Disclaimer: See the first chapter. I apologize that Document Manager seemed to erase all my TABS that I had in front of each paragraph. That damn thing just decides to play with every chapter I add on

Thalarian T.M. Productions Presents:


Neon Genesis Evangelion:

Project Blue Blood - Chapter 4: Like Drops Of Emerald


Christian sat at his table, quietly looking over the information he had just received. The screen of his laptop flashed with each click of the rodent named machine in his hand. Information that held names, places, dates. Anything and everything he would need in order to complete what he was assigned to do. He already had the specifications of Unit-06, Unit-07, and Unit-08. He was mildly surprised to find that mass production was happening with Unit-05. However, his contact was still searching for the information as to the specifications and numbers of that Unit.

That was obviously, highly classified information. Highly classified information, that he desperately needed.

So I know whether we're going to live or not...

He grimaced lightly when something popped into his head. Memories that he wished wouldn't plague his sleep anymore. Without warning, he grabbed the nearby aspirin bottle, and popped 4 of the pain relievers into his mouth. The blonde bodyguard didn't even use any liquid as he crunched them around in his mouth, grimacing as the terrible gravel textured medicine made its was down his throat.

He looked back at the screen in front of him, glancing over some of the previous information.

Pilot Status: Active. Training 97 complete. Shows no signs of mental instability.

Departure: New Beijing, China. Aerial Liftoff. Pilot will be included in Liftoff.

Destination: Tokyo-2, Japan. After Aerial Support lands, ground units to transport Unit and pilot to Nerv 1st Branch, in Tokyo-3 .

Compatibility: 80 Percent Sychro Ratio. 3rd ranked synchro ratio. Ikari, Shinji - 89, Langley Sorhyu, Asuka - 86, Ayanami, Rei - 77, Suzahara, Touji - 54. Should make a good addition to already existing pilots.

Personality: Very outgoing. Optimistic and light-hearted. Seems very eager to meet pilots Ikari, Shinji and Langley Sorhyu, Asuka. Does take mild medication for light depression. Only when needed and as directed. Does not interfere with synch ratio and piloting skill.


Medical History: Records will be sent with pilot.

Personal Notes: A pilot with a quick intellect and sharp reflexes. Answers very well to orders and very easy to get along with.

I hope you treat her with better respect then you do with most people, Ikari.

Regards,
Commander Hasagawa, Nerv 5th Branch.

Before he had any time to fully digest any of the information, he heard the soft buzz of his doorbell. He glanced up at his clock, noticing that it was just passing 9 in the morning. He smiled lightly.

He wouldn't know it, but he's right on time...

The young man stood up and walked over to the door, letting it automatically slide open. He was greeted with the sight of a slightly ragged brown haired boy. Shinji's eyes seemed to find something about his shoes absolutely fascinating, because he stared at them the entire time. Christian was just about to invite him in, when the young boy's meek voice floated softly through the air.

"Can I talk to you for awhile?"

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Christian sat back down at the table, pushing a warm cup of tea to his honored guest. Shinji thanked him, but made no move to take the offered beverage.

"So I take it Misato's probably still asleep."

Shinji nodded lightly. "She called in sick to work."

Christian just took a sip of his drink, staring at the Evangelion pilot intently, trying to read the boy's thoughts.

"Why do I feel this way?"

This, however, had gotten the blonde bodyguards attention.

Shinji continued silently. "Every time I feel that something is finally going right, something else goes wrong. Misato's hardly home, I can barely talk to Rei. Asuka's closed herself off and won't let anyone talk to her without her snapping or getting violent. My father is just as cold to me as he was when he left me as a child. And Kaji...he's...he's..."

This time, the boy couldn't hold back his tears. Spending an entire night looking after Misato as she cried in her bed, calling out her lovers name over and over, finally took his toll on the already fragile boy. His shoulders shook as small sobs escaped from his throat. Christian frowned as he stood up, walking over and placing an arm around the shuddering child.

After several minutes of this, Shinji finally was able to get himself under control. When the blonde bodyguard felt that the Third Child had gotten himself under control, he walked back to his side of the table, taking a small sip of his tea. There was not much he could do or say for the child that sat in front of him, but he knew that he would have to try nevertheless. He thought to himself for a moment, a finger tapping lightly on his lips. Finally, he smiled, almost changing the entire atmosphere of the dreary apartment.

"I told you that I would teach you a few things about martial arts, didn't I?"

The boy in front of him suddenly looked slightly startled.

"Um yeah...b-but I don't think I'd be any good..."

"Nonsense..."

Shinji's weak response was severely crushed under Christian's wave of a hand.

"Nobody is ever any good the first time they do anything Shinji. That's why the word 'practice' was created."

Shinji blushed slightly, feeling a bit silly in front of his bodyguard. The blonde man just laughed back, patting the boy on the arm.

"I'm not going to make you do anything right now. However, considering that this is Sunday, and you've got no school and no Nerv to contend with, I'd like you to get home and get some rest. Come back over here at around five o'clock tonight, and we'll get you started."

The fragile boy just hung his head slightly.

"You really don't have to...I don't want to be a both..."

"Better go get some sleep now, otherwise you're not going to get enough rest for tonight."

Shinji glanced up to see that his bodyguard had completely ignored his futile attempts to back out of it. Despite it all, Shinji smiled lightly and mumbled a brief thank you, before getting up and making his way back next door. Not even a moment after the blonde bodyguard had heard his door hiss shut, did his Nerv assigned cellular phone go off. He picked it up and noticed that it was Ritsuko's number, obviously calling him into work. He grimaced, noting that he himself had not received any sleep the night before as well. Without warning, he reached out and began scooping large amounts of sugar into his tea. When he was certain that the tea was holding enough sugar, especially since it was now more of a gooey slime ball then a liquid, he pulled it up to his lips and downed the entire cups worth.

He sighed and answered his phone, hearing Ritsuko's somewhat cheerful voice come through. After being informed of the activities for the day, and the part he would have to play in them, he came to one single conclusion...

His blonde ass would need at least two more cups of that tea...

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The blonde scientist sat silently behind one of the many consoles in front of her, watching as data streamed down a screen like a waterfall of computer language. She made notes here and there, noting what was important and what was not. A cigarette was balanced on her lips lazily, and the brunette trainee next to her was typing away at her own console. A smile danced on her lips as she heard the door behind them open softly. She swiveled in her chair and smiled lightly towards the blonde man who was just shrugging on his own red Nerv uniform.

"Thanks for coming in on such short notice."

Christian smiled tiredly back at Ritsuko, shaking his head softly.

"Not a problem, just keep a constant stream of caffeine in me and I should be ok."

"Hi Christian."

Maya smiled brightly at him, which he returned with a shy smile and a blush. Before he could even think of giving a reply, a small manila folder was handed to him. Ritsuko wasn't even looking in his direction when she had stretched out and held the file towards him. He took in gingerly and began to flip through it, nodding in understanding.

"More tests on the Dummy Plug?"

She nodded softly, taking a few more notes from the screen in front of her. Just when he was about to take a seat on the other side of the blonde scientist, she looked at him softly.

"Not only that, but I would like you to run a few diagnostic checks on Unit Two."

He looked at her oddly while he sat down.

"Unit Two?"

Ritsuko nodded softly.

"Asuka's synch ratio has slowly started to decline. We're not sure if it's because her recent battle with the last Angel or not, but we need to know whether its the Eva...or her."

He didn't acknowledge the doctor's comments as he booted up the console in front of him, numbly staring forward.

"And if it's Asuka?"

The only sound the resounded in the general area of the three was the small breath of smoke that was pushed out of Ritsuko's lungs, she had a slightly grim feature on her face when her voice finally cut through the tense moment.

"Then she'll have to be...replaced."

Maya looked between her mentor and the blonde bodyguard and noticed that the ladder of the two had a soft scowl over his features, while the former, sensing the disdain in the blonde bodyguard, tried hard not to let the nervousness creep to her features. The brunette cutey gave the two one more glance, before she started back on her own work.

Many hours passed as the three work diligently on their own projects. Of course if anyone were to step into the general area they'd be knocked back by the wall of tension. Christian looked at his screen some more, taking notes and typing in commands. After a bit more of that, he leaned back and stretched, wincing slightly as he felt his back and neck popping in a few places. Just as he was about to sit forward, he felt a soft hand on his shoulder. He glanced up to see Ritsuko staring at his screen.

"Excellent job. Finish up the diagnostic checks if you would. I'm going to take a break for awhile, but I can finish the rest of this when I get back. Go ahead and take off."

He smiled lightly. "Thanks."

Before he could move however, she gave his shoulder a gentle squeeze.

"I didn't mean anything by what I said earlier. I know you've already developed a bit of an attachment to the children." She laughed lightly. "It's somewhat hard not to when we deal with them so much. Everyone here kind of feels a certain dedication to them for what they have to go through for our safety. Especially Shinji..."glancing in his direction quite a bit.

The young man nodded, letting out a long breath.

"I know. But we're protecting mankind, so sometimes we need to do things that we don't really want to."

Ritsuko's eyes just misted over for a moment, and she gave a quick sidelong glance at the MAGI system that was settled behind them in the command center.

"How right you are..."

After the blonde scientist gathered a few of her things, she stood up and began walking towards the door. However, before she got there, and evil little thought pushed it's way into her head. She glanced back and noticed a slight blush that had dawned on Maya's cheeks. Obviously, she was just a bit nervous about being in the same room as the young man that had obviously gathered her attention. Ritsuko's suspicions were only confirmed when she noted that the young brunette taking quick glances in his direction.

Maybe it's time to give her a little push...

Ritsuko turned around and grinned widely.

"You know Maya, Christian hasn't quite had enough time to enjoy some of the coffee and and other refreshments down in the rec' room. Perhaps you would like to show him around a bit down there?"

The two people in question looked at each other, blushing, and then turned back to the mentally laughing doctor. Ritsuko could barely hold in her laughing, even as Maya's voice made a resounding 'WHAT?!' echo through the Nerv structure. Ritsuko's only answer was to turn around, smiling her way out of the center. A slight silence fell over the two as their gazes fell back on one another, blushes deepening. Now Maya was not a stupid girl by any means, and usually she went with what her heart told her to do, unless she was under the steely eyes of Commander Ikari. After much indecisiveness and lip chewing, she finally offered the young blonde a slight smile.

