Neon Genesis Evangelion: Legacy
Episode V: SEELE Strikes Back


Chapter 10 – Violated; Arael Strikes
September 4, 2016 – Comfort 17 Apartments

Mari and Asuka were sitting and waiting patiently in the messy apartment. Rei was sitting with them, and they were all looking at the mess. Mari had just hung up the phone and was looking over at a very confused and worried Asuka and Rei.

"Was that Misato?" Asuka asked.

"Yep…" Mari said. "Shinji's coming home."

"Good." Rei said. "It is a shame they kicked us out of the Medical Wing."

"Yeah, I guess we took too much time to make sure he was ok." Asuka said. "Guess they didn't like that."

"I think they didn't like you yelling at the nurses when they'd check on Shinji." Mari said. "Even though it was super cute you didn't want him getting manhandled by those guys."

Asuka blushed. "Well, they were always so rough on him…"

"Yeah, well, look at this place." Mari said. "I don't want Shinji to come back to this… he left it so clean…"

"Are you suggesting we clean up after ourselves?" Asuka asked.

"That is the only logical thing to do." Rei said. "Do you know where Shinji keeps the cleaning supplies?"

"Uh… I think they're in the… kitchen?" Mari said.

"Ok, so we will clean the apartment." Rei said. "Shinji will be happy to see that things are normal and that you didn't ruin the place in his absence."

"Yeah… well, we only have a few hours." Mari said. "Misato said they were checking him over one last time, and that Ritsuko was doing a check on his something waveform thingy."

"So, she'll hold him for a while, eh?" Asuka said. "I feel sorry for him, but at least we have some time to clean this mess we made."

"Yeah, but we're not cleaning Misato's room." Mari said. "That's her problem… but Shinji's room… we have to fix that."

"Why do you have to clean Shinji's room?" Rei asked. "He has been gone for a month."

"We've been sleeping in there blueberry." Mari said.

"Why?" Rei asked.

"We missed him, Rei, simple as that." Asuka said. "Now let's get to cleaning."

"Yeah, let's start in the kitchen." Mari said. "It's the worst."

–––

Misato pulled up roughly in her car. Shinji was glad that the ride was over, and staggered out of the car shakily.

"Misato… I told you to drive slow…" Shinji said.

"What, these guys have been waiting a month for you to get back." Misato said.

"Yeah, well killing me to save a few minutes probably isn't what they had in mind." Shinji said. "So, next time, you don't get to drive me home from the hospital."

"Why not?" Misato asked.

"Because you drive recklessly." Shinji said. "I'm lucky to be alive."

"Yeah, that's right, be ungrateful…" Misato muttered.

"I'm the ungrateful one?" Shinji asked. "I bet the apartment looks like a warzone if I've been gone for a month."

"You're awfully feisty after coming out of there." Misato said. "You've changed a bit…"

"Nope… I'm the same old Shinji, Misato." Shinji said. "You're just imagining things."

"Sure…" Misato said. "Come on, I bet their clawing at the walls waiting for you."

Misato and Shinji took the elevator upstairs. Shinji walked nervously towards the door, and Misato unlocked it for him. Shinji walked inside and announced his arrival.

"Tadaima…" Shinji said.

"Hey, I know that voice…" Mari said from around the corner. "The puppy's home!"

"Shinji!" Asuka shouted.

Mari and Asuka came running out of the kitchen and before Shinji could do anything, he was on the floor underneath both girls who were mercilessly hugging him.

"Hi guys…" Shinji said meekly as he was squeezed to death. "I'm sorry I worried you all so much…"

"You should be baka!" Asuka said. "That's twice you've pulled this shit! I don't like it!"

"Yeah, you have to stop taking such reckless risks, puppy!" Mari said. "Oh, I forgot how cuddly you were!"

"Will you two let him up?" Rei asked. "You are only going to injure him further…"

Asuka and Mari looked at each other. The let go of Shinji and slowly stood up. They both reached out a hand and helped Shinji to his feet. Rei then stepped forward and hugged Shinji properly, without knocking him on his ass.

"I am glad you are ok." Rei said gladly. "But you are not allowed to do that again."

"Rei…" Shinji said. "What are you talking about?"

"Worrying us all." Rei said bluntly. "You are not allowed to do that again."

"Yeah, tell him how it is blueberry." Mari said.

"Will you guys let him sit down?" Misato said. "He just got out of the hospital, let him breathe…"

"You mean like you did when you almost fractured my ribs?" Shinji said. "Don't judge them…"

"Shinji, you're such a jerk!" Misato said.

"Hey, leave him alone, miso…" Mari said sarcastically. "He just got out of the hospital."

"Yeah, yeah…" Misato said. "Ok, Shinji, don't be too shocked at the mess… you've been gone a while so… uh… it's not how you left it…"

"I kinda figured…" Shinji said.

Everyone made it into the kitchen, and Shinji went slack jawed. Shinji looked around and everything was spotless, there wasn't any trash on the floor or the table. Shinji walked into the living room to see the same scene, he walked over to the bathroom which was also spotless. He walked past Asuka and Mari's room and saw that even it was clean, and that his own room was immaculate. Shinji, out of curiosity went to Misato's room and saw that it was still an utter disaster.

"Well, it's nice to see some things don't change…" Shinji said. "So… did you guys clean up before I got back?"

"Yeah…" Asuka said. "Mari thought it would be nice…"

"No, Asuka, it was your idea, take your credit." Rei said.

"Yeah, princess, you suggested it." Mari said. "She wanted to do something nice for you, puppy. You should thank her properly."

Shinji walked forward and hugged Asuka. "Thanks, Asuka… that was really sweet of you to suggest that…"

Asuka blushed a brighter red than her hair. "You're welcome baka…"

"So, were you guys worried about me?" Shinji asked.

"Idiot!" Asuka said, pushing Shinji away.

"Why do you ask stupid questions?" Mari said.

"What?" Shinji asked.

"We were all very concerned for your safety, Shinji." Rei said. "I was very worried about you, and Asuka and Mari were so worried, they slept in your room while you were… uh… trapped."

"Wait…" Shinji said. "You guys did what?"

"Oh… uh… when I got out of the hospital, I shut myself in your room…" Asuka said. "I… I was…"

"She was sad, puppy." Mari said. "I was too… that's why you can't be so reckless in the future. Otherwise we're not cleaning the tears off your pillow."

"What tears?" Shinji asked.

"They cried, Shinji." Rei said. "I did too."

"Oh…" Shinji said. "Sorry…"

"Yeah, you should be." Asuka said. "I don't like crying…"

"Neither do I…" Mari said. "It makes me look unattractive."

"Yeah, puffy eyes…" Asuka said.

"And runny noses…" Mari added.

"Ok, I get it…" Shinji said. "I promise I'll be more careful with our highly deadly job."

"You better stick to that, puppy." Mari said.

"Or else." Asuka said.

"So, do you want some dinner?" Mari asked. "You look hungry."

"I am… hospital food is kinda mushy…" Shinji said. "Oh god… please don't cook…"

"No, no." Asuka said. "We've gotten really good at ordering take out. We've found a few good places to eat."

"Or we could go to the karaoke bar?" Mari said.

Asuka's face fell when Mari suggested that and Shinji noticed. "No, let's just order whatever Asuka wants to have." Shinji said.

"Really?" Asuka asked.

"Yeah, you always tell me we don't have enough European food… I thought it would be a nice treat for you." Shinji said. "That, and sausage sounds really good right now…"

Asuka hugged Shinji tightly. "Thanks Shinji…" Asuka kissed Shinji on the cheek. "I'm just glad you're back safe and sound…"


September 5, 2016 – Tokyo–3 Junior High School, Class 2–A

Shinji, Mari, and Asuka arrived at school for the first time in over a month. As they walked up the school's main path, they saw Rei ahead of them. As they walked, all eyes were on them, and it was like nothing else mattered other than the four Evangelion pilots' return. No one knew what had happened the previous month, other than that two Angels attacked in quick succession, keeping them evacuated from Tokyo–3 for two weeks.

Shinji and the others then met up with a very tired looking Hikari, who had spent the entire weekend in the hospital with her boyfriend, and his sister.

"So… are you ok?" Mari asked.

"Just tired." Hikari said as she yawned.

Rei pulled out three cans of canned coffee and handed them to Hikari. "Drink these, and you will stay awake for some time." Rei said.

"Thanks, Rei…" Hikari said. "Why did you have these?"

"I drink coffee so I do not fall asleep during the teacher's boring pontifications." Rei said. "But today, your need to stay alert is far greater than mine."

"Uh… how is Toji?" Shinji asked.

"Oh, he's good." Hikari said. "He should be out in a few weeks, maybe less." Hikari stared at Shinji. "He also insists that you're not at fault for what happened to him, Shinji… Kaji sowed us everything, and he told us what you did to your father. Toji can't blame you, I think you did everything you could…"

"No… I should have…" Shinji muttered.

"Shut up, Shinji." Hikari said as she hugged him tightly. "Now, believe me when I tell you this, you didn't do anything wrong… ok?"

"Alright." Shinji said.

"Well, come on, let's go inside and see if Kensuke's here yet." Hikari said. "I bet he's missed us the last few weeks."

"Wait, he's been here all alone?" Mari asked.

"Yeah, after Misato and Kaji got me into NERV, I haven't really been to school since…" Hikari said. "I was too worried about Toji to focus on school…"

"You really love that moron don't you?" Asuka asked.

"As my best friend, you should already know the answer to that." Hikari said.

The group walked inside and up to the classroom. Shinji felt weird about being back in school after having missed so much of it. They walked into the classroom to an unhappy sight. Kensuke was being bugged by two kids that weren't from their class. One of the kids had Kensuke's camera while the other was shoving Kensuke around.

"Hey, come on, that thing's expensive!" Kensuke said.

"Who cares?" One kid said. "You're just a fucking nerd, no one in here is going to stop this, your class rep is MIA, and you're only other protection comes from those cool friends of yours and that asshole Suzuhara."

"Yeah, we wouldn't mess with them, but you, you're no threat." The other one said. "You're just some pussy ass bitch."

"Son of a bitch!" Mari shouted.

"Get away from him!" Hikari shouted.

The two boys turned around to see both Mari an Asuka advancing on them, and they got scared. However, before Asuka or Mari could get close, Shinji ha charged across the room and decked the boy shoving Kensuke and knocked him to the ground.

"Shinji!" Hikari shouted.

"You, give him the camera back." Shinji said coldly to the other boy.

"Hey, asshole, you deaf?!" Asuka shouted. "Do as he says!"

"Yeah…" The boy with the camera said. "Here, nerd."

"Hey, enough of that shit!" Shinji said as he grabbed the boy by the shirt. "If you ever bother my friend again, I'll make sure your children regret your poor decision."

"Yeah… I got it…" The boy said.

"Now get your friend and get the hell out of here." Asuka said.

The boy picked the other boy up off the floor and they ran out of the room.

"Kensuke, who were those guys?" Hikari asked. "I know they weren't from our class…"

"Class 2–D I think." Kensuke said. "They've been bothering me for a few weeks now."

"Why?" Mari asked.

"Because you guys weren't here…" Kensuke said sullenly.

"Wait, so that's it really?" Asuka said. "We weren't here and they decided to do this?"

"Yeah, they basically said I was an easy target." Kensuke said. "They weren't wrong."

"Hey, we're back now, so don't worry so much, ok?" Mari said.

"Yeah, we didn't know this kind of stuff would happen if we weren't here." Asuka said.

"Well, I'm just glad it's over for now." Kensuke said.

"No, it's over." Shinji said.

"How do you know?" Kensuke asked.

"Because they said they'd never mess with us." Hikari said.

"Yeah, those assholes should be scared." Asuka said.

"Those are the same boys who called me names." Rei said. "They are quite rude."

"I knew I recognized them from somewhere…" Hikari said.

"So, Kensuke…" Shinji said. "Are you sure you're ok?"

"Yeah, they didn't break anything." Kensuke said. "I just wish you guys had been here last week…"

"Yeah, well, uh…" Mari said.

"We were in no condition to attend school." Rei said.

"Well, I'm just glad you're all back…" Kensuke said. "Well, I'm guessing Toji needs more time to recover, right?"

"Yeah, he'll be back in a few weeks." Hikari said. "He and Sakura say hi by the way."

"They do?" Kensuke asked.

"Yeah, they miss your visits, but they know you're not allowed into NERV HQ." Hikari said. "So, they'll see you when they get out."

"Well, after Shinji's accident…" Kensuke said nervously. "I'm not exactly thrilled about being near an Evangelion…"

"Holy shit…" Mari said. "You're not hard for the EVAs now?"

Kensuke glared at her. "No… not after Hikari explained everything that happened. I just wish Unit–03 didn't have Toji in it… but at least you guys were there to keep him safe…"

"So, you'll stop bugging us about getting in one?" Asuka asked.

"Yeah, but I still want to know what's going on…" Kensuke said. "I'm haven't completely lost my taste for NERV intel."

"Small victories." Mari said.

"Well, I do have a question." Asuka asked. "Shinji, where did that punch come from?"

"Oh, that…" Shinji said. "I just hate bullies."

"Well, you're usually so mellow." Mari said. "I'm a little concerned."

"Remember how I said I don't like people hurting my friends?" Shinji asked.

"Yeah… you might have mentioned that once or twice." Asuka said

"During both of the last two Angel battles actually." Rei said.

"Well… that applies in and out of the EVA." Shinji said.

"Oh…" Asuka said.

"Still, Shinji, don't go around decking people." Hikari said. "Even if it was a great punch."

"And thanks, Shinji." Kensuke said.

"For what?" Shinji asked.

"For doing that." Kensuke said.

"Like I said, Kensuke." Shinji said. "I would do that for any of my friends."

"Well, I guess we know not to piss Shinji off now." Mari joked.

"Why is that?" Rei asked.

"Cause he can lay us out with one punch, man." Mari said.

"Well, we will simply have to be careful then." Rei said. "But we should take our seats."

"Why?" Shinji asked.

Ding dong ding ding… ding dong ding ding

"I think she meant that…" Kensuke said.

"Wow, Rei, that's impressive." Shinji said.

"Yeah, like you have a sixth sense." Asuka said.

"Thank you, Shinji." Rei said. "Thank you, Asuka."

"Get to your desks." Hikari said. "Don't fail me on my first day back."

"We won't, Hikari." Shinji said. "Don't worry."

"Yeah, don't get your thong in a twist." Mari said.

"Excuse me?" Hikari asked.

"I said thong, freckles." Mari said. "Am I wrong?"

"Yes you're wrong, I hate those things." Hikari said. "But enough about that nonsense, sit the hell down!"

"Fine, relax…" Mari said. "And now onto business as usual…" Mari muttered as Nebukawa no Sensei walked in.

"I can't say I missed this…" Shinji muttered.

"Hey, if you get absorbed into a Core again, just take me with you…" Asuka muttered. "It's better than this hell hole…"

"Oh, be quiet you guys, it's not so bad…" Hikari said quietly as she stood up and put on her sternest looking face. "Rise… Bow… Sit!" Hikari said authoritatively.


