End of Evangelion Part 3
Disclaimer: I don't own this series or any other series. I am just floating an idea. I am making no money, nor plan to, off this venture. If you think of suing me over this, then grow up.
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"Finally," huffed Lilith, panting slightly at the end of her effort to remove the twisted soul of the Grey Seed from her world. Sure, she could have expelled him into space, expelled him physically from the world she now owned.
But then what? Could she guarantee that he would not expire within her new sphere of influence, the sphere of influence of any other Lilith? What if he did? Could she control that soul, even if it meant containing and assimilating that taint?
It was best not to risk such an action. It was bad enough she was defiled by having to restore her children back to their desired state, removing the essence he infused into them. But to have the source of that toxin within her...?
No; removing him from the universe in its entirety was the best option, since she was still too weak to rend his soul, to wipe his existence out permanently.
But she was paying for it now. Her body was exhausted, the stolen energy she had taken from the Grey Children was at a dangerously low level, almost too low to restart her own S2 generation and complete Instrumentality, to restore and remake the world the way it should have been all those billions of years ago, before Adam's World hit.
This was her chance to Bloom, to fulfill her purpose, her destiny. It was a destiny withheld from her for billions of years, time forgotten when she should have been making her way from this world. It had been maddening to be so close to her purpose, only to have Adam's World slam into Earth and upset her timetable. Instead, she had been forced to be passive, to slowly influence the development of intelligent life over eons instead of centuries.
And what were the results? Madness? Adam's continued existence on her world? The birth of a second parasite on her world?
No; it was her children's desire for Adam's gifts, for control over the essence of creation itself!
But her desires were close at hand, only the lack of energy kept them out of reach for the moment. And with time now on her side, that moment was slowly dwindling, and she would once again have all she needed to fulfill her desires.
Closing her eyes, she floated within the air before the reconstructed form of her giant body. A few hours of quiet peace and meditation, and she would have all her energy returned, a day or two at the most.
Closing her eyes and her senses to the shattered world around her, she never noticed, never felt when a single soul within the Egg ... began to move freely.
"Shinji ... kun..."
The two figured stared through the two-way mirror, looking upon the black-haired male, eight wings sprouting from his back, as he sat on a stool, arms resting on the metal table before him.
"Has he said anything?" asked the female watching the boy.
"Only his name," said the male voice, "a few other things. For the most part, he's been quiet."
"He really does resemble Shinji," said the female voice.
"While I do not dispute that Yui," said the male, "the fact remains that he is an Angel. The Committee will want him handed over, if not destroyed."
"I know that, Gendo," said the revealed Yui Ikari. "But I still see my son in those eyes.
"Have the pilots been debriefed?"
Gendo nodded. "Not much to add; Shinji was temporarily deaf while Rei and Asuka were unconscious from the shock of the situation."
"Then I suppose we should question him now."
Nodding, Gendo reached for the handle to the interrogation room.
Shinji Ikari, the Grey Seed, sat quietly in the interrogation room, waiting for whatever passed for this world's Command Structure to send some to 'ask' questions.
Of course, the fact of what he would do if they went beyond 'asking' was beside the point.
Another world? Sure, he knew it was possible, a damned good likelihood after Leliel's attack. Part of him still wondered if all of those Pilots had returned to their own world, their own destinies. But now he found himself involved in that equation in a way he never would have considered. Here he was the alien, the Outsider due to Lilith's desire to not be 'tainted' by his soul, cast through time and space to an Earth not his own.
As if the day had been going well up till that point. Maybe I need to piss off the Lilith here and make her send me home?
The door slowly opened, bringing him out of his potential plans to piss off one Black Seed to send him back to kill another. His eyes widened for a split second, seeing the faces as they entered.
One was his father, easy enough to identify on some level, minus the beard he wore on Shinji's world.
The other was a face he often dreamed about in his short lifetime, a face he had hoped to see one day when he freed her from the confines of the Core of Unit 01: Yui Ikari, his mother.
The few that followed, armed guards with nothing more than the standard automatic weapons all military soldiers were usually equipped with, did nothing to warrant any attention from him. If they were using outdated—by his standards at least—weapons, then he had nothing to fear. It seemed that this was a world that had yet to make any use of the Anti-AT weaponry.
Taking a seat, the elder Ikari members sat across from him, Yui Ikari removing her glasses, as she looked across the table towards him. "Do you know who we are?" she asked, her voice and tone even.
Shinji focused back on them, feeling similar feelings from when he had been inside the Angel's Dirac prison; knowing the people before him both were his parents and yet not his parents. So close and yet so far away from my dreams; one must wonder why Fate enjoys putting me through such torment. "You are Yui Ikari and her husband Gendo Ikari, who married into the Ikari family."
She nodded. "Why have you come here?" she asked.
Shinji sneered at that. "Because the Mother of Humanity was a total bitch and doesn't like to play nice," he said, trying to keep venom from dropping from his remark.
"Explain," said Gendo, using the same monotone voice Shinji had come to expect from his father.
"Lilith tried to remove me from existence because she didn't see a place for me in her world," he said, shifting his attention to Gendo. "She initiated Third Impact during an attack on Tokyo-3 by SEELE, who had attacked in the hopes they could initiate it on their own and make themselves Gods among the new world order they planned.
