What I remember most about Shinji was how screwed up he became if something happened. It could have happened to any one of us, anywhere, but he still would have almost completely shut down and blamed himself for it. The worst though, were the times that no one could legitimately tell him it wasn't his fault. Of course, everyone blames Gendo for those incidents, and not Shinji, but those were the times he felt the worst. And most of the time, the only thing I could do was watch him suffer on the monitor. And I'm not sure which is worse.

Maya Ibuki

Chapter 8: Normal

A few days had passed since the boy's incident at the warehouse and things had settled a bit. Shinji was quietly eating his toast while Pen-Pen ate his fish. "Any second now" The two unknowingly thought at the same time.

As if on cue Misato opened her door, half dressed and scratching herself, and headed toward the refrigerator. She pulled out a beer and chugged it for a second before letting out a whoop of joy and shout of. "Now that's how you start the day!"

Shinji got a annoyed and slightly disgusted look on his face as she sat down across from him. "Ever think of starting your day like a normal person?"'

Misato leaned a bit forward with a small smile. "Don't you know that the traditional Japanese breakfast is rice, miso and sake?"

Shinji finished off his drink. "Maybe for you. At least now I understand why a woman like you is still single." Misato began to glare at her ward. Shinji merely shrugged it off and went to clean his dishes.

Things were quite for a minute or so until Shinji ended it. "So are you sure you're coming today?"

Misato replied, her voice a bit muffled with a piece of toast hanging out of it. "Of course I will. It's your Parent-Teacher conference isn't it?"

"Well won't you be busy with work and stuff?"

"Oh it's all part of my job anyway."

Shinji got a bit of a sad look on his face. "So it's just a job to you huh." he whispered quietly to himself. At that point there the door rang. Misato got up to answer it but Shinji stepped in front of her. "You're not going to answer the door like that are you?"

"Why not?"

"It's embarrassing."

Misato smirked knowingly as Shinji walked to the door. "Morning Guys."

In stereo they spoke. "Morning Shinji." Then Louder. "Morning Miss Misato!"

Shinji rolled his eyes as Misato and his friends exchanged greetings. He then pushed them back outside and closed the door behind him to head to school.

Misato finished off her beer. "He's really settling down. That's good. I just wish I could get a security detail on him... Course that might let that cat out of the bag. I just hope he can take care of himself when the time comes."

—

The trio took their time getting to school. Talking about little things as they went. When Touji decided to bring up something they had been avoiding for the last few days.

"So… Shinji. What else can you do?"

Shinji stopped cold. He started at the taller of his two friends. "What do you mean."

Kensuke rolled his eyes. "Well we gotta know sooner or later what you can do."

Touji continued " He's right. I mean the Jokerz might come after us again or something."

"You really think they might?" Shinji's look of worry was genuine.

Touji shrugged. "Honestly I don't know. With Gangbangers you never really know for sure but the Jokerz are the worst ones around here. They just like to strike terror and shit."

"Makes me wish they were still around... even if most of them were in the States." Kensuke lamented.

The boys began to walk again toward the school. Touji led the conversation once again. "Not much we can do about that. Besides the last thing I need is to hear your meta-human rant again."

"Oh come on. You got to admit that.." Kensuke started but was quickly interrupted by the larger of the trio.

"Of course it'd be great if the Superhero's were still around, but their not. Hell if Superman were around half the shit that happened after Impact wouldn't have happened nearly as bad. Hell even those that were around then like oh I don't know say... Green Lantern didn't seem to do much. Hell it don't look like he made it past second impact."

Kensuke glared at his friend for a second. "That was low, but you made your point, alright."

Shinji decided to answer the question that started this question. "Honestly just what you saw back at the warehouse."

"So just super strength durability and speed. Figured out how far you can take it?" Touji wondered.

"Well I have no idea to be honest."

Kensuke brightened up a bit. "Well maybe we should change that."

Shinji felt his spine shiver. "What do you mean?"

"Let us worry bout that Shin-man." Touji said with an evil little smirk.

—

Germany

"Asuka, don't wonder off," Kaji sighed, as they waited for the large covered Evangelion Unit 02 to be loaded on the barge.

"Relax, Kaji," Asuka winked at the elder man, as she walked away from the group. "I'm just going to the ladies room over there."

Asuka walked quickly away before Kaji could reply and turned a corner ramming into another person, sending them both to the ground. "Hey! Watch where you're going!" Asuka yelled glaring at the Japanese girl across from her.