September 9, 2016 – NERV HQ, Medical Wing

Shinji was walking to the Medical Wing. He had decided to see how Toji was. He had taken a lot of convincing from Asuka, Mari, Hikari, Rei, and Misato, not to mention Kaji that Toji wasn't the least bit mad at him. So, after a routine activation test with Unit–01, Shinji decided to see how he was doing. He found a door with the last name "Suzuhara" on it and went inside. However, Shinji had chosen the wrong room and instead found Sakura lying in bed staring out the window. She looked over when she heard the footsteps and lit up upon seeing who it was.

"Shinji!" Sakura said. "You're here!"

"Hi, Sakura." Shinji said meekly. "How have you been?"

"Better than you, I bet." Sakura said.

"What?" Shinji asked.

"Oh, did they all tell you I didn't know?" Sakura asked.

Shinji played dumb. "Know what, Sakura?"

"That you got sucked into your Evangelion, silly." Sakura said.

"Huh?" Shinji asked.

"Oh, don't worry, after you came back Toji explained everything to me. They rolled me into his room to see him." Sakura explained. "He told me how he got hurt, and how you saved him and got thrown out by your dad and everything, and then that next Angel, he told me how you fought it so hard, you pushed yourself too far and got trapped or something…"

"Yeah, that's the long and the short of it." Shinji said. "Why did he tell you?"

"Oh, once you were alright, he didn't see a need to lie to me anymore." Sakura said. "So when I went to see him after you got released, he told me all of it. Showed me the footage of your fight with him too. You really do care a lot about people, don't you?"

"Yeah, I… I do." Shinji said.

"Well come here." Sakura said.

"Why?" Shinji asked.

"Cause I said so." Sakura said.

"Ok…" Shinji said as he nervously walked over to Sakura's bed.

"Lean closer." Sakura said.

Shinji sighed and did as he was asked, and Sakura kissed him lightly on the cheek.

"What was that for?" Shinji asked.

"Well, you saved my life, and you save Toji's life twice…" Sakura said happily. "I'm just trying to say thank you the best way I know how. Am I not cute enough to kiss you or something?"

"No, it's not that… you're cute…" Shinji stammered. "I… uh…"

"Is it about Asuka?" Sakura asked.

"No… wait… what?!" Shinji asked.

"Did you really think Hikari wouldn't tell me about that?" Sakura asked.

"I assumed she wouldn't mention it to anyone…" Shinji said.

"Well, have you asked her out yet?" Sakura asked.

"No… I'm not…" Shinji said. "I'm not ready."

"Why not?" Sakura asked.

"I…" Shinji said. "I just don't think it's the right time."

"Well, I can't tell you you're wrong, even though you are." Sakura said. "But, do you really want to keep things the way they are and lose out on the chance to ask her?"

"No, but…" Shinji said.

"No buts, Shinji Ikari." Sakura said. "I know you think waiting is the best idea, but you don't want it to be too late when you finally think the time is perfect."

"So, what should I say?" Shinji asked.

"Ok, you do love her right?" Sakura asked.

"Yes, I do love her." Shinji said.

"Then when you tell her, make sure she's in a good mood, and then you just speak from the heart." Sakura said. "You got it?"

"Yeah…" Shinji said.

"Good, now lean in again." Sakura said.

Shinji leaned in again and got another kiss from Sakura.

"Ok, what was that one for?" Shinji asked.

"For good luck." Sakura said. "You two will make a cute couple. Trust me."

"For some reason, I do…" Shinji said.

"Good, now go see Toji." Sakura said. "He wants to say thank you too."

"I hope he says it differently than you do." Shinji said sarcastically.

"Ah… now I know why he considers you a friend." Sakura said.

"What do you mean?" Shinji asked.

"Oh, you two are a lot alike actually." Sakura said. "Both kind and compassionate people. He must have seen that in you the day you took him into the Entry Plug."

"Really?" Shinji asked.

"Well, it's only a guess." Sakura said. "But enough talking about him, go see him."

"Alright." Shinji said. "I'll come by and see you later, ok?"

"You don't have to tell me, Shinji." Sakura said. "You have a good heart, you wouldn't leave me here alone."

Shinji smiled and left Sakura's room to find Toji's. Toji's room was several rooms down the hall, and the door was open. Shinji walked inside nervously and Toji looked over and saw him.

"Shinji!" Toji said happily. "Well, don't stand there like a lump, get over here!"

Shinji walked over to the beaming Toji.

"So, uh, how are you?" Shinji asked.

"I could be worse." Toji said. "If you hadn't overridden that system, I could've died."

"Don't remind me…" Shinji said.

"Hey, don't be so glum." Toji said. "You saved my ass from that freak."

"Yeah, I just wish I had done something sooner." Shinji said. "I could have helped you avoid getting hurt."

"No, don't start second guessing yourself." Toji said. "You didn't want to hurt me, I get that, but when it mattered, you did what you had to do."

"So, you're not mad?" Shinji asked. "About any of that?"

"Nah… I made my choice." Toji said. "I knew from your stories those things were dangerous. But I did it for my sister, kinda like you do it to protect your friends."

"So…" Shinji said.

"So, it's not your fault." Toji said. "Plain and simple."

"Why would you say that?" Shinji asked.

"Cause it's not your fault, Shinji." Toji said. "You saved me, and then you took out your anger on the base and your dad, I'm actually kinda impressed you can get that angry."

"Well, you got hurt, and I was pissed my dad made me hurt my friend." Shinji said. "So, I took out my anger on him."

"Well, I'm glad you did." Toji said. "I don't know how many times I gotta say it, but you saved my life, Shinji. Don't be down on yourself. I would make the same choice to get my sister the best medical care ever, and I bet things would have gone the same way if it happened again."

"I don't know…" Shinji said. "I mean, if Mari or Hikari weren't my good friends, and if we didn't have a strong friendship… I don't know what would have happened…"

"Well, I probably would have gotten it a lot worse than I did." Toji said. "But I didn't, so the what ifs don't mean shit."

"Well, I'm just glad you're ok." Shinji said.

"Yeah, and I'm glad your dumb ass is back here too." Toji said. "You pull off a lot of funky shit in that EVA of yours."

"Well, I guess I'm just lucky like Kaji says." Shinji said.

"Well, I'm glad your dumb luck protects the rest of us." Toji said. "But I have to ask you something…"

"Yeah, what is it?" Shinji asked.

"When you were captured by that Angel…" Toji said. "Did it… uh… talk to you or anything?"

"Uh…" Shinji said. "Yeah… it tried to make me feel like I was… like I was nothing. It tried to keep me there to keep it company."

"Yeah, mine wasn't like that…" Toji said. "It told me that I was stupid, and it tortured me… that's where most of my injuries came from… the Angel invading my body."

"So… did yours have a name?" Shinji asked.

"Yeah…" Toji shivered. "It called itself Bardiel…" Toji looked at Shinji. "Did yours?"

"Leliel…" Shinji said.

"So they actually have names…" Toji said. "Do you think they all had names?"

"I do… I just wish I knew what they were." Shinji said.

"Why?" Toji asked.

"Well, we should be able to known the names of all the Angels." Shinji said. "That way we won't be afraid of them anymore."

"Huh?" Toji asked.

"Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself." Shinji said. "Knowing their names makes them less scary…"

"Isn't that from some book?" Toji asked.

"Probably." Shinji said. "But what it says is true."

"Well, they're still kinda scary." Toji said. "I mean, they can level a city, can't they?"

"So can the EVAs." Shinji said. "The problem is we have to protect the city, and the Angels just have to destroy everything they see. That's why we're at a disadvantage."

"So, what will knowing their names change?" Toji asked.

"Well, I'll know what to call them as I kill them." Shinji said.

"That's a little dark…" Toji said. "But I get it now."

"Yeah, I know it's a little weird, but I want to tell them all to go back to hell." Shinji said. "I just want all this to end… I want to be a normal teenager again."

"Well, I think that option's kinda gone." Toji said. "You're a hero now, and so are the others… you're kinda stuck with that forever."

"Well, it still doesn't mean I can't wish for it." Shinji said.

"Well, kill the other Angels, then maybe you'll live that normal life again." Toji said.

"Yeah, that's the hope." Shinji said as Toji yawned loudly. "You alright?" Shinji asked.

"Just tired, Shinji." Toji said. "Haven't slept in a few days."

"So, do you want to just sleep?" Shinji asked.

"Yeah, I'll sleep if you can promise me you won't beat yourself up over me getting hurt." Toji said. "Got it?"

"Yeah, I get it." Shinji said. "It's not my fault. Your sister and everyone else has been telling me the same thing, but…"

"You're too stubborn to listen to reason." Toji said. "I can understand that."

"How can you understand that?" Shinji asked.

"Cause I like blaming myself for shit that's not my fault either." Toji said. "So don't worry about it anymore."

"I won't…" Shinji smiled. "Thanks Toji."

"No problem pal." Toji said. "Now get out of here, I'm sleepy."

"Yeah, yeah." Shinji said. "I'm going."


September 12, 2016 – Comfort 17 Apartments

"Baka, Shinji…" Asuka muttered as she walked into the house.

It had been a week since Shinji came home from the hospital. Shinji had gotten back to his routine as if he hadn't left, which annoyed Asuka considerably. She had been worried about him for a month, and he acted as though he was only gone for a few hours. Seeing as Mari was over at Rei's and Misato was at work, so Asuka decided that she should confront him about how stupid he was being by acting like nothing had happened. So, as Shinji was picking up the living room, Asuka crept up and startled him.

"Shinji, we need to talk." Asuka said.

"About what, Asuka?" Shinji asked.

"About you." Asuka said.

"Why?" Shinji asked. "Is something wrong?"

"Yeah, there is." Asuka said. "You're acting too normal!"

Shinji stared at her. "What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about you acting normal!" Asuka said emphatically. "Why are you acting normal, baka?!"

"Asuka, you're not making any sense…" Shinji said.

"I mean you were inside of your EVA for an entire month, and you come out like nothing fucking happened!" Asuka shouted. "What the fuck is wrong with you?!"

"Nothing, Asuka!" Shinji said. "Why should I have changed or something?" Shinji asked. "Should I have come out muttering nonsense?"

"No, you just don't seem to care you had some people fucking worried sick about you!" Asuka shouted. "Like everything we went through while you were gone means nothing!"

"What are you talking about Asuka?" Shinji asked.

"This!" Asuka pointed to him cleaning. "You cleaning up like everything is normal!"

"Well, isn't everything normal?" Shinji asked. "We still have to fight Angels, and we have to pilot the Evangelions. What's changed?"

Asuka stared at Shinji. "What's changed?!" Asuka shouted. "What are you, stupid or something?!"

"No, Asuka, I'm not!" Shinji shouted back. "I'm not even sure why you're yelling at me!"

"I'm yelling at you for not apologizing about making me worry about you!" Asuka shouted.

"What…?" Shinji asked.

"You went away!" Asuka shouted. "You didn't even think about what you did and how it would affect us! What if you didn't come back?! Should we have fought without you?!"

"Asuka…" Shinji said.

"What?!" Asuka shouted. "Why did you have to disappear again!"

"It wasn't intentional, Asuka!" Shinji said emphatically. "It just happened!"

"Why?!" Asuka asked angrily.

"Asuka, what do you want from me?!" Shinji asked as he stood up and faced her head on.

"I want you to apologize for making me worry about you!" Asuka screamed.

"For what, saving everyone again?!" Shinji shouted. "Or for almost dying again because of that stupid fucking machine?!"

"No, none of that shit!" Asuka shouted. "I want an apology for pushing yourself too fucking far and leaving us without a way to kill an Angel! We can't do anything without you! I can't do anything without you, you stupid fucking idiot!"

"Asuka…" Shinji muttered as he hugged Asuka. "I'm sorry… I didn't know it would happen… I just wanted to protect you guys… I didn't mean to worry you…"

"Well you did!" Asuka shouted as she started to cry on Shinji's shoulder. "I thought you were never coming back! I didn't… I thought… I thought that it was my fault… cause I… I couldn't kill the Angel… I… I messed up Shinji… I let you down!"

"No, you didn't Asuka… you did great…" Shinji said. "I saw your fight from a distance as Kaji led me back… you almost had that thing…"

"No I didn't!" Asuka shouted. "I never even came close! Every Angel I've fought, I needed your damn help!"

"No you didn't…" Shinji said.

"YES I DID!" Asuka shouted as she stopped crying and pushed Shinji away from her. "You were with me with the Sixth Angel, we had to work together against the Seventh, you saved me from dying against the Eighth, you killed the Ninth and Tenth, you gutted the Twelfth, saved Toji and killed the Thirtieth, and went primal on the Fourteenth! I haven't done anything like you did against the Third and Fourth! I'm useless!"

"No, you're not, Asuka." Shinji said. "We all fight together… trust me, it's not fun fighting alone… there isn't anyone there to back you up and if you fail… everyone dies…"

"What…" Asuka said.

"Asuka, you have no idea what it's like to fight alone…" Shinji said. "It's the scariest feeling in the world. You're lucky… you've never had to do that…"

"Yeah… but I've never been able to do it on my own…" Asuka said. "I'm a failure…"

"Asuka, you're the best pilot I know." Shinji said. "You work so hard to pilot… you've done it longer than any of us. You're never afraid… but I'm always afraid… I let you guys down with Toji… I froze up…"

"Yeah, but like always… you pulled something out when it mattered…" Asuka said as she started to tear up again. "You always fix whatever mistakes we make…"

Shinji walked back over and hugged Asuka again. "Asuka… you guys don't make mistakes, we all do our best, and you guys weaken the Angel enough for to end up killing it… we all do our part."

"I…" Asuka said tearfully. "I didn't know you thought that way… I assumed you thought that I was useless…"

"Asuka, I could never think that about you…" Shinji said. "And, Asuka… assuming makes an ass out of you and me."

"Jerk…" Asuka muttered. "But… I'm… I'm sorry I yelled at you… I didn't… I didn't know…"

"Asuka, you don't need to apologize…" Shinji said. "Just next time you need to ask me something… don't start yelling, ok?"

"Yeah, I promise…" Asuka said nuzzling Shinji's shoulder. "So, can I ask you something else, Shinji?"

"What is it, Asuka?" Shinji asked.

"What happened to you while you were trapped?" Asuka asked. "Were you… scared?"

"No… just lonely…" Shinji said. "It wasn't as bad as it was with the Angel… the Core felt… safe…"

"Why was it safe?" Asuka asked.

Shinji looked at Asuka and couldn't bring himself to explain what he found out. "It just felt… familiar…" Shinji said. "Have you ever felt that inside Unit–02?"

"Warm and safe?" Asuka asked. "Uh… once I think… maybe twice… it's a weird feeling, right? Like you're being hugged or something."

