By Otaku D-Man
Refer to the First Refrain
Author's Pre-Rant –
Yes, I'm well aware that my updating has become increasingly infrequent, (Non-existent may be a more precise description), but I AM updating and I do intend to finish this and all my other works ( ;;). Besides, I've got new ideas brewing. Unfortunately they won't see light of day until I finish what I've already started. I REALLY want to post my Shingetsutan Tsukuhime (Doujin Game/Manga/Anime Version)/Evangelion Fusion, but it'll have to wait, possibly for when I'm in my twilight years.
All That I Am
Seventeenth Refrain – Just As It Should Be
Geo-Front - Aftermath
"I never expected we'd sanction the use of the Anti-Angel Intercept System on one of our own." Misato muttered wearily, completely worn out from the events that had resulted in her present situation. For well over half a day now, she had worked in the shadow of the now ominously silent form of Unit 01. Every now and then she found her exhausted dark eyes wandering over to study the dormant monstrosity wondering what would have happened if they had been unsuccessful in halting its most recent berserker rampage. Looking at it now, bereft of its armour, or bindings as she had since been informed, the city's saviour appeared even more grotesque and fearsome than the remnants of the Angel it had recently defeated and partially devoured.
Standing beside the lavender haired woman, Ritsuko evaluated the most recent status reports on the remaining two Evangelions and their respective Pilots. What concerned her most was that both Units 00 and 02 had suffered critical damage well beyond the Henflick limit of sustainable damage and that any repairs would undoubtedly be prohibitively expensive. Even amidst the frenetic clamour of the repair and maintenance crews she persevered with the onerous task and quickly revised the repair schedule of both Evangelions, ensuring the most efficient use of time and resources. "Just be thankful that it worked Misato." Ritsuko managed to reply, her brow furrowed with irritation. While theoretical science was one of the many technical fields she excelled at, she was not exactly thrilled either that the containment system's first actual field test, like so many other things, had to occur during what was essentially a life or death situation.
"It almost worked too well." Misato murmured softly, absently rubbing her injured arm. "As if it were meant just for this sort of situation." Glancing at the blonde scientist, Misato interpreted Ritsuko's silence as an admission that there was more than just a sliver of truth to her assumption. "What happened today Ritsuko?" She asked almost desperately, hoping to gain some insight that would help her somehow understand and accept what had transpired. "The moment Unit 01 was deployed both you and Maya looked startled by something. I want to know what it was that had you worried." With her attention focussed primarily on both Rei and Asuka during the battle, she could only recall snippets of the discussion between Ritsuko and her protégé, but what did ring clear in her memories was Maya's horrified expression and Ritsuko's questioning gaze that she had directed towards the vacant Command Deck.
Thinking back to the display detailing Unit 01's data at the time of its activation, Ritsuko quelled the uneasy disquiet that was nagging at the back of her mind. "Just a slight irregularity with the modified Dummy System Misato. Until I can confirm things, I'd rather not add conjecture and rumour to our growing list of problems." Although even with one hundred percent certainty, Ritsuko wondered just what avenues were available to her. Informing Misato of the truth was out of the question, at least for the moment and it would be pointless pursuing the matter with Gendou. He only shared information if it suited his purposes. Even her relationship with the harsh and often detached man, although she doubted it could even be described as such anymore, had gradually deteriorated to the point where she no longer experienced the euphoria she had once enjoyed when they were intimate together. All that remained now when they coupled was a sense of hollow despair and abject worthlessness that threatened to consume her.
Staring at the ground, Misato ran her fingers through her hair as she whispered the words that up until now she had avoided giving voice to. "Maybe it was for the best that Shinji-kun decided to leave." As much as it hurt to actually say the words, Misato knew in her heart that her former ward would be devastated by the landscape of the Geo-Front right now. "He wouldn't be able to forgive himself if he felt he was even remotely responsible for this destruction."
