Disclaimer: I do not own Neon Genesis Evangelion. Have to always put this disclaimer here at the beginning of each story don't I?

P.S. You can flame me if you want for what I do to one of the characters...I just thought that writing a darkfic for once would be a bit more interesting since it is different than those two happy one-shots I've completed lately. And this one is OOC, of course, just as all my fics are.

Anyway, this is my alternate version of episode 16: Unto death, and sickness...The splitting of the breast... Except it's tragic, or is it? Read to find out, and I need reviews anyway, flame or no flame, whatever you wish.

-
Splitting of an Evangelion Part 1:

A disease to die is unconsciousness...

Misato's Apartment

The right handle of the bathtub faucet was turned to allow warm water to fill the empty space. Soon enough, steam rose from the heating surface of the bathtub as a rich, bubbly lather was poured into the water. Asuka hummed in a sing-song voice one of her favorite tunes that described perfectly her mood now.

She placed a foot into the supposedly warm liquid only to be chilled suddenly by a sharp freeze running up her leg. The girl quickly withdrew her leg and ran out of the bathroom screaming after grabbing herself a towel next to the toilet. She wrapped it around herself before proceeding into the living room where her two other roommates stirred.

Misato and Shinji were seated at the family table discussing Shinji's dried-fish stock he retrieved from Ritsuko. "It's a souvenir from Dr. Akagi," Shinji informed. "She gave it to me."

However, before Misato could even respond to Shinji's answer, a certain redhead barged into the room from the bathroom, shouting at the top of her longs at her roommates. "I-It's too cold!" she shrieked after pulling her leg out of the water and almost slipping on her way to the living room.

What Shinji did next was what, in normalcy, frustrated Asuka to the bitter end: the reflex of apologizing for anything not his fault. "I'm sorry," he apologized.

Naturally, as always, Asuka bit back at him and scolded him whenever he did this, in her typical Asuka-like manner. "Grr...You're always apologizing! Do you really think it's your fault!" she roared at him, shaking her clenched fist in his face.

Shinji did not get to say too much other than a muttered "Hmm..."

Asuka stuck her nose up in the air and placed her hands on her hips in an authoritative fashion. "It's your condition reflex to everything, isn't it, Shinji!" she snapped.

Instead of acting bravely as Asuka always dreamt of happening one day, Shinji simply bowed his head in shame and murmured another apology. "Ah...sorry..." he said while folding his hands together in his lap.

Asuka turned, in a fury, to look at Misato, still pointing back harshly at Shinji with her index finger. "Just like that! You see! He's too self-punishing!"

Shinji's mouth was about to form into another "Sorry", however, if Asuka hadn't intervened. "If you say you're sorry again, I'm gonna pound you one, you dolt!" she sighed, placing her hand on her forehead and shaking her head to the side. "And this is why all men are idiots!" Her eyes took on a dreamy fashion. "Kaji's the only real man out there for me."

Misato, from her breakfast, commented at the redhead's remark. "Kaji's just a stupid, chauvinistic pig who has no manners! Really, I don't quite see what you see in a man like that. I don't even think you could call him a real man, Asuka."

Asuka "humphed" before yelling like she usually does next. "Well at least he's better than this dork here!" she stated, pointing at Shinji once again. "Boys are perverts; men are the real things girls want these days! And he's a disgrace to male race!"

Shinji didn't know why she was being moodier than usual today, but decided not to interfere and eat his food. Misato frowned for a second before picking up her beer and taking a sip from the can, then releasing the smart-ass glare on her face. She waved her hand in Asuka's direction. "There, there. That's just the way he is."

Asuka threw another tantrum and glared at her guardian this time. "It's easy for you to just accept it, isn't it! Haven't you just been a little too soft on him lately!"

Misato was about to dig into her food once more, but looked up at the comment. "Have I?" she said.

"You may have gotten back together with Kaji, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't guarantee proper discipline!" Asuka pouted, keeping her hands on her hips.

Misato rose from the chair to wash her dishes. "I have nothing to do with that chauvinistic, greedy pig!"

However, her actions were interrupted by the sound of a phone ringing against the wall continuously until the message machine picked up and played the familiar voice of the unshaven man. "Hey, it's me, Katsuragi. I just found a bar that serves good drinks, so I thought you might be interested. Meet me tonight at seven. Bye!" The message machine then clicked off.

"Ow..." Misato just clutched her eye as if she had injured herself...though the words of the young man had contradicted her prior thought...

Asuka stuck her nose in the air as if the highest point of a hierarchy made her rage supreme among all. "I've never been with someone who was such an improper relationship!" she proclaimed, heavily placing emphasis on "improper". "And you pretend to be our model guardian! What a hypocrite! I hate it! It's disgusting!" She grabbed the door handle violently and aggressively ripped the door shut.

Inside the bathroom, rants of a certain redhead girl could be heard as Shinji sighed into his hand. "Ugh...today's gonna be a long day..." he groaned.

-----

Alternate version of episode 16:
Splitting of an Evangelion

-----

Nerv Headquarters (synchronization test room)

"B-type harmonics test, all systems nominal, no problems detected," a female operator alerted from her participation in the activation of the test, speaking over the PA intercom aloud.