"Yeah, that's the feeling." Shinji said. "I'm glad I'm not the only one, I thought I was crazy…"

"You're not crazy Shinji…" Asuka said. "Well, you're no crazier than the rest of us…"

"Thanks, Asuka…" Shinji said. "So do you want to ask me anything else?"

"No… but can we keep hugging like this for a while?" Asuka asked. "I really enjoy when we hug."

"You… you do?" Shinji asked.

Asuka smiled. "Yeah… I get that same feeling you described when we do this."

"So do I…" Shinji said.

"Shinji, do you have something on your mind?" Asuka asked.

Shinji blushed. "No… I'm just glad you don't mind me hugging you."

"Baka…" Asuka said. "Just don't disappear on me again…"

"I'll try Asuka…" Shinji said. "I don't want to worry you anymore."

–––

Mari was over at Rei's apartment. Mari had been thinking about Rei said for over a month, and that day at school, Rei had invited the brunette over for a chat. So as Mari followed her home from school, she couldn't help but feel butterflies in her stomach. When they got up to Rei's dingy apartment, Rei put on some of the music Mari had given her and went to make tea. Mari settled herself on Rei's bed and waited patiently for Rei to return.

Rei walked back over with two teacups in her hands. "Here is your tea, Mari."

"Thanks, blueberry…" Mari said.

Rei sat down next to Mari and looked at her inquiringly. "Mari, are you deep in thought about why I asked you to come over today?"

"Yeah… I am…" Mari said as she blushed.

"I wanted to ask you something." Rei said.

"What is it?" Mari asked as her heart pounded in her chest.

"What do you feel for me?" Rei asked.

"I uh… I like you blueberry…" Mari said. "I like you a… a lot…"

"That is good to know." Rei said.

"That's it?" Mari said tearfully.

"No… Mari, please do not be upset." Rei said. "I am not very good with emotions, so I am not familiar with how to express of process certain things."

"I know that blueberry." Mari said as she wiped the tears out of her eyes.

"I have many feelings about you…" Rei said. "All the feelings I have for you make me feel very warm inside… I do not know if it is love…"

"But you don't want to rush things." Mari said.

"Yes, I do not want to rush into something I do not know if I am ready for." Rei said. "I do not want to make you feel sad if things do not work out the way you'd like…"

"It's not about me, blueberry." Mari said. "I'll do whatever I need to do to make you feel comfortable… I would never want to rush you into something…"

"Thank you Mari…" Rei said. "I knew you would understand…"

"Yeah…" Mari said.

"But I would like to know something…" Rei said.

"Yeah?" Mari asked.

"What is it like to be kissed?" Rei asked.

"Huh?" Mari asked.

"Mari, I am asking you something very simple…" Rei said.

"Wait… you want me to…" Mari said.

"You sometimes take a minute to catch on…" Rei said. "I believe you would call something like this… adorable."

"Wow, I guess my mannerisms have been rubbing off on you…" Mari said. "Are you sure that a kiss isn't going too far?"

"I just want to know how it feels to kiss someone I have feelings for…" Rei said as she blushed brightly. "I believe it is something I would very much enjoy doing."

"I think you'll enjoy it too…" Mari said.

"Well, do not keep me waiting, Mari." Rei said. "I do not want to lose my nerve…"

"Well, I wouldn't want that to happen." Mari said as she leaned in and kissed Rei lightly on the lips. Mari's heart skipped several beats when their lips met and she flashed back to when she kissed Yui. 'She kisses just like Yui…' Mari thought. 'But who cares…'

When Mari broke the kiss, she saw Rei was blushing and could tell her face was as red as hers was. "So, how was that, blueberry?"

"It was… very nice…" Rei said.

"I'm glad, blueberry." Mari said. "So, what do want to do? Just take things slowly and see where life takes us?"

"Yes, I believe that is the best option." Rei said. "I hope you are not disappointed."

"No, I said I don't mind waiting." Mari said. "I'd wait an entire lifetime for a chance to be with you, blueberry."

"That is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me." Rei said. "I am glad you feel that way about me… I always thought I was… replaceable."

"Blueberry…" Mari said. "You're anything but replaceable…"


September 14, 2016 – NERV HQ

The kids were all in their Entry Plugs doing sync tests. Misato was monitoring while Ritsuko administered the tests. The test results were coming in, and Ritsuko was impressed with three of the scores, but disappointed in the final one.

"So, Asuka's score is down again." Ritsuko said. "If this keeps going, I'm pulling her from the program."

"Leave it alone Ritsuko." Misato said. "It's that time of the month."

"She's had that time of the month more than 20 times since she started doing sync tests." Ritsuko retorted. "Physical changes in the body like that don't do anything to the sync rate… it's all psychological, and I will not have an unstable pilot inside of Unit–02."

"Please each of those kids are unstable." Misato said. "Otherwise, they would never have agreed to pilot those things."

"She has a point, Dr. Akagi." Maya said. "Maybe you should give Asuka the benefit of the doubt and let her try to improve her score."

"No, she's a liability." Ritsuko said. "If her score goes down any further, she won't be able to pilot anymore. I will not risk the lives of the human race for some spoiled girl's feelings…"

"Well, that just makes you a bitch." Misato said.

"This makes me a bitch!" Ritsuko said coldly as she flipped the comm switch. "The test is over." Ritsuko said shortly. "Shinji, congratulations, you're still on top, Mari you're in second, and Rei, you're in third." Ritsuko paused and a smile formed on her face. "Asuka, your score dropped five more points… if you don't step it up, you're no longer going to be piloting Unit–02."

"What, you can't do that!" Asuka shouted.

"Yes I can, Asuka." Ritsuko said. "If you're no longer mentally fit for this program, you're done. And you're certainly heading that way."

"You don't say something like that to someone like this!" Mari shouted. "You tell them in private, you fucking bitch!"

"Dr. Akagi, that is highly insensitive…" Rei said. "You should apologize to her."

"Why are you being so mean to Asuka?!" Shinji roared.

Ritsuko attempted to respond, but was interrupted by the base shaking slightly. "What was that?" Ritsuko asked.

"I don't know, ma'am." Maya said. "We're not experiencing an earthquake, it's something else…"

"Answer me!" Shinji roared as the base shook again. "Why are you being mean to her?!"

"Ma'am, I'm getting a report from the Cage… Unit–01 is online." Maya reported.

"How is that even possible?" Misato asked.

"I don't know…" Ritsuko said. "It's on ice…"

"Maybe it has something to do with Shinji." Maya said. "Shinji, please calm down."

"Not until she apologizes!" Shinji shouted.

"Why do I need to apologize?" Ritsuko asked. "I was only stating the truth."

"Just do it, Ritsuko!" Misato shouted. "Stop being such a bitch!"

"Fine…" Ritsuko said. "I'm sorry, Asuka, I was only telling you the truth."

"Son of a bitch, Ritsuko!" Misato shouted. "You can't even apologize like a human being, can you?! Get the hell out of here and go meet Asuka at her Entry Plug!" Misato grabbed the mic. "Shinji, I will make her apologize to Asuka when she gets out of the Entry Plug…" Misato said consolingly. "Just please calm down, you trust me right?"

"I do Misato…" Shinji said as the shaking stopped. "I do trust you."

"Unit–01 has shut down." Maya said. "Shinji, are you ok?"

"Yes, I'm fine Maya." Shinji said. "But I'm not sorry for getting mad."

"That's understandable, Shinji." Maya said. "I'm ending the test everyone. You're cleared to leave. Asuka, Dr. Akagi will meet you at your Entry Plug."

"Whatever…" Asuka muttered. "Just get me out of here…"

–––

Ritsuko's apology didn't go over so well. As soon as Asuka saw the woman, Asuka decked her in the face and knocked her into the pool of LCL the Entry plugs were dipped in. Asuka stormed off before anyone could stop her. Everyone stood there in shock while Ritsuko had flailed around the LCL, and no one stopped to help her.

Asuka ran off to the locker rooms and stood in front of the mirror, clutching her stomach. "Stupid cramps…" Asuka muttered as she braced herself on the sink and looked up at herself. "I hate this… why do I have to suffer through this shit once a month because I'm a girl…" Asuka said angrily. "It's not like anyone would have kids with me anyway…" Asuka slammed her fist into the mirror and broke it. "I hate my life! Shinji will never love me! I may as well just die!"

"Asuka… are you ok?" Mari asked.

"What do you want four eyes?!" Asuka shouted as her hand dripped blood. "Why are you bothering me?!"

Mari looked at the mirror. "Because, Asuka… you just broke a mirror… you're clearly having some issues."

"How much did you hear, four eyes." Asuka asked.

"All of it." Mari said. "Do you want to talk?"

"No, just forget you heard all of that." Asuka said. "It's not your problem… Shinji doesn't love me, and no one on this planet can change that… but I don't think I could love anyone else… I can't stop thinking about him…"

Mari stepped forward and took Asuka's injured hand, and wrapped it in a handkerchief. "I know… and I can't tell you anything to fix what you're feeling, just remember that I'm always here for you if you need to talk." Mari finished wrapping Asuka's wound and hugged the girl. "You can punch me if you want, I won't make your fist bleed as much."

Asuka hugged Mari back and began to cry. "I just… I just don't want to be a failure!" Asuka cried out. "If I'm a failure, then Shinji will never love me!"

"Just let it all out, Asuka." Mari said consolingly as Asuka sobbed uncontrollably on her shoulder. "Cry as much as you need to… I'll figure something out, don't worry…"


September 15, 2016 – Comfort 17 Apartments

Asuka woke up suddenly. Asuka checked her phone to see what time it was, and other than it being 5:30a, she also noticed the date.

"It's been a year since then already… I've been here over a year… but today…" Asuka said quietly. "I should go see if he's ok…"

Asuka got out of bed quietly and went to the door, exiting her room without a sound. Asuka then walked into Shinji's room quietly. He was still sleeping soundly, and Asuka moved quietly next to him and bent down and whispered in his ear. "Shinji, are you awake?"

Shinji stirred and looked up at her tiredly. "What's wrong, Asuka?" Shinji asked. "Are you hungry or something?"

"No… I just wanted to stay with you this morning." Asuka said. "I know… I remember what day it is…"

"The day?" Shinji asked as he rolled over to check his phone. "Oh… right…"

"Sorry, I just thought after last year at the cemetery you might not want to be alone…" Asuka said. "I just thought it would be… nice."

"It is…" Shinji said. "I was hoping to avoid it, but…"

"You can't avoid things that hurt you." Asuka said. "So, can I lay down?"

"Yeah…" Shinji said as Asuka laid down behind him. "Asuka… I still miss her… but I know she's watching over me…"

"I'm sure she is, Shinji." Asuka said. "I just hope this helps."

"It is." Shinji said. "Is your hand feeling any better?"

"Yeah." Asuka said. "You cleaned it up pretty well."

"Asuka, how did you really hurt your hand?" Shinji asked. "I really doubt that you injured it falling down, there was glass in it."

"I… I was upset about what that cunt Akagi said." Asuka explained. "I didn't fall on it, I punched the mirror."

"Asuka…" Shinji said. "I am really sorry that Dr. Akagi said that to you... that was a shitty thing for her to say…"

"It's not your fault, Shinji…" Asuka said. "I'm just not as good of an EVA pilot as you think I am."

"But you are." Shinji protested. "You never give up when things look like shit, that's what really matters, Asuka. You're the bravest person I know."

"Are you just saying that to make me feel better?" Asuka asked.

"Asuka, I would never lie to you." Shinji said. "I really do think you're the bravest person I know."

"Thanks, Shinji…" Asuka said. "But I thought I was supposed to be comforting you."

"Well, with friends it works both ways." Shinji said. "Asuka, how did you remember that today was the day my mother died?"

"Shinji, I'm really good with remembering things." Asuka said. "I thought it would be important to remember."

"I'm really glad you remembered, Asuka." Shinji said. "It's nice to not feel so alone, especially today…"

'Maybe I should ask him out today…' Asuka thought. "Hey, Shinji…" Asuka said sweetly. "So you want to skip school? I can pretend to be sick, and we can go do something fun…"

"Well, Asuka… I missed a whole month of school." Shinji said. "Should I miss any more?"

"What's one more day?" Asuka asked. "It's not like we learn anything… they didn't even advance us grade wise, were still second year junior high school students."

"Ok, you have a point." Shinji said. "Is it just you and me then?"

"Yeah, let everyone else suffer in that place." Asuka said. "We'll just have fun here."

"That sounds nice…" Shinji said. 'Maybe I'll tell her today…' Shinji thought. 'This might be that right time Sakura and Mari have been telling me about…'

"Good…" Asuka said. "How are we going to play this?"

"You came in here so I could make sure you're ok…" Shinji said. "I'll tell Misato that you have a fever and that I'll make sure you're ok, seeing as she's so irresponsible…"

"Sounds reasonable." Asuka said. "But that means we have to stop cuddling…"

"Well, we can always cuddle later." Shinji said. "Now I have to pretend to dote on you."

"Later will be fine… baka." Asuka said. "But for right now… ten more minutes."

"Sure thing, Asuka." Shinji said.

–––

Something began moving away from the Moon. It was a bright creature and it appeared to be made of light. Her main body was shaped like many of the face masks the other Angels, spreading from that where four wings. Two of those wings were very short and pointed towards the beak on the mask. The other set of wings were extremely long and were swept up and behind her body. From those massive wings two sets of somewhat shorter wing s pointed forwards and away from her main body. Looking at her from the front, she was very menacing and far larger than any Angel previously encountered, including the massive Sahaquiel and Ramiel. Her entire body glowed with an eerie blue white glow.

She floated silently and steadily towards a Low Earth Orbit, and planned to hover above where all her siblings had been vanquished – Tokyo–3, the city of death.

Arael was ready to strike.

–––

The skeleton crew that was present in the newly repaired Command Center was the night shift. Maya had a double shift, and would be working the day shift with Misato as she normally would. Maya was sitting at her station as she normally did, but she was the officer on watch, so she was responsible for anything that happened while she was in charge.

The panel next to her beeped, and the young man sitting there got startled.

"Uh… Lieutenant?" The nervous and just out of the academy Warrant Officer Hideki Tama said. "What's this beeping?"

"It's an alert you moron." Warrant Officer Sumire Nagara said sarcastically. "Hit the pretty button."

"Shut up, Sumire." Hideki said. "I mean, what is the alert for?"

"Enough you two." Maya said. "That's a Waveform Pattern…" Maya stood up and moved Hideki out of the way. "Pattern Orange… in orbit?" Maya's face fell. "Not again…"

"What's wrong, Lieutenant?" Sumire asked.

"Why does it matter if it's in orbit?" Hideki asked.

"The Tenth Angel tried to drop on us from orbit." Maya said. "Sumire, lock on to the Pattern Orange with the closest OBSAT, Hideki, contact the Evangelion Cage and have them prep Unit–00, Unit–XP and Unit–02 for combat."

"Why, ma'am?" Hideki asked. "We don't know if it's an Angel yet."

"From my experience, when a Pattern Orange shows up… a Pattern Blue isn't far behind."

