Evangelion Fan Fiction

The Difference of a Life

By Kraven Ergeist

April 30th, 2016

Asuka stared down at Kaworu as he slept in a sterile white bed of the hospital wing of the First Branch of NERV Headquarters. When she had heard about the results of the 15th Angel attack, she wasn't sure whether she should feel betrayed or grateful. When she made her way to his room in a hospital gown of her own, having only been in the medical wing to ensure her mental health after being psychically raped by the enemy, she had toyed with the possibility of either killing him in his sleep or climbing into the bed with him.

She compromised by sitting by his bedside and watching him while he slept.

"Idiot," she mouthed, finding herself unable to draw her gaze away from the angular curve of his jaw line, the graceful fray of his hair, the delicacy of his eyelashes, and the slim curve of his lips. He was so damn attractive, and she couldn't believe the thoughts that went through her mind whenever she saw him. It wasn't just his seductive appearance either – his voice, his scent, the way his eyes saw through her and every word she said, the way his words danced around hers…everything about him was screaming for her to take him.

She hated him for saving her, for taking away her chance to stand up in the face of adversity, for making her take a back seat to his own accomplishments. She understood that even he wasn't the best – that even in his magnificence, Mayumi, the prodigy of feng-shui, was still his better. The reality of that hurt her even more than she realized. She was the third child. And third, it seemed, would always be her rank when it came to piloting.

And even Rei, conservative, efficient, taciturn minimalist that she was, was catching up to her. And Shinji too. Even though her sync ratio still trumped them both by a good ten percent or more, their combat skills exceeded her own in several areas. But she always possessed the bravado, the stubbornness, the hot-blooded urge to plunge headlong into the fray from the get-go that the others lacked. It hadn't always proven to be the best course of action, but she had seen how it was a necessary element in any combat situation, to have one fighter who was willing to stick their neck out long enough to look the enemy dead in the eye.

"Why'd you have to save me?" Asuka asked the silent sleeper.

She understood that despite his superiority, he held no delusions of grandeur, no grand vision of himself as the hero, taking the role of protector and savior, nor was he one who desired praise or notoriety for his actions. With him, she always felt protected, but along with the sickening feeling of being useless and unable to properly defend herself, came a feeling that came from no one but a select few.

That of truly being safe.

The only other people she ever felt this way with were her mother and father. And maybe Kaji. But even he had his dangerous side. And her father's recent emotional problems and her mother's blind dedication to her work had caused her to lose some faith in her parents' ability to truly keep her safe.

But with Kaworu…

She shook her head. She had long since grown past the need for protection from anyone! She was capable of handling herself and her own problems! That was crucial – her independence from others was the single goal she had aspired to as she grew up, and she had reached a point where she had thought she could say that she had reached it.

Except when she cried herself to sleep at night because despite her best efforts, despite her logical mind telling her unreasonable body that everything was okay, that she had things under control, that she didn't need anyone to help her get through things, that she needed something. She needed…what? Protection? Comfort? Love?

Sure, it'd be nice to have a warm body to sleep next to. She had long since justified her pursuit of Shinji as her dealing with her body's urges in the only acceptable method available to her. Of all the easy boys she could have targeted, Shinji was the one she could have been most comfortable with. He was a pilot, and not a bad looking one. And the devotion that he showed to his family, to his friends, and…to Rei…proved to her that he did not leave behind those with whom he had become involved.

As vehemently as she had pursued him, the pursuit had nothing to do with her emotional needs – it had everything to do with convincing her teenage body that it was getting everything it needed, so that it would leave her mind alone and let it concentrate on the task of surpassing Kaworu, of surpassing Mayumi, and of becoming the greatest Eva pilot the world had ever seen.

Except…she couldn't hate Kaworu for keeping this goal from her. She wanted to, in her mind, knew he was an obstacle to that path, and the easier to surpass compared to Mayumi. But she couldn't bring herself to try to bring him down, not truly. She could make the occasional pot shot here and there, but she could never launch herself into an all-out takedown campaign the way she had with Shinji or Rei, short lived though that might have been.

