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NGE: Walking in the Shadow of Dreams (revised)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by GreggHL, Jan 19, 2010.

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  1. GreggHL Engaging hilarity engine/air oscillation booster.

    Neon Genesis Evangelion and all other properties in this fic are the property of their respective creators and owners. I own none of this – this is purely for practice and fun.

    A little idea I was inspired to do by some other works I read and an idea I had running around the back of my head. This is a revision of a story I've been working on in the meantime, and wanted to take in some different directions.




    One light bulb blows out with a flash as she flips the switch, and she mutters to herself. Grunting in a decisively unlady-like way, she stumbles in, her feet sore and her shoulders stiff after a long, very very long day. Exhaustion escapes her as she drops her briefcase on the end table by the door, kicking the door shut as she files through her mail.

    It is a nicely, fairly big apartment. The rooms are wide and the kitchen is open. The illusion of size is effective, intimidating. Anyone she invites in is impressed by the awesome scale she lives in, even more awesome when they realize who she is.

    The blue prints are framed, with a signature by the original designer, and it takes up an entire section of the wall by the couch. Pictures are everywhere. They mark the entrance to the door of her bedroom, on her kitchen counter, by her bedside night table. Everything here is reminding her of her past. But that’s the point, as she walks through the past and, as she would have once said, ‘strives boldly into the future.’

    F___ that.

    She opens the fridge, taking out an instant meal, popping it into the microwave. She doesn’t even read the directions anymore. She lives off of it, she knows it by heart. Watching, waiting, she takes out the meal when she knows it is ready, poking it with a fork as she kicks off her shoes and stumbles to the couch. Clicking on the remote, she eats, watching a news report.

    “…on the twelve year anniversary of the Battle of Tokyo-3, NERV Supreme Commander-”

    The channel changes as she curses, switching to a fashion show. Then switches to a sitcom. Empty jokes, empty laughs. Damn it, she’s a professor. A professor of Theoretical Biology. She should be happier than this. She knows why people are happy, and she could keep telling herself that she has everything she needs to be happy…

    Except that she hasn’t had a date in three years. Any relationship she’s had lasts for days on average, weeks at least. She’s never gone to third base, which if anyone who knew her back then knew, would floor them.

    Reaching into her suit jacket, she takes out her cell phone. Just a handful of names; all of them belong to professional contacts whom she says maybe a sentence to a day.

    Rolling her head back, she closes her eyes and sighs. The mind wanders in these moments, and sometimes goes places it doesn’t go normally. Walking to the kitchen, she dumps the rest of her dinner, snatching the phone from the charging stand in a smooth motion and walking to the couch.

    Taking her laptop, she brings up her web browser, entering in a name and is rewarded with a phone number.

    Gott, how long has it been, she thinks.

    Eight years, that rational, annoying part of her brain chimes back.

    Hesitating for a moment, she starts dialing. Sure, it’s long distance, but she doesn’t mind. Doesn’t care. He’ll be happy, he’ll be…

    Do you remember how it ended, last time?

    Her finger hovers over the last button. Of course she remembers. Last time they talked, face to face. Last time before she ran away and he stayed…but time heals all wounds, doesn’t it?

    Shakily, the last button presses down. Lifting the mobile handset to her ear, her stomach contorts. She blames crappy food more than anything, but doesn’t think anything of it as the phone dials and pick up Gott damn it…

    “Hello?”

    The voice is the same, but different. A little deeper, more…confident, maybe? Chances are good it’s him, isn’t it?

    “Hello? Who’s calling?”

    “Um…Shinji?”

    “…yes, this is Shinji Ikari speaking. Who’s…oh, wait.”

    It was him. Okay, that’s good. That’s step one. So he’s there, even if he’s stepped away for a moment, and if she can put more than two words together she can make a sentence and talk to him.

    Even if the last time they talked she broke his nose.

    “Asuka, what is it?”

    Something catches in her throat. Her number’s unlisted, after all. Maybe he recognized her voice? Maybe he remembered her? Maybe he-

    “Where’s Mama?”

    “Asuka, she’ll be back soon. Please, I’m talking with someone on the phone. I’ll be right over, okay?”


    Then a mumble, then footsteps, hurrying away as he clears his throat.

    “Sorry, kids,” he sighs, “Um…who is this?”

    She clicks off the phone. Silently, she sits on the couch, watching the sitcom. Empty jokes, empty laughs. She almost doesn’t notice as the tears begin streaming down her face. Ten years, twelve years ago, she would have responded to this by screaming and hurling the phone into the television.

    That was when her anger actually accomplished anything. Instead, the phone just drops to the floor, and after a long moment, her shoulders shake, and she holds her face in her hand as she cries.
    -
    -
    Walking in the Shadow of Dreams (revised):
    Chapter 1: Meet n’ Greet
    -
    -
    “Uncle Shinji? Who was that?”

    Clicking the buttons on the side of the phone, Shinji Ikari shrugs. The phone number is unlisted, no name given. Sighing, he replaces the phone on the charger, looking down to the three year old, brown-haired girl.

    “I…don’t know.”

    The doorbell rings, the girl running off despite his protests and opening it, jumping into her mother’s arms.

    “Well, you’re happy to see me,” the young woman commented, as the girl playfully yanks on one of her pigtails, “I hope she hasn’t been a hassle.”

    “She seems eager to get away from me,” Shinji jokes, leaning on the counter, running a hand through longish black hair, “It’s no problem, though I do question your timing. One would think our former Class Rep wouldn’t be tardy.”

    “One would think our former class introvert wouldn’t cause trouble,” Hikari Suzuhara responds, “Well, we’re going. You have that…thing…tomorrow?”

    “God, yes,” Shinji sighs, rubbing the bridge of his nose, “He’s driving me insane.”

    Shrugging, Hikari nods.

    “And you’re still happy he’s like this, now,” she says, “We’ll get going. Talk to you later?”

    He nods, waving, she smiles as the door closes. Sighing, he looks up, leaning against the wall. He could swear he recognized the voice, but…nah. They made it plain to everyone around them that it was over. If she never even thought about him again, it would be too soon.

    And yet…

    Shaking his head, he turns, walking to the bathroom of his apartment. The day ahead looms. And he has deeds to do before then.




    “Go!”

