael, his sword outstretched. Azrael moved quickly from his path, only to be caught by a sudden upward swing from his enemy. Clutching his wounded side and retreating a short distance, he glared maliciously at Kaworu.

“You have gotten better since our last meeting,” he said. “But I am still the stronger.”

“Does it matter who is stronger? Or better?” Kaworu asked. “Why not give up this mad game of death and destruction?”

Shaking his head, Azrael laughed and answered, “If you think you can convince me that I am wrong in my decisions, you are truly ignorant.”

“Ah, it was worth the effort,” Kaworu said with a sigh.

“I laugh at such a fruitless effort,” Azrael mocked. “Now come on, give me a challenge!”

Grasping his sword tightly in his hands, Kaworu dashed towards his ‘other’, hoping to finish this quick…

*****

As Units-08, 10, and 13 joined the beachfront foray, Asuka watched as Shinji got to his feet. “Are you okay?” she asked worriedly, taking notice of the timer to her side. ‘Dammit, only two-forty seven to go…’ she thought.

“Better than you’d think,” he hissed through his teeth. “Here come the next wave…”

Unit-13 hit the ground first, heading right towards the hurt from of Unit-01. But It would never reach there, as Asuka had picked up the still-transformed Lance copy and threw it right into the advancing EVA.

2:31

“Bastard…that’s what you get,” she said, seething with rage. Running over to its downed form, she retrieved the weapon from its pinned torso and put the two-prong end through its core. Turning to see Unit-08 retracting its wings, she ran like a wild animal, pouncing on its prone form and sending them both to the ground.

2:25

As Shinji looked out over the water, he caught sight of Unit-09 readying its Lance copy in his direction. Dodging the projectile, he caught onto its back end and with great force, threw it back to its owner. Striking the in-flight EVA dead in its core, it dropped out of the sky and into the bay, causing large waves to come up. As he turned back to Unit-02, he saw that Unit-10 had joined 08 and both were putting quite a beating on the red EVA.

“Asuka, are you okay?” he shouted to her.

“Oh yeah, just great and all…could you get your ass over here and gimme a hand?” she shouted with a mixture of sarcasm and urgency. As she returned her attention to the enemy units attacking her, Unit-08 managed a slash across her side. Gripping her injury, she felt the pain flow into her. ‘Damn, that really hurt,’ she thought. Drawing her prog knife, she dug the blade deep into Unit-08’s face, forcing it to stumble. Ducking and shoving the knife into its torso, she struck its core and took that enemy out of the battle.

1:58

While that happened, Unit-01 had managed to have its hands full with Unit-10. The enemy had attempted to use its transformed Lance copy to pierce Unit-01’s side. Moving at the right moment, Shinji grabbed up one of the untransformed weapons from the ground and used it to slice the off-balance EVA in halves. Reaching down, he located its core and broke it in one quick grip. Walking back over to Unit-02, which was picking up one of the Lance copies, both were caught in their shoulders by each of the prongs of Unit-05’s lance.

1:40

The final EVA unit floated out of its hiding place in the clouds and towards the pinned-to-the-ground red and purple mechs. Both children were winded and injured, and now they were stuck to the ground on top of that. Picking up one of its brethren’s lances, it walked slowly over toward the prone forms of Units-01 and 02...

*****

Breathing heavily, Kaworu backed away from Azrael. Having taken more than a few deep cuts, he currently looked at his situation as rather grim.

“You see?” Azrael said, “Both you and those children are about to be dealt with very soon. Everything is slowly coming into its place…” he chuckled, feeling victorious.

“Yes, the pieces are finally falling away…” Kaworu muttered. Drawing his sword back, he threw the weapon towards his enemy, who dodged the flying ethereal blade quite easily.

“Oh really? Did you possibly think you could win by such desperate measures?” Azrael questioned. Bringing his sword high over his head, he spoke again, “And it is finally time to meet your reaper.”

Kaworu grinned, not saying a word. Azrael was taken by surprise at his show of surrender…until he felt the phantom blade of his opponent slice clean through him.

“Did…did you really forget that these weapons are as much a part of us as an arm?” Kaworu asked, catching the returning sword by its hilt. “You are more of a fool than I believed.”

His mouth hanging open and the large hole in his chest, Azrael spoke again. “I thought I would…would win for certain. I guess I am the one whose existence is not needed.” As the final words left his mouth, the edges of the cut began to eat his form away into dust, blown away by the wind.

Kaworu breathed a sigh of relief, his entire form in pain from his wounds. “And now, I have redeemed myself…” he said before heading deep into the forest floor…

*****

Some distance away, Unit-05 stopped short of the two pinned EVAs and fell over, almost as it had ran out of power. “Shinji? Shinji, are you there?” Asuka said into the comm link.

“Yeah…just barely,” he replied, feeling like both of his shoulders were on fire.

“What happened to it?” Asuka asked.

Coughing up a bit of blood, Shinji replied, “Kaworu…he must have done it. Azrael’s control is broken.”

Nodding, Asuka removed the lance from their shoulders and picked up one of the power cords, reinserting it into the EVA’s back. As the dwindling meter disappeared, she walked over to the powered-down Unit-05. “And this makes nine…” she said before sending the single-prong end straight through the core.

“Asuka? Shinji? Are you two okay?” Misato said through the comm line.

“We’ve been better,” Asuka said. “Get a gurney ready when we get back, Shinji’s lost a good amount of blood.”

“Got it, you grab him up and head on back,” Misato said with a sigh and a smile.

Picking up Unit-01, Asuka started the short trip back to the catapults. “Y’know, Shinji, you really owe me for having to drag your heavy wounded ass back to the cages…and with my own hurt shoulder, no less!” she yelled to him in a half-serious tone.

Smiling, Shinji said, “Sure thing, Asuka. Sure thing. I‘ll take you out on a nice, long shopping tri-” The link was cut as the last of the EVA’s power supply ran dry. Looking back up at the interior of the entry plug, he felt as though he’d finally brought things to closure. ‘Thanks, Kaworu…’ he thought before unconsciousness took him…

*****

Coming to several hours later, Shinji found himself staring at the ceiling of the NERV infirmary again. ‘This’d better be the last time I see it again,’ he thought bitterly. Attempting to sit up, he was met with great pain in both shoulders as he remembered the injuries he sustained from the EVA series.

“Do not try to get up, you are badly injured,” came the calm, quiet reply from his right side.

Looking over, Shinji saw Rei sitting in the chair next to the bed. “Hi Rei,” he said. “I guess this means we both made the right decisions…”

Rei nodded. “Indeed. And I would like your help in knowing how to…live. I know only of enough to survive,” she explained.

“I dunno, that’d be one hell of a challenge for even me,” came Asuka’s reply from the other side of the room. Walking over towards the bedside, she took Shinji’s left hand in her own. “How’re you holding up, Ikari?” she asked with a concerned tone.

Shinji shrugged as best as he could, smiling. “I’ve been through worse, I guess…”

Looking at their intertwined hands, Rei spoke up, “Shall I leave now?”

Shinji shook his head, “No, I’d like to talk to you a little.”

“About what?” Rei asked, surprise on her features.

“My father…what happened to him?” he asked. “I get this feeling there’s something wrong…”

Looking away, Rei explained it to him. “The Commander was found wounded in the Dummy Plug core room. An assassin sent by SEELE had made an attempt on his life, but he was unsuccessful. The Commander will be put on trial pending his release from-”

“Trial?” Shinji interrupted.

Nodding, Rei continued. “Sub-Commander Fuyutski has handed over the secrets SEELE and the Commander were involved in to the United Nations…with some small changes.”

“Those being?” Shinji asked.

“Anything regarding my origins. And the involvement of the rest of NERV,” she said. “It would be for the best if I were to be normal, like you two.”

“What about the EVAs?” Shinji ventured.

“They will be put into a form of deep-freeze, hopefully not to be used again,” Rei stated. “The same went for Lilith, also, to prevent her from being used as a tool again.”

“Lilith?” Asuka asked.

Turning to Asuka, Shinji said, “The Angel at the bottom of Terminal Dogma I told you about.”

“Oh, right,” Asuka said, “the second one.”

Rei nodded. “Yes. As well as Adam.”

“Adam?” Shinji asked, not knowing anything about the First Angel’s location.

“Yes. The Commander had been needing it as an instrumental part of Third Impact,” Rei continued. “Therefore, he placed the embryo that Adam had become as a result of Second Impact into his palm.”

Sighing, Shinji laid his head back. “Father…” he said softly.

“I shall leave now, I have matters to attend to,” Rei said, getting up and heading for the door. “And I should also report your condition to Major Katsuragi.” With that, she stepped out of the door, leaving Shinji and Asuka alone.

As soon as the door slid shut, Asuka practically threw herself onto the boy. Wincing in pain, Shinji looked down and saw that she had begun crying on him. “Hey now, what’s wrong?” he asked.

Not looking up at him, Asuka replied. “You…you almost got yourself killed out there. Why?”

Placing a hand on her head, he said, “That was what I told you before, that I would die for you. And I would not let what happened last time happen to you again. I promised, remember?”

“Yeah, I remember all of that…” Asuka said, sniffling and looking back up at him, “I‘d just hate to see you…die before I could say…”

“Say what?” Shinji asked, guessing the answer.

Asuka merely smiled, “I think this’ll explain better.“ Looking into each other’s eyes, they both leaned forward, their lips just barely touching. This kiss was full of love, one they would not be forgetting. It was also full of something else, something neither had been so full of in a long time…

…hope…

*****To be continued….*****

A/N: Ah, and so we have an ending. Well, not really. There’s still one chapter to go (the epilogue), but don’t worry. It’ll be short (and I’ve got it mostly planned already), so it won’t take very long to complete.

And now for a more personal note. It’s been a good lengthy journey we’ve had together, and I thank anyone reading this for sticking with me for this long. Your reading of this story has been much appreciated.

*****And now, the final Omake of the fic!*****

Again, we find the author putting the final touches on the first draft of the chapter.

Author: Whew, within the projected release date, too…

Mitsumi comes floating into the room, wearing a long dress that matches her lime-green hair.

Mitsumi: Got it done? Good work! (hugs the author)

Author: (smiling) Yup, and only one short epilogue to go before it’s really complete. I’m so glad.

Mitsumi: Good timing, too.

Author: Oh? Why’s that?

Mitsumi: Well, me and my sisters were going to perform for the readers, right?

Author: (smacking his forehead) Of course, how did it slip my mind? Got anything good planned for them?

Mitsumi: (winking) Oh, you’ll see…

Floating out of the room, Mitsumi waves to the author, who follows her into the fairies’ makeshift ‘studio’. As the camera follows behind, we can see the various instruments laid out around the room, boxes of strings and picks, programming and mixing equipment, and several rows of speakers.

Author: (looking around the room) Wow, you’ve done a lot with the place since last time…

Mitsumi: Yup, and now you just sit right there and enjoy the show!

Seating himself, the author watches for several minutes as Mitsumi and her sisters prep and tune their instruments, set up all the necessary equipment, and finish preparing themselves. After about fifteen minutes, Mitsumi and the other step back out and up to their instruments.

Mitsumi: (waving to camera) Hi all. As you know, I’m Mitsumi on vocals and lead guitar, this is Kara on first rhythm guitar (camera pans over to a fairy in red with matching hair holding a six-string and waving), Rain on second rhythm guitar (camera pans over to another fairy, this one violet-hued and carrying a guitar, who smiles brightly), Magdalena on bass (camera pans back a little, spotting a white-hued fairy, holding a four-string bass and looking shy), Angelina on keyboards (camera pans to a blue-hued fairy standing over a keyboard), and Akari on drums (camera pans to the yellow-hued fairy in the back, who waves her drumsticks in the air)…and together we are, Southern Cross! (on cue, sparks come from the floor and a shower of confetti rains down)

Author: (sweatdropping) Well…at least they’ve got stage presence. (looking to the camera) As for the name…trust me, that was their best option.

Mitsumi: (bowing) And now for the music. I’m thinking something that comes to mind with this fic…

Interested at the words, the author sits back down and awaits the performance.

Mitsumi: Okay, on this one, I’m gonna sing, and I’m not that good yet. So no one make fun…

Stepping up to the mic, the other band members begin playing as Mitsumi begins to sing…

Mitsumi: (singing)
This bloody road remains a mystery
This sudden darkness fills the air
What are we waiting for?
Won't anybody help us?
What are we waiting for?

We can't afford to be innocent
Stand up and face the enemy
It's a do-or-die situation
We will be invincible

This shattered dream you cannot justify
We're gonna scream until we're satisfied
What are we running for?
We've got the right to be angry
What are we running for?
When there's no where we can run to anymore

We can't afford to be innocent
Stand up and face the enemy
It's a do-or-die situation
We will be invincible
And with the power of conviction
There is no sacrifice
It's a do-or-die situation
We will be invincible

A break in the lyrics here gave way to a bass solo followed by a guitar solo. Afterwards, the lyrics pick back up again.

Mitsumi: (singing)
Won't anybody help us?
What are we running for?
When there's no where, no where we can run to anymore

We can't afford to be innocent
Stand up and face the enemy
It's a do-or-die situation
We will be invincible
And with the power of conviction
There is no sacrifice
It's a do-or-die situation
We will be invincible

As the song finishes its last notes and the fairies bow, the author stands and applauds the song.

Author: Very well done. You sounded great, Mitsumi. Your voice is much more talented than mine.

Mitsumi: (blushing) T-thanks…

Author: (turning to the camera) Well, it’s been a fun trip. But there are places we must go…towns we must rock. Goodbye all. (begins waving)

Mitsumi, Kara, Rain, Magdalena, Angelina, Akari: (simultaneously) Bye! Hope to see you again someday! (all wave at the camera)

And so, the camera pans away from the author’s domain, for the final time. But we may yet see them again…

*****End Omake*****

Pre-read was done by FinalMax, yet again.

As of the fourteenth of June in 2010, I have updated all of my fics...AGAIN. Not to worry, it’s mostly just small alterations/edits and spelling/grammar fixes.

As usual: good comments will be appreciated, bad ones will be ignored (or kept for firewood). But I do favor good/helpful criticism, so send it my way!

-AngelNo13Bardiel-
Last edited by AngelNo13Bardiel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:46 pm

...and that's one down, four to go.

Nephilim ch8  SPOILER: Show

See Chapter 1 for disclaimer, 2 for speech/thoughts things.

NEPHILIM

Chapter 8 (Epilogue): We Will Be Invincible

*****

Early in the morning, out on the rooftop of the apartment complex where the Katsuragi/Ikari/Sohryu residence was located, Shinji Ikari laid out on its flat surface thinking over the past two weeks since the last battle.

‘Feels nice out here today,’ he thought as a breeze went by. He hadn’t gotten a peaceful break like this in some time, and he wanted to enjoy it while it lasted. ‘So much has happened…’

About two weeks ago, Sub-Commander Fuyutski released the “doctored” report to the U.N. regarding NERV and SEELE’s plans. But seeing as the committee was destroyed by their own machinations, Commander Ikari would be the only one to put the blame on.

‘Not like anyone at NERV would’ve had it differently,’ Shinji thought. He still wasn’t sure whether to feel sorry for his father or hate him, knowing his reasons for wanting Instrumentality. The Third Child had declined to testify against the Commander, not really wanting to get involved in the whole mess of the trial. ‘Already too much against him to matter anyway,’ Shinji thought. The thought that the man responsible for much of his pain would be locked up for a very long time both saddened the boy and made him feel somewhat vindicated.

Concerning the future of NERV, most of its employees had either transferred to the JSSDF or simply left entirely. The former had included Dr. Akagi, who had wanted to work on dismantling the EVAs and disposing of the First and Second Angels. Maya had followed her, wanting to continue working with her “sempai”. Being part of the latter, Shigeru and Makoto both also parted with the rest of NERV, both having seen enough of the organization. Fuyutski had mentioned something about “going back to where he was before Gendo found him”, as he had put it.

‘And as for Misato…‘ Shinji’s thought trailed off. After he had been released from the hospital, she had ordered him to give her an explanation about his two “coincidental” trips to NERV in time for battles…

****Five days after the attack...*****

Shinji and Misato sat at the kitchen table, the violet-haired woman awaiting an explanation. Shinji had been anticipating this since he’d awoken after the battle. Misato would be needing a good explanation, and he couldn’t very well lie to her. ‘She deserves to know as much as Asuka did,’ he thought.

Sighing, Shinji began to over the details, much like he’d done with Asuka several days before. Hearing about the many secrets even she hadn’t seen yet, Misato had held herself back from getting hammered more than a few times. ‘No, I need to be sober for the rest of this,’ she’d thought regularly during the story.

When all had been said, the two sat silently at the table for an hour before the heavy silence was broken. “Alright, Shinji,“ Misato began, “that was pretty out there…but I don’t really see why it’s not possible, considering what NERV’s been up to in private.“ Standing and walking over to the coffee pot, she continued. “So have you told anyone else?”

“Yeah. I told Asuka about a week ago,” Shinji answered. “And Rei knew a good bit of it from the start, I think. She was a part of more than a few of the Commander‘s larger plans.”

“Yeah…is that it?” Misato asked while fixing a mug of coffee. Shinji nodded. “Good, not exactly the best idea to have things like that be common knowledge.” Seating herself back in her chair, Misato took a long look at the boy sitting across from her. “You’ve done some very brave things, Shinji. Braver than most people would’ve done,” she explained. “I just want you to know that…I’m proud of you.”

“T…thanks, Misato,” Shinji said, giving her a genuine smile. “But there was this one other thing I’d like to ask of you…”

“Oh? What’s that?” Misato questioned in-between sips.

“Uh…do you remember the morning after the 15th Angel?” Shinji asked nervously.

Misato gave him a strange look. “Yeah, what about it?” she asked.

