Nothing Will Ever Change That

Epilogue 2

A/N – MUAHAHA! I freaked you all out with that last epilogue, didn't I? Well, that was the first one I wrote when I was around page 75, but this is the real one… of course, it's too long to be an epilogue but… eh, whatever, I got carried away.

A/A/N – Okay, one thing: THIS IS NOT PROOF-READ! I was waiting for Frost to read it, but he's been sick lately. Please don't make comments on mistakes.

Shinji's Room – One Day Later

Why did she leave? The only person in my life… and she's gone… why? I couldn't be there for her… I could have helped her, I could have saved her… instead I was stuck in the sidelines watching her be torn up. She died in my arms… I actually saw her die… I saw her beautiful eyes fade away. I begged Ritsuko to clone her, but she said that there was no way. She said that there 'wasn't enough' left of Asuka to clone her, but I really doubt it.

I sit next to Asuka's crib, and oddly, Dietlinde was in it along with her. For some reason, those two have really gotten along the last few hours since their mother left. Normally they'd be either fighting for attention or simply ignoring each other. Dietlinde was still awake, but Asuka was fast asleep. It was odd for her to be awake at this hour, I mean, normally she'll be out at nine, but it's three right now. How she's awake, I have no idea. She keeps on looking past me at the door with a worried look, then once again begins to stare at me. Her eyes eventually drift to a picture on the nightstand of me, her and Asuka – the adult – and she begins to whine. With teary eyes, I pick her up and cradle her.

"Mommy's fine… don't you worry…" I think that she knew I was lying because she buried her face in my chest and began to cry silently. I sit back down and hold her a little closer, "I'll take care of you two… I promise…" she looked back up at me with a quivering bottom lip.

"Mommy…?" why did her first word have to be that of all things? I smile and lean down to kiss her.

"Don't cry…" even though I said that, I can feel tears running down my face just as hard, "Please don't cry…" I bring her up and hold her head next to mine as we cry together, "You know what's going on, don't you?" she clenches onto my neck a little harder, "You do… don't worry, I'm still here…" and I'll always be here… I won't leave them, no matter what. They're all I have, and I'm all they have. I swear on my life that I won't leave them…

---

Three Years Later

"Daddy! Wake up!" I slowly open my eyes to see Dietlinde and Asuka at my bedside, both smiling widely.

"Morning my two sweeties…" I slug out of bed and pick the two up with a small grunt. They were starting to get too heavy for me! "You hungry?" they both nod, still smiling.

Cass and Sam had gotten married a little while back – about two years ago – and since then they've been happier then I've ever seen them. Even now that they're married, Sam STILL doesn't know Cass's first name, though she does know his last. Well,, I guess she could know, but she hasn't told me!

Over the past few years, Asuka has shown to be my daughter. For the most part, she looked like me. She basically had all of my traits aside from the blazing red hair. For some reason, that's always the main gene that would hold out on Asuka's side. Dietlinde on the other hand was a spitting image of her mother, not a single detail showed otherwise. Sam and Cass's child has shown to be like Sam. Brown hair, green eyes, and the attitude to match! Blaze was actually a pretty well behaved boy for his age, I guess Sam and Cass turned out to be better parents then I thought. I walk out into the kitchen and put my children down at the table.

"You're going to get a hernia one of these days…" I turn to Cass across the living room with a cup of coffee in hand.

"Nah, I'm fine, they're not THAT heavy!" he chuckles and takes another sip of coffee.

"That's what you said about that sofa last week…" I put my hand on my lower back with a chuckle, "I tried to tell you that getting it off the truck by yourself was a bad idea… but nnnoooo! The great Shinji Ikari just had to prove that he could do it!" Asuka and Dietlinde both giggle.

"Hey, I'm fine now aren't I? Anyway, where's Blaze?" Cass looks up at me with a smile.

"Look behind you…" I turn around just in time to see him jump off the counter and onto me. I catch him and laugh.

"Ya little monkey!" though he was well behaved, he could get riled up pretty easily, "How'd you sleep?" I raise him above my head as he laughs.

"He didn't!" I see Sam walk out of her room smiling, "That little devil wouldn't go to sleep!" she sits down next to Cass and lays her head on his shoulder, "I'm wiped…"

"Morning Blaze!" Asuka waves to the boy on my shoulder with a smile and he returns it.

"Hey Asuka," he jumps down and sits at the table next to her. The three eventually get lost in meaningless conversation, all smiling the whole way. I go into the living room and sit in the recliner.

"So Shinji, have you made a decision about the Evas yet?" by now, Sam was comfortably asleep in Cass's arms, leaving the remaining two adults to talk.

"No… what do you think I should do? All nations are either coaxing me or glaring at me… I just don't know what I should do here," about a month ago the UK demanded that the Evas be destroyed, saying that they're 'costing tax payers money to support'. So then – just like dominoes – all other nations agreed or fought it. So now I had to make a decision that could either destroy the planet, or cost the world billions of dollars… not exactly an easy choice!

"Well, personally, I'm against it. Just like with the sins, another threat COULD come up. Now, needless to say I don't want to fight, but if I had to, I would. Sam feels the same way about it. What about you?" though I agree with them, I doubt that I'd be able to get back into an Eva without some serious mental preparation.

"I… guess… but what about all the money?" he simply shrugs.

"They've been doing it for the last twenty some years, they can do it from now on. Listen, I know you don't want to talk about it, but I can guarantee you that Asuka would want them around. Unit 02 was her pride, she loved that thing. Hell, her Eva won't even accept any other pilots, not even a dummy plug, now doesn't that tell you something? The Evas are living things Shinji, not some hunks of metal that you can throw away," I really hadn't thought of that…

"You're right… okay, they'll stay… but I have to come up with something to tell everyone as to why I'm not having them destroyed!" he chuckles as he takes another sip of coffee.

"Tell them to fuck off…" with her eyes still closed, Sam lightly slaps his chest.

"Not around the children…"

---

Five Years Later

"Cut the bullshit Akagi! Tell me why the hell you didn't bring Asuka back!" I slam my fists on her desk making her jump.

"I already told you! She didn't have enough brain tissue for me to use!" she stands up and meets me at eye level, "You honestly think that I'd take away the mother of two children AND a wife?"

"Yes! I had half a fucking head and you still cloned me! Listen, I know damn well that you still have her body somewhere in NERV. I've let it go for eight years now, but I swear, if you don't tell me where she is I'll run a search my damn self!" I've heard that from more than twenty people saying that she's somewhere here.

"You're being obsessive Shinji! You saw her body lower in the ground a month after she died!" the funeral was… depressing to say the least.

"No I didn't… that wasn't her," her eyes widen a little, "You think I would have fallen for that? I had NERV run a DNA test on her hair and Dietlinde's… whoever that was, it wasn't Asuka," I see her start to sweat, "I'm giving you one more chance Akagi… tell me where she is…" she lowers back onto her seat and closes her eyes.

"Fine… you win…" she signs one last paper before getting up and guiding me out of the room, "I didn't tell you for a reason… when Asuka was fighting that last angel, something happened to her that even the MAGI is confused about… in my opinion, I think that the angel planted some kind of 'seed' in her. During the autopsy, I found that her entire stomach was missing and in it's place, a small red orb… Shinji, she was an angel…" I stop dead in my tracks.

"Y-You… did an autopsy on her… without my permission?!" I grab her shoulders hard and keep her in place, "That's a felony Akagi!" she rolls her eyes.

"Do you want to see her again or not?" I release her with a small push and she once again begins to walk, "As I was saying, I believe that the last angel was one that could produce more angels, like a mother of sorts, and it chose Asuka. For some reason, even though she was clearly dead, that orb was warm… exactly ninety eight point six degrees… it was alive. I couldn't let it go, so I kept her body tucked away in a small crevice of NERV," we then came to a dead end. No doors, no key pads, nothing. She got down on one knee and began to knock on the wall until a hollow sound echoed back, "Here we go…" she lightly pressed her hand against it and a small square slid open, "Come on, you'll need to crawl," she disappeared into the wall and I followed after her.

"You could have at least told me…" she didn't say a word as we made our way down the pitch black tunnel. After ten minutes of crawling, she comes to a stop.

"Okay, we're here…" I heard the beeping of a keypad and a bright light instantly shows itself in front of me. She crawls towards it and I follow her. I find myself in a large room – solid white and a perfect square – with a single keypad behind me.

"This room isn't in the blueprints of NERV…" I've looked over them countless times, trying to find just where Asuka was.

"Of course it isn't…" she begins to push seemingly random numbers on the keypad, "This is all mine…" after a good thirty digits, I hear a loud humming, "And here she comes…" a large tube full of LCL begins to rise from the middle of the room, and eventually showed Asuka floating in the fluid.

"A-Asuka…" I slowly make my way to the tub and fall to my knees in front of it, staring up at her face the whole time. She still had her left arm missing and a long scar crossed from her right breast to her left hip.

"Yep, that's the original Asuka… that's also the final angel…" I feel tears start to run down my face.

"Clone her… I don't care what you have to do… just get her back…" she lets out a long sigh.

"I can't… I'll be cloning an angel, I could cause the Third Impact if I did… well, I COULD clone her without the red orb, but I'd need money – a lot of money – to do the research on how to do that," money? Is that all she ever fucking needed?!

"How much…?" she pauses for a few seconds.

"Umm… I'm guessing about a hundred billion…" holy crap… that could throw Japan into a depression…

"You got it… how much ti-" I was cut off by a familiar voice.

"Dad?" I whip my head around to see Dietlinde and Asuka standing in front of the opening. Dietlinde was staring up at her mother with wide eyes and a dropped jaw. Asuka – on the other hand – looked away simply embarrassed at seeing a naked woman. I run over and hold both of their heads to my stomach, blocking their view.

"Just get it done…" I guide the two into the passage, having Asuka lead with Dietlinde behind her, "Why did you two follow me? I told you to stay with Sam and Cassin the cafeteria!" this was my first time actually yelling at them… they've always been such well behaved children, I've never had to discipline them.

"We're sorry… we just wanted to be with you…" Asuka had an uneasy voice as she spoke. I let out a long sigh as I crawl.

"Okay… look, next time I tell you to do something, don't go against me. Okay?" Asuka hums her answer while Dietlinde kept quiet, "Dietlinde?" I hear her let out a small whimper, "Are you okay?"

"Y-Yeah…" she was obviously crying. We all stay quiet until we reach the opening. When I finally got out I see Dietlinde against a corner hiding her face with Asuka behind her with a worried look.

"Asuka, why don't you go back to Sam and Cass? I think Blaze wanted to see you," without debating, she walked down the hall, leaving me and Dietlinde alone. I put my hand on her shoulder and turn her around to see eyes full of tears, "Dietlinde…" I lean down and hug her tight, "I'm sorry you had to see that…" she hugs me back and cries into my shoulder.

"Th-That was mom… wasn't it?" she still remembered her mother…

"Yeah… Rits has her there as a sort of cemetery…" I lie, but Dietlinde seemed to believe it.

"I still remember her… I remember being in her arms everyday… she would sing that song to me before I went to sleep… I remember the night she didn't come back…" she cries a little harder into my shoulder.

"She was a wonderful woman…" I lean back and kiss her forehead with a fake smile, "Don't forget her, she'll help you one way or another in the future…" I'm sure that at her age, she didn't understand what I was saying, but she nodded, still crying, "Listen, I don't want you to tell Asuka about any of this, I'll talk to her later, okay?" she once again nods. I put my hands on her shoulders and look her deep in the eye, "And I'll talk with you too…" she smiles at me and hugs me tight, "I love you Dietlinde… and so did your mother…" I pick her up with some strain and carry her down the hall.

"Dad… I'm nine…" she gave me a sarcastic look.

"I know, but you're still my baby," I once again kiss her forehead. She did as I told her – she didn't say a word to Asuka about her mother. I knew she would; Dietlinde's always been obedient. Needless to say, the rest of the night was quiet. Dietlinde had kept her mouth shut even to me, she hasn't said a word in a few hours now. Asuka on the other hand is normal, why wouldn't she be? There's no way that she could know who Asuka was.

"Okay girls, time for bed," without a word my children – along with Blaze – head for their rooms. As they walked off, I put my hand on Asuka's shoulder and guide her to the sofa, "Asuka… we need to talk," her eyes widen.

"It wasn't me! Blaze was the one-" I put my finger on her lips and shake my head, keeping my serious face.

"You're not in trouble, we just need to talk about what you saw today. Does that woman mean anything to you?" she once again blushes.