    Clad in blue body armor, black face grill-masks, and white skirts falling to the floor, the two opponents draw their wooden swords and stare each other down. Around them in the gym, the other students of the kendo class watch, having seen this spectacle before. Some watch to learn. Others watch out of morbid fascination.

    And as the younger of the two gives off an almost animalistic roar and charges, they realize it will be just as uncomfortable as the other times.

    The younger man swings, in a downward chop to his opponent’s head, which is easy blocked and returned with a slice towards the ribs. Grunting, the young man blocks, pushing off the swing and shoulder rushing the older man.

    The older opponent sweeps out his legs, bringing the sword down in a vertical swing. The younger catches the sword, holding it in place with one hand, as he flips the other sword and drives it into the older man’s crotch. The students around the dojo wince, some covering their crotches, as the sensei, an aged man in a loose white gi, sighs.

    “This is why I insist on athletic protectors.”

    The younger man pushes off, rolling and climbing onto his feet.

    “Enough!”

    The two halt, swords going to ready stance. The sensei walks between them, pointing to the door.

    “Cool off. Outside,” he says, “Enough for today.”

    They turn to the sensei and bow, stumbling out of the dojo and into the simple, well lit hallway. The younger man leans against the wall, pulling at the straps of his mask. Shinji eases off the face protector, sliding down the wall and resting his sweaty head against the cool tile.

    “This is your idea of family counseling?” he asks.

    The older man takes off the protector, revealing an aging face with graying brown hair and beard, reaching into a pocket and taking out his tinted glasses.

    “You’re the one who keeps going for my groin.”

    “And you keep trying to hit me when I’m down!”

    They go silent, for a long moment…and Shinji chuckles.

    “I’d like you to work for me,” Gendo Ikari says, folding his arms, “For NERV.”

    “Unit 01 hasn’t as much as turned on for twelve years,” Shinji responds, “We both know I can’t pilot anymore.”

    He sighs, looking at his father through splayed fingers. Sure, they’ve both aged. Sure, Shinji is slowly but surely physically becoming him, but right now, as his father stands ramrod straight and looks at him, he sees the old Bastard again.

    “But of course, you already know that,” he says, “It is your private kingdom.”

    “This isn’t a piloting job,” Gendo continues, “I have several pilots, and more than one of them doesn’t second guess my actions. Out of the lot of you, I think only Rei and Nagisa didn’t talk back to me.”

    “Rei worshipped the ground you walked on and Kaworu was an Angel sent to kill us all. That doesn’t count.”

    “I think I liked it more when you were terrified of me.”

    Muttering swears to himself, Shinji rises with a groan. At twenty six, his body doesn’t bounce back like it used to, but at the same time he’s sure most twenty six year olds haven’t wrangled physical gods. Standing up, he steps forward. The same height as his face, the same facial structure with just a hint of his mother’s smoothness, and he narrows his eyes.

    “Alright,” he says, “I’ll work for you. No agenda. No games.”

    “No plots,” Gendo says, raising his hand, “No agendas. No scenarios. I have a position that is well suited for you. It’s for…the best.”

    “You mean it’s what she would have wanted.”

    Gendo nods.

    The elder Ikari turns and heads towards the locker room, effectively ending the conversation. And leaning against the wall, he looks up and sighs, wondering what exactly his father had just gotten him into.




    To call Tokyo-3 ‘odd’ would be along the same lines as calling a Tsunami a ‘wave.’ The Fortress City, rebuilt after the disastrous events at the end of the First Angel War, has a character. A character which attracts a population, going from a hundred thousand at the height of the War to two million in modern times.

    Following the utter failure of Instrumentality, small little details were added. NERV, being a scientific as well as military organization, had to improvise and also study as many details as possible. Nothing was thrown away.

    It for these reasons that the centerpiece of Tokyo-3(a)- and the home base of NERV following the sacking of the Geofront- was the hollowed out, rebuilt corpse of the Angel Ramiel. The massive blue diamond is set on a frame of supports, the hole that it received its kill-shot through upgraded to a massive search light, with elevators and ramps leading into the structure.

    Windows dot the surface, planes and VTOL craft coming in and out, as a single figure moves unattended and unnoticed through the crowds of beige-uniformed individuals.

    She would stand out if they paid attention. Blue hair, alabaster skin, and piercing red eyes. Instead, the sight of her has become so mundane that even an albino Nephilem holds little interest, considering the sum and whole of NERV’s day to day experience. Elevator doors open, and the twenty six year old albino woman stands stock still as they close.

    “Dogma,” she says.




    “I can’t believe you talked me into this.”

    “As do I. Considering our history, I thought you would just stop listening to me after some point.”

    The collar of the beige uniform itches at his neck, and Shinji can’t help but glare at his father as they walk down the halls of the top level of the NERV Decahedron. His father is in his uniform; black and red, one glove white, the other, his prosthetic, black. A whir and click comes from his right hand as he flexes his fingers and they enter his office, his second waiting.

    The years have been kind to Misato Katsuragi, and there is still the hint of an exuberant smile on her face as she spots Shinji, before she corrects it and clasps her hands behind her.

    “Commander,” she says.

    The office is well lit- her insistence, after all. The windows are unshaded and the desk is a crescent moon constructed from Ramiel’s own material.

    “Allow me to present our new Special Inspector,” Commander Ikari says, “He will be working with the Tactical Operations department as our liaison with the JSSDF. Do you have any questions?”

    Not waiting for a reply, Commander Ikari walks to his desk, sitting in his chair and tapping buttons. Holographic displays light up, information and pictures displaying in quick order as he tents his hands underneath his nose.

    “Dr. Ibuki has settled in at NERV-3 at MIT,” Misato says, “However, without a head of Project E here, we are operating at a disadvantage. Many Type orange readings have been coming from the Pacific, but the MAGI is fuzzy as to whether or not they are Pattern Blues.”

    “Understood. I have found a candidate to replace Doctor Akagi and sent an offer,” Gendo responds, “Inspector.”

    Shinji stands up straight.

    “You will meet with the possible candidate. A VTOL is waiting for you. Coordinate with the Tactical Ops commander on readiness of all Evangelions and take notes for your meeting.”

    “How many do we have?” Shinji asks.