"Uh… about that Pattern Blue, Lieutenant." Sumire said. "It's confirmed… the Fifteenth Angel is moving into a Low Earth Orbit."

Maya sighed. "Display the thing on screen."

"Pulling up the feed from OBSAT–17 now." Sumire replied.

Arael came up on the main monitor, and Maya was shocked at her size.

"That thing is massive…" Maya said. "Where did it come from?"

"The MAGI predict it came from the direction of the Moon." Sumire said. "On its projected path, it will be directly above Tokyo–3 in four hours."

"Wonderful… Hideki, has the Cage been apprised?" Maya asked.

"Yes, Lieutenant." Hideki replied. "Evangelions are being prepped now."

"Good." Maya said. "Now, get Commander Ikari on the phone. Sumire, set Level–2 battle stations and issue an alert to the city."

"Roger that." Sumire said.

"Calling him now, ma'am." Hideki replied. "I have him on the line."

"Give me the phone, please." Maya said.

"Lieutenant Ibuki, I assume this has something to do with the alert status being increased." Gendo said.

"Yes, Commander, it's an Angel." Maya said. "Moving into Low Earth Orbit, it'll be above us in four hours."

"Has an evacuation order been issued?" Gendo asked.

"Yes, sir." Maya replied.

"Excellent work, Lieutenant." Gendo said. "Contact Colonel Katsuragi, and bring the pilots in. I will be there shortly."

"Understood, sir." Maya replied.

–––

Asuka was lying in Shinji's bed. Shinji had noticed she was clenching her stomach while they were cuddling, so Shinji went off and made Asuka some ginger tea. He shook her awake gently. "Asuka, wake up." Shinji said soothingly.

"Ugh… what is that awful smell?" Asuka asked.

"Ginger tea." Shinji said. "It'll help with the pain."

"How did you know I was in pain?" Asuka asked.

"I guess every time you had a twinge, your knee would hit me in the back." Shinji said.

"Sorry…" Asuka said.

"Asuka, you don't need to apologize, it happens." Shinji said. "Is it your… uh… period?"

'He's so nice… he noticed…' Asuka thought as she stared at Shinji in shock that he had actually said the word. "Yeah, it is, Shinji." Asuka said. "It's not fun, you're lucky you're a boy, you don't have to suffer every fucking month."

"Well, this'll help with the… uh…" Shinji stammered.

"Cramps?" Asuka asked.

"Yeah, those." Shinji said.

"Will this shit really help?" Asuka asked.

"Well, I keep it stocked for Mari…" Shinji said. "She says it tastes like ass, but it helps."

"What a ringing endorsement…" Asuka said as she took a sip. She gagged on the tea, bug choked it down, sputtering and swearing in German under her breath. "Mari described that pretty well… although I think it's insulting to the taste of ass…"

"Whatever… it's bad enough smelling it." Shinji said. "I just hope it helps."

"Well, I'm in pain, Shinji." Asuka said. "Hold me."

Shinji smiled. "Sure." Shinji got back into bed, with his back to Asuka.

"You can turn around, baka." Asuka said. "I won't bite."

"Ok…" Shinji said as he rolled over to face Asuka. "Better?"

"Yeah, much." Asuka said as she cuddled against Shinji.

"Asuka… is it like that every month?" Shinji asked. "The pain I mean…"

"Yeah, it is." Asuka said. "Since the first time, it sucks…"

"Why haven't you asked for help?" Shinji asked.

"I was… embarrassed." Asuka said. "No one likes talking about periods…"

"Asuka, you live with two other girls, you should have said something." Shinji said. "You don't need to suffer in silence you know."

"Well… I didn't want to look… uh… weak." Asuka said as she blushed.

"Asuka, if you're around friends, you'll never be embarrassed." Shinji said. "Mari would never make fun of you for this. She's not cruel like Dr. Akagi is…"

"Ugh… that cunt." Asuka said. "I hate Akagi."

"I know, I don't like the way she treats you." Shinji said sternly.

"Thanks for sticking up for me yesterday." Asuka said. "It was really nice of you."

"You did the same for me when the Angel absorbed me." Shinji said. "You threatened to beat her to death… you don't have to thank me…"

Asuka blushed a deeper shade of red. "Oh… who told you?"

"Mari." Shinji said simply. "She was impressed by your resolve to kill her with your bare hands." Shinji smiled. "You know… you punched her really well you know." Shinji said. "No one helped her out of the LCL either, they just left her to struggle there."

"So she was left there?" Asuka asked. "Good, shame she didn't drown though…"

"Asuka, our problems don't disappear that easily." Shinji said.

"Well, it would be nice if they did." Asuka said.

Before Shinji could respond, Misato flung the door open while she struggled to put on her uniform jacket.

"Move it you two." Misato said as she poked her head into Shinji's room. "Angel alert, we need to move, now!"

"Figures…" Asuka muttered.

"Just fucking wonderful…" Shinji said.

"I'll explain the details in the car." Misato said. "Shinji, can you please drag your best buddy out of her bed and get her dressed?"

"Yeah, sure." Shinji said. "She always hates when I do that though."

"Well, tough for her." Misato said. "Wait… Asuka, why are you in here?"

"Uh…" Asuka stammered.

"Her cramps." Shinji said. "She asked if I knew of anything that would help, I was just being nice."

"Do you two still have clothes on under there?" Misato asked as she pulled the sheets back. "Oh, thank god…" Misato said. "I was afraid there for a second."

"You're one to talk." Asuka said. "All the deviant sexual acts you and Kaji do in your room with no regard to anyone else in this place."

"Don't you…" Misato said indignantly. "You know what, we don't have time for this. Get ready to go, Asuka. Shinji, wake up Mari and drag her downstairs if you have to."

"Fine…" Shinji said.

"Pain in the ass…" Asuka mumbled. "I was comfortable…"

'I guess I'll tell her later…' Shinji thought as he got up and went to wake up Mari.

'I guess I'll ask him out later…' Asuka thought. 'After I kill that Angel for interrupting.'

–––

While the pilots were getting ready, Misato was sizing up the situation in Central Dogma. She was looking at the still and live feed on Arael, and was trying to figure out something to do.

"So, what's its status?" Misato asked.

"Since it took a stationary positon 120km above us… it hasn't moved." Maya said. "It's just waiting there…"

"It's just outside of our defense perimeter." Hyuga said. "It hasn't made a move against us, but it's also hovering right above us, so it clearly knows we're here."

"How long has it been there?" Misato asked.

"Well, we detected it over seven hours ago, and it's been in place for just about three hours." Maya said.

"We're at Level–1 battle stations, and the city has been retracted." Fuyutsuki said. "The evacuation is almost complete."

"So, what are we waiting for?" Misato asked.

"Our new Positron Rifle." Ritsuko said. "It's almost as powerful as the one we used last year against the Fifth Angel, but it's more portable."

"You say almost as powerful…" Misato said.

"It has a power cell, Misato." Ritsuko explained. "It can fire 20 shots before it needs to be recharged. It should be powerful enough to kill the Angel from the ground."

"Well, it's not like we have any other options." Misato said. "We can't exactly get that high… even if we mounted the EVA to the back of one of those massive transport planes…" Misato shook her head. "We know they're aware of any potential threats to their lives, so it would probably retaliate against us before we could kill it."

"So, what is your plan, Colonel?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"We attack using a fixed ground position and hope for the best." Misato said. "How long until our Positron Rifle is ready?"

"Three hours." Ritsuko said. "We have to finish prepping it."

"How long until you can prep the other Positron Rifle?" Misato asked.

"The one we used against the Fifth?!" Ritsuko asked indignantly. "What the hell do you need that one for?!"

"I like having a backup plan." Misato said. "Do you have a simpler way of powering it?"

"Yes, I calculated out that by controlling the explosions of 5 N2 warheads, we can double the output that we fired at the Fifth Angel last year." Maya explained. "I can have it ready in four hours, Colonel."

"Good job, Maya." Misato said. "Get it done."

–––

Everyone was sitting in their EVAs. Shinji was feeling quite cold inside his, considering Unit–01 was covered in ice from being in cold storage. Unit–02 and Unit–00 were online and waiting to be moved to the launch elevator. Unit–XP was being held in reserve due to the Angel's position.

Asuka was sitting angrily in her Entry Plug. She was waiting for Misato to give her and everyone else instructions.

"Rei, you'll be taking point." Misato said. "Asuka, you'll be guarding Rei, making sure the Angel can't get a bead on her, Mari, you're on standby, we probably won't launch you because of the difficulty of moving Unit–XP around inside the city."

Asuka sat there silently in shock. She didn't say anything.

"Understood." Rei said.

"Copy, miso." Mari said.

"What about me Misato?" Shinji said.

"Unit–01 is on lockdown." Misato said. "Commander's orders…"

"What if things go bad?" Shinji asked. "You can't just expect me to sit here and not help."

"We will decide on Unit–01's intervention when the need arises." Gendo said. "But I doubt that will come to pass. You are too much of a lability to be put into combat."

"Whatever…" Shinji said.

"Asuka, are you there?" Misato asked. "Do you understand the orders?"

"You want me… to be the backup?" Asuka said. "Why am I not taking point?"

"Your sync score is too damn low to be of any real use." Ritsuko said coldly. "If Unit–01 weren't on lockdown, and if Unit–XP could be used inside the city we wouldn't be using you at all, so just follow your orders."

"Ritsuko?!" Misato shouted. "What the fuck?!"

"You fucking bitch!" Asuka shouted as she pulled the control yokes and overrode the controls in the command center. "I'll fucking show you… I'll show you all!"

"Colonel… we've just been locked out." Hyuga said.

"By what?!" Misato asked. "By who?!"

"Unit–02…" Hyuga replied.

"Fix it now, you idiots!" Ritsuko shouted.

The platform Unit–02 was on started to move as those in the Command Center tried desperately to override what Asuka had done.

"She's done something to this… we can't break the encryption!" Maya shouted.

"We're locked out of all launch functions!" Aoba shouted.

"Asuka, don't do it!" Shinji pleaded. "Wait for Rei! You can't go out there alone!"

"Yes, I can Shinji!" Asuka said. "I'll be fine…" Asuka tapped a few keys on her control console. "Launch path set… and clear… Unit–02… LAUNCHING!"

"Asuka, don't!" Misato shouted.

"Oh, let the stupid, arrogant cunt go." Ritsuko said. "If she gets herself killed, it just makes it easier for us to find a replacement."

"Don't call her that, you fucking bitch!" Shinji shouted. "LEAVE HER ALONE!"

"How's your nose, bitch?" Mari asked. "Still sting from the right hook you got from the princess?"

"Shut up the both of you!" Ritsuko shouted. "Keep the lines clear, that way we can hear when the stupid girl is in trouble."

"Enough!" Misato shouted. "Ritsuko, either shut the fuck up, or get out of my fucking Command Center, got it?!"

"Thanks Shinji…" Asuka muttered as she got close to the surface. "This time… I'll protect you from the Angel…"

–––

Shinji sat inside his Entry Plug with his head hung, and a worried look on his face. He had cut off his comm transmission and was listening intently as Asuka got Unit–02 into position to attack Arael.

"Asuka… please be safe up there…" Shinji said. "I know you're strong… I just don't want you to get hurt."

Shinji looked up at the top of his Entry Plug. "Mom… if something happens… please help me save her… I can't lose her…"

"We've overridden Asuka's lockout." Hyuga reported. "All systems are back under our control again."

"Unit–02 is moving into final position, I'm sending up our Positron Rifle now." Maya said.

"Good job, Maya." Misato said. "Start sending the tracking data to Unit–02, get Asuka ready to fire on our command."

"Understood, ma'am." Maya said. "Tracking data is prepped."

"Come on, Asuka…" Shinji said. "I believe in you."

–––

It was sunset. However, due to the heavy rain on the surface, Asuka couldn't see it. Asuka was using a new version of the Positron Rifle. She had her sniper sight online and was being fed tracking data from Maya.

"I can do this…" Asuka muttered. "I need to show them I can still pilot Unit–02… I won't let that fucking cunt Akagi take away my mother's life's work." Asuka glared at the Angel through her scope. "I'll protect Shinji… and I'll pay him back for all the times he's saved my life… then I can ask him out…"

Asuka was looking through her scope, and the targeting reticles were not lining up. The tracking data put the Angel just out of range of the ground based targeting.

"Gottverdammt bastard…" Asuka said angrily. "Come in here and fight me!"

"The Angel is still out of range." Aoba said.

"Fuck it…" Asuka said. "Take this you cowardly fucker!"

"Asuka, you don't have a target lock!" Misato said.

"Shinji didn't either when he killed the Fifth Angel!" Asuka shouted. "So shut up and let me handle it!"

The positron rifle fired once. The shot flew straight at Arael, but was deflected off of her extremely powerful A.T. Field.

"It was right on target, ma'am." Maya said. "Dead center. But it's too far out of range, the shot was ineffective…."

"Damn you!" Asuka shouted. "FUCKING DIE!"

Unit–02 squeezed the trigger and fired the rest of the 19 rounds at Arael. Each one fired right on target without a lock, but they were all defected away by Arael's A.T. Field.

"You fucking bastard!" Asuka screamed. "Get me another gun!"

"We can't…" Misato shouted.

"Damn it!" Asuka screamed. She was still looking through her scope when she saw a bright light heading towards her. "What the hell is that?!"

The light shot down in a rainbow of color and enveloped Unit–02. It didn't do any damage, but all the equipment inside of the Evangelion was going haywire.

"NOOOOOOOO!" Asuka screamed as she clutched her head. "WHAT IS THIS!?"

"Asuka!" Shinji shouted.

–––

In Central Dogma, alarms and warnings were going off like crazy. Everyone was running around trying to find out what was happening, everyone but Ritsuko, who had a smug smile on her face.

"Couldn't have happened to a shittier person." Ritsuko muttered quietly.

"What's that light? Is it a particle beam weapon?" Misato shouted. "Give me some answers, people!"

"No thermal or electromagnetic emissions detected!" Hyuga said. "It's not a weapon of any kind, Colonel!"

"Then what the hell is it?!" Misato shouted.

"Her synchrograph readings are erratic!" Maya shouted. "Mental contamination is imminent!" Maya stared at the readings in front of her. "Whatever it is, is synced with her brainwaves! From the looks of it… it's forcing its way in!"

"Asuka, can you hear me!?" Misato asked frantically.

"GET OUT OF MY HEAD!" Asuka screamed. "LEAVE ME ALONE!"

"Asuka!" Misato shouted.

–––

Asuka was clutching her head in agony. Arael was boring into her mind with her light beam. As Asuka flailed inside her Entry Plug, Unit–02 flailed around with her. Asuka kept seeing flashes of memories in her head she had been repressing for a very long time. Things she'd rather forget ever happened.

"No… get out of my head!" Asuka screamed. "You're trying to make me remember… I don't want to remember!" Asuka slammed her hands into her head. "No… I don't like these memories… GET AWAY FROM ME!"