"Care to join me for a cup of coffee?"

------------------------------------------------------------

Despite Nerv's horrible work schedule, which fluctuates with more hours every week, and it's death-like interior design...

It sure had some damn good coffee...

At least, that was what ran through Christian's mind as he sipped his hot brew in Nerv's recreational facility. He had only been in here a few times, and upon further investigation, he realized that it was more then just a lounge area. At the far wall were a row of at least 20 closed off bedrooms, all designed to be quick rest areas for employees with long work schedules. On the other side was a behind him was a typical cafeteria layout, only with a bit more tasteful food. On his right was a whole assortment of snack machines and and frozen food dispenser, next to a long line of countered microwaves. He smiled lightly when he glanced behind himself and noted the large coffee and tea shop that rested a short ways away.

Figures they'd need something like that in this place...

He blushed lightly when he noticed the rear end of a somewhat fidgety brunette technician, who was now producing her own cup of tea. The blonde bodyguard quickly turned around and whapped himself in the forehead. He just barely got himself under control when Maya sat down across from him in one of the many small dining booths. Despite her reddened cheeks and fidgety demeanor, a shy smile was plastered on her lips and she couldn't help but feel very excited.

The poor girl mentally kicked herself, trying to remind herself that she was a grown woman. She glanced up, noticing her drinking partner was in quite the same predicament.

"So...how are you enjoying your time here in Tokyo Three so far?"

The blonde bodyguard cried inwardly, happy that the woman before him started some sort of small talk. He certainly didn't have the courage built up yet. He took a sip of his black brew, staring down into it.

"It's not too bad yet. Of course, the Angels I could live without but other then that it's not so bad. The Children keep a bit of my time occupied, but so far I've enjoyed the experience."

Maya smiled. "That's good. Of course, without the Angels, you wouldn't have a job. And without a job, you wouldn't be stationed here in Tokyo."

Christian laughed lightly and finally steeled his nerves a little bit, looking up at the brunette before him.

"Very true, then I wouldn't have had the chance to meet the people that I've met."

Feeling his smile, the brunette tech blushed and looked down into her cup. That was until a soft, but stern voice sliced through their little piece of heaven.

"Would you mind if I borrow your drinking partner for a moment, Lieutenant?"

Both glanced up at the stoic statue of one Sub-Commander Fyuutski, a slight smile across his age weathered face. As if they were connected, both stood at attention and saluted. The Sub-Commander smiled a bit more and waved a dismissive hand.

"At ease."

Christian turned and gave Maya an apologetic bow, promising another time, before he turned at caught up with the Sub-Commander, who was now walking down one of the many halls that made up the web-line interior of Nerv. The two fell in step with one another, the younger of the two waiting for the elder to state was on his mind, but was met with only silence. The two continued like that for some time, until Fyuutski finally handed him a small steel case, not even glancing at the young bodyguard or breaking stride.

"This is the personal profile and information on the Sixth Child."

Christian gave him a somewhat startled look. "Sixth Child? What about a Fifth Child?"

Fyuutski shook his head. "There are...circumstances...surrounding the Fifth Child slot. For the time being, we are going to our next alternative."

The young bodyguard nodded, opening the case as the two of them continued to walk.

"Guardianship of the Sixth Child?!"

Fyuutski stopped for a moment, looking back at where his subordinate had stopped dead in his tracks. Christian just looked up and then back down at the files held in his hand.

"You want me to be the Sixth Child's guardian?!"

Fyuutski smiled lightly, still standing a few feet in front of the young man.

"You do not accept?"

If it were possible, the young bodyguard looked even more stunned.

"That's not it at all sir...I just don't think..."

Fyuutski's smile faded, and a stern expression overcame his somber features.

"You do not get paid to think outside of your job requirements."

That simple statement made the young blonde in front of him clam up, as his jaw firmly slammed before anything else could be said. He just gave a somewhat stunned salute. This of course, broke through the grey-haired commanders stern facade, as another smile split his face.

"Besides, it was my recommendation. I feel you are more then adequately qualified to do such a duty."

With that said, Fyuutski turned and started down the hall, not even turning to glance at the dumbfounded blonde he left behind. Christian just stared as the Sub-Commander turned around a corner, before finally browsing through more of the briefcase. He pulled out a small folder, with a picture and data sheets inside it. The picture held the face of a very pretty young Chinese girl, her hair, long and black, was held in a ponytail. Her smile was soft, and her eyes sparkling. He looked it over, coming to a swift conclusion in his head.

This is the child I was notified about...

Mai-Li Xiong...

The Sixth... Child...


Without warning, his jaw clenched, and his hand gripped the case so hard that it began to bend.

You son-of-a-bitch, Gendo!

------------------------------------------------------------

Christian was somewhat surprised to find that only one employee was left in the console room when he returned. The person swiveled in their chair, shooting him a lavish grin.

"So how was your little date?"

"What?!"

The blonde scientist was having quite a time prodding her two pupils on. She motioned for him to take a seat next to her, as she finished a few commands on the computer in front of her. The young bodyguard took a seat, leaning back and trying his best to hide the somewhat red hue that had come across his cheeks. Ritsuko smiled, lighting a cigarette and leaning over, patting his leg.

"I'm just tugging your chain. Maya actually wanted me to relay an apology to you. She had a family emergency and had to run out before she could say goodbye."

He nodded slightly, smiling to himself and giving some thought to the soft conversation they had over their coffee earlier. Ritsuko took a sidelong glance at the the computer screen next to her. Making a few more notes, and taking a long drag from the cancer stick in her lips, the blonde scientist turned back the the young man in front of her, noticing the case he had in his hands.

"I see Fyuutski has already informed you?"

The blonde man looked up questioningly, noticing that Ritsuko was confirming the package that he held in his hands. He looked down, nodding lightly.

"Yes, he has."

Ritsuko could see the uncertainty in his eyes, and she once again patted his leg.

"Don't worry, I'm sure you'll handle it just fine. Like I've said before, I've seen how you are with the Children, so this should come as a second nature."

Ritsuko leaned back, putting her cigarette into the nearby ashtray.

"If it's any consolation, you won't have to go alone. When she arrives here in three days, I'll be accompanying you. I have to run a few diagnostics checks and other requirements on the Unit before we even leave with it. Thank the event of Unit Three for that one. I don't think Misato will be joining us...she's...still not feeling her best."

The young bodyguard was trained to seek out any hidden emotions or feelings. Because of that fact, he was able to read the hurt behind Ritsuko's eyes, as if she had come right out and said that she had spent the previous night crying for the only two people she could ever consider her friends. One which she believed was dead, and the other she knew was dying on the inside. A quick smile came across her face, trying it's best to block out any thoughts that could even related to the previous nights events. Christian knew that the scientist in front of him probably knew what was going to happen last night, but he couldn't fault her, she wouldn't have been able to stop anything even if she had tried.

No, Ritsuko was going to play her part soon, and he would see that she made it out alive as well. A frown creased across his lips. Ritsuko would not be damned. Misato would not be damned. Neither of them would be. He would not allow it. His mind flared, and he felt his hand tightening.

Not Shinji...

Not Asuka...

Not Touji...

Not Maya...

Nobody...


Nobody was going to ever be exposed to the hell he had to endure. He would give his life before anything like that ever happened.

I will not allow you to kill everyone Ikari. I will fucking destroy you before I ever let that happen...

"...tian?"

He was quickly snapped out of his ferocious thoughts at the sound of a soft voice calling his name, and a soft hand patting his. He saw Ritsuko calling his name, trying to get his attention. The blonde bodyguard blushed embarrassedly, scratching the back of his head.

"I apologize Ritsuko, I zoned out for a minute."

She looked at him uncertainly for a moment, a soft look of concern across her features. She leaned back for a moment, another smile forming on her lips.

"If you're worried about being the Sixth Child's guardian, I'm sure you could always have Maya come over to play the mother...and you play the husband, husbandly duties included."

"Huh?!"

Ritsuko laughed lightly, winking at the young man before her. He blushed and hung his head a little. Something struck inside of the blonde scientists head as she gazed at him, putting a thoughtful finger to her lips. She smiled lightly, crossing her legs and putting on her typical 'Doctor Knows Best' look.

"You've never really been with a woman have you? Relationship or otherwise..."

The young man in front of her let out a somewhat frustrated sigh. Ritsuko knew the moment that it escaped his lips, that it was not frustration directed towards her. He ran a soft hand through his hair.

"I've never had the chance. Life like mine, you never really get an opening to be with a woman, even for a night. So a potential relationship was also out of the question. I couldn't tell you the first thing I know about relationships, because I've never had one."

This information slowly sunk into Ritsuko's logical mind. She glanced him over, setting her hands in her lap, softly rocking her leg that was crossed over the other. She felt very sorry for the young man in front of her. Ritsuko had never expected that the young man had never truly had a relationship of any kind with the fairer sex, especially with the way he carried himself when he walked. He had a soft confidence and a very personable attitude, but she was starting to see where his confidence waned in certain areas, especially when a woman of interest was concerned. His constant stuttering and blushing was an attest to that. Finally, feeling that perhaps it was time to retract from such a conversation, she gave him a soft nod, turning back to her console.

"Well, I'll see you in a few days. Escorting will probably arrive fairly early in the morning, so make sure you're up and ready. The Unit and pilot are set to arrive in the afternoon. Should give you long enough to get situated with her and get to know her a bit."

Christian nodded, standing up and heading for the door. He realized that it was starting to come close to 5 o'clock, and he needed to be home soon since Shinji would be arriving around that time. Before he made his way out though, a soft call of his name halted his soft footfalls. The young man turned, seeing Ritsuko still typing away on her console. She didn't face him as her voice picked up again.

"Just keep doing what you did today, and you should be fine."

Christian stood there for a moment, not entirely sure what the blonde scientist was referring too. When it finally did click, a small smile fell gracefully onto his lips. He knew she wouldn't be able to see him, but he gave a soft, light bow along with a silently mouthed 'Thanks'.