"Hey, you ran into me," the girl spat back in an overly sweet voice, "Takes a real smart person to run right into another person standing still!" Asuka instantly hated this girl. She was, as said, a young Japanese girl around the same age as Asuka, with short reddish brown hair and gray-blue eyes and she was wearing a Trident uniform. Her name badge on the right corner of her chest read 'Kirishima'.

"I wasn't the stupid bitch who was standing in the middle of my way," Asuka hissed angrily.

"Excuse me?" the girl flushed angrily. "I'm sorry, but I'm SURE I didn't hear you right, just then."

"Mana," a commanding feminine voice spoke up, and the two girls looked and saw a Japanese woman approaching in a similar uniform as the girl only real difference was the name badge reading 'Cain'. "I told you not to wonder off." The woman said eyeing the other girl carefully before turning to Asuka.

"As strong willed as Tim said," the woman said, "Go back to your group, young one." She stated her hair bouncing as she nodded.

"Who's Tim?" Asuka asked. "And how the heck do you know me?"

"Perhaps you'll learn someday," the woman stated, "Perhaps you will not. Now go before you're left behind. Knowing your guardian he's liable to forget you."

Asuka narrowed her eyes, but when she heard the horn of her ship sound she took off running toward the ramp.

"And so stage one is complete," Ms. Cain said, watching the red headed German girl retreat toward the ship. "So begins stage two."

—

Tokyo-3 the following morning

Shinji was readying the fish for Pen-Pen's breakfast. He placed it in the bowl while his toast was toasting. He was thinking back to the afternoon before and the embarrassment Misato put him through once again. "Why can't she drive like a normal human being." He thought.

The toast popped up and the boy placed it on his plate and served Pen-Pen his meal. "I mean a normal person would be up by now ready for work." Then as if fate itself decided to mess him with him something truly unexpected happened. The moment would forever be burned into his mind as one of the most surreal of his life. Pen-Pen dropped the fish in his mouth back onto the floor.

Misato was awake. She was clean. She was sober. She was dressed in a black NERV dress Uniform. He noted that she had a smirk on her face as she looked at him. "Sometimes life's funny like that Shinji."

"I said that out loud?"

The Captain nodded. "In any case I have to go to Old Tokyo today. I won't be home till very late."

"Uhhhhh." Was Shinji's eloquent response. His mind was obviously still in shock.

"Just order take-out for dinner. I left some money in the living room. Be careful and take care of yourself ok?"

"Uhhhh. Yes ma'am."

"Good. Have a good day Shinji." She then walked out the front door and closed it behind her.

"Somehow I doubt the rest of the day could be this weird."

Little did Shinji know how wrong he was. A few minutes later after he had finished his breakfast he heard a familiar knock at the door. He went to answer the door he was greeted with the sight of his two friends smiling broadly. "Hi guys. Misato's not here." Much to Shinji's surprise their smiles didn't disappear.

In stereo they spoke. "Perfect."

Shinji just looked between them. "That's scary."

Kensuke pulled something out of his bag. "Here I got this for you as a thank you for the warehouse and when you saved me from that one Joker."

Shinji held up a blue t-shirt with famous emblem on the front. "A Superman Tee. I don't know what to say. I mean. Its not really necessary."

At this point he noticed that Touji was mouthing "put it on." From the look in his eyes it wasn't a request.

Shinji debated it for a second and decided in all honesty it wasn't a bad idea. "Thanks Kensuke. Let me put it on as my undershirt before school." Kensuke lit up and barely kept himself from leaping up.

Shinji came back a minute later ready for school. The trio then stepped out to headed to school.

Old Tokyo

Misato and Ritsuko were sitting at their table waiting for the presentation to begin. All of the other tables before the stage were for single groups and were fillled... NERV however had to share the large round table. The sign on the table read "NERV/Honored Guests."

Misato just looked at the sign. "Any ideas who the honored guests are?"

The doctor looked over to her curious friend. "Honestly I don't know."

"Any idea how much longer these jackasses will keep us waiting?" Asked the increasingly annoyed Captain.

"How should I know?" replied the equally irritated Ritsuko.

At this point several people approached the table. Two older men obviously in their fifties. One under his own power, Lex Luthor. The second, one Bruce Wayne was being pushed in his wheelchair by a lovely Blonde who looked in her late 20s to early 30s.

