New chapter (finally, I know). Sorry for the excessive wait guys…

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Shinji emerged from the costume vault, clad in one of his older Batman suits. He checked and rechecked the bindings on his gauntlets, and proceeded to head for the Batmobile.

"Not using the new suit?" Asked Kaoru nearby. Shinji continued to the vehicle, opening the cockpit hatch.

"It's still experimental. I'd prefer to have as few unknowns as possible for this mission." He leapt into the car and began starting up the new vehicle's systems. Kaoru walked forward and leaned against the side, a thoughtful look on his face.

"So, you're not telling the others?"

"Rei and Ritsuko know… The others don't," Batman said simply.

"Like hell!"

Batman looked up and glowered at Maya, dressed in her newer Robin costume. She put her hands on her hips and scowled.

"You need at least one person with you on this mission. You can't do everything alone, remember? Why else did you let us be your partners?" She emphasized the partners part in a way that would normally have left Shinji blushing like crazy.

However, he was now Batman. And Batman did not blush.

"I let you become my partners for the simple reason that I wanted to keep you out of trouble," he growled. "Nothing more."

Maya shook her head, and turned to Kaoru. "He actually tried the whole 'piss me off to keep me safe' routine?"

The Angel of Free Will smirked and shrugged. "It can be an effective tactic…"

"Well not now, not ever," Maya said flatly, vaulting into the passenger's seat. Batman's scowl just deepened, but he managed a nod.

"Enact protocol A14 if we don't come back in 48 hours," Shinji ordered, shutting the car's cockpit and driving off at full speed. Maya looked at Shinji curiously while fastening her seat belt.


Batman nodded grimly, directing the car to head for the hidden hanger facility on the outskirts of the city.

"He'll take my place as Batman."

Maya frowned.

"You know, you've been showing him an enormous amount of trust…"

"Rei tells me he's not lying, but even if he were, I'd still have him with us," Batman replied. Maya blinked.

"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer?"

Batman nodded as the car roared down the road.

- - - - - - - -

Asuka sighed, looking out over the city from her bedroom's balcony. She crossed her arms over her chest, her yellow sleeping shirt clutching at her impressive figure. A cool wind whipped her hair out, waving in the breeze.

"Looking for something?"

Asuka started and turned around with a deathglare she reserved for the Batman… Instead coming face to face with a smirking, pale kid in a black bodysuit, hanging upside-down from a jumpline. Just enough of his face was covered in a domino mask to conceal his identity, and his messy black hair waved slightly in the breeze. A blue bird-like emblem covered his muscular chest, and Asuka unconsciously began to ogle.

"Isn't this the part where you kiss me?" He asked, sounding almost amused. Asuka snarled and threw a punch which the vigilante easily avoided. He swung himself onto the balcony wall, crouching while still smiling that Cheshire cat's smirk.

"Who are you supposed to be? Peeping Fag?" Asuka growled.

"No… Name's Nightwing." The smirk grew. "I was finished with my patrol and decided to see you."

"Me? Why me?" Asuka grunted.

"You are the one and only Asuka Langley Soryu, are you not?" Nightwing asked, still smirking. "I wanted to see you for myself."

Asuka smirked back at last, and stretched her arms over her head sexily.

"So, what do you think?" She crooned with a wink. Nightwing shrugged.

"Meh… I've seen better."


Asuka felt a vein throw in her forehead as she charged for the vigilante, fist ready to punch that smirk off his handsome face-!

Nightwing caught her fist effortlessly, and Asuka froze.

"Language, Miss Soryu," he admonished playfully. She was locked into staring back into Nightwing's opaque lens covered eyes, felt his warm breath-

"Hey! Let me go you pervert! I'll scream rape, I swear it!" Asuka snarled. Nightwing let her go, still smiling… Even as he blocked her next punch.

"Not bad… But I think your combat training is a little rusty," he said honestly. "Synching all day with an Eva doesn't mean you're a better soldier after all."

"And what do you know about piloting an Eva?" Asuka returned angrily. Kaoru shrugged and smiled genuinely, almost sadly.

"A lot more than you'd think," he said. "If you'd like, I can help train you in combat?"