Unknown to him, as he walked through the electronic sliding door, was that she had seen it through his reflection on the monitor. She had a faint smile all afternoon.

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Shinji pressed the door chime hesitantly. He had no idea what the older bodyguard had in store for him, and frankly, he was a bit worried. Although Shinji was never one to stereotype things or people, but he had seen plenty of martial arts movies. All of them had consisted of someone that knew nothing of the art, being taught by someone that was overly strict or very abusive in their technique. So when the door slid open and he was met with a predatory grin by his bodyguard, Shinji felt justified in thinking he wouldn't make it out alive.

"Hey Shinji, get enough sleep?"

The young boy couldn't find his voice, losing it somewhere on the way up his throat. Instead he opted to give the smiling blonde a curt nod, eyes darting around the apartment like he was afraid a paper fan or hand would come out of nowhere and smack him into his first lesson. When the blonde bodyguard turned away from him and walked silently towards the equipment, Shinji realized that it might not quite be as bad as he thought. He followed quietly, tugging at his own clothes uncertainly. He had worn an undershirt that he usually wore under his school uniform and a pair of gym shorts that he also had.

He noticed his bodyguard motioning for him to take a seat on the end of the weight bench, and Shinji complied quietly, watching as the older blonde took a seat on the other spare weight bench. He was a bit puzzled when the older of the two pulled out a tennis ball, gently tossing it up and catching it repeatedly. Christian gave him a stern look before beginning.

"Martial arts isn't about fighting Shinji. It's about learning control, learning focus, and learning about yourself. No one person that has studied martial arts has walked out of it knowing only how to fight, but also knowing how to focus. Do you understand so far?"

The boy in question nodded slowly.

"Now, I would like you to go stand over by that wall."

Shinji looked to the area that his bodyguard was referring. With a slight nod, he stood and walked over to the wall, standing still. Christian stood up, stilling tossing the ball up and down.

"Now could you close your eyes?"

"O-okay."

Shinji wasn't entirely sure what was going on, but he complied, albeit a bit nervously. He kept his eyes closed, and slowly time passed. His hands began to sweat profusely as he had no idea what was going on. Finally, when he was finally getting ready to re-open his eyes, he felt something whip past his head, barely skimming his ear in the process, and smacking against the wall. The boy's eyes shot open and he gave a startled yelp, stumbling to the side. That was when he noticed Christian's grin, as the tennis ball softly bounced back to him.

"W-what was that?!"

Christian only shook his head in response, smile never wavering.

"Today's first lesson Shinji, now what was your reaction right there?"

Shinji, still not quite understanding what was going on answered simply.

"U-umm, I was startled?"

Christian shook his head, finally explaining the situation to the young boy in front of him.

"No, you got scared. There are two lessons I want you to gain from this Shinji. One; you can't panic every time trouble comes your way. The reason I have you close your eyes, is because nobody can ever really see danger until it's right in your face. The problem is though, you can't suddenly clam up with fear just because you don't know what's going on. You'll probably never see the danger that's going to happen to you Shinji, until it's right on your doorstep, but a martial artist is always aware. Even if he doesn't know what the danger is, or can't identify it, he recognizes that it's there. In my years, I've never seen scared or panicked emotions help someone overcome any danger or fear. This exercise is to help you know that danger comes your way no matter what, but you have stand your ground and be strong, instead of panicking. You have to be aware of what is going on around you, and act accordingly. Now, can you stand there again with your eyes closed once more?"

Shinji's mind quietly tried to digest everything the blonde bodyguard was telling him, so he obediently stood in the same spot closing his eyes. He stood there for a few moments, once again feeling fairly nervous. This time he tried to brace himself for the ball to come sailing past his head, but what happened next caught him completely off guard. He heard the whir of the ball coming in his direction, but he wasn't prepared for it to smack him squarely in the forehead. His eyes shot open and he stumbled for a moment, holding the sore spot directly on his forehead, giving Christian an astonished look.

"W-what was that for?!"

Christian smiled ruefully as the ball slowly rolled back to him.

"Lesson Two; every time danger comes your way, you're bound to feel pain in some way shape or form, now does your forehead still hurt?"

Shinji felt his forehead a few more times, then shook his head. "Not really..." Christian nodded.

"See? Although pain does hurt, it goes away over time. That's something else you need to understand. You can't go through life doing everything you can to not feel any pain. It's really inevitable. Pain does cause hurt, yes, but it will dissipate overtime. No pain is really everlasting, emotionally or physically. Those who understand this find that it's easier to overcome hurt when they do experience it. Those who try their hardest to stay away from it, find it's harder to overcome once they feel it. Understand?"

Shinji nodded softly, still a bit surprised. He felt his body run cold when Christian bounced the ball against the ground a couple times. However, it wasn't the bouncing ball that made him nervous, it was the predatory grin that the young man before him had.

"Now then, mind closing your eyes again Shinji?"

Suddenly, Shinji felt that those movies held a lot of validity...

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Shinji graciously offered the cold drink that Christian pushed to him. Tearing off the little cap, he began guzzling, water dripping down the sides of his mouth.

"Drink slower, you'll get a cramp if you keep drinking like that."

The boy blushed a bit embarrassedly, taking much softer gulps from the plastic container. The past three hours wasn't nearly as bad as the pilot had first feared they would be. Christian had mainly just started off with the tennis ball a few more times, before sitting him back down and explaining many of the fundamentals on martial arts and the things he could learn. He explained a few ways of focusing and a few very basic maneuvers, even letting Shinji try his luck at a couple of them. Of course, none of it went the way Shinji would have liked, but his bodyguard insisted that it wouldn't be something he would learn overnight. The blonde man finally set him up on the treadmill, explaining that a lot of martial arts has nothing to do with muscle, but with how long your body can sustain it's focus and speed. He explained many times that he'd seen smaller, much faster opponents beat the daylights out of larger ones.

No amount of muscle can save someone if they run out of breath in a matter of seconds...

Then his bodyguard had given a somewhat awkward laugh.

Of course, if the muscle bound fool can get you in that matter of seconds...

Shinji was a bit curious as to why Christian left that statement open at the time, but felt it really wasn't his place to ask. So, for nearly a half hour, his bodyguard had set him up with a fairly good jog. The young pilot was very surprised to find that, even though his legs were fairly sore, he actually felt somewhat refreshed. He glanced down when he noticed something else being slid across the table, his eyes widening a little bit. "This is...?"

Christian nodded. "It's a key card to my apartment."

"I can't take this, I'd feel like I was intru..."

Christian cut him off with a wave of his hand. "Shinji, if I felt like you were intruding, I wouldn't have given it to you."

That simple statement killed any other objection the young pilot may have had. So, without any further resistance, he picked up the small piece of plastic. He didn't even get a chance to inquire about it, before his bodyguard began explaining.

"There might be times I'm not at home Shinji, and so I would like to give you the availability to the equipment here, without having to limit your usage to my schedule. The only thing I ask of you, is stay out of my room, and stay out of that room there." Christian pointed to the spare bedroom, located right next door to his own.

Shinji nodded. "I can understand your room, but why the other?"

This of course brought on the next part that Christian was getting ready to explain.

"Because it's going to be occupied by the Sixth Child..."

Blink.

Blink Blink.


"What?!"

The young bodyguard couldn't help but laugh at Shinji's comical, yet very confused expression. The young man finally began to elaborate.

"Commander Ikari has ordered the dispatch of the Sixth Child, along with Unit Six. Both will be arriving here within the next few days. I just figured that it was fair to tell you this time around, since you were out of the loop last time a pilot was brought on board."

Shinji grimaced for a moment, remembering the incident with Unit-04. He quickly killed the thoughts before they became overbearing, instead focusing on the information just presented to him.

"Is it another of my classmates?"

The blonde bodyguard shook his head. "No, she's from China. As far as I know, she's actually been training for a few months now. Not much else is known at the moment, I'm sure most of her personal history and other things will arrive when she does."

The young pilot's head sunk a little lower. "It's...because of Asuka's sync ratio...isn't it?"

Christian raised an eyebrow, glancing at the boy in front of him.

He's much smarter then he gives himself credit for...

The blonde gave out a long sigh before he answered. "Honestly, I'm not sure. It wouldn't surprise me though. The Angel's are getting stronger and our resources are getting weaker."

Shinji nodded for a moment, before drinking the rest of his water, and standing up.

"Thanks for the lessons Christian, I really appreciate it."

The man smiled, nodding his head as Shinji made his way out of the door. A frown came over his face when it finally hissed shut, as he pulled an all too familiar phone from his coat pocket.

It rang only once before the other end connected.

This was no time for pleasantries, as his voice cut straight to the point.

"I might be having some unplanned company soon."

------------------------------------------------------------

This is our first dinner together in awhile...wonder why it's so gloomy...

That was the thought that rang through Misato's head as she observed her two charges, each eating in their own conservative silence. Shinji had a soft expression on his face, but the purple haired goddess couldn't come close to figuring out what he was feeling since his eyes were closed. Asuka's eyes were also closed, but it was clearly evident that she was far from happy. Especially with the scowl she had on her face.

Shinji ate in relative silence, not because he wanted to, but because he honestly didn't know what to say. Misato avoided everything that was related to Kaji and Asuka wouldn't even listen half the time he did say something. Last night was his very first lesson with Christian, and tonight his bodyguard had told him to relax a bit, and they would start up again tomorrow or the night after.

"I'm done."

Asuka's soft declaration was enough to break Shinji's thoughts. Her obvious irritation with him and Misato made the poor boy frown, as she kept her eyes closed, even as she stood. The phone began ringing softly, and all three just stayed in their places as the first ring died down. Finally, the fiery red-head made a soft snort and walked past the loud device, not even giving it a second glance.

"Asuka!"

The redhead was none to pleased when her guardian called her name in exasperation.

"Why should I answer it, not like it's for me! It's probably Kaji anyways!

The purple tressed woman hid her quick look of pain very quickly, although not quite quick enough to evade Shinji's eyes. His heart sunk a little more when Misato mumbled silently, something about Kaji not calling anymore. Deciding that the argument definitely needed to be ended before it got out of hand, he stood up and made his way over to the phone.

