Disclaimer- I don't own Evangelion, which belongs to Studio Gainax.

He was dying.

This, the old man knew quite well. It was a feeling he had known before, once, in a moment of pure desperation and panic and terror...

And yet it was followed by a moment of bliss, of a love that only a mother and son could share...

"Was it the Thirteenth... no, that was Touji..." he mumbled, his memories muddled and darkened from years of wallowing in misery and alcohol. That single year, 2015, was one giant nightmare that at long last, had faded from memory.

He lay in his apartment, in his bed, awaiting his end. There was no Eva, no Mother to save him... this was the fate of all humans.

Alone, he waited.

Death was coming.

He remembered words... why were they important? They were connected with that time of dying...

"I just wanted to see them all... one more time."

Tick tock, the Reaper's knocking.

Briefly, he struggled to remember the faces he had forgotten. He remembered Touji... strong and yet then crippled... Kensuke, a boy with glasses, always asking questions... a woman named Misato... but there were others, faces he knew and had forgotten.

People who had passed from his life, or perhaps never existed at all.

A blue haired girl, delicate and frail, impassive, and yet with some hidden pain lurking in her crimson eyes. Old nightmares, of a score of the faces of that girl, naked and smiling eerily. He felt something for her... but now, she was just a faded shadow.

Misato, he could recall, if faint, like a childhood memory, only half real, and half fantasy. Her face, smiling and happy, often guzzling down beer... but it was feelings that he remembered. Warmth and affection, as if she had been an older sister or even a mother figure...

Closer, ever closer to the final oblivion...

Another woman, blonde with emerald eyes, often a cold, almost cruel look on her striking face...

An unshaven man with joking eyes and a carefree, challenging grin...

A boy, not much older than himself, with matted gray hair and crimson eyes, so warm and friendly, and yet unearthly and an Enemy...

Cold... a cold, stalking feeling of nothingness creeping into his soul...

And there was the Girl.

He didn't remember her name anymore... and barely recalled her features.

When he thought of the Girl, there was a flash of crimson and sapphire, and a mixture of apprehension and admiration in his gut.

Tick tock, dying just a little more...

Her face was at the corner of his eyes, her name dancing at the back of his mind, and her voice a faint cry, like a soft summer wind, just barely tangible, barely there. He remembered that the Girl had strength, had vitality... but couldn't remember who she was.

Was he in love with her, in that fantasy/memory? He didn't know, didn't remember... didn't even know if the Girl was real, or something he concocted, yet another lie fabricated to create a life.

Just like all the other memories.

All these faces, all these names, all these feelings... they seemed someone else's life, a movie he had seen and loved in his childhood.

It was all too fantastic to be real... giant robots, monsters from the unknown, defending humanity from annihilation...

A different life, a different world, a different person...

The clock chimes, the Reaper's coming.

Were they even his memories? Or memories crafted out of fantasy, a life he constructed for himself, to prove his own existence?

Was any of it even real?

Who was the Girl... why couldn't he remember her, if he had once cared for her so deeply?

What was her name, for God's sake!

The Reaper towered over him, beckoning.

Struggling, the old man fought against the sweet siren of Death once more.

He couldn't go... not until he remembered the Girl. He had gone his life without purpose, without direction... but here, now, he would try to claim a forgotten memory.

It shouldn't have been important, a person who was decades gone from his life...

But it was.

Time, time is no more, Death is forever.

It would be the final, clinching proof that he had done something, had actually lived that life of a Child... or would be the terminal evidence that he was insane, and creating fiction in place of memory.

Who was she...

Creeping ever closer to the endless dream of Death...

A flash.

Heat... a raw, screaming agony that sears into his flesh-

And yet he is happy- no, overjoyed... he has saved the life of the Girl.

That was real.

That happened.

That was not an illusion, not a specter.

A few words are said quietly, affectionately.

"Idiot... you showoff."

They should be insulting, but they are soft, like the gentle caress of a summer's breeze.

And he finally remembered her name.

Death smiled down at Shinji Ikari... and he smiled back.

The old man opened his mouth, and breathed his last word.


Author's Remarks

Sort of an odd little short I came up with on the fly. As for why I used that Magma Diver scene instead of the kiss scene, that was really the most tender moment between the two, and probably the only time that Asuka spoke in a more... gentle manner to Shinji.