-1Chapter Two: Familiar Ceiling/New Beast

When Shinji opened his eyes, the first thing he noticed was the white ceiling above him. He had seen this ceiling time and time before, and could barely hardly fathom the time when he had considered it an unfamiliar ceiling. He looked up at the ceiling. When he had first seen the ceiling, he had hated it, and that feeling had stayed with him through everything. This ceiling never meant anything good. He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, blacking out the image of the ceiling, and then opened them again, wondering if the ceiling had vanished.

It was still there.

He felt a bandage wrapping around his head, and without moving, looked down his chest. He was in a bed that, too, was as familiar as the ceiling, as well as the white walls, tile floor, large windows, and single door. Light music drifted through the air, some old classical Japanese, and light poured in through the windows. He was wearing a light, light blue hospital gown, and covered with a blanket. He could feel the pressure on his head from the tightly wrapped bandages covering his forehead and keeping his hair out of his eyes. He looked up at the ceiling again.

"Well," he said aloud, to nobody in particular. "That sucked."

Shinji stared at Sachiel, the third angel, and the angel stared back. Neither of them moved, they just stared at each other, standing still amidst the towers of Tokyo-3. It was like some momentous battle of wills, neither being looking away from his opponent. When Shinji had fallen on the ground last time, the angel had a clear advantage over him, and all Shinji could do was run. Now, however, they were on equal terms. Well, they would be if Shinji hadn't had his knowledge of the future, as well as more than half a year of training.

"Are you ready, Shinji?" Misato's voice cut through the silence that had ensued as soon as Shinji had seen the angel.

Shinji nodded, not breaking eye contact with the angel. Well, he assumed he had eye contact. He wasn't really sure if those two holes in the angels face were eyes. Actually, he wasn't even sure if that was in fact the angel's face, or if angels even had eyes. He had been to concerned with staying alive to worry about that sort of thing last time around. "I'm ready," he said.

"Final safety locks release!" Misato's voice crackled over the radio. "Evangelion Unit One, move out!"

Shinji felt the Eva shudder as the braces that held it to the launch platform were suddenly released, freeing him and the Eva to do battle with the angel.

"Shinji," Ritsuko began, "just concentrate on--"

She was cut off abruptly as Shinji suddenly rushed for the angel, the Eva's mighty form responding easily to his will. He heard Ritsuko suck in a sharp breath as she whispered, "My God…" Shinji smirked, and rose the Eva's arms to meet the angel head on.

Sachiel barely had time to react as it rose it's AT field in defense, confused by this enemy that had suddenly appeared before it. It wasn't that the angel was worried; it had defeated all enemies up until now with ease, and expected this one to be any different, even if it did seem more capable than the rest. It was just… there was something about this particular enemy…

Shinji slammed into the angel's AT Field, and the yellow hexagonal pattern created by the fluctuations of the phase-space flashed into existence.

"It's an AT Field!" Shinji heard Ritsuko gasp.

Shinji smiled again as the Eva pushed against the angel's AT Field. He found that he rather liked the surprised sounds of Misato's and Ritsuko's voices whenever he did something they didn't expect. They were going to love what came next. Shinji rose his own AT Field against the angel's, and began to neutralize the angel's defense.

"Unit one is expanding its own AT-Field," Shinji heard Maya say in awe. He was feeling quite good about himself, at the moment. "It's neutralizing the phase space!"

Shinji brought the Eva's massive hands together, and began digging the armored purple fingers into the center of the angel's AT Field. Weekend by the neutralizing effect of his own, the angel's field couldn't hold up, and Shinji tore the field apart with the Eva's strength, completely destroying the field.

Shinji heard silence on the other end of radio, smiling to himself as he imagined Ritsuko's, Misato's, and most of all, his father's expressions as they watched this example of prowess with the Evangelion.

Sachiel, for its part, staggered back and away from the purple monster in front of it. Something was odd about this enemy. It had torn through Sachiel's defense without even straining itself, as if Sachiel hadn't even had a defense there at all. Something was different about this enemy. Something was familiar…

With the AT Field now totally neutralized, Shinji charged at Sachiel and barreled Unit One into its midsection, and continued on forwards, taking the angel with it. Shinji felt the angel thrashing around and clawing the sides of Unit One as it tried to regain its senses and get off of the charging Eva, but Shinji wouldn't let it do that. He wrapped Unit One's arms around the angel, in a gigantic hug that was anything but friendly, and continued to run down the streets, to the edge of Tokyo-3.

"Where the hell are you going, Shinji?!" Misato yelled over the radio.

"I'm making sure nobody gets hurt by this bastard," Shinji said, tightening Unit One's hug around the angel, despite the pain he felt everywhere Sachiel's claw-like hands razed the Eva's armor. He needed to get Sachiel out of the city, so that nobody would get hurt in this first attack…like Touji's little sister had last time.

The edge of the city came into view, and Shinji increased his speed. Reaching the edge of the city, he ground to a sudden halt, latched on to one of Sachiel's arms, spun around, and flung the angel into the air and as far from the city as he could.

The angel smashed into a hillside, throwing dirt and grass up into the air. Slowly, it righted itself, and climbed out of the small crater created by the impact, and stared at it's enemy in shock. Never before had it met something that posed so great a threat to it. It needed to get rid of this opposition, and fast. Gathering its strength, Sachiel began rushing back at Unit-One.

Shinji watched as Sachiel ran towards him, bracing his Eva for the coming impact with the angel. Just as Sachiel was about to collide with him, it leaped into the air and over Unit One, landing on the ground behind it. Shinji quickly spun around, angry at the angel's sudden action, and tried to get the angel back in his sights.

He didn't have the chance as he suddenly felt a splitting pain on the back of his head, and temporarily lost control of the Eva. Unit One fell forward, mimicking Shinji's dizziness from the angel's blow to the back of the head, and banged its forehead on the ground, only adding to Shinji's headache.

"Shinji!" Misato yelled through the radio. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah," Shinji groaned, holding a hand to his head. "I'm fine." He tried to shake off the wave of nausea that was flowing through him, and began to push the Eva up, ready to face Sachiel.

All Shinji had for a warning was an small indistinguishable murmur of panic coming from the radio, and suddenly he was slammed back down on the ground. The Eva's arm was unable to support the weight of the angel that was now on top of Unit One's back, forcing it down to the grown. It grabbed onto Unit One's arms and twisted them up behind the Eva's back, latched onto them as it pressed its weight down on unit one. And throughout all of this, Shinji felt something forcefully pry into his mind

His mind was suddenly being assaulted by something, as if it were trying to dig into his mind and dissect it. Unconsciously he crouched forwards and held onto his head, as if he could protect his mind from the sudden intrusion. Thick veins and tendons stood out all over his as his body became unnaturally tense, and he tried his best to stop the invasion of his mind.