"Well now, here comes Invincible Shinji to the rescue! He not only saves the world, but he answers phones as well!"

He was very happy that his back was to her, otherwise she would have seen him flinch when the barbed remark made it's way into his skin.

"Hello?"

A soft, but heavily accented voice made it's way over the phone.

"Hello! Is Asuka there?"

"Hold on."

Shinji took the receiver from his ear, looking at the phone for a moment. It was definitely an older woman, someone that obviously was from Asuka's homeland. He smiled lightly, his mind instantly concluding who he believed the person to be. He walked up behind the fuming redhead, holding the phone out.

"Asuka?"

"What?!"

The young pilot was a little taken aback when the fiery beauty spun on her heal, her word all but slinging venom out with it. However, Shinji braced a smile, deciding now was not a good time to be apologizing.

"It's for you. I think it's your mother."

Asuka's eyes widened a bit. "My mother? Gimme' that!"

Without another word, she all but tore the phone from his grasp. Shinji watch in mild fascination as Asuka began to talk to the person on the phone in her native tongue. Although he couldn't understand a thing she was saying, he could tell her tone was now cheery and vibrant. He couldn't help but smile upon seeing this.

She seems like just a normal girl now. Sounding like she's actually happy.

Before his thoughts could continue, she shut off the phone, a soft sigh making it's way past her lips.

"So how is she?"

Asuka gave Shinji a sideways glance.

"It was just a routine phone call. She's not really my mother at all, more like a..."

Shinji watched as the fiery beauty stopped, as if searching for the right wording. That was until her eyes suddenly went wide, mouth flying open.

"Why the hell am I even talking to you about this! I've really sunk low if I need to confide in a loser like you!"

Asuka didn't give the now visible shocked Shinji a chance to respond before she stomped towards the bathroom, slamming the door. Shinji stood there for a moment, his mouth hung open a little bit. Finally, he was able to gather himself enough to walk back towards the table, taking in Misato's apologetic look. Without even acknowledging it, he sat back down, eating his food in silence. Misato did much of the same, hearing the redhead go through her nightly wash routine.

"Will you also be going to pick up the Sixth Child tomorrow."

Shinji wasn't surprised at all when beer was spewed all over the table. In fact, he didn't even stop eating, placing another leisurely bite into his mouth. Deep down, he was actually happy at Misato's reaction. He was never one to hold grudges, and he didn't blame Misato at all for not telling him about Touji, but in a way, he felt like she was still hiding things from him. So he was more then a little pleased in knowing this information.

"W-where did you hear that from?!"

This, however, did catch the young pilot off guard.

"W-well..."

Misato watched as the poor boy began to crumble under her hard gaze. He didn't answer though, he just sat there, shoulders slumped as he tried to hid his face from her. Suddenly, it clicked in Misato's head, and she sat back against her chair, reaching for a towel to wipe up the amber fluid that was now all over her part of the table.

"Don't answer that, I think I already know. I'll have a little chat with him tomorrow. But to answer your question, yes, I will. I guess since you already know, it wouldn't hurt to give you a few details. Unit Six and the Sixth Child will be arriving from China around se..."

"Si..xth..."

Both of the occupants in the dining room looked up, only to meet the pale face of a very petrified redhead.

"Chi...ld...?"

However, in what some would call a medical miracle, her face went from Ayanami pale, to blood red in a matter of seconds. The young boy silently placed his chopsticks on the table, and placed both of his hands against his ears, scrunching his face up in anticipation. The purple haired goddess just pinched the bridge of her nose, also scrunching her face up in anticipation.

"SIXTH CHILD?!"

Asuka's screamed almost leveled the entire apartment complex, as it gushed from her throat like a shock wave. Misato finally lifted up her hands.

"God damn it, calm down Asuka, this has nothing to do with..."

"You're full of shit Misato! This is about my scores recently isn't it?!"

The woman in question just set her beer on the edge of the table, raising her voice a few octaves as well.

"No, this was ordered even before your scores started to suffer. The Angel's are getting stronger and we're not sure if we quite have the manpower to handle them should they get any more powerful then they are now."

This did nothing to quell the fire inside of Asuka's mind. She stomped over to the table and slammed her hands down against the innocent piece of wood.

"That's a damn lie and you know it! You, Shinji and everyone else are just trying to push me out of the damn picture! Well I'll show you Misato! I'll show you that you can ship that damn Unit Six and it's damn pilot back to it's own pathetic country! I'll defeat the next Angel and each one after that! I don't need you to tell me that you just don't think I'm a worthy pilot anymore, because I can see it in your fucking expression!"

The purple haired major was slowly trying to keep herself calm as the redhead let spit and words fly across the table at her. However, when Asuka made her last statement, Misato's nicely manicured hand crushed the can of beer she was holding, before she also stood, slamming her hands against the already domestically beaten table.

"It's always about you isn't it?! You think this whole thing revolves around you?! Guess what Asuka, it doesn't! This decision was made with you farthest from anyones mind! Nobody honestly really gives a shit about you or your damn feelings! The world does not center around Asuka Langley Sorhyu, and neither does Nerv! We can defeat the Angel's with or without you, so why don't you just stop acting like a god damn five year old with this temper tantrum and GROW UP!"

Asuka didn't even get a chance to respond as Misato pushed past her and walked briskly into her own room. The redhead stood there for a moment, mouth hanging open slightly, before another wave of anger came over her.

"I HATE YOU!"

Shinji had been relatively silent through the entire thing. He flinched slightly when Asuka ran to her room and slammed the door, rattling a few of the pictures that hung neatly against the wall. He silently glanced between the two closed doors, knowing that each woman had to be brooding in their own thoughts. Without any protest, he just stood, and began gathering the dishes, knowing that neither of them would probably be coming back out this evening. As he began to stack a few of them, he was surprised to see a drop of water fall onto the plate in front of him.

The young pilot just squeezed his eyes shut as a few more tears made it past his eyelids.

Why is everything falling apart...?

------------------------------------------------------------

Unit-06 was another beautifully perverted image created by man.

It's surface was a smooth green, tipped by grays and blacks. Armor plates much similar to the rest of the series rested on it's chest and back. Shoulder blades extended high into the air, giving the mirrored image of man, a slightly more demonic look. The entire thing look inhuman, especially from it's kneeling position. One knee on the ground, the other braced up. It looked just as rabid and poisonous as the rest of them.

What really made Misato's blood run cold, was the face. A long chin much like Unit-01's, but it missed the horn. In the middle of the face, sat one large eye, with four much smaller ones surrounding it in a diamond formation. It had the ever present grin of many of the others, as if laughing in it's own mind at the pathetic antics of the humans before it.

Misato pulled her jacket a little tighter as an involuntary shudder made it's way down her back. She glared at the metallic monster subconsciously, not even feeling the scowl come across her face.

"They never get any better looking, do they?"

The purple haired goddess glanced to her left, watching as the one woman she had known for so long walked up next to her. Ritsuko also had a disgusted look on her face as she stared up at the Evangelion kneeling before them. Various technicians and other Japanese and Chinese officials worked around the monstrosity as convoy vehicles and other equipment was being prepped and readied for the ride back to Tokyo-03. The blonde scientist just sighed and ran a hand through her hair.

"Shouldn't be too much longer before all the diagnostic checks and scans are complete. Christian has gone ahead to meet the pilot and talk to her for a bit, then he should be back."

Misato didn't respond, as she just continued to stare at the machine. Ritsuko look a sidelong glance at her, before speaking up again.

"Speaking of Mr. Takashi, he seemed a little irritated this morning." Misato could hear the accusing tone in the blonde's voice, especially how it was directed towards her. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that now would you?"

The purple tressed guardian just sighed, knowing damn well that Ritsuko fully suspected she had something to do with it. Misato took a deep breath...

...before hitting the door chime in front of her.

She had been up much of the night, crying her eyes out. Not because Asuka's hate filled declaration or even Shinji's stone attitude when he had mentioned the Sixth Child, but because she knew she couldn't hide from the truth that she had blocked for so long.

That was that her 'family' was slowly but surely falling apart. Everyday Asuka inched closer and closer to the mental breakdown that the purple haired goddess knew was right around the corner. Shinji was starting to withdraw into himself more and more, hardly even speaking to her, and when he did they were in short sentences. So she was not surprised in the least when Christian answered the door with a shocked expression at the bags under her eyes or the red puffiness or the scowl that had formed across her beautiful features. She wasn't even bothered by his questionable looked when she brushed past him and into his apartment.

"Please...do come in."

Misato was not into the mood for the sarcastic tone that dripped from his lips, and it was all she could do not to spin on her heel and slap him.

"Why did you tell him?"

The blonde bodyguard just kept a steely expression when her question rang through the air.

"Why not?"

This time the purple haired guardian did spin on her heel.

"Don't play mind games with me Takashi!"

His gaze never wavered when he looked at her, although she could make out a slight down slide at the very edge of his lips.

"I'm not playing mind games. I asked you a perfectly reasonable question."

Misato's jaw clenched and she marched right up to the bodyguard, a manicured fingernail poking him directly in the chest..

"Shinji constantly feels like it's his fault that other pilots are suffering. He already feels bad enough that he can't help Asuka, and telling him about another pilot would just make him feel even worse. There's no doubt that he already feels like he's not doing his part and that's why his father is calling on reserves. There's too much other shit for him to worry about, so he doesn't need to worry about these things until it's perfectly necessary."

If Christian was intimidated by the woman in front of him, he did well to hide it. In fact, he even leaned down a little bit, and accusing lining lacing each word that left his mouth.

"Just like he didn't really need to know about his best friend?"

This barb, however, did make it's way into Misato's skin, enough to make her flinch. She steadied herself though, voice becoming just as sharp as the man's in front of her.

"If I had told him about Touji then Shinji wouldn't have even climbed into his Eva. There was no way of letting him know without hurting him. I did what I had to..."

Even Misato knew that her remark felt extremely empty, but that still didn't keep her from saying it.