Another technician, this time a male crew worker, at his terminal, said the rest of the results, prompting the other personnel to get on with the task. "All course adjusting values cleared, synchronization test commencing at...5...4...3...2...1...0...synchronization test has begun..." he started counting down.

In another part of the room, more at the center, a purple-haired woman sighed. "Major Katsuragi, you seem worn to the bone," first major bridge bunny Makoto Hyuga, also one of Nerv's main lieutenants, observed.

Misato apprehended the statement with her own. "There're reasons why," she smiled and winked at the younger man.

Doctor Ritsuko Akagi, also a specialist and head of the department founding the E project, harbored a pleasure at exploiting the poor drunkard's feelings out in the public, especially through the act known as teasing. "Is it Kaji's bone?" she inquired, chocking back a merciless laugh, showing how she never showed her old college friend and classmate any mercy whatsoever.

"Shut your face!" Misato barked. She folded her arms across her chest, walking towards the blonde doctor, who was currently hovering over Maya and her terminal. "So, how's the Third Child doing?" she looked at Ritsuko.

Maya pointed to the screen. "Look at this..." she said, seemingly amazed at the pilot's results.

Misato also gave her sign of astonishment, and approval. "Wow...knowing this will help boost his confidence a little."

Ritsuko decided to make snide comment. "That's if Asuka doesn't say anything to ruin his ego," she declared softly.

"Well we'll just have to see about that," she replied, directing a communication link through the communication channel system to Unit-01's entry plug. The woman picked up feed on both the screen and verbal confirmation at hearing Shinji's voice. In Shinji's entry plug, a window featuring Misato's face popped up on his viewing area.

He was for concerned for a second, choosing to ask if there was anything wrong. "Ah...what's wrong, Misato?" he wondered.

"Just some good news that's all!" Misato exclaimed, shining a beaming smile at the boy.

The boy's eyes lit up like a sparked fire, filling with glee and excitement. "How are my test scores?"

Misato gave him a thumbs-up sign. "Great! YOU'RE NUMBER ONE!" her smile widened.

Shinji was about to congratulate himself when he was suddenly lost in abstract thought. I hope Asuka will think nothing of this... He frowned. But I could be wrong, of course...Man, she's gonna give me a real beating when we get out of the plugs...Why is she so concerned about being the highest ratio holder of them all, though? I don't think I'll ever understand...

-----

Changing Rooms

Asuka Langley Sohryu, a beast full of vast pride and immense dignity not dared to be broken, felt boiled with a heat of anger in her veins at the oppressor of her pride. She knew that she would blame this incident on only one thing, and it would be a hopeless human being to face her wrath, the one who beat her in everything, even piloting. She would bite his head off and more than simply scorn him, which could be considered lenient leeway treatment in this case, torturing till the day he dies.

But for now, the locker being caved in gravely by her foot would suffice, as there was no other human being in the room but her and Ayanami, and little miss ice-queen didn't do anything this time to infuriate her. A massive dent was embroidered into the metallic surface of a locker just underneath Asuka's by the abusive force compelled forward by her foot. The damage done was considerable enough to be paid for by the responsible, not by the company purchasing the supplies. No telling anyone would support her on this side, either.

After she finished harassing the locker door by banging it in with her shoe, Asuka put away her belongings in her own locker. She folded her plugsuit...roughly, to express her feelings towards the event at the moment. "I can't believe he beat me so easily! He did it so easily that it's really starting to piss me off!"

She flung her arms in the air. She started mocking the Third Child, "Oh, Great, Wonderful, Invincible Shinji is coming to save us all! Shinji the hero, he used to be a zero!"

Another presence in the room, however, Rei Ayanami, remained cool in spite of Asuka's constant ravings. She deduced that the young redhead was simply in denial of her feelings towards their fellow male pilot, but decided not to interfere, as this was territory in which she did not belong and for the girl to learn on her own.

She had also heard hints or specks of the Second's past, finding it rather appalling, but closely similar in comparison to the Third's. But she did not want to start a brawl, choosing to comment on the fact that Shinji had to save even their hides sometimes.

"But it should come to your attention that sometimes Nerv personnel and combatants on the battlefield do not have the capabilities to command the current operation themselves without the necessary aid of someone else if needed. There have been many instances in which Pilot Ikari has had to prevent annihilation of the human race by coming to our aid, even if the circumstances did not detail our cooperation of the attack," Rei, in her usual monotonous tone, bluntly stated.

Asuka, however, had other plans. "Oh shut up, Wondergirl! You mind your own business! That was my chance to have the highest synch ratio and he screwed it up for me!" Asuka argued back, trying to defend her position.

Rei's back was facing Asuka, but that did not keep her from frowning, by rarity, at the younger girl's comment. "Pilot Ikari has no intention of superiority over others during the synchronization trial nor does he have the intention of surpassing your synchronization percentage. It was merely a matter of coincidence he scored the highest in number among all of us."

Asuka fumed. "As long he is able to pilot, the rest is insufficient."

Though the redhead was stunned at how elongated Wondergirl...Rei's sentences were, she tried to hide her true feelings by snapping at Blue-girl. "Hmph! Yeah right! I'm sure he was trying to be better than me! That idiot will do anything to get attention!"

