Neon Genesis Evangelion: Legacy
Episode VI: Return of Reality


Chapter 4 – Disappearing Act
December 25, 2016 – Outside Tokyo–3

Kaji was driving around outside the city, trying to clear his head to think about things. His status as a double agent was starting to pull him in many directions, and things were beginning to come to a head.

"So… Shinji had to kill Kaworu…" Kaji muttered. "Had to happen, I guess. Shinji's the only one who could do it though… I should have stayed to talk to him, but I have to try and get things straight…"

Kaji sighed. "Everything's going straight to hell. Shinji's a wreck, Asuka hates everyone, Mari's despondent, and Rei is… well, she's not the Rei we're used to. Maybe things can be different, but it's going to take one hell of a shock."

"I wonder if this last Angel was the one that was referenced in everything I've read…" Kaji said. "The one they recovered from the Impact Zone during the expedition." Kaji paused when he heard his phone ring. "Shit, who could it be now?" Kaji picked up the phone. "Wait, it's not this phone… it's the other one…" Kaji opened his glove box while he sped along and pulled out a robust cell phone, flipped a switch and opened it. "This is Kaji."

"Code in…" The gravelly voice on the other end said. "Death."

"Rebirth." Kaji replied.

"Are we secure?" The voice on the other end asked.

"As always." Kaji replied. "What is so urgent that you call me at this hour."

"We need you to procure something for us." The gravelly voice said.

"What is it this time?" Kaji asked. "More documents, or some other data? Or do you need the children's schedules."

"No, we need a person." The gravelly voice said. "The Sub–Commander himself."

"Isn't that a bit risky?" Kaji asked.

"We no longer have the luxury of time." The gravelly voice replied. "He has very unique information we need. Facts we need filled in. He's been by Ikari's side all these years."

"How do you think I can do this?" Kaji asked. "You do realize he's under guard."

"We have people inside that can help with that." The gravelly voice replied. "They should be able to provide an ample distraction… and we will keep Ikari tied up while you do your part, Kaji."

"It's a bad plan." Kaji replied. "The kind that get fouled up because of poor planning."

"Just carry out our orders and everything will be just as it was before." The gravelly voice said coldly. "You will grab him tomorrow morning from his quarters, he will have been drugged, so there will be no resistance on his part. There is no need to worry about three plan, all contingencies have been thought of."

"Fine…" Kaji said as he hung up the phone and tossed it onto the floor on the passenger side. "Yeah, that's what I'm worried about, the plan could go sideways and then what…?" Kaji sighed as he pulled the e–brake on his Ferrari and did a tight turn to face the other direction and sped off back towards Tokyo–3.

"I need to go give Misato something." Kaji said. "I don't think I'll have another chance after this next assignment. I've got a bad feeling about what I'm about to do…"

–––

Asuka was wandering around the city trying not to think about how depressed she was. The sun was about to set and had left its distinctive reddish glow hanging in the sky. She looked disheveled, but otherwise ok. As she walked through the older section of town near where Rei lived, she kept glancing around, as if looking for somewhere to stay. She had a small, wrapped package clutched tightly in her hands with no one to give it to considering it was Christmas and the gift itself was for Shinji.

"How can I hate someone and love them at the same time?" Asuka asked herself. "Shinji was such an asshole to me… he ruined our relationship by siding with that… that arschloch!"

Asuka threw Shinji's present to the ground, banging up one of its corners, crumpling it in a bit. "Stupid Shinji always ruins everything!" Asuka screamed. "He never loved me! He lied to me just so… so he try and take advantage of me!"

Asuka shook her head and looked down at the gift she had wrapped for Shinji months ago. "How can I even think that, though?" Asuka asked herself. "He always protected me… even when he didn't want to pilot Unit–01, of course that idiot liked me…" Asuka bent down and picked up Shinji's present. She dusted it off and held it against her chest. "Why are my feelings so confused?!" Asuka muttered. "I can't love and hate him at the same time! Why do things have to be this fucking complicated?! I just want a nice Christmas with my boyfriend, but I hate him so much I want to punch him in his stupid face!"

Asuka kicked the ground and stubbed her toe. "Gottverdammt!" Asuka shouted. "Why do I even bother caring about anything?! What the point when I'll never be happy! Every time I'm close to being happy, life just fucking takes it away from me!"

"I hope that bastard Kaworu is dies!" Asuka screamed. "He tricked my Shinji and turned him against me!"

Asuka, shaking with anger, sat down on the ground and stared at Shinji's present. "First my mother… then Shinji… and even my ability to pilot an EVA… what other happiness can life take from me if I have nothing left…?"

–––

Misato was over at Kaji's apartment. After getting a cryptic phone call from Kaji to come over as soon as possible, Misato gladly rushed from the apartment to go see him, but was worried why he called her so late. When she got there she saw his car taking up two spots, which was unusual because Kaji wasn't a dick and knew how to park his car.

"He must be pretty excited…" Misato muttered. "After today, I could use a good screw."

Misato knocked on Kaji's door and he answered it immediately, wearing just a bathrobe. "Hey there, beautiful." Kaji said. "Won't you come in?"

"Why are you even asking?" Misato asked. "You called me, remember?"

"I'm just being polite." Kaji said. "We both know why you're here…"

"I dunno, you were pretty vague on the phone, Kaji." Misato replied.

"I need to give you something." Kaji said jokingly. "Something real good."

"Why are you acting like we're in college?" Misato asked. "Just tell me you want to have sex with me and get it going."

"Jeez, Misato." Kaji replied. "Some of us like a bit of foreplay before we stick it in."

"Don't act all hurt." Misato said as she cupped her supple breasts. "You know what's waiting for you, why bother with the lead up?"

"Makes it all the more enjoyable…" Kaji said. "Don't you remember that week back in college? How much fun that was?"

"Yeah, I remember, but we said it then, Kaji." Misato said. "Never again."

"I know, but a little foreplay will help me… be there for the long haul." Kaji replied.

"Seriously, all night?" Misato asked.

"Do you have other plans?" Kaji asked.

"No, but…" Misato began.

"Then it's settled." Kaji replied. "You'll stay the night."

"Sure, Kaji." Misato replied. "But you can have your foreplay after the first round." Misato unzipped her skirt, revealing a lacy pair of panties. "I want it now."

"Well, that's direct." Kaji smirked. "I like it."

"Come on already." Misato moaned as she grabbed Kaji by the arm and pulled him to his bedroom. "The drive over here was wait enough."

"Fine, just be patient." Kaji said as he pulled something off his dresser. When he looked back at Misato, she was completely naked.

"I'm waiting…" Misato said as she tapped her foot impatiently on the ground. "If I wait any longer, you're not gonna like what happens."

"You make a hard bargain, Misato." Kaji said as he slipped his robe off. "So, how's this going down?"

Misato laid down on the bed, her face resting in Kaji's pillow and her ass up in the air. "Care to take a guess, big guy?"

"Well…" Kaji said. "I'll take my chances."

"Just don't…" Misato began. "No, don't put it in there! Hey, what is that?"

"What do you think?" Kaji asked.

"Kaji, you've been in there before, what else is up there?"

"Call it a special surprise…" Kaji whispered in her ear.

–––

Mari was sitting alone in the apartment. No one had come home that day, and she hadn't seen anyone for at least a few days. After losing her Section 2 detail, she went to her favorite karaoke bar to try and cheer herself up, but it just kept reminding her of everything she was trying to repress. So after wandering around for a few hours, she decided to come home and hopefully talk to someone, but only found an empty apartment.