"Did you justify that thought before or after you got past your hormones for Kaji?"

The purple haired goddess' eyes flash hate for a brief second, and a resounding crack was heard through the entire apartment. Christian stood there, head cocked to the side, and a red mark beginning to creep up onto his cheek. Misato still stood there, arm and hand outstretched, her palm stinging, and eyes stinging as tears slowly began to seep out.

"You don't know me at all!"

Misato stumbled for a moment, when the blonde's head snapped back around, and she could read the blood lust in his eyes. He slowly began to stalk her as she tried to back away, but was caught when she felt a counter behind her. Christian stalked right up to her, noses almost touching as he leaned into her face.

"You're right, I don't know you at all! However, I do know that child well enough to know that hiding things from him is only going to deteriorate his trust in you and in anyone else."

Although Misato was visibly shaken from his quick outburst, her small shred of pride made its way to the surface. Even with her pride, her statement still felt hollow.

"I've been his guardian longer then you've even been here. I know what's best for him..."

This time, the woman could hear the sound of Christian's teeth grinding together, and if it were possible, his face got even closer to hers.

"Do you? Do you really know what's best for those children? Have you looked far enough past yourself to really see what lies underneath the two of them? If you have you certainly don't act the part, and it shows. You may not believe it but they both look up to you, as a guardian and as a friend. You've let your own demons run your life, and if you don't get it together then the two of them are going to be the ones to suffer the consequences!"

Misato's eyes closed halfway through the venom laden words that came from his mouth, and she felt that if any of his spit landed on her, it would have likely burned right through her. She turned her head when he was done talking, trying hard not to cry in front of him but failing miserably. Only when she felt his presence leave her personal space, did she open her eyes and see that he had taken a few steps back. The ferocity in his eyes had softened greatly but his face and his voice were still very hard.

"They count on you more then you may even realize Misato, don't let them down..."

Ritsuko just kept her eyes forward when her purple haired companion finished retelling the events inside of the blonde bodyguard's apartment.

"I take it that's about the time I rang the door chime?"

Misato just nodded her head, trying not to think about the things that Christian had said to her. Trying to block out how true they were.

"Ritsuko...Misato..."

Both women turned when they heard the soft male voice calling them both. Christian stood not far behind them.

"Allow me to introduce the Sixth Child..."

Upon his declaration, a young girl, the same age as her fellow pilots, stepped out from behind him. Black hair was pulled back into a ponytail that reached the small of her back, and her delicate Chinese features were turned into a very bright smile. She saluted the two women in front of her, and surprised them both when a soft, yet vibrant voice emanated from her throat.

"Mai-Li Xiong, designated pilot of Evangelion Unit Six."

------------------------------------------------------------

The blonde bodyguard was very amused when he watched the other three occupants of the limousine talk about anything and everything. It was going to be a good hour or so before they arrived back at Tokyo-03, especially carrying the heavy luggage of Unit-06 in their convoy.

Mai-Li, or Mai as she had expressed them all to call her, was very vibrant in her own way. She always had some form of smile on her face, and her voice was very melodic, much like Asuka's. Well, much like Asuka's when she wasn't screaming at someone. She had soft features much like her picture had shown, and a body much similar to an albino girl that Christian was also watching over.

Mai smiled as she made light talk with the purple haired woman she had come to know as Major Misato Katsuragi. The raven haired beauty had embarrassed herself when earlier in their meeting she had expressed her surprise at finding that Misato was actually a woman and not a man. This inquiry of course had caused the other two adults to burst into laughter. When the purple tressed woman screamed in protest, Mai had tried to explain that all the information she was given was that she would be briefed by Major Katsuragi, a finely trained 'military-man'. Mai, of course, hadn't realized that 'military-man' was just a nickname many military officials had when they were held in high respect, regardless of gender.

Silence once again filled the back seat of the limousine, each sitting in comfortable silence. Mai was absolutely thrilled to finally be in Japan. She had been elected to be the pilot of Unit-06 nearly five months prior. That was when the very beginning of the Angel attacks began to happen in Japan, and the Chinese government had decided to accelerate her training.

"Mai?"

The girl in question looked up, to find herself staring across at the smiling face of who she came to know as Dr. Ritsuko Akagi. She was amazed at this woman before her. Mai had come to learn quickly, that the rumors of Ritsuko's brilliance were none to far fetched. The blonde scientist held an air about her that commanded respect with her talents.

"Yes ma'am?"

Ritsuko laughed, waving a dismissive hand.

"Ritsuko is fine, I'm not old enough to be a 'ma'am' just yet."

Mai just nodded in response, her smile still dancing across her lips. Ritsuko glanced over a paper a few more times.

"I believe you have already been briefed as to your situation here by Mr. Takashi?"

The raven haired beauty nodded enthusiastically, smiling. Ritsuko smiled back, adjusting her glasses and scanning a few more papers.

"As I'm sure you know, you will not be participating in an Angel battles just yet, unless as a last resort. We will need to incorporate your harmonics and synch ratios into the MAGI system in order for us to monitor you like the other pilots. All of your belongings will be transported to your new residence with Christian."

"Mr. Takashi?"

Mai looked confused for a moment, glancing from Christian to Ritsuko. Christian was a hard man for Mai to really understand. He did not have the reputation that Misato and Ritsuko had just yet, but he was known to be the bodyguard for the pilots when times of danger came about. He had an air of mystery that Mai couldn't quite put her finger on, and although he seemed generally reserved, he did have a kind smile and a warm personality. He was, however, a man, and she a girl. The thought caused the raven haired girls cheeks to flush slightly.

"Umm, but Mr. Takashi is a man..."

The blonde scientist, seated across from her chuckled.

"You're right about that Mai."

The three adults laughed, and finally, it was the blonde bodyguard that spoke up next.

"You can call me Christian, Mai. It's fine that you stay with me. Misato lives right next door with Shinji Ikari and Asuka Langley, so it's not abnormal for one of us to be a guardian of a different t gender. NERV actually prefers that we all stay in close quarters, for safety and security reasons. Besides..."

Although it was lost on the young girl sitting next to him, the other two adults picked up the slight narrowing of the eyes and the hint of darkness lining the words.

"...Should I get...out of line...Misato will be sure to come over and straighten me out."

The woman in question involuntarily flinched, her gaze strafing from his cold blue to the soft scenery that went by as they drove. A soft but exuberant voice rang back through, bringing the purple haired woman's eyes back around.

"Will I be able to meet Shinji Ikari and Asuka Langley?"

Misato smiled at the younger girl, despite the current unease.

"You'll get to do more then meet them, you're one of the pilots, so you'll be working right alongside of them.

Mai's soft Chinese features broke into a smile and she blushed lightly. Christian took note of things, and remembered something from the report he received from his contact the day before.

"You seem very interested in meeting the other Children, don't you?"

The smile never left her soft Chinese features, but the blush subsided.

"They are both widely famous, even the First Child, although most publicity is pulled away from her. You see, the Second and Third Children are fairly famous around the world. They were refereed to as the 'Child Saviors' on more then one occasion, especially where I am from. Ever since I was elected to become an Eva pilots a few months ago, I never truly realized my responsibility until I began hearing about the other pilots that were already waging the war against the Angels. I truly believe that they are soldiers without equal, and I've been wanting to meet them ever since."

Christian nodded lightly, smiling. However, it was Misato's teasing voice that finally broke through.

"Are you sure that you just don't want to meet the Third Child because he's cute, and single?"

The Chinese girl almost screamed in embarrassment, her eyes going wide and her lower jaw almost slamming against the floor. She stammered for a moment, before Ritsuko leaned over and put a comforting hand on her knee.

"You're going to fit in just perfectly Mai."

------------------------------------------------------------

Mai stepped into the apartment, feeling slightly out of place, even with the firm hand that guided her into the comfortable surroundings. She took her first look around the house that would become her new residence.

"Your room is right over there, on the left."

The girl nodded slightly, readjusting her duffel bag, and proceeding forward, intent on getting settled in as soon as possible. The blonde bodyguard smiled and walked into the kitchen, pulling out a pair of cups, preparing some tea while his new charge was unpacking and trying to adjust to the new accommodations. He could tell she was a bit out of place, but she was beginning to become more relaxed and relieved at each passing moment.

The door chime ringing through the walls of the apartment caught Christian's attention, and although he was a bit wary about answering it, thanks to a purple haired guardian, he nonetheless strode over, hitting the button and causing the door to hiss open.

"Hi Christian."

It only took a second before the blonde bodyguard was thoroughly happy he had answered it.

"Good evening Shinji."

The older of the two stepped aside, allowing the younger to walk in. The young pilot was dressed in his normal school clothes, but he carried a small backpack with him, carrying the things he would need for his practice session with his bodyguard. The blonde man smiled, walking back towards the kitchen and motioning for Shinji to follow. When the younger Ikari was seated, Christian pulled out another cup, putting the finishing touches on the tea that was brewing.

"Christian, do you know when my belongings will arrive?"

A sing-song voice made Shinji turn his head to its source, and he was in for a pleasant shock. Standing on the other side of the room, was a beautiful young girl around his age. Her long mane of raven black hair was pulled out of it's ponytail, and it cascaded down her back like a wave of black silk. Her face was a sign of brief shock and morbid curiosity as she also took him into regard. But her eyes, a beautiful vibrant green, seemed unnatural, like drops of emerald, set into a beautiful pool of black and white. The young pilot felt his jaw lower slightly, and a mental wall blocked most intelligent thoughts from his mind. It was a reaction that was very similar to the first time he met Asuka.

Mai was surprised to find a young boy sitting at the outstretched counter in the kitchen, obviously conversing with her new guardian. The brown hair was combed about, but had a natural style all its own. He had deep blue eyes that just seemed to trap her senses, and his face proved that he would become very handsome later in age. Seeing that neither of them were going to introduce themselves, the blonde bodyguard cleared his throat, breaking both out of their reveries.

"Shinji, meet Mai-Li Xiong, designated pilot of Evangelion Unit Six. Mai, meet Shinji Ikari, designated pilot of Evangelion Unit One."

Shinji shook his head for a brief second, before smiling warmly and holding out his hand to the approaching girl.