Why? Her mind couldn't muster an answer, so the answer must lie in her body somewhere. It wasn't the urge or copulate – nothing so primal. Or maybe, it was even more primal than that. The urge wasn't to lie with the body she sat besides. It was…simply to be with him.

She had never felt so…pure an emotion before. What was it about Kaworu that seemed to bring out these strange feelings in her? He represented everything standing in her way. And yet, he wasn't. He wasn't trying to stand in her way. He was…like a pacer. Always staying one step ahead so that she always had something to focus on, to keep her on her toes. When she pushed herself too far, he stayed ahead of her, reminding her that she was still human, and that she should go easier on herself. And when she fell behind, he picked her up and carried her on his shoulders. But not to make himself look taller – it was to make her look taller.

He seemed to carry a lot of people on his shoulders. He carried Shinji in his sword training, which bolstered his confidence without him even knowing it. He carried the other pilots by being a reliable if enigmatic friend in this strange and unfriendly world of bloodshed and battle. He carried NERV by being one of its pinnacle pilots…

This time though, he seemed to have tried to carry too much.

"I'm not some feeble little girl," she said, lightly tapping her fist against his cheekbone, "I can carry my own weight…"

But she knew he saw that already. He had seen it since the day he took his eyes off Rei and put them onto her. She wondered…if he had decided from his childhood to cast fate to the wind and not blindly chase after the myth of a girl, if he would have had his eyes on Asuka from the beginning. Or maybe it was simply fate that they come together the way they are now.

No point in wondering about the 'what-ifs' of the past. Some of the lights were starting to go out, as the Hospital wing went into its nighttime shift. She didn't want to leave, so she laid her head on the mattress at his side. If he awoke, she felt that she wouldn't have to explain herself to him.

He already knew her reasons.

He already knew her.

Nobody asked her to leave that night.


The lights came on. Shinji inhaled. He thought he had been prepared for anything. But this…there was no experience in his past that could have ever prepared him for this.

Rei stood silently at his side, schooling her emotions not to give any sign of fear, no hint of worry as she waited for Shinji's reaction.

Earlier that evening, Rei had made a decision. Their last Angel battle had come too close to the mark. She was tired of keeping secrets, at least from him, not when they could both die or disappear so easily. She wanted him to know who…what…she truly was.

So when she took Shinji to see Dr. Akagi, and told her she wished to take Shinji down to the lower levels, she grudgingly agreed.

"You're sure about this, Rei?" Ritsuko had asked, sternly, but respectfully. She put the choice in Rei's hands. It was her life, her friend, her future. And she would decide what to do with it.

Rei had nodded, and Ritsuko had guided them both into the elevator that everything thought only went down eighty-two levels. When it hit level B81, the lowest level on the button pad, Ritsuko swiped her NERV card, and tapped the B81 button twice more. The lights in the elevator went red, and the car kept going down.

Shinji was nervous, but he didn't say anything out of respect – or maybe fear – until he saw whatever it was that Rei wanted to show him. Rei had said all she would say. And Ritsuko, feeling guilty enough by being such an instrument in the children's misery, did not interfere, and only provided access to allow them deeper and deeper into the sub-levels of the artificial Geo-Front.

Dr. Soryu would be furious with her if she found out. But there was too much history between Ritsuko and Rei for her to back down.

Even at this depth, the scale was severely reduced compared to that of Terminal Dogma from Tokyo-3, the Black Moon. This facility was little more than a hidey-hole by comparison. But there was still plenty of room for the experiments needed for Dr. Akagi and Professor Soryu to conduct their research.

And part of that research, Shinji soon learned, involved Rei.

"I…I knew you were part Angel…" Shinji admitted, not taking his eyes of the spectacle before him. "I knew you were a test tube baby…so it's only natural that you would have…twins."

Surrounding him was a fluorescent yellow tube, like a deranged man's aquarium, with numerous copies of Rei Ayanami floating and smiling back at him.