“Do you remember where I stayed?” Shinji asked, beginning to show a blush.

“Yeah…in Asuka’s room,” she answered.

Swallowing, Shinji continued. “I don’t suppose then you’d…mind if I did that regularly?” he asked, lowering his head, which was nearly red all over.

Misato’s eyes went wide and she nearly choked on her coffee. After taking a second to absorb his question, she understood what he had meant. ‘Ah…almost got the wrong idea again,’ she thought, wanting to laugh at herself. Seeing the opportunity to tease the boy, she pressed on the offensive. “Oh, does little Shinji want to do something naughty with his girlfriend?” she asked in a straight face with only the slightest hint of humor in her voice.

Shinji jumped and nearly fell out of his chair. Calming himself, he tried to hide the red on his face, but it was far too late for that. “N-no…it’s not l-like that, Misato!” he stammered.

“Oh? Are you sure?” Misato continued to tease. “No ropes or lingerie or cameras or…”

Shinji had nearly passed out already from hearing his guardian’s assumptions. “No!” he shouted and slammed his palms into the table.

Misato looked him straight in the face with her best serious expression…for about twenty seconds. Finally cracking a smile, she nearly laughed herself out of breath from the look on Shinji’s face. Shinji just sat with a rather pissed look on his face until Misato managed to calm herself and speak evenly again. “Oh God, the look on your face…priceless,” she got out between giggles.

“Misato, that really wasn’t funny…” Shinji said flatly.

“I seem to remember someone waking up and having fun like that with a certain redhead, right?” Misato asked, knowing she had him cornered.

Shinji broke out in a small laugh at the memory of his teasing of Asuka when he woke up after the 12th Angel. “Yeah…I guess I had that coming,” he said. “But you know what I meant in the first place.”

“Yeah, I know,” Misato said. “I just couldn’t resist.” Taking a deep breath, she became serious. “So, you two would like to share sleeping space, huh?”

Shinji’s face reddened a little, but nowhere near as it had been several minutes before. “Uh-huh, we had a little talk while in the hospital. We…just want to be close to one another,” he explained. “And I want you to know that not one wrong thought was in my head.”

“Heh, no need to tell me,” Misato said, “I know you’re a good young man. Not like you‘d get away with anything with her anyway…”

“Ugh…Misato…” Shinji sighed, smacking his forehead.

“Well, it’s true!” Misato protested. “Hmm…I guess I could trust you two,” she said. “But if I end up hearing one odd sound…”

Shinji groaned in frustration and hit his head against the table. “I wish you’d quit that…” he mused.

“Okay, I’m done,” Misato said with a sly smile. “I agree to it, but don’t go and make any of those suspicions true…” she finished, getting up and heading for her room…

*****End of flashback*****

‘God, I never thought she’d quit that damned teasing,‘ Shinji thought, ‘at least I got through the important stuff without breaking down.’ The next day, Misato had turned in her NERV ID card and washed her hands of the whole organization. ‘I guess with all of the Angels defeated, she feels like her revenge against them has been finished,’ he thought. She’d told him and Asuka that she’d still keep them in her custody, already considering them her children in a way. Those words had made both children smile happily. ‘Nowhere else I’d rather be living,’ Shinji mused.

Thinking about the major made Shinji remember an odd occurrence four days ago. He had been home by himself, Asuka and Misato having gone out shopping, when the doorbell had rang. When he opened the door, a letter was neatly placed on the outside, and no one was around. Picking up the letter, Shinji began to read…

‘Shinji, I’m having this note dropped off discreetly so I can tell you that I’m fine and alive. I heard about SEELE and the battle with the EVA series. I haven’t seen for myself, but I’ll bet you and Asuka gave ‘em hell, huh? Anyway, I can’t return to the city just yet, still have a few things left to work out. Might be another month, maybe two at most. Just keep it a secret until then, alright? Good. See you then, Mr. Ikari.’ The letter had the handwriting and signature of Kaji Ryoji.

Shinji had felt a wave of relief come over him after reading the letter, knowing that Kaji was alright and would be back eventually. ‘Heh, can’t wait to see Misato’s face when he gets back,’ Shinji thought, holding back a small laugh.

The Horaki, Suzuhara, and Aida families had come back to Tokyo-3 only three days after the attack. The three children had been relieved to hear that their friends had survived it. However, when they first visited the pilots‘ hospital room, they’d managed to catch the Second and Third Children in the middle of a rather serious liplock. Hikari had just shoved the other two out of the room, while Toji had been cheering for Shinji and Kensuke was trying to film it. Both Shinji and Asuka had sat down with them and explained the situation. While the two boys had been reluctant to congratulate them, Hikari’s not-too-subtle glares had changed their minds. ‘It’ll still take time for them to get used to being friendly with Asuka,’ Shinji thought, ‘and it’ll take her just as long.’

His mind turning to the redhead, Shinji began to smiled widely. At the moment, Asuka was in the apartment, showering and dressing for the day. ‘At least we’re on even terms now,’ he thought, remembering what she’d said shortly after he woke up in the hospital. ‘She loves me…and that’s really all I need,’ he mused, feeling light-headed. The last two weeks, they still acted the same towards one another in most public places, like school. But alone on the streets or at home, they held hands and enjoyed each other’s company. And of course, falling asleep in each other’s arms.

And then, there was Rei. The First Child had, in the last couple of weeks, taken a few key steps towards living a normal life like any other teenage girl. ‘With a little help from Asuka and me,’ Shinji thought, remembering a shopping trip he’d gone on with the two. It had lasted several hours, Rei not really being familiar with clothes-shopping. ‘At least she had good help,’ he thought. He’d noticed that Asuka and Rei had started to try and get along better since the attack. ‘Maybe miracles do happen,’ Shinji thought, remembering something he’d thought when the two girls first met before the 7th Angel. Rei herself was now doing better about being a normal girl, although that would take some time. ‘Now if I could only convince her to move out of that apartment of hers,’ Shinji thought, ‘at least she said she’d think about it.’

Shinji sat up and looked out at the city. Slowly, Tokyo-3 was picking up the pieces and rebuilding what few structures had been damaged in the attack. ‘And now, it won’t have to worry about another Angel attacking,’ he thought.

Then he frowned, thinking of the only thing he wasn’t sure at the moment. ‘I still haven’t seen Kaworu since before the battle,’ he thought, wishing he knew of his friend’s whereabouts.

Just then, a voice sounded and Shinji felt his hair stand on end. “It is so nice of you to worry about me,” the voice said.

Turning around, Shinji caught sight of the familiar white robe and face of Kaworu Nagisa. “Y-you’re okay?” he managed to say, standing up and walking over to the ethereal form of the Fifth Child.

“Yes, I am quite alright now,” Kaworu said, “I simply needed time to heal my wounds.”

Sighing in relief, Shinji leaned up against the railing next to Kaworu. “I’m just glad to know you’re okay…” he said. “Does this mean you finished your task?”

Kaworu nodded. “Azrael has become nothing more than dust in the wind. I would have rather not fought him at all, but it could not be helped…” he explained.

“I understand,” Shinji said sadly, “I still wish I hadn’t had to…”

Shaking his head, Kaworu spoke, “Now now, there is no need to bring that up again. As far as I am concerned, this all came out for the better, even if I do not have a physical form.” Turning back to Shinji, he continued. “There is nothing that you should regret,” he said.

“I know…but I still feel bad about it,” Shinji said, hanging his head.

“But thanks to you, I have found friendship,” Kaworu said, “and that is a fair trade-off, I say.” Sighing, he turned his gaze back over the morning horizon. “I only wish I could stay,” he said.

“Huh?” Shinji asked, turning to the other.

“I am afraid my time has come to and end on this plane,” Kaworu explained. “I wanted to stop and see how you were doing before leaving. But before that…” he trailed off, removing the white robe and revealing the familiar Tokyo-3 school uniform he wore when he first met Shinji. “I thought I should finally remove the last of my guise as Nephilim. I am Kaworu Nagisa once more,” he said.

“Now that’s someone I haven’t seen in a while,” Shinji said, smiling. “You’ve really got to leave?” he asked.

Nodding, Kaworu explained, “Yes, the Creator has told me that I can return to the heavens, my job here completed. I wish I could stay with you all, but that cannot happen.”

A silence fell over the two for several moments. “I…understand,” Shinji finally said, some tears forming in his eyes.

“I am glad,” Kaworu said with a smile. “How have you been since I last saw you?” he ventured.

Leaning back against the rail again, Shinji answered, “Ah, life’s been…good to me recently.” Turning back around, he propped his back against the railing. “For once, I’m genuinely happy,” he said.

“What about your wounds?” Kaworu asked. “You took a Lance copy in each shoulder…”

Shinji idly put a hand on the spot where the bandages were under his shirt, which hid two small round scars on his right shoulder. Another set was on his left, slightly lower than the right set. “Yeah, hurt for a while, but it was preferable to her being hit by them,” he said. “Are they permanent marks?”

“I am afraid so…” Kaworu answered. Noticing Shinji’s smile, he gave the boy a puzzled look. “You seem as though you are happy about that…” he mused.

“In a way, yes,” Shinji said. “I’m…going to consider these a reminder.”

“Of what?” Kaworu questioned.

“Of how far I’d go for Asuka,” Shinji finished, “of what I’d do to protect her. Like a medal.”

“I do not believe you need physical proof for that,“ Kaworu said. “And I see you and Miss Sohryu have become quite fond of each other’s company.”

“Yeah, we’ve…reached an understanding. For the better, I think,” Shinji said.

“And I am happy for the both of you,” Kaworu said. “You both deserve happiness more than any other Lilim I have ever known.”

“Thanks, Kaworu,” Shinji said. “You know, I-” he was cut off by the sound of a door opening.

Asuka walked out onto the roof, dressed in her yellow sundress and drying her hair with a towel. A small set of bandages could be also be seen, still wrapped on a spot near her left shoulder. “Hey Shinji, you didn’t get your good-morn-” she stopped in mid-sentence, seeing the gray-haired ethereal figure next to Shinji. “What the…what…” she stammered, her eyes wide.

Shinji walked over to the shocked redhead, placing his hands on her shoulders. “Asuka, it’s okay,” he repeated several times before she looked back at him. “I guess I should introduce you two,” he said. “Asuka, this is Kaworu Nagisa,” he said, motioning to the other boy’s form.

“Pleased to meet you, Miss Sohryu,” Kaworu said, bowing. “I have heard a lot about you from Shinji.”

“Uh…same here,” Asuka said, finally understanding. “He told me a lot about you…and what you’ve done for him,” she said, extending a hand.

“Ah, that will not work, I am afraid,” Kaworu said, passing his hand through hers, “not without a physical body, anyway. And I did it for you and the rest of humanity, as well. Not to mention my own grief…”

“It’s nice to meet you, though,” Asuka said, wrapping the towel around her head. “And call me Asuka.”

“As it is for me, Asuka,” Kaworu said. “I only wish I could stay with you both…”

“Whaddya mean?” Asuka questioned.

“I must be returning to the heavens now that Azrael has been defeated and Third Impact averted,” Kaworu explained, “and I came by to tell Shinji I was leaving.”

“Shame you’ve got to go,” Asuka said, “I haven’t really thanked you enough for what you’ve done.”

“No, no,” Kaworu said, shaking his head, “I only gave Shinji a choice. It was up to him to answer it. And I am glad he made the correct choice.”

“And you’ve taught me something else, Kaworu,” Shinji spoke up.

“What is that?” Kaworu asked.

“Well,” Shinji started, “after what you’ve told me about things that would be happening, I’ve decided that I’ll look only to the present. I have enough in it to be content. I'll try to take whatever tomorrow throws at me as long as I have that thought."

Both Asuka and Kaworu looked at Shinji after the boy’s short-but-deep speech. “Very well put, Shinji.” Kaworu said.

“You must have been thinking that over for a while,” Asuka said, taking ahold of his left hand. “And I think that as long as I have him, I’m fine,” Asuka said.

Shinji gave her hand a small squeeze and turned back to Kaworu. “Well then, I guess this…is goodbye,” he said.

“Do not worry, we will meet again,” Kaworu said. “When it is your time…I will be waiting for you both.”

“Before you go,” Shinji said, “could I ask you for one last favor?”

“Let me guess…Miss Ikari?” Kaworu said, already knowing what was on Shinji’s mind.

Shinji nodded, “Yeah…I just want to know if it’s possible to…free her.”

Floating above the roof, Kaworu turned back to them. “It is possible for the Creator to free her. And the other two as well,” he said.

Asuka looked a bit sad at the mention of her own mother inside Unit-02. ‘Mama…looks like you’re gonna be free now,’ she thought.

“Really? That’s great!” Shinji said, feeling elated.

Smiling, Kaworu waved back at the two teens. “You both take care of each other, okay?” he said.

“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll keep him in line!” Asuka said proudly, smirking all the while.

“You heard the lady,” Shinji said, wiping his eyes with his free hand. “Goodbye Kaworu,” he said, waving at the boy’s disappearing form. Asuka joined him in waving as the form of Kaworu Nagisa vanished from this plane.

Shinji breathed in deeply and turned to Asuka. “I’m going to miss him. He was one of the best friends I‘ve had,” he said.

Giving him a quick kiss, Asuka walked back over to the roof’s door. “I know…but it’s okay, right?” she asked, hoping he wasn’t going to be depressed. “C’mon, I’ve got a nice day planned for us!” she said before going inside.

“Yeah…it’s okay,” Shinji said, smiling and taking one last look at the sky before heading to the door…

*****

High above, Kaworu watched the two children, along with two other souls.

“I think they will be just fine,” Kaworu said. “You will not have to worry.”

“Oh, we’ll have to,” Yui Ikari said.

“It’s only natural for mothers to worry,” Kyoko Zeppelin Sohryu finished.

“Ah yes, I suppose that is correct,” Kaworu said.

“She seems so…happy for a change,” Kyoko noted.

“That is because she has been loved and has shown love in return,” Kaworu explained, “something she has not done in some time.”

“I wish I had been there for her…” Kyoko said.

Yui laid a hand on the other’s shoulder. “I say the same about Shinji. But now, I think he’ll be alright,” she said.

“Yes,” Kaworu said, “as far as they is concerned, the words on NERV’s emblem hold true for once.”

“God’s in his heaven…” Kyoko started.

“…all’s right with the world,” Yui finished.

*****THE END*****

A/N: Well, that wraps up this fic! Nearly five months later, it finally sees completion. But it feels as though I’ve done more than that. For a change, I’ve finished a task I set for myself. And to me, that’s a pretty big accomplishment.

For all those reading this, your criticism, reviews, and simply “stopping by to read” have helped me greatly. Your attention to this work has not gone unnoticed, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this up to now.

On the note of thank-you’s, I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to my dedicated pre-reader, FinalMax. Aside from the usual PR duties, he supplied me with many helpful changes/fixes that made this fic better overall. He’s been a damn big help in this endeavor of mine, and I’d like to thank him specially for it.

As for other works from me, I’ve got a little something up the road, but I have no idea on a release date. Just keep watching for it. Other than that…well, only time will tell.

Pre-read was done by FinalMax…yet again! After all this, I should consider putting him on a payroll…

As of the fourteenth of June in 2010, I have updated all of my fics...AGAIN. Not to worry, it’s mostly just small alterations/edits and spelling/grammar fixes.

As usual: good comments will be appreciated, bad ones will be ignored (or kept for firewood). But I do favor good/helpful criticism, so send it my way!

Until next our paths cross,
-AngelNo13Bardiel-
Last edited by AngelNo13Bardiel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:47 pm

Somewhere Out There  SPOILER: Show

DISCLAIMER: Nope, don’t own Eva or its characters. Still in the hands of GAINAX. Eh, you already know how these go, so let's just get to the fic, huh?

SOMEWHERE OUT THERE

*****

-December 19, 2018-

The city of Tokyo-3 was readying itself for its first truly cold winter. But the city would not be standing if not for a boy named Shinji Ikari…a boy who disappeared following a battle with nine white Evangelions. Three years have passed, and although the general public has forgotten him, there are a few within the city that still wonder…

*****

Asuka Langley Sohryu was walking home from school, bundled in a thick jacket. ‘Always remembered liking the cold when I was little…what the hell was I thinking?’ she mused, shivering slightly. In the three years that had passed, the redheaded Second Child had become a beautiful young woman. But there were still many dark clouds that hung over her. The time of the year that it was, however, really didn’t help…

Shaking her head to clear the memories away, she stopped to look in on some of the store windows downtown. ‘Even with it being the holidays, I still can’t be cheerful,’ she thought. ‘Damn Shinji…’

Resuming her trip home, Asuka soon got back to the apartment she shared with her guardian, Misato Katsuragi. Walking in, she removed her coat and took off her shoes. “I’m home…” she said half-heartedly, knowing Misato was probably working. Walking over to the couch, Asuka promptly sat down and took a long breath. This time of year always had a way of making the memories come back. “So much has happened, I guess…” she mused, closing her eyes for a second…

*****

It started about two weeks after Asuka awoke from her coma, and over three months after the invasion. From what she was told, the JSSDF, under orders from SEELE, had invaded the Geofront to retrieve the EVAs and eliminate the pilots. They went so far as to send the EVA series to finish the job. However, Shinji, piloting Unit-01, had destroyed them. The footage Asuka was shown gave her chills every time she remembered it: Unit-01 literally fought like an animal, tearing the nine white EVA units apart. It seemed not unlike Unit-01’s “berserker” fits, but the instruments showed that the Third Child was in full control of the machine during this battle. The purple behemoth had taken some cuts and hits from the other machines, but it moved and avoided most of the blows sent its way. While this showed her that hidden strength she had assumed Shinji had, Asuka felt more horrified at the rage that he was obviously venting during the struggle.