"You!" a voiced hissed into his head, a flowing voice full of rage and insanity. "It was you! You prevented the flow from continuing! You halted the swishing, the churning, the bubbling of our existence; prevented us from joining the tranquil sea! The waves of our previous fate will engulf you this time!"

Even in the midst of the pain Shinji felt in his mind, part of him realized who the voice belonged to. It was Sachiel, the Angel of Water.

"No!" Shinji screamed, unable to hear the panicked requests for a response from Misato and the rest of the command center. "Get out of my head!"

Sachiel continued to probe Shinji's mind as it sat on Unit One's back, slowly tightening it's grip on the Eva's arms. Seeing Unit One fall forward flat onto the ground as it had, had awakened a memory in Sachiel that it hadn't known it possessed. The memory had flooded in, and then the rage came. The chaotic, swishing, ever flowing mind of the Angel of Water felt the need to take revenge on the one that had prevented it from reaching that which had been calling it. It was below this place, deep beneath the Earth, There was something else calling it as well, something far off in the distance. It was going to have to find that one later, as soon as it finally reached that presence it sensed below the Earth…

Sachiel's arms suddenly grew to a tremendous size as it's S2 Engine caused power to flow to its upper body, and Sachiel grabbed both of Unit One's arms in one hand, holding them together behind the Eva's back. Then, it twisted.

Shinji screamed as he felt both of the bones in the Eva's forearms suddenly snap in half. He couldn't feel his hands, and was nearly blinded by the pain.

Mother! he cried out mentally to the Eva around him, hoping to awaken his mother's spirit, to stop Sachiel's attempts to destroy Shinji's mind. Mother help me!

Shinji heard a gurgling sort of laugh in his mind, coming from Sachiel, and another wave of attacks came, both physical and mental, as the angel began pounding its strength-enhanced arms onto the plates of Unit One's armor, causing them to crack.

Mother! Shinji called out, help me! Somebody please help me!

Deep below the surface, miles down from where Unit One and the angel were fighting, protected by lairs and lairs of armor, was a gigantic room. LCL filled the giant pool in the floor of the room, dripping down an enormous, red cross. It flowed out of the hacked off lower portion of some sort of white giant, crucified on the cross and with a mighty, twisted red lance sticking out from its chest, and a seven eyed mask covering its face.

Slowly, ever so slowly, awareness began to dawn in the figure's mind, responding to a silent call that only it had heard…

"Shinji!" Misato's voice crackled over the radio, again, but Shinji couldn't find the strength to answer. Unit One was badly damaged, and as a result, so was Shinji. He felt every pain as if the injury had been done to him, and on top of that, the Angel was still trying to invade his mind. It hadn't succeeded yet, thankfully, but Shinji felt it getting closer. His lips began to tingle, but Shinji paid it no mind. His arms and legs had begun to tingle a while back too. Now they were numb.

Shinji tried his best to curl up into a small ball, trying to protect his mind, never minding that Sachiel had broken the Eva's legs and several rib bones. It was like his mind was being filled with another consciousness. His mind was drowning.


Shinji felt a sharp pain in his chest as his heart gave a heavy beat, forcing blood through his body.


Tortured screaming erupted in Shinji's mind, but it wasn't his own, and suddenly Sachiel's delving into his mind reversed as Sachiel was driven out of his mind, and suddenly all the mental pain was gone. The physical pain was still there, being transferred to him through the Eva, but the absence of the mental contamination made whatever pain he was feeling feel like bliss.

Suddenly Shinji felt his consciousness extend from his own body, following the remnants of Sachiel's intrusive being back to its own mind, and against his own will, Shinji felt himself being driven into the angel's consciousness.

The angel's mind was a storm of furry. Waves of chaotic thoughts flew back and forth through it's mind, almost nothing coherent. Shinji tried to leave the angel's mind, but to his horror found that he was only being drawn further in.

"No!" Sachiel's voice screeched. "Get out! Get out!"

Shinji felt all of the thought's smashing against him, like giant waves in a terrible storm. Shinji felt that if he let go of his diligence here, he wouldbe drowned by the angel's mind.

Suddenly, Shinji entered another part of the angel's mind. The stormy chaos wasn't gone, Shinji could feel it swirling around just outside of his perceptive range. It was as if he had just reached the eye of the hurricane inside the Angel's mind.

Here, in the eye, Shinji felt an indescribable sense of longing and loss, and something calling to him. He didn't know what, only that it was nearby, and that he had to reach it no matter what happened. Perhaps then all this chaos would finally end…

Shinji shook his mental self. No, no that wasn't right. These weren't his thought's they were the angel's. He needed to get back to his body before the angel's consciousness swallowed him up.

Shinji exited the eye of the angel's mind, and thrashed around in the chaotic sea of thought trying to find his way out.

Suddenly, he snapped back to his body, and found himself and the Eva slumped against the building, watching Sachiel thrash widely around, with no coherent sense to it's movement whatsoever.

Shinji just lay there, mentaly exhausted, and stared blankly at the angel. He recalled what he had seen inside its mind.

And then Shinji realized something for the first time as he watched the Eva's remaning power display hit zero.

My God, he thought, the angels are insane.

"Damn it!" Ritsuko said, slamming her fists down on the display in front of her. "Unit One just lost all power. He's completely defenseless!"

"What the hell is happening, Ritsuko?!" Misato yelled, turning away form the view screen showing and pointed at the angel.

"I have no idea," Ritsuko said. "The angel has broken off of its attack on Unit One and has no coherent patterns to its movement."

"Shinji!" Misato yelled into the radio. "Shinji can you hear me?"

"It's no use, Misato," Ritsuko said, clenching her fists. "All power to Unit One has been cut. You can't reach him."

"So we are just going to leave him out there to die?!"

"There is nothing we can do, Major!" Ritsuko yelled, using Misato's rank. Then, in a quieter voice, "Unit One was our last hope." She looked at the broken and slumped form of Unit One on the ground. "All we can do now is hope for a miracle."

Everything was surrounded in darkness, and Shinji knew that he didn't have long before he would perish here, drowned by the unfiltered LCL. He felt fear growing in him, reminiscent of the last time he had been trapped in an Eva without power, and he grabbed his knees and curled into a ball. With every beat of his heart, he felt his fear grow stronger, as if his heart was pumping it throughout his body.

He tried to push down the fear, but couldn't. What is happening to me? he wondered, beginning to panick. Why can't I control my fear? I couldn't control my anger against Father earlier, too. Something's wrong with me! Why can't I control my emotions? Am I losing my mind, like the Angel? What is happening to me!?