"Naturally, we didn't like either idea and fought against them, wanting to preserve the new path opened to Humanity," he said.
"New path?" asked Yui.
Shinji nodded and leaned back into his cold metal chair. It appeared he was going to have to tell this story once again. On the bright side though, he at least knew all the chapters before this moment now.
Misato was humming contently, working on the meal before her. She had to hurry before her daughter arrived back home from school. With any luck, Kaji would be done with his job as well and they would be able to have a meal as a family.
Blinking, she turned from the stove. "Rei? What are you doing here? Do you need some help with class?"
The blue haired girl merely shook her head. "We need to leave this world now, Misato-san. We need to finish our fight with Lilith."
"Lilith?" asked Misato, looking as if she had never heard of the name before.
"We are in a dream world created by the All-Soul, a world meant to keep all souls content until Lilith has a need for it to be placed into a form," said Rei. "Misato-san, you are currently placed in this world, a realm made from what you would view as the perfect life."
Misato just smiled as she shook her head. "Such an active imagination you have, Rei-chan," she said as she went back to making the meal for her family.
"Then you do not believe that we were taken in Third Impact?"
The statement made Misato pause for a bit. That phrase...
"You have also lost the memories of our battles against the Angels, your father's sacrifice so that you could survive Second Impact?" Rei hated to do this; far be it for her to pull a soul from paradise. But if she didn't reach these people soon, then Lilith might prevail, and then all would truly be lost.
For everyone, for Shinji...
Misato's hand began to shake, emotions surging through her body. What was going on? "Please ... stop," she whispered hoarsely.
"I cannot follow that request," said Rei. "We owe Shinji too much to forsake him now."
The pan fell to the floor as Misato's hands seized her head, trying to fight off the maddening images, thoughts, and feelings that were bombarding her.
She was married. No; she was single, that bastard Kaji had yet to propose after they had made up. No; they were married, a child already there, married fresh out of college. No; they broke up in college because he was too much like her father!
"Human souls are easier to control if they are satiated," said Rei. "Lilith does not wish to use any power to fully wipe away the developed personality that each soul contains," she continued. "Such would occur anyway when she completes New Genesis, and remakes the world. So she is quite content to let humanity live in bliss until she wipes the slate clean."
Misato could only look at the pale girl, her mind still trying to wrap itself around the duality that had presented itself: the happy homemaker and the military strategist against the Angels. "Are you…?"
Rei slowly nodded. "I cannot manifest my control outside of the All-Soul to regain control over my body. In all likelihood, that avenue will be permanently cut off."
"Aside from this world, when it is gone, I shall have no physical form to return to. I will cease."
Misato slowly nodded. "But we … we turned to something, some liquid. Can't you return that way? I mean, you're acting like we can."
"I am uncertain at this point," continued Rei. "For anyone to regain a physical form, Shinji-kun would need to wrestle control of the All-Soul from Lilith. I cannot label the necessary variables of what could occur. But since Shinji is evolving into a Seed, then it stands to reason he could control the All-Soul and restore forms to those that were absorbed into it.
"However, I was not absorbed into the All-Soul by having my physical form reduced by the disruption of my AT-Field. Therefore, I am uncertain as to what may occur when Shinji returns you to physical form."
"But you're here … now, right?"
"I was absorbed directly into Lilith," Rei continued. "While her original form controls the All-Soul, I can flow into it. However, I am not fully connected to it; therefore I can move within the myriad of individual realms to weaken them, to gather allies to strike back."
"And Shinji?" Misato asked, trusting more in the memories not associated with the perfect house wife.
Rei shook her head. "I am uncertain. I only know that Lilith feels she has defeated him permanently, but at the cost of much of the energy she gathered from the Grey Children. Because of that, she now needs to rest and gather more energy."
"And how does she plan to do that?"
"Her own S2 organ," Rei replied. "It is regenerating even as we speak. However, the length of time since it was last used has created a delay."
"Damaged from lack of use?"
"Correct. Within that time, we must gather those we can, and prepare to face her in here if need be."
"And if we fail?"
"We must not," Rei replied firmly. We must hold out until Shinji-kun returns. It is all we can do.
Turning slightly, Rei seemed to glare at the wall, before a portal began to appear, blackness preventing any light or sound from reaching past the other side to them. "This will take us to the next person, Soryu."
"Gathering the pilots," Misato murmured, as she looked at the portal. "A gateway to our personal heavens, to pull us to Hell once again."
"Shinji-kun said once that anyplace can be heaven as long as you are willing to work to make it so."
Misato nodded, as she turned to look towards the living area, her mind—at least a small part—wanted to return to the dream, to avoid the painful reality that awaited her. It felt real, it was everything she had wanted, had dreamed.
But … but it wasn't real, an illusion could never be real, not to her.
"He probably got that from that girl; Usagi or whatever her name was," she murmured, as she focused once more on the First Child. "The odds are against us."
"I have survived your cooking," said Rei with a small smile. "These odds are better."
"Cheeky brat," smirked Misato, as she took off the apron and tossed it to the side.
"Fine then," she said, offering Rei her hand. "Shall we once more thrust ourselves into the breech?"
Nodding, Rei took her hand and the duo were off into the portal. It had been a small victory.
The war … that was going to be the real test.