"Well, this sucks," Mari muttered. "I hate being alone like this… it just feels off. No Asuka to make fun of, no Shinji to scold us for being childish, and no Misato accuse Shinji and Asuka of having sex… I miss that."

Mari got up and wandered around the apartment. "So this is what it's like to be alone…" Mari muttered. "It's worse than being stuck with Lilith… at least there I knew I was alone. Here, there are loads of people around… but none of them are reachable… Shinji's being an ass… Asuka hates life… Rei isn't herself… and Misato is… distant at best…"

Mari went into Shinji's room and laid down on his bed. "This is the closest I'll get to being near someone unless everything gets fixed somehow…" Mari said. "But he's been gone so long, it barely smells like him anymore… and Asuka's bed only smells like sadness and tears… and I don't think I want to lay in Misato's bed… so this is all I've got left."

Mari rolled over and clutched Shinji's pillow to her face. "I miss all my friends… I always end up so alone…"


December 26, 2016 – Tokyo–3, City Center

Misato and Kaji were lying together in bed as the sun was cresting over the horizon. Kaji was stroking Misato's hair while she smoked a cigarette.

"Kaji, what is all this?" Misato asked. "What was the thing you gave me?"

"Besides my love?" Kaji asked.

"Stop being so weird." Misato said. "Why are you all cagey?"

"We're being watched." Kaji said in a hushed voice. "I've given you my everything… just don't waste it…"

"What are you…?" Misato started.

"Don't worry about it, Misato." Kaji said. "Today everything will be dealt with."

"Kaji stop dodging my questions." Misato said.

"I love you, Misato." Kaji said. "But I have to get ready for work…"

"Work, what work?" Misato asked.

"Just… work." Kaji said. "I'll call you later."

"Kaji…" Misato said.

"Don't worry Misato, I'll see you later."

"Kaji… I love you too…"

"I know." Kaji replied. "Still love hearing you say it though."

"Kaji wait." Misato said as Kaji was about to leave. "Can you do me a favor?"

"Sure." Kaji mumbled.

"I got a sample from last night I need you to run." Misato said.

"I'll pass it off to someone I know." Kaji said. "What's it for?"

"To see if Kaworu really was my father…" Misato mumbled.

"Do you really want to know?" Kaji asked.

"I don't want to know." Misato replied. "I need to know."

–––

Fuyutsuki groggily woke from his slumber. Instead of waking up in his room as he always did, he woke up in a dark room. He felt his wrists were tied to something, and his legs were restrained. However, as Fuyutsuki was trying to ascertain his surroundings, he heard a gentle humming. Then, he his eyes shut as the light from twelve monoliths flooded his vision.

"Well… why am I not surprised." Fuyutsuki said.

"Ah… Professor Fuyutsuki." 'SEELE 01' said. "How good of you to join us."

"I don't believe I had much of a choice." Fuyutsuki said.

"We've been wanting to speak with you for some time." 'SEELE 01' replied. "We had some questions we want answered."

"I'm not sure I can help you gentleman." Fuyutsuki replied. "I don't remember much in my old age…"

"Do not presume us to be fools." 'SEELE 04' said. "We know how closely you work with Ikari, Professor Fuyutsuki."

"Ahhh… that's a name I haven't heard in some time…" Fuyutsuki replied. "I haven't been a professor in some time… not since your group decided they wanted to live forever that is."

"It was a necessary evil." 'SEELE 07' said gleefully. "For the betterment of mankind."

"Sure it was." Fuyutsuki replied. "And what about the three billion dead?"

"Expendable." 'SEELE 12' replied.

"So if that many people are expendable." 'SEELE 02' said.

"Then it would be in your best interests to tell us what you know, Professor Fuyutsuki." 'SEELE 06' said menacingly.

"Starting with Yui Ikari."

"Ah… Yui…" Fuyutsuki said. "It's a shame she's gone now… she was such a nice person. I could see it from the first time I met her…"

Flashback

Yui opened the door and walked in. The lab was quite spacious, and had several lab desks for experiments, a storage cabinet in the corner, an area to put live specimens, and also a proper desk which was covered in what looked like research reports, and pens, but there was also a cleared space in the middle with three folders. One was open, and Yui recognized her own picture in its cover page. 'Well at least they got a nice picture of me from Tokyo University.' She thought.

"Won't you sit down Ms. Ikari?" Fuyutsuki said, looking over at the young woman standing in the doorway of his lab. She had been looking around quite intrigued at the lab. She looked somewhere between extremely nervous and fascinated, which he thought was quite an odd combination, and somewhat endearing. "Ms. Ikari?"

His calling her name broke her out of her trance. "Sorry, sir, I'm… just a little nervous." Yui stammered. She walked over to the chair Fuyutsuki indicated and sat down. At this point she had butterflies or something else jumping around in her stomach. Fuyutsuki simply surveyed her with a calm look.

"So, I read the outline of the research you wish to accomplish while you are here in Kyoto. I was quite impressed by the work you are looking to do." Fuyutsuki said.

"Thank you, sir." Yui bowed her head in thanks, and as she did she noticed her cheeks were becoming quite warm, Fuyutsuki noticed this as well.

"I can see you are quite modest in your abilities by your reaction to my comment. There is no need to blush Ms. Ikari." Fuyutsuki said kindly. 'She's quite reserved for someone so intelligent, she seems to be quite conscious of the fact she is smarter than most, and is embarrassed when people point it out.' Fuyutsuki thought to himself. "Ms. Ikari, what are you hoping to accomplish with your research?" he asked inquisitively.

"Well, Professor, please call me Yui. If we are to be working together, it would be more than acceptable to call me by my first name." Yui was still blushing as she said this, and still sounded nervous, but when she spoke again, she sounded much more confident than before. "But to answer your question, I hope to gain insight on being able to communicate with other people's souls, though some sort of contact, one soul to another, so that people can truly begin to understand each other. People are separated by some sort of barrier, and I want to find a way for that barrier to be weakened. I if can do that, maybe war would be a thing of the past, and the future would look a lot brighter. That is what I hope for most of all through my research, people to understand each other."

"Well, Yui, I think that is a very noble goal, when I read your paper, I saw that it was quite technical, with no reason behind what you wanted to do. Now that I have some understanding in what you wish to accomplish, I am more than happy to accept you into the program." Fuyutsuki smiled as he said this. "Now the term begins on April 1st, so be ready to move in for that date, you and the two others in this program will be living in single rooms on campus, and will each have your own lab space, and access to mine if needed. I may also ask for your help occasionally with some of my classes, if you are up to that of course, it may help give you practical experience with explaining your work to others. I know I am giving you quite a lot of information all at once, but according to your school records, you can handle it. So does all of that sound reasonable to you, Yui?"

"Yes, professor, that seems more than fair." Yui smiled, and the blush on her face began to fade, and she felt relieved and much less nervous than when she came and sat in Fuyutsuki's office. "But, I'm curious, who are the others in the doctoral program?" Yui asked, wondering if she had read their work, or if there was a boy she could meet that was interesting in the same things as her.

"I don't want to give that away just yet, but I can tell you that the other two in the program are girls." Fuyutsuki said with a smile.

As Fuyutsuki said this Yui was saddened a bit. 'No boys for me… ' She thought, cursing her luck silently. "Well, I look forward to meeting them, seeing as we'll all be working together, it should be fun." And once again Yui smiled happily at the thought she was closer to her dreams than the day before. 'I'll have to call Shinji and tell him all about this when I get back.' Yui thought. 'And I'll have plenty to write about in my diary tonight.'

End Flashback

"So, she was as intelligent as the other two in your doctoral program?" 'SEELE 01' asked.