And how would you react, Misato, if I told you that Shinji-kun was responsible? How would you react if you knew what was done to him? Again, Ritsuko decided to remain silent, opting to allow her friend and colleague to grieve quietly while she continued her introspective analysis. I'll have to discuss the situation with Maya. It would be best if she refrains from mentioning anything about what she saw inside Unit 01's entry plug to anyone. Staring up at the exposed core of Unit 01, she tried to imagine just what had happened to Shinji when the synchronisation of the virtual control system he was hard wired into had exceeded four hundred percent.
"Excuse me for interrupting, but I was looking for Major Katsuragi." A cheerful young voice interrupted. "I was told I could find her over here."
"Who's asking?" Misato answered tersely, her irritation with everything that had occurred recently added an angry edge to both her voice and her posture. Her harsh, intimidating demeanour fell away quickly though, once she actually faced the owner of the voice.
Ritsuko on the other hand quickly managed to mask her look of shock by lighting another cigarette and drawing deeply, using the excuse of exhaling the smoke to turn away and calmly regather her composure. HIM? Ritsuko frantically struggled to add this new variable to an already convoluted equation. Why?
"Kaworu Nagisa at your service." In an almost oblivious display of disregard for where he was and what was happening around him, the young, pale boy smiled and moved to stand between the two women, staring intently at the restrained figure of Unit 01. "The Fifth Children."
Office of Gendou Ikari
"And how do you intend to explain the current situation to the Committee, Ikari?" Turning back from the window where he had been observing the recovery of Unit 01 with intense interest, Kouzou looked back across the office at the room's only other occupant. "I suspect Chairman Keel will be less than satisfied with this latest 'unexpected' variation to the scenario." Throughout the battle that had laid waste to not only a large part of the geo-front, but had also destroyed a large section of NERV headquarters, both he and Gendou had stood silently and patiently, watching the devastation unfold as the large purple Test Type EVA had entered the fray.
Gendou continued to stare at the latest report on Unit 01, contemplating its significance. "Keel and the rest of those old fools will care little for what I have to say at this juncture." He replied through folded hands. "When I'm called before the old fools we will dance around the subject, but ultimately everything will continue as is." A small, wry smile materialised behind his gloved hands as he envisaged how the impending meeting would play out. "The Committee will not risk losing everything at this late stage." Unlacing his fingers, he glanced briefly in Kouzou's direction. "Not while I hold Adam, Lillith and the Lance."
Kouzou could only nod in agreement with the younger man's assessment. "And what of your son?" He asked, curious as to what Gendou thought of the latest development concerning the apparent assimilation of the Third Children into Unit 01. "It appears he has become more significant than either of us had anticipated."
"The abstract disciplines were never my forte, Sensei." Gendou replied indifferently. "All of the materials which formed Shinji and that which could be called his soul, still exist inside EVA." Leaning back in his seat, Gendou removed his glasses to massage the bridge of his nose. "Although the state of his existence is entirely subjective." Closing his eyes briefly, Gendou could see Yui smiling and waving to both Shinji and himself before boarding the Test Type Entry Plug all those years ago. Blinking the unwelcome mental picture away, Gendou returned his tinted glasses to their correct position, quelling the sentimental reaction that was always invoked when he recalled the past.
Kouzou weighed up Gendou's words, before returning his attention to the repair efforts continuing outside. "Was this your intention? Or Yui-kun's?"
"It was nothing more than a vain and foolish hope." Thinking back to the early days of the Research Institute for Artificial Evolution and the formative years of GEHRIN, Gendou recalled how both he and Yui had agreed that they had to prevent her father and the Committee for Human Complementation from realising their plans of implementing and controlling the Instrumentality of Mankind. He could still remember how passionately Yui had advocated the concept of Artificial Human Evolution, arguing that it was a necessity essential for the advancement of humanity. And crucial to her version of the Human Complementation Project was the development of Unit 01, the only Evangelion successfully created utilising genetic material from Lillith. While he had eventually agreed with her proposal, he had not expected her plan to willingly surrender herself to further advance the project. "I had originally hoped that a Virtual System patterned off of Rei would suffice in the long term, negating the continued need for Shinji's presence." After Rei's failed activation experiment with Unit 00 all those months ago and Unit 01's eventual rejection of all other means of control, he had been left with no other available recourse but to employ his own son in whatever capacity necessary.