"Well… no… I do have a question though… why was she naked?" I smile down at her.

"Forget about that… that woman… was your mother," her eyes widen, "I'm sorry for not tell you earlier, but you weren't ready for it. She died trying to save you and Dietlinde… hell, the whole world," I hold up my hand with my wedding ring on it, "We were both happily married for some time before she died. She died a few months after you were born…" she loses her wide eyes and looks at me with a smile.

"Well… you're here now, aren't you? I don't need a mom, I have the best dad there is…" she leans in and hugs me tight. As I smile, I feel a tear roll down my face.

"Thanks… I love you Asuka…" she leans back and once again looks at me with a smile.

"I love you too dad," she gets up and walks to her room, leaving me with a warm heart. After a few minutes I get up and head for Dietlinde's room. Before I open the door, I put my ear to it to see if she was asleep or not. Instead of hearing silence like I normally would, I hear a young girl crying to herself. Without knocking, I walk into the darkness only lit by the open door. She was sitting on her bed hugging her legs crying into her knees. I turn on the light and shut the door as I make my way to her bedside.

"Come here honey…" I sit next to her and hug her, "It's okay…" she stays in her fetal position as I hug her, "I miss her too…" now she's got me crying! We both sit there for a few minutes crying silently, not saying a word until she finally pulls back and looks at me with teary eyes.

"Did… she really give her life for us?" I smile through my tears.

"Yeah… she did…" she averts her stare to the floor, "Do you have any questions about her?" she slowly nods.

"Can… you tell me about your wedding?" I lay her down and cover her up to her neck.

"Sure honey…" as I tell the long story, she slowly falls asleep with a small smile on her face.

---

Three Years Later

"Dad! Hurry up! I'm going to be late!" I finish throwing Dietlinde and Asuka's lunches together and toss them to the two.

"I'm coming!" we all run out of the house after I grab my keys, "Wait… where's Blaze?" Asuka looks back at me and raises an eyebrow, "What?"

"He left with Cass awhile ago! Now can WE get going? We're both going to be late for school!" we make our way to my car and I pull out of the driveway. Today was Dietlinde's first day of middle school… and it's eating me up. She started puberty two years ago, and she's definitely taking after her mother. Let's just say she's keeping up with Asuka… I'm fairly worried about the boys at her school, but I think that she'll be able to handle them! For her age, she did have a fairly mature body… and her long red hair didn't exactly help! Asuka was the same way, but luckily for me she was still in grade school. None the less, she began puberty last year… and so did Blaze. Those two have gotten really close these last few months, and I saw them holding hands last night at the dinner table. I knew exactly what was happening, but Asuka wasn't going to be allowed to date until she's Dietlinde's age.

"So Dietlinde, you excited about going to middle school?" she clenched her bag a little.

"Yeah… I'm a little nervous though…" I let out a small chuckle.

"Don't worry, you'll do fine. Just stay calm, and try to make a few friends today, okay?" unfortunately, her best friend from grade school moved away, so chances are that they won't see each other again.

"Okay…" when we get to Asuka's school, I see Blaze waiting at the front steps for her.

"Hey Blaze!" Dietlinde smirks at me and I put my finger on my lips, telling her to keep quiet. Asuka gets out of the car and runs towards him. They exchange a few words before walking into school… holding hands…

"Asuka!" I call her as they walk. She turns around and blushes at my smile. She lets go of him that they close they doors behind them.

"She's got the hots for him BAD!" Dietlinde busted out laughing.

"Yeah, I know," I once again begin to drive, "She's not allowed to date though," Dietlinde stops laughing and looks at me.

"Um… can I?" I chuckle a little, "DAD! You're not going to let me date?"

"No, I will, but I have to meet the guy first," she lets out a soft sigh, "My girls are growing up!" I sarcastically wipe away a fake tear, "It seemed like only yesterday that I was changing your diapers!" though I was joking, it was true.

"Oh grow up!" I lose my joking face and smile a sad smile. She sounded exactly like Asuka right there; same tone, same voice… same warmth.

"You're becoming more like your mother every day…" she smiled weakly at me.

"Thanks…" she knew that to be a compliment… after a few minutes of silence, I pull up to her school.

"Okay, good luck honey," she gets out of the car and waves, "What? No hug? No kiss? Come on!" she blushed deeply.

"Dad! I'm thirteen for God sakes!" I raise an eyebrow, "Fine…" she leans through the window and pecks me on the cheek, "Happy now?" I smile at her. as she pulled back I grab her wrist.

"Dietlinde… I really love you…" I slip a small piece of jewelry in her hand, "And so did your mother…" she pulls back and looks at the ring with wide eyes.

"Is this…" she pauses.

"Yeah…" she waves to me as I drive off. She's going to grow up just like Asuka, I know it. Hell, she even looks exactly like her! The only thing I'm worried about is the whole boy issue. Being thirteen and having Asuka's body type will attract some attention from boys, I can tell that much. Hopefully she'll have the same attitude as Asuka did with that sort of thing. Suddenly, I hear my phone ring. Going against traffic laws, I pick it up.

"Hello?" I hear a woman panting on the other line.

"Shinji… get down here now… something's gone wrong…" it was Akagi, obviously upset about something.

"Ritsuko, what's wrong?" I hear a faint humming in the backround, but I couldn't place exactly what it was.

"It's Asuka, she's… ah shit!" I hear a few gunshots before the line goes dead. with my heart pounding, I drop the phone and push my car to the limits down the highway. When I finally get to NERV, I run inside and frantically search the hallways. I asked a few people where she was, but no one seemed to know. Eventually, I get to that dead end hallway I visited a few years back. I open it and immediately see that blinding light at the end of the tunnel. I crawl as fast as I could and eventually get to that damned room. When I stand up, I see absolutely nothing, not even the LCL tube… then suddenly I feel a dripping of something wet on the top of my head. I look up to see Akagi hanging upside-down with blood dripping from her neck. I jet out from under her and instantly see another being – about my size – holding her ankle.

"Shin… ji…" Akagi muttered before falling to the floor, sending a loud snapping noise through the room from her neck. The thing jumped down and landed a few feet from me. It's entire body was pitch black aside from blazing red, long hair that draped over it's shoulders. It's smile… was wicked… it was actually devilish. The eyes were solid blue, glowing bright… was this…?

"Oh, Shinji! Shinji!" it let out an evil laugh as it said my name. It was hunched over slightly seemingly in a fighting pose. It's hands were clenched and open, making it look almost like claws, "My dear Shinji!" it jumped up and down as it laughed.

"A-Asuka?" she nodded slightly, never losing that evil smile. Before I could react, she lunged at me and clenched onto my throat and actually lifted me into the air.

"P-Please… help…" she lost that smile and clenched her eyes shut, "Shinji… help…" that was her voice… it was actually her voice… I reach down and put my hand on her cheek, "Don't touch me!" her eyes opened back up and glared at me. I didn't move my hand though, "I said stop it!" while still holding me in the air, she punched my arm away.

"Asuka…" its eyes widened, "I… love you…" she dropped me and clenched her head with both hands.

"STOP IT!" she fell to her knees in pain. I lean next to her and hug her, "G-Get… off…" I continue to hug her, "Get… off of me!" she flattens her hand and thrusts it at me, sending blood flying as it digs into my shoulder. Her eyes widen as she sees the blood, "Shin… ji…" I see a tear form in her eye as she falls backwards. The pain in my shoulder was unbearable, I could barely stand it! I try to get to my feet, but instead end up lying on my back, slowly blacking out. A few seconds later I see a young girl crawl out of the passage.

"D-Dietlinde… leave…" she gasps as she looks at me, but was soon cut off as Asuka pinned her against the wall by her neck, "Dietlinde!" just as Asuka brings back her fist, I black out.

---

Four Hours Later – NERV Hospital

I slowly open my eyes to that familiar ceiling of the hospital room. I jet up in bed and frantically look around for any sign of Dietlinde. I was in this room alone… nobody was here… I bury my face in my hands and sob. Did Asuka kill her? What about Asuka herself? Why did I tell Akagi to clone her…?

"Dietlinde!" I continue to sob into my hands.

"Yes?" I look up to see her leaning against the door, "Now why are you crying?" a deep purple bruise marked her face as she smiled wide. She walks to my bedside and I hug her tight, "Dad! Come on, this is embarrassing!" she pulls away from me and I smile.

"Sorry… how did you get to NERV?" she lets out a sigh.

"Well, I saw you drive off like a maniac so I called a cab and paid him forty bucks to speed… you owe me that money by the way!" I couldn't help but laugh.

"Are you okay?" I put my hand lightly on her cheek.

"Eh, that's nothing… mom punches like a wimp!" my eyes widen at her comment.

"Mom? What are you talking about?" how did she know that it was her mother?

"Ugh… you know, you could have at least told me she was coming back eventually. That black thing was her, just in a different form… apparently all you have to do is cry to get her back to normal!" back…?

"Hey, I heard that wimp comment young lady!" I hear another woman walk into the room… I know that voice… I leap out of bed to see Asuka standing there with her hands on her hips. I completely freeze, I couldn't move a muscle… was this her? "Damn Shinji, these years have kicked your ass!" I leap at her and hug her tight.

"Is this you? Is this really you?" she leans back with a smile.

"No, this is Gendo, yeah it's me!" I lean down and kiss her deeply. She wraps her arms around my neck and accepts the kiss.

"EW! Guys, do that later! God that's nasty!" We both look at Dietlinde covering her eyes and laugh. I look back at Asuka with teary eyes. She's changed so much… she actually aged in the time she was dead… and yet she still looked as beautiful as ever.

"I… don't know what to say here…" I was still in shock from seeing her again!

"How about I love you?"

"And nothing will ever change that…" I take her into another deep kiss. Dietlinde cuts in between us with an annoyed face.

"Okay, setting a ground rule right now; no making out in from of me!" we both laugh.

"Fine…" Asuka smirks at me, "What about sex?" I instantly bust out laughing and Dietlinde simply gags. Having 'the talk' with Dietlinde was hard enough, but Asuka just blew it out the window! "Shinji… she looks exactly like me…" Asuka whispers in my ear. I simply nod, "So… does she have a boyfriend?"

"No, not yet… but Asuka does…" she jumped back.

"What?! She's not even a teenager yet!" that's exactly what I thought!

"Yeah well… it happened… we should go pick her and her boyfriend up, they should get home…" Asuka raised an eyebrow, "It's Blaze."

"HIM?!" Dietlinde pops up and smirks at her mother.

"Oh yeah, she's got it bad for him! Same with Blaze! I saw them together this morning… oh man!" she begins to laugh.

"Dietlinde? What were they doing?" Asuka lost the joking face and gained a serious one, "Actually, never mind, I'll just ask her myself. Let's go," Asuka grabbed my hand and walked towards the door.

"Oh my God! EW!" I turn around to see Dietlinde covering her eyes, "Damnit dad, put on some clothes!" ugh… I really hated these hospital clothes. I just mooned my daughter! Without a word, I walk into the bathroom and find my clothes on the counter. Asuka was back… I have my wife back… eleven years, and I finally have her back! I get dressed and walk back out to see Dietlinde blushing deeply and Asuka smirking.

"Shinji, for future reference, mooning your daughter is a bad thing, okay?" hey, I think that I've done a pretty good job parenting by myself.

"Okay, I'll keep that in mind," I grab Asuka's hand and wrap my arm around Dietlinde, "Sorry about that honey…" she perks up and reaches into her pocket.

"I almost forgot, here mom," she reached out and handed Asuka the ring I gave her earlier today. I saw Asuka smile at her new name as she takes the ring.

"Thanks Dietlinde…" I see a small tear form, but it was quickly wiped away with her wrist.

---

Car – One Hour Later

"Okay, back up. You died eleven years ago fighting an angel, you became an angel, you were cloned, then you turned back to normal?" Blaze, Asuka and Dietlinde were all sitting in the back seat with me and Asuka in the front. Her other daughter obviously had a few questions, so why not now?

"Yeah, basically…" Asuka looked over her shoulder at Blaze, "So this is the famous Blaze, huh? You know, I changed your diaper a few times!" I saw Blaze blush through my rear-view mirror, "And I also heard that you're dating my daughter…" I cut her off.

"Ah, correction, they're boyfriend and girlfriend, but they're not dating!" Asuka glares at Dietlinde for telling her 'secret'.

"Whatever, same thing. So Blaze, tell me, what were you two doing this morning?" Asuka once again glares at Dietlinde.