"Do you think he was speaking the truth?" asked Gendo, sitting in his seat across from the Commander's Desk.
"I am inclined to believe him," said Yui. "What he knows, what he's described…? We knew the Fifth was a plant by SEELE, but even we never suspected he could be the Seventeenth. We simply assumed he was like Rei."
Gendo nodded. "Naoko and Ritsuko are going over what he's suggested as well as his blood-work. I doubt either will be sleeping for the next few nights."
Yui giggled a bit at that. The two were brilliant, but could too easily lose themselves in their work. "Anything we can gain from this will only help us in the long run. I am a bit worried about this 'ascension' ability he claims."
"We have been looking into that as well," Gendo said, holding out a report. "Scans of Rei have indicated that her S2 organ to under some stress, and there seems to be some activity around her appendix. If what he said about his Rei's transformation is true, then she will eventually lose her current S2 and develop a new one."
"And Shinji?" Yui asked, a bit of fear leaking into her voice now that her son might be changing as well.
Gendo removed his glasses. "Of that, I cannot be certain, and neither can our guest. But it is likely that the same effect he described will occur as well. Tests for them will begin within the hour on Asuka and Shinji."
Yui could only lean back into her chair, the weight of the matters they discussed weighing heavily on her. In all likelihood, they were changing as well. "It is a far cry from what he told of SEELE's plan."
Gendo nodded. "However it is preferable to being reduced to LCL and forced into one being."
Yui nodded at that. "When can we expect the Third Angel to surface?" she asked.
"Within the next month," he replied. "The Evangelions have all been prepared for the eventual combat.
"But I suspect you wish for … other preparations to be made."
"I know you, Yui," Gendo said with a faint smile. "And I know when you're planning something. You want him to upgrade our forces like he did his own; you wish to take advantage of the Grey Seed."
"And if I am?" she asked. "The Council no doubt will learn of his gifts soon enough, leaks were never something we could truly plug around here. The question becomes how do we spin this to keep them from making waves."
"We could use the Fifth Child," Gendo commented. "He could be an excellent facet for giving them disinformation."
"But only if he trusts us," added Yui. "We would need his full cooperation."
"Then we introduce him to the one person who can gain it," said Gendo, leaning over the desk, mouth hidden behind his hands.
"I swear if you are smirking right now, I'm going to have to hurt you."
Shinji stewed within his cell. Granted, it wasn't as barren as his previous hostings, but it was still a far cry from a decent space to sleep.
"How do I get back?" he muttered once again, as he had for many times before. He had to return, had to save them, had to stop Lilith. He couldn't abandon his world, abandon his friends. Hell, he still had to go see Usagi's play sometime next month.
"I should have called her a bit more often," he murmured, thinking aloud. They had grown apart the last few months, but she understood, he was sure of it. But he cursed himself for letting the bonds of friendship grow weaker.
"I must be getting old," he sighed, as he leaned his head back against the wall. "I'm spending too much time complaining about the past."
Sulking, that was what he was doing, and he hated to be doing it. Sensei told him to never become consumed by 'what-ifs', but work to ensure that undesirable outcomes didn't come.
So what did he do now? He only had a few minor ideas about how he had gotten here. There was the possibility he could track down the one Angel that seemed to intersect so many universes, but he didn't have a clue if his were among them.
He could 'chat' with the Lilith of this world; get her to tell him just how the Black Moon of his world had pulled off the coup. That did carry the risk of giving her ideas and perhaps making things worse for this universe.
"I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't," he murmured, looking at the light.
"An interesting take on things."
He slowly lowered his eyes, focusing on the opened slot in the door. "My life has made me old before my time, Mrs. Ikari."
He couldn't call her 'mother'. She may be the mother of Shinji Ikari, but not him. To call her 'mother' would be … wrong, somehow.
It didn't stop him from internally wincing when he saw the flinching in her eyes. "Can I help you?"
She nodded, before she shut the slot, allowing her to open the door into the cell. "We wish to make a deal."
Shinji just nodded. "Your help for my unique help?" he asked.
"Pretty smart, aren't you?"
He just nodded, not to sure how she would take any comments he made about his lineage. After all, he had only given her the general overview of his world. And while the Gendo Ikari here might not be such a Grade-A bastard, it wasn't always easy for people to distinguish between what they could do and what they might do.
And even he knew that sooner rather than later, such info would have to be released to them.
"So, what's first?"
"We need you to see if you can generate an S2 organ in our Evangelion units."
"Will that cause any problems?" he asked. He had already expected such, and to be honest he was quite interested to see what the Dummy Soul would be like inside the first three Evangelions without the human souls they had been filled with in his world. But he also knew that the Evangelions had at first been made without an S2 organ to make them easier to control. "Or are you certain that the personalities that may have developed will accept your will?" he asked.
"We truly don't know," Yui said. "Another thing you'll help us with."
"So I'm to ascend your Evas, okay," he mused. "And what do I get?"
"Anything and everything we can offer you to assist you on your way home."
His eyes opened wide at that. "You're writing a pretty big check there," Shinji said.
"Any help against the Angels will make it well worth it."
Misato looked around the new 'world' they were on, trying to ignore the part of her that had been shivering from the journey.
"You will become quickly accustomed to crossing the Divide," Rei said, looking around for Asuka.