Despite everything that had happened, Kouzou could understand why Gendou had exploited Shinji's natural ability as a Pilot; even if could not yet bring himself to condone what had ultimately happened. "Without an acceptable Pilot," He reasoned, "Unit 01 cannot become the key to artificially starting Third Impact." Staring out at the immobile form of the Test Type Evangelion, Kouzou tried to visualise what had become of Yui and her son. The young, vivacious woman of his memories motivated to self-sacrifice by her own beliefs and convictions, the other, her only child, a victim of those self same beliefs and convictions. "Although now that Lillith's copy has gained an operational S2 Engine I would imagine that an inoperable Unit 01 would please the Committee." The former Kyoto University Professor could still bring to mind how the Committee had expressed their dissatisfaction at Gendou's selection of his own son as the Third Children and subsequent designation as the Pilot of Unit 01. They suspected an ulterior motive. It was, Kouzou mused, Gendou Ikari they were dealing with after all. A man that never acted without good reason. But they were blinded by the obvious. He found it laughable that Keel and his cohorts, arguably some of the most devious people alive, could not see why, after so many years of devoting his attention to Rei, Gendou would suddenly demanded his estranged son's presence. Because he had a use for him. Kouzou concluded poignantly.
"Once Unit 01 is recovered and suitably restrained, Doctor Akagi will attempt to salvage our 'Acceptable Pilot'." A decade ago he had had to endure a similar procedure when Unit 01 had taken Yui. At the time he was oblivious to the fact that it was her intention to become one with EVA and that lack of knowledge had almost destroyed him. "If successful, the Third Children will then return to the active duty roster." Now, with an improved understanding of what to expect, he would wait and plan accordingly for either outcome. "And if his recovery proves unsuccessful, we still have Rei."
With an arched eyebrow and a feigned expression of disbelief, Kouzou turned to gaze at the man that he considered synonymous with the word 'Absolute'. "First you speak of 'hope' and now you talk of 'attempts' and 'if's'." Unbidden, an image of the man that had once been Gendou Rokubungi sprang to mind. Dishevelled, tactless and ignorant. Kouzou wondered whether the perception of Gendou he had fabricated over the years in his mind had been mistaken all along. "How unlike you Ikari, to bother with such ineffectual pretence."
"Touché Sensei." A dry chuckle escaped Gendou's lips as he reflected on his own words. "But regardless of the result, for each piece of the scenario that deviates from our original objective, there is an alternative that will compensate accordingly." Glancing down at his display screen, Gendou quickly examined the latest update submitted for his information. "The day that Yui, you and I have been working towards is fast approaching and unlike Keel and the Committee, I will not allow anything or anyone to stand in the way of our success."
Walking into the centre of the office, Kouzou directed his eyes to the ceiling and traced along the Cabbalistic symbols engraved there. "It may be pure speculation," As he always did when following the twenty-two paths of the Tree of Sephiroth, he hypothesized the significance of the map. From what he understood of its meaning, it supposedly showed the way to true wisdom, the future or how to attain spiritual enlightenment, "but I suspect that the Committee was well aware that they were placing the fox in charge of the henhouse."
"Yes, but they made the mistake of giving this fox the keys that grant him passage to the banquet that resides within." Indicating that he had something of interest to share with his Deputy Commander, Gendou drew Kouzou's attention to the communiqué he had just received. "It also appears our latest acquisition is already making himself known." Gendou enhanced the security footage that revealed a pale, effeminate teenaged boy dressed in what appeared to be an atypical school uniform, engaged in conversation with both the Head of the Technology Development Department and the Leader of the Tactical Military Operations Department.
Standing over Gendou's shoulder, Kouzou stared at the image of the strangely Caucasian youth. "So this is the one?"
"Yes." Gendou answered, closing the security footage and opening an encrypted dossier that detailed all the available information that he had managed to accumulate piece together. "The Fifth Children. Born on the 13th of September, 2000."
"How apt." Kouzou remarked dryly. "The day of Second Impact."
"An orphan apparently raised by the Committee." Gendou quickly inspected the data, familiarising himself with the contents.