After the battle was over, the sight of nine EVAs broken and bleeding caused most of the JSSDF troops to turn and run from the area. Unit-01 walked over toward the outside of the Geofront and fell on its front. The trees in the area obscured what was occurring, but by the time a crew was able to get out the EVA, Shinji Ikari was no longer in the beast. Appearing that he had abandoned the machine and fled, NERV tried for months after to find the missing Third Child.

In the aftermath of the attack, the crew of NERV was able to discern the damage done. Deep below in Terminal Dogma, they found Commander Ikari’s body. He had been shot several times, most likely by assault rifles. While no one was really sad to see him go, it was still a death none-the-less.

Sometime before Asuka had awoken, Sub-Commander Fuyutsuki had issued a document to the United Nations explaining the motives of both NERV and SEELE. While it caused some heavy speculation and close scrutiny for a while, the information was eventually accepted and released to the public, displaying the truth for all to see. The members of SEELE were gather up shortly thereafter and trials were held. Most of them were now sitting in cells, likely never to leave. Others had been executed in their home countries for their crimes against humanity.

The remainder of NERV disbanded and went their separate ways, not wanting to have anything to do with Angels or EVAs again. Most of them settled into normal lives, trying to forget what they saw during their time in the organization. But a few of them wouldn’t be that lucky…

Rei Ayanami had been found floating in a tank of LCL near the bottom of Central Dogma. Apparently, she had slept in the substance throughout the attack. Although this did not seem like much, it had probably saved her life. Following the events after the invasion, she returned to her solitary way of living, almost like nothing that happened had affected her. ‘If anything, she seems colder,’ Asuka thought. Sometime after her awakening, Asuka learned of Rei’s unusual origins. Seeing that she had been raised to be a tool for Third Impact, Asuka felt slightly regretful of her usual belittling of the First Child. She had made attempts to apologize a few times (after forcing herself), but the albino girl just said it was ‘unnecessary‘.

Asuka’s best friend, Hikari Horaki, had moved back a few months after the attack. She had visited Asuka’s room in the NERV hospital several times after the redhead awoke. And each time, following close behind, was Toji Suzuhara and Kensuke Aida. The two boys were both worried heavily over Shinji’s disappearance, and stayed unusually quiet on those trips. Asuka still saw the three on a regular basis at school. During their time away from Tokyo-3, Hikari and Toji got to know one another quite well, up to the point of them being an item. ‘I still have no clue what she sees in that idiot jock,’ Asuka thought, remembering the spaced-out look Hikari had in her eyes when she first told Asuka about ‘them’. Toji had been doing better as well, receiving prosthetics for his missing arm and leg. The ‘incident’ involving Unit-03 still hung around him, but not as much as it used to.

And then there was Misato. In the time since the failed Third Impact (as it came to be known), she had left NERV soon after Shinji’s disappearance and continued her own search for him, despite Section 2 having no luck while NERV was still active. She still ran checks on him every now and then, but the former Major could only do so much while working as a bartender. “It did kinda seem like her to do that kind of work,” Asuka thought out loud. But in truth, she rarely ever saw the older woman pick up alcohol anymore. It was a welcome change of pace, Asuka once noted. And while she kept up a strong and happy exterior, Asuka had heard the older woman cry herself to sleep many times.

‘I know she still misses him…and Kaji,’ Asuka thought, already regretting it. Around two years ago, she had managed to get out of Misato what had happened to the normally-unshaven man, and after hearing it, had fallen into a depression for a while. But Asuka eventually began to realize that it had been a childish crush and grudgingly accepted it. ‘I was still young…and I still am…’ she thought, feeling her eyes tear up a little. ‘But I still miss him anyway.’

Sniffling back those tears, she stood and walked into the kitchen to begin fixing a small dinner for herself. ‘Misato will probably get something on the way home,’ Asuka thought. Spotting Pen-Pen walking out of his freezer, the former Second Child bent down and petted the top of the bird’s head. “I’ll bet these times of the year don’t bring you down, huh?” she asked. The penguin just looked at her oddly, cocking his head to the side. Asuka shook her head and stood back up. Reaching into the cabinet for the ramen, she was interrupted by the sound of the doorbell ringing.

Walking over to the door, Asuka opened it to see a man wearing a postal uniform standing outside. “Hi, are you Asuka Sohryu?” he asked.

“Yes, why?” Asuka asked.

Holding up a package, he said, “Then this is for you.” He then put a clipboard and pen on the top, “Just sign here, please.”

Signing her name, Asuka wondered who would be sending her a package. ‘Not like there’s anybody I know who doesn’t live here,’ she thought. “That all?” she asked.

“Yeah, thanks,” the postman said, turning to walk back to the elevator.

Closing the door, Asuka read the top of the box. The address was in Tokyo-2 and unfamiliar to her. ‘I don’t know anyone there…I think,’ she mused, bringing the box into her room. Removing the items from the box, she found a tape player and a cassette. ‘What is this?’ she wondered, looking through the box one more time to see if there was anything else. Placing the box down, she picked up the tape player and cassette, looking them both over carefully. The cassette was labeled with a small piece of tape on one side that had an ‘A‘ written on it. ‘Might as well see what someone sent me…’ she decided, placing the tape in the player and hitting the play button…

*****

“Hi Asuka,” the voice on the tape started, “I’m pretty sure you don’t remember me, huh?”

Immediately, Asuka stopped the tape and stared wide-eyed at the player. ‘T-that’s Shinji’s voice…’ she thought, memories connected to his voice coming back to her. ‘But why would he be sending anything to me?’ Slowly reaching over, she resumed the tape’s progress.

“It’s me, Shinji. I don’t really think you would care much, but I figured sending this to you would be safer than sending it to Misato. She would probably end up finding me…and I’m not ready to come back.”

“Come back from where?” Asuka thought aloud.

“But I’m sure at least she misses me greatly,” the tape continued. “Everyone else…has probably just forgotten about me and gone on with their lives, you included.”

‘That’s just bull,’ Asuka thought. ‘Hikari and your two buddies are always remembering you, talking about the good times…’

“By now, I’m sure everything about NERV has been laid out for you. I’ve…caught a lot about what happened through newspapers and reports, but a few things had been left out. One of those had been Rei.”

Asuka stared at the player, remembering the things she’d been told about the First Child. ‘Really, it is pretty sad,’ she thought, ‘raised to fight and obey only. I always called her a doll, but…I never knew how close that was.’

“Another had been Kaworu…and his true nature.”

Asuka had heard about the gray-haired Fifth Child from Misato. He had been the final Angel…and Shinji, who had just become friends with the boy, had been ordered to kill him. Misato said that it weighed heavily on the Third Child’s shoulders whenever she saw him after that.

“I also heard that my father had been found…dead. Funny, I still can’t say I hate him, but…I think that what happened is for the best.”

“Damn right it was,” Asuka said. She had never quite liked the Commander, and hearing of his death had done little to affect her.

“After I heard that you had woken up, I felt very relieved. You of all people had no right to be in a coma. I know you don’t care what I think, but…it was still good news to me. At least you could go on and have a normal life.”

‘Yeah, normal,’ Asuka thought sarcastically. ‘Anything after NERV would be considered normal.’ The fact that he had been happy to hear of her awakening surprised her. ‘The last time I spoke to him had been after the 15th Angel…I had yelled at him, saying I hated him…hated everything.’ The redhead had always felt a little regret that she couldn’t take back those words.

“I suppose you’re a little surprised to hear that from me, seeing as we didn’t get along that well.”

“You got that right, Ikari,” she said.

“I guess I should begin…on that day. The day I decided to live. I had gone to your hospital room for a visit, something I did a lot after Kaworu’s death. There was no one else around. Misato buried herself in her work, Rei had become…colder, my friends had left. I…just wanted you to wake up, say something…call me an idiot like you would. But you just laid there, not waking. I admit, I broke down a lot during those visits…more times than I care to remember. I cried myself to sleep right there at your bedside.”

Asuka sat looking shocked at those last few words, which had sounded like his voice was cracking. ‘He…he really wanted to talk to me?’ she thought. ‘Even if I just wanted to put him down?’

“When I woke up, alarms were ringing and people were running out of the area. The intercom had announced that it was an invasion by a military force. I had wanted to just give up and stay there. It was not like I had much to live for, anyway. But I looked at you, unable to protect yourself at the moment. None of them would be able to. I fought with myself for a few minutes before I decided…I would survive, and so would the rest of you, so I ran in the direction of headquarters. By the time I got to the EVA cages, I had regained some will to live, at least so the rest of you would make it. As the EVA was sent directly to the Geofront surface, Misato explained that they had sent the EVA series, nine white mass-produced machines. She also said that they were controlled by Dummy Plugs, like Unit-01 had been during the 13th Angel. As soon as I reached the surface, I realized what that meant: I wouldn’t be taking lives, I would be saving them. I felt the anger and rage pour out of me while I fought. I don’t first-hand remember what happened during the battle, only the footage of it I saw later. I only saw through a red haze, and kept only one thing in mind: the rest of you would live.”

Asuka sat listening to his recounting of the ordeal, impressed by his showing of spine. ‘He…did it for us…’ she thought. ‘I guess I really can call him ‘the invincible Shinji Ikari’ now.’

“When it was over, I walked Unit-01 over to an obstructed area of the Geofront. I had it fall to the ground face-first and jettisoned the entry plug, just wanting to hurry and get away from there. I know…you’re thinking that I was just running away again…but this time, I didn’t care. I had to get away from that city, the memories it left. I figured it would best for the rest of you if I just disappeared, too.”

Asuka wasn’t too stunned that he had ran from the battle, but that last sentence had surprised her. ‘Does he really think that others think that lowly of him?’ she asked herself. Then she remembered many of the times she belittled him. ‘I…guess I didn’t help much there.’

“I walked through the woods there until I reached an emergency elevator, which was still running. Taking it to the surface, I ran out into the woods around town, trying to get as far away as possible. The EVA series’ weapons…did something to me. Wherever they cut Unit-01, it cut me too. I stumbled through the outskirts of town for almost two days…tired, bleeding, and soaked in LCL. I came across a house almost at the city limits of Tokyo-2 when I finally gave out.“

“Geez, really pushing yourself, eh?” Asuka thought aloud.

“When I woke up, I had been taken into that house I saw. It was occupied by a young woman named Val. She’s a beautiful American woman, probably not much younger than Misato. Said she moved here because she always liked Japan’s scenery. Anyway…she didn’t know who I was, only that I was hurt and most likely from Tokyo-3. A couple of days after I awoke, the news reports said that I was missing. When Val saw them, I thought she was going to hand me over to NERV…but she didn’t. Actually, she’s the one who’s helped me stay hidden since then. I told her about what had happened, what I’d been through. My wounds eventually healed and I stayed here as kind of a roommate while people were still searching for me. She decided that it would be best for me to stay until I was ready to return…but that’ll never happen.”

Asuka had sat quietly until that part came in. ‘What does he mean by ‘never’?’ she thought.

“Val and I had a conversation about me returning to the city a few months ago. When she asked if there was anyone there I wanted to see again, I told her about you, Misato, Rei, Hikari , Toji, Kensuke…and I do want to see you all again. When the subject came to you, Val said she saw this light in my eyes when I spoke of you.“

Asuka blinked a few times after hearing that part. ‘This can’t be good…’ she thought.

“Ah damn it…I guess I should explain why I’ve really sent this to you. It’s not because I didn’t want Misato to find me, it’s because I had to tell you some things…important things. I guess I should start at the truth…”

Asuka sat intently, wanting to hear every word of this.

“…I’ve always had a…thing for you. I guess you could say I liked you…but now, it’s more complicated than that. Heh, I’ll bet you’re laughing at this right now, but I don’t care. It always hurt me, looking back on those moments when I could’ve done more to protect you…just to be there. But I always ran. I finally got tired of running from you…but you were in a coma by that time. I sat there every day before the attack, wanting you to wake up and say…anything, really. It hurt a lot just to see you like that.”

Asuka stopped the tape for a second to reflect on things. In the three years since Shinji had gone missing, her opinion of him had changed a good deal. He wasn’t as much of an idiot or pervert like she used to think…he was kind, he listened to her better than most people, and had shown that strength inside of him a couple of times. But between her own attitude toward others and circumstances that had occurred, they had never been good friends, let alone anything else. ‘I…kinda wish I had seen it then,’ she thought sadly. ‘Maybe it would have prevented a lot of things.’ She had caught herself thinking of him many times since her opinions had changed, but she’d always just wrote it off as regret. ‘Maybe there is more to it than that,’ she concluded. Shaking her head, Asuka reached over and pressed play.

“When I explained this all to Val…she looked at me kind of odd and began giggling. When I asked her what was funny, she said that by the way things sounded, it seemed like I hadn’t gotten it yet. When I said nothing back, she explained it like this: ‘You visited a girl, who either teased you or looked down on you a lot, in the hospital every day…even if she would only wake up to call you an idiot. To me, that sounds more like…love.’ I thought she had been a little wrong then, but since she said that I thought it over a lot. It‘s kinda like this song she once played, you‘re still ‘painted on my heart‘…and that’s not going away, no matter how long. It’s been nearly three years…and those memories still hang on me. I guess…this is where I say ‘I love you‘ and things like that…but it really doesn‘t do these feelings justice.”

Asuka stopped the tape, feeling like she’d been hit squarely in the stomach. “D-does he really mean that?” she asked, feeling the tears at the edges of her eyes. But she made no effort to stop them. She reached over and resumed the tape.

“I don’t know exactly what it is about you…beauty, intelligence, spirit. But whatever it is, I can’t help but be in love with you. I knew there was something special about you, ever since we first met on the ‘Over the Rainbow‘. It took me a long time to realize it, but I see it now…and sadly, I can’t return to see you again.”

Asuka looked up, tears in her eyes at the sound of that. His voice sounded like he was going to break down, but he continued.

“It was what I decided at the end of the conversation Val and I had: I want to see you again…and I want to see everyone else again, too. But that city has too many memories I want to forget. Just being there again will cause me pain, I’m sure of it. So, this is…where I say that somewhere out there, there’s a confused young man who loves you, but can’t be there to say it in person. And now I have to say goodbye, because this is hurting me more than the scars I got in that last battle. Goodbye, Asuka…”

As the tape winded down to its end, Asuka began to cry. Something she hadn’t done this much of in years. And right there, she cried herself into a fitful sleep, dreaming of the boy that loved her…

*****

-Four days later-

Asuka spent three days shut in her room, crying and thinking over what Shinji said on the tape. Misato gave her plenty of berth, knowing how moody the redhead could be. Asuka hadn’t told Misato about the package, not wanting to worry her over it. Within those days, the former Second Child realized two things: one, the tape’s contents left a heavy impact on her; and two, she missed Shinji more than ever. And it came to her: if he couldn’t come back to Tokyo-3, she would have to go to wherever he was. Luckily, the return address on the package hadn’t been hard to find.

So now, on the fourth day after receiving the package, Asuka stood some distance away from a small home on the outskirts of Tokyo-2, dressed warmly but freezing both inside and out. ‘This is the place…’ she thought. She had to fight off the urge to just forget the whole thing and throw the tape away. ‘No…after all that he said, I need to see him again. Just to clear things up,’ she had concluded. There was also another reason, one even she was reluctant to admit.

Walking up to the door with hesitant steps, Asuka reached out and knocked. A few seconds later, a tall, slender, dark-haired woman in her early twenties answered the door. “Can I help you?” she asked.

“Are you Val?” Asuka asked.

The woman gave her a strange look. “Yes, I’m Val…but I’m afraid I don’t know you,” she said. Looking the redhead over, she remembered Shinji’s description of the Second Child. “By any chance…are you Asuka?” The younger girl nodded, not looking up. ‘Guess that means she got that package,’ Val thought. “Well, come on in,” she said, stepping aside to let Asuka in.

As she walked through the door, Asuka noted how neat and clean everything was. “Nice home you have. I guess he helps out around, huh?” she asked.

Val nodded, “Yeah. I tell him I don’t need the help, but he just does anyway.”

Asuka laughed a little. “That’s always been his way of doing things,” she said.

Val walked over to the rear of the house. “Shinji! Could you come here for a second?” she called.

Coming from out of a room near the back of the house, Asuka’s eyes caught sight of him. Like her, the years had done a lot, Shinji had become more handsome than ever. Even if he was wearing a larger fit of his usual school uniform. ‘He wasn’t that bad looking,’ Asuka had caught herself thinking the day before. Now she was just surprised.

“So what did you ne-” Shinji’s words died right there when he saw Asuka standing in the living room. “Asuka…is that you?”

Looking up into his face, Asuka nodded, unable to say anything other than, “Uh…hi.”

Val looked between the two teenagers and walked over to Shinji. “I’d say that message had quite an effect,” she whispered, walking into the kitchen.

Shinji just kept opening his mouth and closing it again, unable to form words. After a few awkward moments, he finally walked over to the coat rack and grabbed a jacket. “…I’m sure you wanna talk, right?” he asked. Asuka nodded. “C’mon, let’s go outside for a while.” Asuka nodded again and followed him back out of the house…

*****

The two sat out on a bench near the house, neither quite ready to break the ice. “It’s been three years…” Asuka finally said.

“Yeah, time really does fly…” Shinji replied.

Asuka continued to look down at the grass. “Why?” was all she said.

Shinji knew well what she was talking about. “It…just needed to be said, I guess. I’m sorry I had to burden you with it…”

“No, you idiot,” Asuka said, feeling slightly angry. “Why won’t you come back?”

“Oh,” Shinji started, taking in a deep breath. “It’s like I said…the city just has too many bad mem-”

“But what about the others?” Asuka asked. “Don’t you think they’d want to know if you’re okay?”