"It's very nice to meet you."

Mai smiled back, a small blush crossing her features.

"It's a pleasure to meet you too."

Christian smiled, offering both teens a cup of tea, both accepting graciously. Conversation ensued, much of it was question and answer on both teens part, the blonde bodyguard listening and commenting here and there. Much of the conversations revolved around each of their respective backgrounds, mostly about their coming to be Evangelion pilots. The conversation continued until a a cell phone rang out, slicing through the soft atmosphere. The blonde man pulled it out of his pocket, checking the number, and bringing it up to his ear.

"Takashi here."

Both teenagers watched as he nodded his head a few times, before clicking it off.

"That was Misato. Obviously there is some situation requires my presence, along with a few other people."

Shinji looked a little struck for a moment, before nodding.

"Does this mean training is off for the night?"

The blonde bodyguard looked thoughtful for a moment, tapping a finger against his chin. He glanced up and shook his head.

"Only if you want it to be. I don't mind leaving you to here, and I'm sure Mai wouldn't mind the company."

He looked at the Chinese beauty, who smiled and nodded her head. He nodded back, before gathering up his jacket and checking himself for any other needed items. As he was getting prepared, he spoke off orders to Shinji.

"Practice what I showed you last time, your basic punches and kicks. Spend about a half hour on the treadmill, don't worry if you need to turn down the speed if you begin to tire. Make sure you do the stretches I explained to you, before you start."

Shinji nodded in understanding before the blonde man called out his goodbye.

------------------------------------------------------------

Shinji sat on one of the blue training mats that were placed around the gym equipment, legs stretched as far to the sides as he could get them. It amazed him how his bodyguard could do some of the things he could do, without tearing something at every turn. The Third Child just sighed, and tried to stretch a bit more, flinching as his body protested with the action he was taking upon it.

"Would you like some help?"

Shinji looked up, meeting the smile of a certain Chinese girl.

Mai and Shinji had both talked shyly after their bodyguard had left, before Mai realized how late it was and rushed to get the rest of her belongings unpacked. At that point, Shinji realized that much more time had passed then he had intended, and he would need to start on his training if he was going to get to bed at a decent hour.

Mai's smile grew as Shinji returned it, nodding softly. He blushed lightly when he realized that the girl was in a pair of shorts that definitely shouldn't be worn outside of private places. Her shoot was a bit more modest, even though it left little to Shinji's intrusive imagination. She sat down in front of him, and reached out with both of her arms.

"Give me your hands."

Shinji complied, trying not to yelp when he felt her soft hands take his. The Third Child nearly had a heart attack as the Chinese girl placed her feet against his legs, at mid-thigh. She pulled on his arms lightly, while using her socked feet to push his legs lightly. Amazingly, Shinji didn't feel nearly the pain he did before.

"Keep leaning back, and pull yourself forward with your arms."

The boy complied, flinching only a little. After several minutes of this, Mai let go of his hands and stood up, straightening out her clothing. Shinji hoisted himself up too, rubbing a few sore spots and getting the feeling back into his legs. Shinji gave the Chinese girl a soft smile.

"Thanks for the help, works much better with two people. How did you know that would be better anyways?"

Mai walked past him, browsing through some of the training gear that was nestled in a case not far from the punching bag. "My guardian back in China was a karate instructor, and taught self-defense to many of the agents at the Nerv branch there. So, I couldn't help but learn a few things over time."

Shinji nodded. "Sounds like you really learned a lot."

The boy didn't get a chance to expand on his statement before a pair of training gloves, and a padded helmet landed near his feet. He glanced up at the Chinese girl, as she fastened her own training gloves, a smile dancing across her lips.

"Care to find out how much?"

------------------------------------------------------------

Shinji, of course, learned that the term 'But learn a few things' meant that Mai had trained for a long time in the style of karate. He had a chance to figure that out as he landed on his back for the umpteenth time throughout their sparring match. Although to him it didn't seem like a sparring match, and more of him just trying to get a decent hit in. At first, he seemed quite reserved about trying to strike a girl, but when he realized that Mai could indeed defend herself, he actually began to try and attack her. Of course, his limited knowledge in martial arts, and his uncanny dislike of any kind of violence led him to be sorely disappointed in his performance.

Shinji groaned as he sat up, motioning to Mai that he was through, and unclasping the padded helmet. Mai knelt in front of him, pulling off her own helmet. The boy couldn't help but stare as she flung her hair out of the makeshift bun, the slight flush across her cheeks, and the deep steady breathing that went with her exertion.

"What is it like?"

The question brought a screeching halt to any other thoughts that Shinji might have. He tilted his head to the side, his eyes questioning.

"What is what like?"

"Fighting the Angels."

Mai was surprised when a deep frown crossed against his lips, as he slid his legs under himself in an Indian sitting position. He hung his head a bit, and answered in a voice that made Mai want to naturally comfort him.

"It's...painful. They are demons in disguise, not angels. They cause so much destruction, yet won't stop until all of humanity is destroyed."

Mai mimicked his sitting style, and watched him intently as his voice carried on.

"They always find a way to hurt us. To use us against ourselves, as if we were some sort of subject that they need to test. Every time I climb into my Eva, someone gets hurt, and its their fault. When you ask what it's like fighting the Angels, you should ask the people who have lost their homes, or lost their belongings...or even worse...who've lost their loved ones. They are the ones who pay the price for this war. So many times, I've walked down the street, and watched as a little girl or boy run around with their kite and I can't help but think that it may be the last time they get to fly it. They always find new ways to cause us pain, as if it were some sort of sick hobby they take up in their free time. When you stare them in the face, feel the pain of their actions or the fear that they cause, you realize that this is everything the rest of the world will feel if we don't stop them here and now. So, in order to do that, we must destroy what we must to keep them at bay...I guess...to answer your question..."

Mai listened softly as Shinji looked out of the balcony window that was across the room.

"You feel like an Angel...when you're fighting one."

Mai looked at the worn face of Shinji Ikari for truly the first time. It finally clicked that the boy in front of her was completely right in the one word he used to explain their situation...

War...

People were suffering, and dying and it was painted across his face that their deaths and losses were starting to eat away at him. The Chinese girl tried to reply to him, but every time she opened her mouth, the words retreated back down her throat. When she finally built up her resolve to respond, she heard the front door hiss open, and a disgruntled sigh escaped into the apartment.

Christian walked into the apartment, noticing both his charges sitting across from each other, and it was apparent that the two had been sparring at some point in time. He smiled and walked up to where the two were seated.

"Well Shinji, I guess I should have warned you that Mai here has been studying martial arts for some time now. At least from what her records can tell us."

Despite what the earlier conversation consisted of, Shinji smiled and pulled himself up.

"Yeah, I found out first hand." The young boy glanced at the clock. "It's late, so I should probably get going. Thanks for helping me today Mai."

The girl smiled and returned the small bow that he had given her. Without another word, he grabbed his backpack and made his way out of the apartment. It didn't escape the blonde bodyguard's notice, that the Third Child's head was hung a little lower then usual. He turned back to his new charge, who was slowly putting the training gear back in it's respective places. Her face was solemn but he could sense an underlying unease under features.

"Shinji seemed a bit upset."

Mai nodded.

"Mind telling me what it's about?" Christian could take two guesses as to what their conversation was about.

"About piloting Eva."

Of course he would only need one guess.

"I see..." Any other words were not exchanged, but Christian motioned for the Chinese beauty to follow him into the kitchen. She took a seat at the outstretched counter and watched as her new guardian fixed some tea. After it was prepared, he pushed a cup towards her, pulling his own cup up to his lips, savoring the hot but smooth flavor. He watched her closely as she just stared at the cup in front of her, and silence enveloped the two of them for some time. Finally, he took a deep breath.

"Whatever Shinji told you, it's absolutely true. This isn't a game Mai, and I don't honestly think you believe it is. However, you've got to remember this is serious. People may die, and you could be hurt. Any of us could be. You have to be strong through, and keep your chin up. Shinji, as well as the rest of the pilots, have had some terrible experiences since they've been here, and you may not be any exception."

Christian was mildly concerned that the vibrant girl he had met hours before, seemed to recede into a Shinji like depression after he made his statement. His concern grew when she nodded and gave him a soft thank you, before getting up and walking to her room. His eyes followed her all the way till she was all the way inside of her room, softly sliding the door closed. He let out a soft sigh, shaking his head and reminding himself that there were more important things to worry about.

Making sure her door was fully closed, he walked out onto the porch and closed the glass door behind himself. He glanced next door, and finding nobody occupying the porch of the Katsuragi residence, he pulled out a small silver device, flipping it open. There was of course only one ring, before the all too familiar voice rang through. He smiled, sending his greeting back, before he stared up at the night sky.

"Unit Four has disappeared..."

The voice on the other end was silent for a moment, before finally responding. The young man nodded his head.

"Yes, I've felt it as well."

He heard an affirmative response following his, and he let out another frustrated sigh.

"If it's true, then everything we've worked up towards will be wasted."

Once again, silence rang out across the connection, before a soft inquiry followed through.

"Yes...when the Seventeenth arrives...we'll find out for sure..."

The phone clicked off after both had said their farewells, and Christian stared out among the star filled sky, running a hand through his short blond locks. He seemed to age right on the spot, his eyes becoming heavy and his body slumping against the railing.

How much longer before I'm swept away in the same unknown current as everyone else?

------------------------------------------------------------

Mai sat quietly on her bed, rolling over the thoughts that had plagued her mind ever since her discussion with her blonde bodyguard.

People could get hurt...

You have to be strong...


The Chinese girl glanced at her nightstand, where two photos silently stood, giving glimpses of times long since past. One held an older man, wearing traditional Chinese clothing, and standing in front of a large dojo. His smile was small, his long mustache barely upturned. His eyes were happy though, and he had his arm wrapped around a younger girl, 10 at the most, whose black shoulder length hair was pulled into twin pigtails. She seemed just was happy, waving to whoever was taking the photo.