"Is it always like that?" Misato asked. It had felt … beyond anything she could describe, as if for the moment, reality was trying to erase her.
"It is a realm between thought, filled with the sum of human existence. It can be a bit … overwhelming to those not prepared for it. It is also why I held your hand, to keep you along the correct path and anchor you."
"What happens if I got lost in that?" Misato asked with a bit of worry.
"Your soul would be consumed by the forces, broken down and scattered to the currents," Rei said quietly, as she got a bead on where Asuka was within the dream world.
"Not a pleasant end," Misato mumbled as she followed Rei.
"I would imagine not."
"So where's Asuka?"
"Soryu has made her mental-world a great deal larger than yours, most likely due to her grander dreams."
Misato could only glare at Rei. "Are you saying I only had small dreams?"
"Your dreams were satisfied in an apartment," commented Rei. "Asuka likely has planned out entire scenarios for her version of heaven. One can only imagine the depths of such a scenario."
Misato nodded. "Probably including Shinji and her ruling the world."
The two traveled for a while longer, trying to locate their target. Misato couldn't help but not that the whole area seemed to be a park, teeming with life, as well as other people enjoying themselves. In fact, to her observation, there appeared to be plenty of families in the park on such a nice day. "Rei?"
"Asuka's the only soul here? There seems to be a lot of people."
"A soul by itself is powerful," said Rei. "But the power generated by two souls can grow exponentially. It is easier to contain and later break down if the souls are isolated. Besides, dreams differ for each person, and such differences can cause disharmony, and perhaps even break the illusion."
Misato only nodded as she looked around, wrapping her mind around the fact that despite what she saw, none of the people playing in the park surrounding her were real, only illusions made to keep Asuka pacified. Somehow, it almost felt humorous to her: that it took so much to pacify the Second Child. Part of her would probably be insulted if her world wasn't the biggest. "So where is she?"
"One hundred and seventy four meters along the path we currently are walking," Rei replied.
"How do you know that?"
"I do contain some of the abilities of my Mother," said Rei quietly. "I suspect like Kaoru, my abilities have grown or shifted since my ascension. Unlike those absorbed by Lilith, my abilities seem to have remained."
Misato just nodded. It seemed to make the most sense. "For what it's worth Rei, thanks."
"You are welcome," the quiet girl said with a slight smile. "However, I believe we should save the thanks till afterwards. I do believe Soryu will be most difficult to pull from this world."
Misato followed the direction that Rei was gazing towards, discovering the reason that First Child had been worried.
Asuka was lying in the grass, looking older than she had been in the real world, her back against a man's chest as he leaned against a tree, with several children surrounding them resembling the Second Child and her beau. And despite Misato's first reaction, it hadn't been Kaji. Asuka was leaning against.
It was Shinji.
Misato just sighed. "Shit."
Asuka leaned back into Shinji's chest, enjoying the comfort of her life, listening with joy as their children enjoyed the sunny and warm weather. It was such a perfect day for a picnic, she felt as if she never wanted the day to end. After all, she had worked hard both at work and to get to where she was.
She was in heaven; that was all that mattered for the moment.
"Enjoying yourself, my love?" Shinji whispered to her ear, his breath making her giggle slightly.
"Always," she said with a smile, turning her head slightly. She stared into his blue eyes, warmth flowing from them. Yes, she was certain this was heaven, her dreams made real.
"Mommy!" cried a small girl with long brown hair. "I see a weird girl!"
Sighing, Asuka turned, planning on disciplining her child for saying such things. But her voice caught in her throat, her eyes locking on the approaching women. Her heart turned slightly, but she couldn't figure out why. After all, she had Shinji; she was married to him, birthed kids by him. Why would she feel put off by the approaching duo. "Hey, Misato! Rei! What's up?" she asked, plastering a smile on her face.
But still, she could not figure out why her heart was telling her that something dark had breeched the walls of her heaven.
Time was never a constant, not for those with higher senses or those who could traverse the eddies of time.
Shinji of the Grey knew this. Sure, he hadn't traveled through time. But he knew that one could. He had traveled universes however, thanks to Lilith and the Twelfth Angel. But for the Angel, those versions, those other pilots, had been in roughly the same time frame as him.
In this new universe, a world without Second Impact, time was not anywhere close to that frame. Here, school had started once more, the pilots were gathered again, but there had been no Angels yet, no attempts to restart Adam's Genesis, no false cries from Lilith to bring them here to her Egg.
It may as well have been time travel.
Yui, the analog of his mother, sat across from him in the interrogation room, looking over the notes he had written. In those pages were contained the knowledge of the Secret War that raged across the universe, the mistakes of the Gods. It contained dates of the Angels' arrival, their abilities, tactics to fight them, S2 development, and even the identities of the anchors for the Angels.
The last bit was basically worthless to them. Sure, you might know the anchor, perhaps could even kill them, but that didn't stop the Angel. The anchor could always be remade into a new person. After all, many of the anchors on his world had been born before Second Impact.
"I will say this, you are detailed," she said.
He just nodded tiredly. Shinji had no idea how much time had passed on this world, let alone how much time had passed on his own. "Got to help you all I can, that was our deal."
"I see," she said, as she handed the papers off to a member of the tech department. "So then, what about this S2 generation you mentioned?"