“There aren’t many who would care…just Misato, probably,” Shinji answered. “Speaking of which, why did you come here?”

“I’ll get to that later,” Asuka said, trying to keep her composure. “And you think others don’t remember you? That’s pure bullshit, Ikari!” she yelled. Calming herself, she continued. “Misato, Hikari, Toji, Kensuke…I’ll bet even Rei misses you. You mean more to them than you seem to think.”

Shinji looked up at her with wide eyes. “All of them?”

Asuka nodded, “And I know there are some things you still kick yourself over, but…”

“No,” Shinji interrupted, “I came to realize that some things were not my fault.”

“Huh?” Asuka asked.

“Toji, for example…that was my father. I finally understand that. And then there was Kaworu…” he stopped for a second here to keep from tearing up. “…I see now that I had no control over what happened then. I still regret it, but it was fate. He had wanted me…and the rest of humanity to survive. And seeing it in that light, it doesn’t hurt as much.” Shinji stood up and walked over toward a tree. “But…the memories that do are of things that I could have done. The 15th Angel, it forced you to remember your worst memories…I could have done something then. The same as with the 16th Angel…I could have saved Rei.”

Asuka stood up and walked over to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Shinji…that was then. I’m sure you could have done more, but…”

“But what?” Shinji asked, lowering his head.

“…But you still have now,” Asuka said firmly.

“What do you mean?” Shinji questioned.

Walking back over to the bench, Asuka sat down and began to explain. “It’s kinda like what I’ve been doing for the last couple of days,” she said. “I could have just thrown that tape away and forgotten the whole thing. But do you know what?” Shinji shook his head. “I decided that I would live with what you said. I would forget those old memories of us not being on the best of terms. I’m sure you remember…I told you after that battle that I hated you?” He nodded again. “That was…just something I said out of anger. I never really meant it.” She stopped and looked at the ground. “And after what you said, I really feel like a heel because of it…”

“You mean that?” Shinji asked, walking over to her.

Asuka nodded, “And about that earlier question…I’m here because I want to see you again.”

Shinji didn’t say a thing, he only continued to stare at her.

“Time passed,” Asuka continued, “things changed, people changed. Maybe I once used to be a little girl who thought she was grown…maybe I’ve seen that it was foolish. The same could be said of you.”

“Me?” Shinji said, pointing to himself.

“Of course,” Asuka answered, “the way you used to be…you would never have said those things on that tape. You‘ve changed a lot, Shinji Ikari. And so have I.” She stood up, walked over to him, and looked him straight in the eye. “I have one question,” she said in a cold tone. “Did you mean all of what you said about me?”

Shinji tried to look away from Asuka’s face, but those ice blue eyes of hers wouldn’t let him. “Yes, I meant it,” he finally said.

Smiling, Asuka stepped back a little. “That’s all I wanted to know,” she sad before closing the gap and pressing her lips to his.

Shinji’s eyes went wide for a moment before he melted into the kiss. ‘Wow…’ was all his mind could come up with for the moment. A minute later, they separated and looked each other in the face. “And what does that mean?” he asked, unable to stop smiling.

“It means,” Asuka said, still catching her breath, “that your feelings have been returned.” Shinji just continued to stare at her with wide eyes. “I’ve had a lot of time to think in three years…and let’s just say that my opinion of you had already changed a lot before that package arrived. It just helped me figure out what that opinion was.”

The two just stood around, not knowing the right words to continue. “So…what happens now?” Shinji asked.

Asuka took a deep breath and looked back at him. “I want you to come home…to stay,” she said. “I know there are bad memories of Tokyo-3, but…there are others who miss you, others who wonder if you’re okay or not. And there can always be new, better memories to replace the bad ones.” Walking up to him, she took hold of his right hand. “Please?”

Looking into the redhead’s eyes, Shinji began to remember something he saw in a dream. His mother had come to him and told him that, ‘As long as you are alive, there is a chance for you too be happy. Don’t pass it by.’ After a few moments, he looked up into Asuka’s face. “Okay…let’s go home,” he said.

With that, Asuka grabbed Shinji around the neck and hugged him tightly. “Thank you…thank you for loving me,” she whispered. “But don’t even think that you’ve gotten away with what I’ve gone through after hearing that tape,” she mock-threatened, laughing all the while.

“Heh, sure thing,” Shinji said, walking back over to the house. “I just need to tell someone goodbye first.” Walking back inside, he shut the door and walked into the kitchen, where Val had seen everything from the window.

“I guess that advice I gave you was a good gamble, eh?” Val said with a smile.

Scratching the back of his head, Shinji nodded. “Yeah, I guess it was…”

“You’re really going back?” Val asked.

Shinji nodded, “Yeah, she wants me to go back…and the other want to see me again, too.”

“Told you,” Val said in a teasing tone.

“I know, I know,” Shinji said, “I just had to make sure.” Walking over toward her, he gave her a tight hug. “Thanks for everything, Val,” he said. “I promise I’ll come and visit.”

Returning the hug as best as she could, Val nodded. “You do that. And bring Misato over when you do. I do hope to meet her, too.”

“Oh, I will,” Shinji said. Walking to the back of the house, he packed what little he had into a suitcase. A few minutes later, Shinji walked back into the kitchen. “I guess this is goodbye then,” he said.

“Not for good, I hope,” Val said.

“Nope,” Shinji said, stepping out the door.

Asuka walked up to him, giving him a curious look. “Can I see that for a second?” she asked, pointing to the suitcase.

“Uh…sure,” Shinji answered, wondering what this was about.

Opening the case, Asuka saw about seven or eight sets of school uniforms. “Geez, you really need to alter your look a little bit,” Asuka said, shaking her head and closing the case. “But I guess if you did that you wouldn’t be…you.” She then handed him back the suitcase.

“And if you didn’t say things like that,” Shinji countered, “you wouldn’t be…you, right?”

Both of them shared a laugh on the way back to the train station, where they would head home…together. And for once, both would feel happy during the winter, without fear of bad memories or a gap in each others‘ hearts.

*****THE END*****

A/N: Ooh, I got a nice little warm feeling all over from writing this. I know it’s been promised for a while (according to the Omakes from “Nephilim“, this was “Alone With You” for quite some time), but I finally made good on releasing something else. It just happened to take me a…ahem, ’little’ while longer. But as long as this fic leaves that same warm feeling in others, it was all worth it.

If you’re looking for another “Author and His Muse” Omake…sorry. I felt that this fic would have better impact if it was just ‘the fic’ itself, no frills. Sorry in advance to those that liked the Omakes.

Speaking of future works from me…sad to say, but I am kinda out of good ideas that I can piece together easily. Maybe one day down the road, but…well, like this fic, only time will tell.

Pre-read was done, once again, by FinalMax. Thanks for the help again, dude!

As of the fourteenth of June in 2010, I have updated all of my fics...AGAIN. Not to worry, it’s mostly just small alterations/edits and spelling/grammar fixes.

As usual: good comments will be appreciated, bad ones will be ignored (or kept for firewood). But I do favor good/helpful criticism, so send it my way!

Until next our paths cross,
-AngelNo13Bardiel-
Last edited by AngelNo13Bardiel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:48 pm

Show, Don't Tell  SPOILER: Show

DISCLAIMER: Nope, still don’t own Evangelion or its characters, blah blah blah…why are you even reading this? I didn’t think anyone stops for these anymore… And as for timeline placement, this would occur during the episode 15 “kiss scene”.

SHOW, DON’T TELL

*****

“Hey, Shinji…wanna kiss me?” Asuka asked, sounding bored.

The words made Shinji Ikari look up at the redheaded girl and remove the earpieces to his S-DAT player from their place. Misato had left earlier to attend a wedding, leaving him and the sometimes-volatile Second Child alone. The night had passed slowly, both of them bored and neither saying anything to the other. But after visiting his mother’s grave earlier that day and having a rather cold conversation with Commander Ikari, the boy hadn‘t been in much of a mood to talk.

“Huh?” Shinji asked dumbly. ‘I had to have imagined that…’ he thought.

Asuka lifted her head from the table and turned to look at him. The idea had came to her both as a relief for boredom and a little “test” for the Third Child. ‘Maybe I can get a good reaction out of him,‘ she thought teasingly. “You know, kissing,“ she asked. “Ever done it before?”

Shinji shook his head. ‘What is she up to?’ he thought, not liking where this was going.

“Then, let's kiss,” Asuka said, leaning one arm on the back of her chair.

“Uh…why?” Shinji asked hurriedly. In truth, he had wanted to for a while. But, being the fatalist he is, decided that it was well beyond reason to look forward to anything like that.

“Because I don't have anything better to do,” Asuka answered with a sly grin.

“That’s your reason?” Shinji said, this whole conversation feeling a little strange to him. “Weird…”

Asuka noticed his odd expression and began to press on, wanting to see how far this could go. “Aww, what’s the matter? You don't want to kiss a girl on the anniversary of your mother's death?” she asked in a fake sweet tone. “Are you afraid that she might be watching us from Heaven?”

“No, that‘s not it…” Shinji said, realizing this was just another of the girl’s attempts to tease him.

“Or…are you afraid?” Asuka finished. ‘Heh, he‘ll back down right about now,’ she thought, liking the feeling of another victory.

Shinji had always felt a need to stand up to her occasional insult or tease, but never acted on those thoughts. Now, on the other hand, he decided would be a good time. ’Might even make her back down,’ he thought. Standing up, he tried to put on the most serious face he could. “I am not!” he said aloud. “Pucker up!” he said, a small adrenaline rush beginning to course through his system.

Asuka was, to say the least, highly surprised at his sudden surge of bravery, although she kept from looking it on the outside. ‘Hmm…this ought to be good,‘ she mused. “Alright,“ she said, nodding slightly. “You brushed your teeth?”

Shinji nodded, already steeling himself for anything she would try. ‘Too late to back out now,’ he told himself…although on the inside, it didn’t do much to stop his anxiousness.

“Then here I come,” Asuka said with confidence and took a few steps closer to the boy.

Coming within inches of each other’s faces, the blush on Shinji’s face became clearer than it had been a minute earlier. Just as Asuka was about to close the distance, he breathed slightly. Asuka shivered a little at the sensation and felt some of her resolve slip. ‘Wait, what if I…enjoy this?’ she asked herself, not really wanting to know the answer. ‘Sure, he’s not that bad-looking…for a little boy,’ she continued, already trying to cover up her nervousness. ‘Oh well…can’t stop here, he‘s not going to.’

“Your breath is tickling me,” she said finally, having come up with a way to solve her inner conflict. Before Shinji could react, she quickly clamped two fingers over his nose and pressed her lips to his.

The sensation was…different than either would have been led to believe. Despite having his air cut off, Shinji was enjoying the feeling. It wasn’t exactly earth-shattering, but it was something he had been wanting to do. Asuka was also enjoying the awkward kiss, albeit in a different way. It was unlike anything she had felt before. Even the small breath that had tickled her had actually been pleasant, but Heaven forbid she was going to tell him that.

They held like that for a few seconds before Shinji felt the urge to be a little bold, although he would be risking some physical pain. He reached to the hand Asuka was using to keep his nose closed and removed it, intertwining their fingers. Taking the initiative, he snaked his tongue slightly into Asuka’s mouth, causing her to snap her eyes open quickly and break off the kiss. The two teens stood there for a minute, each looking the other in the eyes and trying to catch their breath.

Finally, Shinji blinked a couple of times and fumbled for words. “Uh, um…Asuka, I…I…I’m sorry!” he quickly blurted, walking into the living room and seating himself on the couch. ‘Why did I do that?’ he asked himself, his mind blank and his heartbeat elevated. ‘Sure, I’ve been wanting to do that, but…I think I overdid it.’ he thought, closing his eyes for the imminent retaliation.

Asuka, on the other hand, still stood in the kitchen. She reached up to feel her lips, already missing the sensations that had coursed through her body, even though her mind wanted to deny them completely. ‘That was…very nice,’ she thought, feeling a little light-headed. ‘And I even made him go through with it. Although there for a second at the end…’ she stopped that line of thinking there, not wanting to believe she had just enjoyed kissing Shinji Ikari…a great deal.

A small part of Asuka’s mind had wondered what that would be like, and harbored a small inkling of interest in the boy. After that, however, she wondered if maybe that part had been right all along. ‘No, no, no,’ she repeated, shaking her head. ‘He’s…just a little boy, unlike Kaji. But he tried to deepen that kiss, maybe he…’ She stopped her thinking then and broke out of her trance, looking for Shinji. She found him sitting on the couch, his eyes shut tight. “Hey idiot,” she said, although without much conviction behind the usual insult.

Shinji opened his eyes and looked up at Asuka, not being able to hide the bright blush on his face. “You…you’re not going to…” he tried to get out, surprised she didn’t look really angry.

Asuka sighed and shook her head. “Just move over for a second,” she said flatly. “I think we need to talk.”

Shinji nodded slightly and moved a few inches over as the girl sat down and took a few deep breaths.

“Okay,” Asuka began, giving him a deadly serious look straight in the eye. “You have one chance to explain yourself.”

Shinji collected whatever remained of his earlier nerve and thought his words through carefully. “Well, I suppose I should begin by saying I’m sor-”

Asuka raised a hand to his mouth, cutting off the rest of that sentence. “Finish that and I’ll give you a black eye,” she said, lowering the hand. “Now continue.”

Shinji released the breath he’d been subconsciously holding and wiped the sweat from his forehead. “I…I don’t really know what to say,” he began, his voice scared and low. “I guess I had just wanted to do that for so long…and you seemed to like it…”

“Hang on just a minute,” Asuka interrupted. “You’ve been wanting to kiss me?” she asked, the idea never really having ran through her mind.

Shinji nodded slowly. “Yeah…for a couple of months now,” he said, felling his face warm up even more. “I just thought…I had found my chance…”

“Chance for what?” Asuka asked, getting anxious.

“…to show you how I feel,” Shinji finished, turning away from her. “I-I really like you, Asuka…I just figured…just maybe that,” he trailed off, hanging his head. “Ah, who was I kidding? Not like I’d get anywhere there.”

Asuka sat quietly for several minutes after his confession. The redhead had thought she’d seen Shinji give her occasional looks before, thinking he was watching her. ‘I guess that wasn’t my imagination,’ she mused. Watching the Third Child for a second, she could tell he wasn’t too far from shedding tears. ‘Damn…I didn’t think it meant that much to him,’ she thought, feeling a little guilty of playing off his feelings earlier.

Although in the back of her mind, Asuka was having an argument of sorts with herself. ‘He is a nice guy, I guess,’ she thought, ‘but I can’t take the chance of getting close. I could be hurt again…’ Several such conflicting thoughts ran through her head while they sat in a long silence. Looking back over at the saddened boy, she made a final decision. ‘I guess…I won’t find out if I don’t take some risks,’ she concluded. “Shinji…” she said softly.

Shinji sighed and turned back to face her. Looking into her face, he saw the scared little girl under her facade he’d seen one night before. “Yes?” he asked hesitantly.

“Do you want to kiss me…for real?” Asuka asked, her voice a bit uneven.

Shinji blinked a few times and looked down again. “You’re just toying with me again…” he said under his breath.

“No,” Asuka answered, “I mean it this time.”

Shinji raised his head sharply at that. “Are you…serious?” he asked, swallowing heavily.

Asuka nodded and edged towards him a little. “I…I just need to make sure of something,” she said quietly.

“Which is?” Shinji asked.

Sighing, Asuka continued. “I guess we’ll just see…” she managed before quickly beginning their second kiss of the evening.

This one was much less awkward than the first had been, the both of them enjoying the new sense of closeness. After a few tentative seconds, Asuka began to probe the boy’s mouth with her tongue. Shinji shivered a little at the feeling and began to do the same in return. He ran the back of his right hand across her face, enjoying the soft feeling of her skin and the scent of her hair as much as this kiss. ‘Strawberries…’ he thought through a haze. Asuka was enjoying the attention he was giving her immensely. ‘He’s really gentle,’ she thought, ‘like I’m the most fragile thing ever.’ After a couple of heated minutes, the two separated to catch their breath. After a few seconds, Asuka yawned and shifted a little, laying her head on his left shoulder.

Shinji just sat, continuing to wonder if he was daydreaming again or not. After pinching himself to make sure, he looked down at the girl to his side. “So…does this mean anything has changed between us?” he managed to ask, smiling for the first time that day.

Asuka looked up at him. “You might say that. But don’t go assuming anything yet,” she said, pausing there to yawn again. “There’s…still a lot I need to decide. I like being close like this, but…”

“…but what?” Shinji pressed.

“…the last time I was close to someone,” Asuka continued, “it ended up hurting me. I never wanted to be close to anyone again.”

Shinji laid his head on hers and said, “Well, I can tell you one thing.”

“Hmm?” Asuka said sleepily.

“I’ll never hurt you on purpose,” Shinji finished. “I promise.” After awaiting a response for a few minutes, Shinji looked down and noticed that the redhead had fallen asleep on his arm. “Just like a real angel…” he thought aloud, giving her delicate features a close look. Yawning and feeling the lull of sleep come to him, Shinji laid his head back and closed his eyes. ‘I guess this was a good day, after all…’ was his last thought before falling asleep himself…

*****

Asuka awoke to the sound of her alarm clock. Sitting up, she noticed that she was in her own bed and that she was still wearing the same shirt and shorts she’d worn the night before. Then the events of the previous night came back to her. The kiss…the closeness…all of it. ‘He asked if things had changed between us…I still need to give him an answer,’ she remembered. “I wonder how I got back here?” she asked herself. Looking over to her dresser, she saw a folded piece of paper.

Getting to her feet and stretching, Asuka walked over and picked the item up. The note had the words ‘For Asuka’ on the shown side. Unfolding it, she began to read…

*****

Asuka,

I just want to thank you for last night. I’m not sure how you feel, but…well, I already explained it to you. I meant what I said, though: I really like you a lot, and I hope we can talk more about it tomorrow.