Asuka stuck her nose up in the air once again. "Oh well, once he gets back, his ass is grass!" She did a kicking motion with her foot resembling someone sticking their boot up Ikari's ass, though she ended kicking the locker too hard this time. "Ouch! That hurts!" she grabbed her foot and started yanking it around to see if it was still in shape.

She started banging up her own locker taking it out on the metal for hurting her. "I would refrain from doing any physical harm to this organization's materials, Pilot Sohryu. Improper treatment of objects belonging to that of Nerv could result in confinement in the stalls for up to 3 weeks, depending on the Commander's judgment," Rei pointed out.

"Argh..." Asuka responded grabbing her heel, "Shut up, stupid Wonderbitch!" She released her heel. "Like it's your place to tell me what I can or cannot do! You're just the Commander's puppet, always obeying his orders! Geez, it's your kind that makes me sick!"

Rei was headed out the door after retrieving her rightful things from her own locker. But she stopped in the doorway looking at Asuka for a split second, replying quietly, "If you do not open your heart up to others, then they will not respect you. If you cannot learn to love those who care for you, your life will be succumbed with sorrow and regret. I'm leaving now," she murmured almost incoherently, though Asuka heard those last words.

Before Asuka, however, could beat the living crap out of that of which makes up Rei Ayanami, the blue-haired enigma walked out of the room and into the hallway. "Sheisse!" she cursed, kicking what was left of the lower locker off its hinges and onto the floor. "How dare she tell me that! She's just stupid and jealous of me!"

Asuka, curving her past regret, pushed it away with her new declaration of mind. "Yeah, that's right, ain't it! She's just jealous that she doesn't have my raw talent," Asuka stated arrogantly.

"No one can beat me, not even that stupid Invincible Shinji! And he's gonna get my fist in his mouth when I get back!" she exclaimed.

Content with this new idea, the being known as Asuka Langley Sohryu slammed her locker shut and walked out of the room...

-----

Tokyo-3 Train Station

Shinji Ikari had figured that it was a glorious day at least today when compared to his childhood life back at his old home. A part inside of him felt as if he had wholly accomplished a difficult task and undertaken an arduous feat no other had attempted before. Of course, this was not atypical of the three Eva pilots, who's synch rates usually held the highest numbers than any training amateur.

His inner being was more at peace than usual and more subdued due the fact of his newfound confidence. Even the melodic rhythm of civilians sharing chit chatter and walking beside him seemed to nod in agreement to a spectacular performance.

The sky was gradually taking on the metamorphous of blue colors to reddish hues as the clouds were thinning out to allow for clear visibility of the stars overhead. Shinji strolled with lighter steps reflecting his current emotions, glancing up to gaze at the sky above, a smile dashed upon his features. It's such a beautiful sunset...I never realized how peaceful Tokyo-3 could be without any Angels attacking...

A distant voice in his mind resounded. That's because they never stop attacking...and don't forget about Nerv...and your father...they're the ones who keep this place from ever becoming a haven...

Shinji nearly gasped at the sudden entrance of a new voice intruding his mind's privy. Who...are you? Shinji thought as he walked along the sidewalk with his hands jammed in his pockets. But before the other voice could speak, he shook his head after thinking about the mention of his father, trying to rid himself of depressing thoughts.

He trailed further on the walkway, not thinking of anything but the peaceful atmosphere around him, which was rather seldom considering the numerous Angel attacks on the city wreaking havoc and destruction to various buildings and homes. No civilian or evacuee, especially, would wander around on a random night such as this one and still regard even the slightest bit of peace entering their minds at the time. Everyone was required to be on the lookout for things that could end their life in one second.

Up ahead of him, the train-station had just dropped off a couple of civilians, mostly children and babies. A child was sobbing angrily at having lost her doll under the seat and not being able to get it, the mother rushing her out of the bus and station. The mother pulled the child and forced her, but the kid simply repelled the force with resistance and stumbled back on her bottom.

"Wahh!" the girl cried, wiping her eyes.

Shinji looked to where the racket was coming from and saw the mother of the child come and yank the girl off the ground with her hands. But the child rebelled again, refusing to leave without her beloved doll. "No! I want my dolly back!" she shouted.

Her mother was strangely furious, atypical for ordinary mothers. "Come on!" she said, reattempting to rip the child off the ground. "We have to be at Daddy's house in five minutes, so get your ass moving!" Of course, this was both whispered and shouted quietly enough that no one else could hear them, but Shinji stared wide-eyed at how the woman just cursed her daughter.

M-Mother...never did that... he thought, shaking his head as thoughts of his mother and father from the past began being thrust back into him. "No! I don't wanna remember this!" His peaceful arena had just been shattered by the appalling abuse of a mother towards her child.

However, in his mind, a female looking much different than his own mother sat on a hospital bed, a doll resembling someone...familiar...in her clutches. He spotted a girl...much like the age of when he was a child and his own mother's death...who looked...like...

Shinji couldn't place it, but the infant had the appearance of intelligence and possible radiating beauty when grown-up. She had...red hair and bangs that swept across her forehead...blue eyes...as blue as the sky...reminding Shinji of his own dark blue color like the sea...