"Umm… w-we weren't d-doing anything…" Asuka raises an eyebrow at Blaze, "Fine… we were kissing…" Asuka slaps him on the chest, "What? Your mom was about to kill me!"

"Hey, I don't care, just know this…" Asuka leans over and whispers something in Blaze's ear. He turns white as a ghost as she leans back, "Got it?" he slowly nods.

"Now what was that for? You can't treat us like that!" Dietlinde elbows Asuka in the arm.

"Yes she can! Watch how you talk to your mother!" Asuka crosses her arms and looks out the window.

"Mother my ass… where has she been the last thirteen years?" nobody says a word the rest of the trip. When we get home Asuka storms to her room and leaves Blaze behind. He soon follows her example and walks off to his room.

"Um… I'm… sorry for Asuka's behavior…" Dietlinde looks up at her mother.

"Don't apologize…" Asuka begins to walk into the house, "She's right…" she sits down on the sofa with a blank face and leans back her head.

"Dietlinde, why don't you go to your room? I need to talk with mom…" she follows my instructions without a word. I sit down next to Asuka and wrap my arm around her, "Don't worry about Asuka… she's on her cycle right now…" I really hated when I was the one to buy the 'supplies'…

"She's right… I only have five more years with them… then they're gone…" I see a tear form in her eye, "You've done one hell of a job Shinji, really… Dietlinde's wonderful… Asuka on the other hand… she has respect issues…" she chuckles through the tear, "I guess she got that from me…" I take Asuka into my arms and hug her tight.

"She's just confused, I mean, I've been the only one for twelve years, and now she suddenly has two parents… just give it some time…" she turns her head and looks at me with a smile.

"The kids aren't around…" she wraps her arms around my neck and leans in a little, "How about we have some time together, huh?" she leans into a deep kiss, only this time, it actually lasted.

"Shinji! Man, what the hell is wrong with you?" I hear Cass walk up and he pulls me away from Asuka, "You walk in with some tramp and make out with her in our house?!" of course he didn't bother to look down!

"Nice to see you too Cass…" he whips his head towards her and damn near faints.

"Asuka? Is that you?" she nods with a smile, "Nah… couldn't be…" he leans down and looks at her closer.

"How's Sam doing?" then he faints, "And there he goes!" with a chuckle, I pick him up and lay him down on the sofa, "I couldn't tell, was he happy or sad?" right on cue, Sam walks into the living room.

"Cass? What are you yelling about?" Asuka walks up to her and puts a hand on her shoulder, "Shinji?"

"Okay, don't faint like your husband did! Long story short, died, cloning, angel, normal, here," yeah, that was about the gist of it! "Oh left out a word… Asuka," Sam goes wide eyed as expected.

"A-Asuka…?"

"Yep, Akagi cloned me… took her long enough!" Sam lunges forward and hugs Asuka, "Whoa! Calm down there!" Sam keeps herself latched onto Asuka.

"I can't believe you're back!" Asuka awkwardly hugs her back.

"Um… yeah… can I have my body back now?" Sam lets go of her with a wide smile.

"Oh my God… twelve years… twelve years without you around… it's just amazing…" just then Cass raises his head.

"Whoa… man, I just had the wildest dre-… holy crap!" he leaps up and hugs Asuka, "You're alive! YES!" he picks her up in the hug and she gets a very annoyed look on her face.

"Cass… you have three seconds to put me down… two…" he lets her down with a smile.

"Sorry… I just can't believe you're here! Let me guess, Rits worked her magic again, huh?" Asuka nodded, "Should have known! But what took her so long?"

"She didn't do anything at first because Asuka was an angel… hell, IS an angel. From now on… try not to piss her off TOO bad!" I hold my shoulder in memory of what she did, "You can ask Dietlinde that too!"

"You're an angel?" Cass looks back at her as she nods, "Awesome!" I had to admit, her angel form is creepy as hell… I wonder if it's possible for her to turn back… hopefully not…

---

Two Years Later

"Look at you! Could you be more beautiful?" Dietlinde was dressed up in a long red dress and getting ready for her first date with a boy named Jay from America. Asuka was making the final adjustments on her dress as I stared at her in aw. The dress came out of her own money, she said that she wanted it like that for some reason. It cost her a whopping fifty thousand Yen, but it was worth every dime.

"Really Dietlinde… you're beautiful…" her face turns a light shade of pink.

"Thanks…" I feel a small tear form in my eye. She was growing up… my cute daughter is really growing up… a few years from now, she'll be gone… God I love her.

"We want you home by eleven, okay?" Asuka stands up and looks down at her with a smile.

"Yeah, sure… thanks for letting me go," it took more then a month of convincing, but we finally said yes.

"Sure, but don't prove our judgment wrong. We're trusting you to go out alone with a boy, don't break that trust," as always, I was the one to make the speech. Asuka – even now – didn't feel like it was her place, saying that she 'wasn't really a parent'. Hell, even Dietlinde saw that too be bullshit!

"I won't, I promise," just then, the doorbell rings, "I think that's him…" she takes a deep breath.

"Listen, why don't you take Dietlinde upstairs for a moment?" Asuka smirks and guides Dietlinde upstairs unwillingly. I open the door to see Jay looking very nice in a tux holding a dozen roses.

"Oh… hi Mr. Ikari… I'm… uh… here to pick up Dietlinde…" I put my hand on his shoulder and guide him inside and sit him on the sofa.

"She'll be down in a minute, for now, let's just chat…" he gulped a little, "So Jay, where ya from?"

"Um… Ohio… Montpelier…" I pace back and forth in front of him.

"Oh, really? I've heard they have some pretty bad thunder storms there!" he slowly nods, "Okay, enough small talk, I want to talk with you about something. I know that you're fourteen, and I can relate to what you're thinking. But if I catch you two hugging or kissing… know this…" I lean in a little, "I've been to prison before…" he jumps back.

"D-Don't worry Mr. Ikari… I won't…" I lean back up with a smile.

"Good… honey, your date's here!" I see Dietlinde walk down the stairs slowly with a smile.

"Hey Jay…" he takes her hand in his and softly kisses her cheek. I clear my throat and he gulps once again.

"Y-You look… beautiful…" I see his eyes skim over her body… twice actually!

"Thanks…" I clear my throat once again, only a little louder, "Dad, enough of that!" I laugh.

"What? I have a sore throat!" she rolls her eyes and guides Jay out of the house, "Love you honey, have a good time!" she waves back at me as they get into the cab and drive off, "Bye…" I once again feel a tear roll down my face. Asuka wraps her arm around me and smiles.

"You okay?" I nod with a smile.

"Yeah… it's just hard seeing her grow up…" she lightly kissed me on the cheek.

"You've raised her well Shinji, she's a very fine young woman," I walk back inside and close the door. Man… seeing that car drive off was horrible. All of these years she – and Asuka – has been mine… now Blaze and Jay are taking that away from me… I mean, yes, I want to see them grow up, it's just hard, "How about I make some dinner while we wait for her to come home?"

"You're fucking kidding me!" we both turn our heads to see Asuka standing in the hallway, red with anger.

"Hey! Watch your mouth young lady!" Asuka glared at her.

"Fuck off! Why the hell can Dietlinde go on dates but I can't?! You said that I could date when I was thirteen, well I'm thirteen and you STILL won't let me and Blaze go out!" I get away from Asuka and walk towards our child.

"You apologize you your mother right now!" she crosses her arms.

"She's not my mother! She's just the person who gave birth to me! Where were you, huh? You were dead! Why couldn't you just stay like that? Nobody wants you around! Dad was perfectly happy when it was just us, but now that you're in the picture he's not!" I grab a hold of her shoulders.

"Asuka… I'm going to say this once… go to your room…" she pulls away from me and glares at me.

"Fuck you! I gave that bitch a chance for a year now, and she doesn't even pass for acceptable! Either she leaves this house or I do!" I close my eyes and take a deep breath.

"Asuka… she's my wife-" I was cut off by the yelling young girl.

"And I'm your daughter!" I see her start to cry, "I used to spend so much time with you…" she lowered her head, "All I have is Blaze… she took you away from me… please dad… come back…" she starts to cry more heavily. I take her into a hug and she accepts it, "I just want you back…"

"I've always been here sweetie… if you just ask to spend time with me, I'll drop anything else I have going on… okay?" I look down at her teary eyes. Was I really neglecting her, or was this just a side effect of her hormones?

"Promise?" I nod with a smile.

"But only if you start to respect YOUR MOTHER," I emphasized the last two words, trying to get my point across.

"Fine…" she looks around my shoulder and at her mother, "Sorry…" that wasn't just a forced sorry, I think she really meant it. Asuka walks over to her and – to my surprise – takes her into a hug.

"I love you Asuka, whether you know it or not. You're my baby, and you always will be… I'm sorry if I intruded in on your relationship with Shinji…" she leaned back and lightly kissed her forehead, "I'd like to spend some time with you eventually…" our child looks to the floor. Asuka puts her hand under her chin and raises her head, "Look at me… I know that you don't like me, but I love you with all of my heart… can we please spend at least ten minutes together some day?"

"Yeah… sure… can I go to my room?" Asuka leans back up and smiles.

"Yeah…" as she walked off Asuka muttered, "I love you Asuka…"

"I… love you too… mom…"

---

12:00 AM – Shinji/Asuka's Room

"Where the hell is she?! She's not picking up her phone, Jay's phone is dead… what the hell?!" I pace the room back and forth with my phone in hand.

"She's fine, they probably just lost track of time," Asuka – trying to calm me – made a crap excuse. We made it extremely clear to be home by eleven, and yet here she is out past midnight! I swear, she's never going on a date again! After trying her phone one last time, I give up.

"Screw this, I'm going out to find her…" without giving Asuka any time to react, I jet out of the room and head for my car. I probably left a two-inch thick layer of rubber as I screeched out of the parking lot, "I swear, when I find her, she's dead!" I go the first place that came to mind; Jay's house. Surely his parents would know if we didn't… right? When I finally get to the house I see that all the lights are off aside from one in the front. The front door was wide open so I just walk in, "Hello?" I hear some rustling coming from the room with the light on.

"Uh… oh God…" I hear someone mutter through the closed door… it sounded like a young girl… "Uh… f-faster…" I slowly open the door and scan my eyes from the floor to the bed. A long red silk dress was wadded up on the floor, and a few inches from it a pair of panties and bra laid, "AAAHHH!" I look up at the bed to see Jay on top of Dietlinde with her legs and arms wrapped around him… both down to nothing…

"D-Dietlinde…" they both whip their heads over to me and damn near faint, "Get off of her!" I pull him off of my daughter, ending with him on the floor. He wasn't even wearing a condom… nothing… I look back at Dietlinde still lying on the bed and still panting, "What the fuck were you thinking?!" she gets up and crosses her arms, trying to cover as much as she could. Please don't tell me this is happening…

"Dad, I-" I cut her off with a harsh tone.

"Go out to the car! Wait for me there!" she didn't move a muscle, "NOW!" she slowly walks out of the room, leaving behind all of her clothes. If she can deal with being naked in front of him, then she can deal with it outside!

"Who the hell are you to walk into my house without permission?" I reach down and grab his arm.

"And who the hell are you to take my daughter's virginity!? I trusted you to take her out, and you pull this!" he just rolls his eyes, "You little punk!" I punch him across the face with all I'm worth, "Get up!" he eventually made his way to his feet, "Give me one damn reason I shouldn't kick your ass right here!" he smirks a little.

"Hey, I had reason… your daughter's hot man…" I punch him again in the stomach. Without giving him any response time, I take off my belt and tie his wrists to the bed post.

"Real fucking funny now, aren't we?" I glance at the bed and see a small red spot and quickly avert my eyes. As I walk out of the room I take care to take a step on his groin, "I'll call your parents later," I talk over the yelling. When I get out to the car I see her crossing her in the passenger seat still crossing her arms. I get into the car and slam the door shut.

"Dad, listen to-" I glare over at her.

"No! I'm not going to listen to you again! He came inside you, didn't he?" she looks down, "FUCK!" I slam my hands on the steering wheel, "What the hell is wrong with you Dietlinde?" she keeps quiet as I speed off.

"What about my dress?" she looks at me with teary eyes.

"He can burn it for all I care!" she whimpers a little. As I said before, she paid for it with her own money, but frankly, I didn't care! "Is that all you're thinking about? What about the fact of you being a possible mother?" she once again whimpered.