A little while after you fell asleep, Kaji brought Misato home. Apparently, she’d drank a little too much and had to be carried back to the apartment. I was a little embarrassed when he noticed how we’d fallen asleep, but I explained that I couldn’t tell him about it in full. I want to keep that a secret between us…at least, for now. But he said we made a nice couple, I just hope that’s true. He gave me a little advice about that, in his way. I know how you feel towards him and…I kinda wish you felt like that towards me. But somehow…I feel that I don’t have to worry much there.

If you’re wondering how you got back in your room, I managed to carry you. You’re lighter than I thought, I‘ll say that. I made sure you were nice and comfortable before leaving. To be honest…I watched you for a few minutes before going. You’re even more beautiful in your sleep…

As far as I’m concerned, you are the most beautiful thing I’ve met. Along with strong-willed and intelligent…although I know there are some flaws, I can accept those easily. Hell, what happened earlier still feels like a bit of a dream. Like this song I once heard: “Did I have a dream, or did the dream have me?” At the moment, I feel like it’s the latter.

On a last note, a few seconds after you fell asleep, I made both you and myself a promise: I would never hurt you on purpose or let anything hurt you again. I’m not sure if I can hold myself to that…but I’m willing to try. I just want to prove to you that I care. And I hope you can see just how much I do.

Shinji

*****

Asuka smiled brightly after reading the note. She had once promised herself she’d never cry again, but that had almost made her break it. She could tell he put a lot into the words on the paper, and last night had also proven them in a way. ‘Maybe I just might give him an answer, then,’ she thought.

Looking over to the clock, Asuka noticed it wouldn’t be that long before school began. ‘Hmm, not quite enough time for a talk now,’ she thought, removing a uniform from her closet and setting it out on her bed. She then walked quietly out of her door and towards Shinji’s room. Opening the door and slipping inside, she noticed that he was still asleep. Closing the door and walking over towards the bed, she shook him a few times.

“Shinji…Shinji…” Asuka whispered. “Wake up…”

Shinji cracked open his eyes and sat up after a few minutes, looking up at the girl. “Morning Asuka,” he said groggily. “I guess this means you read the note,” he said with a small smile.

Asuka just smiled and leaned down towards him. “We’ll let this answer for me,” she said. And with that, she planted a soft kiss on his lips, only holding it for a few seconds. “Now get up, you lazy boy,” she said in a mocking tone of her usual self. Walking back to the door, she turned around before leaving and flashed him a smile. “We’ll talk about it later, okay?” she asked.

Shinji nodded and watched her walk out of the room and heard her own door open and close. Falling back on his bed, the boy looked at the ceiling and sighed heavily. ‘I guess the risks were worth it,’ he mused before beginning to ready himself for another usual day…although usual days would promise to be different from now on.

*****THE END*****

A/N: Yeah, I know…you’ve read six or seven dozen just like it. Well, oh well. The idea for this one came to me a few days ago and wouldn’t go away until I’d written it in full. And in my opinion, if it’s something I want to read, I’ll write it. That’s just how I’ve always done fics. But in all honesty, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I do this for the fans (and my own immense liking of this pairing).

As an aside, I would like to thank everyone who has read my previous works and enjoyed them. Think of this one as my present to you.

Nope, no Omake here either. Like SOT, I figured the fic would have more of an effect if it didn’t have one. So if anyone misses Mitsumi and her sisters…I’m sorry. Hopefully, we’ll hear more from them in another fic (and they’re kinda on tour right now).

As for more fics from me…well, this one popped up on short notice, so there might be a chance of that in the future. Just keep your eyes open for more.

Pre-read for this fic was done by King Alar. Thanks for the help and criticism, man.

As of the fourteenth of June in 2010, I have updated all of my fics...AGAIN. Not to worry, it’s mostly just small alterations/edits and spelling/grammar fixes.

As usual: good comments will be appreciated, bad ones will be ignored (or kept for firewood). But I do favor good/helpful criticism, so send it my way!

Until next our paths cross,
-AngelNo13Bardiel-
Last edited by AngelNo13Bardiel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

AngelNo13Bardiel
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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:49 pm

This one's a little different...

I Won't Let You Fall Apart  SPOILER: Show

DISCLAIMER: No, still don’t own Evangelion or its characters…and probably never will. This fic starts sometime after the 16th Angel and before the beginning of episode 24, so standard spoiler warnings are in effect. And to clarify, ‘this’ is thoughts and “this” is speech. Lastly, most of this fic is written from Shinji’s perspective.

I WON’T LET YOU FALL APART

*****

I roll over and look at the clock on my desk. ‘Almost three in the morning,’ I thought dimly. I had been having trouble sleeping as of late. Not really insomnia, more like…

Through my wall, I hear a small sound. “Not again,” I say quietly, already knowing what the sound was. It was the same sound that had been keeping me awake at night for several days.

It was Asuka, sobbing ever so slightly. You almost couldn’t hear it unless you tried…but I can, even if I try not to listen. She hadn’t slept in the apartment much in the last couple of weeks, mostly staying over at Hikari’s place. But when she was home, she cried in her sleep. ‘Probably doesn’t even know she is,’ I thought, the sound causing me to flinch. ‘That…thing invaded her mind,’ I think, recalling what Misato had told me after that battle. For much of the time after that, Asuka had been more moody than normal and avoided contact with much of anyone.

Another sob comes through the wall, and I feel myself shudder. I already have enough to think about lately without being kept awake by those sounds. Misato had taken Kaji’s death rather hard and immersed herself in work to deal with it. And Rei…I take a second to collect my thoughts there. After watching her ’death’ and seeing what Ritsuko showed me at the bottom of NERV headquarters…I don’t know how to even approach the girl anymore. My friends have left Tokyo-3 after Unit-00’s destruction along with most of the city’s population. ‘Probably won’t see them again,’ I thought bitterly. They couldn’t understand, not that many would.

The sound of crying from the other room interrupts my thoughts again. My thoughts on Asuka have been…chaotic, to sum it up. Hearing the sobs from her room has kept me awake, and not for any usual reason. I…I’ve had this feeling I can’t explain come about me when she’s around. Lately though, her usual fire has been gone almost completely.

And it pains me to see that, even a little. Every time she cries, I can feel a new tear on my heart, a new mark that won‘t go away. I always thought of it as a crush…ever since we met on the “Over the Rainbow”, I’ve wanted her. At first, like any other boy would. “Damn hormones,” I muttered. But that last night of the synch training, I saw through to a scared little girl underneath. And since then, that feeling has become more. I would almost say I love her, except that I’m not sure how love would feel. ‘Haven’t been on the receiving end of that emotion for about ten years,’ I think solemnly.

Another small whimper echoes in my ears. I can’t think of what to do about them. Even before she became like this, Asuka had been a difficult person to approach. Now…I was unsure of even how to talk to her. I wanted to reach out, help her, understand her…anything that would help. “I’m still a coward,” I say, berating myself for doing nothing. I can only imagine how she feels…her failure to synch with Unit-02 during the last battle likely hit her harder than I can guess. And whatever else kept her crying in her sleep…

I hate myself for not trying to know her more. If only I did, I could do something to relieve her sorrow. Now I can only listen while she falls into depression, somewhere I had been many times. ‘Still there right now,’ I think. And at some points, I remember what thoughts had come to me. Wishing for my own death, hoping it could end my troubles. But I couldn’t do it, I’ve been too cowardly to. But Asuka…I don’t even want to think about it. In her state, she might not give it a second thought.

I can’t bear that thought. I can feel tears welling up into my eyes from just thinking it. Then, I feel it. A sensation in the back of my mind, almost an errant thought, that tells me what has to be done. I sit up in bed and curl up as best as I can, keeping that train of thought in place. I haven’t been able to be there for her sometimes when she needed me…something that also makes me hate myself further. “But there’s nothing I can do about it anymore,” I say, my voice cracking. But I can’t watch her break down anymore. “I can’t let her, I won’t let her,” I muse, each word sounding more convincing. “I promise, from now on, I will not let anything further happen to Asuka. Not from people, not from Angels, not even from herself,” I said into the darkness of my room. It didn’t matter if anyone else heard me, that promise was made to myself. And I would be damned if I wouldn’t keep it…

*****

Suddenly, I hear the sound of someone getting out of bed and opening a door. I get up slowly and walk over to my own door, opening it slightly and taking a look. I see Asuka’s back as she turns and walks into the kitchen. I open the door a bit more and sneak down the hall, trying to avoid any noise. As I peer around the corner into the kitchen, I see Asuka standing there in an oversized shirt and a pair of shorts. I look up to her face. Still a beautiful face, but drained of its normal radiance and frowning heavily. Her hand reaches out and picks something up. I lean a little further into the room to get a better look. When I did, I wish I had seen something else.

In her hand, Asuka held a carving knife. A strange look was on her face, as if she was in deep thought. Then I realized what she had in mind. ‘Oh no,’ I thought, my eyes going wide and my heartbeat accelerating. She put the blade to her wrist slightly and whispered something. I was terrified, but I had to do something. I had just promised I wouldn’t let anything, even herself, hurt her anymore. Without giving it another thought, I went with my instinct and quickly closed the gap between her and me and grabbed the hand wielding the knife.

“Let me go!” she screamed, the fire in her eyes becoming bright again. She struggled with me for a few seconds before putting her fist into my face. I fell to the floor with a bloody nose, gasping a little. Getting back to my feet, I saw that Asuka had begun to cut across her left wrist. Again, I lunged and grabbed her hands, making every effort to pry it from her grasp. “Get the fuck off me! I don‘t want your help!” she screamed at me during the struggle. As I tried going for the knife, I managed to cut my hands several times against the blade. But I put every bit of strength I had into getting it loose. ‘She’s still very strong,’ I thought before she kneed me in the stomach. I fell, the air leaving my lungs for a minute. When I looked up, Asuka had resumed the cut she began on herself. I grabbed at her wrist was met with a few errant swings of the knife, leaving deep cuts along my arms. But I made no effort to dodge her…I wasn’t going to let Asuka do any more damage to herself. My own wounds were nothing compared.

Asuka lunged at me, screaming and slashing to get away. I cringed at the pain as one of them caught my right arm. Feeling a surge of adrenaline, I grabbed at the knife, getting a grip on the handle. Grabbing her other wrist with my left hand, I managed to wrench the knife from her hand and tossed it across the kitchen. But she continued to struggle in my hands, kicking and yelling at me. I mouthed ‘I’m sorry’ before I reached back with my right hand and slapped her as hard as I could, in the hope that she would come to her senses.

Asuka hit the floor, holding her face and looking at me with a mixture of horror and disgust in her eyes. I stood there for a minute, bleeding and trying to catch my breath before explaining myself. “I…I’m sorry I did that,” I began. “I never meant to harm you, but I can’t let you go and kill yourself.” I leaned down on my right knee and continued. “Didn’t you think about anyone else? How they would feel?” I said, my voice with as much conviction as I could manage. “I’m not going to just sit idly by and le-” I was cut off in mid-sentence by the feeling of her foot in my chest. I felt light-headed and fell to the floor, grunting in pain. I watched as Asuka got to her feet and ran to the front door, opening it and disappearing into the night.

Several minutes later, I struggled to get to my feet through a haze of pain. I had cuts along my hands, my arms, and my side. I could feel blood still coming out of my nose and what felt like the beginning of a black eye. ‘And no telling how many bruises,’ I thought. But I didn’t have time to mend my wounds. I walked over to the front door and followed Asuka. She was scared, desperate, and depressed. No doubt she would try to finish what she started here. I repeated that promise in my head several times, closing the door behind me. Somewhere in Tokyo-3, there’s a suicidal young woman I can’t let go…

*****

I had walked around the city for hours now, not seeing any sign of Asuka. I could feel the dried blood on my hands and face, but I couldn’t stop for anything else now. I had been everywhere I thought I would find her. Hikari’s house, downtown, the school, the Geofront…everywhere. I was beginning to lose hope and could feel myself becoming sluggish. “Lost a bit too much blood,” I muttered. After a few minutes, I came to a bench. Giving myself a few moments to breathe, I looked at my watch. ‘Ten forty-six…,‘ I mused. It had been over six hours since I last saw her. “Goddammit, Asuka…where are you?” I said, a few stray tears falling.

I was hurting all over, but not from physical pain. During my search, I tried to imagine if she had managed to succeed in her earlier efforts. But I just couldn’t, the idea making my heart ache greatly. “Is this what love feels like?” I asked myself, close to crying. And really, I guess this was damn close. Just the thought of being without her, even if she wanted nothing to do with me…I stopped that idea there. “No,” I stated, “I’m done running away.” And I was, I was honestly tired of it. If I could save her from herself, I would sit down with her and put it into words. “But I have to find her first,” I said, standing back up and walking down the street.

A few blocks up the street led me to some destroyed buildings on the outskirts of town. As I walked through the rubble, I continued to think of what I was feeling. I hated having to hurt Asuka, but I thought it would snap her out of it. “I guess that didn’t work,” I said, feeling let down with my actions. I promised that nothing would hurt her again, and yet I couldn’t keep her from running from me. “Maybe she’s just as hurt as me,” I thought aloud. And she could be, maybe even more so than me. I sighed, wishing again that I had done things differently before she began to break.

The sound of water dripping snapped me out of my thoughts and back into reality. I followed the sound, not knowing what else to do. A few seconds later, I came upon a sight I can never forget. Asuka lay naked in a bathtub full of dirty water, her clothes neatly folded nearby. The water had turned a slight shade of red, making me fear the worst. “No, no, no, no,” I repeated over and over, walking to the side of the tub and reaching in. I grabbed her left arm and pulled it out of the water, looking over the wrist. “Oh god,” I managed through tears as I saw the cut from earlier had been finished. Quickly reaching over to her other arm, I pulled it from the tub and looked at the wrist. “Shit!” I yelled, seeing another cut like the first. I hastily grabbed her wrist and checked her pulse, hoping to hear a heartbeat. There was still one there, albeit a bit slow.

I wasted no time in pulling Asuka’s nude form from the tub and over to her clothes. Ripping the sleeves off her shirt, I tied them tightly on her sliced wrists like tourniquets and wrapped the rest of the shirt around her. I put my arms around the underside of her legs and her back and began running as fast as I could carrying her. I had failed…failed to protect her from harm. But I wouldn’t let her die on me, not while I was still breathing. I ran towards the hospital, the panic and fear on my expression as equal to what was in my heart…

*****

It’s been three weeks since I brought Asuka in with her self-inflicted cuts. I sit in a chair near the bed in her hospital room, watching her. The doctors told me she’d fallen into a coma and they weren’t sure when she would awaken. As for my own wounds, they’ve since been cleaned and bandaged…but that doesn’t matter to me. All that really matters is that I failed in my promise. I couldn’t stop her from hurting herself. The nurses told me I probably saved her life, which I’m glad for but made me feel no less responsible. “If only I’d been quicker…” I kept telling myself. I haven’t been back to Misato’s apartment since that night. When she visited the room the next day, I told her about what had happened in the kitchen and how I found her in that bathtub. Misato just stood there, quietly crying and putting a firm hand on my shoulder. It did little to comfort me, though.

I sat there, day after day, talking to Asuka and hoping she’d wake up. I only left to shower and do synch tests…except for about a week ago. The Fifth Child, who had been selected to replace Asuka shortly after the last battle, had turned out to be the last Angel. He had taken control of Unit-02 and headed towards the bottom of NERV headquarters. Section 2 agents escorted me from the hospital room to the EVA cages, where I was to fight one last time. As the machine began to start up, I began to understand something. The Angels…they were what had caused all of this to happen. That one that had mind-raped Asuka, the one that killed Rei, Misato’s need for revenge against them…my own pain stems from theirs. I don’t clearly remember what happened after that, only that I was blinded and deafened by rage. I spotted the Angel in the main shaft, a gray-haired albino boy about my age wearing the Tokyo-3 school uniform. I didn’t even feel any hesitation with the next actions. Before he could turn Unit-02 on me, I willed Unit-01 to reach out and grab him. A split-second later, there was a sickening sound as the last Angel was crushed. I didn’t even know his name…but at the moment, it didn’t matter. Only that the Angels were gone and they wouldn’t cause any more pain and sorrow.

After that, I continued to watch over Asuka, just wanting to see her open her eyes again. I cried myself to sleep every night right there, still blaming myself. I had saved her life, but I failed to keep my promise. To me, that had been the only thing that mattered. I felt myself having suicidal thoughts, wanting to die because of my inaction. But once again, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Not because I was too afraid, but because I wasn’t going to abandon Asuka now.

I awoke to hear the sounds of alarms announcing an invasion by JSSDF soldiers. I didn’t know what it was about, but I could care less. I had almost decided to stay there and give up, but looking down at the girl on the bed, I couldn’t do it. She couldn’t possibly defend herself now. And I made a new promise, that I would do whatever I could to save her. I gently picked Asuka up and started running towards headquarters. Once inside, a group of NERV guards approached me and told me to hand Asuka over to them. They were going to try and keep her alive by putting her in Unit-02 and stowing it at the bottom of the lake in the Geofront. I agreed and handed her off to them, taking off a moment later for the EVA cages. As I sat in that machine again, I heard Misato brief me about the main threat, the EVA mass-production series. I didn’t listen to most of it, only concentrating on how to dispatch the enemy. ‘They’re not going to hurt her, I swear to God,’ I thought. During the ascent to the Geofront, I began to realize something. “I’m not going to come back,” I whispered. I had a strong feeling I wasn’t, but it didn’t scare me that bad.