    “Unit 00, Unit 03, 06, 07 and 11 are at sortie ready status. In fact, she should be here right now…”

    The doors open. Walking with a grace that is neither natural nor forced, dressed in a darker gray version of the normal female uniform, the blue haired, pale woman takes up a position next to Shinji. She regards him with a cool, steady stare before turning back to the Commander.

    “A new head of Project E is chosen?” Rei Ayanami asks.

    “Correct,” Gendo says.

    Beneath his hands, he smiles, faintly. In front of him are possibly the three reasons there is even a human race anymore. Rei, in betraying him, finally learned the value of her own humanity, something he in his negligence never taught him. Her own mind, sharpened to a point, he had to put to use otherwise.

    Misato Katsuragi he underestimated at every turn, choosing her both out of pity for his role in her father’s death and because he believed she could be easily controlled. He was wrong; her own maternal instincts, her own will, proved to be more than his cold, emotionless scenario could handle. When Kozou retired, he made her his second. If anything, she proved to be far too dangerous to be allowed to roam free.

    And then there is Shinji. His son, even if he never referred to him as such. As much him as he is Yui. As dangerous as he could ever be, as willful and powerful as Gendo ever imagined. When they ask him how Third Impact failed, he boiled it down to two sentences;

    Shinji became God.

    And then he decided it wasn’t for him.

    “Dismissed.”




    “You have been given Mr. Kaji’s position. It has been vacant since his departure.”

    Walking through the halls towards the lift bays, Shinji nods. Next to him, Rei speaks. Unlike others, he managed to not lose track of her, even after everything. Even after he was told what Rei was, he couldn’t simply shun her, only help her. Of course, Shinji’s own lack of family, especially his relationship with his father, made this all the more important. Some see her as an abomination.

    He sees a kindred spirit. Maybe even a sister.

    “You will be taking on all of his duties?”

    “Only official ones,” he says, “No spying. I don’t intend to be a triple agent.”

    “I see.”

    “I don’t intend on sleeping with Misato, either.”

    She raises an eyebrow, inclining her head at him.

    “It would make more sense to involve yourself with Tactical Ops commander,” she says, “Katsuragi is, after all, now Sub Commander.”

    Narrowing an eye, he stares at her.

    “Except that the Tactical Ops commander’s my half-sister.”

    She smiles. A small, thin, humorous smile.

    “Incest is like a board game. It is fun for the whole family.”

    In the years he’s known her, he can still never tell when she’s kidding or not. Some events tend to make him wonder how much she is kidding about this sort of thing. Especially events it takes a few beers to get rid of. She leans in and pecks him on the cheek.

    “It is good to see you back here,” she says, “I hope it is better than the last time.”

    Turning on her heel, she walks away. As she clears the corner, he palms his face, groaning. Quickly walking, he heads to the lift, the clear glass box closing as it accelerates towards the top launch bays. Floors clear, eventually taking him through the central, hollowed cavity of Ramiel, where he finally sees it.

    Face like a mythological demon, the great horn on its snout. Covered in purple and green armor, eyes dull and yellow. For a moment, he wonders if Evangelion 01 still lives like it did, still watches him. It has been twelve years since he stood inside it. Twelve years since he saved the world.

    Every moment he was in it caused pain. A lifetime, he will spend making the wrongs involved in the mere creation of that weapon right. It will work for no one, and maybe not even for him, anymore. Not since he knew the truth, and knew what horrors its creators intended him to unleash.

    It is the most painful thing for a child to let go of their mother. It is even more painful to realize your mother is a monster.

    Shuddering back the nausea, he puts it back in his mind, forcing the revulsion down as he walks towards the waiting VTOL as the lift doors open.




    Another day leads to another two classes. It can be argued that at least college boys are cute, unlike the ones she had to deal with in middle school and high school. They are all perverts, of course, but the eye candy doesn’t hurt. Or man candy, as her perverted former guardian would add in, somewhere between her fourth and fifth beer of the day.

    The classroom is a sixty forty split, forty percent male and sixty perfect female. At least twenty five of the fifty students have a crush on her, and seventeen of them are male. She guesses she should be flattered by that, but, doesn’t really think about it. She leaves it up to Mari to organize her occasional blind date, which crashes and burns within an hour when she gets bored.

    Besides which, she is busy, she tells herself. Busy busy busy.

    The equation is on the board, and she lets them work amongst themselves on how to make it work. She knows, of course. Mother’s notes pointed her in the right direction on what she has to do to solve it, even if half of them were garbled and the rest were insane ramblings of a madwoman.

    “Professor?”

    Derek, that one is named. Little pudgy, but intelligent.

    “Yes, Derek?”

    The boy two years younger than her stands from his desk in the lecture hall, dressed in a blazer, sweater, and jeans having seen better days.

    “Professor, we wanted to ask you about something, but we know your past is a…well, touchy subject.”

    “Derek,” she says, pushing the glasses up her nose, “My past is an ‘off-limits’ subject. I have explained this time and time again. I am not sure what part of that I am not making clear.”

    He nods, cheeks flushed. Like a damn schoolboy, half of them are. Sitting down quickly, he gets to the notes and examples, and she fumes, though not showing it. Turning back to the board, she begins writing her version of the proof. She’ll get them to understand Super Solenoid theory if it kills them.




    The closest Shinji ever went to leaving the country was when he was onboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. He slept during the six hour flight. He read a book, checked his email, and waited, and finally came to a conclusion.

    They didn’t tell me who the candidate was.

    They didn’t. No name, just a location. An offer had been made, forwarded, not accepted yet. And despite the fact that this offer was made maybe a couple of days ago, his father was insistent that Shinji go and personally recruit this person.

    Palming his face, he swears. Thankfully, he’s the only one here, so no one notices in the private aircraft. Leaning back in his seat, he closes his eyes as the craft lowers to the ground, wondering what game his father is playing this time.

    No games, he said. No agendas.

    He’s not sure what’s worse. That his father promised that, or that Shinji believed him.

    “Inspector, sir?”

    He looks up, finding a Section 2 agent standing over him.

    “Ready to go?”




    She’s going to kill someone if she hears another thinly veiled question about her past. It’s bad enough that she decided to not go under an assumed name. No, no. She was comfortable with her ‘celebrity’ status, wasn’t she. Now it means no matter what class she teaches, she has one or more enterprising students from the school newspaper wanting an interview with the famous professor. ‘My professor saved the world!’ the headline would read.