"The 17th Messenger." Kouzou murmured flatly, pausing for a moment to deliberate on what it meant to the scenario they were carefully cultivating. "The timing is wrong Ikari." He muttered, massaging his jaw. "Why send him to us now?"
Closing the data file down, Gendou leaned forward to rest his elbows on the table and laced his fingers together. "The 'why' itself is unimportant old friend." He answered, bending his thoughts to the potential problem the Fifth Children's appearance now created. "The fact of the matter is he is here now and we must accommodate his premature appearance."
"What do you suggest?" Kouzou asked, wondering what the consequences would be if they were to 'remove' the 17th Messenger ahead of schedule and out of order.
"I want him placed under constant surveillance." Gendou smiled as a solution suddenly presented itself. "We should also arrange suitable accommodation. It would be remiss of us if anything untoward should happen before the appropriate time of his demise."
"Understood." Kouzou nodded as he prepared to leave and ensure everything necessary was suitably taken care of. "And what of the Committee's other agent?" He added, pausing at the doorway. "The man has an uncanny ability to see through the deceptions and false leads we have carefully created. Even with the little knowledge we have allowed him to access, our erstwhile truth seeker will eventually become more than just an annoying diversion."
"All in good time Fuyutsuki." Gendou replied, his low, soft voice sounding ominous inside the dimly lit, cavernous office.
Misato threw the sheaf of papers Ritsuko had handed her minutes before down onto her temporary desk. "There has to be some sort of mistake Ritsuko," Frowning across the provisional makeshift office at the source of her latest problem, she lowered her voice so the young man leaning idly against a wall wouldn't hear her. "I don't have anywhere to put him." She hissed quietly.
"Actually, yes you do." Ritsuko countered blithely, ignoring Misato's obvious intent to keep the volume of the conversation subdued.
"Tell me then 'Miss-Know-It-All'," Misato demanded, the volume of her voice rising sharply, "where do I put him? I'm not exactly in the market for an underage boy-toy and I'm pretty sure Pen-Pen isn't ready for a room mate at this point in his life." Misato knew she was being unreasonable and perhaps she had become too accustomed to Shinji's shy awkwardness, but something about this new Child unsettled her. I don't even want to contemplate how Asuka's going to react.
Under her breath, Ritsuko began cursing both the Commander and Deputy Commander for dropping the whole thing into her lap. "You're forgetting Shinji's old room." Having pulled the pin on the conversational grenade, she waited for the ensuing explosion.
Misato fell silent for several seconds before managing to find her voice. "I think you're the one who's forgetting things Doctor Akagi." When she finally managed to respond, her voice carried an undertone that suggested that she was only barely managing to contain her anger. "What about Rei? That's her room as well. Just because they may loo-"
"Commander Ikari has relocated me to one of the available rooms at NERV Headquarters Major Katsuragi." A soft girl's voice interjected.
"Rei!" Misato yelped, startled by the young girl's unexpected appearance seemingly from out of thin air. "How long have you been standing there?"
"I have only just arrived." Rei answered evenly before turning to face the blonde scientist at her side. "Doctor Akagi, I am here at the request of Pilot Sohryu. She has expressed a," Rei hesitated, searching for an appropriate way to phrase what the Second Children had demanded, "'desire' to have her release expedited."
"Hang on Rei." Misato cut in, confused by the sudden shift in conversation. "What are you talking about?"
Rei inclined her head back towards Misato. "Sohryu would like to leave the hospital recovery ward and return to her room at your apartment." It technically wasn't what Asuka had stated, but she felt reluctant to repeat the offensive declaration verbatim.
"No, not about Asuka wanting to leave the hospital." Misato said, shaking her head. "About you living at Headquarters."
"Commander Ikari has deemed it necessary." Rei answered, her eyes dipping towards the floor. "I cannot disregard his direct order." The bond she had formed and developed with Shinji had become an integral part of her life. The Commander had instructed her to simply forget what had happened and abandon any emotional baggage that would interfere with her actual purpose. The problem was, now that the floodgate to her emotions had been opened, she lacked the understanding on how to return her former emotional apathy.