Flashback

"Daddy!" Asuka cried out, running over to him. "Welcome home!"

"Hi Asuka…" Oscar said in a hollow tone. "We need to talk."

"What's wrong, daddy? Is something wrong?" Asuka asked, looking around. "Should we wait for momma to come inside before we talk? She doesn't like missing conversations."

"Your mother won't be coming inside, Asuka. She had an accident at the lab, and she's in the hospital." Oscar said bluntly.

"No, that's a lie!" Asuka shouted. "Momma promised her test would be ok and that she wouldn't have an accident! Momma never breaks her promises!"

"Well, unfortunately, she did this time Asuka, I'm sorry." Oscar said, with a hint of anger in his voice.

"I want to see her!" Asuka shouted as tears welled up in her eyes. "I want to see momma!" Asuka had a pout on her face and slammed her foot hard on the ground. "I want to see momma now!"

"NO!" Oscar shouted back. "You cannot see your mother, not right now!"

"I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU SAY, I WANT TO GO SEE MOMMA!" Asuka yelled at the top of her lungs with tears streaming freely down her face.

Oscar slapped Asuka with a backhand across the face, causing her to fall down hard on her bottom and send Karl across the foyer. "Don't ever raise your voice to me like that again, do you understand me?!" Oscar spat.

Asuka only nodded as she rubbed her cheek from the slap and continued to cry on the floor.

End Flashback

"No, I hate this!" Asuka screamed. "Make it stop! I DON'T WANT TO REMEMBER!" Asuka writhed in pain as she was tormented by another memory she'd rather forget, the first time she saw her mother after the accident. "NO, THAT'S NOT MY MOMMA, MY MOMMA WASN'T THAT PERSON!"

Flashback

Asuka didn't notice the two adults disappear from behind her as she was still so totally focused on her mother. Asuka tried to get her mother's attention by taping on the glass to no avail. "Momma, it's me, Asuka!" Asuka said to the window, her face was so close her breath fogged the window as she spoke. "Can't you see me momma? I came to visit!" Asuka tapped the glass a little harder. "I'm sorry I haven't come to see you in a while, daddy told me I couldn't come to visit yet cause you were still sick." Asuka looked more dejected at her mother's lack of a response. "Momma, why won't you talk to me?!" Asuka slammed her fist on the hard on the window "MOMMA LOOK AT ME, TALK TO ME!"

Kyoko reacted to the shouting by grabbing her bowl of oatmeal and throwing it at the window, shattering the bowl and sending fragments of the ceramic bowl and the remnants of the oatmeal flying all over the place. Asuka screamed as Kyoko jumped up flinging aside the rag doll and rushing the window and slamming on it with her fists. "Leave me and my daughter alone! Stop bothering us! GO AWAY YOU LITTLE BRAT!"

Three nurses ran into the room, dragging Kyoko away from the window and injecting her with enough medication to drop a horse. Kyoko near instantaneously calmed down and was brought back to her bed and the rag doll was placed back in her arms as the nurses left. They didn't notice Asuka standing there in disbelief at what she had just witnessed and walked by her without acknowledging her presence.

Asuka sat on the stool and faced away from the window, her face buried in her knees. She was crying and didn't car who heard her. It was her birthday, and it was probably the worst birthday she'd ever have. "Momma, why didn't you recognize me. Do you not love me anymore?" Asuka said as she continued to cry alone in the room with a women who didn't know her anymore.

End Flashback

"NOOOOO!" Asuka screamed. "That's not my momma, THAT'S NOT MY MOMMA! SHE WASN'T THAT LADY, IT WASN'T HER!"

"Asuka…" Shinji shouted. "ASUKA, ANSWER ME, PLEASE!"

"SOMEONE HELP ME, PLEASE!" Asuka screamed. "PLEASE, SOMEONE SAVE ME FROM THIS DAMN THING."

Another memory came to the surface, forced up by Arael's assault on her mind.

Flashback

Asuka was at the hospital again, as she was every week for the past five months when her father came to check up on Kyoko and ask Dr. Shikinami questions about his wife's condition.

While the adults were in the doctor's private office, Asuka stood, unattended, in the front of the observation window and looked sullenly thorough the window at her mother. Asuka looked on as her mother was eating with the tray in front of her, a spoon in one hand, and that redheaded rag doll in the other.

Asuka wanted to hear what her mother was saying, and found what she had failed to notice after months of standing in the same spot, a small intercom between the door frame and the window frame. Asuka moved her stool over so she could reach it and pushed the button labeled 'listen' and she heard her mother's voice for the first time since she yelled at her to go away.

"Asuka darling, I've cooked your favorite." Kyoko said to the rag doll.

"Now, Asuka, you mustn't complain about what you like and dislike eating, otherwise that rude girl over there will laugh at you." Kyoko said pointing to Asuka in the window.

"No, Asuka, that girl is just jealous of you because you're so special to momma."

"Yes, Asuka, you are very special to me." Kyoko said. "I just want you to be happy sweetheart."

Asuka shut off the intercom not wanting to hear anymore.

'If that doll is momma's baby, what does that make me?' Asuka thought as tears welled up in her eyes. 'I need to ask her, that's how I'll find out.'

Asuka wanted to confront her mother, so she hopped off the stool and went over to the door. The last nurse had left it unlocked, and Asuka snuck in silently and looked at her mother who was still trying to feed the doll.

"Asuka if you don't eat, then you won't be a healthy girl anymore." Kyoko said. "You need your strength to be better than everyone else."

Asuka looked at her mother, her eyes wide with sadness. "Momma! Who am I?" Asuka cried out. "Momma! Please look at me, momma!"

Kyoko had stopped talking to the doll and simply sat there quietly.

"Look at me, momma!" Asuka shouted. "Please don't stop being my momma!"

Kyoko turned with a psychotic look on her face toward Asuka "Who are you?" She asked.

"I'm Asuka, your daughter!" Asuka said tearfully. "Don't you recognize me?"

"You're not my Asuka…" Kyoko said.

"YES I AM!" Asuka screamed.

"If you were my Asuka you'd agree to die with me…" Kyoko said.

"I'll die with you momma." Asuka said woefully. "Just as long as you don't stop being my mother."

At those words, Kyoko leapt from the bed and tackled Asuka to the ground. She wrapped her hands around Asuka's neck and began to choke her.

"Asuka, come to heaven with me!" Kyoko shouted, a crazed look on her face.

Asuka started gasping for breath as her mother's grip got tighter and tighter.

"Please Asuka, die with me!" Kyoko screamed. "Then we can be together forever."

Asuka felt like she was going to suffocate, and her face started to turn blue.

"Asuka, die already!" Kyoko shouted. "I want us to be together for eternity."

As the darkness closed around Asuka's eyes, two nurses rushed into the room and tried to pry Kyoko off of Asuka. This however didn't work, and one nurse ended up smashing a vase over Kyoko's head to knock her out.

Asuka was gasping for breath as one of the nurse's helped Asuka up off the ground. "Are you alright dear?"

Asuka only nodded, as her sight and the feeling in her neck began to return, but she was still having trouble speaking.

"Why were you in here anyway?" The nurse asked. "You were told by your father that it wasn't safe to talk to your mother, right? She has fits sometimes."

"I… I… I just wanted momma to look at me." Asuka said nervously while rubbing her throat. "I just wanted to talk to her."

"Oh dear, I'm sorry that you ended up in here, but the door should have been locked." The nurse said. "Was it unlocked when you came in?"

Asuka nodded. "All I had to do was push the door, and it opened right away."

"Well in the future, please don't venture in here, we don't want you to get hurt." The nurse said picking Asuka up.

"Is my momma gonna be alright?" Asuka asked the nurse as her eyes welled with tears.

"We're not sure dear, that more of a question for the doctor." The nurse said, but upon noticing tears in Asuka's eyes, decided to try and be more consoling to the sad child. "But she is getting better, so I'm sure she'll be alright soon enough, it's just… these things take time." Asuka started into the nurse's shoulder. "Oh, its ok sweetie, there's no need to cry, everything will be alright."

"I just want my momma back!" Asuka wailed as the nurse rubbed her back trying in vain to console her. "I'm going to keep talking to her until she recognizes me again."

End Flashback

"NOOOOOO!" Asuka screamed as she grabbed her throat. "THAT WASN'T MY MOMMA! SHE LOVED ME! SHE DIDN'T MEAN TO HURT ME!"

–––

In Central Dogma, everyone was prepping the more powerful Positron Rifle for its attack. They could still hear the screams of Asuka as Arael violated her mind.

"Someone, help her!" Shinji shouted.

"Yeah, send me up… let me do something!" Mari pleaded.

"We're working on it you two." Misato said. "Maya, status."

"Unit–00 is in place." Maya reported. "N2 warheads are primed and ready to power the shot. Rifle is primed and ready."

"Target tracking data is being sent to Unit–00 now, surface targeting systems, Evangelion targeting systems, and OBSAT tracking systems are synced." Hyuga reported.

"Adjusting shot angle and power for beyond visual range fire." Aoba reported. "Transferring fire control to Unit–00."

"How many shots do we have?" Misato asked.

"Just the one, ma'am." Maya replied. "It will take another hour to reload."

"We don't have an hour!" Shinji shouted. "Asuka needs help now!"

"Shinji…" Rei said calmly. "I will save her… do not worry. Please, believe in me."

"I trust you Rei…" Shinji said. "I know you can kill that Angel."

"Make that fucking Angel eat hot phased plasma, blueberry." Mari said. "Make it your baby back bitch."

"I will strive to do so." Rei said.

"Alright, Rei…" Misato said. "Weapons free… fire when ready."

–––

Rei had her targeting computer in front of her. She was concentrating hard on making sure she had a kill shot lined up.

"I will not fail my friends." Rei said quietly. "I will not let Asuka get hurt any further."

"Rei, are you ready to fire?" Misato asked.

"I am preparing to fire now." Rei said. "Target is locked, rifle is loaded." Rei narrowed her eyes. "This is for hurting my friend… FIRING!"

The shot that came out of the Positron Rifle was stronger than the on fired at Ramiel. It lit up the city like a massive lightbulb, and the force of the blast left burn marks on the surrounding buildings. It ripped through the cloud cover and went right towards Arael, however as the shot got close it was splintered into several smaller beams and went around Arael, leaving the Angel otherwise undamaged.

–––

Asuka was still being tortured by Arael. She was trying her best to resist

A scene of blood flashed before Asuka's eyes. "NO, DON'T MAKE ME REMEMBER THAT!" Asuka screamed as she saw a pool of blood around her feet. "NO, I DON'T WANT TO SEE THAT AGAIN, STOP IT… STOP VIOLATING MY MIND!"

Flashback

Asuka meanwhile was running at full bore down the hallway towards her mother's hospital room. As she approached the door she cried out. "MOMMA!"

Asuka ran into the room that led into her mother's room and didn't notice the lights were out. "Momma! They picked me!" Asuka cried happily. "Momma, did you hear me?!"

Asuka jumped on a stool and pressed the intercom button, still not really aware that the lights were off. "Momma they said I'm special, just like you always told me I was!" Asuka said into the intercom. "They picked me over everyone else!"

"I'm going to be an elite pilot! They said I'm going to save the world!" Asuka was so overcome with joy, it took her a few minutes to realize her mother wasn't listening to her at all. "Momma, are you there?"

Asuka hopped off the stool and pushed on the door, it was unlocked, so, against her better judgment and everything she had been told about not going into her mother's room, Asuka pushed the door open and walked inside. With the light flooding in from the other room Asuka was met with the most gruesome sight she had ever seen.

The fluorescent light on the ceiling had been shattered, leaving shards of light bulb everywhere. The rag doll lay on the floor with its head having been roughly severed, leaving a jagged and frayed edges. There was a pool of something collecting around the severed doll's head. Asuka looked over to see the source of the mess and saw her mother laying on the ground covered and surrounded by a pool of blood. There was a jagged piece of lightbulb clutched in her bleeding hand, and a long jagged cut across her throat that went from ear to ear. Her white nightgown was stained red with blood which was still trickling out from the deep wound. Her skin was pale and grey, her eyes were wide open and blank, and she had a sickening smile on her now sunken face, which showed the last remnants of the insanity that drove her to end her life in such a gruesome way.

"MOMMA!" Asuka screamed. "MOMMAAAAAA!"

End Flashback

"SOMEONE MAKE IT STOP!" Asuka cried out in agony. "ALL THAT BLOOD, WHY DID SHE DO IT!? WHY DID MY MOMMA LEAVE ME!? WHY DID SHE LEAVE ME ALL ALONE!? WHY DID MY ONLY FRIEND LEAVE ME!? WHY AM I ALL ALONE!?"

Flashback

Asuka was standing in the graveyard, she was surrounded by adults on all sides. She was in the front, holding her grandmother's hand and looking at the casket holding her mother. Her face was still and showed no emotion whatsoever.

Asuka stood there listening to the priest drone on about moving on to a better place and reading from the bible as if that would make things any better, or bring her mother back to her. 'Why do things have to go this way? I wish momma hadn't done that…' Asuka thought as her eye twitched as she repressed the memory of her mother lying dead on the floor. 'I can't think about that anymore, I refuse to think about that. I loved momma, and I won't remember her like that.'

Asuka stared at the grave stone ash she overheard her father behind her. When she heard his words, her eyes narrowed in anger and disgust.

"It was unfortunate what happened." Oscar said.

"Nothing could be done, it was a wonder that it didn't happen sooner." Mimori said.

"Well that experiment broke her mind, it was something unfortunate, but it was always a possibility." Oscar replied.

"But how cruel of her to kill that doll and then take her own life in such a horrific way. Even as a psychologist, I find it a very selfish thing to do." Mimori said quietly.

"Well, once the service is over, we can tell her the good news, Mimori." Oscar replied, wrapping his arm around the woman.

"Disgusting." Asuka muttered under her breath.

As the service finished, and the mourners began to step away, Asuka's grandmother turned to her. "Liebchen, are you alright? You're very quiet."

"I'm fine grandmother." Asuka replied curtly.

"You know liebchen, its ok to cry." Asuka's grandmother, Isolda Zeppelin Soryu, said quietly. "I cried when your grandfather died. And his only request was that he be buried in my hometown, so I could finally return home to him when I pass on." Isolda indicated a headstone two over from Kyoko's that read "Isoroku Musashi Soryu 1932–1999."

"I don't need to cry anymore grandmother." Asuka said sternly.

"Liebchen, I know you're angry your momma is gone, but she's in a better place." Isolda told her stubborn granddaughter. "So, you don't have to be so brave, you're a child after all."

"I'm no longer a child." Asuka said. "I'll never cry again grandmother, I have to take care of myself now."

End Flashback

"I'VE BEEN STUPID!" Asuka screamed. "JUST LEAVE ME ALONE! I'VE BEEN VIOLATED ENOUGH! JUST LET ME DIE!"

Flashback

Asuka wandered downstairs to the kitchen, where remembered she left the phone number. She looked up at the fridge and saw it had nothing on it. "Where the hell is it?" Asuka said aloud. "I left it right here."