    F___ing immature idiots. She half wants to give an interview for the sake of telling them the gory, grisly truth about the whole damn affair. She half wants to mess with their heads and see if she can reduce graduate students to tears. Most of them were barely in puberty when the First Angel War ended, and maybe fifteen or sixteen during the three month long Second Angel War. She remembers it. She was there for the First one.

    She never really talked about the Second Angel War, never was there for it.

    “Damn it,” she growls, “Gott Verdamnt. This isn’t what you need.”

    Her office looms. Swinging open the door, she peers over the controlled mess that is her work space. Office hours in an hour, then she goes home. Get herself a little buzzed, maybe do another phone chat.

    “Let’s start,” she sighs, and slumps in her chair.

    Emails come first.




    Trading his beige uniform for a suit with a pin marking him as NERV personnel, he is driven to the area. Narrowing his eyes, he sees the archway of the University of Halle-Wittenberg as the car pulls under it, watching old and new architecture of the German University as the car rolls by.

    They park in one of the public lots, the bodyguard trailing behind him. Finding a faculty building, in specific the one on the location he was given, he begins ascending steps, walking into the lobby, presenting his ID. Climbing stairs, he follows the numbers until he finds himself in a well lit, balcony hallway on the fourth floor, following room numbers until he is in front of the right one.

    Room 404, Faculty Office.

    Squinting, as if that would somehow magically allow him to understand German, he sighs and knocks, hard.

    No answer. He knocks again.

    “Ja, ja! I’m coming!”

    His hand stops in mid-knock. Stepping back slightly, arm falling to his side, his eyes go wide. He knows that voice. He knows that voice.

    “Father, you son of a bitch.”

    The door swings open, Shinji locking eyes with a pair of aqua blue eyes. A still beautiful face, light skin, framed by long red hair now tied in a sensible, loose ponytail. Dressed in a brown dress suit and yellow button shift, red pen in hand and glasses on her nose, she stares at him as well for a long moment.

    “Hi,” he manages to choke out.

    A single, silent moment hangs between them, eight years of baggage seemingly dissolving for a moment. He moves to close the distance, opening his mouth to explain why he is here, what he wants, and why she should listen.

    But instead, Shinji Ikari, Special Inspector to NERV, drops to the floor after Professor Asuka Sohryu Langely’s fist connects to his jaw, and the door to her office slams shut with a flurry of teutonic swears.

    “Perhaps I came at a bad time…?”
    RadiantPhoenix likes this.
  2. GreggHL Engaging hilarity engine/air oscillation booster.

    The phone rings on the crescent moon desk. Pushing his amber glasses up his nose, Gendo Ikari considers the number displayed on the LCD plate taking up the top half of the phone. He lets it ring, five times, and right before it would switch to his voice mail he takes the receiver up to his ear.

    “Yes?”

    “I f___ing hate you.”

    “I see.”

    “No, I really need to explain it. I need to quantify it. I f___ing hate you, Father. I f___ing hate you so much I can feel it starting all the way from my feet. I swear to God, when I get home I am getting in Unit 01 and I am going to make you beg for death.”

    He raises an eyebrow. Tapping his black gloved right hand on the desk, he waits a moment, hearing the sound of a pained groan and something resembling a back of rocks. No, a bag of ice.

    “I trust you will be able to complete the assignment, Inspector?”

    “I have an expense account, right?”

    “An unlimited expense account.”

    A pause on the line. Another pained groan.

    “It better be.”
    -
    -
    Chapter 2: Just Like Old Times
    -
    -
    Upon getting up, his first priority was to go down to the buildings café and get a bag full of ice. The second was to dodge the small throng of students filing in and out of the building and get himself someplace to headquarter, because he was going to be a while. By his reckoning, he had to find a way to approach her, warm up to her, and convince her to come back with him to Tokyo-3.

    So a year, maybe two. That is a good estimate, he thinks, for getting things between him and Asuka so he can be in the same room with her without getting punched.

    He exited the campus, had his Section 2 guard drive him to the nearest four star hotel, and put the penthouse suite on his unlimited NERV expense account. Sitting on a brushed leather sofa and picking at a cheese platter that costs more than his monthly utility bill, he closes the phone upon finishing the conversation with his father. The swelling is down and she didn’t crack anything, so her techniques a little worse than it used to be.

    So.

    A list of things to do.

    First, find a way to get in the same room with Professor Asuka Langely Sohryu, Professor of Evolutionary/Theoretical Biology without getting killed.

    Second, convince her to return with him as head of Project E to Tokyo-3, a place which she swore she would only return to when it was a smoking crater so she could piss on the ashes.

    Third, kill his father. Slowly. Make it last a month.

    “This is not going to be easy,” he says to himself, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

    Standing up, pacing on the plush, hand woven carpet, he clicks on the 60’ television and watches a german news program, clicking on the menu and ordering every on demand and pay per view program just out of spite. After the third badly dubbed action movie, a plan begins to form. A very workable plan.

    A plan his father would be proud of.

    “God help me,” he says, “I’m turning into him.”

    God does not help anyone, his father would respond, Only those who help themselves.

    “Good enough,” Shinji sighs, and clicks open the phone, “Let’s get this together. Katsuragi, please.”




    The phone rings once. She spots the name, grins, picks up the phone and brings it up to her ear.

    “Hey there,” she says, “Where are you? Really? Berlin?”

    The smile disappears. Misato Katsuragi, sub commander of NERV-1, narrows her eyes at the tale being related to her and promptly clenches her hand into a balled, white knuckled fist.

    “Say WHAT?!”

    In Central Dogma, the three Bridge Bunnies turn in their chairs and Rei inclines her head, looking up the raised platform as Sub Commander Katsuragi begins swearing into the phone at the story related to her by her once ward.

    “No!” she screams, “You tell that ginger bitch if she even touches another hair on your head, Unit 00 is going to touch her! She still owes me a f___ing widescreen TV from when she threw it against my f___ing wall!”

    “Sub Commander.”

    Misato holds her hand over the receiver, looking up.

    “Yeah, Rei?”

    “We are in the middle of an operation.”

    Looking at the main floating screen and the teal and white Unit 07 wrestling with what could best be called a Badgerconda, she mutters a swear and uncovers the phone.

    “Right. Busy. Talk with you later.”