Misato leaned back against her desk, shaking her head slowly from side to side. "That's just great."
Moving across the room to stand next to her beleaguered friend, Ritsuko placed a comforting hand on Misato's shoulder and squeezed gently. "Rei, tell Asuka she's fine to return home. I'll fill out the paperwork later." She motioned towards the door, indicating that the young girl should leave. "Misato and I have some things to take care of so Asuka will have to find her own way home."
"Understood Doctor Akagi." Bowing slightly, Rei turned to leave only to find her path blocked by a teenaged boy. The moment her eyes connected with his, she felt herself nearly overpowered by an infuriating need to annihilate him. It was only the rigid discipline learned at the hands of the Commander that stilled the rage and fury that had simmered beneath her skin. From deep inside her ego, she heard a single word reverberate.
"I believe I will accompany you Ayanami-san." Kaworu said, his eyes dancing with the knowledge that he was well aware of what his presence was doing to the girl. "After all, I really should introduce myself to Sohryu-san considering we will be colleagues sharing the same living quarters."
In that instant, Rei felt her composure evaporate and she turned back to Misato for confirmation. "Misato-san?" She asked, unable to keep her voice from trembling. Once again she found herself reacting in an unexpected fashion. One minute striving to remain focussed and calm for the sake of Commander Ikari, the next, remembering the blissful times shared with Shinji only to suffer the heartrending pain of his absence. Now she found herself hating someone enough to want to physically harm them only to fall prey to fear and anxiety within the space of a heartbeat.
With a beleaguered look on her face, Misato faced the young, obviously confused young girl that had lost so much in such a short space of time. "It looks like the Commander has decided that Nagisa-kun will be living with me and Asuka for a while." Her eyes flickered over to the young boy, disturbed by his continual relaxed behaviour. "At least until he becomes accustomed to things here in Tokyo-3." And Misato was determined that this new Pilot would become accustomed as soon as humanly possible, thereby reducing the length of his stay in her home.
Rei's hands balled into fists, tightly clutching the fabric of her skirt. "So he will be occupying Shinji's room." The words were simply a statement of fact. She rationalized that it was inconceivable that either Misato or Asuka would allow this unknown male to share their personal sleeping quarters, especially when there was a perfectly good bedroom available.
"For the time being, yes." There was little more Misato could say that would console the poor girl's feelings and even less she could do that would make everything all right again. So she did the only thing that she could. "I'm sorry Rei." Misato apologised, drawing the young girl into a gentle embrace.
Restraining the tears of loss that threatened to escape, Rei forced herself to move clear of the older woman's sympathetic attentions. "You do not need to apologise Major." Bowing once again, she mouthed a silent word of appreciation for Misato's gesture of compassion and empathy. "I will inform Sohryu that she can return home." Without waiting for either woman to respond, Rei quickly exited the room, intending to inform the Second Children of her release and hastily return to her own quarters where she could bury herself beneath Shinji's clothes and saturate her senses with the memory of what had once been hers.
Keeping a few paces behind the quiet First Children, Kaworu studied the young girl before deciding to remind her of his presence. "You seem mildly upset Ayanami-san. Do you find my presence bothersome?"
"No." Rei answered, refusing to allow the newcomer's voice to antagonise and aggravate her any further.
"Or is it that I have usurped your previous living quarters with Katsuragi-san and Sohryu-san?" Kaworu asked, increasing his pace so that he now walked beside her.
"No." Rei repeated, declining the noticeable invitation to engage in meaningless conversation.
Amused by her reactions, Kaworu decided to provoke her further. "I was wondering then, if you could tell me about Shinji Ikari-kun, the Third Children." He asked casually, knowing full well that the First and Third Children had been considered something of an 'Item'. "I attempted to access his file earlier, but all information pertaining to his life and present whereabouts have been removed from the system."
Increasing her speed, Rei struggled to ignore the constricting pain that threatened to crush her lungs. "Requests for restricted information should be submitted through the proper channels."
"Perhaps I will," Kaworu nodded sagely, "although I believe I will simply wait for his return." The presence he had felt during the recent confrontation was definitely that of Shinji Ikari. Standing in the presence of Unit 01, he had sensed the Pilot's lingering awareness concealed inside the man made mockery.