"They were all equal." Fuyutsuki replied. "Each of them was smart in their own way. Yui and Kyoko were certainly more mature than… well, I'd rather not discuss her…"

"Your third student." 'SEELE 08' asked. "The one that died during Project Alcion?"

"The very same." Fuyutsuki replied. "I… I don't like discussing her."

"Why not?" 'SEELE 04' inquired. "She was just a student… a face with no name."

"Her loss was great." Fuyutsuki said. "Such a young life cut tragically short in the name of science… her and her friends both suffered such horrific fates… especially considering I actually remember all of my students, especially the exceptional ones."

"Their sacrifice was needed." 'SEELE 03' replied.

"Yet one Unit–01 has also absorbed an S2 Engine… making it a god in its own right." 'SEELE 09' said. "What blasphemy."

"The creation of a supreme being is unacceptable." 'SEELE 01' added.

"Man must not create Gods." 'SEELE 02' agreed. "No one should possess such power."

"Can we trust Gendo Ikari?" 'SEELE 10' asked.

"Can you trust Ikari, Professor?" 'SEELE 11' asked.

"Why wouldn't I?" Fuyutsuki asked in return.

–––

Shinji was wandering around NERV staring at his hands. Since the previous night, Shinji had yet to go home or sleep. He kept looking down to his hands and seeing what he thought was blood.

"I know he wasn't human… but he looked so human… what did I do to him…" Shinji kept muttering to himself. "Yet the blood won't come off… will I ever be able to wash my hands of this?"

Being as despondent as he was, he didn't notice anything around him, or even where he was until he literally bumped into someone. When he looked up he saw the concerned face of Kaji looking down at him.

"Hey kiddo." Kaji said kindly. "I've been looking everywhere for you."

"Why?" Shinji asked. "Why would you be looking for a killer?"

"Shinji, you're not a killer." Kaji said. "Trust me, I would know."

"But Kaworu, I killed Kaworu!" Shinji cried. "I should die for what I've done!"

"Shinji, he was an Angel." Kaji said. "You didn't do anything wrong."

"But…" Shinji muttered. "He looked… he looked so human."

"Shinji, looks can be deceiving." Kaji said. "You don't look like a typical hero, Asuka doesn't act like a typical soft girly–girl she can pretend to be, I don't look like a responsible adult, and Misato…"

"I get it." Shinji said gruffly.

"I don't think you do, Shinji." Kaji replied. "So we're going for a little ride."

"To where?" Shinji asked.

"Oh, let's call it a surprise." Kaji said. "Come on, my car's on the surface, so we'll take the elevator up."

"Don't… why?" Shinji asked.

"Shinji, you need to get away from here for a little while." Kaji said. "A day out of town isn't going to be a problem."

"Kaji… I'm really not…" Shinji muttered.

"It's settled, Shinji." Kaji said. "Come on, you could use it, plus it's been a long time since we talked…I promise the ride will be fun."

"I guess so…" Shinji muttered. "But I just want to be alone…"

"At times like these, it's best not to be alone." Kaji said as he led Shinji to an elevator. "Trust me, you need people to help you through this. I've been in this place before, Shinji, after my brother died."

"Taichi… right?" Shinji asked.

"Yeah, Taichi." Kaji said as the elevator began ascending. "Look, we'll talk more in the car, ok?"

"Yeah…" Shinji muttered. "I'm just surprised there's someone left that cares about me…"

"Why are you surprised, Shinji?" Kaji asked as the elevator reached the top of the shaft and dinged open. "You're a great kid, there are plenty of people that care about you. Why do you think people stopped caring?"

"Because I'm an idiot." Shinji replied as they walked out through the topside entrance into the center of Tokyo–3. "I screwed up everything with everyone… they all hate me now… but Kaworu was so convincing… he was so… nice…"

"Shinji, have you tried talking to anyone since last night?" Kaji asked as they got to his bright red Ferrari.

"No… I'm afraid they'll hate me." Shinji said. "Asuka told me that she hated me the last time I saw her, and Mari tried to kill me the last time I saw her… I don't think any of it can be fixed… or if it's even worth it seeing as I'm such a shitty friend."

"Shinji, you can't think like that." Kaji said as they got in the car. "Things aren't that black and white. When they said those things, they were obviously upset."

"How would you know?" Shinji asked.

"Because I've been there before too, with Misato." Kaji said. "When we broke up nine years ago… well… we said some things we both regret. Doesn't mean we meant them."

"But Kaji, I turned my back on them and they hate me!" Shinji said. "And they were right! Kaworu was evil!"

"So are you afraid of letting them know they were right, or are you afraid they hate you?" Kaji asked.

Shinji didn't have a response and just sat there quietly looking off into the distance as the large buildings began to shrink into a more residential setting.

"It takes a strong person to admit they're wrong, Shinji." Kaji said.

"So?" Shinji asked.

"Oh, Shinji." Kaji said. "You're going to have to talk to them again. They're your friends. Hell, Asuka's your girlfriend, you shouldn't give up on things that easily. You're basically running away."

"She broke up with me!" Shinji said angrily. "Why did she have to do that!?"

"I bet she was angry because you didn't listen to her." Kaji said. "Asuka doesn't like being ignored you know."

"I now, but she wasn't listening to me…" Shinji muttered.

"Shinji, sometimes in a relationship you have to compromise." Kaji replied as he upshifted. "Even if you don't think she was right, you have to suck it up sometimes because you love them." Kaji sighed. "You do love Asuka, don't you?"

"Of course I do!" Shinji replied as Kaji pulled onto the highway, putting Tokyo–3 firmly behind them.

"And she loves you, right?"

"I… I don't know anymore…" Shinji said despondently.

"Well, the way you guys have been the past few months, I'd say she loves you." Kaji said. "You guys would die for the other one… so how could she hate you? If you go and apologize, I'm sure she'd take you back."

"How do you know?" Shinji said. "How do you know any of this?!"

"I apologized to Misato." Kaji said. "And she apologized to me."

"After eight years." Shinji said. "Asuka won't ever forgive me…"

"Shinji, you won't know till you try." Kaji said. "What's the harm?"

"She'll tell me to go to hell." Shinji replied.

Kaji sighed. "Well, we can talk about that later." Kaji said. "Why don't you try to sleep for the next hour or so, ok?"

"Why?" Shinji asked.

"Well, we should be where we're going by then." Kaji replied.

"Where is that?" Shinji asked.

"You'll see soon enough." Kaji said. "Don't you trust me?"

–––

Gendo was sitting calmly in his office. He had expected Fuyutsuki hours ago, but assumed he had been called away to deal with something else government related. So, Gendo put it out of his mind until his faithful problem fixer, Yamato Yamada, rushed into his office in an uncharacteristic panic, without even bothering to knock.

"Commander, we have a situation!" Yamada shouted as he ran up to Gendo's desk.

"What is it?" Gendo asked calmly.

"Sub–Commander Fuyutsuki has been kidnapped." Yamada replied. "He's nowhere to be found."

"How can that be, he's watched just as closely as the pilots are." Gendo replied. "Perhaps he has a meeting with those doddering old fools in Tokyo–2."

"His apartment is empty, yet his credentials and briefcase are still inside." Yamada said. "He was taken against his will."

"If he has been taken, then SEELE will be behind it." Gendo said. "But it's nothing to worry about, Yamada, Fuyutsuki will not tell them anything of use."

"Commander, I'm more worried how our entire protection net has failed to stop a group sent to kidnap the Sub–Commander."

"It wasn't a large group, and it consists of people we trust." Gendo said. "That is the only way Fuyutsuki was taken without us knowing about it ahead of time."

"Sir?" Yamada asked.