The second picture was taken by the sea, and a couple stood at the edge of a small cliff, staring across the sunset ocean. The man was pointing out towards the horizon, and the woman was snuggled into his side. She had long brown hair, tied back into a ponytail, with a soft sun dress. The man's jet black hair was short, and combed neatly to the side. His simple white shirt and brown slacks were a perfect contrast to the outfit the beautiful woman was wearing.

Dad...please...

Mother...what's going on?!

You're not my father!

I hate you!

Please leave me alone!

Mom, where are you going?!

Mother, Father, what's wrong?

I didn't do anything wrong, please....NO!!

Mai shook her head, blasting out anything else that was surfacing. She glanced at the bottle sitting between the two pictures, and opened the cap, taking a pill out and placing it in her mouth. Placing the cup of water, that had also been sitting there, against her lips, she drank slowly, letting the pill slide down her throat. The Sixth Child let out a deep breath when she set the glass back down. Sliding under her sheets, she turned out the light that was next to her.

Although the room was enveloped in darkness, the moonlight softly filtered through the window, landing on her nightstand. She settled herself in her pillow, before glancing at the first of the two pictures. A soft, but strong voice filtered through her mind...a memory long since past.

Sometimes the wrong people get hurt Mai-Li, but you must be strong. Nobody ever asks for such things to happen to them, but if they do happen, you must hold yourself high and...

Sleep obviously was a merciful thing, because it claimed the young Chinese beauty before her memories could fully resurface.

------------------------------------------------------------

Asuka glared up at the hulking form of Unit-02, whose only response was to give the fiery redhead it's own ever present grin. Her hands were firmly planted on her hips, where they had been for the last 20 minutes. Another deep frown crossed her red lips as she spoke softly.

"You're my doll, so you have to do what I say."

Any other words Asuka was going to throw out at the silent robot were cut short, when she heard the footsteps of someone else on the catwalk. She turned to find a Chinese girl about her age, hair pulled back into a ponytail, and a green and grey plugsuit hugging her lithe features, much the way her red plugsuit hugged hers. She didn't even acknowledge the girls presence until she was standing next to her, and when she finally did turn, her eyes seemed to regard the raven haired beauty as royalty would a commoner.

"Asuka Langley?"

The fiery beauty nodded her head, looking back at her Evangelion.

"I'm Mai-Li Xiong, pilot of..."

"I know who you are."

Mai clamped up, not fully expecting to be cut off so directly. She noticed that Asuka still seemed to be staring at her Eva, and was not entirely suer whether she should continue what could barely be called a conversation. She had heard the rumors that the Second Child was a bit high strung and definitely prideful, but she was not certain which were rumors and which were fact. Also, that morning Christian had warned her that the Second Child was having 'difficulties' piloting her Eva, and thus would probably not be in the best of moods. Mai had heeded his advice, but thought that it would still be nice to meet the legendary Second Child, and possibly get to know the girl she had only read about.

"Well, I'm pleased to meet you Asuka. I've heard a lot about you."

Asuka let out an annoyed breath, and turned her head slightly to look at the girl next to her.

"You should have, I'm the best Eva pilot this place has got."

Mai was not a stupid girl, and she could plainly see that even the redhead didn't believe the statement when it left her mouth. However, the Chinese girl didn't press the fact, and instead, continued on with pleasantries.

"I understand you live next door with Shinji and Misato, maybe I could come over one time and..."

Asuka annoyed breath made Mai stop mid-sentence. "I don't care if you come over, just don't expect me to look forward to it."

The raven haired girl look slightly shocked. Sensing disdain from her companion, she took a moment to gain her bearings before pressing again.

"I can understand you being upset, Christian informed me that you were having some trouble..."

"Can it rookie!"

Mai was quite surprised when Asuka turned on her heel, facing her for the first time during their first encounter with each other.

"Let's get one thing straight Sixth, I'm not having any trouble, and you sure as hell have no room to talk. You can be 'informed' all you want, especially from that pathetic excuse of a bodyguard, but it won't mean a damn thing. You have yet to get your feet wet, and if I have my way, you and your Unit Six will be nothing more then paper weights. I'm going to defeat the next Angel, and every one after that, so don't expect to out pilot me anytime soon."

Asuka stood right in front of Mai, and considering their similarities in height, it made it very easy for the two to lock eyes for a moment. The Chinese girl was still slightly confused at the outburst she had received just by trying to get better acquainted with someone she would like to soon call a friend. Asuka's eyes held a silent anger, feeling downright insulted that a rookie pilot was trying to downsize her piloting skills. Before either could continue their conversation, an alarm screamed through the headquarters, foretelling pain and destruction that was on it's way. Both girls looked up, but Asuka was the first to respond.

"An Angel?"

------------------------------------------------------------

Christian's teeth grit as he heard the screams echoing over the comm system. Scream after heart wrenching scream made it's way to the ears of everyone in the control room. Everyone watched, mortified as Asuka held her head in between her hands, curled up in a fetal position, and sounding as if the hounds of Hell had come to take her soul to the Devils front door.

The blonde bodyguard was hoping that it wouldn't come to this. Asuka had of course refused to be Rei's backup, and had elected herself to take the point position. When the Angel finally attacked, it used an inverted A.T. Field to puncture Asuka's already frail mind. Several rounds from the positron rifle went off, detonating in several areas around Tokyo-03. Rei had even tried using her high-powered rifle, but once again to no avail. So here Christian stood, Mai at his side, staring up at the horrific display in front of them.

"Let me out there!"

The control room was pleasantly surprised when Shinji's determined face came up on the screen. However, the ice cold tone of his father brought his son's determination to a dead halt.

"No. We can not afford Unit One to be contaminated by an Angel."

The young pilot narrowed his eyes, trying to burn a hole through the bastard he wished hadn't had a part to play in his birthing.

"She'll die if you don't let me do something!"

The blonde bodyguard watched the scene unfold in front of him, before a thought struck him, and he quickly ran over to Maya's console. Asking her permissions and getting the ok, he connected a line directly to Shinji's plug.

"Shinji, listen very carefully to me."

On the screen overlooking the control room, Shinji suddenly looked down at his bodyguard, doing exactly what was asked of him.

"I'm going to make a direct connection from your comm to Asuka's, I'll also be raising the volume decibels so that she can hear you. I want you to talk to her Shinji, about anything. I don't care what it is, but make sure she HEARS you. Let her know she's not alone, you've got to get through to her and keep her mind away from what that Angel is doing to her."

The brown haired boy looked confused for a moment, before the same determination that had donned his face earlier returned. When the heard the connection click through, he immediately began talking.

"Asuka! Asuka can you hear me!"

The only response he was given, were the poor girls screams, which had lowered tremendously. He could hear her sobs and it made him flinch.

"Asuka, you've got to listen to me. Don't let this thing beat you, you're stronger then this. I know you can fight it Asuka!"

As if it were some sort of miracle, Asuka's sobs lightened and her head lifted, little by little.

"S...Shinji...?"

The boy in question cheered in his mind, before letting a barrage of words leave his throat.

"I'm right here Asuka! Don't let this thing beat you! I know you're better then this, you let us know everyday. You're the best damn Evangelion pilot here, and don't let us forget it Asuka! I know you've got the strength to stand up to this!"

As Shinji continued to rain his support upon the broken redhead, the elder Ikari finally made his demands known.

"Send Rei to Terminal Dogma to retrieve the Lance."

That simple statement was like a pistol blast going off inside of a supermarket. Everyone froze, everyone went silent, and nobody knew what to do. It was Misato who finally spoke up.

"But I thought if an Angel came in contact with Adam it would cause Third Impact!"

Silence was her only answer, and she grumbled under her breath turning away from the man who sat upon his throne. Above everyone, Fyuutski leaned over, placing his hand on the Commander's shoulder and whispering into his ear.

"It's too early to use the Lance, Ikari. SEELE won't approve of this. We should deploy Unit Six."

The younger of the two merely stared out in front of him, hands ever intertwined under his nose.

"You know it is too early to sacrifice Unit Six just yet. We can't turn time back-wards, but we can spur events forward. Using the Lance at this point will be critical in us justifying our actions later on."

Fyuutski took his hand off the elder Ikari's shoulder, before looking up and taking note of Rei reaching the surface, Lance in hand. He listened for awhile, as Shinji continued to try to break through to Asuka.

"I hope you aren't making a mistake Gendo."

The amber glasses on the Commander's face glinted as Rei released the Lance, and he took note of Fyuutski using his first name. He made no response, and instead listened as the Angel was declared decimated. He heard Fyuutski straighten out behind him.

"Is there any way to retrieve the Lance?"

Upon hearing the negative, Fyuutski placed his hands behind his back, whispering softly. "I truly hope you aren't making a mistake."

The control room was silent as the only sound left what the soft sobs of one Asuka Langley Sorhyu. Misato wrapped her arms around herself and tried to keep herself from mimicking the sounds her young charge was making over the communications system. Each sob tore at her heart, and holding herself was all she could do to keep herself from falling to the floor in a fit of sobs. She glanced over and noticed Ritsuko in a similar state, keeping herself steady by using the back of Maya's chair as a handle. Maya, Hyugo and Aoba all seemed to be in similar states of shock and unease as the cries of Asuka made it's way into their brains. When her eyes finally landed on the form hunched over the other side of Maya's terminal, she realized that someone else probably felt just as bad as she did.

That was until she watched Christian snatch up a nearby clipboard and hurl it over the edge of the control room, letting the poor thing fall several hundred feet to it's doom.

"GOD FUCKING DAMNIT!"

The entire control room looked up at the young man in surprise, his arm still outstretched and his breathing heavy. Ritsuko was the only person that didn't move, other then letting her head hang a little lower. The blonde bodyguard finally turned and stormed out of the control room, his hard footfalls echoing even after the doors hissed closed behind him. Maya looked startled, before she stood up, getting ready to chase the young man down. A firm had clasped her shoulders and she turned to find her role model shaking her head slightly.

"Let him go Maya..."

The brunette looked to protest, but sighed as well, before sitting back in her seat, and slumping over.

The purple haired goddess could do nothing but watch the entire scene unfold. She noticed Mai standing a bit behind Hyugo, still watching the screen as Unit-02 was being swarmed by field technicians. The young Chinese girl looked shaken, until she felt a soft hand land on her shoulder. She turned to find Asuka's guardian looking down at her, a soft comfort lining the back of her eyes.