Asuka stormed out of the kitchen and went to the living room to see a reclining Zelda watching some stupid TV program. "Did you see the phone number on the fridge?!" Asuka said loudly.

"Oh, look at that, you're actually out of your room." Zelda replied snarkily. "And I haven't seen anything on the fridge. Why don't you go ask your father, he's in his office."

"Fine, be useless and just lay there then." Asuka said as she stormed from the room. She stormed down the hallway towards her father's office and knocked hard on the door.

"Come in." Oscar said. When he looked up and saw Asuka seething in the doorway he was surprised. "Oh, you're talking to me again, are you?"

"No, I'm not. I just want to know where the phone number that was on the fridge went." Asuka said angrily. "I want to call my friend Shinji in Japan!"

"I got rid of the number, Asuka. I don't want you to call Shinji again." Oscar said, glaring at his daughter.

"NO!" Asuka bellowed. "Give me the number back! I want to call Shinji!" She glared right back at her father with tears glistening in her eyes. "HE'S MY FRIEND AND I WANT TO CALL HIM NOW!"

Oscar straightened his tie and looked at Asuka. "I found that number you're talking about on the fridge for someone named "Shinji" in Japan. I didn't just throw it out, I burned it Asuka. I don't want you to ever talk to those people again." Oscar said coldly to his daughter. "I don't want you to ever think about those people again."

Asuka started to cry when she heard this. "Why would you get rid of it? What did Shinji ever do to you?! He's the kindest person I've ever met in my life!" Asuka screamed. "It wasn't your decision to make to get rid of his phone number. It was mine, not yours! AND I WANT IT BACK RIGHT NOW!"

"ABSOLUTELY NOT, I FORBID IT! I AM YOUR FATHER AND I MAKE THE DECISIONS FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE STILL A CHILD!" Oscar slammed his fists down on his desk. "FORGET ABOUT SHINJI, AND FORGET ABOUT JAPAN. YOU WILL NEVER GO BACK THERE AGAIN! THE SOONER YOU ACCEPT THAT THE SOONER YOU CAN MOVE ON! TO YOU, SHINJI NO LONGER EXISTS." Oscar roared. "NOW STOP CRYING THIS INSTANT AND ACT LIKE A BIG GIRL!"

Asuka stopped crying only out of fear, but continued to glare menacingly at her father.

"That's better, now, I'm going to see your mother, and I'll be back later." Oscar said as he got up to leave.

"I hate you." Asuka said quietly as he walked past.

"What did you say to me?" Oscar asked angrily. "Would you care to repeat yourself?"

"Are you deaf?" Asuka asked. "I SAID I HATE YOU!"

End Flashback

"I WAS WRONG, I DO NEED TO CRY!" Asuka shouted as she started to cry. "SHINJI, WHERE'S SHINJI?!" Asuka screamed. "I NEED SHINJI! SHINJI!"

–––

Shinji was sitting in Unit–01 listening to Asuka's horrific cries while Shinji overheard what happened to Rei's shot.

"The shot… it just wasn't powerful enough…" Maya said. "The A.T. Field deflected the shot entirely. It's just too powerful, and we're too far away…"

"SHINJI, HELP ME!" Asuka screamed. "PLEASE, SHINJI, SAVE ME AGAIN!"

"I'm tired of sitting here doing nothing!" Shinji shouted. "Misato, send me out there, now! Let me help her, NOW!"

"Shinji, I don't have the authority to send Unit–01 out anymore." Misato said.

"Then talk to the stupid asshole who does!" Shinji shouted. "I'm tired of listening to her screams, let me do something to help her!"

"I…" Misato started.

"Do not bother, Colonel." Gendo said coolly. "Unit–01 will not be sent out to deal with the Angel, we cannot lose Unit–01. This Angel has bored right into Asuka's mind, she is an acceptable loss. Two pilots is an unacceptable loss."

"ASUKA IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE LOSS!" Shinji roared. "I WILL NOT STAND BY AND LET HER DIE!"

"You are not being sent out to fight, Shinji." Gendo said. "Accept that. Rei… go and retrieve the object from Terminal Dogma." Gendo ordered.

"Sir?" Rei asked. "Is that the only weapon we can use?"

"Yes, Rei, please retrieve it immediately." Gendo said.

"WE DON'T HAVE TIME TO WAIT FOR YOUR PLANS, FATHER! I REFUSE TO ACCEPT YOUR STUPID ASS ORDERS!" Shinji shouted so loudly that the speakers in Central Dogma got a buzz from the feedback. "I WILL NOT STAND BY AND WATCH THE GIRL I LOVE DIE IN FRONT OF ME, NOT WHEN I HAVE A CHANCE TO HELP HER!"

"Shinji… you love… Asuka…" Misato mumbled.

"He loves her…" Maya said. "That's so sweet…"

"Yes I love her!" Shinji shouted. "I've loved her since I met her… and I'm tired of seeing her get hurt!" Shinji's eyes glowed. "I'M NOT LETTING IT HAPPEN ANYMORE!"

Unit–01's eyes lit up and its arms tensed as Shinji started to get really angry. Unit–01 began heating up and the ice on its armor began to melt away in a cloud of steam.

"Colonel… Shinji's sync rate just shot up to 99%… and it's stable!" Maya reported. "And Unit–01 is online again… S2 Engine is at maximum optimal output."

"What?!" Misato shouted. "How?!"

"EITHER YOU LET ME OUT OF HERE, OR I'LL MAKE MY OWN FUCKING DOOR!" Shinji shouted angrily. "YOUR CHOICE, FATHER!"

"Never mind…" Misato said. "Shinji got Unit–01 to react…"

"Suppress Unit–01 immediately." Gendo ordered. "It is not to leave this base."

"Sir, we can't stop this…" Misato said.

"At least make the attempt." Gendo said. "You don't have choice."

"No, you don't have a choice!" Shinji shouted. "Now, you'll regret holding me in here!" Shinji slammed the control yokes forward. "Unit–01, its time to save Asuka!"

Unit–01 expanded its A.T. Field to maximum and ripped its cold storage Cage apart. The supports holding Unit–01 in place were blown apart by the force of the A.T. Field, and the ice had melted away from the armor, and Unit–01 began moving towards the door as its jaw restraints were broken once again, and Unit–01 let out a cry that shook the entire base. "ROOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRRRR!"

"Someone stop him!" Gendo shouted. "Stop him and Unit–01!"

Unit–01 approached the door of the Cage and slammed its fists into in, denting the door severely. It took several more hits to break the door down, but when Unit–01 got through its second obstacle, it clawed its way through the doorway and walked powerfully toward the launch elevators.

"We can't, Commander." Misato said. "Shinji is in control… all we can do is watch."

"Is Unit–01 berserk?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"No… Shinji is in complete control." Maya reported. "Unit–01 is under his complete control, and all controls signals are being blocked at the transmitter as well…"

"Damn it…" Gendo muttered.

Unit–01 made it to the elevators and stood on one of the pads.

"Misato, either get me a launch path or I make my own!" Shinji said.

"Maya… launch him." Misato ordered.

"Belay that." Gendo countered.

"Commander, do we really need more damage to base?" Misato asked.

"Ikari she has a point." Fuyutsuki said. "Let him launch."

"Maya, launch him." Misato said.

"Copy that, Colonel." Maya said. "Shinji, are you ready?"

"I'm ready, Maya!" Shinji said. "Do it!"

"Path cleared and set." Maya said.

"Unit–01… LAUNCH!" Misato said.

"Go and save her, puppy…" Mari said. "I know you can do it."

–––

Asuka was sitting naked on a playground. She was crying into her hands uncontrollably with her legs clutched against her body. A small figure appeared, a young Asuka, dressed like she was when she found Kyoko's body, with blood on her shoes and socks. The little Asuka poked Asuka in the leg as she started to speak.

"Hello, Asuka… I'm Arael…" Arael said. "How are you feeling?"

"I don't give a fuck what your name is… go away…" Asuka said. "Leave me alone…"

"Why would I leave you alone, Asuka?" Arael said. "I'm the one trying to hurt you… I'm trying to rape your mind and break you…"

"I said leave me alone!" Asuka shouted. "I don't want to talk to you!"

"Why would I go away?" Arael said. "That would leave the great Asuka Langley Soryu all alone without anyone to care about her stupid arrogant ass."

"I'm not alone…" Asuka said. "I have friends…"

"You mean the friends who have failed to assist your worthless ass?" Arael said. "They don't care about you… they laugh at you."

"No, they care about me!" Asuka shouted back. "Shinji cares about me!"

"Oh… you mean the boy you're in love with?" Arael asked. "The boy who won't even get the courage to ask you out… the little bitch who you treat like a lap dog."

"SHINJI IS NOT A BITCH!" Asuka shouted. "HE'S THE KINDEST PERSON I KNOW!"

"Oh, do you mean the tea this morning to help those little cramps of yours?" Arael said menacingly. "Where you decided you would finally ask him out… that's adorable… he's not even here to save you. That EVA of his… it's still sitting there, doing nothing… he doesn't care about you at all you stupid girl, he never did and he never will…"

"You're lying!" Asuka shouted. "His number… I had his number!"

"Very good…" Arael said. "But you still don't know… how sad… but I won't show you those happy memories… you don't deserve them…"

"What memories?!" Asuka shouted. "I met Shinji a year ago!"

"Oh, that is so cute." Arael "You don't even remember the truth… it's so buried in your fucked up mind trying to hide from find poor crazy momma's body in a pool of her own blood after she slit her crazy throat."

"Shut up!" Asuka screamed. "I don't believe you! You're lying to me!"

"You can think that all you want, sweetheart…" Arael said menacingly. "But they are your memories after all… perhaps some things shouldn't have been forgotten, but then again, you are just a stupid girl…"

"GO TO HELL!" Asuka screamed. "YOU'RE A LYING BITCH!"

"Believe what you want, Asuka…" Arael said. "I'm not the one hiding from the truth…"

"SHUT… UP!" Asuka screamed.

–––

Unit–01 arrived on the surface. It no longer required a power cable due to its new and stolen S2 Engine. Unit–01 stare down the beam of light that was still causing Unit–02 to writhe in pain.

"SOMEONE HELP ME!" Asuka screamed.

"Asuka!" Shinji screamed. "I'm here, I'm going to save you!" Shinji slammed his control yokes forward. "Let's go!"

Unit–01 ran forward towards the beam and jumped in front of it, arms outstretched. The beam was interrupted for a moment before it passed right through Unit–01 and went through Unit–02.

Shinji felt an intense pain in his head, and clutched it tightly between his hands. "WHAT IS THIS!?" Shinji screamed. "WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS!?"

"Shinji, report." Misato said.

"MY HEAD!" Shinji shouted. "I FEEL LIKE ITS BEING BORED INTO!"

"Shinji, get out of there!" Misato pleaded.

"I'M NOT LEAVING ASUKA!" Shinji shouted. "I'LL SAVE HER EVEN IF IT KILLS ME, MISATO! NOTHING YOU CAN SAY WILL CHANGE MY MIND!"

"Puppy, don't listen to Misato!" Mari said. "Do whatever it takes to save her!"

"Mari, shut the hell up!" Misato said. "I don't want to lose him again!"

"He loves her, miso!" Mari said. "Just let him save her so they can finally be together! Don't mess this up for him!"

"Fine… Shinji, just be careful." Misato said.

"I'LL DO WHAT I CAN!" Shinji shouted. "ASUKA, PLEASE HOLD ON!"

–––

Shinji appeared on a playground. He saw two people in front of him. One was a young girl with bright red hair, and the other looked like Asuka sitting in the fetal position.

"Asuka?" Shinji asked.

Asuka looked up. "Shinji?" Asuka asked. "Is it really you?"

"Of course it is Asuka…" Shinji said.

"Who are you?" Arael asked in her guise as the young Asuka.

"I'm Shinji, who the hell are you." Shinji asked.

"I'm the one who's about to rape your mind and find what I want…" Arael said as she advanced on Shinji and raised her hand. "Why is it not working… why can't I dive into your mind and rip you apart like the bitch behind me."

Shinji punched the little girl and knocked her onto the ground. "Don't talk about her like that! I love her!"

"What is love?" Arael asked. "Is that what's blocking me from doing anything?"

"What kind of person doesn't know what love is?" Shinji asked.

"I'm not human, stupid boy." Arael said.

"So, you're the Angel." Shinji said. "What's your name?"

"Ah… you're the one Leliel had contact with…" Arael muttered. "I'm Arael… and you've killed many of my brothers and sisters."

"Yeah, and I never learned their names." Shinji said. "What does it matter to you?"

"You killed them." Arael said. "So, I will kill you."

"Then do it." Shinji said. "Finish me off."

Arael got up slowly and raised her hand, but it did nothing. "Why can't I hurt you?" Arael said. "What… what are you?! All I find in your mind are happy memories, your minds, they're linked somehow!"

"So… you can't hurt us?" Shinji asked.

"It appears not…" Arael said. "Whatever bond you have is stronger than my power…"

"Good." Shinji said. "You'll be dead soon enough, I know my friends will kill you." Shinji walked over to Asuka. "Asuka, are you ok?"

"Shinji… it's really you?" Asuka asked.

"Yeah it is." Shinji said and then he realized she was naked and closed his eyes. "Sorry, I didn't know…"

"About what?" Asuka asked. She didn't look up at him, but kept her face buried in her hands. "Shinji… why are you here?"

"I… I…" Shinji stammered. "I love you Asuka…"

Asuka looked up. "What are you talking about?"

"Asuka… I came here to save you…" Shinji said shyly. "Because I… I love you…"

"How can you love a loser like me?" Asuka asked.

"Because I don't think you're a loser." Shinji said as he opened his eyes back up and looked at Asuka. "Here, let's get out of here." Shinji extended his hand. "Let's go home."

Asuka looked up at Shinji with a confused look on her face. "Do you really mean it?"

"I mean all of it, Asuka." Shinji said. "I've told you more than once, I'd never lie to you."

Asuka reached up and took Shinji's hand. "Then let's go…" Asuka said.

As Shinji helped her up, a warm feeling passed between them.

"Shinji… what is that?" Asuka asked.

"I… I don't know, Asuka…" Shinji said. "But why does my head feel warm."

Asuka felt dizzy too. "My head hurts too… but not like before… are you seeing things too, Shinji?"

"It's like an old movie…" Shinji muttered.

Flashback

As Asuka and Kyoko approached, they saw several figures come through the door. One was a tall man with a stern face and glasses, the second was an old man with graying hair and white lab coat the female of the group was shorter than both men, shoulder length brown hair, and slender figure in a lab coat and she was holding hands with the final member of the group, a young boy with brown hair, cobalt eyes, and a very wide smile.

The group approached Asuka and Kyoko as the female of the group called out to them. "Kyoko! How are you?!" Yui shouted, moving a little faster with the boy in tow.

"I'm fine, Yui, how have you been?" Kyoko responded quickening her own pace to see her friend.