Ritsuko shook her head. "Not twins, Shinji…clones."

Shinji thought back to what he had been learning in his biology classes. "A clone is just a genetically engineered twin, isn't it?"

Rei swallowed. Shinji was taking this rather well.

"This does not…shock you?" she asked.

"It shocks me plenty," Shinji laughed uneasily. "These twins-"

"Clones." Ritsuko corrected.

Shinji shrugged and shook his head. "They look as old as you do, Rei. Why are they fully grown? I mean…doctors usually keep several fertilized embryos on ice when parents have their children in vitro or whatever. I just…"

Shinji put his hand on the glass separating him from the carbon copies. Behind the glass, a clone drifted closer placing their hand to his.

He shuddered.

"I just can't understand why you would allow them to gestate and mature in a tank," Shinji looked questioningly at Ritsuko. "Usually, you keep them frozen and allow them to be born naturally with a surrogate."

Rei bit her lip. "I had no such surrogate, Shinji…I was conceived and grown to infancy in a tube such as this…"

It finally clicked in his mind that they were all naked, and he averted his gaze from the glass. The thought occurred to him that if he saw Rei naked, the sight would bear a close resemblance to that of any one of these clones.

No, they were twins. He was determined to think of them as human beings, just like Rei.

"But Rei…these girls…that means these girls are your sisters, Rei," Shinji turned to the girl at his side, putting his hands on her shoulders. Her arms slid around his waist, her eyes on the verge of tears.

Shinji turned his gaze onto Ritsuko.

"Are you telling me they grew up here? Grew to adolescence without any human contact, stuck in a tube that provided them with their nutrients, and never knowing anything outside of it?"

Ritsuko shook her head. She wanted a cigarette, but this was a hazardous area – no telling what ill-effects cigarette smoke would cause. "You don't understand, Shinji…these are just bodies. They have no mind, no soul of their own."

Shinji turned to face Ritsuko. "Then why are they smiling? Why do their eyes follow us? You can't mean to tell me that these girls have no soul!"

Ritsuko closed her eyes. "If you released even one of these girls from this prison, Shinji, they would try to kill you."

Shinji drew in a breath. "What?"

"These clones," Ritsuko put a fine point on the term. "Represent purified human will. They are what the Eva's are, Shinji…refined human drive. Basic instinct, desire, passion, dominance…reptilian complex and limbic system, no higher brain functions than that."

"So why would you keep them here at all?" Shinji demanded. "I mean, usually when a hospital keeps embryos, it's to replace the first one in case there are any complications or miscarriages or…"

Shinji stopped when Rei's arms tightened around his waist. She was shaking. Only then did he realize how close to the mark he came.

"Oh my God…" Shinji's eyes widened. "This is why you think you're replaceable!" he said to Rei. Then he turned his eyes onto Ritsuko. "You let her believe that she could fall in battle, and simply be…swapped out? And we wouldn't notice!"

Ritsuko shrugged. "If you must blame someone, Shinji, blame your mother and mine. They were the ones who conceived of this. They were the ones who devised the method of transferring Rei's soul from one body to another."

"But you went along with it…" he spat. "You continued this long after my mother's death…"

Ritsuko's expression was stern. "I don't have to justify my actions with you. This was always part of my job."

Shinji felt ill. "I can't believe this…"

"You should be happy, Shinji…" Ritsuko tried to laugh. "You have a girlfriend who can't die…if she does, she comes back to life in a new body. There might be some memory loss, but-"

"Shut up!"

Shinji's fist impacted with the tube masking the yellow fluid and numerous laughing faces. Neither the glass nor the bones in his hand gave way. The twins…clones…all flinched.

How could he have let this pass for so long without realizing it? How many years had all this been going on under his nose? This place his mother and father worked, had raised him in, this place which had become his entire world…

"These things…can't replace Rei…" Shinji shook, his eyes hidden behind his hair. In his mind, the clones had made the sudden transformation from poor, mistreated sisters into evil, duplicitous fakes. "They're nothing like her!"