"I'm not pregnant…"

"And how do you know that? Are you wearing a condom?" she gives me a confused look, "See! You didn't even know that you COULD wear a condom, did you?" she once again looks down, "I was lenient as hell on what you wore; V-cut collars, tight pants, tight shirts, I even saw you wear a thong a few times, but I let it all go! I trusted that you wouldn't give anything up, but on your first Goddamn date you fuck a guy!" I once again slam my hands on the steering wheel in anger, "That's it, all of those clothes are gone! I don't care if you bought them or not!" I pull into the parking lot and glare down at her.

"But that's not fair!"

"Not fair? How fair is it that now I have to pay for you to get a checkup, huh? You're going in tomorrow to see if you're pregnant, and if you are, you're not getting an abortion. Got it?" please for the love of God don't be pregnant…

"Yeah…" I get out of the car and open her door.

"Get inside and get dressed. We're far from done here!" she slowly walks in the house in the cold night air. I follow soon after her and slam the door behind me, sending a few picture frames falling to the floor, "When you're done get back out here," she hurries to her room, passing her wide eyed mother on the way.

"Please don't tell me…" I sit down on the sofa and lean my head back, "Did she…?" I slowly nod and she gasps. I get up and look at my pale wife.

"Oh, that's not even the worst of it! That little punk Jay didn't even bother to pull out!" Asuka sits on the sofa and buries her face in her hands.

"I knew this was going to happen…" just then, Dietlinde comes walking out of her room in loose fitting night clothes. Asuka leaps up and grabs her shoulders, "Why the hell did you let him stay inside?! If you were going to do that, at least have him pull out!" Dietlinde's eyes were full of tears and her bottom lip was quivering.

"I'm… s-sorry…" Asuka lets her go and looks back at me.

"What do we do here Shinji?" I walk next to her and glare down at Dietlinde.

"Like I already told her, she's going in for an exam tomorrow. All of her revealing clothes are gone, I think a few families will be happy to have them. Go pack them up Dietlinde and put them in a plastic bag, we're going right now to drop them off at the shelter," even Asuka gasped a little.

"Daddy… don't make me do that…" I hold my arm in the air pointing to her room.

"Either you do it or I do… it's your choice…" with tears running down her face, she walks into her room.

"Shinji… don't you think that's a little drastic? I mean, what is she going to wear?" I continue to stare at my formerly pure child's room.

"Sweats. We're going to pick them up tonight as well after she drops off her old clothes," Asuka glares up at me.

"She'll be the laughing stock of the whole school! You can't do that to your own daughter!" I glare right back at her. I came so close to saying that I was the one to raise these children, not her… but I refrained from it.

"Then this won't happen in the future, now will it?" Asuka takes a deep sigh and loses the glare.

"But… to do THAT…" I lean down and whisper in Asuka's ear.

"I'm not giving them away, I'm just keeping them at NERV until she earns them back," she gives a weak smile as I lean up, "But she is going to school in sweats for awhile, I'm not budging on that…" Dietlinde comes back out of the room holding a trash bag full of her clothes. She was still crying fairly hard, but I tried to brush it off. She had to be disciplined, I wasn't going to let this go.

"Please… don't make me get rid of them…" I guide her out of the house.

"Come on… go get in the car," with a small whimper she walks out of the house, "We'll be back in a little bit, don't wait up," I close the door behind me following a weeping Dietlinde, "I'm not doing this to be cruel…" she gets in with the bag on her lap in silence, "You do know that, right?" I pull out of the parking lot, this time calmly.

"Yeah… but…" she lowers her head a little more and cries harder. With a sigh, I pull to a side road and look into my daughter's teary eyes. I hated seeing her like this… I really couldn't stand it…

"Were you even ready for it?" she closes her eyes and shakes her head, "Then why'd you do it?" she finally looks at me.

"Because I thought I was… when he actually started… I thought that it was too late to back out…" I lean over and hug her.

"Was he even gentle with you?" she cries into my shoulder and shakes her head.

"I didn't… know it would hurt so bad… I tried to tell him, but he said that it'd get better…" why did she have to go through this? I mean, yes, it was her decision, but from the sounds of it she would have stopped if given the opportunity.

"And it didn't, did it?" she takes a short pause to let a few extra tears run.

"It did… that's why I kept going…" she takes a few minutes and cries freely into my shoulder. How is it that my sweet little daughter lost her virginity at this age? I mean, me and Asuka may have had sex at fifteen, but we were both able to take care of our child. Dietlinde on the other hand can't, my benefit of having my family supported ends at one generation, and that means Dietlinde will have to get a job… would she become a single parent? Jay's parents would force him to pay child support, but would the father be there? Now that I really doubt, "Why did I do it? I… don't want a baby… I don't want to be a mother!" I hold her a little closer to my body.

"Shhhh… just calm down…" I say that, and here I am freaking out! Seriously, chances are that she's pregnant! "It wasn't worth it, was it?" she slowly shakes her head. I lean back and look at her teary eyes, "I'm going to take you home and you go straight to bed, okay? We'll go to the doctor's tomorrow morning," she nods and I begin to drive home.

"Dad…?" she stared at the ground, "I love you…"

---

The Next Day

"Dietlinde, wake up honey," I lightly nudge her shoulder. Within the next hour, she'll either be off the hook or in deeper shit then she has ever been… "Dietlinde, wake up," she slowly opens her eyes and smiles.

"Hi dad…" unfortunately, she wasn't met with a smiling face, "Oh…"

"Go ahead and get dressed," I try to sound as caring as possible, but I know I was failing because her face was already starting to look depressed, "Don't worry, I'm not going to yell today. If you're pregnant, we can't change it. Yelling won't solve anything," she gave me a weak smile and got out of bed.

"Thanks…" I get up and leave the room, I saw enough of her last night! Seriously, I don't care if she's my daughter or not, that was just wrong. Asuka was still asleep, and my other daughter was outside with Blaze… making out no doubt. I sit on the sofa and wait for Dietlinde. I hear a car pull up in our drive way then a few seconds later the doorbell rings… and suddenly I get pissed… hm… I open it to see Jay and his parents looking quite pissed.

"Hello Mr. Ikari… I believe we have some matters to discuss…" I let them inside and the three take a seat on the sofa, "From my understanding you broke into our house when we were away and needlessly beat on our son…" what the hell did this punk tell them?!

"Whoa, back up. For one, the door was open, and two, he didn't tell you the whole story!" they both glare down at him.

"Was he with Dietlinde?" I nod with eyes that could kill, "What did I tell you about that?! Your little make-out sessions are really getting on our nerves!" wait… what?

"That's not what they did," I cross my arms and look down at him, "Why don't you share with your parents Jay? What were you doing with my daughter?" he blushes deeply and looks down. Just then Dietlinde walks out of her room and sees Jay and his parents… perfect timing!

"Hey Dietlinde…" that little punk actually had the nerve to… oh, I swear…

"You shut your mouth! Jay's obviously not going to tell you, so I will! Last night I walked in on these two having sex! Your perfect little son here didn't even bother to pull out!" both of his parents gasp, "Dietlinde's going for a checkup right now to see if she's pregnant or not… actually, I think it would be a nice idea for Jay come along with us if that's okay with you two," I want him to feel what I'm feeling right now…

"Yeah, he's going, and when he gets back he's going straight to boot camp. My father did that to me when I was younger, and I feel like it worked pretty well," Jay went completely pale, "And I was eighteen! Not some fourteen year old!" looks like Jay's going to get it bad… yes!

"Okay, come on, we're leaving," Dietlinde walks next to me with her head hung low and Jay's parents get up.

"Thank you for your time, I apologize for my son's behavior…" his mother was simply horrified by all of this, "Follow Mr. Ikari Jay," I put my arm around Dietlinde to show that I wasn't yelling at her and she let out a small smile. When we all get in my car I have Jay sit in the back with Dietlinde up front with me.

"Tell me Jay, if my daughter is pregnant, what do you plan on doing?" he shifted in his seat as I drove.

"I don't plan on doing shit. She's the one that made me come in her, I was planning on pulling out," to my surprise, Dietlinde whipped around and slapped him.

"That's bullshit and you know it! I don't care if I had my legs around you or not, you could have pulled out!" I see him shrug.

"Like it matters, I'm not taking care of the baby. I refuse to raise a child with a bitch like you!" Dietlinde sighs and sits back.

"Dad… pull over… now…" with a smirk, I follow her instructions. Calmly, she undoes her seat belt and – less calmly – leaps to the back seat and starts to pummel Jay, "You son of a bitch!" I think I'll excuse her language for today… after about five minutes of her kicking his ass, I speak up.

"Okay Dietlinde, come on, we're going to be late," she sighs and comes back up to the front seat, "Have fun?" she nods with a smile. Jay comes back up with a bloody nose, black eyes, and bruises all over him. Like an idiot, he sits behind Dietlinde… and she puts the seat back all the way, "You're just like your mother!" she lets out a little laugh as I drive off.

"Now who's the bitch? You just got beat up by a girl…" I couldn't help but laugh. Seriously, she was exactly like her mother! The rest of the ride was in silence… that is until we got to the hospital, "Okay, get out of the car," she looks back at him as he does as he was told. We get out ourselves and begin to walk to the hospital, "Ah! No, you're gonna crawl, got it?" he raised an eyebrow at her, "You heard me! Get down!" I once again laugh.

"Goddamnit…" he mutters as he gets down on all fours.

"See dad? I can take care of him myself!" when we get into the hospital Jay got more then a few stares.

"You ready?" I wrap my arm around her and give her a caring look.

"No… but I don't really have a choice here…" we walk – one crawls – to the front counter and a woman walks up to us with a smile.

"Well good morning! What can I do for you?" I look down at Dietlinde.

"We… need a pregnancy test…" she was actually the one to answer! The woman loses the smile and slaps her forehead.

"That's the third one today… okay, follow me," she guides us to a small room and passed a confused glance at Jay, "Um… just wait in here… the doctor will be in shortly…" Dietlinde takes a seat on the raised bench and looks down, obviously worried. I walk over to her and put my hand on her cheek.

"Dietlinde…" she looks at me with teary eyes, "It'll be okay… I promise…" I lightly kiss her forehead.

"Dad… what am I going to do if I'm pregnant? What about school?" school has always been important to her, she's been a straight A student her whole life… her ending goal was to work as a doctor for NERV… if she's pregnant, none of that will matter…

"I'll find a way… just know that no matter what happens, I'm here for you… so is your mother…" she lunges at me and hugs me tight, crying into my shoulder.

"Okay, room two-o-one… pregnancy test…" a doctor holding a clipboard walks in, "Okay let's-… do you need a few minutes?" he sees Dietlinde crying into my shoulder and backs up a bit.

"No… just hurry up…" Dietlinde pulls away from me and looks at him. Did it have to be a male doing this?

"Okay… I'll need this boy to leave though," without a word, Jay gets up and runs out of the room, closing the door behind him, "Okay, your name is…?"

"Dietlinde Ikari…" he jots a few things on the clipboard and sets it down on the counter, "Okay Dietlinde, I'll need you to lay down and take off your pants…" with tears still in her eyes – and now a blush on her face – she does as she was told. I take a seat behind her head, trying to give her SOME privacy, "Um… sorry, but the underwear too…"she closes her eyes as she reaches down, "Okay, this'll only take a few minutes…" he rolls over a small cart of tools and begins. Dietlinde clenched her eyes shut the entire time; apparently it's painful. After a few minutes he pulls back and looks at her, "Okay, now I'll need a urine sample and then we're done here," we both close our eyes as she gets up and puts back on her clothes. When she was done he hands her a small cup and she leaves the room, "Mr. Ikari…" he looks at me after she's gone, "I had her leave so I could talk with you… I'm sorry… she's pregnant…" I close my eyes and lean m head back.

"Damnit…" her whole life… all of her goals, all of her achievements… they mean nothing now… a few mines later Dietlinde comes back in the room and the doctor leaves after taking the cup.

"Dad? Are you okay?" I stand up and look down at her.

"Sit down…" she gets back up on the bench and I take her in a hug, "I'm sorry… I'll do what I can to help you…" she gasps and tenses up.

"No… please don't tell me that…" she pulls back and looks at me, "Please tell me I'm not pregnant… please…" I slowly shake my head and she buries her face in her hands, "FUCK!" I've never seen her cry so hard… this is hell for both us, "My life if fucked! Why did it have to be with him? Him of all Goddamn people!" the doctor walks back into the room and guides me away from her and out of ear-shot.

"Mr. Ikari…" I cut him off.

"Can we have the morning after pill done?" yes, I was against abortion, but this was going to ruin her life, and I won't let that happen.