"Where are Dr. Akagi and Inspector Kaji?" Gendo asked.

"Akagi is in her lab, and Kaji has taken Shinji somewhere." Yamada said. "He shook his tail about 15 minutes ago."

"Interesting…" Gendo muttered. "It appears our double agent has been turned."

"I knew he was trouble…" Yamada said angrily. "I'll go deal with him myself."

"No… you will keep an eye on the good doctor." Gendo said. "After you have Colonel Katsuragi jailed for good measure."

"Her as well?!" Yamada shouted. "Is there anyone here you that is trustworthy?!"

"Well, I'm going to stay on the safe side." Gendo said. "Katsuragi will do anything for Kaji if asked, but I would rather not lose three of my senior staff all at once… two is more than enough…"

"So Akagi as well…" Yamada muttered.

"Yes…" Gendo replied. "When the time comes, her usefulness to me will have been expended."

"And Kaji?" Yamada asked.

"Once Fuyutsuki has returned, you are free to fix that problem." Gendo said. "He is no longer of any use to me."
–––

Fuyutsuki was having trouble staying awake. After having presumably been drugged and brought to wherever he was, he had not been allowed to rest at all. He had found out, quite unfortunately, that the chair had an electric current running though it that would shock him as he was falling asleep.

"These methods are quite barbaric." Fuyutsuki muttered.

"They are necessary." 'SEELE 01' replied. "We need certain information from you."

"Yes, and keeping me awake and sleep deprived is the way to do that." Fuyutsuki replied sarcastically.

"It is the only way to ensure your cooperation without resorting to more unscrupulous methods." 'SEELE 09' said.

"Well, then." Fuyutsuki said. "Why don't we get this over with."

"Do you really wish to rush the process, professor?" 'SEELE 02' asked.

"Are you implying it would be detrimental to my health?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Those are your words, professor." 'SEELE 12' replied.

"Very well." Fuyutsuki said. "Why don't we continue this cavalcade of nonsense?"

"How familiar are you with the technology that built the Evangelions?" 'SEELE 08' asked.

"They were my students." Fuyutsuki said. "Those three girls made the discoveries possible to manipulate the things we use to fight the Angels. One of them even came up with a definitive way to identify the existence of the soul."

"We are aware of their research." 'SEELE 01' replied.

"And I am the last living link to it all." Fuyutsuki said. "I was there when they presented their findings. I know how they came to their conclusions."

"So do we, we have their research notes." 'SEELE 10' said.

"But you didn't see their natural process." Fuyutsuki said. "It's a shame you disposed of them so quickly, otherwise your plans wouldn't have been so delayed by the incompetent efforts of the Doctors Akagi."

"No, their knowledge would have allowed them to figure out our plans." 'SEELE 05' replied. "Naoko and Ritsuko Akagi are too arrogant and self–centered to notice what is right in front of their face."

"We also have the luxury of Akagi the younger being in our employ." 'SEELE 11' bragged.

"It seems stupid to tell me that." Fuyutsuki said. "What if I escape?"

"The risk of that is negligible." 'SEELE 09' replied.

"Of course it is." Fuyutsuki muttered.

"I'm more interested in how you came to know Gendo Ikari."

"Ha… he wasn't Ikari then." Fuyutsuki said. "His name was Rokubungi."

Flashback

Fuyutsuki's office phone rang. "Good afternoon, Professor Fuyutsuki, Metaphysical Biology. What can I do for you?" He said.

"Hello, this is the Kyoko Police Department. Do you know a Gendo Rokubungi, professor?" The duty officer said.

"Not directly, I've only heard rumors about him since he transferred to the university." Fuyutsuki responded.

"Well, he says a Yui Ikari told him to use you as a reference." The officer replied.

"Yui did? Well that's interesting. Anyway, what about Rokubungi?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"He needs to be bailed out, sir, he was in quite a fight at a bar." The officer said.

"Me? Well, I guess that'll be all right, when should I come by?" Fuyutsuki asked.

15 minutes later, Fuyutsuki arrived at the police station to bail out Gendo. The weather had also changed in last 15 minutes as well. Clouds had rolled in and a heavy rain was falling. Gendo was led outside to be released into Fuyutsuki's custody. "Professor, it's a pleasure to meet you. I've been waiting." He had bruises on his face and his right arm was wrapped in bandages and in a sling, and he was wearing his jacket over his shoulders. "A woman I know has told me so much about you, and I've wanted to meet you for quite a while."

"Well, I guess the rumors about you are true, getting into a drunken bar brawl is right on the money." Fuyutsuki replied gruffly.

"Well, the argument was a little one sided, and I'm used to getting bad reactions from people." Gendo said, rubbing his injured arm.

"Well, you're certainly going to get one from me." Fuyutsuki turned to walk away.

Gendo laughed. "Well, professor, you are just the man I was expecting." Gendo laughed again and followed the professor back to the university.

End Flashback

"I never understood why Yui decided to fall for a man like that, she could have done so much better…" Fuyutsuki muttered.

"How was that your concern, professor Fuyutsuki?" 'SEELE 07' asked.

"As her professor, I had a very large interest in her career going forward." Fuyutsuki said. "I did not see Rokubungi being a help to her career whatsoever."

Flashback

As a treat before her dissertation, Fuyutsuki was going hiking with Yui. The grounds of the university went into the hills, and the biology and geology students went up there to work. But for those who enjoyed a bit of hiking or nature walking, it was the perfect place. Now being nice wasn't the only reason Fuyutsuki was bringing Yui on this hike today. It had been three weeks since Fuyutsuki had bailed Gendo out of jail, and he wanted a few private questions with Yui, without anyone to interrupt or overhear.

About halfway up the trail, after talking about trivial matters, the weather, and other small talk, Fuyutsuki finally got up the courage to talk to Yui about Gendo. He started off rather bluntly, I might add. "You told him about me?"

Yui was caught off guard, and was unsure what her sensei was talking about. "Huh?"

"You told Gendo Rokubungi about me? Why would you tell him about me?" Fuyutsuki didn't sound angry, but he wasn't happy either, it he sounded more irritated than anything else. "And why would he call me when he gets into trouble?"

Yui finally realized what he was talking about, having bailed Gendo out of jail. "I'm sorry, sensei." Yui was truly sorry. 'I hope I didn't offend sensei, I was just hoping they would become friends.' Yui took another moment to choose her words carefully. "Sensei, did it bother you that I told him about you, and asked him to use you as a reference?"

"No, it didn't, Yui." Fuyutsuki sighed, all the anger that he had held onto for the last few weeks disappeared when Yui had asked that, she had realized it had made him angry, but Fuyutsuki decided it would be for the best to let it go. However, he did have a few other questions to ask. "Yui, are you dating him? Gendo, I mean."

"Well, yes sensei, I am." Yui blushed a little while thinking about Gendo. "I've been dating him for a while now, and I really do like him." Yui blushed even harder at the thought of loving Gendo.

"Well, I'll concede that he is an out of the ordinary fellow. He's just not the kind of person I would associate myself with… under normal circumstances." Fuyutsuki said.

"Well, would it surprise you to know that I love him?" Yui asked.

This statement made Fuyutsuki stop in his tracks and spin around. "What?!" He was floored, if his jaw had not become so tense it should have dropped to the ground out of shock

"I told him so the day he was arrested." Yui started, and she started looking at the ground, swaying slightly with her hands clasped together at her waist. "And after I told him, he kissed me, in front of everyone, right on the quad!" Yui looked up at Fuyutsuki. "I figured the reason he got beat up was because he kissed me and some people didn't like that because of how he acts. But he's not as bad of a person as everyone thinks, he's really quite kind and sweet, at least to me anyway." Yui sighed. "I was glad you got him out of jail, I just didn't realize you judged people based on rumor."