A few seconds after reaching the Geofront, I caught sight of them. Nine white EVA units, all carrying large sword-like weapons. I felt the rage boil over again, and I ripped right into the first one I saw. I willed my machine to tear it in half, throwing the other half at another advancing unit and reaching for the prog knife. The next two were taken down with the knife, digging it into their flesh as deeply as I could. The knife broke under the pressure of Unit-01’s grip and I was weaponless. I willed it to run to one of the fallen unit’s swords and pick it up. As soon as I did, another came from the left and was met with his allies’ own blade. But as I turned to pick another target, I felt a sharp pain in my right side. Looking down, I saw a large hole open up there and bleed into the LCL. Turning to the attacker, I was met with the gaze of one of the EVAs I’d taken down. Then another stab, this time in my left thigh. Looking though the entry plug, I saw that their weapons had reformed into twin-pronged spears.

But they didn’t finish me off. Instead, I felt myself begin to float. I looked out to see the other EVAs gather around me and unfurl their wings, lifting Unit-01 into the sky. Before long, they were all in the skies high above the remains of Tokyo-3. Looking down into the Geofront, I saw the lake NERV had stored Unit-02 in. I had no idea what these EVAs intended to do with me, but I wasn’t going to take the chance it would hurt Asuka. “I…I just knew this was it,” I said, almost laughing. ‘Looks like I’m not going to be able to keep that promise either,’ I thought, reaching behind the entry plug’s seat. “I love you, Asuka,” I continued, “and I’m sorry.” I worked the controls and pulled the handle, setting the self-destruct into motion.

Deep under the waters of the lake, inside Unit-02, Asuka Langley Sohryu opened her eyes just in time to hear a massive explosion far overhead…

*****

A month later, Asuka stood before a large stone marker. Dressed in her yellow sundress and carrying an umbrella, she stood there while collecting her thoughts about the person this monument represented. Her eyes were red and had dark circles under them, sleep deprivation and tears the obvious causes.

Sometime after the news was told to her, she had stumbled on a journal of Shinji’s musings. The last date had been the night of her attempt. The last words were what explained it all. “I promise, I will not let her fall apart,” it read, the truth hitting her hard. He gave his life for hers, without even wanting anything in return. Shinji had loved her enough to do that.

Asuka looked to the sky and saw rain begin to fall. Opening the umbrella, she wiped away tears that had fallen thinking about him. Turning to walk away, she looked back at the marker. “I promise to live on…for you,” she said sadly, trying to smile.

*****THE END*****

A/N: Okay, I’m sure some of you want to kill me for this. Or just wonder what became of me. Nothing, really. But doing something outside your normal areas is crucial for evolution. A necessary evil, if you will. So…I wrote this. The idea came to me some time back and I finally gave in and wrote it. Reasoning behind that decision? Bad shit has happened since the last fic and this is a perfect way to get over it. Just don’t expect more like this from me…

Don’t even think about an Omake. Darkfics and light-hearted Omakes don‘t go together..

Pre-read for this fic was done by tenokomaster and Stormofdragons. Thanks for the help and feedback, guys.

As of the fourteenth of June in 2010, I have updated all of my fics...AGAIN. Not to worry, it’s mostly just small alterations/edits and spelling/grammar fixes.

As usual: good comments will be appreciated, bad ones will be ignored (or kept for firewood). But I do favor good/helpful criticism, so send it my way!

Until next our paths cross,
-AngelNo13Bardiel-
Last edited by AngelNo13Bardiel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:50 pm

And lastly, the new one...written after a four-and-a-half-year gap.

The Long and Winding Road  SPOILER: Show

DISCLAIMER: Despite opinions to the contrary, I am still quite alive…just very inactive. And of course, I still don’t own Evangelion or its characters…and probably never will. This is a sequel to Somewhere Out There, so read it first if you haven’t. Which also means it hasn’t a thing to do with Rebuild, just the original series/movies. And lastly, ‘this’ is thoughts and “this” is speech.

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD

*****

An eerie silence hung over the medical wing at NERV headquarters, broken up only by the faint beeping of an EKG hooked up to its single current patient. Shinji Ikari sat quietly beside a bed occupied by one Asuka Langley Sohryu, staring at the ground and lost in his thoughts.

‘It’s been weeks…but still barely any movement,’ he mused thinking of the girl next to him. ‘Misato still makes regular visits, but she always seems preoccupied by other things.’ He’d been here for almost half a week, not really caring of much else. ‘Not like Asuka will be happy to see me if she does wake,’ he thought morosely. ‘But…I just wish,’ the thought cut off as he fought off the urge to cry again. ‘Won’t do me any good, not many tears left for that.’

Sliding his chair over, he took the girl’s left hand in his. “Asuka…” he spoke, his voice cracking slightly, “I know I’ve said this before here, but…I want you to wake up. Say something, anything to me. Doesn’t even have to be remotely nice, just…anything,” he muttered between small chokes. “Whatever you say, I still have something to say to you. I’m not sure if I should, though,” he spoke softly. “I’m afraid of what could come of it. But seeing you like this…I don’t want to leave it unspoken.”

The silence fell back over the room, punctuated by light sobbing. Then an alarm began to sound throughout the medical wing. ’Oh no,’ Shinji thought while wiping his eyes. ’I thought it was over.’ He put his head in his hands and wanted to cry again, but looked over at Asuka. ’She’s helpless, not even able to defend herself,’ he thought, feeling a tight knot form in his gut. “Alright,” he began, wiping his face and putting on a determined look, “this is for you…for all of you.” He stood from the chair and ran towards the door, out into the hall.

Just as he began to reach the elevators, Shinji was blinded by a bright light and felt the world fall away…

*****

“Now approaching Tokyo-3,” a voice spoke, “now approaching Tokyo-3. Gather your things.” Shinji’s eyes shot open, looking around him. Asuka stirred lightly on his right shoulder, mumbling something incoherent. “Just on the loop line,” he told himself, wiping his brow and sighing. “Same damn dream again,” he said, feeling the last of it drain from his person. Looking out the window, he saw the familiar skylight of the city he hadn’t seen in three years. ‘And yet,’ he mused, ‘not much looks different.’

Shinji glanced over at the sleeping redhead. “Hey Asuka,” he started quietly, “wake up, we’re here.”

A yawn came over Asuka as she rubbed her eyes and smiled at him. “Morning…” she mumbled, looking up at him before narrowing her eyes and losing the smile. “You’d better not have been touchy with me while I was asleep,” she flatly stated.

“Huh?” Shinji quickly asked, turning a rather bright red and trying to get a response out.

Asuka began to smile again and gave a small laugh. “Oh you’re just too easy, Shinji,” she said, sitting up and planting a small kiss on him.

“Come on, I thought you’d have quit that by now,” Shinji said, feeling his flushed face leave him. He stood up and stretched, grabbing his suitcase and extending a hand towards the only other passenger. “Let’s go,” he told her.

Asuka took his hand and also stood, yawning again. “Geez, that was an uncomfortable rest,” she said looking at the train seat.

“Not exactly what it was built for,” Shinji replied.

“What about you?” Asuka asked, noticing a far-off look in his eyes.

Shinji shook his head a bit. “Oh…old memories,” he said. “Not really bad, just sad.”

The two teens walked off the train car and out into the winter chill of the morning. Reaching the sidewalk, Shinji took a long breath and stared at the city in the distance. “I guess I’d call this a homecoming,” he said. Looking behind him, he was reminded of something he hadn’t done since he was last here. “Asuka,” he started, “before we head home, there’s somewhere we have to go.”

“Huh?” Asuka asked, turning towards him. “Where?”

“Trust me,” Shinji answered, “this is one of the more important stops for me here.”

*****

After an hour’s walk in the cold quiet, Shinji and Asuka found themselves in a field of black obelisks. “This is…” Asuka trailed off.

“Yeah…” Shinji finished for her, “a cemetery.”

Walking several rows over, Shinji knelt down before two particular monuments. Asuka read the names, realizing why they were here. “Oh…I see,” she said hesitantly.

“Mother,” Shinji began, “I’m sorry I haven’t visited in so long. I’ve just been…trying to collect myself. But I’ve learned a few things.” A chill came over him as a breeze passed. “You were there the whole time…in the EVA. I’d always felt a warm presence in there, but I’d never have thought it was you,” he continued, wiping his eyes. “Thank you for protecting me.”

Standing up, Shinji grasped Asuka’s hand and smiled at the marker. “Mother, this is Asuka. I think I may have told you about her before,” he said.

“Hi ma’am,” Asuka bowed, trying to begin, “it’s nice to…meet you, I guess.” Releasing Shinji’s hand, she stepped back a few feet. “I don’t think you’ll have a thing to worry about,” she smirked, crossing her arms, “I’ll look after him just fine. He’ll need my help, after all…”

Shinji smiled a bit at the sarcasm and turned to the other marker, the smile leaving him. “Father…” he said, “I’m still not sure what I should say to you. So much left unsaid and still…I can’t find the words to forgive you.” Turning away from the grave, he continued. “That doesn’t mean I don’t understand why you did what you did. You just wanted to be with her. You just never learned to let go…” Pulling his arms around himself, he shivered and began again. “I don’t know if this is closure or not, but I felt I should visit anyway,” he finished, turning to Asuka. “Okay…we can go now,” he said to her, taking hold of her hand again.

Walking away, Asuka looked back and gave a silent prayer for her companion’s parents. ‘I’ll make sure he’s alright,’ she thought, continuing the walk back into town…

*****

Making it back into town around noon, Asuka felt the need to break the tense silence. “So…” she let the word hang in the air for a bit before continuing, “let’s get that sadness out of the air.” She spun around once and put her arms in the air, smiling brightly. “It’s Christmas Eve, for Heaven’s sake!” she said sternly. “We should be having some fun!”

“Well, what did you have in mind?” Shinji asked, looking about the street. ‘Almost exactly like it was,’ he thought.

“I had some shopping to do for tomorrow anyway, so I guess…” Asuka said, turning to look at the expression drop from Shinji’s face. “Oh come on,” she continued, “it won’t be that bad. You’re out on the town with the most beautiful girl in the city. How could you be anything but beaming?” she asked, a smirk across her face. “Who knows? Might even find you a new look…”

Shinji laughed a little, his fake resignation giving way. “I was only kidding,” he said. “Can’t I poke a little fun every now and then too?”

The two of them let a small laugh conclude that conversation before resuming their walk. “So how is everyone these days?” Shinji finally asked after a while. “Misato?”

“About as well as you’d expect,” Asuka answered, “considering Kaji and then you. She tries to hide it, but not that well. But you‘d never believe what she‘s doing for work…”

“What’s that?” Shinji replied.

“Bartender,” Asuka said flatly.

Shinji stopped in his tracks and tried to hold back a smile. “You’re…kidding me, right?”

“Not in the least,” Asuka answered seriously. “But you should know that she hasn’t drank since you disappeared…”

“Really took everything pretty hard, huh?” Shinji asked, feeling a bit guilty.

“Hey,” Asuka said, “it wasn’t just you. I mean, there’s Kaji for one thing. And then everything about NERV out in the public. Not knowing about you was just one thing on a tall pile.”

“I suppose…” Shinji said, staring towards the sky. “What about Rei?”

Asuka took a silent moment to ready her words. “Really…not much different,” she said. “But knowing about her now…it’s really no wonder.”

“Yeah…” Shinji added, remembering the Dummy Plug room.

“But that’s not to say I haven’t tried, at least,” Asuka continued, “to treat her better than I had before.”

“Really?” Shinji asked, his head snapping back to looking at her. “I wouldn’t have guessed anything between you two other than ambivalence…”

“Hey, I’ve done my share of growing,” Asuka said. “and that includes her too. A lot like what’s changed about my opinion of you. I can say the best I’ve done is extend the olive branch, so to speak.”

Smiling, Shinji pulled her in close and whispered, “Well then…I’m proud of you, Miss Sohryu.”

“No need to try and embarrass me,” Asuka said, trying hard to hide a growing blush.

“But I meant it,” Shinji replied. “That’s quite a change.”

“Not to change the subject or anything,” Asuka said, moving back a little, “but your other friends are doing well. I mean, as well as can be considering moving and then moving back within a few months.”

“Toji?” Shinji asked, feeling the old guilt about the Unit-03 incident.

“Getting by like always,” Asuka answered. “Prosthetics aside, he’s the same as you remember.” Looking over at Shinji’s expression, she continued. “Hey…no need to be down, he doesn’t blame you one bit. It was the Commander’s orders, after all. Now if only I could get used to him and Hikari making doe-eyes at each other…”

“Finally get it through his head, huh?” Shinji asked, glad his old friend had been well. “About time.”

Asuka’s surprise was almost palpable. “You knew?”

“Come on, Asuka,” Shinji replied, “it was pretty obvious to everyone. Just because I spent a lot of time being quiet didn’t mean I wasn’t listening. Something Rei taught me indirectly”

“Always observing those around you, huh?” Asuka said. “Makes me feel kinda dense.”

Shinji shook his head. “Nah, your opinion of him just clouded that thought,” he continued. “And Kensuke?”

“Practically had to be pried away from computers and televisions once all of NERV’s secrets came out in the open,” Asuka said, remembering those days. “Spent so much of his time wanting to know all those things and it’s just all spelled out like that…must be what all those urban-myth believers would do if things like Bigfoot and Loch Ness were answered.”

“Poor guy,” Shinji said, affording himself a small laugh.

“Otherwise…same guy, just a little older,” Asuka finished. Looking around, she realized they‘d reached their destination. “Oh hey,” she resumed, “we’ve made it to the shopping district.”

Shinji looked around the street at the many busy shops, most of which hadn’t even been there last time before the city was evacuated. “Wow, it’s so alive and cheerful,” he said. “Never quite seen it this busy.”

“These days, things are picking up. More people are moving in and staying for a change,” Asuka explained. “Being the site of all those Angel battles never can hurt, either. Makes it kind of an odd tourist spot.”

“Great…our old pain is their reason to come here,” Shinji joked half-heartedly.

Walking into a store, Asuka answered. “Could be worse, I guess,” she mused, shrugging.

*****

“I’m…really not feeling so sure about this,” Shinji said sometime later.

“Aw, trust me,” Asuka tried her best to pout, “I think I could find you a look that would make you more handsome.”

Standing in the men’s department, Shinji had resigned himself to doing more modeling than he’d like to do in a lifetime. “Oh, now you’re just teasing…” he replied.

Asuka shook her head slightly. “Really, I mean that.” She had felt the urge to a little teasing, though. “Hell, you’d be surprised the amount of girls in our school that found you cute back then,” she said, putting a small stack of clothes in his arms.

“Seriously?” Shinji said, feeling that old facial warmth return.

“Don’t let it go to your head, mister,” Asuka mock-threatened. “It’s going to be bad enough when school resumes and I’ll have to keep them away. Vultures…”

“Now you really are joking,” Shinji said, taking the stack into a changing room.

“Maybe…” Asuka continued, letting the last syllable hang. “Maybe not.”

Five minutes later, Shinji exited the room dressed in a leather jacket and denim jeans. “I dunno,” he said, “I don’t think it’s really me.”

Asuka looked him over for a bit before deciding. “It’s not bad…maybe not you, but not bad,” she said. “Well, try another one.”

A few minutes, another outfit is in place. “Well…I’m okay with it,” Shinji said while dressed in a dark blue suit. “Don‘t have much experience with a tie, though,” he continued, fumbling with the knot.

Asuka said nothing, just studying the young man’s appearance. ‘Not too shabby, Asuka, Makes him look a lot more mature,’ she thought. “Looks good on you. And the tie isn't necessary all the time, anyway,” she finally answered.

Shinji returned to the room once again. This time, however, the next outfit in question was slung back over the changing room door without being put on. “Oh ha ha,” he said, “very funny, Asuka.”

Asuka had a hard time not laughing, having gotten the reaction she was hoping for. “Why not?” she asked, trying not to giggle. “Shirtless with bicycle shorts isn‘t the worst idea…”

“I am not even going to continue with that joke,” Shinji said, himself having a hard time not laughing.

Another few minutes, Shinji returns from the dressing room in his regular black slacks and a t-shirt with pictures of a cat and a bullwhip on the front. “I don’t get it,” Shinji finally said, trying to figure it out.

Asuka, try as she might, couldn’t hold back this batch of laughter. “Trust me…it’s fitting,” she managed between laughs. “Okay, that was the last joke one.”

Rolling his eyes, Shinji returned to the dressing room again. “What about you?” he asked through the door while putting his original clothes back on. “Aren’t you going to get anything for yourself?”

“No, plenty of outfits to choose from at home,” Asuka replied. ‘Maybe I’ll finally get a chance to wear that one,’ she thought.

A couple more minutes pass, and Shinji leaves the room in his regular attire. “Anything else while we’re here?” he asked, picking his suitcase back up.

“Nope, already picked up everyone’s gifts for tomorrow,” Asuka replied, grabbing up the suit he’d liked.

*****

Ten minutes later, the couple found themselves leaving the store and resuming their walk home. “You didn’t have to pay for the suit,” Shinji said, carrying three large bags along with his suitcase.

“Consider it an early Christmas present,” Asuka replied, taking hold of his free hand. “After that…present I got a few days ago, it’s the least I could repay you with.”

Shinji said nothing, only smiling wide at the girl next to him. Their walk continued in silence until they reached a very familiar building. “Well,” Asuka said, turning to him, “ready to go home now?”

Looking up at the apartments, Shinji felt the various memories associated with his old home fade in and out of thought. “Yeah…sure,” he said softly, trying not to tear up. The two walked up the stairs to the floor Misato’s apartment occupied and up to its door.

Before unlocking the door, Asuka turned to Shinji and whispered, “Give me a minute to see if anyone’s home. Wouldn’t want to give her to much of a scare, you know?” He nodded, waiting out of view of the door as she unlocked the door and stepped inside. “I’m home,” she said, trying not to be too loud just in case.