"Shinji will not be returning Pilot Nagisa." Rei said flatly, choking on the words that left her feeling weak and nauseous.
Coming to a standstill, Kaworu stared at the First Children, his piercing red gaze hinting at the truth that lay dormant inside. "You are mistaken Child of Lillith." His quiet words echoed loudly in the hallway, causing the girl to stop and face him. "About a great many things."
"Who are you?" Rei asked, intrigued and alarmed by what she was beginning to suspect.
"We are similar Rei Ayanami." The fluorescent lights flickered wildly before exploding, scattering small shards of glass throughout the corridor as Kaworu slowly floated into the air, the atmosphere surrounding him becoming heavy and oppressive. "You and I are both caretakers of opposing destinies and like you;" His care-free expression disappeared, replaced by a look of solemn resignation, "I have a decision to make concerning what to do with mine."
Ikari Household – Osaka Prefecture
Yawning expansively, Shinji gradually came to the realisation that regardless of whether he felt like snoozing for a little while longer, his body apparently had other ideas. The slowly developing and annoyingly uncomfortable sensation he felt in the region of his bladder just another telltale sign that his physiology was in disagreement with his conscious desire to nap for just a moment longer.
What was I dreaming about? He mused, blinking back the light of the sun. A soft touch to his cheek further roused him from the fringes of slumber, the delicate contact causing the final vestiges of his dream to evaporate and escape his grasp.
"You're finally awake, dearest one." A gentle, feminine voice whispered, sounding strangely pleased with itself as the fingertips continued to caress and stroke along the length of his jaw.
Looking upwards towards the source of the familiar yet curiously different voice, Shinji found his gaze locked with that of someone he knew all too well. "Rei-chan?" He murmured, a tumultuous wave of emotions crashing down upon the shores of his psyche "What are you doing?" He asked, confused by the situation. Although he had often found Rei waiting for him to wake back in Misato's apartment, patiently watching over him while he slept, it still unsettled him to a small degree. Given that his head currently rested comfortably in her lap, something he considered a welcome and altogether pleasant proposition, only added to his anxiety. Especially when the person in question appeared some ten years older than when he had last seen her. It was if at some point, an extraordinarily stunning young woman had replaced the quiet, beautiful girl of his memories and her once uncertain smile now a playful one of intimate contentment.
"Rei-chan?" Rei laughed softly, covering her mouth. "That brings back memories." Rei's glistening crimson eyes lost focus momentarily as she recalled the early days of their burgeoning relationship. "You haven't called me that since we were high school." Her smile developed a more sultry and sensuous lustre. "As for what I am doing?" Brushing a stray lock of her long, silky hair back behind her ear, she leaned down to brush her lips against Shinji's. "I was waiting for my darling husband to awaken." The soft kiss immediately developed an intensity that spoke clearly about her intentions for where the rest of the conversation was eventually destined.
Shinji found himself desperately returning the kiss before breaking from the passionate embrace. "Husband?" Shinji felt a bewildering sense of confusion. "Since when?" He was confident that marrying Rei, or anyone else for that matter, was something that he was unlikely to forget about.
Just what is going on here? His panicked mind demanded.
"Are you feeling unwell, Dearest One?" Disconcerted by his reactions, Rei gently pressed her forehead to Shinji's. "You lack any perceptible fever." Rei commented, concerned that something serious was affecting her beloved partner in life.
Under Rei's anxious gaze and warm touch, a series of images assaulted Shinji's senses. Images that rapidly wove themselves into a tapestry that was the story of his life beyond that of his existence in Tokyo-3.
'Managing to survive the threat of the Angels and witnessing the return of his mother.'
'Refusing to live with his parents, unable to forgive and forget everything that had happened, regardless of how much his mother pleaded.'
'Finishing High School and leaving Tokyo-3, his friends and family behind to attend University in Osaka, Rei, his fiancé at his side.'
'Graduating University, marrying the love of his life and deciding to abandon his own family name in favour of Rei's.'