Shinji began to shake from the overwhelming sense of fear he felt, and which was still growing with every beat of his heart. He was afraid of everything. Afraid of the angel, afraid of Eva, afraid of the dark, afraid of the LCL, afraid of drowning, afraid of Rei, afraid of sight, afraid of sound, afraid of life; he was afraid of everything as irrational fear pumped through his body. His emotions had gone beyond being unstable, they were about to collapse completely.

Shh, a voice said, only this time it wasn't Sachiel. It was much more warm, and feminine. Shh, don't be afraid. I am here with you.

"Mother?" Shinji chocked out, still drowning in his fear.

Shh, the voice said again, and Shinji felt a presence all around him, cradling him. It's alright, my child… Shinji felt the top of his head being stroked, and his fear began to subside, lessening with each beat of his heart. You don't need to worry. I will take care of everything, again. Just sleep for now…

Shinji felt his eyelids begin to droop, and he began to fall to sleep. Just before he lost consciousness, he saw the view screen flicker to life, as the Eva inexplicably began to power up…

"How is he?" Misato asked as soon as Ritsuko exited the room where Shinji was now sleeping. She was still a little awed after watching Unit One reactive itself, regenerate its broken limbs, and then completely destroy the angel, ripping and tearing at it like some sort of rabid animal.

Ritsuko shut the door to Shinji's room and let out a breath. She, too, was shocked by today's events, and felt exasperated at the new medical mystery that was now presented before her. "He is fine," she said, turning to Misato. "He sustained no injuries from the fight with the angel. However…"

"What is it, Ritsuko?"

Ritsuko sighed. "It just doesn't make any sense," she said.


"You recall how he acted earlier, before the battle, when he confronted the commander?"

Misato nodded. "That's not something one can easily forget."

"Yes, well, I don't believe that Shinji's anger was entirely due to the presence of the commander."


"When we examined Shinji after we retrieved him," Ritsuko explained, "we found excess amounts of epinephrine and various other hormones in his blood stream."

Misato just stared blankly at the doctor.

Ritsuko sighed. "Misato, there are various hormones in the body that can provoke different reactions in a person, many of which also influence emotions."

"Oh," Misato said, nodding. "I get it. These hormones were making him angry."

"And a wide range of other possible emotions, yes," Ritsuko said. "His adrenal gland, where these hormones are produced, seems to be in over drive, pumping out random hormones as fast as it can. When I searched for what could be causing this, I found something else in his blood, something I can't identify, and the amount of it keeps increasing." Ritsuko put a hand to her forehead and rubbed her temple, trying to get rid of the headache she had gotten from thinking about all this. "The only thing I could find out about it was that it was originating at the exterior of his lips, and permeating through the tissue and into his blood stream."

"I see," Misato said, trying to grasp all of what Ritsuko was saying.

"At first I thought that he had gotten some sort of chemical on his lips, which was then entering his blood stream by permeating through the skin tissue, but when I tested his for any foreign substance, there was nothing there. I even tried to wash his lips off, in case I just hadn't been able to detect whatever it was, but that chemical is still entering his blood stream through the lips. It just doesn't make any sense!"

"It's on his lips?" Misato said, tapping her forefinger on her lips. "I guess kissing him is out of the question then…"

Ritsuko glared Misato. "I don't see how you could even start to think something like that. You've got no shame at all, you know?"

"Oh, come on, Ritsuko, I was only joking!" Misato said, defending herself.

"I'm sure."

"So does this mean that he's going to have permanent PMS or something?" Misato asked, quirking her head. Most of that science stuff didn't make sense to her, but she thought she had a good grasp of what Ritsuko was trying to say.

Ritsuko shook her head. "I've given him an injection that should lower the production rate of his adrenal gland, but that substance is still increasing. I've taken some blood samples, and I'll have to study it before I can find a solution. His emotions should be toned down now, though I'll have to give him regular dosages."

"Poor Shinji," Misato said. "I wonder what is doing this to him."

"That is what I am going to find out," Ritsuko growled to herself. She didn't like encountering something that she couldn't explain. She would figure out what this was. "Alright," she said, waving to Misato and strolling ahead. "I have to go make my report to the commander. Perhaps this news will lessen whatever punishment he had planned for Shinji for that outburst earlier." And I need him badly after a day like today, she mentally added to herself. "Shinji should be awake soon. Please inform him about his condition, and I've given my permission for him to be discharged as he wakes up."

"Alright," Misato said, sitting back down on the waiting bench outside Shinji's room. "See you, Rits."

Shinji stared back up at the ceiling, wondering about everything that had happened.

How had he been able to fight off the angel entering his mind, and then enter the angel's mind himself? He hadn't even done anything. It just… happened. On top of that, what he saw in the angel's mind worried him. He wasn't sure if this was true for all the angel's, but this one had surely been insane. There had been no coherent thought in it's mind aside from reaching something that was calling to it. Shinji was pretty sure that what was calling it was the presence of Lilith and Adam.

Lilith… Shinji though, feeling slightly sad. She had chosen him. She was going to influence the future depending on what he wished, despite what might happen to her. Now, she was locked down beneath Nerv, hung on that cross, and without any memory of him whatsoever.

But wait, the angel had remembered who he was! Perhaps then, Lilith might remember too. Shinji began to feel excited at the prospect that she could still help him, and he could save her from that cross!

Then he remembered where she was. There was no way for him to reach her. Even if he could get Misato to support him in this, she didn't even have clearance to get down there. He would have to wait for Kaji, or perhaps he could steal Ritsuko's access key. That would probably get him killed, though, and he couldn't save the future if he was dead. And besides, Lilith wasn't the only thing down there. There was also… that tank.

Shinji swallowed the fear that thought sparked in him, and opted not to think of that anymore. He would deal with that when the time came. At the moment, he had bigger problems to worry about. Despite wanting to help Lilith, he knew that he himself didn't have the skills to get to her, and still be alive enough to help her. His father certainly wouldn't have any mercy on him, especially now after his outburst earlier. He would have to wait for Kaji and Asuka to arrive, then he could convince Kaji to get him down there. But before that happened, it meant that Shinji needed to fend off two angel's that would attack, one of which is the one that had almost killed Rei.

Shinji grimaced with worry. Now that he knew that the Angel's also had memory of what happened the previous time he had gone through this, he was going to have to think of new ways to defeat them. This was turning out to be a lot harder than he thought. He would need to sit down and make out plans of attacks based on what he remembered of fighting them the last time. Sachiel hadn't seemed to remember him right away, and he hoped that it would be the same with the other angel's as well, so they didn't have time to change their style of fighting.