Rei, her arms still around his waist, stared at him dumbfounded. "Shinji…"

Ritsuko shook her head. "They're everything like her, Shinji. She's one of them."

"You said that they would kill me given the chance!" Shinji spat.

"And if Rei didn't have the years of maturity and development that we all do at her age, she would too. It's basic human instinct, Shinji. Kill or be killed. We all have it within us. Without it, we would have died out long ago."

"It wouldn't be Rei…" Shinji was still shaking. "I could never accept one of them…"

Rei felt tears welling up in her eyes. She had anticipated that coming down her with Shinji would likely result in her crying…but she had never thought that they would be tears of happiness.

Ritsuko pursed her lips. "Like it or not, Shinji, this has been the reality for Rei's entire life."

Shinji's arms tightened around Rei's shoulders. "How many?" he demanded, raising his eyes and his voice towards Ritsuko. "How many of them are there?"

Ritsuko cleared her throat. "Here, there are thirty-six."

Shinji's face fell. "There are more facilities like this?"

Ritsuko really wanted that cigarette. She could be killed for revealing this. "There are NERV facilities all across the globe, Shinji. MAGI computer systems, research and development into Project-E…and dummy pilots."

Shinji blinked in disbelief. Is that what they were calling them? "Dummy…pilots?"

Ritsuko crossed her arms. "Do you understand how precarious our situation is now, Shinji? Every nation on the planet stands poised to leap at our throats at the slightest misstep."

Shinji shook his head. "But…the Evas-"

"They have Eva's too, Shinji," Ritsuko sighed. "We are the testing ground. They are the production line. Their Eva's aren't going to be hindered by pilots' weakness or squeamishness. Each of them will have S2 organs and each of them will be fueled by the single basic human desire to kill."

Shinji couldn't speak. He could hardly breathe. These clones…these tridecasextuplets, or whatever you would call thirty-six identical sisters…they would be used, either for warfare to have their baser instincts used as a weapon, or as a sick effort to try to replace the girl he loved.

He turned to face Rei, a question in his eyes, permission to do what should have always been done in the first place. He had known her for years, and could tell with just a look that she agreed. Rei wanted it. She had wanted it from the start, but never before had the courage to ask for it.

"Dr. Akagi…" Shinji said, flat and deadpan. "We want these clones destroyed."


April 31st, 2016


Ritsuko didn't look up as her junior worker glanced into her office. Papers lay strewn everywhere, her ashtray was packed to the brim with mashed up cigarettes and a bottle of Schnapps sat mostly empty on her desktop.

Maya let herself in without an invite. It was late; the night shift was already halfway through. She was used to her senior's staying late, as well as her heavy smoking, but she very rarely drank, at least, not like this.

"Senpai…" Maya's voice was concerned as she stepped closer to the Doctor. Ritsuko still hadn't acknowledged her presence. There was a dead look in her eyes that told her that, while Ritsuko wasn't hurt physically, she was under some serious mental strain.

Maya pulled one of the chairs up next to Ritsuko's, sitting down and facing her with her hands on her knees. She knew Ritsuko wasn't comfortable with Maya's feelings towards her, so she had been keeping her actions as platonic as possible. That being said, the ease with which Maya could take advantage of her Senapi's current state of absent-mindedness stayed her hand from anything beyond a wave in front of her face.

Ritsuko's head turned languidly towards the young bridge bunny, the movement looking like it took a great deal of effort on her part. There were dark circles under Ritsuko's eyes, and she looked like she hadn't eaten in a long time.

"Senpai…" Maya hesitated, wanting to say something, anything, to make her feel better, but lost for the world as to what to do or say.

The decision was taken away from her when Ritsuko's head came forward and landed in Maya's lap.

"S-Senpai!" Maya gasped, both in shock and worry. Had she passed out? Had she lost her mind? What was Ritsuko…?

Her chest tightened as she felt, rather than heard, Ritsuko sobbing!