"You mean an emergency contraception? We aren't allowed to do that unless she's a rape victim," I raise my eyebrow, "Oh… well, you'll need to sign a few papers, I'll go get them," he leaves the room and I sit down next to Dietlinde.

"Dietlinde… I'm going to offer something to you… do you want an abortion?" her head pops up, "It's all up to you, if you want it, I won't lecture you, I won't even talk about it. So what will it be?" she looks up at me with still crying eyes.

---

Four Years Later

"Look at my babies! All dressed up and going to their proms!" both of the girls blush at Asuka's comment. It's over… Dietlinde's leaving in two months… she was accepted into Stanford University in America, and she's leaving in two months… I can't even think about it without crying anymore! I really wasn't ready to lose her yet, but I didn't have a choice. Asuka was having trouble with it too; she can't stand to see Dietlinde go. We do have a sense of gratification though, she's going with a major in medicine. Looks like she really is going to be working at NERV!

Asuka was in a long black dress that had a slit going up her left leg – a little too revealing for my tastes, but she IS seventeen after all. Dietlinde was in a blood-red dress with a low V-cut collar, once again, a little too revealing for me, but she's an adult! I actually cried on her eighteenth birthday!

"Okay girls, I know I'm about to be yelled at, but here," I pull out two small packages and hold them out to my daughters.

"DAD! Condoms? Come on!" Asuka blushed deeply, but Dietlinde simply smiled.

"Grow up already, thanks dad," she took one and put it in her purse, "I doubt we'll need them though…" yeah, Dietlinde's already learned her lesson on that!

"Ugh… fine…" Asuka takes hers and puts in her cleavage. Both me and Asuka raise an eyebrow at her, "What? I don't have a purse! What do you expect me to do?" I just chuckle.

"You two grew up way too fast for me… Junior and Senior Prom…" Dietlinde walks up and hugs me.

"No matter how much I grow up…" she leans back and smiles at me, "You'll always be my daddy…" she lightly kissed my cheek, making a tear roll down my face, "I love you dad…"

"I love you too honey…" she let go of me and hugged her mother.

"I don't care what anyone says… you're an awesome mother… thank you for coming back… I love you so much…" I saw Asuka shed a tear of her own.

"I love you too Dietlinde…" Dietlinde leans back and chuckles.

"You still punch like a wimp though…" Asuka chuckled herself as she wiped her tear away. Just then, the doorbell rings… and my heart sinks. Dietlinde's last prom… her last date with me around… it's killing me, "I think that's for me…" she opened the door to a very clean-cut man. She's been dating him for four years now, and I can really see them married one day, "Hey T…" she leaned in and pecked his cheek. His real name was Takajin, but T has become his little petname by Dietlinde.

"Wow… you look… beautiful…" Dietlinde blushes at his comment, "Hi Mr. Ikari," he put out his hand and shook mine.

"Hi… are you going to take care of my daughter?" we both laugh. It's been an inside joke between me and him ever since their first date. I gave him the same speech I did to Jay… only that time I had a shotgun in my hands…

"Yep, I promise! Hey, is Blaze ready yet? Didn't you two need a ride?" Asuka crosses her arms and looks at Blaze's room.

"Sure as hell better be ready!" Blaze comes running out of the room, slipping on his last shoe.

"Sorry about that, I couldn't find my shoes…" T rolls his eyes and sighs. Blaze and him aren't exactly good friends… okay, they hate each other. Last year Blaze killed T's dog while on a hunting trip when he was screwing around with the gun… the rest is history.

"Can we go then?" Dietlinde looks up at T and grabs his hand.

"Hey man, drop the attitude already," here we go again…

"Hey, I'm the one giving YOU a ride, or would you rather walk?" Blaze shuts his mouth… thank God! "Ugh… whatever, let's just go," Asuka and Blaze walk out of the house hand in hand, leaving Dietlinde and T behind, "Hey Dietlinde, why don't you meet me in the car? I need to speak with your father for a moment," she pecks him on the cheek and smiles.

"Okay, don't be too long though," she runs her finger across his chest, "I'll be waiting…" I really hated it when she did her seductive voice around me! When she leaves T closes the door behind her.

"You needed to speak with me?" he begins to blush.

"Well… both of you actually… I really love Dietlinde, and I know she feels the same way… I wanted to ask you something…" I reaches in his pocket and pulls out a small black box, "Can I… marry your daughter?" he opens it to show a large diamond set in white gold.

"Wow… well…" Asuka began to trip over her words, "I say yes… you seem like a very nice young man, and I really do believe that you'll take care of her… what about you Shinji?" I avert my eyes from the ring and look at him with a smile.

"Takajin…" I put my hand on his shoulder, "If she says yes… I'm okay with it…" I feel yet another tear roll down my face.

"Thank you… I'll take care of her, I promise…" he slips the ring back in his pocket and shakes my hand, "Bye," he gives Asuka a small wave before leaving the house. Asuka wraps her arm around my shoulder and leans her head on me.

"I think she'll do just fine…" tears start to flow a little harder as I smile.

"Yeah… she will…"

---

11:00 PM – That Night

"Dad… wake up…" I open my eyes to the scene of Dietlinde smiling down at me. We must have fallen asleep waiting for them to come back…

"Oh… hey honey…" she was smiling ear to ear… I know what just happened.

"He asked me daddy… he asked me to marry him…" she holds up her hand, now decorated with that ring, "I'm engaged!" I smile at her. My daughter's grown up… she doesn't need me anymore…

"Congratulations… I'm so proud of you Dietlinde… you really have no idea," she blushes, "You grew up to be a fine young woman… and I'll miss you…" she leaned back up and walked into her room, "Bye Dietlinde…" with tears in my eyes, I lean my head back. After a few minutes, I feel someone sitting next to me and wrapping my arm around them. I open my eyes to see Dietlinde in night clothes smiling up at me.

"I'll miss you too daddy… I love you…" she nuzzles her head in the crook of my neck. I pull her a little closer and smile, "I'll always be your baby… no matter what happens…" with Dietlinde on one side of me and my wife on the other, I fall asleep with a smile on my face. I may be losing her, but all the time we spent together – moments like this – I'll keep forever.

---

8:00 AM – The Next Morning

"Dad! Wake up!" I jump out of my skin as Dietlinde yells. She wasn't at my side anymore, instead she stood in front of my holding a letter. She was crying… pretty heavily actually. I leap up – ending with Asuka laying down on the sofa, still asleep – and grab the letter from her.

I'm sick of trying… I'm really sick of it. No matter what I do, it's never enough. I get good grades, I get brushed aside. I get awards, I get brushed aside. I go to the prom, I'm ignored. No matter what I do, I'm always outclassed and beat. What have I ever done that I received praise for? Absolutely nothing. I'm always beat by your first, and I can see why. She's perfect in every way. She's beautiful, she's smart, and now she's getting married to the perfect husband. What do I have? An immature little boy that clings to me like a lost puppy. I give up. You won. You finally won Dietlinde. Have a nice life, I know you will.

-Asuka Ikari (the useless one)

"Oh my… God…" I drop the letter and look back at a crying Dietlinde, "Do you know where she is?" she slowly nods and points to Asuka's room. With shaking legs, I walk into her room and nearly faint at the gory sight.

'I tried so hard…' was written across the wall in a dark red. On the bed was my daughter… knife still in hand, and blood still dripping from both wrists… her eyes were still open, and full of tears.

"Asuka…" she was still in the beautiful black dress I bought for her… I slowly make my way to her and collapse to my knees, burying my face in her stomach, "Asuka!" I did this… I really did neglect her… she warned me, she begged to spend time with me… I saw all the signs… and I still ignored them… I lean back up and hug her tight. Why did I do this to her? I could have prevented this… she even asked me too… "AHHH! Asuka!"

"Dad… dy…" I lean back to see her with a weak smile, "I… finally got it… I finally… got your attention…" she closed her eyes, "Finally…"

"Asuka! Asuka, open your eyes! Please!" her body goes limp in my arms, "Asuka!" I take her into another hug. That's all she wanted… all she wanted was to be with me… that's all…

"Shinji? What's-…" I turn to see Asuka in the door way pale as a ghost.

"She just… wanted me… that's it…" I begin to hug her again, "Please come back… please… I'll change… I'll spend all my time with you… I promise… just come back!" I sob into her shoulder, "ASUKA!"

---

One Week Later

"Shinji, come on, get up, it's been four days now. At least look at me," I roll over in bed facing away from Asuka. I killed my daughter… I actually killed her… and all I needed to do to prevent it was spend a few hours a day with her… she was right… I never did praise her for anything. I didn't go to her middle school graduation, and why? Because I had to go to NERV to sign a few Goddamn papers. But with Dietlinde that wasn't the case, I almost got fired for missing a meeting with congress to go to her graduation. Did I play favorites? I never thought I did… but looking back… it's obvious. I did play favorites, with Asuka on the short end. I hear another person walk into the room and sit next to me.

"Dad… it wasn't your fault… you know that Asuka never had a stable mind," she put her hand on my arm, "Please dad, get up…" I don't make a move, "Dad, look at me," she made me turn my head and look at her, "Remember when she was nine and it was her birthday? What did you do for her?" I almost forgot about that… when I didn't speak up, she answered for me, "You actually took her in an Eva and you flew her around for a good two hours. I know that cost you an arm and leg, but you didn't care, did you? Seeing her smile was enough, wasn't it?" it was…

"But that was one time…" she shook her head with a smile.

"How deep are you thinking? Just last week you bought her a dress that was expensive as hell, even though they had a cheaper one that looked the same. Dad, she was never mentally healthy, you know that. Though she was never tested for it, I can guarantee you that she had OCD. She blew things WAY out of proportion; you were always there for both of us, not just me. You can even ask Sam or Cass, you loved her, and you showed it. Now please dad, just get up," I sit up in bed and look at her with teary eyes.

"But she saw it as my fault… in her mind, I wasn't there…" she hugs me softly.

"Dad… you were always there, she just didn't see it…" I hug her back and see Cass in the doorway, obviously hurt. He helped raise her from birth, I'm sure he was hurting like hell too.

"Shinji… I'm so sorry…" Dietlinde lets go of me and looks back at him, "Hey Dietlinde… are you three doing okay?" Asuka slowly nods and so does Dietlinde, "Shinji… you do know that it wasn't you fault, right?" I nod, still crying.

"But I still could have saved her…" they all sigh.

"Will you please stop with that? Yes, she was my daughter and I feel like crap about it, but I'm placing the blame on anyone here and neither is anyone else! That was Asuka's choice, not yours, so will you please stop the sulking bullshit?! It's really getting on my nerves!" everyone – including myself – was staring at Asuka with wide eyes, "What? Don't tell me I'm the only one thinking that!" they all give a small nod.

"Well… she's being harsh… but she's right," Dietlinde looks back at me, "Come on dad, quit blaming yourself already."

"I'm trying… but I just can't shake it…" Dietlinde brings me to my feet and looks at me with a serious face.

"Dad… I'm sorry, but let… it… go! Were you the one being targeted in that letter? No, I was! If anything, I should be the one sulking! I made her feel like crap, I took the spotlight, I outclassed her in everything she tried…" I saw tears form in her eyes, "She hated me…" she regained her composure quickly, "But I still refuse to let it ruin my life! Yes, I loved her like she never knew, but I'm not going to let her effect me into seclusion!" though she wasn't yelling AT me, I've never seen her raise her voice like this, "Mom, can you leave for a second?" Asuka nods and guides Cass out of the room, shutting the door behind her, "Listen, I've had this with me ever since she died, I think you need it more then me," she reached in her pocket and pulled out a small picture and handed it to me, "That was last year…" I couldn't help but smile. It was a picture of me, Asuka and Dietlinde at the beach. They were on either side of me with their arm around me shoulder… we all looked so happy… the only thing that possibly could have made it better was if my wife was in it…

"I forgot about this…" I remember that day… I almost got into a fight after some guy tried to cop a feel on Asuka! Hell, I even remember buying the bikinis! That was the first day that I realized just how old they are, and how soon they'll be gone.

"See how happy you made her? You were her world," she leans her head on my shoulder, "And you're my world… dad, I feel like now I'm losing you to Asuka. You've spent a week in this bed, only getting up to eat once a day and use the bathroom… that's it… accept her death and move on…" she let go of me and began to walk out of the bedroom, "When you do, I'll be here. My graduation is in four days, you don't have to go, but I'd like it if you did… I love you… good luck," with that, she closed the door behind her, leaving me alone. Good luck… my daughter was actually wishing ME good luck on the week of her graduation… I need to fix this. I get out of bed and change into a better looking outfit. Asuka was gone, and there was nothing I could do to change that, but what I can do is make it so the rest of my family KNOWS I love them and prevent anything like this happening again. When I walk out I was immediately brought into a tight hug by Dietlinde.