    “No, no. Mari, I’m fine. I’ll be there tonight.”

    Sighing, she listens to the latest concerned tirade, as she refers to it as, from her step sister. Her only real friend, she muses, which is something of another gut blow of how bad she’s been doing these past few years, but a good friend nonetheless. Certainly a better sister than she ever gave her credit for.

    “I understand, Mari,” she sighs, “I really do. Give her a kiss for me and I’ll be there after I’m done with classes, okay? Yeah, okay. Thanks.”

    Opening the door of the lecture hall, she doesn’t concern herself with the fact that the lights are on. Closing the phone, she opens her suitcase and takes out her laptop, opening up the file with her lecture notes and staring at the day’s subject, which goes closer and closer to veering into her mother’s work.

    “Boo.”

    She shrieks, spinning around and on reflex swinging her keychain. The keychain was a gift from her paranoid father, who was the one she inherited the ‘teenage boys are perverts and potential rapists’ worldview that dominated her public school experience, and as such was equipped appropriately. The attached two inch long canister recognizes the swift motion and sprays pepper directly in the eyes of the offender, and coughing and screaming, he backs away.

    Pawing at his eyes, tears streaming down his face, Shinji leans against the classroom’s back wall as Asuka glares at him with a gaze that could be called ‘murderous’ as an act of charity.

    “What is wrong with you?!” he screams.

    “I should ask the same question!” she screams back, “You don’t just sneak up on someone in the middle of an empty room!”

    She raises an eyebrow, pushing her glasses up as she steps back and takes a look at him. He isn’t wearing the same black suit from yesterday, instead.

    “Is that an Armani?”

    “NERV expense account,” he coughs, “Look, can we just not yell at each other for a few minutes?”

    “No,” she growls, turning to the doors as they open to admit students, “Get to your seats! NOW!”

    Brooking no argument, they quickly file in, taking out their notebook computers and sitting with rapt attention. Her hand quickly wraps around his tie and she drags him by it down the stairs and to the raised platform and boards, slamming his butt into the seat and glaring.

    “You will stay where I can see you,” she says, “And you will learn something. Am I clear?”

    He nods, his voice gone. Dear Lord, he thinks, She has authority.




    The door to his office opens, and Gendo Ikari looks up as his second in command and the tactical operations officer both walk in and stand at the front of his desk. He waits, letting them stand at attention, punching up holographic financial statements and looking busy.

    “Yes?”

    “Commander,” Rei says, “It has come to our attention that you have sent Inspector Ikari to Berlin to procure the services of Professor Asuka Langely Sohryu as head of Project E.”

    “Correct.”

    “Permission to speak freely?” Katsuragi asks.

    “Granted.”

    Misato slams both hands on the desk and glares across it at the Commander.

    “What the Hell is wrong with you?” she demands, “Last time Shinji saw Asuka, Asuka put him in a coma! I don’t care how smart she is, if you think I’m going to let it all be bygones when she steps off the plane, you have another thing coming!”

    “I am aware,” he says, pushing his glasses up his nose, “And as sub commander, it will be your responsibility to make the arrangements. Are we clear?”

    “I share the Sub Commander’s concerns,” Rei responds, turning from Misato to him, “Sohryu is not an especially stable personality. Considering her deep seeded mental traumas, it is possible she has not developed a healthy system of interacting with people as I have.”

    “That’s not healthy,” Misato mutters, “Rei, I’ve seen you with people. That’s not healthy.”

    “My system of interacting with people is simple,” Rei responds, raising an eyebrow, “I simply, as it is said, ‘play up’ my odd nature to connect with people. It is, as my roommate said, ‘All sorts of sexy wrong.’”

    Both stare at her.

    “Right,” Gendo says, turning back to Misato, “Katsuragi, you will handle the arrangements, if Inspector Ikari convinces her to return to Tokyo-3. Are we clear?”

    “Begrudgingly.”

    “Dismissed.”




    If she killed him, he would have died happy. He would be happy only because his death would have been a victory. At some point during the lesson, during the independent work period, one of the students attempted, again, to ask a question about the First Angel War. The question was about one of the Angels. In particular, it was about the Eighth.

    She humored him. Wanted to let him get at least mid way through it before she reminded him that questions about her past career are questions she does not entertain.

    “The Eighth Angel basically evolved to live in magma,” Shinji interrupted, “So the normal methods didn’t work. Basically we shoved a coolant pipe into his mouth and let Thermal Expansion take it from there.”

    The class, as one, turned to him. Someone answered the question, they realized. Someone who knows things. Then, to kick it off, he grinned and waved. And he introduced himself.

    Fifteen minutes of questions later, she gave the rest as homework and told them there would be exams they would be responsible for. She only glared at him as they filed out, less rage and more surprise in her eyes that he actually managed to be that ballsey in her classroom, despite being in arms length of her.

    “Why are you even here?” she asks as they walk through the bustling halls of the building, filing past students mutedly greeting her, “You didn’t just come over here from Japanland to undermine my authority, did you?”

    “No, Misato would do that,” he says, “Rei would come over and just stand on the stage and stare. She’s better, but still weird. I’m here for a reason. A NERV reason.”

    “And that is?”

    “I won’t tell you unless you can guarantee you won’t kill me.”

    “Don’t ask me to make a promise I have no intention of keeping,” she growls, beating him by a nose to exit the building into the bustling campus, “Damn it.”

    She scowls, checking her watch and picking up her pace, Shinji lightly jogging next to her.

    “What’s the rush?” he asks.

    “I missed my bus because you played to the crowd,” she says, “Now sod off and do whatever Commander Beardman wants you to do, and leave me alone.”

    Another Germanic swear and she starts peering around, following signs for the local bus stop as she adjusts her bag. He sighs, walks over, places his hand on his shoulder and starts leading her away.

    “What are you doing,” she seethes.

    “Taking my life into my own hands and offering you a ride,” he responds, “Also, since my job over here does involve you to an extent; it would be bad form for me to leave you stranded.”

    He rustles through his pocket, taking out a key chain, and clicks a button. A copper orange sports car flashes its lights, beeping. Two wing doors pop open and rise, the engine starting with a second tap of the button. Steam and exhaust shoot out of the back, the entire thing purring in anticipation. Asuka stares, mouth open, tilting her head as he takes her briefcase and puts it in the almost nonexistent back seat.