"Hey, Shinji," a voice said. "How are you doing?"

Shinji took his eyes away from the ceiling, and looked to Misato, who was standing in the doorway to his room. "Oh, hello, Misato," he said.

"It seems you're doing well," she said as she stepped out of the doorway and walked over to his bed.

"Yeah," Shinji said. "I feel fine. Was the angel destroyed?"

"Yeah, Unit One went berzerk and defeated the angel. We were pretty lucky."

"I see." I hope no one got hurt.

"Well then, if you're ready, we can go and get your living arrangements situated."

Shinji nodded. "Alright," he said as he began to get out of the bed. Then he stopped as he noticed a problem and began to look around the room. "Um, Miss Misato?" he asked.

"Yes, Shinji?"

"Where are my clothes?"

Once Misato had stopped laughing, she went to procure his clothes. On her return, Shinji had her leave the room and promptly got dressed, going out into the hall once he was done. "Alright," he said. "I'm ready."

"Good," Misato said, grinning.

They began walking down the hallways of the hospital ward inside NERV towards the elevator.

"Oh, that's right!" Misato said suddenly. "I forgot."

"What is it, Misato?" Shinji asked.

Misato stopped and turned to Shinji. "Ritsuko told me to tell you that you are going to have to be taking regular dosages of some medicine from now on."

Shinji looked confused. This is new… he thought to himself. "Why?"

"Well, apparently there is something in your blood that's making your emotions get all whacked out. Like when you were angry at your father earlier. Ritsuko doesn't know what this it is, but this medication should tone down your emotions a bit."

Shinji stared at Misato blankly, who smiled sheepishly. "Yeah," she said. "I don't really get it either."

Shinji just continued to stare. This was really odd, he thought to himself, but then, being sent back almost a year back in time in order to change the future wasn't exactly the norm either. Perhaps it was a side effect of being sent back in time.

"Alright," Shinji nodded, starting to walk again.

The sound of rolling wheels caught his ears, and Shinji looked up. There was a medical bed being rolled down the hall towards them. He and Misato walked close to the wall, anticipating that they'd need to give the bed room when it reached them. Shinji looked at the bed. Something was familiar about it. He looked at it, watching it get closer.

Suddenly he noticed that there was a head of light blue hair resting on the pillow, obscured by various bandages, and pale laying on the bed with IV needles sticking out of them. Thee was only one person it could be.

"Ayanami," Shinji said quietly as he stopped walking and watched the bed roll closer.

"What was that, Shinji?" Misato asked.

Shinji didn't answer. He just stared at Rei as the orderlies gently rolled the bed closer. As the bed passed him, Shinji turned in order to keep her in sight. How he wanted to rush up to the side of the bed and ask her if she was alright. He wanted to hold her hand, to be with her, but he knew he couldn't do that. Even people took it as concern for the girl that was almost hurt because of him, he was afraid of how Rei would react. Back then, or now, he supposed, she wasn't as open to him. He wasn't sure how she would react to that. And also… he didn't think that his father would be too pleased with him, especially after his out burst earlier.

As he looked at her, he found that her eyes were locked on him. He smiled slightly to her, looking back, but her expression didn't change. As she rolled away, her eyes followed him until she would have needed to sit up to see him. When she turned a corner and out of sight, Shinji thought that she had turned her head to see him, but he was sure it was just his imagination.

"Poor Rei," Misato said, looking down the hall to where the orderlies and Rei had turned a corner. "She's always by herself. I don't think that she ever gets any visitors.

"Could we--" Shinji swallowed. "Could we go visit her?"

Misato shook her head. "They were rolling her away towards the intensive care facilities. No visitors are allowed in there. Well, except the commander, of course."

"I see," Shinji said, biting his lip.

Misato looked down at Shinji. "Don't worry though," she said, brightening up. "Nerv has the best doctors in the whole world. I'm sure she'll be fine.

"Yeah," Shinji said, quietly.

"Anyway," Misato said, "let's get going." She started walking down the hallway. Shinji stared after where Rei had been a moment longer, and then turned to follow her.

They stopped at the elevator, and Misato pressed the button. Then they stood there waiting for it to open.

I remember something about this, Shinji thought slowly, staring at the elvator. Something is going to happen when the door opens, but what--

There was ding from the elevator, signaling that it had arrived, and the doors opened. Shinji was about to step in, when he looked up into the face of his father.

Misato stayed silent as she watched the father and son stare at each other. She remembered Shinji's display of anger last time he was with his father, so she didn't make any move to enter the elevator. Not that she would have entered the elevator with the commander anyway…

Shinji and his father continued to stare at each other until the door closed. Misato let out a breath she hadn't known she was holding. Well, that was awkward. I'm glad Shinji didn't have another outburst. That medicine must be working. Thanks Ritsuko!

"He'll be living alone?" Misato asked the Section 2 agent who had just provided them with Shinji's new address.

The agent nodded. "That's right," he said, "his room will be on the 6th Block beyond this one. Is that all right?"

Shinji, for his part, was desperately trying to recall exactly how this conversation went last time. He hoped he wouldn't screw this up and end up not living with Misato this time. "Yes, Sir."

Misato turned and looked down at Shinji. "Shinji, are you sure about that?"

Shinji shrugged and smiled at her. "Living alone is fine with me. I'm alone anyway…" he trailed off, realize how true those words were this time. He was the only one that knew what had happened in the future. Nobody knew who he was. Everything that they had done together hadn't happened. He wasn't friends with Touji or Kensuke, Asuka didn't know who he was, and Rei merely saw him as someone she had to put up with at work.

He felt his eyes tearing up, and tried to blink them away. He smiled at Misato. "I'll be fine."

Misato, looking down at Shinji and seeing a young boy with eyes brimming with tears. A young boy who's mother had died when he was young and whose father had neglected him ever since. As she looked down at him, she suddenly felt a sudden urge to hug him and assure him that everything would be alright. She whipped around and looked at the agent. "He's going to live with me!" she almost shouted, throwing her arm out and pointing directly at the mans face. Then, not pausing to see his shocked reaction, grabbed Shinji by the arm and marched him towards the doors.

Shinji just followed her as she pulled him along in slight shock. I don't think that's exactly how it went last time…

She finally let go of him when they reached one of the employee phone booths stationed around Nerv. She walked up to the phone booth and then stopped. She turned around and looked at Shinji. "Sorry about that," she said, slightly embarrassed. "I guess I got a bit carried away back there. You don't mind, do you?"

"Not at all," Shinji said, smiling.