"What would you get out of it, oberarsch?" Asuka cursed. Nightwing grinned.

"The company of a beautiful woman, for one," he said, before leaping backwards off the balcony. Asuka watched in amazement as he began to glide, wings made of some strange material emerging from his back and carry him upon the wind.

"Klugscheißer," she muttered, shivering a bit at how cold it was, and heading back into the apartment.

- - - - - - - - - - -

The Batjet silently landed outside the compound, nestled in the northern forests of Canada. Batman and Robin emerged from the vehicle, stealthily and quickly making their way towards the perimeter. Batman engaged the nightvision lenses in his cowl and scoped out the fence. His frown deepened.

"Shoddy security," he said. Robin nodded, looking through some night-vision binoculars.

"Well, the more heavily guarded something is, the more attention it's likely to draw right?" Maya suggested. Batman nodded thoughtfully.

"Maybe… I still don't like it. Mana may have given us the right location, but…"

"Batman, if we can get a bug into the main holographic communications net of SEELE, we'll be able to know precisely when the attack on NERV is supposed to begin… Not to mention any of their other plans." Robin shrugged. "We don't have a lot of choice in the matter."

Batman made no response, other than to begin his approach to the fence. Robin followed, and froze with Batman as a pair of men walked by the trees they were hidden in, talking and laughing in French. As soon as they were out of hearing range, Robin began to move forward. A hand on her shoulder stopped her, and she looked quizzically at Batman. He pointed to a security camera she'd missed.

Maya nodded and stepped back, eyes locked on the camera as it slowly scanned the area. The materials in their costumes minimized their heat signatures but…

The camera stopped and resumed its slow scan of the forest. Batman and Robin waited, until it stopped and began to scan again, passing them by. The instant it did Batman and Robin dashed forward, getting up over the fence and into the shadows of one of the small buildings in the compound before the camera could look back.

Stealthily they proceeded, Batman calling up the blueprints Mana sent them on his palmtop computer. His eyes narrowed. The main control system was in a central building. It made sense… But something had been triggering his danger sense from the moment he'd set out. He hadn't wanted anyone else along.

They avoided a few more guards and reached the central building. It was large, three stories at least and covering an area roughly one-half of a football field. Batman fired a jumpline and ascended, quickly followed by Robin. On the roof, they paused, observing the area.

"No guards on the roof," Batman muttered. Robin nodded.

"Again though… How many people actually know SEELE exists?"

She had a point, but he still felt uneasy. Opening a panel that led to a service duct, the two vigilantes descended into the building. Entering a hallway, they continued on their way, following the plans in Batman's palmtop screen.

Finally, they entered a vast, open chamber. Batman and Robin walked in, observing the various computers and projector systems ringing the vast room.

The door shut behind them, and a spotlight shown down upon the two.

"Trap," Batman growled. Robin nodded, as a dozen Joker trading cards appeared, surrounding them. A familiar maniacal laugh filled the room.

"Why, if it isn't Batman and the Girl Blunder! I was hoping you'd show up!"

"Joker… I see you're still alive," Batman replied flatly.

"Indeed! Thank you so much for your concern, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I have to admit, being drowned in Bakelite was a different experience for me!"

"How did he know we were coming?" Robin muttered. The Joker laughed.

"HAHAHAHAHAHA! Why, I knew you would try to stop SEELE. Unfortunately or fortunately, depends on your point of view really, I got to them first! I think I'll start a new food chain-Crispy Fried Megalomaniacs!"

"Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue," Maya grimaced in disgust. Batman nodded.

"But anyway, considering you're the reason for me having that delightful Bakelite bath, I must return the favor! Too bad I couldn't find any Bakelite here, but then again using the same material twice is really not my style!"

Out of the darkness surrounding them, numerous glowing red eyes appeared, narrowing at the two vigilantes.

"So, here's the punch line kiddies! A few ill-tempered Angel-human hybrids who just want to play! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!"

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No, not the final chapter. There's still some fun to be had with this universe yet.

Please review and keep reading! I'm not going to take as long to update as I have in the past, not when we're almost to the close of this story.