As the two groups approached each other, Asuka's shoelace came loose, and tripped her up. She fell down hard, and skinned her knee. "Owww!" Asuka yelled as she felt her knee and saw the blood.

Kyoko turned to see Asuka on the ground. "Asuka, are you ok?" Kyoko asked.

"No, I'm not!" Asuka wailed. "My knee hurts and I'm bleeding." Asuka shouted as she started to cry, clutching her tiny knee.

The young boy broke free of his mother's grip and ran forward. He pulled something from his pocket and opened it. It was a large Band–Aid. The boy applied it to Asuka's knee, and then kissed the freshly applied Band–Aid. When he did this, Asuka's crying stopped, and she looked at him in a puzzled fashion. "What did you do that for?" Asuka asked.

"To make it stop hurting." The boy said, as he reached out his tiny hand. "Do you need some help up?" He asked.

"Yes, please." Asuka sniveled as the boy helped her up to her feet. "Thank you." Asuka said as she smiled at the boy.

"You're welcome." The boy said happily.

"So, what's your name?" Asuka asked him.

"I'm Shinji Ikari. What's your name?" Shinji replied.

"I'm Asuka Langley Soryu, it's a pleasure to meet you Shinji Ikari." Asuka said happily as she hugged him. "That was a thank you for helping my knee feel better."

"I just wanted to help. I don't like to see other people being sad. It makes me sad." Shinji said, blushing slightly. "I like helping others, Soryu–san."

"Well, that makes you a nice person, Shinji Ikari." Asuka said kindly as she grabbed his hand. "Come on, you can help me some more by walking around with me." Asuka said as she pulled Shinji with her towards the adults.

End Flashback

"Shinji, what… what is this?" Asuka asked.

"I… I don't know…" Shinji replied as another memory flashed before them.

Flashback

Asuka and Shinji were still sitting on the couch next each other as they finished the game. Asuka tossed her controller gently towards the TV in celebration.

"Wow, Shinji, we completely beat the game! You did a good job too!" Asuka said, patting Shinji on the back.

"Thanks, Asuka, you really did most of the work though, and you told me what to do when I needed help." Shinji said quietly.

"I didn't do all the work, silly Shinji." Asuka said. "But, did you have fun?"

"Well… um… yeah I did." Shinji said, looking up at her.

"Then that's all that matters." Asuka said, poking his shoulder. "Besides, you did do your share. You don't play videogames, I wasn't expecting you to be really good, just to try your hardest. That's all that matters."

Shinji smiled. "Thanks Asuka."

"It's no problem Shinji." Asuka said as she looked over at the lone clock in the room. "Wow, it's so late, I wonder where our moms are?"

Shinji shrugged. "They probably just got busy is all. They have experiments in a few weeks, right?"

"You're probably right." Asuka said. "So, what should we do now?"

"I'm not sure." Shinji said. "Why don't we just sit here and talk."

"I'd like that, Shinji." Asuka said. "So what do you want to talk about?"

"I'm not sure." Asuka said shrugging her shoulders. "Can't we just sit here and enjoy each other's company?" She said as she leaned back against the couch.

"Sure, Asuka, I'd like that." Shinji said.

After a few minutes of silence, Asuka got bored and decided they should talk instead. "Shinji, what do you do for fun?" Asuka looked over at him. Shinji, had started to doze off, so Asuka decided to wake him up. "SHINJI, WAKE UP!"

Shinji jumped up so fast he fell off the couch onto the floor. "Huh?! Wha…?!" Shinji stammered as he picked himself up off the floor. His face was red, and he was breathing heavily. "Asuka, don't scare me like that."

"Sorry, Shinji, I thought you were asleep." Asuka reached out her hand to help him up. "I didn't mean to scare you, I just decided I wanted to talk."

"It's ok, Asuka, I know you didn't want me fall off the couch." Shinji said, as he got back on the couch. "But you could've just shaken me instead."

Asuka hugged Shinji. "I'm sorry Shinji, can you forgive me."

"I said it was ok, Asuka, but if it makes you feel better, I forgive you." Shinji said. "Now what did you want to talk to me about?"

"I can't remember now." Asuka said, shrugging. "But we already played some videogames, so why don't we do something you want to do."

"I'm still not sure what to do." Shinji said as he looked over at her. "But, thanks Asuka, for being so nice to me." Shinji said shyly, as he blushed. 'She's so nice to me even though my dad's the boss. It's nice to have someone to talk to.' Shinji thought.

"Shinji why do you keep thanking me for being nice?" Asuka asked.

"Well, uh, I guess I'm not used to it is all." Shinji said. "Most kids avoid me, or don't really talk to me." Shinji said. "That's why I read, no one can bother me. I'm actually glad my dad took me out of daycare, at least if I'm alone no one can ignore me."

"Why would you say that Shinji…" Asuka looked sadly at Shinji. "Do people really treat you like that, Shinji?"

"Yeah, but that's how it's always been. I'm used to it." Shinji said sadly.

"It's not right though!" Asuka protested. "They shouldn't treat you that way just because you're different." Asuka's eyes started to tear up. "It's just not fair!"

Shinji had a concerned look on his face. "Asuka, what wrong? Are you ok?"

"Wha…?" Asuka said as tears started to stream down her cheeks.

"Asuka, why are you crying, did I do something wrong?" Shinji said. He looked very worried about her. Was it something I said?

"I'm crying because what you said reminded me of home!" Asuka shouted. "Nobody wants to talk to me when I'm home because I'm different."

"Is it your hair?" Shinji asked innocently. "I know I've never seen anyone else with hair like that. It's very pretty, are they jealous of it?" He stammered.

Asuka's crying lessened as Shinji spoke. "That's the only thing you can see that's different?" Asuka asked.

"Well, yeah, that and you're a girl." Shinji replied matter–of–factly.

'I'm a quarter Japanese and three quarters German, and he only notices my hair…' Asuka thought. 'I guess not everyone treats people differently for not being like them…' Asuka dried her remaining tears and spoke. "Yeah, Shinji, they don't like me because of my hair." She said reassuringly.

"Well, that's mean. Just because you look different doesn't make you less of a person." Shinji said as he put his arm around Asuka. "I like your hair, Asuka. I looks nice."

Asuka chuckled and leaned against Shinji. "Thanks Shinji, you're a good friend."

"Wait, this… makes us friends?" Shinji asked nervously.

"Of course it does, silly Shinji." Asuka said. "I'll be the best friend you'll ever have!"

"I'd like that, Asuka." Shinji said.

"Of course you'd like that, I'm the greatest person you'll ever meet!" Asuka said proudly.

Shinji smiled. "Well, then, seeing as you're the greatest, Asuka, what should we do now." He asked.

"I guess we should just keep talking so we don't fall asleep." Asuka replied.

End Flashback

Asuka looked at Shinji. "Shinji… is this…"

"I think it is Asuka…" Shinji replied. "These are our… memories…"

Flashback

Several hours later, as light came down onto the Geofront through the still open hole above them, Asuka stirred. 'What am I sleeping on?' She thought. Asuka opened her eyes, and realized that Shinji was still next to her, and that she had fallen asleep on his shoulder. 'This is nice, he's so comfy.' Asuka thought as she snuggled up against him.

Shinji stirred when he felt something move on his shoulder. He looked down and saw he was sleeping next to Asuka. His body tensed up a bit, and he started to blush. 'I barely know her, and we fell asleep next to each other, how weird.' Shinji thought. 'But, still, for some reason it feels nice to be next to her.'

The two stayed silent and oblivious to each other being awake until the door opened to reveal Yui and Kyoko. "Good morning kids!" Kyoko called. "Are you awake?!"

"Ten more minutes, momma, I'm comfortable." Asuka groaned.

"No, Asuka, you have to get up and take a shower." Kyoko said.

"The same goes for you, young man." Yui said.

"Please momma, just five more minutes?" Asuka asked.

Yui and Kyoko smiled at each other. "Asuka, you have to get up, and then we can go to breakfast with Shinji and Yui, ok?"

Asuka contemplated the offer for a moment, and then replied. "Ok, momma, I'll get up. But I get to sit next to him at breakfast!" Asuka said as she looked over at Shinji. "As long as Shinji doesn't mind…"

"I don't mind." Shinji said shyly, a slight rosy hue on his cheeks. "It sounds like fun…"

"Then it's settled, we'll all go to breakfast together after the kids shower!" Yui said excitedly. "It'll be a lot of fun!"

"Ok, dial the happiness back from '11' Spinal Tap." Kyoko said sarcastically.

"Alright, Kyoko, no need to be so sarcastic." Yui said.

"Yeah there is, Yui. It's because it's fun." Kyoko said. "See you guys in a little while."

"See you in a little while, Shinji!" Asuka called.

"Bye, Asuka." Shinji said. "Have a fun shower."

"Shinji, you can't say that to a girl!" Asuka shouted.

"Why not? Showers are fun." Shinji said innocently.

End Flashback

"How did I not remember all this?" Asuka said. "Shinji… why did we not know? Our moms… knew each other…"

"I don't know…" Shinji said. "Mother…"

"Momma…" Asuka muttered.

Flashback

Meanwhile, next to the adults, two children were saying their goodbyes.

"Asuka, I'm going to miss you." Shinji said quietly looking down at the ground.

"I'm going to miss you too, Shinji." Asuka replied, looking just as depressed. "But we're going to talk on the phone, right?"

"Yeah, Asuka, just like our mom's do." Shinji said sullenly.

"Well then, I guess we don't have to be so sad then." Asuka said with a slight grin on her face. "So stop looking so sad."

"I guess." Shinji said, as he rubbed his foot on the ground. "Asuka, before you leave, can we hug again?" Shinji said as he blushed.

"Sure, Shinji, I'd like that." Asuka said as she wrapped her arms around Shinji and pulling him into a tight hug. "I'm glad we met, Shinji."

Shinji reciprocated the hug. "I'm glad we met too, Asuka. I can't wait to see you again."

Yui and Kyoko had stopped talking to see the children hugging.

"Make sure you bring her back with you the next time you come to Japan, Kyoko. The kids are clearly good friends." Yui said.

"I will, Yui." Kyoko said, hugging Yui tightly. "After the contact experiment, we'll come back for a visit, and the kids can play together again."

"I think Asuka would like that a lot. She was so upset to leave. But I promised her she could call Shinji whenever she wanted." Kyoko said.

"Smart idea, Kyoko. Hold on a sec…" Yui took a notebook and pen out of her pocket. She wrote down her phone number and wrote Shinji underneath it. Yui ripped the paper out of the notebook and knelt down next to Asuka. "Asuka, here, this is for you."

"What is it?" Asuka said looking puzzled and not breaking the hug with Shinji.

"It's Shinji's phone number, so you can call him when you feel lonely." Yui said kindly. "Just remember there is a time difference, so you have to ask your mom if it's ok to call."

"I promise, Frau Ikari." Asuka said taking the paper in her hand.

The VTOL was finishing its final prep for takeoff, the fuel lines were being disconnected, and the launch pad was being cleared.

Kyoko looked over at the awaiting aircraft. "Asuka, we have to go now." She said gently.

Asuka looked forlorn when she let go of Shinji. "Ok, momma." She replied. "I guess this is goodbye, Shinji."

"Bye, Asuka." Shinji said quietly. "Call me soon, ok?"

"It's a promise, silly Shinji." Asuka said playfully.

"Aren't they cute together, Yui?" Kyoko said.

"I know, right?" Yui replied as the two started to walk towards the waiting VTOL.

End Flashback

"Shinji…" Asuka said. "What do all those memories mean?"

"I think it means we met before, Asuka…" Shinji replied.

"How… how did I forget?" Asuka said absent mindedly. "How could I not remember my only friend was you? I was so… stupid…"

"Asuka… I forgot too…" Shinji said. "I'm sorry…"

"Why are you apologizing?" Asuka asked. "I was the stupid one, I forgot! I never forget anything!"

"Ah… now this is getting good." Arael said, walking over to the pair. "Go ahead, Asuka… tell him how you still remember the day you found your mother's dead body lying in a pool of her own blood, or that time your mother tried to strangle you… or the fact your mother couldn't even remember you were her daughter… "

"SHUT UP!" Asuka screamed. "I DON'T WANT TO REMEMBER THAT!"

"Of course you don't, so you suppress everything that happened before then…" Arael said sickeningly. "You did it the easy way… nothing happened before your mother died, and you forgot all about who your friend was… like a stupid useless bitch."

"She is not a useless bitch!" Shinji shouted. "Leave her ALONE!"

"Why… you can't leave here." Arael said. "You can only leave if you kill you me… and considering how far away I am… I don't see you being able to kill me like you did my brothers and sisters… you are powerless…"

"You're not safe you Angel freak!" Asuka shouted as she started laughing manically. "Yeah, well my friend here… he's lucky… luck follows him around… they'll kill you… because Shinji can't die… he's immune…"

"Do you really believe that?" Arael asked. "Do you honestly believe that?"

"Of course I do… that's why I'm not worthy of him…" Asuka said. "Do you honestly believe you're safe?"

"Asuka, what are you… talking about?" Shinji asked.

"Oh… go on… tell him Asuka." Arael said. "Tell him what you mean."

"I'm not telling him on front of you…" Asuka said. "So die already! Someone kill this bitch already!"

"Don't worry…" Shinji said. "I know Rei or Mari will this thing."

"And why are you so confident?" Arael asked. "You're not out there to kill me… I'm far more afraid of your track record…"

"Well, our friends would do anything to save us." Shinji said. "So you're not going to last too much longer."

–––

Mari walked into Central Dogma in her plugsuit. She deactivated her Evangelion without orders and rushed to see what was going on. Mari saw Misato gripping the back of Maya's chair, and she saw Kaji leaning casually on the wall nearby. Mari looked at the main screen to see Unit–01 and Unit–02 trapped in Arael's beam.

"Hey, Miso…" Mari said. "Where's the blueberry?"

"What are you doing in here?" Ritsuko shouted. "You should be in your EVA!"

"Shove a stick in it, you self–righteous cunt." Mari said angrily. "I wasn't talking to you."

"Why you…" Ritsuko said as she advanced on Mari, but she was stopped by the timely intervention of Kaji.

"No, no." Kaji said. "You're not hitting anyone, Ritsuko… I think it's time to leave."

"I'm not going anywhere." Ritsuko said. "My job is important!"

"You're not needed here, Dr. Akagi. You are replaceable." Gendo said from above. "Mr. Kaji, remove her immediately."

"Sure thing, boss man." Kaji said. "Come on, now Ritsuko… let's go."

"Get your hands off of me!" Ritsuko shouted. "I'll leave."

"Mari, she was right, why are you here." Misato said.

"Like I was doing anything sitting there and waiting for launch orders that aren't going to come." Mari said sarcastically. "I wanted to see what was happening."

"Well, Rei is retrieving some kind of weapon from below." Misato said. "I have no idea what weapon could be down there…"

"Unit–00 is back within visual range." Hyuga said. "It has some kind of spear…"

"Where did that come from?!" Misato shouted as she saw the spear she last saw moments before Second Impact started. "Why is that thing here, Commander?!"