    “Unlimited expense account,” he says, “It’s a rental.”




    Unit 07 grabbed an axe, a thankfully Eva scaled axe, and cut off one of the Badgerconda’s many heads before going to work on the rest. Unit 03 joined in as well, and between the two of them they managed to destroy the Kaiju before it could get into the Tokyo-3 city limits. After the debriefing, as was normal for her, Rei Ayanami, Tactical Commander for NERV-1, exited Dogma and ascended via lift to the Commander’s office.

    “Good work with the Kaiju,” he says as she enters, standing at attention in front of his desk, “You have your concerns about my wishing Sohryu to take over Akagi’s duties.”

    “I believe this is another attempt to follow Dr. Ikari’s wishes,” she responds.

    A small smirk, and he pushes his glasses back up his nose.

    “Not holding back, I see,” he says, “Very well. Do you wish to consult with our advisor on this matter?”

    “You have considered me your confidant before,” Rei says, brows raised and staring at him, regarding him in a mix of his own manner and hers, “In the past twelve years, I have remained loyal to you because you have shown your ability to move beyond your obsession, Commander. However, you are aware that I value Inspector Ikari.”

    “That’s as close to understatement as I think I’ve heard from you, Rei.”

    “Our relationship is a close one,” she responds, “Mainly due to you being, as my room mate refers to you as, ‘a shifty bastard.’”

    Staring at her, he sights and turns back to his computer.

    “I will forward the details to you on the overall plan soon, as well as your place in it,” he intones, “Excuse me, Rei. I have reports to file and more to pass on to Katsuragi.”

    “Sir,” she says, shifts on her heel, and walks out.




    “Not that I care, but what have I missed back in the Pit of Despair?”

    Speeding along the highways, the engine purring against road noise, Shinji allows himself a smirk. Originally, he believed that the entire drive home would be her yelling, screaming, and cursing at him. But he also remembers that much of her bluster, much of her abrasive personality is a façade. Like everyone, she wears a mask in public, although hers is thicker than most.

    “Well, there’ve been some changes,” he says, “Hikari and Touji got married. They have two kids, so far, and for some reason they have a naming scheme which baffles me.”

    “Not surprised,” Asuka mutters, looking out the window, “So?”

    “Yeah, they’re naming their kids after us,” he says with a smirk, “Their first daughter was named Aya, and their second’s named Asuka. I get called to babysit every now and then because I keep shorter hours than they do and I found out I’m pretty good with kids.”

    He doesn’t see her hand tighten around the door handle or the grimace cross over her face. He only continues; a small laugh as he reminisces.

    “Well, Misato’s been dating someone. One of the bridge crew, the one with glasses. Turned out he had a huge crush on her and after you left and I woke up, they started seeing each other. Um…Dr. Akagi’s retired, Dr. Ibuki’s moved to the States, and Rei took over Misato’s old job, because Misato is now the Sub Commander.”

    She snorts, mainly at the mention of Rei’s name.

    “So, have you two been dating?”

    “No,” he responds, “We’re friendly, but we don’t date.”

    “Really? You two were so lovey dovey back when I was there,” Asuka mutters, chewing her lip, “Let me guess, tried it, didn’t work out? Wondergirl wanted some adventure?”

    “Or it’s just that I found out Rei’s my half-sister,” he responds, and smirks when she chokes, turning to him, “Oh, yeah. I did mention that a few times, but you never listened. Although I think if you did, you would have accused me of being so perverted I’d want to have sex with my sister. Ironically, Rei actually started dating before I did, and…well, college was interesting, and I’ll say that.”

    Asuka mutters to herself, folding her arms and leaning back in the seat.

    “I really don’t want to know.”

    “Yeah, I’ll save Rei’s discovery of boys and subsequent week-long absence from classes for another time when I want you to feel uncomfortable,” he says with a smirk, “Okay…wow. This is the Sohryu estate?”

    He eases the car past the open front gates, into the circular drive path leading to the old style four story mansions on the palatial estates. The car eases in to a spot in front of the wide cement walkway leading from the doors, and he eases it into a stop before turning off the ignition.

    “This is my parents’ estate,” she says, undoing her seat belt, “I live in Berlin.”

    “So why did I drive you here?” he asks.

    She mutters something inaudible, opening the door and stepping out as he climbs out of his seat. Leaning against the car, he watches as the doors open and a pair of legs steps out. It takes him a moment of staring at those legs for him to realize that they are attached to a human body which compliments them nicely.

    Dressed in a knee length black skirt and white blouse, hair cut to the shoulder with two prominent bangs and wearing a pair of tortoise shell glasses, the young woman grins and appraises Shinji before turning to Asuka and hugging her.

    “Well, it seems you’ve had an eventful day,” she says with a faint English accent, “Introduce me, Asuka.”

    “Right, right,” Asuka sighs, “This is Shinji. For some reason beyond any I can think of, he’s in Germany. Shinji, this is my sister, Mari.”

    “Buh,” Shinji responds.

    Palming her face, Asuka gives off a muted swear as Mari smirks, extending her hand over the roof which he takes in a quick handshake.

    “Shinji…Ikari?” she asks, “As in the Commander’s son?”

    “Sadly true,” he responds with a grin, “He’s sent me over here on business.”

    “So you’re working for NERV again,” she asks, “Did they re-activate Unit 01?”

    “God, no…wait,” he says and chuckles, “Maikinami?”

    She nods. Asuka rolls her eyes and grabs her bag from the back of the car.

    “I took my mother’s maiden name,” she responds.

    “Okay, that makes my job easier,” he says, “The Commander’s business does involve you. Can we…say…meet about it?”

    “How’s tomorrow night, Mr. Ikari? I know the city better than you do, and I’m sure we can come to some sort of agreement. Does that sound nice?”

    “Sounds spectacular,” he says with a grin, “Asuka, will you need a ride back?”

    “God, no,” she growls, and begins walking towards the house, “C’mon, Mari!”

    He watches the two go, before slipping back into the car and gunning the engine. With a grin on his face, he drives the car down the circular path and out onto the highway. Naturally, as his sight is normal and not superhuman, he doesn’t know about the satellite tracking him the entire time.




    “Well, that’s great,” Misato says, leaning over Ikari’s shoulder as they watch the satellite feed, “She’s just going to kill him, then. That’s a great idea, Commander.”