"Alright then!" Misato said, spinning around to the phone. "Then it's been approved! Shinji will be living with me." She picked up the green phone and dialed a number, and then waited for Ritsuko to pick up the phone.


"Ritsuko, it's me. Listen, Shinji is going to be living with me."

There was a short silence. "What?" Ritsuko asked.

"You heard me. I said I'll be taking Shinji home to live at my place, okay? It's already been approved."

She heard Ritsuko sigh on the other end of the line. "I suppose it's just as well," Ritsuko said. "You'll need to make sure he takes his medicine every day, alright?"

"Yup, yup, I got it Ritsuko. And don't worry, I'll refrain from making any passes at him."

Next, Ritsuko shouted so loudly through the phone that even Shinji could hear from three meters away. "Of course your not! How could you even think of such things?! You've got no shame at all! I can't believe--"

"Some people don't have any sense of humor," Misato said as she held the phone away from her ear. When Ritsuko's tirade lessened in volume somewhat, Misato returned the phone to her ear. "I was just calling to let you know," she told Ritsuko. "I'll be bringing him home now, so could you get all of his belongings delivered there? If you need either of us… well, we might be too 'busy' to come to the phone."

Ritsuko didn't say anything for a second, and then her tirade started up again.

Through her laughter, Misato said, "Alright, Ritsu, bye," and hung up the phone.

She turned to Shinji. "Well, ready to get going?"

Shinji nodded. "Alright," he said.

"Good, then let's get out of here!"

Shinji glanced at the bags in the back and smiled to himself. He felt like things were finally getting back to normal. Inwardly, he laughed at the thought. There was no way he would have thought that last time, suddenly finding out that his father had created giant robots and that he had to pilot them in order to find off giant monsters that were attacking the city. His life sounded too much like an anime. Well, if the anime ending had been designed to make people pull out all their hair.

He shivered slightly as the memories from the end came to him, and quickly quashed them. There were things that he didn't want to think about. Right now, going back home with Misato made him feel happy.

"I hope you don't mind if we make a little stop on the way," Misato said, jarring him out of his thoughts.

"Not at all," Shinji said.

"Good," Misato said. "It's a really cool place!"

When they reached the edge that looked out over the city, Misato pulled over to the side of the road and stopped the car. "Come on" she said to Shinji as she got out of the car.

Shinji followed her over to the guard rail and looked out over the city.

"It's so desolate," he said, even knowing what was about to happen. Without the tall skyscrapers, it was truly what Shinji felt. "The city seems so lonely."

Misato smiled to herself and looked at her watch. "Here we go."

The sound of an alarm slowly grew off in the distance, and slowly gleaming metal buildings began to rise from the ground, slowly growing taller with each second. The setting sun glinted off the buildings, causing Shinji to squint at times, but he didn't care. The scene was so serene, so peaceful, and it was something that he was sure he would never see again.

"It's awesome!" Shinji said, smiling at the familiar sight. "It's so beautiful."

Misato smiled and looked out to the city as well. "This city is a fortress, designed to stand against the Angels. This is Tokyo-3. This is our city and it's the city that you saved."

Shinji turned away from the city and looked at Misato. The red light of the sunset lit up her face and glinted off her purple hair. She looked out at the city with a small smile on her face, matching the serenity almost perfectly.

As Shinji looked at her, he felt a lump in the back of his throat as his eyes began to tear up and his breathing became slightly erratic. She was still alive, and she was standing in front of him. Misato, who was one of the most important people to him in the world. She was like his big sister, lacking certain motherly qualities but still doing her best to take care of him, always worrying if she was doing a good job. He tried to blink the tears out of his eyes, but it didn't help.

Misato looked over to Shinji and saw him looking at her with watery eyes. "Shinji, what's the--" she cut off as she suddenly found Shinji's arms wrapped around her as he hugged her. She didn't move because of shock at first, and then she heard him crying.

"Misato," he said through light sobs, "You're alright."

Misato wasn't exactly sure what to make of this, or exactly what to do. This was an entirely new situation that she had been put in. Why was he acting like this? Perhaps he was just reacting to the battle with the angel, and Ritsuko's treatment just hadn't completely kicked in yet. Slowly, she wrapped her arms around Shinji and returned that hug. "Shh, Shinji," she said, slowly stroking his hair with one of her hands. "It's alright. Everyone's alright. You defeated the angel." This feels strange, Misato thought as she comforted Shinji. Why does this feel familiar?

After a while, Shinji pulled out of the hug with Misato and wiped away his tears. "I'm sorry, Misato," he sniffed, not looking at her.

"Hey, it's alright," Misato said, putting her hand on his shoulder. "It happens to all of us sometimes." She smiled at Shinji. "Besides," she said. "I know you just wanted to press yourself up against my body."

Shinji looked at Misato, and then blinked. "I…" he trailed off, unable to think of an appropriate--well--any response at all. So, in lieu of a response, he settled for making strange babbling noises.

"Don't worry, I won't hold it against you," she said, laughing, as she walked back towards the car. "Come on, let's get home."

Shinji shut his mouth and walked to the car. Yup, back to normal.

"Your things ought to have been delivered already, Shinji," Misato said when they reached the door of her apartment, and sure enough there were a stack of cardboard boxes just outside her apartment. She juggled the bag she held in one arm as she searched for her keys and began to unlock the door. "I just moved here myself you know."

The door swung open and Misato stepped in. Shinji followed her, but stopped at the doorway.

Misato noticed he wasn't following her in, and turned around. "Hey, come in," she said when she saw him standing at the doorway.

"Err... I don't... want to intrude?" he said awkwardly. That wasn't really the reason. He'd lived in the apartment long enough to feel that it was his home, even though he was visiting it for the first time, again. The reason he had stopped wasn't because he was afraid of intruding, but there was something that he just needed to hear Misato say to him.

"Shinji," Misato said, gently. "This is your home now."

Shinji smiled at her words, and stepped in. "I'm…" He swallowed. "I'm home." Saying it this time was so much different. It felt forever since he'd been here, his home. Perhaps it had been forever. He didn't know how long he had been in the sea of LCL with Lilith. Now, stepping back into this apartment that had become more of a home to him than anywhere else in his life, Shinji felt a sense of relief. This was his home, a place where he lived. It was good to be back.

Misato smiled at him. "Welcome home!"

She showed him in and they shut the door. "Um... As you can see the place is just a little bit messy…" she said sheepishly as Shinji stepped foot into the room, "but go ahead and make yourself comfortable!"

Shinji looked in abject horror at the room. He remembered that her apartment had been quite atrocious when he had first come here, but the memory just couldn't prepare him for actual disaster. Beer cans, whisky bottles, and potato chips, as well as potato chip bags, were littered all about the room. Clothes were flung here and there, and papers seemed to have been strewn around at random. And then there was something in the corner that Shinji swore just moved.