Lex sat down as Bruce dismissed his assistant. "Thank you Greta, that will be all for now."

"Yes Mr. Wayne. I'll be nearby if you need me."

Misato had to keep the shock off her face as the two settled in. It was the man who gave her the bag.

Bruce placed his elbows on the table and bridged his hands. He easily noticed how they both unconsciously shivered for a second as he did so. "I take you are the famous Dr. Ritsuko Akagi and Captain Misato Katsuragi of NERV."

Misato looked over at the one she didn't know "You seem to have us at a disadvantage sir."

"Wayne. Bruce Wayne. I'm a guest of Mr. Luthor here as he's one of the primary investors in the Jet Alone project."

Both women were surprised to meet two of the richest men in the world. Ritsuko smirked. "Well I doubt the machine won't be able to do what our Eva's can."

Lex smiled. "It never hurts to hedge one's bets however. Right Bruce."

Bruce looked wryly at Lex. "No."

Bruce then turned back to Ritsuko. "Dr. Akagi I'm more then sure you are correct. I would love to hear you're thoughts on the machine."

The two went into conversation between themselves for a minute or two when the presentation began. It was something that would catch the interest of the captain and the doctor.


Tokyo-3 Municipal Junior High.

"So why are we up here now?" Shinji asked as he looked over the edge of the roof of the building.

Kensuke shrugged. "We got nothing better to do."

Touji then spoke up.. "Ok the reason I wanted to stick around after school is that I want to hear bout of yer ideas on how to test yer powers Ikari."

"I really have no idea. I guess to test my strength we can find some heavy things and see where I reach my limit."

"Speed should be easy" said Kensuke. "We just have to get you a distance away, get you a signal, and time how long it takes you to get to us."

"That makes sense I guess." Shinji agreed.

Shinji looked back over to the horizon. "I honestly doubt that I have any other powers."

Unknown to Shinji at that point Kensuke and Touji shared a look. They nodded and stepped behind Shinji. Together they mouthed to each other. "One... Two... Three."

In a blink they grabbed Shinji and in a surprising feat of strength on both their parts they lifted Shinji up above them as he was shouted at them to put him down.

"GUYS WHAT ARE YOU DOOOOOINNNNNNNNGGG!" Shinji cried out as he was tossed off the fourth story.

The two boys stared as Shinji fell four stories to the empty schoolyard. Kensuke plopped down on his ass from exhaustion. "He fell." He paused for a second to catch his breath. "What does that mean?"

Touji just looked at his physically less inclined friend. "It doesn't mean anything. I bet they all fall the first time."


Old Tokyo

Misato was most defiantly not happy. The by the numbers day she expected had quickly gone to hell. The Powers behind the Jet Alone project knew about some of the flaws in the Evangelion program. "Considering one of the funders for it knows about it I shouldn't be that surprised." She thought to herself. "But how did he learn of it in the first place."

She stopped kicking the nearby locker. "Damn it! Intelligence must be dragging its ass!"

Misato turned around to see Ritsuko finish buying a booklet. "He's a small man. Unimportant. Their machine will never match the Evas in power."

Dr. Akagi deciced to call her friend on something she noticed earlier. "So. Where did you meet Lex Luthor."

"It was in passing awhile back. Just didn't know it was him." Misato decided to turn the tables on her best friend. "What was with you flirting with Bruce Wayne. I mean he's at least 15 years older than you if not 20."

"Well he's quite charming. He is also still quite handsome and from the looks of it still in shape for a man disabled below the waist."

"Oh just admit it Rits. You've pined for older men the entire time I've known you."

"Oh alright, alright. Let's just get going."

A short time later the two women stood together to watch the machine on his test run.

They listened to the techs as they readied the robot to launch. Standing from the window looking threw binoculars Misato saw the concealed launch pad. The framework withdrew and they saw the control rods extend from the mechanical monstrosity and it took a step.

"Wow. What do you know? It actually walks. I guess they did at least have something to be proud of." If Misato had been looking at her friend she would have seen the knowing smirk she had on her face at that moment.

All seemed to be going well when Misato began to notice the techs in the back of the massive hall talking hurriedly amongst themselves. Misato began to walk in that direction when one of them shouted out. "It's out of control. It's heading this way! Run!" A panic broke out as the observers ran from walls as the roof partially caved in as the robots massive foot smashed down into the control/observation room.