    “She won’t,” Gendo says, folding his hands in front of his face as the feed cuts out, “Sohryu’s deep-seeded psychological issues wouldn’t cause her to permanently harm the Inspector. Only temporarily.”

    “Which is a distinction I place so much importance on,” Misato deadpans, walking around the desk and slumping into the chair, “I don’t get this. Why Asuka? Why not just order Maya to take over Ritsuko’s old job?”

    “Two reasons,” Gendo says, leaning back in his chair, “First, Sohryu is the daughter of one of the original designers and teachers her material. She knows how the Evas work better than most anyone on the planet. Second, I have a plan.”

    “Last time you said that the human race ended up as orange juice.”

    A twitch of his lip and a sigh comes out as he glares at her.

    “I remember when I was intimidating,” he sighs, “There are reasons I have chosen Professor Sohryu. What matters is convincing her to transfer over. Hence, why I have sent Shinji, in order to work with the connection the two have. This is also the reason I have planned this out in advance. Now, we will proceed to the next stage of the plan.”

    Misato leans back, groaning. She hates when he goes cryptic.

    “Which is?”




    The concourse of the Schoenefeld International Airport is always bustling. In this case, several of the disembarking passengers are all wearing black suits with sunglasses, and all in a loose formation around one disembarking tourist.

    It is her vacation, albeit one she is taking on a particular task. Adjusting her jacket and baseball cap, she smiles behind blood red eyes as she walks down the concourse, humming to herself.

    Berlin, she hears, is a beautiful city, and she doesn’t spend nearly enough time out of Tokyo-3.

    Rei Ayanami adjusts the strap of her back carry on bag as a Section 2 agent grabs her suitcases.

    This is going to be a fun week.
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  3. Jim Starluck CO, ICS Vanguard

    Well, I liked the original version of this, so I'm certainly curious as to where this re-write is going.



    Also, you write the most... interesting Reis. Or Ree. Whatever. :p
  4. GreggHL Engaging hilarity engine/air oscillation booster.

    When your character's a complete blank slate, that lets you go just about anywhere with him/her/it when the original creator's done.
  5. Artemetis Canterlot Ghoul

    I also quite enjoyed the original version of this story, and am certainly eager to see where you are taking this revised version. Keep up the fantastic work!
  6. BadHabits Bad Puppy

    As above, I loved the original and I'm looking forward to this re-write...though I'm seriously hoping that Shinji's just enjoying the Mari eye-candy and isn't planning to make a play on her. I can just see that going over so very, very well with Asuka.

    Also: I'm loving Shinji's abuse of the unlimited expense account. That was one of the few points I really felt you could have improved upon in the previous version.
  7. I love your humor. Especially the way you work it in so that it fits; it is part of the flow of the story, not a seperate chunk thrown to the readers as a bone.


    "I remember when I was intimidating" Hah.
  8. Tabi Over a thousand stories, yet unfinished.

    I didn't think Gendo would mention Kaworu so casually. I mean wouldn't Shinji be a bit cold about that tidbit in his life?
  9. Jim Starluck CO, ICS Vanguard

    Depends. In the original version of this, wasn't Kaworu still around as a pilot and on friendly terms with Shinji? Or am I mixing it up with Gregg's other fic where Asuka's dad is commander of NERV instead of Gendo?
  10. GreggHL Engaging hilarity engine/air oscillation booster.

    Well, it was also twelve years ago, and quite frankly from what he knows now he also probably views Kaworu with less rose colored glasses.
  11. GreggHL Engaging hilarity engine/air oscillation booster.

    Yes, mixing it up with the other fic. There, Kaworu's the fourth child and a complete manipulative bastard. Here, Kaworu's been wormfood for twelve years, albeit with a strong psychic presence.
  12. BadHabits Bad Puppy

    Speaking of Kaworu [spoiler]is he still the biological father of Asuka's daughter[/spoiler]?
  13. GreggHL Engaging hilarity engine/air oscillation booster.

    I am considering changing some plot twists this time around. That may or may not be one. I'm trying to steady the pacing this time around and maybe make it flow more naturally. For example, Gendo has remarried.
  14. condonzack I'm so sorry

    I find myself wondering how Shinji's brief stint as God would affect his psyche. Not in a crazy PTSD way, but a subtle 'I've seen the whole of the universe, and am therefore pretty secure about myself' way. If you know what I mean.

    Never read the original, should I?
  15. GreggHL Engaging hilarity engine/air oscillation booster.

    Feel free to, it's in my signature. Admittedly, I concluded the main plot way too soon in the original and sort of ended up resolving all the tension by midway through the story.
  16. BadHabits Bad Puppy

    Really? I thought the re-introduction of the 12th was the start of another story arc - and one that I really thought had a lot of potential.
  17. GreggHL Engaging hilarity engine/air oscillation booster.

    And I plan on continuing it. I know where I want to go with it, I just want to sort of remap how to get there.
  18. BadHabits Bad Puppy

    Ah. Cool then.
  19. GreggHL Engaging hilarity engine/air oscillation booster.

    That, and I decided who the second Mrs. Gendo Ikari is.
  20. BadHabits Bad Puppy

    ...You know, given that Gendo was more Mr. Yui Ikari (I think it's canon that he took her name when they married) wouldn't his second wife be the first Mrs. Gendo Ikari?
    RadiantPhoenix likes this.
  21. Hectonkhyres I want you on fire in the sexiest way possible.

    Finally the man can stop vigorously masturbating in the cockpit [1] of Unit-01 every time he gets lonely.[2]
    That is, he can. He won't necessarily.

    [1]- Hehe. Cockpit.
    [2]- Or Unit-00 if he wants to make Unit-01 jealous.
  22. GreggHL Engaging hilarity engine/air oscillation booster.

    Well, it's semantics, and it's also a giant FUCK YOU to Yui.
  23. BadHabits Bad Puppy

    [spoiler]So I take it that she's still a bat-shit crazy bitch?[/spoiler]
  24. GreggHL Engaging hilarity engine/air oscillation booster.

    Shit, that's practically canon in the series.
    RadiantPhoenix likes this.
  25. GreggHL Engaging hilarity engine/air oscillation booster.