Shinji walked through the door and into the apartment he’d missed many times in the last three years. “I’m home,” he whispered, saying it more for himself than anyone else. Moving down the hall to the door to his old room, he opened it to find that nothing had changed since he was last here before. ‘Not that I left a lot here,’ he mused to himself, sitting the suitcase down. The only thing that was different was his S-DAT player was on his desk. ‘I left it at headquarters before the invasion.’

“Misato found it,” Asuka’s voice came from behind Shinji, making him jump a little. “Don’t worry, she’s working right now,“ she told him, noticing his reaction. “We figured it was worth keeping considering how little you have.”

Shinji picked up the player and felt a twinge of nostalgia at the weight of it. “For a long time, this was how I’d cope with things,” he said, placing the device back down. “But…towards the end, it didn’t work as well anymore.”

“And these days,“ Asuka asked, “you don’t really need it, do you?”

Shaking his head, Shinji replied, “Not really, I’ve learned to deal with things better, not run from them.” A rustle at his feet brought the attention to a familiar sight. “Oh…Pen-Pen,” he said, almost having forgotten his guardian’s avian companion.

“Hard to tell his moods sometimes, but I’d say you were missed,” Asuka stated, pointing to the squawking pet at their feet.

“I sure missed him,” Shinji said, holding the bird in a hug. “Let me guess…you’d like fish?” A loud ‘wark’ pretty much gave the answer away. “Alright then,” he said after putting the bird down. “So when’s Misato supposed to be home?” he asked, looking through the refrigerator.

“Not really sure,” Asuka answered, “left a note that just says it’ll be a late night. Understandable, holidays always bring in drinking crowds.”

After placing a fish in Pen-Pen’s bowl, Shinji resumed his search around the apartment. “It’s no different than…” he began.

“Before you left?” Asuka completed his sentence. “Misato wanted to leave it as is if or when you came back. I agreed. It simply felt like the right thing to do.” Looking up the clock, she thought, ‘Almost evening already.’ Then an idea came to her. “Hey, wait here for a bit,” she said with a wink, heading towards her room.

Shinji sat down on the familiar floor of the apartment and took it all in. ‘Can’t believe they could keep it this clean,’ he mused, remembering how the apartment looked the first time he came here.

A half-hour later, Asuka returned dressed in a shimmering thigh-length red dress that was hugging all the right curves. “Well,” she announced, turning slowly a few times, “what do you think? I’ve been saving it for the right moment.”

Shinji, having turned nearly as red as the dress, tried in vain to get an answer out. ‘My God,’ he thought, ‘I didn’t think she could get any prettier.’

“Guess that answers that,” Asuka said, smirking all the while.

“Y-you…” Shinji finally managed, “you’re absolutely stunning…”

“Why, Shinji,” Asuka said, placing a hand on her face, “I do believe you know how to make a girl feel special.”

“Can’t be helped,” Shinji said, the red of his face fading, “it’s just the truth. You‘ve got something special planned, don‘t you?”

“Oh you just wait and see,” Asuka said, enjoying the attention. “Get yourself in that new suit and we’ll just see what the evening brings…”

*****

An hour later, Shinji and Asuka found themselves once again in town. The sky turned had grey, a light snow beginning to fall. “I’m glad we finally have some winter again,” Asuka said. “That weird eternal-summer we’ve had for years was getting pretty old.”

“It is a nice change of pace,” Shinji agreed. “So where are we headed?”

“Not anywhere in particular,” Asuka answered, shrugging, “just having a good time.”

After fifteen-or-so more minutes of travel, and idea came to Shinji. ‘Yeah, that’d be a good spot,’ he thought. “Hey Asuka,” he said, turning to the girl beside him. “I’ve got an idea. Wait here, I’ll be right back,” he finished, heading inside a convenience store.

Ten minutes later, Asuka found herself following Shinji into a quiet part of the city. “Where are you taking us?” she asked impatiently.

“A very nice spot someone once showed me,” Shinji replied.

“Who? A past girlfriend?” Asuka teased.

“Nope,” Shinji said, ignoring her joking, “Misato. Right after fighting the Angel that was here when I arrived.” Arriving at the spot, he gestured to the bluff his guardian had showed him that first sunset. “Well, we’re here.”

“Very nice…” Asuka said, enjoying the view of a Tokyo-3 sunset in the snow. The two sat down on a bench nearby and took a couple of ready-made bentos Shinji had picked up in the convenience store. “Not really any different than other dinners Misato and I’ve had since you were gone.”

“Neither of you have improved in cooking, huh?” Shinji asked.

“I have somewhat,” Asuka answered. “Misato-”

“-not so much, right?” Shinji finished.

“Oh, most certainly not,” Asuka said, laughing. “More often than not, they come out inedible.”

The two shared a last laugh at that thought before starting their meals. After a while, Asuka decided to break the silence. “So…tell me about Val,” she said.

Shinji paused mid-bite and thought her question through. “I pretty much told you what I know on the tape,” he began. “I spent the first month or so there in and out of consciousness from my injuries. After I came to, I got to know her…but mostly I spent a lot of that time with thoughts of what had happened before the battle. Not really the most receptive houseguest, now that I think back on it…”

“Were you close?” Asuka asked, wanting to know more about his time away.

“Not until about a year ago. Up to that point, I just kind of…avoided talking too much about what I’d been through,” Shinji continued. “After a while, she just figured opening up to me would have me do the same for her. She was right, of course. We began to talk of the people I‘d known here and well…I already explained the rest.”

“One thing you didn’t ever tell me, though,” Asuka said. “What’s her last name? I‘d like to thank her one day for this last two days and whatever comes after…and it‘d be nice to know her by more than just ‘Val‘.”

“Valerie Dyne,” Shinji replied.

“On the tape, you said she was American,” Asuka continued, “Where’s she from?”

“Somewhere in Maine,” Shinji said, remembering their conversations, “if I’m remembering correctly. Told me she came to Japan because of the ‘scenic beauty,’ as she put it, after finishing college. Not more than six months before I showed up on her doorstep. The way she tells it, she‘s seeing the world as a way of finding herself.”

“You both had something in common there,” Asuka stated.

“No, I was just avoiding the world,” Shinji said, “but yeah, that did help me find myself.”

Silence fell over the rest of the meal, the two young adults eating and watching the sun set over the city…

*****

Returning to the apartment sometime after dark, Shinji and Asuka returned to their rooms and changed into more leisurely clothing. Him in his usual uniform, her in an oversized yellow shirt and jean shorts. They then sat on the couch, deciding to watch some TV together.

After a long silence in the television’s glow, Asuka laid her head on Shinji’s shoulder and pulled his arm over her own shoulder. “Still not quite bold enough to just put an arm around me yet, huh?” she asked, looking up at his face.

“I know how it is with you,” Shinji joked, smiling. “I make a move without asking, I lose that appendage, right?”

Inching closer to his face, Asuka replied, “Fast learner. But what if you were given permission?”

Shinji inched even closer, their lips now nearly touching. “I think I’d like that, ma‘am,” he continued to tease back.

Neither could hold back smiles and began laughing at the extremely close proximity to each other, the giggling dying down after several seconds. His composure regained, Shinji decided to test his luck by closing the short distance and planting a short kiss on her lips. He gave the girl another on her right eyelid, then the left before returning to her lips again. Asuka reciprocated as best as she could after that display, introducing her tongue to his. Several moments passed like this, both feeling immense warmth despite the temperature outside. Hands began moving about one another, lust ready to take root.

Shinji began to feel a hungry longing from deep within stir and broke off the kiss, both of them panting heavily. “I think…we should take it easy,” he said, finally finding the voice to speak again. “That almost went too far.”

“Y-yeah,” Asuka agreed, her facial color almost matching her hair. “But…what if that’s what we want?”

Shaking his head, Shinji continued. “We’re both young and just getting used to this…I don’t think it’d be right to move that fast,” he explained. “Back when we could face death any day…maybe. But we’ve got all the time we need these days,” he finished, sitting up and straightening his clothes.

Asuka said nothing, just nodding and breathing slowly. Coming together in an embrace again, she spoke up. “You should really watch were those hands end up,” she jokingly threatened.

“I could say the same to you,” Shinji retorted, a smile returning to his face. “And after all those times you called me a pervert…you may have left nail mar-”

“Let’s not take the joke that far, Ikari,” Asuka tried her best to scold despite a smile. “I think we should go to bed.”

“After that?” Shinji answered. “I think we could both use cold showers, never mind it being winter…”

“No, I mean we should actually get some sleep,” Asuka replied. “Tomorrow’s going to be the fun part.”

Shinji looked down at the girl. “What’s that mean?” he asked, feeling left out of the loop.

“Well…” Asuka started, smiling like the cat that ate the canary. “While you were changing earlier, I called Misato and told her to invite everyone over tomorrow afternoon.”

‘I don’t like where this is going,’ Shinji thought, the earlier warmth gone in an instant. “You didn’t tell her about me, did you?”

“Oh,” Asuka whispered, “I may have gotten them presents, buy you’re going to be the main surprise.”

Shinji stared at her for several seconds, his eyes blinking widely. “I don’t want to give her a heart attack, for God’s sake,” he stated. “She didn’t think that was suspicious?”

“No…she knows I’ve been in kind of a funk recently,” Asuka answered, “so I told her it’d be a good way of perking me up.”

Shinji could only really smile at the thought of both seeing them all again and giving them one hell of a surprise. “Sneaky…but I’ll go along with it,” he told her.

“Alright then, follow me,” Asuka said, getting to her feet and leading Shinji by the hand down the hall to her room. “It’ll just be difficult getting you out of your room tomorrow for them and it would look odd if I slept in your room,” Asuka explained. “Got to plan these things ahead of time, you know?” she said with a wink.

Shinji nodded and followed her into her room, noting that it was as cluttered as he’d last seen it. ‘Yep, some things just never do change,’ he thought.

Getting under a blanket, Asuka patted the spot next to her. “C’mon over here,” she teased with a whisper, “no need to be shy now.”

Shinji said nothing, just shaking his head and laughing a bit. He crawled into the spot closest to the wall, with Asuka’s back to the door just in case. As the snow fell outside, the two fell asleep holding one another…

*****

“Asuka, get up now,” Misato’s voice said through the door. “The others will be here in a short while.”

Asuka shot awake, her eyes not quite ready for the daylight yet. Looking over her shoulder, she saw Shinji sleeping soundly and smiled. Then she realized that one of his hands had ended up ahold of her chest overnight. ‘I’ll give him a free pass for that one,‘ she thought, ‘sleeping doesn’t quite count.’ Removing said hand, she quietly removed herself from her bed. After dressing, she went over to the bed to wake the boy sharing her sleep-space. “Come on now, Shinji,” she whispered breathily, “time to wake up.”

Shinji’s eyes slowly opened to see Asuka sitting on the edge of the bed. “Good morning,” he murmured.

“And a very good morning it is,” Asuka replied, bending down to plant a small kiss on his forehead. “Stay here for now,” she said, handing him one of his regular uniforms. “Got it out of your suitcase. Hope you don’t mind much.”

Shinji rose from the bed, wiping the last of slumber from his face. “Not at all,” he said. “How long till they’re here?”

“Soon,” Asuka replied. “now keep as quiet as you can and get dressed. This is going to be memorable.”

Asuka quickly left the room, closing the door behind her. Turning towards the kitchen, she spotted Misato doing her best to look ready to be up this early. ‘And failing miserably…’ Asuka thought. “Good morning,” she said, trying to sound sleepy.

“Well…” Misato said with a grin, “somebody’s looking less under-the-weather.” Pouring herself some coffee, she continued. “Good idea inviting the others over today, huh?”

“Sure,” Asuka said with feigned arrogance. “And looking forward to seeing what you got me.”

“Later, later,” Misato said with a wave of her hand. “You know that’s a surprise.”

“Yes, of course,” Asuka replied in her best disappointed voice.

Nearly twenty minutes later, the doorbell sounded. Asuka opened the door to see three of the people that were attending. “Hello Hikari,” she said to her longtime friend. “Oh, and hi to you two, as well,” she chimed in, sounding her best like usual.

“Hi Asuka,” Hikari said, her and Toji’s hands entwined.

“Hi yourself,” came the unison voices of Toji and Kensuke, who was standing off to the side.

“Oh come on now,” Hikari said to the two, “it’s a special day. And she did invite us.”

“That is true,” Toji responded.

“Yeah, odd as that is,” Kensuke added.

“Come on in, you three,” Misato said from the kitchen. “We’ll get everything started just as soon as Rei gets here.”

“There is no need to wait, then,” a voice came from behind the three guests. All three got quite a start, looking behind them and seeing Rei Ayanami standing there. “I am sorry if I startled anyone.”

“I dunno how you do that, Rei,” Asuka said, moving out of the doorway and holding in a laugh, “but you’ll have to teach me. Would be a lot of fun to sneak up on people like that.”

The four teens entered the apartment and sat around the living room, waiting to see what was to happen. Misato sat on the couch and looked to Asuka, who was standing near the hall entrance. “Well…” she started, “you wanted this put together. Planning on handing out any interesting gifts?”

“Oh, you’ll see,” Asuka said with a grin. “Sorry, but you’ll all have to close your eyes for a bit. It’s something extra special.”

The room’s remaining occupants did so while Asuka headed to her room, a small bit of whispering between Toji and Kensuke what it could be. “And don’t you dare peek,” Asuka said, whipping her head back before reaching the door. “This is something I can’t return if it’s spoiled.”

Entering her room again, Asuka looked over at Shinji. He was sitting on her bed, looking rather tense. “You ready?” she asked him in a low voice. Nodding, he silently sat up and followed her out of the room.

As Asuka walked back into the living room, Misato’s voice spoke up, “Really, can it be that good a surprise?”

“Oh, I’d say so,” Shinji said as he moved to Asuka’s side, his voice cracking slightly.

The expression on Misato’s face was instantly changed from impatience to utter surprise. Her eyes shot open and onto the room’s newest occupant. ‘It…it can’t be…’ she thought. One by one, the others in the room joined her in seeing the young man who’d been a part of their lives and had disappeared.

“Shinji…is that really you?” Misato asked through small tears.

Smiling brightly, Shinji scratched the back of his head and laughed. “Yes…it’s really me,” he answered. Misato looked almost the same as he’d last seen her. ‘Not even all that she’d went through after I disappeared aged her much,’ he thought.

And with those words, Misato fainted onto the couch. The rest of the room just looked at him, wondering where to start the conversation. So, of course, Toji and Kensuke blitzed him and began the barrage of questions.

“Man, where the hell have you been?” Toji asked, both somewhat glad and angry.

“Yeah, you’ve got to tell us!” Kensuke said. “We thought you were dead or something…”

“I swear,” Toji began, “I don’t know whether to hug you or beat the shit outta you!”

“I think I’d rather settle on a handshake, honestly,” Shinji said, trying to break up the feeling in the room. Toji happily accepted it and hugged the friend he never thought he’d see again. After that, Kensuke just settled on the handshake as well. Walking over to Hikari, Shinji reached a hand out. “Sorry for giving you any cause for concern, Hikari,” he said. Getting to her feet, the class rep hugged him lightly before stepping back.

“You really have been missed a lot,” Hikari said, looking over to Asuka. “I think we’ll get to where you’ve been after Misato comes to.”

Rei looked on with a curious expression, not really sure how to react. “Ikari…you are well,” she stated.

Shinji stepped towards her and gave the former First Child a hug, the smile never leaving his face. “It’s nice to see you too, Rei,” he said after stepping back.

Walking over to the couch, Shinji was just about to see if Misato was alright when she quickly sat up and squeezed the young man tightly. “Oh God,” she said through tears, “I was beginning to think we really never would see you again…” Looking down at him and realizing he couldn’t breathe, she released him and wiped her eyes. “S…sorry,” she managed between sobs.

“No harm done,” Shinji said, his windpipe saying otherwise. Looking around the room, he decided now was a good time to tell all of what had happened since that day three years ago. “Okay, everyone,” he said, “sit down for this one, it’s gonna be a long story…”

*****

A couple of hours later, with his story told in full, Shinji sat around with the people he’d left behind and felt a sense of belonging that had been elusive for him. ‘Even gone as long as I was,’ he thought, casting his eyes around the room, ‘it’s still home for me.’

“I do have one question,” Misato said, the relief evident in her face. “If you didn’t want to be found then…why come back now?”

“Something Val told me,” Shinji began, “that leaving things undone and unsaid is something you should never do. And there while there was much left undone, only one thing was really left unsaid. That’s why I recorded and sent the tape to Asuka. What was left unsaid was for her.”

Looking over at her redheaded charge sitting next to the young man, Misato flatly asked, “And just what might that have been?”

Taking a deep breath, Shinji resumed the conversation. “I told you…it’s for her and her alone,” he stated. “There were things I had left out of the story, but they’re private.”

“Not gonna work that way, mister,” Misato ordered.

Asuka sighed and tugged at Shinji’s sleeve. “Don’t worry, I’ll field this one,” she assured him. The young woman looked over at her guardian and continued. “He’s right, however. But I’ll let this answer your question, though, if you’re just that inclined to know.” She then turned towards Shinji, placing one hand on his face and another on his right shoulder. “Sorry about making a scene,“ she whispered to him before giving him the deepest kiss she could manage.

Across the living room, four jaws went slack almost immediately at the sight. Rei, on the other hand, looked on with a puzzled look on her face. After separating from one another, Shinji and Asuka turned back to the others. Smiling widely, Asuka declared, “Now I hope that‘s a good enough answer for you all…”

Shaking her head to clear away the surprise, Misato tried to look as stern as she could after that moment. “And just how long has that been going on?” she asked seriously.