Is that...Asuka...? he thought from within his brief hallucination, failing to notice the hordes of people surrounding the person who had just fallen, subconsciously, onto the pavement. He also did not feel the burning sensation of his head sharply banging against the ground and almost cracking his skull. Shinji could also not see the medical assistant run to his side in aid of his health...no, he could only see...and think of...a chibi-Asuka...

The child in his hallucination, supposedly about Asuka as a kid, held her face pressed against the glass of the hospital room window, glaring ferociously like a lion at her own mother. "Look at that child over there...She's gonna laugh at you...Asuka..." her mother said while pretending to spoon-feed to the doll the food the nurse just brought into the room.

To describe the situation as Shinji being shocked at that would be a daring understatement. He had been dead on correct when he guessed the illusion was of Asuka and her past...but about the mother...he was more than simply stunned at the harsh ignorance coming from her...

She thought the doll was her daughter? Shinji thought, feeling as if the entire point was locking more and more clearly into place as he viewed the traumatic experience of the Second Child's past. He noticed the frown and glare, along with the glint of sadness in her eye, all never left the face of one little Asuka Langley Sohryu undeserving of the pain and torment she was just about to receive, according to this hallucination...

The hallucination continued as the setting changed at the tangent of the hospital room and bed to a dark room full of an empty void but a door leading absolutely to nowhere...unless the child pulled it open... He saw the beaming face of little Asuka running down the supposed hallway, shouting for her mother's attention.

"Look at me, Mamma! I'm an elite pilot now! I'm not supposed to tell anyone, but I'll only tell you, Mamma!" The door, however, fluttered repeatedly, awaiting Asuka's final entrance and scream from the room... It came, but only after a moment's notice and long gaze at the same woman from the hospital dangling on the ceiling.

"...M-Mamma...?" Asuka whimpered, a tear falling from eye, eventually collapsing in on herself. To say the least, Shinji was once again shocked...but also felt a deep pang of sorrow towards Asuka's loss stabbing like a dagger at his heart...He then thought that even she did not deserve this harsh treatment.

I think I see now why she acts the way she does... he thought, realization striking his dense mind like a hammer against a gong. She had a bad childhood...that makes sense... He unconscientiously flung his arms out in front of him, nearly hitting the doctor helping him in the face as the man avoided the inadvertent blow.

"Maybe I should talk to her when I get home..." he muttered, though the surrounding audience could hear the mumbled speech. Shinji opened his eyes only to be gazing in the orbs of another's...

The said doctor had already phoned an ambulance to pick up the boy with possibly a bleeding head and bring him into the Nerv emergency room after he dug into the kid's pocket and read the Nerv ID. "Where am I...?" But Shinji did not get to finish his previous statement as he passed out on the pavement from what was likely blood loss, a bed coming from doctors who eased him up onto it and hauled him into the ambulance...

The chatter roared, but soon dissipated with the final announcement from the PA system coming from the train station. "Next stop is Seishou Kabuse, Seishou Kabuse. Convenient for the Bashar, used books and video game stores..." And then it clicked, the roaring of a vehicle's sirens and tires being heard in the background...and an Angel klaxon...

-----

Misato Katsuragi's Blue Renault

A groan of frustration came from the mouth of one Major Katsuragi headed for Nerv headquarters. She glanced at the time clock near the radio once again before accelerating quicker than before. But, just then, the cell phone in her pocket rang disruptively. Holding the wheel with only one hand, the major dove her other hand into her side pocket and yanked out the annoying phone.

"What!" she screeched into the receiver. "What is it that you have to call me right now!" She suspected it was Kaji, or worse, not exactly knowing how or who was important on line.

The voice came from that of a hardworking man, but a gentle benevolence for people. "Hello? Is there a Major Katsuragi available?" His tone took on a serious edge after requesting for the name popular around especially Nerv.

Misato noticed the slight edge to the man's voice and spoke softer than before, but her anger never lessened. "Yes," she said after finally calming down a bit, "this is her. May I ask what you need?"

"Oh yes. Sorry for not introducing myself, but I'm doctor Michiro from the Nerv hospital. I'm calling on behalf of a serious situation we've confronted with the Third Child while he was walking to the bus station," he quickly explained.

Misato's face grew worried, she being unable to contain her concern. "What happened to him!" she nearly shouted, not wanting Shinji to be in serious danger. "There's an Angel attack and he still has to fight!"

"I'd appreciate if you'd calm down, major, as we have the situation under control." He then inhaled and exhaled deeply, explaining the current situation more broadly. "We spotted the Third Child walking towards the bus stations, but he suddenly collapsed from what appeared to be exhaustion, we don't know. However, I can tell you he hit his head extremely hard on the pavement while falling backwards, causing blood-loss from his head."

Misato gasped. "We had to contain him in a separate room of the ER due to massive blood-loss and possibility of germ distribution to others," he continued.

Tears nearly stung the corner of Misato's eyes as she fought with inner strength to talk. "I-Is he...okay?" she asked quietly.

"Well, judging from the distance, I wouldn't know. But the other doctors are determining that now. He has what is a possible fracture to his skull, almost completely irreparable. And due to the amount of blood lost from his system, we had to double the amount of IV to the tubes to ensure his survival during his probable one month stay."