"Yui, I didn't mean it like that, I just don't trust him, it has nothing to do with the rumors, and it's just a gut feeling I have." Fuyutsuki said defensively. "I just don't see you spending the rest of your life with him, Yui." Fuyutsuki sighed heavily and placed a hand on Yui's shoulder. "I just don't understand what you see in him. Or why you would want to… "

Yui cut him off, and said in a kind and gentle voice. "Sensei, I know it's difficult to understand, but I think I can explain it." Yui looked right at Fuyutsuki with her kind eyes. "He hates being alone and so do I, and I find that quality in him quite endearing." Yui smiled. "Other people just don't understand him, or know all the horrible things that have happened to him in his life. If I had gone through those things, then… well, I can't be sure, but I certainly wouldn't like to be around people a lot, even if I hated being alone."

Fuyutsuki was completely unable to respond to what Yui had said. Instead of responding he merely nodded at her and smiled. They continued the rest of their hike in silence until they came back within view of the University. "Well, sensei I'm off to the lab, I have a dissertation presentation to prepare for." Yui said happily.

"Right, that's next week isn't it." Fuyutsuki had completely forgotten to ask Yui how that was going, but to be fair, he had been distracted by other things. "I'm sure whatever you prepare will be top of line work, as always."

"Thanks, sensei, I'll see you later." Yui said cheerfully.

End Flashback

"How was that story remotely relevant?" 'SEELE 02' asked.

"It just goes to show how deep the love between the two of them is." Fuyutsuki said. "Perhaps if you didn't ignore the human condition, things would be better for you."

"The human condition is useless." 'SEELE 01' lauded "That is why human instrumentality is our ultimate goal… there will be no more human condition."

"It's a shame you want to eliminate the best part of humanity." Fuyutsuki said. "And replace it with some insane god complex of yours."

"Yet it will be done." 'SEELE 01' bragged.

–––

Hikari was relaxing at home. She had just gotten back from Toji's apartment, and after another failed attempt to have sex with him due to Sakura's untimely interruption, Hikari was planning a better way to jump her boyfriend's very eager bones. She was alone, because her father was busy working, and her sisters were out shopping. So, she was tidying up as she always did, and was trying to relax after her frustrating day.

"I love Sakura, but she's always checking on us." Hikari said. "How can I get it on with Toji if she's always there watching us…"

DING DONG

"Oh, who could that be?" Hikari muttered as she walked to the door. "Haven't I been interrupted enough today?" When Hikari opened the door, she saw Asuka standing there. She was dirty and looked like she hadn't bathed in several days. "A… Asuka?" Hikari asked. "What are you doing here? What happened?"

"I need somewhere to stay." Asuka said tiredly.

"Asuka, why are you covered in dirt?" Hikari asked.

"I've been outside." Asuka said. "I didn't want to go home… there's nothing there for me anymore…"

"Asuka, why were wandering around outside?" Hikari asked.

"I can't go home anymore." Asuka muttered. "It reminds me too much of Shinji, and I can't stand to be around the memory of him."

"Asuka… you can't run away from your problems." Hikari said.

"Yes I can!" Asuka shouted. "Shinji gets to, why can't I! I'm not even an EVA pilot anymore! I'm nothing without that, and I'm nothing without Shinji!" Asuka broke down crying, collapsing into Hikari's arms. "Why did Shinji have to be so dumb! Why did he have to ruin everything by being friends with Kaworu?!"

"I don't know why, Asuka." Hikari said. "Maybe a bath will make you feel better… we need to clean you up."

"But… but can I stay?" Asuka asked. "Please…?"

"Of course you can stay." Hikari said. "You can sleep in my room with me."

"Ok…" Asuka muttered as Hikari gently led her away from the front door and locked it. "Asuka, what are you holding onto so tightly?"

"Baka's present…" Asuka muttered. "A present I'll never be able to give him…"

"Asuka, things will work out." Hikari said. "I know they will."

"What if they don't?" Asuka asked. "What if I'm alone forever?"

"Asuka, just hand me the present, and I promise we'll find a way to give it to Shinji."

"Ok…" Asuka said quietly as she handed Hikari the battered gift.

Hikari sighed as she led Asuka to the bathroom. "Guess that plan's out the window. But Asuka needs my help more than Toji does right now… she seems so broken…"

–––

Fuyutsuki was still tied to his chair with the dozen monoliths surrounding him. He was staring at them intently as they continued to question him on seemingly irrelevant information about Gendo and Yui.

"Why is it you were invited to Antarctica?" 'SEELE 03' asked.

"I believe Yui chose me to go in her stead." Fuyutsuki replied. "She was busy raising Shinji if I recall."

"Why would go?" 'SEELE 02' asked. "You were under no obligation to go."

"I was curious to say the least." Fuyutsuki replied. "However, naming the research ship after the man who died was in poor taste…"

Flashback

When it came over the speakers they were approaching the remains of Antarctica, Fuyutsuki got out of his bunk and headed for the main interior deck that would have a better view of the outside. When he made it to the windows, he was applauded by what he saw, an ocean of red, and small peaks poking out from the bloody water. "What happened here?" He said. "The peaks are like headstones to mark a continent, and the lives lost here."

"Something extremely terrible I suspect, but's that's what we're here to find out, Professor Fuyutsuki." Said a voice from behind Fuyutsuki.

Fuyutsuki recognized the voice. He spun around, and was greeted by a man he believed had died almost two years ago. "Gendo Rokubungi?" Fuyutsuki was shocked to see the man before him, assuming that he had heard he was in Antarctica around the time of the explosion, he had assumed, logically, that Gendo was dead. "You're alive?!"

"Ah, Professor, I am very much alive. I was lucky enough to leave for Japan the day before the accident. I'm glad you could make it." Gendo said, smiling slightly. "It's also not Gendo Rokubungi anymore. Some things have changed since the last time we saw each other."

"It's also not Professor anymore, seeing as Kyoto was destroyed." Fuyutsuki replied as Gendo pulled out a postcard. "A postcard and not a business card?" He said as he took it and looked it over. It featured a cute blue haired angel hugging a heart, with the name Yui Ikari stamped at the top. 'Yui… what an interesting stationary choice.' He thought as he looked over the note. The message was quite short.

We're married.

Gendo and Yui Ikari

It has been a long time. Are you doing well?

Fuyutsuki was completely stunned. As much as he knew that Yui loved Gendo, he never suspected that this would happen. "Ikari? Gendo… Ikari?"

"Yes, I took my wife's name when we married. I realize it's unusual, but I wanted to show her my full devotion, and taking her surname was certainly a concrete way to prove it." Gendo said proudly. "As for the postcard, my lovely wife has been asking to send this to you for some time now, she is still quite a fan of yours, even after all this time."

"Quite an honor considering everything that happened with Mari…" Fuyutsuki trailed off into thoughts of telling Mari that her research would take off by leaps and bounds if she went to the U.K. "So how is Yui doing, why isn't she on this expedition?" he asked.

Gendo smiled. "She wanted to come as well, but we have a child to consider now, so she decided to stay home and care for him."

"You have a child?" Fuyutsuki said, surprised at the prospect of Gendo being a father.

End Flashback

"This is inconsequential to our question." 'SEELE 01' asked as Fuyutsuki was violently shocked.

"Well, you asked… I'm explaining." Fuyutsuki replied.

"Tell us what he wanted you to do there." 'SEELE 11' asked.

"Research I suppose…" Fuyutsuki said, receiving another shock for his sarcasm.