Misato and Shinji made their way further into the apartment, moving several boxes out of the way, containing winter clothes and magazines and other stuff.

"This is a little messy…" Shinji said, horrified. He remembered that when he had cleaned this up last time he had prayed never to do something like that again. Not again… Shinji sighed.

"Ah, sorry," Misato said, removing her jacket and entering her room. Could you put the food in the fridge, please?"

"Yes, ma'am," Shinji said.

Shinji went to the refrigerator, opened it, rummaged through a few drawers, and saw exactly what he expected. "Ice." He opened another drawer. "Snacks." He opened another one. "And her 50 gallons of beer. Really, what would have happened to her if I hadn't showed up?" He sighed, moved several things around, and put the food into the refrigerator as best he could.

As he closed the fridge and stood up, another fridge caught his eye. He looked at it, and smiled. I wonder how Pen-Pen is doing. He walked over to the fridge and knelt down beside it. He rapped on the side of if for a second, and then waited. Several seconds later, the fridge opened up and the warm-water penguin waddled out.

"Hey, Pen-Pen," Shinji said, reaching down and petting the penguin. "How've you been doing?"

Pen-Pen just stared up at Shinji for a moment, and then rubbed back up against his hand, nuzzling against him. Shinji smiled as he continued to pet the penguin.

"Oh, I see you've already met," Misato said as she came out of her room. "Shinji, this is Pen-Pen, he's one of those new warm water penguins. He's your other room mate."

"I see," Shinji said. He smiled at Pen-Pen. "Nice to meet you!"

Pen-Pen cocked his head at Shinji in confusion. Then he shrugged and waddled over to his food bowel, and pushed it towards Shinji.

"I think he really likes you," Misato said.

"I think he just wants some food."

"Well, that's true too, but you're the only person he's warmed up too this fast. He's usually pretty distant with people he's just met."

"I see," Shinji said as he went to where Misato kept the penguin food. That's right, he thought as he prepared the food, last time, Pen-Pen was distant to me at first. It was several weeks before he warmed up to me. He glanced at Pen-Pen, who was staring back at him. Misato did say that he was a genetically altered penguin. I wonder… does he remember everything that happened too? Shinji brought Pen-Pen's bowl back over too him, and placed it down so the penguin could start eating.

"He's good company, but doesn't help much around the house," Misato said as she watched him eat. Suddenly, something occurred to her. "Hey, Shinji," she said.


"How did you know where the penguin food was?"

Shinji realized that he had made a mistake in going to get Pen-Pen's food without asking Misato where it was. To here, this was the first time he'd ever been in her apartment, so he shouldn't know where everything is. He had to think quick to come up with an answer. "I found it when I was looking through the cupboards after I put the food away."

"Oh," Misato said. Then she shrugged. "Well, I'm hungry, let's get your things in the apartment. Then we can eat." They quickly brought Shinji's things inside and put them down in the living room, before returning to the kitcion.

"Alright, time to get cooking!" Misato said. She opened the fridge and pulled out several packages of instant ramen, takoyaki, and several other things. With expert speed, she prepared them and shoved them all into the microwave at once, set the timer, and started it.

"Um," Shinji said slowly, "are you sure it's okay to put all that in the microwave at once?"

"Of course I'm sure," she said, sitting down at the table to wait. "I do it all the time."

"I see," Shinji said, glancing at Pen-Pen again. Does Pen-Pen really remember?

"So, Shinji," Misato said. "You were really amazing out there today."

"Not really," Shinji said. "I passed out and almost lost to the angel, and people might have gotten hurt when Unit One went berserk."

"Don't worry about that!" Misato said. "You really were amazing. I've never seen anyone sync like that with an Eva. I mean, it took Rei many months to even begin to sync with hers. You did it on your first try, and at 91 no less! That's amazing!"

"It's not really anything," Shinji said, feeling embarrassed and ashamed because he was deceiving Misato. He really had trained for months upon months in order to get this high a sync ratio, but he couldn't tell her that. She was giving him praise that he didn't really deserve.

"Don't downgrade your achievements, Shinji! You really were amazing."

A bell came off from the direction of the microwave, signaling that the food was finished.

"Ah, food's ready!" Misato said, jumping up from the chair and to the microwave. Opening up the door, she pulled out the now steaming plethora of instant foods and set them all down on the table. Sitting back down at the table, she put her hands together in front of herself and said, "Let's eat!"

Shinji took his seat opposite Misato at the small table, and said, "Yeah, let's eat."

Misato popped open a beer, and Shinji braced himself, getting prepared for Misato's ritual yell. "YEEEEAAAH! Good stuff! You know life just doesn't get any better than this!"

Yeah it does, Shinji thought, conscious of the contents of instant food.

He looked down at the food and felt a bit of apprehension. He had never liked Misato's instant food much, even after he had gotten used to it. That was why he always cooked, so that he and Asuka wouldn't be plagued with this poison Misato liked. He also did it so Misato herself would at least be eating something that would counter whatever damage the instant stuff was doing.

As he looked down at the food, he realized that at the moment he didn't particularly care if it was instant, though he was still to conscious of it to be completely comfortable with eating the stuff. He tried to remember when he'd last eaten. It was so long ago, the morning of that day, and he hadn't even eaten that much. He felt hunger that he had somehow been suppressing rise up, and couldn't help himself. He began to shove as much food down his stomach as he could.

Misato stared wide eyed at him as he wolfed down the food. "Wow." She blinked. "You are really hungry."

Shinji nodded.

"I guess you like instant."

Shinji vigorously shook his head even while he was still eating.


Shinji nodded.

"Well, at least you aren't too finicky," she said, leaning back and pouring the beer down her throat. "Isn't this nice?" she said after she swallowed. "Having two for dinner sure beats eating alone."

Shinji nodded and then swallowed. He wasn't exactly sure what it was he had just eaten, but it was a little late to care about that now. "I can cook, Misato," he said. "It's not healthy to eat just instant like this all the time."

"What are you talking about?" Misato said. "I've eaten like this ever since I started going to college!"

Shinji grimaced. That's not reassuring. "Well, fresh food also tastes better."

"Hm," Misato said to herself, finishing up her cup of instant noodles. "Well, if you cook the food, there's no problem." She slammed down the cup. "But now, let's divide up the chores!" Out of nowhere, she pulled out a piece of paper and a pencil, and quickly drew a chart laying out a week and the different chores that would be done each day. At the top, she wrote out "Our Schedule" and then put it down on the table. "Alright," she said. "There is only one fair way to do this." She threw out her hand. "Rock-paper-scissors!"