"B-But...will he be able to fight...?" Misato rounded a corner irately.

"We don't know at the moment. But you can guess that he won't be piloting the Eva anytime soon while he is still in the state he's in. We are trying to stop the bleeding...but it is becoming even more difficult with the blood going everywhere from his head all at once."

"When will I...be able to see him...?" Misato inquired somnolently, a single tear falling from her eye.

"I...will call you back when I hear more information...at the moment, I'm very sorry for the inconvenience, Major Katsuragi..." he whispered into the phone sorrowfully.

"But..." However, the phone was hung up on the other end by the doctor, making Misato unable to tell or protest something more...though the tears falling down her face as she neared headquarters and parked her car in a rush never went unnoticed...

-----

Nerv Headquarters, Central Dogma

A female technician reported from her terminal the evacuation assembly. "Evacuation of the West quarter has been completed. An estimated five minutes are left until all civilians reach their shelters."

"Target is hovering in the air and advancing slowly towards headquarters at approximately 2.5 kilometers per hour," reported another technician, this time a male from his terminal.

Ritsuko angrily tapped her foot in impatience while staring at the watch on her arm. "Damn! Where the hell is Misato!" she shrieked.

"Major Katsuragi has been spotted near Nerv headquarters and is slowly making her way up," reported Lieutenant Hyuga next to another bridge bunny: Shigeru Aoba, a third-ranking lieutenant.

"Doctor, we haven't received a signal of Shinji's presence yet! He isn't in the changing rooms either," Maya Ibuki yelled.

I guess I'm the one taking charge of this operation...since Misato isn't here yet... "Where are the other two pilots?" Ritsuko asked, no longer tapping her foot, but walking slowly towards Maya's screen. And she better get her ass here soon if she doesn't want the docking of her paycheck shoved up hers...by Ikari... she shuddered.

"They're currently suited up and in their plugs, Ma'am, but it doesn't seem like Shinji's even in the building yet!" Hyuga shouted, typing fiercely his hands across the keyboard.

"Well, where is he at then?" Ritsuko demanded, feeling as if the success of the operation was only guaranteed through the presence and hard work of all three pilots and their respective Evas.

A phone next to Aoba's terminal began to ring, a hand reaching over to pick it up off the receiver. "Hello? Yes, yes..." he said while speaking into the phone. "Alright, thank you very much...Goodbye. The hospital just called and informed us that they found Shinji unconscious near a train station"
Ritsuko leaned back and against the wall. "So that means he won't be available, then?" Aoba nodded. "Dammit, just when there's an Angel attacking!" She turned towards the Commander sitting coolly in his seat. "Commander, in the case of Misato's absence, I request that you dock her pay immediately."

The Commander did not stir, but still spoke, however. "It is inconsequential. The loss of Major Katsuragi's command is irrelevant if there is a replacement."

Everyone stood there shocked as they heard what Gendo said. Ritsuko quirked her eyebrow. "But if she is not here to attend to her duties like the rest of us, especially in the face of danger, we all could be killed, Commander!"

"The matter is unimportant," Gendo informed. "I will speak to Major Katsuragi after this Angel is defeated, not at this moment. If disciplinary action is needed, I will enforce it to the full extent of the code used for dealing with violations. For now, order Units 00 and 02 to station themselves near the borders of the Angel."

Ritsuko bit back a retort gathering in a ball of disgusting vile at the back of her throat, reluctantly complying with Gendo's wishes. "U-Understood, sir. I'll order it effectively and immediately." She then went near the PA system announcement microphone, speaking loud and clear the orders given to her from the Commander. "Station Units-02 and 00 near weapon stations 5 and 6 and prepare to standby."

-----

Nerv Hospital, Room 209, Emergency Room

Misato Katsuragi arrived at Shinji's bedside just after him receiving the various stitches across his forehead and the gap in the back that was covered by thicker scars. However, just shortly after hearing the alarms go off and the enormous rattle of the building, she departed from the room and strode her way quickly over to headquarters.

Flashback --

Misato was sobbing heavily into her hands in the waiting room, not caring if there were others giving her bizarre looks or mocking her actions. She could no longer wait for news on Shinji's condition, deciding to interrogate any neighboring doctor immediately. Unfortunately, most of the doctors were either evacuating or leaving their patients on hold until the Angel was killed.

In the emergency room, the surgeons were preparing the stitches in the most wounded of areas, including the colossal crater in the back of his head. They conceived it was a miracle at having survived so long due to the considerable amount of blood loss from the system. The cut was deep, and it was a surprise to everyone that the boy with a grand injury was even going to make it out to a full recovery.

Misato Katsuragi, however, couldn't quiet her tears for the care of the boy was too profound for any emotion to be concealed. Over the past months, the woman had grown more than just quite fond of Shinji's presence, instead, him becoming a part of her everyday life as a requirement. And if he were someday to be absent from that revolving cycle, her world would fall to pieces, being the second most important person in her life.

"I-It had to be my fault...that this all happened..." she sniffled wiping her eyes with her shirt before breaking down into sobs again. "Oh, God...Shinji, I'm sorry..."