"Is the pain really worth it?" 'SEELE 06' asked.

"Pain?" Fuyutsuki asked. "What pain do you know? You were all safe from Second Impact. You dint see the ravages of war everywhere, people turning into monsters because of what happened. Morality and decency went out the window because of you, and you're asking me if these little shocks are bothering me?! I lived for a year in that living, breathing hell that was Earth after Second Impact. If you think these shocks are a problem for me, you are sorely mistaken! But I'll tell you what he wanted me there for…"

Flashback

A label next to the door said Isolation Room Number 2. "What are we doing here, Ikari?" Fuyutsuki asked.

Gendo pointed through the window of the door. Sitting there was a teenage girl with deep purple hair. She was dressed in an aqua green pajama top and matching pants. She was also wearing a Greek style cross around her neck, and was sitting in a chair in the fetal position. Her face looked as though she was both sad and horrified, and her eyes had a blank stare to them. 'A 1,000 yard stare…' Fuyutsuki thought. "Who is she?" he asked.

"She is the only survivor of the Katsuragi expedition, her name is Misato Katsuragi." Gendo informed him.

"Wait… Katsuragi, as in…" Fuyutsuki began.

"Yes, she is the daughter of Dr. Kenji Katsuragi, the namesake of the ship we are on." Gendo said. "She hasn't spoken since it happened. The U.S. picked her up when they came to search for survivors, and released her into Japan's custody the day after Old Tokyo was nuked. It's quite a shame. Her mother was killed in the attack, leaving her a ward of the state with special needs. So she was released into the AEL's psychiatrists' care."

"That's a vast understatement, Ikari. This poor girl saw hell first hand, and has to live with that knowledge the rest of her life." Fuyutsuki said solemnly.

"Yes, her physical wounds were quite easily healed, however she has a scar on her chest to always remind her of what happened, so her psyche will need much more time to become whole again." Gendo said, as he looked at Misato with what appeared to be a look of concern or dismay. "It is quite a shame for her."

"Indeed." Fuyutsuki said quietly, still looking at Misato's silent and still figure in the isolation room. "Why is she in there? Why is she not out in the world? Or at least not locked away in a room?"

"Why you ask? It's simple, she saw Second Impact, and she's in no state to be on her own. So until she recovers, then she will stay under constant observation, under lock and key." Gendo replied calmly.

"Ikari! That's ludicrous, keeping a girl locked up because she saw what happened." Fuyutsuki shouted, sounding more outraged than before.

"It's for her own protection. Imagine if the media were to get ahold of her name. She would never be left alone, and the constant guilt of being the only survivor would be constantly being brought up by the media." Gendo said. "We're trying to protect her from all of that, by doing this. It's simply safer."

"I won't tolerate this, Ikari. She shouldn't be locked up!" Fuyutsuki said angrily as he began to walk away. "But seeing as I'm only here as a set piece, I'll go back to my room, and stay out of the damn way."

"Well, Fuyutsuki, I see the idea of this is still bothering you. If it's still a problem, why not come to work for me at Gehirn?" Gendo turned and left in the opposite direction. "See you soon."

End Flashback

"So you joined Gehirn to what, save the world?" 'SEELE 08' asked.

"What other choice was there?" Fuyutsuki asked. "It was either that or stay in that godforsaken hell that I'd been living in for over a year. I don't regret choosing comfort over my ethics… I have been comfortable since that decision was made."

"Do you regret your decision, professor?" 'SEELE 01' asked.

"Only that I've had to work so closely with you lot." Fuyutsuki replied as he received yet another shock.

–––

Kaji and Shinji had been in the car for over an hour. Shinji had fallen asleep shortly after leaving Tokyo–3, and Kaji was happy that he had.

'Poor kid.' Kaji thought. 'He probably hasn't slept right in a few days, and I doubt he slept after he crushed an Angel in his hands… he looks at peace though, at least for now… at least before SEELE tries whatever they're planning.'

Kaji pulled off the highway at the exit he was looking for. Somewhere familiar to Shinji, somewhere he might get a sense of himself again.

"Hey, Shinji, wake up." Kaji said. "We're almost there."

Shinji stirred and looked up at Kaji. "Huh?" Shinji asked. "Where are we?"

"Look around." Kaji said as he turned down a residential street. "You must recognize it."

"It can't be…" Shinji said. "Atsugi?"

"Yep." Kaji replied. "I figured maybe coming back here would make you realize what you were missing back in Tokyo–3."

"What do you mean?" Shinji asked.

"Other than living with your sensei, you hated it here, right?" Kaji asked. "You were alone and didn't really care about life that much."

"That's not entirely inaccurate." Shinji replied.

"So… being here will remind you that no matter what happened, Tokyo–3 is the home of your friends and everyone you care about."

"But they don't care for me anymore." Shinji said.

"That's not true, Shinji." Kaji said as he pulled in front of a house. "But seeing as you won believe me, maybe you'll believe someone else."

As Kaji pulled up the parking brake, Shinji looked out and recognized exactly where they were.

"S… sensei?" Shinji muttered as he saw Jushiro Kyoraku walk out of the house.

"Hello, Shinji." Jushiro said as he got to the car. "How have you been since I last saw you."

"I've… it hasn't been great." Shinji replied.

"Shinji, I think you're leaving some stuff out." Kaji said. "Why don't we go inside ad chat a bit about things."

"Mr. Kaji, you can pull your car into the garage." Jushiro said. "I've cleared out some room for it."

"Thank you Professor Kyoraku." Kaji replied. "Go on, Shinji, I'll be inside in a minute."

A few minutes later, after Kaji stashed his car in the garage, and everyone settled down in Jushiro's living room, Shinji explained everything that had happened since the moment he arrived on Tokyo–3. Sachiel and his first battle in Unit–01, meeting Rei, Mari, and Asuka, making new friends, battling against Zeruel, being trapped in Unit–01, and then the more recent events. Once the explaining was done, Jushiro, who had stayed very quiet, leaned forward and looked straight at Shinji.

"Shinji, I think you need to go back and fix things." Jushiro said. "You seemed so happy when you were explaining everything, especially when you talked about Asuka. You said you love her, and I believe you. So, you should try and fix things with her."

"But it won't work." Shinji said. "She hates me."

"Shinji, love like you've described is something that is hard to break. Even in death it survives." Jushiro said. "So, there is a good chance if you go talk to her, things will get better. And before you say anything, young man, you won't know until you've tried."

"I guess…" Shinji said.

"Well, then that's settled." Kaji said. "Shinji, we should probably get going."

"So soon?" Shinji asked.

"Yes, we can't be gone too much longer." Kaji said.

"Oh, Mr. Kaji, I got those tickets you needed for the train." Jushiro said.

"But we drove here, Kaji." Shinji said.

"Oh, the car is staying here for now." Kaji said. "It's safer that way."

"Why?" Shinji asked.

"I'll explain on the way." Kaji said. "Come on, I'm sure Misato is worried about where you are."

"You didn't tell her?" Shinji asked.

"That's why it's called a surprise." Kaji said. "Thank you, professor for welcoming us into your home."

"Shinji's always welcome here." Jushiro replied. "And I'll be happy to look after that car till he comes of age."

"What?" Shinji asked. "You're giving me your car?"

"Why not?" Kaji asked. "Someone should use it."

"But…" Shinji protested.

"Not here, Shinji." Kaji replied. "When's the train leave?"

"Half an hour." Jushiro replied. "You'll have plenty of time to get there."

"Cool, thanks again." Kaji said. "It was nice to meet you."

As Kaji went to the door, Shinji paused for a second and smiled. "It was nice to see you again, sensei. Even if it was only for a few minutes."