"Alright, here we go," Misato said. "Monday breakfast first. Rock, paper, scissors. One, two, three, go!"

Shinji's eyes widened in surprise when he saw that his paper beat Misato's rock. He distinctly remembered having breakfast duty on Mondays. Oh well, this was random. It wasn't like he was going to pick the same choices as last time.

Misato's eyes narrowed at his hand. "Alright then," she said. "Next one. Monday dinner. One, two, three, go!"

Shinji's scissors beat Misato's paper.

"Monday garbage. One, two, three, go!"

Shinji's paper beat Misato's rock.

"Monday bath cleaning! One, two, three, go!"

Shinji's rock beat Misato's scissors.

"Tuesday breakfast! One, two, three, go!"

Shinji's scissors beat Misato's paper.

"Gah!" Misato said. "What's wrong with me!? I'm usually great at rock-paper-scissors…"

This is weird, Shinji thought. I'm horrible at rock-paper-scissors, and I'm winning. I lost horribly last time, and it's not like my memory is good enough to remember exactly what Misato put down last time around.

"Tuesday dinner! One, two, three, go!"

Shinji's rock beat Misato's scissors.

Maybe if I try losing. Next time, I'm going to do just rock. Then the time after that, I'll do scissors. Then I'll do two rocks.

"Tuesday garbage! One, two, three, go!"

Shinji's rock beat Misato's scissors.

"Tuesday bath cleaning! One, two, three, go!"

Shinji's scissors beat Misato's paper.

Then his rock beat Misato's scissors.

And then he beat her the next time.

Then the next.

And the next.

This is really weird. The only way I could be doing this was if I knew what she was going to put down, but I can't remember that. Shinji thought for a moment. Though, even though I can't remember what she did last time, I still went through it. Maybe my unconscious mind remembers and is influencing my actions.

When he won every last one of the games, Shinji was sure that's what happened.

Misato had her head down on the table. "Why?" she was asking herself, sounding as if she was about to burst into tears. "I'm usually so good at this." She glanced at the chart that her name covering the entirety of it. Then she quickly put her head back down on the table. "Wah…" She looked up. "Alright, forget that chart. I'm the adult, so you need to do what I say!" she yelled point at Shinji.

Shinji felt like laughing. He hadn't meant to, but he had finally beaten Misato at rock-paper-scissors, even though he had been cheating, though not on purpose. "It's alright, Misato," he said, taking the and the pencil, and rewriting it out. "How's this?" he asked.

Misato looked at it for a moment, and then leaped over the table, shoving empty paper dishware onto the floor and grabbed Shinji in a big hug, pressing his face into her breasts.. "Shinji," she said. "You are the best thing that's happened to me since… well… um… ever."

Shinji's face had flushed red, but he smiled. He had rewritten the chart to how he it had been last time, giving Misato minimal amount of work. If he left her any more of the chores, he knew they wouldn't get done, and he'd had enough of that poison Misato called cooking last time around. He didn't think he'd survive to save the world if he had it twice every day. Besides, his current position in relation to Misato was rather nice…

She sure seems a lot more eager to press up against me this time… he thought. I guess it's because I'm not as meek as I was the first time.

Misato let go of Shinji and fell back into her seat. "Well, now that that's settled, it's ti--Shinji, why is your face red?"

"Ah, um, nothing." Shinji said.

"Well, anyway, this is your home, so feel free to take advantage of everything here," she said, throwing her arms out and gesturing around.

Shinji's left eye started to twitch, but he turned slightly to hide it. He was been far too aware that what Misato said this time was different from last time in that last time, she had finished that specific sentence with "except me, of course!" This worried him. She had been taunting him and flaunting more often than he remembered. Just how much more does she like how I act now than she did last time? She wouldn't take it that far… Shinji gulped as he realized that he wasn't too sure of his last thought. "Yes, ma'am," he said.

Misato grinned. "I know what you're thinking. You were lucky enough with rock-paper-scissors, you might just get lucky enough with--"

Shinji jumped up from his chair, face beet read again. "I, ah, um, think I should take a bath!" Yeah, a bath. That was a good idea. He needed to relax right now.

"That's a good idea!" Misato said, nodding to herself. "Yeah, wash away your troubles! Bathing cleans the mind and soul! The bath's over there. There are towels in there already for when you want to dry off."

Shinji nodded to Misato, face still red. "Thank you," he said. The he bolted for the bathroom.

Shinji sank down into the warm water and sat there for a while, soaking in it. A bath was also something he hadn't had in a long time, and it felt good. He felt like the stress of everything that had happened began to seep out of him.

Bathing cleans the mind and soul!

Misato's voice echoed in his mind for a moment, and he let out a little laugh. It's true, he thought. I never really realized it till now. Even if bad memories find me in the bath, I always feel better when I finally get out.

He closed his eyes and lay there, with only his head un-submerged by the bath water.

I hope Rei's alright, he thought to himself as the image of her rolling past him in the hospital floated into his mind. Lilith too.

He was getting drowsy. The bath water was so warm, and he'd had a really exhausting day. It was so comfortable here…

Misato was sipping on another beer out in the kitchen, still sitting at the table. She had a magazine out before her and was flipping through it, but she couldn't concentrate on it. Her eyes kept drifting up towards the doorway to the bathroom before she jerked them back down. This is nuts, she thought to herself as she took another sip of beer. I dunno why, but this feels normal. I don't even feel that awkward about living with a young boy. She leaned her head back over the chair and stared at the ceiling. This is so weird. I feel funny when I see him, but I don't know why.


Misato sat up and looked at Pen-Pen, who was standing beside her chair.

"Wark," he said, flapping his wings a little bit while doing a little dance. "Wark."

She smiled and reached down to ruffle the feathers on his head. "Yeah, I know you like him too," she said. "I just wish I knew why I feel so funny around him. He gives me this strange sense of déjà vu, you know? But not exactly. It feels… different, yet the same. Gah, I don't know." She took her hand off of Pen-Pen's head and took another sip of bear.

"He's such a good kid, too," she continued to tell Pen-Pen, who stood there listening to her, "even if he does have emotion issues with his father. But the commander acted like such a bastard back there, using Rei like that, so I can't blame Shinji for being angry. He took almost all the chores for himself, even when he won every game of rock-paper-scissors. I don't even think there are any adults that would do that, let alone boys his age. He acted like he was glad to do it too." She put down her beer and sighed. "This is so confusing. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to have him live here."

"Wark," Pen-Pen said, staring straight up at Misato.