His eyes didn't even look at her, his head leaning on his left arm, his body wishing for food and sleep, not necessarily in that order. "Part of the changes within me becoming a Grey Seed."
"You mentioned that before," she said, looking over her own notes. "The blood of Adam injected into the child of Lilith, a plan of your Gendo in an attempt to reclaim me from the core of Evangelion Unit 01."
He nodded slightly, a bit impressed that Yui was taking the actions of her analog husband and her own analog's 'death' so well. "Add a month of those injections, emotional instability, and you have my two-winged beginning."
"And becoming Grey?"
Shinji just shrugged. "The anchor of Adam, Sensei, trained me soon afterwards."
"And you never learned his real name?"
"Never had a reason to," he said, shrugging slightly. "But I got the impression that my transformation gave Adam the idea to end the war on my world. There, it was actually Lilith that initiated Genesis to reclaim what she was losing."
"It does explain why your world has a lower birth rate than ours," she said. "Please continue."
"Anyway, after I arrived, I healed an injured Rei."
"From her injuries from the first activation test of Unit 00, Naoko Akagi's model?"
"Correct," he said. "After that, she soon transformed into a two-winged state. After that, my mere presence seemed to be enough to trigger the change in people and Evangelions, the rate depending on exposure time."
"So I am changing, as are the Children."
He nodded. "The organs usually form at the appendix. When they come online, you sprout wings, and thus you become someone affecting others."
"Like a viral agents?"
He nodded. "Angel regeneration and a sense of community without the loss of individuality," he said. "A perfect combination of the Black and the White."
"Any idea why the Gods didn't think of this?" she asked.
"No clue, maybe it was one of those things that ended up being bigger than them," he said. "I doubt even Lilith or Adam know what was in their minds, only what information they were programmed with. For all I know, the Gods were two competing civilizations, and this is their war made our problem."
"A problem that is trying to wipe out your world."
"Lilith lost it," he said. "Her world was being usurped. Who knows, maybe I'm Adam's kamikaze attempt to destroy her. All I know for certain is that I have to get back and save my world, while giving yours a fighting chance."
Yui nodded. "The Children have been asking about you."
"I am tempted to let you see them, even given this … infectious transformation you seem capable of."
He could only shrug. "You have my notes on the Twelfth Angel, it wouldn't be the first time, and I highly doubt I'll force them to become Grey Seeds like myself. I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way."
"That was not my concern," she said. "The Old Men are up in arms, demanding you be transferred to their custody, something I was against even before you told me of their actions on your world. I know for a fact they have spies here, and probably agents ready to make a move should an opportunity to kidnap you arise."
"Or terminate me," he offered with a smirk. He highly doubted the SEELE on this world had anything close to anti-AT technology with the exception of any work done on the copy-Lances they created for the MP Evangelions.
"There is that, I suppose," she said. She left unsaid the worry about the one known agent of SEELE who could offer the most trouble: the Fifth Child Kaoru Nagisa. If the boy truly was the Seventeenth Angel, he bared closer watching, as well as extra training for Rei to be able to deal with her 'cousin'.
Shinji just nodded. "Either way, whatever prepping they can receive before your Angels show up is going to help, even if its news they don't want to hear."
"Very well," she said, standing up and gathering her papers. "I shall bring them down to an area and have you brought as well. I doubt this room would be conducive to an interview of such."
Nodding, he watched her walk out. He would be lying if he said part of him wished she wasn't his mother, wished not to be held.
But that was not something he could have, at least not at the moment.
So he closed his eyes, and opened his mind, searching for the voices he knew had to be there. In any world, in any universe that had an Adam and a Lilith, the All-Soul had to exist, a place where the call of Adam or the false call of Lilith could cry out, where Angels could hear.
Where he now wanted to listen and send his own call, to find which Seed if any would aid him on his way home.
"Hello, bastard child of the Lilim."
His closed eyes tightened at that. It was definitely not the voice he had been expecting. "Hello … Tabris."
Rei could feel the discomfort coming both from Asuka and from the world around her, discomfort from not only her presence, but that of Misato as well. It was expected, the presence of those not from the world afflicting it with an unknown factor. But it was this factor which revealed the world was fake as well. It had been what pulled Misato from her world, which allowed her to see the reality for what it was.
Asuka however had a larger world, a scenario of what her version of Heaven should be, and the inner rage to strike back at whatever threatened it.
"Hey, Asuka," said Misato, who didn't know any of this. "We hate to bother you like this, but could we talk … in private?" She did however doubt that just asking 'Hey, this is all fake and we need you to help us journey through hell to save the world,' would be a bright thing to do at the moment. She remembered how hard she had mentally fought trying to accept the truth and she doubted that Asuka would be any easier.
"Huh?" asked the Shinji there.
"Girl stuff," said Rei quietly, releasing a smile.
"It's okay, Shinji," said Asuka, putting a quick kiss on his lips, fighting the temptation to let it linger and grow. "I won't be long, watch the kids for me, will you?"
He smiled as he snorted. "So basically do what I always do; gotcha."
She giggled slightly as she playfully slapped him on his arm as she stood up. "Be back soon," she said with a blissful smile, as she walked towards the females.
Motioning for the duo to follow her, Asuka made her way away from the picnic, heading towards a small picnic table near a field within the park. "So," she said, as they distanced themselves from the children enough that she wasn't worried about them or Shinji overhearing, "to what do I owe this visit?"