Katsuragi coughed out the dust. "That robot is as badly behaved as the guy who built it."

One of the panicking techs dropped the other shoe. "The control rods aren't working. At this rate the core will meltdown."

The project head unfortunately seemed to be in a state of denial. "This can't be happening. Jet Alone was programmed for all contingencies."

Misato looked at the pathetic man, as he seemed ready to crack at any moment. "The fact is obvious that the impossible has happened. "

The Project head replied. "The only option we have is to wait for it to stop on it's own."

"And the likelihood of that happening is?" Misato asked.

A nearby tech had the answer "0.00002 per! It would take an act of god!"

"Acts of men are better than waiting for acts of god. Now tell me how to stop that thing." Misato said taking command of the situation.

"We've already tried every possible option." Said the agitated project head.

"Bullshit. There has got to be a final solution. A way to wipe everything out." Was the Major's angry reply. "What is the password?"

"The password is top secret. I'm sorry but I'm not authorized to give you that."

"Then you had better get the clearance now buddy or we're in big trouble."

Then someone stepped up behind the project head. It was Lex. "I however have no problem given you the password Major Katsuragi."

The shocked man turned to the billionaire. "You can't sir."

Lex glared at the man. "I'm one of the primary funders for that machine Mr. Keida. I can tell any one I wish to the password."

Misato looked at the gentleman expectantly. "The Password is "Hope." How do you plan on stopping the Jet Alone?"

"You just leave that to me Mr. Luthor." Misato said as she walked off.


"ARE YOU INSANE?"

Misato was a bit surprised at the force behind her young ward's words. "It's the only way Shinji. You get me onto the robot and restrain it while I shut it down on the inside. It's the only option we have."

"But it's too dangerous."

"Don't worry. You and Unit 01 can take it if the core melts down."

"Not that. I meant for you!"

"I have to give it my best shot or I'll regret it for the rest of my life." Misato smiled at the boy before her. " I have an example to set after all."

From the front of the air carrier Hyuga spoke up. "Ma'am the target is sighted." With that Misato dressed in a radiation suit and Shinji in his newest plug suit stood.

Shinji with is eyes hard but filled with worry. "Be careful Misato."

Misato hugged the boy. "Don't worry. Now go get ready to launch."

Quickly Shinji ran to his entry plug and was placed into his Evangelion. Misato with the suit's helmet on quickly hopped into 01's waiting hand and gave to order to launch the beast. With forceful grace it landed. Shinji then ordered his unit to run after the wayward robot. Shortly he caught up to it and grabbed on to it holding it back as it could only flail its arms back and forth.

With Speed Shinji placed his hand over the backpack and Misato jumped off. After a close call that scared Shinji to the core, the Major made it to the emergency entry hatch. The door opened with a audible hiss and whoosh of escaping unbearably hot air. "Talk about hot." Misato dryly observed. "I have a bad feeling about this."

While her suit protected her from the radiation the heat soon began to affect her as she made her way threw the access corridors. Within minutes she was sweating profusely. Shinji meanwhile moved around and placed himself between the Jet Alone and the City of Atsuko it was stomping towards. Misato could just picture Shinji yelling at her to hurry at her task. She made her way threw the corridors and found the auxiliary control room. Opening it up she hurried to the console. Activating it and as soon as she was prompted she entered in the password. To her dismay it didn't have the expected result
ERROR

"What the hell!" She tried again.

ERROR

"Oh this is great. The program must have been altered. This is not good." Misato stood up and looked around the red-hot room. "Damn heat... it's getting hard to think. Come on Katsuragi there has to be something you can do to stop this mess." Mustering up what strength she could she pushed against one of the control rods in hopes of making it go into the core. "Damn it. Super strength would be really handy around now."

Then at the last possible moment as if answering the call for a miracle the core shut down. Misato fell back total exhausted from her attempted herculean effort. The heat however didn't dissipate quickly and Misato forced her tired body to move threw the supremely hot corridors. "Damn it... heat exhaustion... I didn't think it would be this bad... Sorry kiddo. I don't think I'm making it outta here under my own power." Then all she knew was blackness.

Shinji meanwhile waited for a few minutes for Misato to step out so he could safely lower her to ground level. Soon however he grew worried. "Come on Misato where are you."