A few minutes later after the doctors were finished, the main doctor performing the procedure on the boy prompted Misato that he was ready for her to come in the room. Misato did so, but only after a few moments of reflection and preparing herself of what would come of next.

She steeled her every last bit of resolve as she peeled open the door being held by the male nurse. However, she wasn't as prepared as she hoped to be when she saw the scarred image of one physically shattered Shinji Ikari...and possibly mentally as well...nerves were probably destroyed on the side that was gashed in deeply from the fall...

There on the bed laid Shinji with numerous stitches racing across his head in an awkward fashion, almost reshaping the entire head itself. Misato stared in horror and gasped as she noticed the clear distinction of a great scar running across the top of his head and widening around the back.

Fresh tears blurred Misato's vision. "He must have h-hit his head pretty hard..." she sobbed, shying away from the atrocious sight lying before her eyes.

The doctor bowed his head in respect and pity for the poor, hard-working woman in front of him. "Yes," he began somnolently, "his head did take a rather hard blow when coming in contact with the pavement...but we did all we could to cover up the...previous results...It's possible that he may have brain damage in those areas by now..."

Misato did not want to inquire to him her next question...as it didn't even seem so humane as it appeared. "W-Will he...be able to pilot...?" Misato asked quietly.

The doctor shook his head sadly. "I am afraid to inform you that the Third Child will no longer be capable of even powering or synching with the robot...it does require a full 100 percent functionality of the brain, and if that is disturbed...even the slightest bit of brain damage can yield alarming results...and possibly injure the pilot further..."

"So it would be in our best interests to not place him into any entry plug?" Misato asked, attempting to clear her face of the tears, to no avail.

"Y-Yes...it would be a terrible danger to stick an injured patient in even the most liquefied form of LCL...the chemical makeup would be enough to even reopen the wounds in the back of the head...It'll be a miracle if the kid even recovers." The doctor reached beside Shinji's bedside and picked up the clipboard from its resting spot.

"I-I...don't know what the Commander will say..." Misato began to tear up once again. "He usually doesn't give a rat's tail for his son...I don't expect him to change his thoughts on that either..."

The doctor placed a steady hand on Misato's shoulder. "Look, if it makes you feel any better...He should be able to walk around after weekly sessions of brain therapy..."

"Th-Therapy!" Misato was shocked. "Would he be able to do the things a normal person does after therapy?"

"We don't exactly know at the moment since head injuries severe like this are fairly uncommon around here. We haven't experimented with it enough to know exactly for sure, and in either way, each patient's head gashes are different and treated differently, so their treatment could vary from just a few stitches to open surgery on the patient..."

Misato was about to bombard the man with her next question, but an alarm rang repeatedly in the distance and in the building, signaling the continued evacuation of all civilians and lower classed personnel... "Attention, we have been placed on second-stage alert. I repeat, we are on second-stage alert. All B-rank and C-rank personnel, including members of the lower section are to evacuate to their designated shelters immediately. I repeat, evacuate to designated shelters immediately."

"Well, it looks like you still have another job to do, major. You'll still be aloud to visit him after the fight is over," the doctor stared at her.

"Will I be able to visit after hours?" Misato questioned.

"There should be a nurse here available when you return, but visiting hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. We have extended the time limit by 2 or 3 more hours to allow for patients, especially those near death, to say goodbye to their loved ones..." He changed the topic quickly. "But they also have to be seen anyway..."

However, Misato was out the door before he could finish his sentence...

-
End of Flashback

She left the room and ran through the halls, nurses with their patients shouting back at the woman and pointing, though unseen by the eyes of Misato, at the sign hanging near the ceiling that read 'No running'. Misato didn't care, but only instead for the wellbeing of her surrogate son, or the son she never had, and the sticky conditions of the battle overhead...

-----

Nerv Headquarters, Central Dogma

A door burst open after a second blast assaulted headquarters. "Sorry...I'm late..." Misato panted, trying to catch her breath.

"It is irrelevant for now as this is an emergency. I'll speak to you after this Angel is defeated..." Gendo declared before Ritsuko Akagi even had the opportunity to interrupt.

"What is the Angel's status?" Misato looked at Maya, who was typing furiously at her terminal.

"There is an object in the sky with an unknown density and mass, though we do know it is headed towards headquarters at approximately 2.5 kilometers per hour... It should reach us at 400 minutes..." Maya said.

"How are Units-02 and 00?"

"Right now Unit-02 is positioned on the second block of the Angel's outer area, awaiting designation of attack, and equipped with the prog. Ax.. Unit-00 is behind a building, equipped with the assault rifle.

Misato patched a comm. link to both of the two pilots in their respective plugs...

-----

A giant ball of zebra stripes floated almost concentrated over the sky. Units-02 and 00 were stationed on the outer lines of the Angel's invisible A.T. Field, keeping a close vigil over the movements and patterns of the enemy. Unit-02 waited anxiously with a progressive ax in hand, along with it's pilot's impatience running thin.

However, Rei's Eva was equipped with only the assault rifle used as backup against the Fifth Angel, Ramiel. The blue-haired enigma sensed an evil, malignant essence inside the temperamental beast that comprised of Angel DNA. This one, though, only appeared as harmful as the naked eye beheld it to believe.