"…Maya…" she wept, tears weeping freely and staining Maya's uniform skirt.

Maya's eyed widened as she stood frozen, her arms held poised over Ritsuko's shoulders, part of her wanting to comfort her superior, the other part chiding herself for taking advantage of her in this state.

"You're a fool, Maya…" Ritsuko wept, her forehead resting between Maya's knees, her hands on the edge of Maya's seat. "For admiring someone like me…"

Maya stared down at her in disbelief. This was the woman she had placed so much faith in, put on such a pedestal…was she dreaming? It didn't seem possible for her to be reduced to this!

"If you knew…half the evil things I've done…" Ritsuko's voice choked, muffled in the fabric of Maya's skirt. "I'm such a horrible person, Maya…"

Maya gritted her teeth. She didn't have time for her own insecurities to get in the way! She needed to do something now! Her Senpai needed her. Maybe not in the way she wanted to be needed…but all the faith she invested into Ritsuko…she deserved to have some faith in Maya as well!

Steeling herself, Maya grabbed Ritsuko's shoulders and hoisted her upright.

"You are not a horrible person, Senpai!" she exclaimed, louder than she meant to.

Ritsuko's eyes were red, her face wet with tears, makeup running down her cheeks. "Maya…you don't understand…"

"I know more than you think, Senpai!" Maya shouted, eyes closed. "I know about Rei, about Dr. Ikari and your mother! I know about Kaworu and Mayumi, I know about the clones, and I know about what happened last night! And you know what!"

Ritsuko stared dumbly at her subordinate.

"I couldn't be more proud to call you my Senpai!" Maya shouted, her face flushed. "I know you know how I feel, and I know you can't return those feelings, but I hope you at least understand how much…how much I respect you!"

Ritsuko's eyes were wide. "…Maya…"

Maya was the one crying now. "You've taught me everything worth knowing, Senpai! Every day, I come in, hoping you'll teach me more, and show me what an amazing scientist you are! I work myself raw every day just to keep up with you, and you stride past me like it's easy! So please…"

Maya grabbed the bottle of booze from Ritsuko's desk and held it up to make her point.

"Please understand how much it hurts me to see you beat yourself up like this!"

Maya dropped the bottle into the wastebasket next to the desk.

Ritsuko was still dumbstruck. This was a side to Maya she had never seen before, though the psychologist in her always suspected it might be lurking within her somewhere.

Maya let go of Dr. Akagi's shoulders, her hands returning to her knees, looking down bashfully. She knew she had stepped way out of line, but she hoped her message had reached its intended target, even if she got scolded for her breaking of decorum.

Instead, Ritsuko's arms came up around Maya's shoulders and drew her close. Maya's face rose just in time to catch a glimpse of Ritsuko's face, and the relieved smile she wore, before pulling her into a crushing embrace.

"Thank you…thank you, Maya…"

Maya's hands came up around Ritsuko's back to return the embrace. At first, she wasn't sure how to interpret this gesture, as part of her hoped that this somehow signaled a sudden change of heart towards Maya's feelings of affection, and part of her told her that no, she hadn't, and that responding to or even enjoying the embrace was again taking advantage of a moment of weakness in her senior.

But to ignore such a gesture after such an outbreak would only weaken her meaning. And while Maya's stomach fluttered at the thought of this embrace leading to something more, she needed her friendship, her faith and her trust a lot more than she needed her body.

So she returned the embrace, trying to soak in all of Ritsuko's sadness and feelings of emptiness. She would be her shield against her own doubt. She may pale as a scientist…but this was something she could do for her Senpai.

"I'm always here for you, Senpai…" she sighed.

And that would be enough.


Kaji stared out the window of Gendo's office. Outside, a view of the artificial Geo-Front, spanning dozens of kilometers in every direction, lay before him. Reservoirs recycled water, greenhouses captured the reflected light from the city above to grow food, living quarters lined the fringes of the offices, and military bunkers and weapon caches lay in strategic, yet unmarked locations, known only to NERV personnel. The Geo-Front was designed to hold a population indefinitely in the face of nuclear apocalypse. Unfortunately, the apocalypse that loomed overhead would care little for the preparations of a place like the Geo-Front.