"Hi honey…I'm sorry I put you all through this… are you okay?" she shakes her head as she begins to cry.

"I was trying to be strong… I really was… but I miss her so much…" this whole time I've been sulking myself, and here my own daughter has been holding in her emotions for me… who is the parent here?

"I know honey… we all do… how's Blaze taking this?" she leaned back and wiped away a few tears.

"He ran away… Sam and Cass put out a search for him, but no one has even seen him…" ah shit…

"How are they taking it?" she looks back at Sam and Cass's room.

"Cass is depressed, but he's okay… I wish I could say the same about Sam… she hasn't spoken to anyone but Cass since he left, and even then she's only said a few words. I'm really worried about her," I swear, Blaze will be the death of me, "She's laying on the sofa right now… you wanna go talk to her?" I peck Dietlinde on the forehead and smile.

"Yeah… I want to talk with you when I'm done though, okay?" wiping away a tear, she nods and smiles. I walk down the hallway to see Sam lying on the sofa with her eyes closed and Asuka sitting in a chair next to her. Cass was in the kitchen making some meal. Without a word, I sit next to Sam and look down at her, "Hey Sam… how are you doing?" she didn't say a word, but I knew she was awake, "Sam… I know what you're going through. I've lost both of my daughters, but Blaze isn't dead, he's out there somewhere."

"She's not going to talk," I look up at Asuka to see her staring down at Sam, "I've tried, she'll only talk to Cass," I put a hand on Sam's cheek.

"Sam, come on," a loud screeching sound from a car's tired outside echoes through the house, "Damn kids…" the screeching came to a stop and we hear yelling outside.

"You're dead you son of a bitch!" what the hell was going on outside? I hear a loud banging at the door, "Open this door damnit!" I get up and quietly walk into the kitchen and grab a gun on top of the fridge.

"Cass, go take Sam and Asuka in your room, I have a bad feeling about this," just as I walk back into the living room the banging stops and they kick down the door."Where the fuck is he!? That fucker killed my brother!" there were three men, all with guns. Two with pistols and the one yelling with a large shotgun. I raise my gun to them and they do the same.

"Who are you looking for?" I glance back at Sam and Asuka to see them frozen, "Get in the back room, now," just as Asuka got up, one man turned and pointed the gun at her.

"You're staying right there until you tell us where Blaze is," we all keep quiet, "NOW!"

"He ran away a few weeks ago, why?"

"He killed my brother and now I'm returning the favor," the blaring sound of gunfire ran through the house. I only got in a few shots before getting shot myself. Asuka threw herself to the floor and Sam simply laid there. A few seconds later, they all stopped and ran out of the house, the car speeding away as they left. I get up while holding the bullet wound on my stomach.

"A-Asuka… are you okay…?" she looks up at me and nods with tears in her eyes, "Sam…?" no response, "Sam… please talk…" I walk in front of the sofa to see bullet holes all over her torso, "Sam…" Cass rushes over and props her up.

"Sam! Please talk! Please!" still nothing.

"Asuka, call an ambulance," I finally fall to my knees and onto my stomach.

---

Two Days Later – 12:00 PM

"Dad… please wake up… don't die…" I feel a heavy weight on my stomach and a slight wet spot, "Wake up…" when I open my eyes I see Dietlinde with her face buried in my shirt – now a hospital gown. With a weak smile, I put my hand on her back and she perks up, "Dad!" she lunged at me and embraced me in a tight hug.

"Hey honey…" she cries into my shoulder, "How you doing?"

"I'm fine… so is mom… I thought you were going to die…" I lean her up and wipe away a tear with my thumb.

"What about Sam and Cass?" she once again lowers her head, "Are they okay?"

"Cass is fine… but… Sam was dead by the time the paramedics got there… a shotgun to the heart… she didn't suffer…" I feel my heart sink to my stomach. Sam was gone? She can't be… she was like a sister to me… she can't be dead…

"Fuck…" I feel tears start to run down my face, "H-How's Cass taking it?"

"Actually, he seems pretty good for someone in his situation. He's secluded himself from the rest of the world, but he will talk every now and then, I guess that's the only good news," just then, Asuka walks in the room to see Dietlinde crying along with myself.

"See, I told you he'd be okay. It takes more then one bullet to take him out… hell, it takes more then a warhead!" we both chuckle a little, but Dietlinde was left in the dust. We never told her many of the problems me and Asuka went through because we were afraid that it might freak her out.

"Do I even want to know?" I think that the story might distract from what's going on…

"Well, you know that story we told you about you being a clone?" she nods with a raised eyebrow, "Well… that kinda happened to me too. You see, while you were still dead, SEELE made one final attack, and it ended with me being killed by a warhead. So basically… we're a family made of science! None of us were born naturally," Dietlinde let out a small chuckle.

"That's so like you dad, making jokes about that!" we all have a good laugh, and soon after, I struggle to my feet, "Dad, lay down, you need to rest," using the wall as support, I walk towards the door.

"I… need to talk with Cass… you two wait in here. I'll be back," when I get out into the hall I see him sitting on a chair, resting his head on his hands, covering his eyes. I take a seat next to him, but he doesn't even seem to notice, "Hey…"

"She's really gone… my wife is really dead…" I see a tear seep through his closed fingers. I put my hand on his shoulder and feel him shaking, "Tell me that this a dream… please…"

"Dad…?" a young man's voice could be heard a little ways down the hallway, "Where's mom…?" Cass shoots up his head towards his son with anger that I've never seen before, "What happened…?" Cass leaps up and jets towards his son, grabbing him by the collar and slams him against the wall, "What the hell?!"

"You son of a bitch! You killed her!" tears run fully down his face, "You killed my wife!" he slams Blaze against the wall once again, "Men came to our house looking for your sorry ass and they shot your mother! She was heartbroken when you left, she wouldn't even talk to me…" he drops a pale Blaze and falls to his knees, "The look on her face… it was like she didn't have a soul…"

"Dad…" Blaze holds out his hand, offering to help his father up.

"Don't you call me that…" Cass looks up, "Don't you ever fucking call me that again!" Blaze backs up a step and his eyes go wide, "You're not my son… you're just… nothing to me…" okay, Cass may be going a little far right now.

"Cass, you don't mean that," I finally speak up through all the anger.

"Yes I do… this sorry piece of shit isn't my son… my son is gone…"

---

Two Days Later – Dietlinde's High School

"And now, representing the class of twenty-twenty nine, please give a warm welcome to your valedictorian Asuka Ikari!" walking onto the stage with a gold gown, my beautiful daughter took her diploma and shook the principal's hand. A wave of applause grew over the crowd, including clapping form Cass. He has tried to live his normal life since Sam died and Blaze went to military school, and he's done a fairly good job.

"Thank you," she began as the applause died down, "I've had so many memories here, and I'm truly sad to be leaving, but I leave in my place a generation of students, ready to go on with the production of Japan," she – of course – was speaking of all the freshman she helped her senior year. She formed this club to help new students cope with their new high school experience, and she single handedly raised the test scores by thirty percent, "Now, as a few of you know," she said in a slightly teasing voice, "Something big has happened to me in the last couple weeks…" a slight blush came over her face. I saw all of her friends giggle and whisper among themselves, knowing what was about to happen, "Can you come up here Takajin? I think we should tell them now…" her husband to be came up onto the stage and took her hand, "As a few of you saw, on prom night Takajin… well…" she help up her left hand to show the ring, "We're getting married!" after a few seconds of silence, a roar of applause was thrown over that audience.

"I would like to thank a certain man though," Takajin spoke into the microphone, "Thank you Shinji Ikari for letting me propose to her, I really appreciate it," he was such a polite boy… he'll make Dietlinde happy, I just know it. The two walked off the stage and onto the platform where the last senior picture was to be made. As they all threw up their hats together, a photographer took the picture.

"You've done one hell of a job Shinji…" Asuka began to speak in my ear, "She's going to be an amazing woman."

"Thanks… I'm really going to miss her…" Asuka pecks me on the cheek as we get up to meet our daughter. When we get over to the young couple, seeing their fingers locked instantly gave me a smile, "Look at my baby…" I hug Dietlinde tight and she copies the motion. I pull back and shake Takajin's hand, "Hey, Mind if I have a quick word with you?"

"Sure Shinji, what is it?" I guide him away from earshot of Dietlinde and put my hand on his shoulder, "Now, as you know, Dietlinde had a little… well, 'incident' on her first date…" he nods and his face droops quite a bit, remembering the words that Dietlinde told him, "As you can understand, I've been very protective of her since that day. I just want the truth from you, I won't get angry, I promise… have you slept with Dietlinde?" he went a little pale and blushed at the question.

"Well… um… if you mean have I had sex with her… then… no…" okay then, what? He wouldn't be acting like this if nothing has ever happened!

"Listen, I understand that both of you are adults and that you both have desires. What exactly HAVE you done? Oh, by the way, I do know about the night that she spent the night at your house early this year," I knew that Dietlinde tried to hide it from me, I just never confronted it.

"Oh… well… see, we didn't have sex, but I have seen her… let's say 'fully'… but I promise that we didn't have sex, I wouldn't lie to you," somehow, I knew that he was telling the truth.

"I know you wouldn't, I was just checking," by now, his face was bright red, "Now, why don't you two go out with your friends? You deserve to have some fun," with a smile, he walks off, pecks Dietlinde on the lips and they walk up to a group of friends, hand in hand.

---

Three Years Later – Beach – 2:00 PM

"Hey dad…?" she looks up at me as I finish putting a small flower in her hair, "Is it normal to feel like vomiting right now…?" I couldn't help but chuckle at the familiar quote, "Seriously…"

"Yeah, that'll go away eventually…" I back up and look at my blushing daughter, "You look so beautiful…" her bright white dress and sparkling blue eyes only made her all the more stunning, "Are you ready?" she takes my hand and smiles.

"As I'll ever be…" before we walk out of the room, she takes a deep breath and wraps her arm through mine. As the traditional music stars to play, I was able to hear Dietlinde's breath racing and feel her heart doing the same thing through her wrist.

"Don't worry… see? Look at Takajin, he's waiting for you," she lets out a wide smile, "You'll do one hell of a job as a wife, you know that?" somehow, she manages to blush even deeper, "Good luck honey," I release her when we get to the end of the runway and take my seat next to my crying wife, "Don't cry, you're going to set me off…" she chuckles a little, but keeps quiet.

"We are gathered here today to join Dietlinde Ikari and Takajin Sato in holy matrimony," I feel my eyes start to water, but I try and hold it back. The priest turns to Takajin and looks at him with a blank face, "Takajin Sato, do you take Dietlinde Ikari to be your lawfully wedded wife? To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?" Takajin looks at his bride with a smile.

"Absolutely…" The priest turns to Dietlinde and gives her the same look.

"Dietlinde Ikari, do you take Takajin Sato to be your lawfully wedded wife? To have and to hold from this day for-" Dietlinde cuts in.

"Yes!" flung her arms around Takajin's neck and kisses him deeply, lifting her left leg in the air as she did.

"You… may now kiss the bride…" he finally breaks a smile. A wave of applause roars through the field. Both me and Asuka stand up applauding. It was only after I stood up that I realized I was crying… pretty heavily too. Takajin and Dietlinde run down the red carpet hand in hand and into the limo. Dietlinde smiles at me one last time and mouths the words 'I'll call you tonight' before the limo drives off towards their hotel, where they'll be spending their honeymoon. I feel arms wrap around my neck from behind and a head resting on my shoulder.

"She's grown up on us Shinji… she's going off to have her own family now…" the though of her having kids made me shudder for some reason… probably because of the pain factor; I'd never want to see her go through that.

"I know… I'm just not ready for it…" she kisses my cheek and whispers in my ear.

"How about we go home, lie on the couch and just relax? Just you and me? I think Cass is going out to eat somewhere…" I smile through my light tears and turn around, pecking her on the cheek after I do.

"Sure, let's go," hand in hand, we walk towards the car.

---

12:00 AM – Home

I clutch my cell phone in my hand, hoping for the ringing to start. Asuka has long since fallen asleep on my shoulder while watching the news, so I sit here – alone – in the darkness. I had some company when Cass came home, but all it made me do is become depressed. His bloodshot, vodka filled eyes stumbled into this house not ten minutes ago, leading his drunken body down the hall and into his lonely bedroom. He didn't seem to notice that I was even there, but he was mumbling something to himself about 'the family he could have had'.