Asuka was fighting the urge not to charge at the Angel right there on the spot. "When is this damn thing gonna move!" shrieked Asuka impatiently. "I'm starving, and that stupid idiot didn't make breakfast any good this morning! He's such a loser!" Rei knew it was obvious the Second Child harbored ill feelings towards Shinji's accomplishment, but never thought she would complain about it during a serious battle such as this one. There was yet more to come in terms of emotion with the redheaded pilot...

A voice suddenly cut in their communication line, apparently Misato's. "Ugh..." she panted, "sorry I'm late, but I want you two to hold back for now."

"Well look who's finally kicked the rat out of the house!" barked Asuka sadistically. "It's about time you showed up! We've been waiting here for ten minutes now, and this damn Angel won't move its striped ass!"

Misato wiped away any remaining streaks of tears from almost collapsing near Shinji after the stitching process. "All right, I've sent you all the data on the Angel we collected so far. At the present, we have nothing else. Approach it carefully, observe its location, and, if possible, lead it outside of the city. Did you hear that, Asuka, Rei?"

"Yes, major," Rei answered monotonously.

"Yes, Ma'am! But don't you think Shinji should take the front position this time! After all he is the highest synch. ratio holder of them all, don't you think!" Asuka exclaimed, grinning widely.

Misato suppressed the bitter tears that stung her eyes like fire on skin. "Shinji...he won't be coming to help you two this time...You two are on your own on this one..."

"Oh yeah! Speaking of which, where is that stupid idiot at when he's supposed to have launched like the rest of us!" Asuka griped.

Asuka and Rei caught the glimpse of a single tear sliding down Misato's cheek. "He's not...I don't know..." She bowed her head to hide the tears from everyone...

"Hmph! Well I'm moving, and if he doesn't get here sooner or later, I'll just take down this Angel myself! With or without his help! And who needs Shinji anyway! We are fully capable of defeating this thing ourselves, thank you!" Asuka willed Eva Unit-02 to walk forward closer towards the Angel, or whatever the object in the sky turned out to be.

Misato full-heartedly glared at Asuka, though she didn't catch sight of it on the comm. screen. "Did you not hear the major's orders, Pilot Sohryu? We are to only attack when ordered by Major Katsuragi. I would highly advise that you do not rush into the battle with that sort of thinking..."

Asuka cut her off with a bitter remark. "Shut up, Wondergirl! I'm sick of hearing your lame comments and telling me what to do! I never said a doll gets to have that many privileges!"

"Asuka!" This time it was Misato who was yelling at the girl. "Stop acting like a little kid and pay attention to the Angel! This is an emergency! If you rush into a battle with that kind of thinking, you're sure to get us all killed!"

"Hmph! It's not like it matters anyway! Let's just get this damn thing over with, I'm tired of waiting...!" However, a sound alert from a neighboring building that turned out to be another launch pad for the Evas rang out as the shaft opened to reveal the irreverence of a person's nightmares, a figure clad in purple and green armor...

-----

Nerv Hospital, Room 209

Widespread alarm and panic from nurses in the room rose as the boy on the bed elevated himself into a sitting position, glancing around the room for a second, then getting up off the bed and walking to the door. The doctors tried as best as they could to restrain Shinji to the bed, but he pushed them violently away, one hitting his back on the wall, another breaking his glasses as the man landed helplessly on the floor and crushed them.

He approached the door to the room and opened it, allowing a swift blow of cold air to whish past his features and scars on his head. The injuries were merely a light-weight burden for the boy, the thought of even the briefest moment of pain shoved aside as he walked out in the hallway. Shinji received noticeable stares and looks of wonder from various doctors and patients who happened to see him walk by and head towards the elevators.

The only current thought that lingered in his mind, though, existed as the single statement, I have to help them... He walked on towards the command centre...

-----

Of three mammoth-sized monstrosities stationed next to Nerv Headquarters, the red one known as Evangelion Unit-02 was about to rush straight ahead to the angel when the mechanical version of Goliath stopped in its tracks, peering out in what looked like plastered shock at the rising launch pad. The building opened to reveal a particular compartment in which Eva's are transported in and out of the fight, whether it be from serious injury or triumph over the enemy.

Out of the launch building peeled, in all of its glory, the menacing Unit-01 with several firearms and loaded weapons opening up at its side. A hand struck out and reached for a gun to the Unit's left, grasped it in its hands, and ran towards a building near where both Unit-02 and Unit-02 stood silently to keep their vigil.

An alarm rose from many voices in the command center, including those belonging to the major technicians, namely, the lieutenants. "Oh my God! Unit-01 has been activated! Synchronization ratio at...100 percent!" screamed Maya, typing furiously.

"What! It's never been that high!" Ritsuko looked at Maya's direction.

"We can't do anything to stop it...it's increasing at a rapid rate...110...140...170!"

"Shut down the main power. Deactivate Unit-01..." Gendo ordered.

"We can't! It's refusing the access codes! We can't shut it down!" Aoba screamed, manically racing across the keyboard to stop the luminous threat.

Misato's first strategy since the previous Angel: "Cut the power supply! We have to stop it at all costs!"