"If you have a reason for being here, Mister Kaji, I suggest you get on with it," Gendo snapped impatiently. Fuyutsuki stood calmly at the Commander's side, his patience a foil to Ikari's irritation.

"I may have to disappear for a while…" Kaji remarked casually, his hands in his pockets. "Though I don't suppose you care."

Gendo sat with his seat turned towards Kaji, his head resting on his fist, his arm propped on an armrest, looking bored.

"You speak as if I didn't already know this…" Gendo huffed, his eyes a mask of indignation. "Must you waste my time wish such prattle?"

Kaji's eyes widened. Just how much did the Commander know?

"I'll be in touch…" he smiled, winking. "Our…mutual friend will know how to reach me."

Gendo's tone could not have been more sardonic had he rolled his eyes. "I'll have to thank him for keeping me in contact with such valuable personnel."

Kaji held his hand over his chest mockingly. "Ouch, Commander…"

Gendo waved his hand in a clear dismissal. "Mister Kaji, everything is well in hand. Nothing further will be gained by discussing it."

Kaji nodded and headed for the door. "I just hope your son is up for it…"

Gendo's eyes never left the duplicitous man. "That is my concern, not yours."

Kaji nodded. "He's a good kid. I wonder how he'll be once all this is over."

"The door is in front of you, Kaji," Gendo all but barked.

"Right, right…" Kaji left, looking no more indignant than when he'd arrived.

Fuyutsuki released a breath of air. "I too wonder how your son will fare in the coming battles."

Gendo allowed himself a smile. "I have confidence that he will handle things much as he has in pervious circumstances."

Fuyutsuki snorted. "That, Sir…is what worries me."


May 5th, 2016

Rei gritted her teeth to prevent herself from biting her tongue as her Eva hit multiple G's as it rose through the shaft of towards the battlefield. She was synched at seventy percent. She had fought in simulation after simulation. She was currently ranked as NERV's 5th best pilot, after Mayumi, Kaworu, Asuka and Shinji. Kaworu was out of commission, but the others were riding up with her.

And this was to be her final battle.

She was confident, but she was no fool. She knew what was to transpire after this battle. She knew the fate that NERV had in store for her. Whether she survived this battle or not, she…



She hit the top of her catapult, her yellow Unit 00 released from its locks, and just stood there, stock still, frozen solid.

It had never truly hit her until just this moment.

She could die.

She could die, right here, right now…that would be it. It would be over. There was nothing left to replace her now, no clones to house her memories and let her continue to live on. Never mind that the transition process had never taken place before, never mind that she was sickened by the idea of having her mind and soul harvested and transplanted, it had always been there, in the back of her mind as a failsafe, a fallback, a feeling of security that gave her the edge she always had - it was what had made her fearless in battle.

But now, that safety was gone.

It left her utterly stunned.

"Rei! Look out!"

And suddenly, the Angel struck.


Shinji panted in pain. He had blacked out for a moment – the feeling of an Angel assimilating with his mind and body nearly took him into a state of coma. His Eva was buckling under the strain of battle, though his umbilical cable was still in place.

He remembered hitting the Angel with a pincer attack, using himself as the bait to lure it away from Rei while Asuka and Mayumi hit it at point blank range with progressive katana and positron rifle. He had managed to get Rei free of the Angel, even as the Angel had begun to dig into his Eva's skin. He had held the Angel down long enough to give both Asuka and Mayumi a clear shot at it. How the Angel had gotten by either of them was…

He blinked as he began to register his visual monitors. Unit 02 lay unmoving at his feet, her umbilical cable snapped, leaving Asuka unable to fight. Ahead, Mayumi's deep blue Unit 08 was grabbing hold of the brightly glowing tether-like Angel, yanking it like a tug-of-war rope from…

Shinji paled.