He tried to raise her on the radio but received no reply. His worry grew. "What if the heat got to her?" he thought. "She could die from how hot that thing has to be inside." Shinji was for a moment paralyzed at the thought of losing Misato. Then a voice he had herd in the back of his mind once more spoke. "Do something. You know you can."

"Do what...go inside that oven and die myself?"

"Hey you took a 3 story fall with not so much as a scratch. "

"I can't even if I went in there..."

"DO IT! You know you can. If you don't you know you'll regret it."

His internal debate finished Shinji moved the eva so it's back was to the Jet Alone and he opened his plug like he did when he rescued his friends. Climbing out Shinji looked over at the inactive machine. "Well here goes nothing." With less effort than he thought it'd take Shinji leapt to the back of the robot. He came over to the open access hatch and felt the heat from the inside. He however didn't notice that it slowly started to melt his own plug suit. "Alright this shouldn't be too hard." Then Shinji surprising himself a bit leapt down the shaft and made an easy 2-point landing. Looking around he couldn't see Misato so he walked forward not noticing that he was leaving a layer from the heels of his suit with each step. He quickly moved to find his guardian and thanks to his speed was able to locate her before very long. Then a new worry crept into his head. "What if I'm too late?"

Shinji kneeled down next to his fainted guardian. "Ok I can't take her helmet off that would defiantly kill her." Then Shinji noticed something in the silence of the machine. He could hear her breathing. Softly and slowly but he could hear her.

Two new thoughts dominated his brain at that moment. "She's alive. Thank goodness. Wait. The suit's gotta be like soundproof if it's completely sealed. So how... never mind that now Ikari you idiot just get her outta her and out someplace cool."

Easily carrying Misato, Shinji made it to the ladder shaft and stopped. "Well I guess this is a good time to see how high I can leap." With that Shinji lept up into the air still carrying the unconscious major and easily making it up to the top and onto the outside.

It was only when he put Misato down he noticed the ruined plugsuit he was wearing. "There goes another one."


Gendo's Office- NERV HQ

Ritsuko stood before Gendo at his desk. She was giving her report on the incident. "So other than Major Katsuragi's actions the scenario went exactly as planned."

"And the conditions of those involved?" The commander asked in his cold voice.

"Unit one is undamaged from the radiation. The Major suffered from heat exhaustion and fainted but the third child prevented anything bad from happening to her. He's going to need another plug suit though."

"That is of no consequence. Jet Alone is now dead and as a bonus NERV's reputation is now even better. The scenario carries on."


Elsewhere in NERV HQ

Shinji walked alone in NERV after leaving Misato in the care of NERV's medical staff to make sure there were no lingering effects of being inside of Jet Alone.

"Well. At least no one was suspicious of my story." Shinji explained to the others that he found Misato just outside the entry hatch and that the damage to his plug suit was only superficial when he got near the hatch to drag his unconscious superior officer from said hatch. What truly surprised him was that Misato backed up his story. He hoped she did so out of pride. "Of course." He thought. "It could be because we're family..." At that moment he realized he truly thought of Misato as family and he was sure that she felt the same. It brought Shinji a moment of happiness he had not felt in a very long time.

Fate it seems loves to hit one at moments like this as at that point Shinji found himself confronted by a young man in his early 20s. "Mr. Ikari. I think we need to talk. It's about your... unique nature."

Shinji paled.

To Be Continued...

Next Time: Misato flies out to meet the super carrier "Over the Rainbow" and the pacific fleet to pick up Unit 02 and it's fiery pilot and meets an old acquaintance. Then to top it all off the fifth angel attacks the fleet. What is it after? And wait a Minute. Isn't Shinji supposed to be here?

He's doing what? Hold on folks this ones gonna be fun.

NGE: Reborn Angel

Chapter 9: Asuka Stands Alone!

Fusion Blaster: FINALLY DONE! All right, this chapter, which was originally supposed to be done by ClassicCowboy was instead done by yours truly. I got tired of his butt takin too long to get started and took over. Unfortunately I got stalled about half way threw this chapter. This switch of who did this chapter however lets CC finally do an angel battle and an Asuka centric chapter for once. Yer up bro...for real this time.

C. Cowboy: Not much to really say, but Fusion Blaster can no longer complain about me taking forever and a day for updates :D anywho, expect next chapter to see everyone's favorite flame-haired bitch fly in all her glorious glory. and that's all I gots to say 'bout that.