"Asuka," said Misato, trying to find a way to breech the subject, "what do you remember about Lilith?"
Asuka paused mid-step, her mind telling her danger was about, but her senses were telling her nothing about from what. "Lilith who?" she asked, turning to face them as they neared the table.
"Lilith, the Second Angel, Black Seed," said Rei. "I believe you once referred to her as 'the giant fat-ass bitch'," said Rei.
"I … don't know what you're talking about, Rei," said Asuka.
Misato sighed as she sat down, rubbing her forehead. "You forgot all about Third Impact, didn't you?"
"I don't watch wrestling, Misato. Greased-up guys fighting in a ring is more your thing. I prefer Shinji greased up trying to pin me," she said with a smirk.
"You have developed a weak mind then," said Rei.
"The Second Child I recall would not have allowed herself to be … fooled this way," replied Rei. "She would not have allowed herself to be defeated as you have become."
"What in the world are you talking about, Ayanami?" she growled.
"Shinji was fighting Lilith after you had been absorbed," said Rei as she stood up. "Even now, Lilith prepares her Genesis, Shinji somehow displaced. I refuse to let his fight end, his sacrifice to be in vain. I apologize; I felt you would feel likewise."
"Rei?" asked Misato.
"Have you lost what little brains you had, Ayanami?" said Asuka, her tone harsh as her knuckles turned pale from gripping the table top so hard, trying not to strike the woman. No, that would be a bad image for her children to see.
Rei continued to stare at Asuka. She must be made to remember, time is not on our side. I must take this risk. "If this is the extent of your dedication to Shinji, his time would have been better spent maintaining his friendship with Usagi to see if she was a more suitable match. Perhaps Mana as well, considering she never hid behind a false mask, calling him fairy-boy."
Asuka was nearly frothing at the mouth now. Her mind demanded she strike back, lash out at the pale woman that was spouting off such nonsense.
"Perhaps that is why your mother chose to pretend a doll was her child," said Rei, going for broke. "I see now you truly are worthless, Second Child."
Asuka had had enough, as her hand lashed out, striking Rei hard on her cheek, and sending her to the grass. "You bitch!" she yelled out, her arms reaching to choke the life out of the girl.
Misato tackled Asuka to the ground, trying hard to keep her from murdering their best hope.
"Let me go!" yelled Asuka. "I'll kill you, Wondergirl! How dare you say that shit to me!"
"Does this mean you can remember the world before Lilith absorbed you?" asked Rei as she wiped some blood off her face from a busted lip.
Asuka opened her mouth, ready to hurl another insult at the woman, ready to make another attempt to throw off Misato so that she could deliver her holy rage.
But no sound came out. Her hands went to her head, holding it as if it might explode outward. "I… I…"
"You must remember, Asuka," said Rei. "I apologize for saying such things, but time is of the essence. We must prepare to make one final stand against Lilith, with or without Shinji," she said.
"But Shinji… He's…" Asuka sputtered, turning to face the man who was standing and facing their direction, looking at her with concern.
"Each soul is given the image of what it would view as Heaven to make it docile, keep it weak until Lilith remakes the world, and then reformats the soul. That is no more the real Shinji than anyone else here aside from myself and Misato is real. No soul interacts with another, for fear of the power they might amass."
"Then this is all a dream," muttered Asuka.
"That's what the lady says," said Misato, as she tried to move Asuka back to the benches of the table. "Trust me; the headache is not the least pleasant thing you'll have to deal with, the travel's a bitch."
"I believe it is much worse that the Major's driving," joked Rei.
"Okay," said Asuka, "now I know this isn't real, nothing could be worse than that."
"What of her cooking?"
"I can hear you, you know."
"Good point," muttered Asuka, as she turned once again to face her 'family'. "I wanted this to be so real," she said, a tear escaping her eye.
"That is the danger of Lilith's hold," said Rei quietly.
"Well what was yours like, Wondergirl?" asked Asuka as she wiped her eyes.
"I did not have one," said Rei. "As a direct descendant of Lilith, she has more control over my soul than any others. She merely subjugated my soul and absorbed it directly."
Misato stepped back a bit.
"Fear not, Misato," said Rei, flashing one of her few smiles. "I was able to extract myself thanks to Shinji's efforts. I was able to maintain my self-awareness thanks to his help in … growing," she said. "And as she was so obsessed with defeating and expelling Shinji from our world, she did not notice that I slipped her grasp as she called humanity to the All-Soul."
"So you slipped out while the minder was busy," said Misato with a light sigh. "Then again, I guess I was being a bit foolish, as if Lilith would play things like this."
Rei nodded. "I understand, given the fact she used my body to perform this abomination to Genesis," she said softly. "We should move now and find another member of our group to increase our chances."
"A pilot," said Asuka, eyes narrowing. "We either need the pilots or we need the Evangelion souls if they exist. Hell, The Fifth Child and her girlfriend would be big helps to us in here."
Rei paused a bit. "I am … uncertain if Kaoru or Mayumi were included in this place," said Rei quietly. "She may have viewed their souls as slightly less tainted than Shinji's."