    The doors to the office open as Katsuragi approaches them. Gendo’s secretary is a well-trained one and has been here for the past two years, and recognizes when the Sub Commander has the look on her that says she does not want to take an appointment. Marching in, hands balled into fists, she levels her glare at the Supreme Commander of NERV as he closes the cell phone and folds his hands under his nose.

    “Yes?” he asks.

    “Why is Rei now in Berlin?” she asks.

    “She is on vacation.”

    She chews her lip, narrowing an eye as he calls up financial requisition forms and pauses when he brings up the history of Shinji’s expense account. Sighing and shuffling that aside, he continues as she clears her throat.

    “Yes?”

    “Is Rei going to kill Asuka?”

    “Do you want her to?”

    Misato considers that for a moment, then renews her glare.

    “No,” she says, “At least, not…now. Maybe eight years ago.”

    “I thought you had dibs on that.”

    She folds her arms and sighs, shoulders slumping as she rubs the bridge of her nose. He turns back to requisition forms, clicking through emails as he does so.

    “If that ginger bitch touches Shinji, I handle it personally. Rei gets to watch so she sees how it’s done.”

    Turning on her heel, she starts to walk out.

    “Sub Commander,” Gendo says, “When Inspector Ikari convinces Sohryu to come to Tokyo-3, you will not bring these problems into NERV.”

    Knuckles crack as the hands ball into fists and she snorts.

    “In all due respect, Commander, she put Shinji in a coma before she ran back home,” Misato growls, “Trust me. She’ll bring the problems first.”

    The door slams as she walks out. It shouldn’t slam, though. One of the many little quirks of building a base out a dead Angel.
    -
    -
    Chapter 3: The Man I Used to Be
    -
    -
    The chalk scrapes along the blackboard as she gives an occasional glance over to her laptop, squinting through her glasses every now and then in order to make sure she is getting the letters right as she prints the chemical formula. She doesn’t look as the door opens. It is too early for students, and the footsteps are too heavy, so it can be only him.

    “Early riser?” Shinji asks.

    “I have to be,” she responds, “What do you want?”

    “I was thinking a combination of talking and annoying you,” he says, grinning as she turns, dressed down into jeans and a sweatshirt as he takes a seat on one of the desks, “I remember talking with your sister on the phone back when we were in Tokyo-3.”

    She snorts, turning back to the board.

    “You’re hiding it well,” he says.

    “Hiding what?”

    “The…you know,” he says, and sighs, “I almost didn’t notice them.”

    The chalk scrapes along the board. She grinds her teeth, growling out a breath before continuing to write.

    “Don’t bring it up in class,” she says, “Any of it.”

    Silence in the classroom as she continues writing. He takes out his laptop and begins filing through email messages, rolling his eyes as he reads over a particularly long email from a name he recognizes before chuckling.

    “What?” she asks.

    “It’s an email I got from my stepmother,” he says, grinning as she spins around, “You heard, didn’t you? My father got remarried.”

    “You’re shitting me.”

    He shakes his head, typing a reply.

    “Rei and I put him on the dating circuit about…six years ago. It was easily the most awkward thing we’ve done, outside of me walking in on Rei’s dates. The camera is not kind to my father.”

    She shakes her head, turning back to the board.

    “How have you been, anyway?” he asks, “I’ll admit it’s fun being the one egging you on for a change, but I haven’t seen you in eight years.”

    “Stop pretending you give a crap, Third,” she mutters, glancing at her lap top.

    “And stop acting so high and mighty, Second,” he growls, tapping open a file server, “Or I should remind you I had to talk down Misato from dragging you back from Germany and throwing you in a stockade.”

    The chalk snaps between her thumb and index finger. She stands there, stock still, her back turned to him as he stares. Silently, wordlessly, she walks over to her bag and takes out another piece of chalk.

    “Yeah,” she sighs, “Look, I have to concentrate on the class right now. So…just don’t talk to me. Okay?”

    He closes the laptop, stuffing it back into his briefcase. Without another word, he gets up and exits the room.




    Thankfully, the university has a free wi-fi connection and he can do the work he has to do when he isn’t abusing his expense account or playing catch up with the woman who cost him a month of his life. He should be infuriated. He should beat her over the head with the past until he makes her cry.

    He can’t do that, and he can’t even tell himself why. What scares him about this is that he may still have feelings for her. He thought she chokes out those feelings when she throttled him with his best eight years ago.

    “Is this seat taken?”

    “No, it’s fine.”

    He looks up. He recognizes the soft, monotone voice, and turns. Dressed in a pale blue sweater and jeans, with a baseball cap, light jacket and sunglasses, Rei Ayanami brings her hand up and waggles her fingers.

    “What. Are. You. Doing. Here?” he growls.

    “I am on vacation,” she says, sitting down across from him and shutting his laptop, “I expected to find you in Sohryu’s classroom.”

    “Please tell me you haven’t interrupted her class.”

    “I have a week off,” she responds, reaching into her jacket pocket and withdrawing a pack of cigarettes, “Making her lose her composure in front of her students is more of a Wednesday activity.”

    “Rei, please don’t make this personal,” he says, groaning as she lights a cigarette and puffs at it, “I know you and Asuka don’t get along. I honestly don’t blame you. But Father sent me over here for a reason, and you getting into a fight with the Professor of Evolutionary Biology over crap from eight years ago is going to make my life difficult.”

    She takes out the cigarette, puffing out rings of smoke. She smirks, adjusting her sunglasses and turning from him to look out as the open air cafeteria.

    “Sohryu can kiss my alabaster ass.”

    “Serious, Rei. Don’t lose it. The past is the past, and we’re not kids anymore.”

    The doors open as the classes are released. Students file by, and it is by virtue of Rei’s disguise that no one notices the pale girl sitting next to Shinji, mainly due to the baseball cap hiding her blue hair. She takes out her PDA, tapping open reports and emails as high heels clap against the stone floor, Asuka fixing her glasses as she walks over.

    “Sorry about that,” she says, “Are you angry?”

    “No more than I have to be,” he sighs.

    Asuka sighs, fixes her bag, and turns to the other person at the table…and then freezes. Rei looks up, snaps off her sunglasses, and smiles. It is not a pleasant smile. It is not a happy smile. It is a smile a predator gets when it corners prey.

    “It has been two days and my brother is still conscious,” Rei says, “Hello, Sohryu. It is good to see eight years does improve your personality.”
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