“For me, I can say some time before I disappeared,” Shinji answered, trying desperately to hide his red face.

“The thought had been with me nearly as long as it had with him,” Asuka admitted, “but I’ve only known for certain this last week.”

“Well then…” Misato said, standing up to walk over to them before crouching down in-between the two, “I’d say I have to congratulate the both of you,” she finished placing an arm around the both of them and smiling warmly.

“Wow…did not see that coming,” Hikari said quietly.

“No kidding,” Toji added. “Still, good going for them, huh?”

“Could’ve used more of a warning that was coming,” Kensuke commented. “Felt like I got tasered or someth-” His statement was cut off by a quick arm punch by Toji. “Alright, I get it…”

“I am unsure of what just happened,” Rei stated, still puzzled.

“That, Rei,” Asuka said, “is the most direct way of saying we have affection for each other.”

“I see…” Rei said, finally getting the idea. “By ‘affection,’ you meant ‘love,’ correct?”

“Well, yeah…that’s another way to put it,” Asuka answered.

Misato took this moment to stand and head into the kitchen. “Hey, I guess that means this is a good an occasion as any…” she said, searching through her cabinets.

“For what?” Shinji asked.

Misato pulled a bottle of champagne from a cabinet and held it up. “For this!” she proudly stated.

“Misato,” Asuka started, “you haven’t had a drink in a long time…”

“…and I’m not about to resume it regularly,” Misato finished. “But let’s be honest…today really is a cause for celebration. Not just Christmas, but also the day Shinji came home and the day you two became a couple!”

“I guess I can see that being a good reason,” Asuka admitted.

Seven glasses were passed out among them and the beverage was poured. “Okay, now who wants to do the honors?” Misato asked.

“I’d me more than happy to,” Shinji spoke up. Getting to his feet, be began his toast. “To friends,” he said, looking around the room, “and to the future.” Glancing down at Asuka, he concluded, “And to love.”

With that, they all held their glasses up in celebration to a day worth remembering…

*****

Several hours after the party ended, Shinji found himself laying in a bed he hadn’t used in a long time. “Like no time’s passed,” he whispered in the dark of his room. Suddenly, a small knock shook him from his thoughts. “Yes?” he asked.

“Can I come in?” came the voice of Asuka.

“Of course,” Shinji said, sitting up on the side of the bed.

The door opened with a soft sound and Asuka stepped into the small space, closing it behind her. She was dressed in the same loose-fitting shirt he’d seen her sleep in years ago, covering anything up to her thighs. A small smile hung on her face as she walked over to the bed to sit beside the boy. There was something in her mood he couldn‘t place. “Did you enjoy today?” she asked.

“You know I did,” Shinji answered, unable to hold in a smile. “It was great to see them all again…”

Asuka’s gaze dropped to her hands, but the smile remained. “Sorry for giving them all a show,” she said, smirking ever-so-slightly. “God, the shade of red you turned…”

Shinji couldn’t help but laugh a little at the reactions they’d gotten from ‘that’. “Hey, isn’t this a holiday for surprising people?” he asked. Asuka nodded. “Well then, I’d say it was worth it.” Reaching out his hands to hold hers, she leaned her head on his shoulder. Sitting like this in the dark for a few moments, Shinji knew this wasn’t the only reason she was in here. There was an unease in her breathing, something in her smile. “Asuka,” he began after waiting a bit longer, “did you want something else?”

Sitting up from his shoulder and loosening her hands, Asuka gathered herself for why she was here. “I still have one present left for you…” she said after a deep sigh.

“Oh, there’s no need,” Shinji replied. “You’ve given me so much these last couple of days, it-”

“Trust me, this is important,” Asuka cut in, a slight waver in her voice.

“What is it?” Shinji asked.

There was another few minutes of silence before the almost-silent answer came. “M-me,” Asuka barely whispered.

Shinji looked puzzled as he wondered what the girl next to him meant by that. Seconds later, his eyes widened slightly…the memory of the night before, and what had almost happened. “Asuka…I thought we agreed-”

“I know, but,” Asuka said, thinking her choice of words over carefully. “Do you love me?” she asked hesitantly.

Shinji’s head moved around to face the girl, his eyes still wide and a blush forming. “Of course I do,” he answered, his tone raising a little. “You should already know that well.”

“I told you, I had a lot of time to look back over our relationship,” Asuka spoke, “even before you sent that tape. I…think I can say I liked you a lot, too. The words just never seemed ready to be said, never mind that you weren‘t here to catch them. But after that and seeing you again two days ago…”

Shinji just sat quietly, listening as intently as he could to the redhead beside him.

“…I think now, though,” Asuka continued, “I understand.” Turning her head to look into his eyes, she finished, “I…I think I love you, too.”

Shinji still said nothing, the smile on his face widening as much as it could. Asuka regained herself as best as she could and returned the smile, a few small tears forming at the edges of her vision. “As for my…gift,” she said, finally finding her voice again. “You’re a young man,” she continued, standing up and in front of him, “and I’m a young woman,” she slipped her arms inside her shirt, “and there are…things young adults do when they’re in love,” she finished, pulling the large garment over her head and depositing it on the floor. She shivered at the night air against her skin, swearing the apartment was warmer than this. “I know you love me,” she began, “but…do you want me?”

Shinji was, for lack of a better term, dumbstruck. Before him stood the girl he loved, clad only in a pair of white panties and an uneasy smile. It wasn’t until this moment he was truly caught by how well she’d developed. Face, bust, hips, legs…to him, she was perfection in human form. The small amount of moonlight coming into the room only accentuated that. Several times, he tried to form the words, all of them but one dying at the sight. “Wow…” he managed after some work.

“That’s not a yes or no,” Asuka teased, enjoying his reaction. In truth, it also eased her somewhat.

Shinji shook his head and averted his gaze for a few seconds, lest the sentence wouldn’t leave his mouth. “Y-yes…oh God yes,” he got out, his face practically burning. “But last night, we-”

“I know, I know,” Asuka interjected, a small bit of annoyance in her tone, “but I can tell it’s what we both wanted.” She stepped forward and took Shinji’s head in her hands, making him look her in the face. “I’ve given you my heart,” she said, her voice not above a whisper, “now I’m giving you my all.” Crouching down, she finished, “And it’s not just want. I…need you.”

Looking into his love’s eyes, Shinji knew he needed and wanted this as much as she did. Smiling, he caressed Asuka’s cheek and spoke up. “I can’t really argue with that,” he said, giving her a quick but deep kiss. “Now…top or bottom?” he teased, the words causing his face to heat up again.

Smiling, Asuka pushed Shinji down onto the bed and climbed onto him. “Pervert…” she purred before their lips met again, a precursor to the night‘s activities…

*****

Several hours later, Asuka awoke to the glare of sunlight in her eyes. Cursing all things bright, she rubbed her eyes. With the focus coming back to her vision, she looked around and saw that she was not in her room. The warmth of another body to her back reminded her of the events of the night before, a rush of bliss and sensations accompanying the thoughts. Realizing the time, she quickly scrambled to gather and put back on the only two articles of clothing she’d brought in before opening the door and shutting it. Now to just make it back to her own…

“And where are we going?” a voice came from behind Asuka, the shock almost knocking her down. Turning around, she was greeted by the sight of Misato…sporting an all-too-knowing grin.

Catching her breath, Asuka regained her footing and gave the older woman as good a hard stare as she could muster. “What the hell? Are you trying to scare me to death?” she fumed.

Misato said nothing, just returning to the kitchen and motioning for Asuka to follow. Both sat down at the table, the silence quite uncomfortable for the redhead. A few sips into her coffee, the former Major spoke up. “Okay, explanation time. Now.”

“I fell asleep in his room,“ Asuka said, trying to be nonchalant. “I had one last present for him…”

“Oh?” Misato asked from behind her mug. “Something you couldn’t give him in front of the rest of us?” she teased.

“Of course not!” Asuka said, standing from the wooden chair. Realizing her outburst, she quickly sat back down and found the table’s surface suddenly very interesting.

Misato sat with a puzzled expression across her face, taking the last drink in the container. “Tell me the truth, Asuka,” she said, hoping to avoid any more potential anger.

Asuka sat quietly, her face burning nearly as badly as Shinji’s had last night. After another long silence, she spoke up. “Okay, we…slept together,” she finished with a sigh, hoping the ground would just open up and take her

Had she not finished the coffee already, Misato’s expression made it clear said coffee would’ve been spat on the opposite wall. “Wait, wait…,” she started, “literally or figuratively?” Asuka’s silent response spoke volumes, as did her current facial color. Misato let the silence hang in the room for a few minutes before continuing. “Well, were you at least careful?” she asked.

“Yes…” Asuka said, knowing what the older woman meant. That didn’t make the question any less embarrassing, though. She was readying herself for the lecture she was sure was on the way.

Misato sighed heavily and put on her most serious face. “Well then, I’ve just got to put my foot down and say…” she began. Then the stern look gave away and was replaced by a wide smile, “congratulations.”

“Huh?” Asuka said, raising her head and turning it towards the room’s other occupant. “You’re not gonna lecture or get mad?” she asked, not having been ready for that.

Leaning back in her chair. Misato continued. “Well…I understand well enough, if that’s what you mean. You’re both seventeen and in love, things like that do happen. I‘m just glad you two are happy,” Then a thought came to her. “You did tell him, right?”

“Of course I did!” Asuka countered, her voice slightly raised. “I knew I had to say that before we…you know…” she trailed off, the table becoming of great interest again.

“And?” Misato seized her chance to make the redhead squirm. “How was it?”

“Ugh!” Asuka exclaimed, not wanting this part of the conversation in the least. “God, I can’t believe you’re asking-”

Misato waved a hand, hoping to calm the girl. “Hey, can’t we just have a moment of ‘girl-talk’ about it?” she asked with a wink. “You know how I can keep secrets.”

Asuka resigned herself to fate and looked back over towards Shinji’s door. “He…” she began quietly, “he treated me like I was the most fragile thing ever. But held me tight all the while, like he was afraid I‘d be gone if he let go…”

Misato listened with a far-off look in her eyes, the words a reminder of her own times with Kaji.

“…and my God, that boy can kiss,” Asuka went on, feeling flush at the statement.

“Well, what are you doing in here, then?” Misato asked, shaking herself out of her own daydreaming.

“Huh?” Asuka asked, her head snapping back around to her roommate.

Standing from her chair, Misato walked over and gave the former Second Child a small hug before heading out of the kitchen. “I’ve got to go to work. I’d suggest you get back in there before he misses you,” she said, grabbing her familiar red jacket, “and you hold onto him no matter what.”

Smiling at the older woman, Asuka got to her feet as well. “Oh, you won’t have to worry about that,” she said with a smirk.

“I won’t be home as late tonight,” Misato said, walking up to the front door. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t,” she added, winking.

“Oh please, ” Asuka teased back, “I can think of much worse.”

The two women shared a short laugh before Misato closed the door behind her. Opening the door to Shinji’s room, Asuka placed herself gingerly back into the space she’d been sleeping in earlier and smiled over at the boy beside her. Pulling the blanket over them, she nuzzled into his arms and slowly fell back into slumber…ready for the days to come…

*****THE END*****

A/N: Ah yes, another one finished and filed away. I’d been away quite some time and just started feeling the urge to do a follow-up to probably my favorite piece I’d written. Sorry to anyone who had been waiting for me to do another story. Maybe I might be more active these days, you never know…

Oh, I just remembered one last thing. A few years ago, I was asked in a review for SOT if Val was an ACC or SI. Well...I think I'll just leave that up to reader opinion...

Nope, no “Author and His Muse” omake here either. Maybe if I do another multi-part, it may show up again.

And now for a new addition to my post-work musings: random lyric quotes!

Sleep will not come to this tired body now
Peace will not come to this lonely heart
There are some things I'll live without
But I want you to know that I need you right now
*****
This is the hour when the mysteries emerge
A strangeness so hard to reflect
A moment so moving, goes straight to your heart
The vision has never been met
The attraction is held like a weight deep inside
Something I'll never forget
*****
Fool enough to almost be it
And cool enough to not quite see it
And old enough to always feel this
Always old, I'll always feel this

Looking forward to seeing if anyone can identify them (three different songs).

Ingredients that went into making this: blueberry cake, the "classics" (IMO) of EVAfiction, Cool Ranch Doritos, Demanufacture, Garbage's 1995 album, Gatorade (assorted), Licensed to Ill, Loveless, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the Mission of Burma song Trem Two played ad nauseum, OK Computer, SxA fanboyishness, the secret twelfth ingredient in KFC's chicken, spicy chicken Cup O’ Ramen, a three-year nagging feeling to write and/or finish another fic, White Pony…and a pinch of lime zest.

No Angels were harmed in the making of this fic. Well, to be fair, they were already dead anyway…that still counts, right?

Pre-read was done by gesser87 (who did most of the editing legwork), JimmyWolk (who went over said fixes and edits), and Dark Machine (who came up with a fitting enough title). Thanks guys, much appreciated.

For any of you who are new to the community, all of my older works have undergone a small bit of tweaking (as of the 14th of June 2010). So go take a look, tell me what you think.

As usual: good comments will be appreciated, bad ones will be ignored (or kept for firewood). But I do favor good/helpful criticism, so send it my way!

Until next our paths cross,
-AngelNo13Bardiel-
Last edited by AngelNo13Bardiel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby cojax8 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:42 pm

Well I've read a few of these stories on ff.net and enjoyed em very much and I wouldn’t mind if you wrote up some more, as long as they're AxS stories of course.
A man should not strive to eliminate his complexes, but to get into accord with them; they are legitimately what directs his conduct in the world. -Sigmund Freud
We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love, never so forlornly unhappy as when we have lost our love object or its love. -Sigmund Freud
If someone offered you a pill that would make you permanently happy, you would be well advised to run fast and run far. Emotion is a compass that tells us what to do, and a compass that is perpetually stuck on NORTH is worthless. - Daniel Gilbert

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Postby Sachi » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:54 pm

I went ahead a spoiler tagged everything since.... DAMN.

Also, if you already had these posted on FF, why didn't you just link the page instead of copy/pasting everything here?
"Chaos is merely a human construct. The world only knows its own natural law of harmony and order."
"So you are saying it's the human heart that throws the world into confusion."

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:55 pm

View Original Postcojax8 wrote:Well I've read a few of these stories on ff.net and enjoyed em very much and I wouldn’t mind if you wrote up some more, as long as they're AxS stories of course.


Deal. The bold part I don't think you'll have to worry about...

View Original PostSachi wrote:I went ahead a spoiler tagged everything since.... DAMN.


Ah, sorry. Still new here and all.

View Original PostSachi wrote:Also, if you already had these posted on FF, why didn't you just link the page instead of copy/pasting everything here?


*points to sig*

Felt it'd get better notice. Sorry for any trouble I may have caused.

And if anyone's wanting to know about progress...here's what could be in the pipe. Of course, some of these have been on the back-burner for quite some time (as the dates no-doubt spell out).

SPOILER: Show

ALONE WITH YOU / KNOW WHO I AM (mid 2004)
Valentine's Day songfic (The Cure - Lovesong / Goo Goo Dolls - Iris)
SxA
Original version of SOMEWHERE OUT THERE

ASHES TO FIRE / DOG DAY SUNRISE / MICE AND GODS (late 2009 or early 2010)
Multi-part
Potential SxA (not sure yet)
EoE-divergent; NERV personnel rescue by mercs (possible THE LOSERS crossover)

DRAINED AND BLUE (mid 2004)
Dark songfic (Alice in Chains - No Excuses)
No pairing (implied SxA)
Shinji's thoughts near beginning of EoE

GO BACK TO SLEEP, PRECIOUS (mid 2004)
Dark romance songfic (A Perfect Circle - Pet)
SxA
Original version of I WON'T LET YOU FALL APART

GUNSMOKE GENESIS (mid 2003)
Multi-part
Potential SxA (not sure yet)
NGE-TRIGUN crossover (mixed mythos)

ID (early 2004)
Multi-part
No pairing
Series redux with Shinji-Id (XENOGEARS) split personality

THE IKARI IDENTITY (mid 2010)
Multi-part
Potential SxA (not sure yet)
NGE-BOURNE crossover

PATHS DIVERGE (early 2003)
Multi-part
SxA
Original version of NEPHILIM; 4th Child SI
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:33 pm

I read Show, Don't Tell and it was completely adorable. :heart: Excellent job!
~Take care of yourself, I need you~

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:36 pm

Thanks. Like I said, "If I'd read it, I'd write it."

Took a look over yours earlier. Not bad at all. :thumbsup:
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:20 pm

Well, considering how quiet my normal place to request is these days...I'll just put this here too.

I'm looking for a pre-reader.

Something to keep in mind: If you sign on for this, you're going to get the whole thing (four chapters, about 3/5 of the size of Nephilim) at once.

Hope to hear from someone soon.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-

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Postby JimmyWolk » Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:01 am

I guess the hunt for pre-readers has become a hard one everywhere. :P
I would have applied sooner, but I had a pretty stressful week and thus little time myself, but it should be better now, so send me what you've got.
Keep in mind though that I'm not exactly the best choice for checking grammar-/spelling mistakes so the search should still be on. ;)

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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:07 am

Sure, I'll send it to you over there.

And not to worry, Storm has signed on as well.
Evangelion fan since 15 October 2002, Evangelion fanfiction writer since 1 April 2004.
Current avatar: Derpy bootleg Sonic or Adam? I'm not sure on this one...
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. - Franz Kafka
Clones to the left of me, tsunderes to the right...and here I am, stuck in the middle with Shinji. - how I view my experience with Evangelion
-When it comes to Asuka/Shinji, pre-EoE is like moving Mount Everest and post-EoE is like moving the Olympus Mons. Either way, it's moving a mountain. It's just the size of said mountain.-


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