"It was a few hours, Shinji." Jushiro replied as he hugged the boy. "But it was nice to see you again too." Jushiro smiled. "Now get going, you have a city to get back to."

"Right…" Shinji replied as he followed Kaji out the door.

The pair walked in silence, with Shinji hurrying behind trying to keep pace with the taller man in front of him. As the pair of them got to the train station a short time later, Kaji was hurrying Shinji to one of the awaiting trains bound for Tokyo–3.

"Shinji… I need you to listen, ok?" Kaji asked. "Just let me get the whole thought out, ok?"

"Ok." Shinji said. "Why were you so quiet on the way here?"

"Just let me explain." Kaji said. "I know your life is hard, you've dealt with more death and combat than some full grown adults who saw World War III. You've been dealt a shitty hand, but you can't let that get to you, you have to fight through the unhappiness, not be swallowed by it." Kaji said. "You also need to stop running away from everything and deal with your problems. Go apologize for not believing Asuka and Mari, you love them both, and I'm sure they miss you. Don't repeat my mistake of letting things sit between you and Asuka for too long. Ever since I met Misato again, I regret not fixing things sooner… learn from my mistakes, ok?"

"Kaji, why are you telling me this?" Shinji asked. "What are you saying?"

"Look, what I have to do next may be the last thing I do." Kaji said. "So I need someone I can trust to watch over Misato and Asuka… you're the only person that can do that."

"Kaji…" Shinji said. "You don't have to go."

"Look, Shinji, I know I'm gonna die. I have to go and make things right." Kaji said. "I'm leaving you my car, and I want you to fix everything with your friends. Can you do that for me, as my last request?"

"I can try." Shinji said. "But you don't have to go."

"That's all I ask." Kaji said as the train bell dinged and the doors closed, Kaji pushed Shinji in as the doors closed between them. "Bye, kid." Kaji said happily. "It was nice knowing you… and I'm better for it."

As the train pulled away, Kaji could hear Shinji screaming his name. As Kaji walked to an adjacent train track, he got on a train bound for Tokyo–2. "Now it's time to set things right, even if it kills me…"

–––

Misato was sitting quietly in her office. She hadn't gone home yet because there was a stack of paperwork to go through from Kaworu's death. It was deathly quiet outside her office, but in her sleep deprived state, she didn't notice three men in black suits walk in led by Yamada himself.

"Lieutenant Colonel Katsuragi." Yamada said as he tapped Misato's desk to get her attention. "Come with us."

"Huh?" Misato asked. "Why the hell would I go with you?"

"It's for your protection, from those you know." Yamada replied. "And I'll need you to give me your sidearm."

"Again, why?" Misato asked.

"Enough questions." Yamada said angrily. "Come with us, or we'll have to do this the hard way…"

"Fine." Misato said as she pulled her gun out a little too quick for anyone's liking, and had four guns pointed at her as she handed it over.

"Overreact much?" Misato asked.

"Not at all." Yamada said. "You're an excellent shot."

"Well, where am I going?" Misato asked as Yamada took her gun.

"Lockup." Yamada said. "For isolation purposes. Just follow me."

Misato followed behind Yamada to the lower levels of NERV. The walls were drab and unpainted, and the hallway was plain. Misato was led into one of the cells and the doors was closed behind her. There was no light in the cell once the door slammed shut, leaving Misato in a darkness she wished never to revisit again.

"Just like Second Impact…" Misato muttered s she felt for the bed and curled up into the fetal position. "I hate the dark because of that day…"


December 27, 2016 – Outskirts of Tokyo–2

Kaji was lurking about SEELE's meeting place in Tokyo–2. He had brought Fuyutsuki there for a reason besides the fact those he was paid by wanted him. Kaji wanted to hear some things for himself. After bugging Fuyutsuki and listening to SEELE's extensive interrogation, he was heading back to fix what he had done. On the way there, he saw a lone phone booth on his final approach to their base and decided he should make one final phone call.

Brrring… brrring… brrring…

"Hey, you've reached Misato Katsuragi and the gang, you know what to do!"

BEEP

"Heya, Misato, it's me." Kaji said. "Just calling to say I'm sorry I won't be home tonight. I know I should have told you this before but I don't think I'll be back for a while. Shinji knows what to do… just have him look after things for me, ok? And keep those kids together no matter what. You're a great mother, those kids can't do any better than you… tell Asuka I loved her like a daughter…" Kaji sighed. "I'm getting a bit off point here… I think I'm starting to ramble. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I didn't tell you what was going on because I know you'd want to help, and those kids need you more than I do. I love you, no matter what happens. Goodbye, Misato… until next time…"

Kaji sighed as he hung up the phone. "Well… I don't know what comfort that'll be… but at least I tried to say goodbye." Kaji looked around and headed for the nondescript compound in the distance. "Time to set things right once and for all."

–––

"Tell us about the contact experiment." 'SEELE 01' said.

"What about it?" Fuyutsuki asked. "You should have all the data."

"We want Ikari's reaction." 'SEELE 05' asked.

"We are trying to understand the man we are up against." 'SEELE 11' said. "You are the only logical choice."

"And your death will cause him great discomfort." 'SEELE 08' added.

"How nice of you to add that." Fuyutsuki said. "On that day…" Fuyutsuki muttered. "That day was awful…Shinji was there to see his other's triumph, and it simply ended in tragedy, all because of your interference."

Flashback

Naoko was monitoring her screen and continued to read out the pertinent data. "Link stabilization at 99% and holding… copy rate is at 25 GB/s… process is estimated to be 2% complete." Naoko reported. "Readings are stable… no change in the subject… hold on, there is a fluctuation in the A.T. Field strength of the subject and in the Core! The Core is trying to overpower the subject! SDU has been forcibly shut down by the Core, and its linking directly with the Link Tube!"

"Increase the EM stabilizers and ATF Modulators to compensate!" Gendo and Fuyutsuki shouted in unison.

"EM Stabilization now at 40%… ATF Modulators focused on lowering the Core's A.T. Field to acceptable levels… no response!" Naoko shouted.

"PUT THE DAMN THINGS TO OVERLOAD IF YOU HAVE TO, I'M NOT GOING TO LOSE HER! IF THAT DOESN'T WORK, CUT THE FUCKING POWER!" Gendo roared. "YUI!" Gendo called into the mic. "CAN YOU HEAR ME?!"

"EM Stabilization and ATF Modulators increased to 250% output to compensate… no response… the subject's AT. Field is nearing the critical limit… it's past the point of no return! We can't save her…" Naoko said, doing her best to sound surprised. "Cutting the power to the Link Tube…" The large power cord attached to the Link Tube fired a retro rocket to eject, and fell loudly to the floor of the test chamber. "No effect… the Core is supplying enough power to complete the task!"

"Attempt emergency deactivation sequence Omega–055." Fuyutsuki said. "Now!"

"Initiating forced emergency ejection… command failed… it was rejected by the Link Tube…" Naoko said, a note of surprise in her voice.

Gendo cried out, banging his fists against the glass of the control room. "YUI!"

In the control room, Gendo was beside himself. "OVERRIDE THAT LOCKOUT, NOW!" Gendo screamed.

"I can't, Director, we've been cut off." Naoko replied.

"DAMN IT ALL, I'LL DO IT MYSELF! OUT OF MY WAY AKAGI!" Gendo roared as he moved to the control console.

However, as he did so there was a brilliant flash of light and then silence. The displays in the control room began to display "SIGNAL LOST." The control room went dead quiet, and everyone had a look of horror on their faces. Gendo fell to his knees and held his face in his hands. Shinji kept looking out the window of the control room, wondering where his mother was.