The Angel was embedded within Unit 00's core, it's probing tendrils digging beneath the Eva's skin, infecting it, assimilating it. Rei's communication channel was static. Mayumi's displayed only her panicked expression. Her mouth was moving, but Shinji couldn't hear what she was saying. He idly wondered why, until he suddenly felt his Eva shudder, and he realized he was already lunging at the Angel, in a blind state of fury.

In the blink of an eye, Unit 01 was in the air, knife in hand, prepared to seize the Angel and slice its ribbon-like body in half. In an equal span of time, the Angel had yanked Unit 08 off its feet and flung it at Shinji, knocking his Eva out of the air, sending them both flailing out of control.

Shinji's head bounced against his headrest. Even with the LCL's dampeners, his ears were ringing. He tasted blood, his vision was narrow and hazy, and his heartbeat was like a beating drum in his head. He saw the ground underneath him, a cement road and railing utterly destroyed beneath his Eva's headlong tumble, a street light bent beyond all recognition. He saw his Eva's hands clutching the earth as it crawled on its hands and knees, dizzy and confused.

He seethed in frustration. He didn't have time for this! He didn't have time to be fumbling about! Rei was in danger! This fact was all he knew!

But his Eva was moving through molasses, his mind in a sea of fog. Why couldn't he just focus! Mayumi could have been screaming in worry, Major Katsuargi could have been blaring orders over the comm. link, and he would have been none the wiser. He didn't fully grasp the fact that he had suffered a concussion, which had resulted in a severe drop in his synchronization. Even if he had known, he probably wouldn't have cared at this point. All that mattered was that Rei was in danger, and he needed to get to her, and it took all his effort to lift his head to take in the strewn bodies of Unit 08, Unit 02, and…

His hands clasped around something.

Unit 02's progressive katana.


Armisael, the 16th Angel, had no core. Or rather, there was nothing to distinguish its core from its body. Its core was its body. That meant that its entire body represented a weak point. To counterbalance this, its body was almost utterly indestructible. It had taken a numerous hits from a positron rifle at point blank range. It had burrowed its way through the innumerable layers of Unit 00's special armor. In terms of durability, it outshone everything it had come up against without so much as a single scratch.

Because if its body received so much a single chink in its armor, the Angel would be finished.

"The sword is not the weapon –you are..."

Kaworu's lessons echoed in Shinji's mind as he clasped the blade in his Eva's hands.

"The sword is merely a tool. You are its only limit..."

He willed his Eva to stand, despite the blood seeping from between its teeth and eye sockets.

"The katana is considered by weapon smiths worldwide to be the most perfect cutting instrument known to man..."

Shinji's eyes deadlocked onto his target; the thing growing out of Unit 00's stomach. It had started to take even her form. A white ghost of a girl, who bore her face. Just like those pale shadows in the basement of NERV tried to imitate the girl he loved.

No matter. His target was his target. Rei was Rei. The girl in the Evangelion was the girl he had to protect.

Nothing. Else. Mattered.

"The Samurai believed it to bean extension of their soul..."

Unit 01's umbilical cable jettisoned. His clock – which usually went to five minutes of low power, and one minute of optimal power – now only registered at ten seconds. Unit 01 digested power at a supernatural rate, its jaws opened in a low growl, its eyes glowing menacingly. Shinji's synchronization level shot from somewhere in the mid thirties to ninety-nine point nine almost instantly. Everything about Unit 01 gave the impression of it having gone berserk.

Yet within, Shinji remained in control




"If you put enough heart into it…it will cut through anything!"

Shinji struck.

Unit 02's katana bit into flesh.

And there was the sound of a crying angel.


In the medical wing of NERV, a silver haired boy with the soul of an Angel stirred at the sound, his eyes opening slowly, his brow furrowing.

"It's time…"


A/N: To be concluded in: "The Difference Of A Life, Book Three: The Boy Who Shouted "I" at the Heart of the World."