'Settling down and beginning a career as a High School Guidance Counsellor at a modest High School, with Rei pursuing her own path in authoring and illustrating young children's books.'
'And finally, raising a family of their own.'
The memories showed an unremarkable and quiet life for both himself and Rei, almost too ordinary given the circumstances of their childhoods.
"But then it is understandable." Rei continued, kissing Shinji again. "You are often taciturn after receiving a message from your parents." She whispered, recalling the heated words that had been exchanged when Shinji had finally relented after several years to attempt some form of family reconciliation. But instead of time healing the wounds of the past, it had only increased the painful gulf that lay between the parents and their son.
"Father." Shinji muttered, unable to suppress the conflicting emotions that engulfed him whenever he contemplated the man associated with the word. "Mother." He choked, scrambling to his feet. Shinji clutched at his head, grimacing at the pain that now threatened to split his head in half. "Dummy System" Images of a battle against an Angel that he couldn't recall clearly burst vividly into the forefront of his mind. Pure, unadulterated agony welled up from deep within, forcing him to bite his tongue lest it escape as a tortured scream.
Rei! Asuka! Misato-san! Everyone!
A devastated Tokyo-3 and a ruined Geo-Front loomed large and menacing amidst the torrent of conflicting images and memories. And above all, a ravenous hunger that could only be satiated through violence and destruction.
"Mama. Is Papa hurt?"
Despite the crippling agony, Shinji turned to face the new voice. A small child, a little girl with long braided dark indigo hair tied back by a bright pink bow and large violet hued eyes clutched at Rei's apron. "Sakuya." He spoke the name without knowing where the knowledge originated from that this was his daughter. The culmination of his and Rei's union.
"Papa just stood up too quickly." Patting the girl's arm, Rei smiled warmly, comforting and reassuring the child that everything was fine. "That's all Sakuya. There's nothing to worry about." She added, encouraging the girl over towards her father.
Still uncertain, even with the confident, reassuring words of her mother, Sakuya Ayanami tentatively walked over to her father. "Papa?" She asked, tugging at the crease of his slacks. "Are you okay?" Her large eyes shimmered with moisture as the tears began forming.
"I'm fine Princess." With the pain now suddenly diminishing, Shinji smiled, deciding to ignore the unpleasant sensation that had momentarily affected him. With the gaps in his memory now filling up and fleshing out his life, a sense of comfortable normality settled over him. Picking his little girl up, Shinji laughed for what felt like the first time in a very long time. "Everything's just fine." He assured her, pulling his little princess close to his chest and spinning around on the spot.
"Yes." Rei watched her husband and daughter continue to laugh together, their concerns all but forgotten. "Everything is just how it should be." She whispered to no one in particular, moving across the room to join them in their fun.
End Seventeenth Refrain
Tbc - It appears I no longer have a choice. "Complete it or Suffer." Was one Fan-Girl's stern warning. She knows where I live, which adds credence to her threat.
Pre-Reader / Proof Reader – None (I'll do something about it eventually, it's just difficult to overcome the extreme apathy I'm feeling towards writing in general.)
Authors Post-Rant –
This took more than I was really going to give. And I thought my day job was tough. (And it is. Believe me when I say it is) Next update is uncertain but will most likely occur when I least expect it.
There are a few things I want to clarify a little.
Kaworu will be more like his manga counterpart than the anime. It still gives me chills when I read the part where he snapped the neck of that stray kitten simply because Shinji was unwilling to take it and look after it.
Rei has only recently learned what it is to feel, love and live and has to now deal with the loss associated with what has happened. So if she appears somewhat emotionally unstable, you can understand why.
Also, for those that haven't played Shin Seiki Evangelion 2 on the PS2 (Had to import mine from Japan), it explains some of what I've used in this story. Like Yui Ikari's father being a high ranking member of the Committee for Human Complementation and that she was the one that decided to 'Give' herself to Unit 01 during her first and only activation experiment.
As always, post your reviews and comments here at FFN (Or where ever you find this).
Any other comments, thoughts etc are welcome at I don't check it as often as I should. (Gomen in advance)
Ja Ne -