"Where's mommy?" Shinji asked. When he got no response from anyone, he spoke louder "WHERE IS MY MOMMY!" He screamed.

"She's gone, Shinji, she's gone…" Gendo replied hollowly as he got up and left the control room.

End Flashback

"And that's that." Fuyutsuki said. "Everything you've done over the years, you created your own worst enemy."

"Gendo Ikari is no threat to our plans." 'SEELE 07' said.

"He is insignificant." 'SEELE 05' added.

"Irrelevant." 'SEELE 12' piled on.

"And no longer needed." 'SEELE 01' finished. "As soon as we are done with you, then he will be next to be taken care of and our plan will be complete."

"Goodbye, Professor Fuyutsuki." 'SEELE 03' said as the twelve monoliths went dead.

As the monoliths went dark and left the room in utter silence, Fuyutsuki heard a gun cock and then a shot. He cringed in his seat, waiting for the end that didn't come.

"Well, professor, you seem to be alright." Kaji said.

"Kaji?!" Fuyutsuki shouted. "What are you doing here?!"

"Fixing a problem I created." Kaji said. "Sorry about getting you into this, but I needed to understand a few things myself, and it let me do a few things while you were… indisposed."

"Why did you do this?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"I was looking for the truth." Kaji said. "Of what happened to cause Second Impact."

"And did you find what you were looking for?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Yeah, no one is really innocent from back then." Kaji said. "But you certainly didn't do anything horrible… even creating Rei wasn't awful, considering your reasons."

"So, why are you here?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Besides saving you?" Kaji asked. "I need to ask you a favor, but only once we're free of this hell hole."

"Fine, do you have a plan?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Yeah, get you to a train." Kaji said.

"And what about you?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"My fate's been sealed, either from Ikari or SEELE." Kaji said as he finished cutting Fuyutsuki free. "Once you're safe, I'll be dead. Come on, let's go."

"Fine, let's go." Fuyutsuki said.

"Wait, you'll need this." Kaji said, handing him a gun.

"Where did you get this?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"From the guy sent to kill you." Kaji said as the two of them ran outside.

Once they cleared the perimeter, Kaji led Fuyutsuki to a car parked a good distance away from the compound. It was hidden in a thicket of trees out of sight from the main road.

"Get in." Kaji said.

"Kaji, why the rush?" Fuyutsuki asked as alarm klaxons went off in the distance.

"Because if I don't get you somewhere quickly, you'll be dead too." Kaji said. "And you can't die, because you have work to do."

"What are you talking about?" Fuyutsuki asked as Kaji turned the car on and sped off toward the train station.

"The favor I need you to do, it involves Shinji." Kaji said as he flew around a corner, cutting off several cars.

"What about him?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"You're his godfather, right?" Kaji asked.

"How do you…?" Fuyutsuki muttered.

"Research." Kaji said. "Just like I know that Mari is your third doctoral student. There are things I know that Shinji needs to know."

"What are you talking about?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Shinji and Yui are the keys to instrumentality, aren't they?" Kaji asked.

"Well, to Ikari's version anyway." Fuyutsuki said as Kaji whipped around another corner. "But what do I need to tell him?"

"Everything." Kaji said. "He can't be left in the dark, he can't be Gendo's pawn. He needs to know so he can make the right choice. If he's the one out there, he needs to make the decision."

"What?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Tell Shinji everything." Kaji said as he saw a car following them. "He needs to know everything that's going on considering he's the one expected to do everything. You're his godfather, it's your responsibility to tell him."

"Why?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Do you really want Yui's son to be in the dark when the time comes?" Kaji said. "When the fate of the world hangs in the balance, do you want him going off his feelings at the moment? Because he will end the world, no questions asked."

"How do you know?" Fuyutsuki asked as Kaji pulled up to the train station with two SUVs in pursuit.

"I talked to him yesterday, and he's broken from everything's that's happened." Kaji said. "I can't explain anything else, because you need to go. Otherwise, you won't make it home."

"Kaji, what about…?" Fuyutsuki started as Kaji pulled an assault rifle from the backseat.

"Just promise me you'll tell him everything, Kozo." Kaji said. "Now take your ticket and get to track 3, you don't have any time left."

The pair of dark SUVs showed up and eight guys filed out with sub–machine guns in hand. Before they had a chance, Kaji opened fire and cut through five of them, making the other three dive for cover.

"GO, NOW!" Kaji shouted. "DON'T WASTE THIS!"

Fuyutsuki ran towards the station as Kaji changed clips and opened fire on the remaining three goons. After ducking behind the car for a few minutes as they shot uselessly towards him, Kaji popped up and blew the rest of them away. Kaji tossed the rife aside and pulled his gun to face someone hiding behind him.

"Well, Yamada, still not so great at hiding, are you?" Kaji asked.

"I don't need to, Kaji." Yamada replied "All I need to do is kill you."

"Is Fuyutsuki at least on the train?" Kaji asked.

"Yes." Yamada said. "Do you think I'm that incompetent?"

"Actually, yes, I do." Kaji said as gripped his gun tightly. "So, are going to do this, or stand around here like two old people with nowhere to go."

"Why not?" Yamada said.

The two turned on each other with lightning speed and two shots rang out breaking the gentle monotonous hum of the cicadas.

–––

Misato was sitting quietly in the dark, trying to keep calm when the door opened and light streamed into the cell.

"Colonel, it's all clear." The guard said as he handed her her sidearm and cell phone. "You're free to go."

"Huh?" Misato asked.

"The problem has been dealt with." The guard said. "You can go home."

"Ok…" Misato said as she hurried out of the cell. She looked behind her all the way to her car and didn't let her guard down until she started her engine.

"What was this all about?" Misato wondered aloud. "Did Kaji do something? And if it was him… does that mean…?" Misato shook her head. "No, Kaji would never do that to me… he would tell me if he was in trouble, I'd help him, no matter what."

–––

Kaji was slowly walking towards what looked like some sort of industrial building. He was clutching his side, the warm blood from his wound flowing over his hand. As Kaji found a wall to lean on, he heard a train fly by behind him as he saw through the twilight Yamada closing from a distance, limping slightly.

"So, you're still alive." Yamada said breathlessly as he clutched his leg, which was bleeding almost profusely.

"You don't look so good yourself." Kaji said.

"Well, do you want to try this one last time?" Yamada asked.

"Why not?" Kaji said. "You clearly can't hit the broad side of a barn."

"And you were way off the mark yourself." Yamada said.

"I'm allowed one every so often." Kaji replied.

"Don't get too used to breathing." Yamada said.

"I never understood you." Kaji said. "You're so ready to kill, yet you have no feeling."

"Tends to happen when you're a psychopath." Yamada said.

"Then the world would be better off without you." Kaji replied.

The pair leveled their weapons at one another one last time, and a flurry of shots rang out in the twilight, with a murder of crows flying out of the trees in the distance.

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 – 92.5% (No Change)
Mari – 22.5% (No Change)
Rei – 20.0% (No Change)
Asuka – 12.5% (No Change)

Now, I have to start off and say that doing that to Kaji was the hardest thing I've ever had to write. I love his character so much, but his loss in the original series led to so much turmoil and distress, the impact of him dying was too great to ignore. And so this chapter is the jumping off point for the rest of this story. We have everyone split up from each other, and a whole lot of doubt and resentment between everyone. Shinji's line about blood not washing off is an obvious reference to Lady Macbeth from Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Anything else that happened this chapter will be more fleshed out in the upcoming chapters, so talking about it now would just spoil the plot. Just to note, a group of crows is actually referred to as a murder, so, yeah.

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