"Yeah, you're right," Misato said, almost as if she could understand what the penguin was saying. "If he left, then I'd have all those chores to do. Besides, I don't know why, but when I think about him note being here… I feel lonely." She looked down at Pen-Pen. "Now that doesn't make sense. He only just got here, and you and me have been together for a long time, and we've never needed anyone else till now."


Misato laughed. "I don't even know what you are saying, but thanks." She ruffled the penguins feathers once more and then let him leave, her eyes on the doorway to the bathroom once again.

Misato was lying still on the ground in the depths of Nerv, blood pooling beneath her body. Asuka was lying next to her, her body torn to shreds, her eyeballs ripped out, as if she'd been eaten. What remained of Rei's body was lying next to Asuka, in a puddle of LCL, as it slowly dissolved, empty red eyes staring straight upwards.

Shinji stared at what he was seeing and felt his heart pound. No, no, no, no, no! This hasn't happened yet! he thought frantically, beginning to hyper ventilate. He clutched his head with his hands as he stood above the three dead bodies in front of him. No, no! Stop it! Make it go away!

Suddenly, darkness seemed to creep in from all around him, enveloping the bodies on the floor and making them vanish, taking them away. Slowly, Shinji's breathing calmed, though his heart was still beating hard. He looked around in the darkness, and saw something far off in the distance. It was a glowing white speck, slowly growing in size, though he could not tell what it was yet.

Why? a confused, yet familiar, voice echoed in his mind. He though he knew whose it was, but just as he was about to remember who it belonged to, Shinji felt a sharp pain in his chest as he realized he couldn't draw breath.

Shinji sat straight up in the tube, getting his head out from beneath the surface, and coughed up the water he had inhaled when he had slipped the beneath the water. After several moments of frantic coughing, he drew a deep breath. It was just a dream, he thought to himself as he slowed his breath. It's dangerous to fall asleep while in the bath. I'd better not do that again.

He stood up out of the bath, feeling that he'd soaked quite enough, and went over to the wash area. He lathered up a sponge with soap and began to wash himself.

Suddenly, he heard a nock coming from behind the doorway behind him.

"Shinji?" Misato said.


"I'm coming in,"

"Alrigh--what?!" Shinji yelled jumping up and dropping the sponge. Oh god, this isn't' really happening. She wouldn't go that far, would she?

"Here I come," she said, and he heard the door slide open.

"Wait!" he yelled desperately, leaping for a towel and wrapping it around his waste. Then he spun around to see Misato smiling to herself, wrapped in a towel that barely reached down to mid-thigh.

"Too slow, Shinji," she said, grinning.

Shinji's face turned red. "M-M-Misato, what are you doing in here?" he stuttered.

"Why, Shinji," she said softly, slowly walking towards him. "Isn't it obvious?"

"I-I, w-w-well, I mean--it's just--you can't, I'm only--and you're--"

"I'm here to wash your back!" she said, smiling as she reached down and grabbed the sponge that Shinji had dropped.

Shinji nearly felt like fainting, but was able to keep conscious. He let out a big breath, and calmed down a bit. Just a little though.

"Alright, Shinji," Misato said, pointing to the small wooden stool by the bath. "Sit."

Shinji just nodded his head, which was still flushed, and shyly began to sit down on the stool with his back to Misato.

"You don't need that!" Misato said, grabbing the towel he had wrapped around his waste and ripping it away.

"M-Misato!" Shinji gasped, hurridly sitting down on the stool and doing his best to cover himself.

Misato laughed. "Relax, Shinji," Misato said, kneeling behind him as she began to gently scrub his back. "I've seen plenty before you, you know. There's no need to be ashamed."

"I'm not ashamed!" Shinji said, his face redder and hotter than he'd ever thought it could be. "It's just, you know, private!"

"Don't be so conservative," she said, continuing to wash his back. "People go to public baths nude all the time."

"Yeah," Shinji said, still not looking, "but the girls and the boys are always separated!"

"A mere technicality," Misato said, lathering up the sponge with some more soap. "We're roommates, and roommates wash each other's backs. Besides, this is my way of thanking you for taking most of the chores upon yourself."


"No buts!" Misato cut him off. "Now, be quite and just enjoy your back wash."

Shinji figured that he wasn't going to get anywhere if he kept arguing, so he just stayed silent as Misato scrubbed his back.

After a short while of this, when only the sounds of the sponge on Shinji's back filled the bathroom, Misato began to speak softly.

"You're really strange, Shinji," she said.

"Huh?" Shinji asked. "I'm not strange."

"Hm," Misato smiled to herself. "It's not the kind of thing you would notice. It's just… I don't know. I feel as if I've met you somewhere before. You just barely arrived here, but it feels as if you've been living here for much longer. And every time I see you, I feel something that I can't identify. It makes me feel so confused."

Shinji smiled slowly as he heard this, feeling the sponge go up and down on his back. It couldn't only be one thing, he thought to himself. Misato was feeling things from the what had happened before Lilith has sent him back in time. She was remembering stuff from that other timeline, just not consciously. He was happy that at least some remnant of everything they had experienced still remained, that it wasn't all gone.

"At my previous school," Shinji began, "one of my teachers always talked about reincarnation. Perhaps, sometime in a previous life, we both lived together, and what you feel is simply memories from that time."

"Reincarnation…" he heard her say to herself. She stopped scrubbing, reached over, and dumped a bucket of water over Shinji, washing the soap suds away. "There," she said. "All done." Then, though Shinji couldn't see it, she grinned to herself. Slowly, she wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered close to his ear, "So, do you think we were lovers in a past life?"

"Misato!?" Shinji said, almost falling off the stool and exposing himself.

Misato let go of him and laughed. "I'm just kidding, Shinji." She grabbed him a towel and threw it to him. "Here you go," she said. "Don't worry, I'm leaving now. When you get out I'll show you to your room." She laughed quietly to herself as she left.

Shinji just on the stool for a while. Misato's memories from the past timeline must be influencing how she acts now. They are confusing her, and making her act this way towards me. She's flaunting herself in front of me a whole lot more than she used to. He sighed. This is going to be more difficult that I thought.

There you have it. The second chapter! I'm trying to have an episode per chapter at the moment, but that my change in the future!

I tried to address some of the issues that people had with my previous chapter in this one, such as Shinji being out of character. I had always planned for this to happen, the way it has, but I was a little worried that people would think that Shinji was just OC because that's how I was writing it... I hope this cleared that bit up.

Also, if you'd like, you can check out my ReiShinji Fanfiction Archive site and forum at http://area402. if you want. The forum has been pretty inactive recently... well, for a while, actualy... but I'm trying to get people active again, so please join!