"Mmmm…" Asuka nuzzles her face into the crook of my neck further, "I love you too… Shinji…" I just had to smile after hearing that. She opens her eyes half way and looks up at me squinting, "Shinji? What are you still doing up?"

"I was waiting for Dietlinde to call…" I fake a smile, "I guess she forgot, huh?" Asuka lays her head back down, but still keeps her eyes on mine.

"No, she probably just got wrapped up with Takajin… remember our honeymoon?" okay, I'd REALLY rather not think of my daughter like that… "I'm sure she'll call you in the morning, don't worry about her… let's go to bed…" I stand up and stretch my arms. She looks up at me with a smile and those same half closed eyes, "Carry me?"

"Sure…" with a smile, I pick her up and carry her to our room, then letting her down onto the bed gently, "I love you Asuka…" crawl into the bed next to her and set my phone next to my on the night stand, "I really wish Dietlinde would have called…"

"Don't worry about it, just go to sleep. I'm sure she'll call you first thing tomorrow…"

---

12:00 PM – Next Day

"Okay, I'm going to call her," I pick up my phone, but Asuka just rips it from my hands.

"Oh no you're not! Listen Shinji, she's probably spending time with Takajin, like she SHOULD be! I know you miss her, but come on!" I guess she was right… I still wish that she'd call though… "Now, I'm going to give you the phone back, but you have to promise not to-" my phone begins to ring, "Ah damnit… didn't I teach her anything? Keep them waiting!" she hands me my phone with a chuckle.

"Ha ha," I playfully tease her and answer the phone, "Hello?"

"Um… hi dad… sorry I didn't call you last night, but… you know," she chuckles a little, "Can I talk to you about something serious?" her voice was fairly shaky… why don't I like the sound of this?

"Sure honey, go ahead," she takes a deep breath before speaking.

"Well, last night me and Takajin slept together and… well… I think I'm pregnant… I took a pregnancy test this morning and it came out positive," you have GOT to be kidding me!

"Oh… well… how do you feel about it?" she took a few seconds before responding.

"I'm happy… I know it sounds weird but, I'm actually happy. I know that I'm still kinda young, but you and mom did a great job," yeah, but only because we had NERV to support us!

"Well that's good, but I hope you realize how much work this is going to be. You two don't have the luxury of NERV supporting you. Now, I'm not saying that you can't do this, but I am going to say that if you need anything, feel free to come to us for help," she once again chuckles.

"Dad, listen, I'm a big girl now. I'm almost done with college and Takajin finished a few months ago, and he already has a job at the hospital. His income alone will be enough for the baby, but I really appreciate it dad… mind if me and Takajin come over for a little bit? He wanted to talk with you about something," she begins to whisper into the phone, "He wanted to tell you that I was pregnant, so try and act surprised!"

"Okay, no problem," we both laugh a little, "I'll see you soon," I hang up to see a pale Asuka, "Oh yeah, Dietlinde's pregnant."

"Yeah… I got that…"

"You okay?" she falls back onto the sofa and leans back her head, rubbing her temples.

"No… I'm gonna be a grandmother… I feel so damn old…" I couldn't help but to burst out laughing, "What's so funny? You're older then me…"

"I know, but aren't you a little young to be going through your midlife crisis?"

---

One Year Later

"You did amazing Dietlinde…" I gently stroke Dietlinde's hair as she lay in the hospital bed. When the young couple found out that she wasn't pregnant, they actually tried to have a baby… and they did… two of them in fact. What's even more amazing is that Takajin delivered his own children. He's in the locker room right now changing back into his normal clothes while Dietlinde waits for him.

"Thanks… how are my babies…?" she let out a weak smile through her half closed eyes.

"They're perfectly fine… now go ahead and rest up, you need it," she nods slightly and closes her eyes. I get up and walk back out into the hallway where Asuka was waiting for me, "Have you seen them yet?"

"No… should we?" I wrap my arm around her shoulders and, with a smile, we begin to walk down the hall.

"Yeah, and I'm sure that Takajin is over there too, we could catch a word with him before he goes to meet his wife," even now that seems odd to say. My little girl has grown up on me and has kids of her own now… how is it that I'm STILL calling her my little girl? When we finally get to that large, familiar window over looking all the recently born babies, we were able to pick out Dietlinde's right away, "And so continues the clones of my wife…" the girl – named Misaki – looked exactly as Dietlinde as a baby. It was like going back in time and looking at Dietlinde again, "At least there's a boy in our bloodline!" our eyes shifted to the boy – named Ryo – had almost all the features of his father.

"Oh, hi Shinji," Takajin walks up from behind us and puts his hand on my shoulder, "Beautiful, aren't they?"

"You just wait, it gets MUCH better. Now, why don't you go spend some time with Dietlinde? I think she'd like to see you…" I notice Asuka smirking slightly. After Takajin leaves, Asuka lets out an obviously held back laugh, "Okay, I'll bite, what are you laughing at?"

"If Dietlinde is anything like I was after giving birth for the first time, she'll be pissed at Takajin! When I first saw you after I was done delivering Dietlinde, I swear, I wanted to strangle you!" okay, now I'm confused… very…

"Why?"

"Well, as I was delivering, all I thought about was 'this is all his fault!'," she lets out another laugh, "Let's just hope Dietlinde has good self control!" um… I think I may not bring up the time that Dietlinde smacked Asuka for sneezing too loud…

---

Shinji/Asuka/Cass's House – Living Room – Next Day

"Jesus…" Dietlinde walks back into the room and sits down on the sofa, "Breast feeding is bad enough… but to have TWO kids that want to eat at the exact same friggen time… how'd you do it mom…?" both me and Takajin look at each other with annoyed faces as we finish preparing the drinks, "Seriously, it feels like someone just punched me in the chest…"

"Yeah, I know, you'll get used to it… just wait until they start teething…" Asuka had a slightly sarcastic tone on. See, she never had to deal with that!

"Don't tell me that! The last thing I'm looking forward to right now is a bloody-"

"We can hear you!" me and Takajin both cut in at the same time.

"And I honestly don't care right now… how about one of you go in there and try breast feeding? Let's see how well you do…" Takajin looks at me with an annoyed voice and I just nodded my head and whispered.

"Let it go, you can't win…"

"Okay! I'm back with the stuff!" I hear Cass walk through the door with a cheery voice on. Takajin helps me serve the drinks as Cass sets down the plastic bags on the coffee table, "You know, they were looking at me with the weirdest faces…" he pulls out a bottle of baby formula and a large bottle of wine, "Aw… you guys already made drinks? Then why'd you send me out to get some?"

"Because we needed baby formula… or more, I did," she grabs the bottle and shoves it into the baby bag sitting next to her.

"Okay, I think now would be a good time to do it…" I take a seat next to Asuka and Takajin follows the same action with Dietlinde, "Cass, we need to talk with you," at first, he looks at me with a confused look, then that look turns into annoyance.

"Please don't tell me this is what I think it is…"

"Well then you already know," Dietlinde looses the look of pain and turns it into seriousness, "We've all noticed a little… problem with you since Sam died…" Cass leaps up and glares down at Dietlinde.

"You have no right to tell me how I'm living my life! I don't think that you'd do so good if Takajin died either!" we all keep a blank face, expecting those exact same words.

"I made it twelve years without Asuka and I didn't sink to your level," he starts to storm out of the house, "You're running away again?"

"Shut the fuck up!" he whips around and shoots me the look from hell, "I don't want to hear how much better you are then I am! I was married to Sam, had a child with her, and within a couple days I lost all of it!" even though HE was the one to send off Blaze. Yes, it WAS Blaze's fault, but to send your own child away and disown them? A parent just can't do that!

"Cass, I'm sorry to say this, but since Dietlinde and Takajin will be visiting so often now, I'm going to have to kick you out unless you clean up your act. You're one of my best friends, but I won't put my grandchildren at risk because of that friendship," he goes wide eyed at my comment.

"But… where would I go…? I don't have any money saved up…"

"You sure as hell seem to find money for your little bar runs," Asuka takes a sip of her drink as she makes the sarcastic remark, "It's not that hard Cass, either stop drinking or get out, your choice."

"Ugh… fine… not like I have much of a choice…" like a teenager being punished, he stomps off to his lonely room and damn near slams the door.

"What is he, fourteen?" Dietlinde sounded EXACTLY like her mother right there! The sound of a baby girl crying starts to emit from the baby room, "Ah shit… please don't be hungry…" she slugs into the room and Takajin follows in after her, "If she's hungry, then you're gonna try breast feeding, I swear…"

"Is it just me or…"

"She sounds exactly like you now? Oh yeah, defiantly. She's your daughter, there's no way around that," Asuka lays her head on my shoulder and closes her eyes, "You okay Asuka?"

"Yeah… I'm just kinda worried about Dietlinde. Remember how stressed out we were with only ONE baby? I can't imagine what she's going through… of course, we were only fourteen… I don't know… there's two sides to this I guess…" Asuka sets her hand on my chest and smirks, "Hey Shinji?"

"Um… yeah…?"

"After Dietlinde and Takajin leave, how about we go out for dinner and then come home and… have some 'fun'?" I wrap my arm around her shoulders and peck her forehead.

"Sure," her smirk widens a little bit more, "Do we even have to go out to dinner?"

"EW! My parents are talking about sex!" Dietlinde rushes into the bathroom gagging and I just burst out laughing, which was soon followed by Asuka, "That is so wrong!" by now, me and Asuka are simply rolling, "AH! You two got an image stuck in my head! How do you expect me to sleep tonight now?!" even Takajin was laughing now.

"You two have fun now…"

---

10:00 PM – Shinji/Asuka's Room

"Oh Shinji…" Asuka wraps her arms around my neck and looks up at me, "Remember your promise…?" I peck her on the lips and smile. Without a word, I put my hands on her hips and slowly lower her onto the bed, "I'll take that as a yes…" as we were kissing, I brought up my hand and slipped off one of her spaghetti straps, and soon the other one came off. I pull back and smile down at her.

"So… how was dinner…?" she smirks and grabs my collar.

"Oh shut up…" she once again pulls me into that same deep kiss. She slowly pushed down her silk dress, letting it fall to the floor. After a few minutes of slowly disrobing, she somehow ended up on top of me – still in her bra and panties – straddling my pelvis. While we were still kissing, I brought up my hands onto her back and easily unclasped here bra, letting it fall onto my chest.

"I never get tired of that…" she chuckles and plants her hand on my chest, looking down at me.

"I know you don't…" she pulls off her last piece of cloth and throws it across the room, "And I never get tired of that…" we once again begin to kiss each other, her letting out soft moans every few seconds, "Your turn…"she reaches down and pulls down my boxers, taking a quick glace before focusing back onto my face. She slowly raised her hips and lowered down onto me, letting out a soft sigh as she did. I put my hands on her hips as she begins to rock up and down.

"Asuka… I love you…" she puts her hands on my chest for balance and closes her eyes.

"Shin… ji…" she stops pumping and lies down on my chest, panting quite heavily, "Uh…"

"Here… roll over…" without her pulling out, we reposition ourselves so I'm on top of her. She spread her legs as I began to give her the same treatment she was giving me. She wrapped her arms around my back and let out a weak smile up to me.

"G… go a little… faster…" following her directions, she threw back her head and began to thrust up her hips to meet mine, "Uh… Sh… Shinji… I'm getting close…" by experience of the meaning of these words, I speed up as fast as I could and I feel all of her muscles tense up, "AH!" her body becomes a rag doll as her climax retreats, "K-Keep on going…" I grasp her hips tightly, lift her up and sit on the edge of the bed with her still straddling me.

"I love you…" she put her hands on my shoulders and leans in slowly to kiss me. Her hips began to rock up and down like before, but the fact that our entire bodies were close together made it all the better. After a few minutes, I lean back onto the bed, feeling my own reward approaching.

"I get it…" she smirked through her deep blush and began to thrust as quickly as she could, "Shinji!" her head tilts back as I climax in her. After a few seconds of arched backs, she relaxes and once again lies on top of me. Without saying a word, we both eventually fall asleep.

---

Next Day – 10:00 AM – Same Place

"Hey guys, I have great news!" the door swings open, waking both me and Asuka, only to be followed by an extremely awkward moment, "Okay, that's just wrong," Cass looks down at us for a second before Asuka picks up a pillow and throws it at him.