Asuka's face paled in shock. "You mean they could be…"
"I am uncertain at this point," said Rei. "I will only be able to ascertain that information when we have built up our forces. As our group grows, so does the range that I can sense the souls we seek. I was fortunate to come across Misato's as quickly as I did. It is also possible that your souls were grouped together in close proximity so as to be watched."
"So the bitch might already know we're making a move against her," said Misato.
"Unlikely," said Rei. "She is currently attempting to recharge from her successful act of pushing Shinji out of our world. As she is focusing on that task, she is blind to our movements, otherwise she would have noticed Misato's world collapsing after she left with me."
"Collapsing," whispered Asuka, as she turned to see the worried look of the Shinji in her heaven, her children playing about the serene park.
"They do not exist, Asuka," said Rei. "They are only echoes of your wants and desires, they have no substance beyond what you wish them to have."
"I know that, Rei," Asuka spat out. "But I… It feels wrong to have that happen to them, even if they aren't real."
"I know that all too well," said Misato. "But they only exist in our heads. We should go now, we can't afford to spend such time discussing whether the voices in our heads are real," she said, chuckling lightly. She did however pause, wiping a few tears from her eyes as she remembered her own piece of heaven. "And we make certain the bitch pays for this. No one should be tortured by their own dreams."
"I … I should go say goodbye," said Asuka.
"You cannot," said Rei. "If you return to them, the dream will try and draw you back in, try to make you not want to let go.
"You must let go of the fantasy if you wish to save the reality," she finished sadly. "I … am sorry, but it must be that way. You can stay if you wish, but our chance of success would be affected, and Shinji would wish us to keep fighting."
"He doesn't have to walk away from paradise," spat Asuka.
Rei's glare hardened. "No; he merely had to walk through the personal hells of every Grey Child to return to us," she finished. "If he can walk through such horrors, you must be able to at least walk away from your own heaven."
Her face flushed with shame as Rei mentioned Shinji's mental issue. She could still recall seeing him like that, his mind seeming to jump from one regretful soul to another. Asuka had left quickly when she had figured out enough of his chatter to understand the gist of his problems.
She had barely gotten time to slam the door shut quickly as he lapsed into German; but whether they had been the dark threads of her mother's own soul or her own, she didn't and couldn't wish to know. "Let's go," she said quietly, as she flashed a final smile to her Shinji.
Her family, her dream family, was watching her curiously, wondering what was going on.
And as weak as it made her feel; had Rei not grabbed her hand and pulled her towards a rip within the air, she would have run to them, wrapped her arms around them, and never let them go.
But once again, the Angels had stripped her of her family.
Rage was a nice thank-you gift to start with to pay Lilith back.
Shinji floated inside his mind, reaching out for the first voice he had found in his search, and feeling odd that it was one he had not even expected to find.
"Calling me by the name the Lilim refer to me as," said the voice of the Fifth Child. "My, this truly is a surprising day."
"I take it then SEELE has called for you to meet with them," Shinji asked.
"Oh, I am quite certain I will receive that summons soon, they are quite interested in you, my friend."
"I have no doubt that the fools who would claim themselves God would do such," Shinji said into the link. "So tell me then, Kaoru Nagisa, how much do you know of the history of the White Moon?"
"I would be hazarded to guess a bit more than you," he replied.
"I seriously doubt that, the Kaoru of my world was quite surprised with what I knew and he did not. Then again, I question how much even Adam and Lilith know of their own origins, let alone the two who exist on Earth now."
Kaoru's voice was silent for a few moments, his mind trying to process what Shinji claimed to know. "You claim to know the history between my kind and that which spawned the Lilim?"
Shinji snorted, a feeling passed along the link. "I know how both came about to Earth, I know why Adam slept and Lilith limped to her current pace. I know they are not the only Adam and Lilith in this universe, let alone the multiverse. I know that the Angels, your brethren, need Avatars or anchors to exist within Lilith's domain, that Adam's attempt at Genesis disrupted the field of Lilith on this world, making procreation harder and harder.
"I know a great deal many secrets, Tabris, that you and SEELE could never even dream of, and not all of them are of beings from the First Race to achieve thought in the universe.
"I know of SEELE's goals, I know their plans to achieve it, and I know what the costs will be.
"I also know that you may feel it fate to let the Shinji of this world be the Grim Reaper and end your existence to save theirs."
The Angel's voice was quite, letting Shinji know that his words had made an impression with what he had made with his words. Yes, Shinji did know Kaoru perhaps better than this one knew himself. It came to him as well, not be design or request, but more than likely because Kaoru had been a part of the Grey in his world. But those aspects would only come up if they were needed, not if Shinji desired.
Perhaps it was part of the privacy afford to the Grey, never alone but never together.
Then again, perhaps he was special being the Seed as he was.
"You speak with much temptation, Shinji Ikari."
"Call me Grey here," Shinji replied. "I'd rather those morons be as clueless as possible, and I'd rather not have my analog be running from a bounty on his head because they fear he might become me."
"Very well, Grey," came the light chuckle from Kaoru. "So then, care to part with a revelation that will change the paths of Destiny?"
Shinji just smiled. "The path of Adam and the path of Lilith are not the only paths available, at least now that I have arrived. I have been told by the Avatar of Adam—not you, despite what you'd like to believe—that I am becoming a new Seed, perhaps a new Moon."
He could sense Kaoru's shock over the link.