Will this be...another berserker...? Ritsuko mused, looking in horror at the malignance of Evangelion Unit-01. However, a yell ruptured on the speakers, as recognized, belonging to Asuka. "Where the hell have you been, you idiot! We've been waiting to start, but you dragged your ass out here too late!"

No response...Unit-01 continued to fumble with the rifle...

"Well, I'm sick of waiting, and if you think I'm waiting anymore, I'll be sure this Angel splatters you to the bone while I sit here and watch!" stated Asuka evilly, feeling around for the trigger on her loaded firearm, and nearly pulling as a shot blazed out towards the zebra-like Angel in the sky.

However, as she looked towards where the beam almost instantaneously came from, she discovered that it was not her shot that had been fired, but one from a bullet belonging to one of Unit-01's primary handguns. The safety had obviously been turned off, as the shot blazed onward to the illusion pattern in the air, colliding into the disappearance of the Angel upon impact...

"What the...! Hey, where the hell did that flying piece of crap go!" Asuka screeched, scaling everywhere on the foregrounds next to headquarters for the Angel's presence.

"Status!" Misato asked, facing one of the technicians in a flurry.

"Pattern detected...blue. Angel confirmed. It is right underneath Unit-01!" Maya said, holding back a gasp at viewing the screen with an Angel that had become an ominous shadow obscuring the Unit to the depths of its intangible reality...unto death, and sickness...

"Who's piloting that thing!" Misato frantically yelled.

"It's Shinji! His ego border won't hold its current stability any longer...synchronization at 350 percent!"

Ritsuko gazed bug-eyed at the screen. "No...It can't be...not again...not the same thing...twice..."

"What are you...?" But Misato was cut off when Shinji's internal screen suddenly turned to static and a nearly shattered comm. wire tuned into his now strained voice.

Shinji's voice was scrunched, possibly due to unstitched areas of the head wound. "A-ah! What the hell is this! This can't be happening!" Unit-01 began making its descent into the obscured pools of black Angel, the Sea of Dirac, groping in a panic for some way out, as much as there was none...

Misato gasped. "S-Shinji!" she screamed, tears filling her vision. "Shinji, get out of there! Shinji!" She tried in desperation to call out to him...through mighty trenches and deepest seas, but he just sunk further and further into the black's awesome depths...drifting further and further away from assistance...

I...I guess that this is...my fate...I'm sorry... Shinji thought, the immersing void beginning to reopen the tearing wounds at the back of his head. The pain was unbearable, each rip and strip of stitched skin, especially, torn off feeling as if someone were ripping him apart from inside out. He let out a cry at the immeasurable pain. "AHHHH! Someone, help me!" he cried in agony.

Rei barely shouted. "Ikari!" she yelled promptly, gearing her Eva quickly at a hurried pace towards the Unit-01 plummeting beneath the Earth's ashes, or sinking into the ground.

"The Eva's outer head is ripping into half! The brain casing won't take much more under this much pressure!"

Misato almost screeched, covering her mouth with her hands. "Oh my God...Shinji! Shinji, are you in there! Shinji, you have to get out of there!"

From her point of view and watching from the sidelines helplessly, Asuka stood still as a lifeless doll, not rushing eagerly forward like Rei to their ill-fated pilot destined to a bad future in the hands of the demons of hell...eyes suddenly wide in shock. "You idiot! Get your ass in gear!" she shouted, halfheartedly worried over the condition of the Third Child, all the while attempting to suppress the deep chunks of vile awaiting to spill forth from the back of her throat at staring at the deforming version of Unit-01's head

But Evangelion Unit-01 continued to sink in the horrors found below... "Ahh! Misato, Ayanami! Asuka, Ritsuko!" Shinji wailed, the unit's hands flying in the air. "Help me!" Then the Eva's entire brain casing split open under immense pressure...unknown to everyone else... "Ahhh!" the painful scream penetrated everyone's hearts...

"Eject the plug! Get him out of there!" Misato yelled.

"Negative! The Unit is still refusing the signal! We can't get even get through the comm. link!"

Ritsuko saw Unit-02 destined for the same fate, without the namely scream of torment, that is. "Asuka! Watch the screen!"

"Ahh! The shadow!"

Eva Unit-02 jumped just in time to dodge the shadow filling up the area that was just solid ground. It landed into a building with a thud, grabbing on with many progressive weapons and climbing its way to the top. Once Asuka reached her intended destination, she stared out into the void filling up the whole city's contents, creating the appearance of its entire sinking.

"The whole city is sinking..." Asuka gasped, unaware at her sudden display of "weakness" in public.

"Asuka! Rei! Retreat!" Misato ordered, seeing as how the shadow was regathering in certain spots where they were newly stationed.

Rei protested against this order, not wishing in any way for "Pilot Ikari" to be harmed, reasons unknown. "But wait..."

However, Asuka cut her off. "Huh! What are you talking about! That idiot gets himself sucked up in God knows what, and we're going to just leave him! I still have to redeem myself, you know! He has one hell of a beating when he gets back!"

Misato bowed her head, shaking uncontrollably at the silent tears stroking her cheeks. "This...is an order...Withdraw, now..."

-----

To be continued...