"You just got your first glimpse of what it takes to be an Evangelion pilot."

Mia nodded, and was surprised when Misato took her into a soft hug. The Major was mildly surprised back when the young girl returned it, before glancing back at the screen through soft tears.

God...Why must you punish children who have done nothing wrong to you?

------------------------------------------------------------

"Asuka, I'm glad that you're ok!"

"Who says that I'm ok! That little...bitch...Rei...she saved me. I hate her. I hate her! I hate you Shinji, I hate everything!"

Shock would be an understatement. Hurt would be an even bigger one. Yet those were the only two words Shinji could use to describe what we was feeling at the moment. Yellow caution tape had been wrapped around the area surrounding Asuka, and whether it was for her own good, or anyone else's, Shinji couldn't help but wish that he could tear it all down. She had been deemed 'contaminated' and had been quarantined off by technicians who were now tending to the unscathed Unit-02. Shinji frowned a bit more when he realized that an unscathed Unit-02 came at a terrible price.

He gave the once fiery redhead one last look, the sight of her curled up and sobbing burning it's way into the back of his mind. He turned away and began to walk back the way he came, rubbing the tears that were stinging his eyes. He stopped when he felt a light hand against his chest. When he opened his eyes, he was greeted by a person he had not fully expected to see.

"Go to her."

Shinji looked back at Asuka, her shoulders still shaking uncontrollably. He glanced back at the person who had their hand against his chest.

"I can't, she's under quaran..."

"I am not going to repeat myself."

The young pilot could only nod as he heard a voice that sounded nothing like Christian's, rise from the mans throat. Following his bodyguards advice, he turned and walked back towards the yellow tape. He stood their for a moment, like a mouse getting ready to run out of it's hole and towards the cat. Taking a few steady breaths, he set one foot over the yellow tape, and then followed it with the other.

Unsure steps were what he used to stand next to the sobbing redhead. If she knew he was there, she showed no signs of caring, face still buried between her knees. Shinji sat down in a similar fashion to Asuka, saying nothing and looking out over the horizon.

"I d...don't...really hate...y-you."

Shinji couldn't help but nod his head as the German beauty hiccuped out her true intent. He noticed that she held what seemed to be a small gold bracelet in her hands, with something etched onto it that he couldn't understand.

"I know Asuka...I know."

Several feet behind them, a seething fire was building. Flames began to twist in a hellish dance of fury, before towering up over everything else. Heat came out in washes of anger and frustration, reminding the world that it would not be denied it's rightful duty to destroy all in it's path. Then Christian closed his eyes...

...and when he opened them, the fires were gone. In their place, sat a cold, steely resolve. So he just narrowed them and turned around, walking away, jacket fluttering in a breeze that suddenly picked up.

A breeze that just seemed to whisper for the fires to come back.

------------------------------------------------------------

The doors to the Commanders office hissed opened, and suddenly, the thermostat on the side of the room dropped a few degrees. A figure stalked all the way towards the desk, behind which sat a person that humanity would be afraid to call its own. The figure took long, meaningful strides, a mission behind its movements. Gendo watched as the person made their way to his desk, Fyuutski standing behind him.

"Mr. Takashi..."

The named rolled off Gendo Ikari's tongue like a steel pike through the forehead, and before either Commander's could register the movement, the blonde bodyguard had stalked all the way up to the front of the steel desk, and slammed a piece of metal against it's cold surface.

Gendo's eyes narrowed behind the amber glasses as Christian leaned over the desk, almost invading the elder Ikari's personal space.

"Listen closely, and listen good..."

The Sub-Commander, who stood slightly behind the two, slowly reached into his jacket, keeping it their as a silent threat. If the blonde bodyguard had seen the action, he took no heed. In fact, he pressed forward even more.

"I was hired for one purpose, and that was to keep those Children safe from elements that I could keep them safe from. I am to protect them no matter what the cost, even if it's my own life. I would be willing to give anything up to make sure they don't have to suffer. I was hired to protect them, and I will..." His face ended up just inches away from Gendo's and latter gave no indication of being intimidated in the least.

"Even if it's from you..."

A soft click could be heard from the behind the two, but Fyuutski still held his hand inside his coat, not moving any more then the men in front of them. Once again, the threat was lost on the young man.

Two sets of eyes squared off in a battle for dominance, and neither gained any ground on the other. Finally, Christian's voice seemed to freeze the walls surrounding the office.

"Don't think for one moment, that I won't hesitate to kill you, should you ever jeopardize one of them like that again."

To emphasis his point, he clicked back the small hammer on the device he had slammed against the desk. Without another word, he turned and walked defiantly out of the office. Gendo hadn't moved through the entire ordeal, but he could hear a soft breath escape from his companion behind him. The elder Ikari looked at the gun that still sat on his desk, hammer back, and trigger ready to be pulled.

He reached out and uncocked the gun, before placing it in a vacant drawer in his desk. He stood slowly, and walked towards the window that was behind his desk, staring out at the landscape of the GeoFront. He heard the older man click back his own weapon, before taking a seat on the corner of the desk.

"Fyuutski, see that Mr. Takashi gets promoted to Captain."

Gendo had expected the soft laugh that came from Fyuutski's throat.

"May I ask why?"

Although the Commander hadn't moved his head, Fyuutski could tell his eyes had shifted to him.

"Because now I'm absolutely certain that Shinji is in good hands for the time being."

The Sub-Commander nodded his understanding, even as another soft laugh emanated from his mouth.

"A man comes in and threatens you, and you promote him. I never thought I would see the day Ikari..."

The amber glasses on his face glinted as a small smirk plastered it's way onto his lips.

"You know the saying, my old friend..."

"...'God works in mysterious ways'..."

Fyuutski wasn't sure what unnerved him more. The fact that Gendo was overlooking the GeoFront as he made that statement...

...or that his old friend's hand was tracing his own reflection in the glass.


Author's Notes:

Well, first I guess an apology is in order for the long wait. Like I had said in my previous chapter, I have recently been in the process of moving and getting myself settled in my new surrounding. And since I'm going to get straight to the point...

...I didn't realize moving also involved getting robbed.

There had to be some higher being laughing as I came home to find my place ransacked for much of what it was worth. My computer, my T.V., all of my game systems, my whole stockpile of Anime DvD's and DvD movies, pretty much everything of importance was gone. Thankfully, the police had found out who it was fairly easily. When I moved in, there were a few gardeners who were working on a house across from mine. Apparently, they decided that they liked what they saw me and my friends carrying out of my U-Haul truck, and took it among themselves to take it. Since I work graveyard, they had decided to strike during the day.

Pretty stupid move since the woman across the street recognized them instantly. (They worked on her yard on a regular basis, DUH!)

To make another long story short, the police easily apprehended them. By that time, they had sold a few of my possessions. (Namely my computer, one of my console systems and games). Thankfully, most everything else was recovered. Except my computer, which of course had ALL of my personal information on it. Including the almost completed Chapter 4. (Thank god for password protection)

I had nothing to write on, and I sure wasn't going to write this on a piece of paper. Thankfully, a friend of mine lent me a long lost typewriter he found in his basement. So low and behold, while I saved up money for a new comp (Which I need anyways!), I continued my writing on that, waiting until I could get myself something new.

So here I sit, with a new comp into front of me, copying everything I have written on that lovely (but damn old) typewriter. I apologize if this chapter doesn't seem up to par, as I had to rewrite it and much of it's luster feels gone after that. But I'll leave that for you all to decide, since you are of course, the readers.

As a special bonus, for the long wait, I've added a little teaser at the end of my Author's Notes for Chapter 5. I hope it hooks you all enough to make you scream for more. Chapter 5 is, by the way, about half way done, but I probably won't get around to finishing it for another couple weeks. (So long as I don't hit writers block or don't have to spend too much overtime at work.)

Once again, my heart felt thanks goes out to jennyjennai, Cyber-Undead, Zang-sama, Lonely Magician, lawless priest, and everyone else that reviewed. I love knowing that all of you are enjoying what I write. I hope this chapter meets all your expectations, and keeps you wanting more. ;) Love you all!

Until I see you all again, please, take care of yourselves.

Chris


Teaser Trailer - Chapter 5: Fallen Dreams and Shattered Angels


Shinji just stared at Asuka as she lay upon her bed, crying as if no one else was around to see.

"What am I doing wrong Shinji? Am I so worthless?"

Shinji stepped forward...

------------------------------------------------------------

Rei stared at the glasses she held in her hand, feeling the cool surface run across the ridges in her palm. She didn't realize her hands constricting until the lens gave an audible crack, a protest to the evil blue haired girl that was squeezing it so hard. She was shocked to see a few wet drops softly land on the lens', before she realized that they were tears...

...that fell from her own eyes.

"Who am I?"

That was when her eyes picked up the small mirror that had been resting peacefully on her nightstand.

------------------------------------------------------------

Ritsuko didn't know how fast he moved, but she knew the end result. Especially when the cold steel barrel was pressed against her forehead. She couldn't stop the tears that fell from her eyes as she stared into his deep blues, which did nothing to hide the betrayal behind them. His soft voice only made her want to moan in despair all the more.

"You made me a promise..."

------------------------------------------------------------

Christian's arms shot up fast enough to catch the girl's fist before it got anywhere near him. With a quick jerk to the right, he sent Mai sprawling. Using her momentum, she rolled quickly to her feet, once again attacking the man in front of her. He dodged and weaved, before ducking low and sweeping her legs out from under her. She landed with a yelp, before her guardian stood over her.

"Is that enough?"

------------------------------------------------------------

Her red hair clung to her face as the rain continued to pour down. The sky was dark, and thunder could be heard calling out the lightning, both making a harmony of light and sound in the night sky. Her dress had long since become drenched, clinging to her body like the plugsuit she no longer felt worthy to wear. She couldn't tell whether it was the rain, or her tears, that made her eyes sting so badly, but it didn't matter as she sunk to her knees in the muddy earth.

"I'm coming to heaven with you...Mama..."


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