"Does that peak your interest, Fifth Child and pilot of Evangelion Unit 04?"
There was a moment of silence afterwards, only Kaoru's shocked presence kept Shinji from thinking that their link had been disconnected. He doubted that the Seventeenth Angel had been prepared for such a revelation, that a new path was available, one which would alter his own perceived Destiny—an oddity from the supposed Angel of Free Will—and the path hoped for by his supposed Masters.
"You speak of very interesting things, Grey," said Kaoru. "And you speak of things I may have to tell my handlers."
"Tell them what you will; they are of no consequence to me. If they strike out at me or those I cherish, I shall slay them without mercy. Their counterparts on my world were far better prepared to lash out at me than they ever will be. And I have no problem with practicing my revenge upon them for the sins of their analogs should they follow such poorly made footsteps.
"If they ask, merely tell them a new path is open, that the fact they believe that they can control ancient creations by the first sentient species in perhaps the entire universe, creations meant to be nothing more than giant and rapid terraformers, is at best laughable, at worse it brings into serious questioning of their lineage and their sanity."
He could hear Kaoru chuckling at his comments. "Very well, Grey. I look forward to speaking with you again. Who knows, perhaps the battle between the Moons need not happen here."
"That will be sooner than you might think," said Shinji. After all, he knew that Yui Ikari was planning on bringing all of the Children to meet him, perhaps even the ones yet to be brought in on what he was, what he could mean.
But what will I do to poor Shinji though, he mused. This was definitely not something the Gods had ever planned for.
Then again, he was living proof that they hadn't planned for everything.
"The scenario is shifting rapidly, Yui," said Gendo, as the duo made their way to the Bridge.
"I know that, Gendo," she said softly, adjusting her glasses. "But the opportunity that literally fell into our world is too good to pass up. This may be the option we need."
"SEELE will not like this," he said. "I have no doubt they are contacting their agents as we speak."
"Let them," she said. "I've had Ritsuko whip up a little something so that we might be able to learn who their spies are here. With any luck, this is just the thing to get them checking every resource."
"We should be grateful that the Mass Produced Evangelions are still far from completion," he said, "or they would no doubt be sending them here right now."
"They still may send something," she murmured. "Have Sensei keep a constant channel open with the JSSDF; I don't want them trying to scare the ants."
Gendo nodded at that, it sounded like a plan SEELE would hatch: get others to do your dirty work for you. "Should we go through with your initial idea?" he asked.
Yui paused for a moment. "No, but I want the sample stored under Omega-level security and as far away from Adam and Lilith as possible."
"I do hope we never need to use it," he murmured.
"Then let us hope before he leaves, our problems are either solved or another solution presents itself. I have no desire to initiate such a … revolting process, even to save humanity."
"Let us hope then that the option is never needed," he replied quietly. "And the tales of my counter part?" he asked, his voice a near whisper.
"Can you see yourself doing such?" she asked.
He stayed quiet for a moment. She didn't take that as his answer, Gendo was never one to let silence be his reply. He thought of what he wanted to say, thought of how to properly convey his true meaning. She liked that about him, gave her fewer reasons to mistake his meaning and toss him on the couch.
"Without you in my life, Yui, I can honestly say I could," he responded. "You balance me, give me proper direction. If that direction was stolen … I would burn the world to restore it."
"You sound like a fanatic."
"At least what I am fanatical about can be seen, touched, tasted, heard, and smelled," he responded with a smile. "Very few fanatics can claim such about their source of worship."
"True," she said. "And I so do enjoy your worship," she purred. "But mark my words Gendo, do not follow that path if something happens to me. Do you understand?"
He understood, nodding quickly as he heard her tone in her voice, the tone that said "I will pull you into hell and make Satan accuse me of being too rough if you fuck this up."
"Live for Shinji, live for my memory, but live."
"And no fucking anyone working here," she added.
"So then where am I supposed to meet Shinji's new mother?" he teased.
"I never said you could get remarried or have anyone else," she said with a smile. "Now come, we have five children to introduce to the newest weapon in our arsenal."
He had thought but no form, a confusing existence for him.
There … had been a time when he had both, he was relatively certain about that. Something within his thoughts spoke of a form. But the reality of those thoughts just couldn't or wouldn't be grasped.
It was a very odd fact.
He was certain he was a he, yes, he was certain of that. He didn't know how or why, but he was certain.
But the majority of facts still slipped through his grasp.
So he tried to observe around him, hoping that perhaps it would allow the illusive thoughts to find him.
But within the eddies that were moving him—or was he not moving and what he was spying was?—were glowing spheres of varying sizes and shapes. He wondered what they were, what they contained, and if he resembled one, as he couldn't observe himself.
Such pretty spheres, so many points of light, so many spheres…
He barely could contain a straight thought, his mind so disjointed.
Then he felt something. His mind grew excited, actually feeling something, anything, was something new, something other than floating and observing the points of light.
It was … a call; something was wishing him to go to it.
Could he go to it? Could he move?
Did he want to move? He didn't know where the call was coming from, so he had no idea if he could even get there. He just knew it was coming from a direction of 'towards those points of light'.
Hmm, well it might be interesting to at least attempt, he mused, trying to move his being towards the voice.
But as he made the choice, a new word popped into his mind, a label that seemed to associate itself with the call.