"GET OUT YOU ASSHOLE!" he slams the door shut as he rushes out, "Jesus! Haven't you ever heard of knocking?!" she gets up and throws on a loose sleeping shirt and shorts, "I'm having a lock put on that door, I swear," not much we can do now… at least he didn't see too much of me! I get up and throw on some loose clothes before I follow Asuka into the living room.

"Sorry about that guys," he didn't seem to care about what just happened… "Listen, I realize that I have a little drinking problem and – like you said – I'm going to fix it. Now, I'm going away for awhile, but I'm not going to tell you where I am. I'm leaving tomorrow," wow… this was… a shock, to say the least.

"Oh really now? Are you telling the truth or are you just blowing hot air?" I see him clench his teeth at Asuka's remark, but he manages to keep his anger back. Ever since he's had this problem he's had an extremely short temper… kinda reminds me of Asuka pregnant!

"No, I'm serious. I'm only telling you two this because I thought you'd like to know before I left," he sent over a small glare at Asuka, "Just forget it, I knew you'd just take this as a joke," with an obviously frustrated tone of voice, he stormed off to his room and – from the sound of it – began to pack. I look over at Asuka, and she knew exactly what I was thinking by the look on my face.

"Oh come on! It's not my fault if he's all moody!" she says that, but over the years I have picked up on a slight look in her eye that easily tells me when she's lying, or just blowing hot air herself; she should know by now that I can tell when she's just trying to act tough! "Ugh… fine… I'll go apologize…" I put my arm around her shoulders before she could walk off, "What now?" her sense tone of voice was starting to she annoyance… better watch myself!

"Just leave him alone for a little bit. Let him pack up, and talk to him as he's leaving. You don't want him leaving on a bad note," just as I finished that sentence, Cass comes walking back out of his room with empty hands… uh oh…

"Asuka, do you remember the time we first met?" Cass leans against the wall, still looking past me and onto a wide-eyed Asuka. I sure as hell remember what he did!

"Um… no, not really, that was a good twenty years ago," he chuckles and mutters a few words that were sure to set Asuka off… she never was happy about her age!

"Try twenty-four," her eyes show a slight spark that could easily become a raging fire, but she manages to hold it in.

"Okay, I get it, your point is?" that turned out better then I thought it would! No flying furniture, no bloody noses, nothing!

"My point is that when I first met you – as I'm sure Shinji remembers – I kissed you," her face turns a brilliant red and she dam near faints.

"On the hand! You kissed her on the hand!" he bursts out in laughter, but left me and Asuka slightly annoyed, "Yeah, you didn't make too good of an impression on me," as he knew! He slept in the NERV lounge that night if I remember right…

"Oh yeah, I remember that… I actually thought that you were pretty cute when I first met you! Jeez, you should have heard Sam talk that night! She wouldn't shut up about you!" I notice Cass play with his wedding band that still sits on his finger, "You know, I bet that if you would have asked her out right then and there she would have said yes!"

"Um… what exactly did she say?" Asuka just HAD to bring up Sam, didn't she?

"If I remember right, she was just talking about your looks… okay, back on subject. What were you getting at?"

"Oh… yeah, I was going to say that when I first met you I thought that you were the biggest-" he managed to catch my look for him to stop before he could finish his sentence. I finally got Asuka to calm down; I don't need this screwing up!

"The biggest WHAT, exactly?" after that, he proceeded to his room… smart choice!

---

Five Years Later – 10:00 AM

A/N – Just as a recap, Shinji is 45 and Asuka is 44. Dietlinde is 29, Takajin is also 29 while Misaki and Ryo both 5.

"Grandpa! Hurry up! We're gonna be late again!" both Misaki Ryo tug at my shirt as the guide me quickly down the hallway towards the door. Jesus, I'm getting too old to keep up with these two! I remember when I was able to sprint clear across NERV, now I can't even keep up with a pair of five year olds!

"I'm coming, I'm coming," today was quite a special day for these two indeed; it was their birthday and their parents had set up quite the party, "What's the big rush anyway? Don't you just want to sit down for a little bit?" I was obviously simply teasing the two, but they sure didn't take it that way!

"NO!" they both yell in unison. Laughing to myself the rest of they way, they both crawl into the back seat of the car while I get into the driver's seat. By now my fancy sports car was gone, and I had settled for a small van… I really am a grandpa, aren't I? The two children spoke among themselves the entire way there, contemplating what gifts were in store for them. Ryo wanted the new gaming system that came out recently… the Playstation X I believe it's called. Misaki wanted something cheap on the other hand, just a simple doll that was able to get up and walk around on its own. That doll is so fucking creepy, when I bought it for her a few days ago I swear it followed me around all night… it might have been a dream, but I think that once it said 'Here's Chucky!'…

"There's mom!" Ryo popped up and pointed out the windshield at his mother, still looking as young as she did the day of her children's birth. She waved her arm in the air, flagging down the car. Once it came to a stop, those two kids were out of the car faster then Hillary Clinton was voted in for a second term… and just as quickly as she was impeached…

"Hey babies," they both latch onto their mother in a tight hug. She pulls back after a few seconds and smiles at the two, "Why don't you go see if you can help dad cut the cake?" they both go wide eyed and run off towards their father, "So dad," Dietlinde stand back up and embraces me in a gentle hug, "You feeling old yet?"

"Getting there, but not yet," she lets out a small chuckle.

"Uh huh, that's why you drive a minivan," just like her mother, she cuts me off before I could talk back, "Anyway, mom's in the back getting all of the gifts together. I'd watch out for Ryo's friends… one of them said that they saw candy, so they're on the hunt," with a quick peck on the cheek, she walks off towards her husband and starts small talk.

The party must have been fairly expensive – they rented out the entire park just for the occasion. A few tents were put up with board games for the less playfully active while there was a well-equipped playground just across the yard. Balloons and banners were everywhere, all reading "Happy Birthday!" in either pink or blue.

"Hey mister!" one of Ryo's friends ran up to me with a wide smile on his face, "Do you know where Ryo is?"

"Yeah, he's over with his mom," without another word, the little boy ran off towards his friend. I eventually make my way to Asuka, who was – of course – setting up the table to an anal-retentive mother's standards. I put my hands on her hips, and she damn near jumps out of her skin. She whips around and slaps my chest.

"What did I tell you about sneaking up on me?! There's a good fifty little children out there, just looking for something to tackle!" I just laugh and peck her lips, "Don't you try and sweeten me up! Where were you?"

"Well, Ryo broke the vase in the hallway, so I had to clean that up before we left, sorry," she shakes her head in disappointment, "I know, I know," that vase was… to say the least extremely special to me. Maya – the new health director of NERV and a close friend of Ritsuko – gave it to me a couple years ago. According to her, it used to be my mother's before she died, and that Ritsuko was planning on giving it to me on the day that Ryo and Misaki were born, but this obviously proved to be impossible.

"Shinji, I'm so sorry that happened," I just put on a fake smile and shake my head.

"Nah, don't worry about it, let's just go help out with the party. I'm sure that Dietlinde and Takajin are having one hell of a time trying to keep all of this together," Asuka smiles and kisses me.

"That's what I love about you, you're always thinking of other people… we really should go help them though, huh?" I take her by the hand and walk out to the park to see Misaki in her mother's arms crying, "Ah damnit… what happened here?" Dietlinde smiles over at us.

"She's upset because Takajin cut through the picture of the princess on the cake," yeah, who didn't see that coming? A small child crying over something small… kinda reminds me of Dietlinde when she was growing up! "It's okay honey, calm down… you want a piece of cake right now? I can sneak you one if you want!" Dietlinde gives her daughter the sweetest smile I've ever seen. Dietlinde really has become a mother in these past few years; even more so that she has TWO kids.

"You raised her so well Shinji…" Asuka wraps an arm around my shoulders and kisses me softly on the cheek.

---

Forty Years Later

Years have passed, new emotions have been felt, and experiences that I wouldn't trade the world for have long passed. Asuka's once beautiful ruby-red hair has long faded to a dull red with streaks of grey. In recent months, she has been put on oxygen, her lungs unable to support themselves any longer. Unfortunately, even her legs have long given out, ending her in a self-pushed wheelchair. Her body has basically broken down, most likely due to the constant Eva piloting as a child.

I wasn't in much better condition, but still not as bad. A walker works fine for me, even though it takes me longer then others to get around. That's about my only disability as of this year, but I'm sure that more are on their way. As of right now, Asuka was next to the sofa – and next to me – while I was on the sofa itself. Dietlinde, Ryo and Misaki were somewhere in the house, but I wasn't too sure exactly where.

Unfortunately, Takajin died just a few years ago due to one of his patients. As he was performing a heart transplant, he accidentally cut an artery, spraying blood up onto his surgical mask. HIV took him away from his family just a few years afterwards. Dietlinde didn't take it well at all, but she eventually moved on – even though she visits his grave every day at least once. Ryo ended up with a fine woman from Canada after going to College in Michigan, while Misaki… well, she ended up with a fine woman that she met in college. Thankfully, a law was passed that allowed the two to get married.

"Hey mom…" Dietlinde kneels next to Asuka and pecks her on the cheek, "You doing okay?"

"I may be in a wheelchair, but I'm not helpless," she manages a smile through the tubes going up her nose, "Don't worry about me, I'm fine. You should get home, it's getting kind of late," with a quick hug, Dietlinde stands back up.

"Okay, but just call me if you need anything," she kneels down and pecks me on the cheek, "Night dad, sleep good," all I do is simply nod and smile as she walks out of the house. I love her so much…

"I guess Ryo and Misaki weren't here after all… do you think they'll miss us?" Asuka slowly nods with a tear in her eye.

"Yes… yes I do… but they'll be okay… let's just go to bed, I'm tired," slowly, we make our way to the flattening bed. This process takes us both about half an hour, but unusually; it was all spent in pure silence. Finally, we were both laying in bed, "Shinji… I love you…" with a slow motion, she reaches up to her face and pulls out the oxygen tubes that have grown such accustomed to her face. Just as slowly, she lays her head on my shoulder and puts her leg around mine, just as we used to do when we were younger.

"I love you too…" putting my arm around her shoulders, I pull her a little bit closer.

"Sleep good Shinji…"

"You too…" with a single motion, she reaches over me and turns off the light one last time.

A/N – Before any of you say anything, I want to make something extremely clear here. Asuka did not kill herself, and neither did Shinji. Think deeper then what's just on the surface; Asuka was bound to a wheelchair and to oxygen – now, with her attitude, do you really think she was happy? She had fulfilled her purpose in life, raised a wonderful daughter and saved countless lives. Everything was right with her and Shinji. The two helped each other through countless predicaments, and it is only natural that they would leave this earth together. Now, if you have ANYTHING that you would like me to clear up or add to this epilogue, please tell me so in a review, even if it's just a simple question. Now… some 'behind the scenes' facts that a few of you have asked me…

Q – Where did Cass's name come from?

A – Ah yes, Cass. Well, this name derived from a fic that inspired me to start writing this one (can't for the life of me remember the name of it though), where one of the characters was constantly referred to as 'Casanova'. Originally Cass was supposed to be a serious player, and Asuka was going to cheat on Shinji near the end of the fic. I later on decided that it would be better if he eventually settled down with Sam.

Q – Where did the name Sam come from?

A – Girlfriend's name, simple as that.

Q – What happened to Cass? (no, none of you asked me this, but I'm sure it will be)

A – Who is this 'Cass' you speak of?

Q – What drove you to even write this fic?

A – LONG story, but the gist of it is this; I was supposed to be in special-education classes due to a few neurological processing issues I have. When I was in 6th grade, I was writing at a 3rd grade level, but as the years went on I had a remarkable teacher that taught me in a way that I could actually understand. Now – while it doesn't show in this fic due to the informality of it – I'm able to write at a very high level. If you want a piece of my more advanced work, just ask.

Q – What's up the 'keep on keepin' on' thing?

A – When I started writing this fic it was from my favorite movie. A shiny nickel to whoever can guess the movie!

A/A/N – Well, that's it. If you have another question not mentioned here, just ask. And on a side note, this story does have a dedication, even as corny as it sounds; this goes to the two smallest big parts of my life. I love you two and I can't wait to see you, good luck. Okay, I wrote that before it happened. Glad that you're both okay, love you. And this goes out specifically to Knoopdog; you made some very good points in there, but I was one step ahead of you. I've had this done for awhile.

Okay, just as a side note, I won't be able to work on The Effects Of Puberty for awhile (ironic title… a few of you get it). So yeah, send your feedback, tell me what you think, and keep on keepin' on!