"Colonel, it was recovered some time ago." Gendo said. "We stored it in Terminal Dogma for safe keeping. We are using it now to destroy the Angel. Lieutenant Ibuki, clear a launch path for Unit–00 immediately."

"Yes, sir." Maya said.

"Miso… what is that thing?" Mari asked.

"Mari, not now." Misato said.

"I wanna know, miso." Mari insisted as she poked Misato in the neck. "Tell me!"

"Fine…" Misato said as she leaned down to Mari's ear. "Mari… that spear… the Spear of Longinus…" Misato whispered. "It helped start Second Impact…"

"Is that thing even safe?" Mari whispered back. "I mean… could it cause Third Impact?"

"Well… it could… and no…" Misato said. "No it's not safe…"

–––

Unit–00 arrived on the surface after being launched holding the spear. Rei moved the Evangelion into position and held the spear tightly.

"Rei, are you ready?" Misato asked. "We're sending you the tracking data now."

"Do not send me the data." Rei said. "I will do this without assistance."

"Rei, you can't do that." Misato said. "You need the data to throw the spear."

"I do not." Rei said. "I will do it without assistance."

"Rei!" Misato said. "This is an order!"

"Shinji killed the Fifth Angel without any tracking data, Asuka fired on this Angel and hit the target…" Rei said sternly. "I will do this without assistance."

"Damn it, Rei!" Misato said angrily. "What are you trying to prove?"

"That I am more than capable of killing an Angel on my own." Rei said. "I will do this on my own, please allow me to save my friends on my own."

"Fine, Rei, just remember you only have one shot." Misato said.

"I am aware, Colonel." Rei said. "I will not miss."

Unit–00 prepped itself to throw the spear. It lifted the spear above his head and cocked it back with its right arm. Rei aimed for where the light was coming from. Unit–00 then started to move backwards several hundred yards. The spear, sensing it was about to be thrown twirled its bident form into a twisted shape that matched the rest of it.

"Take this." Rei said angrily. "And leave my friends alone."

With the spear at the ready, Unit–00 moved forward and at the point where Unit–00 had originally taken aim, spun around in a circle three times and as the spear lined up on the third rotation, threw the spear with all the strength Unit–00 and Rei could muster, and spear shot off to the heavens. Right after it was released, it broke the sound barrier. IT shot through the clouds and entered orbit in seconds. It came upon Arael, who deployed her A.T. Field to defend herself, but it didn't matter. The spear untwirled to reveal its bident head, right as it passed through the A.T. Field like it wasn't even there, and ripped through Arael's body, killing the Angel in a single, decisive blow. A cross shaped explosion lit up the night sky as the spear passed through the explosion and collided with the Moon, implanting itself into the ground.

Rei looked on as the explosion back lit the clouds and the beam that had been trapping Unit–01 and Unit–02 disappeared. Rei smiled slightly and looked over at her friends' Evangelions as they stopped struggling and shut down.

"Colonel…" Rei said. "Unit–01 and Unit–02 are down. Send rescue teams immediately. They appeared to be in distress until they shut down."

"We can't Rei." Misato said. "They may be contaminated. Return to base immediately."

"I will not return to base until they are safely recovered." Rei said. "I will watch over them until they are safe. I owe them that."

"Rei, you can't stay out there forever." Misato said. "You aren't needed out there."

"Miso, let her stay out there!" Mari said angrily. "They're defenseless otherwise…"

"Fine… Rei…" Misato said. "Please be careful."

"Thank you, Mari." Rei said.

–––

Asuka was inside her darkened Entry Plug. She was in the fetal position, crying. Moments before she had been holding Shinji's hand, and was now, after Rei killed Arael, completely and utterly alone. She didn't even notice that there was a warm feeling enveloping her comfortingly. Even though she could not hear her, her mother was trying to connect to her the way Yui had attempted with Shinji so long ago.

'Asuka… I know you can't hear me.' Kyoko thought soothingly. 'I know you had a rough day, and that your heart is too closed from seeing me lying on the ground dead to do anything… but you have to tell Shinji how you feel… you have to explain everything… Asuka… just so you know… when you're ready… when your heart is finally open… I will be here to help you the same way Yui has helped Shinji before… I will let you tap into the true power of this monster… and defeat anything that stand sin your path…' Kyoko smiled as she stroked Asuka's hair. 'I love you, Asuka… and I am so sorry I left you… but you have Shinji and one of my best friends protecting you… Mari will keep you safe… just like Shinji will… I have faith you'll be just fine… you just need to open up, Asuka.' Kyoko kissed Asuka on her forehead and frowned as she saw the girl continue to cry. 'Goodbye sweet girl… please feel better soon…'


September 16, 2016 – NERV HQ

Gendo was sitting in a room surrounded by the Human Instrumentality Committee. He had his hands folded over his face, and he was smirking behind his guise of looking serious.

"Do you have a reason for using the Spear of Longinus in such an egregious fashion?!" Keel asked angrily.

"I did what needed to be done." Gendo said plainly. "The Angel was in a high orbit, beyond any weapons we had at our disposal, except the spear."

"So you used it without authorization?!" Bayuski shouted.

"I did not have time to listen to the five of you debate the finer points of using the spear or not." Gendo said. "I made a decision under the authority you gave me, it is as simple as that, the Angel is dead and the mission was a success."

"How would you call it a success?!" Pinnafore asked gruffly. "The Spear of Longinus is now buried in the Moon's surface!"

"It was an acceptable loss considering that we killed the Angel." Gendo said. "It is certainly more palatable than losing two Evangelions and their pilots." Gendo smiled behind his hands again. "Now, is there anything else you wish to discuss? I do have an organization to run, I cannot waste all my time going over the intricate details of this incident."

"You will not leave here until we have cleared you to leave!" Godot said.

"I doubt that." Gendo said. "So, is there anything else, or will you all continue to shout questions in my direction."

"I do have one other question for you, Ikari." Keel said. "What made you think that using the spear would go unnoticed?"

"I never thought it would." Gendo replied as he stood up to leave. "I thought it to be inconsequential considering that the Angels override all other directives I am given by your committee. There is no way to retrieve the spear at present, so it is simply gone, it's not that it had any other use than to kill an Angel."

Before any of them could respond, he walked out of the room and closed the door behind him. He stood facing Fuyutsuki who was smiling slightly.

"So, Ikari…" Fuyutsuki said. "How did they take the news?"

"As well as I assumed they would." Gendo said. "They are not happy that the instrument of their plan has gone the way of the Moon… unreachable and unusable for what they need it for. Understandably, it pushes their plans back once again until they find a solution."

"How long have we pushed them back this time?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"At least six to seven months." Gendo said. "If not more. But we have to be ready the base needs to be protected against anything SEELE may plan to throw at us."

"What do you think they will try?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"They are capable of anything, they have all the power they want." Gendo said. "They could turn the government or military against us and try to take the base."

"So, they would attack us with the might of the military?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Yes, I need you to move some things around in the budget to hide our expenses." Gendo said. "Increase the costs to repair and maintain the Evangelions, get us more money and then shift it to base defenses. That is how we'll defend ourselves."

"I'll get right on it." Fuyutsuki said. "But what if Akagi gets in the way?"

"She doesn't need to know anything's been changed." Gendo said. "Remove her access to the system, call it a suspension of privileges for her behavior yesterday."

"I'll get I done, Commander." Fuyutsuki said as they walked away.

–––

It had been over 10 hours since the battle had ended. Unit–01 and Unit–02 were scanned from top to bottom while it was determined that there was absolutely no physical contamination on the Evangelions. Ritsuko had ordered the overly long winded tests as revenge against Asuka. Unit–00 had stayed there the whole time, watching the proceedings and making sure they were safe. So, after that time, Shinji and Asuka were pulled from their EVAs and placed inside a taped off area marked for quarantine.

As Unit–00 was lowered below the surface, Shinji sat on one side of the zone, and Asuka stood staring at him from the other side. She glared angrily at him while he sat quietly, avoiding her gaze.

"Shinji!" Asuka shouted. "Look at me!"

"What is it, Asuka?" Shinji said tiredly.

"I need to ask you something, baka!" Asuka said.

Shinji stood up and walked over to Asuka. "What is it?" Shinji asked. "Is it about what we saw… or what I said…"

"Why do you love me…" Asuka asked quietly.

"What?" Shinji asked.

"What are you, deaf?!" Asuka shouted. "I said, tell me why you love me!" Asuka shoved him. "I don't believe you! You're lying to me! Everyone lies to me!"

"I'm not lying to you, Asuka!" Shinji shouted back. "I meant it when I shouted to everyone that I love you!"

"What do you mean you told everyone?!" Asuka shouted. "Do you mean that I'm the last person to find out?!"

"No…" Shinji started. "I've wanted to tell you for a while…"

"Bullshit!" Asuka shouted in response. "Why the hell would you love me?! I'm not good enough for you, you can do better! I don't deserve anyone as nice as you! How can you love a pathetic shithead like me?!"

"I don't know why…. I just do!" Shinji shouted empathically.

"Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit!" Asuka screeched. "You always come to my fucking rescue, and I'm not fucking helpless, I can do shit on my own! You have to know why you love me, otherwise you're just lying to me to make me feel better!"

"No, I want to help you Asuka!" Shinji shouted. "I want to help you because I love you! I don't want to see you get hurt, I just can't stand it! Every time it happens, I just get so damn mad! Why do you think I jumped into a volcano?! Why do you think I tried hard with that sync dance?! Why do you think I came back when the Fourteenth Angel attacked?! How do you think I was able to get out of the Core?! All because I love you! I couldn't stand to see you get hurt anymore because of my inaction! I wanted to impress you, I just wanted you to notice me… you're the same redhead from my dreams! The one I lost so many years ago… that little girl I fell in love with back then was you… and I've been feeling it all along! I fell back in love with you on the Over the Rainbow… I knew deep down who you were, we both did! I couldn't even remember it until now, that entire day was wonderful… and then we just lost contact! I just wanted someone that loves me back to notice me! My mother's dead and gone, my father hates me, and so do you! The girl I love hates me! What do you have to say about that?!"

Asuka caught herself before she shouted back, she had tears in her eyes as she remembered the day they spent together. She looked up at Shinji, who was already starting to cry. "I don't… I don't hate you Shinji…" Asuka said sadly. "I hate myself…" Asuka wiped her face. "But Shinji… I love you too…"

"What?" Shinji asked.

"I said I love you!" Asuka shouted. "But I don't deserve you, I can't protect you like you protect me, I'm not worthy of anyone as wonderful as you! I didn't deserve you back then, and I don't deserve you now!"

"What are you talking about?!" Shinji asked.

"I hate myself for letting you get hurt by the last Angel!" Asuka shouted. "I hate myself for not remembering I met you! And I hate myself for forgetting that we were friends, and that I was mad I couldn't call you anymore!"

"Asuka… I didn't remember either!" Shinji shouted back. "Stop blaming yourself! Things happened to us that made us forget, it's not our fault!"

"NO!" Asuka screamed at the top of her lungs as she held back her tears. "I REMEMBER EVERYTHING! I CAN'T FORGET THINGS THAT I WANT TO FORGET! I SAW MY MOTHER'S DEAD BODY AFTER SHE SLIT HER OWN THROAT! I STILL HAVE NIGHTMARES, I CAN'T FORGET IT… IT'S BURNED INTO MY MIND! BUT I FORGOT ABOUT YOU! I DON'T DESERVE SOMEONE I FORGOT ABOUT! FORGET ABOUT ME, SHINJI, I'M NOT WORTH IT!"

"Asuka, I don't care about that!" Shinji shouted. "I only care about you! Talk to me, Asuka, we can figure this out… just don't… DON'T LEAVE ME LIKE MY FATHER DID!" Shinji broke down and started crying. "Don't leave me… don't abandon me… please… I knew this would happen when I told you… I knew you'd never want me…"

"Shinji… I just can't be with you!" Asuka shouted. "I need… I need time to figure all this out! I remember so much stuff now, I… my mother worked on Unit–02! She made it, she designed it! And now I find out your mom worked with mine! They were friends! What does that mean?!"

"My mother created Unit–01!" Shinji shouted back. "I saw her die! You're not the only one hiding things, Asuka!"

"I'm not hiding anything!" Asuka shouted back again. "I just can't be with you… I'm not… I'm not ready! I can't do this with all these things to think about! That Angel fucked with my head, I can't trust anything anymore! I need tome to figure all this out! Just leave me alone Shinji!"

"But… Asuka… I love you!" Shinji said as he kept crying. "Doesn't that mean anything?! Does that mean you don't think we knew each other?!"

"I don't know what it means!" Asuka screamed. "I can't be with you until you I figure everything out!" Asuka stopped screaming and lowered her voice as she started to calm herself down. "If you truly love me, you'll give me time to do that… if not… then I'll know you were lying all along…"

"Asuka…" Shinji said. "I'll do anything for you… please believe me when I say that… I really do love you… and I don't want to lose you…"

"I'm sorry Shinji…" Asuka mumbled to herself. "You love me when you should hate me… baka… you haven't changed a bit…"

To Be Continued


A/N: I do not own Evangelion or any of the characters, GAINAX and the other distributors of NGE related material do. I am simply using them as a backdrop for my fanfic.

Sync Score Rankings!
Shinji – 99.0% (+25.4%)
Mari – 71.0% (+3.9%)
Rei – 68.4% (+5.8%)
Asuka – 21.8% (-42.0%)

So, a few things happen this chapter, Shinji shouts his love from Unit–01 and pulls off a 99% sync score to break out and assist her. He then faces Arael with her and they learn of their shared childhood memories, the ones of their first meeting, and then Asuka shouts at him and tearfully tells him that she loves him too, but can't accept his love because she needs time to process everything she saw.

Sorry for all the flashbacks as well, but this chapter was going to end up being very flashback heavy considering what Asuka had to endure. Basically all the flashbacks come from various chapters in Episode III. If you're interested in the whole story behind some of those scenes, look to chapters 2, 7, & 11 (When Shinji Met Asuka…, Raggedy Asuka, and Isolation and Rage respectively) for more information.

So, this chapter also fulfills the wish that Asuka had way back in Episode IV, Chapter 1. Arael was the "shooting star" Asuka wished upon, and her wish below:

– Asuka saw the one on the left first and made a wish. 'That friend I forgot about… I wish I can find him again, please… that's all I want, even if I won't admit it to anyone.' Asuka thought happily. –

So basically, the friend she forgot was Shinji, and with Shinji jumping into the beam, their shared memories were dragged to the surface, and they found out they had met so long ago.

Obviously the next chapter involves Armisael, but don't expect for things to exactly like they did in the show. Things have changed, as evidenced here in this chapter with what happened, so expect the unexpected next chapter.

As I said before, and will always say at the end of chapter, please leave comments, as I would like to try to improve the story going forward any way I can. And, hell, constructive criticism is a good thing.


つづく