Disclaimer: I do not own Neon Genesis Evangelion, or Bleach. All rights belong to their creators. Distribution rights for the anime or manga belong to publishers and distributors, so please don't sue.

Author Note 1: This is my Second attempt at a NGE story so please give me Lot's of feedback so I can improve.

Author note 2: I will be posting the prologue/chapter one without a beta's assistance so if anyone wants the job please tell me in the review.

Author note 3: This story just sort of came to me and I have no idea where it will lead but I enjoy it when my readers tell me where they think it is going so I can make them happy. This will be very AU at points and please let me know about pairing ideas if any.


Summary: He had always been special that's what his mother had told him even right before she went away but to be special prices must be paid and scars not often physical will form forever haunting the deepest pits of the heart. He was seen as an ultimate piece in a long drawn out game of chess by many sides but the stakes weighed far beyond victory and defeat; instead, it meant control of the ultimate power.

Now on with the Show


Phantoms

Chapter One: Seeing Beyond

"Humans live and humans die that is the ultimate truth that governs the cycle of existence, immutable and unchangeable in the end it cannot be denied yet all beings find some way to deny it finding purpose in the act of not fading away. The single constant in this grand equation supposedly cannot be lost and once ones life has ended it will still exist, though in what capacity is argued quite extensively in the history of Humankind but few if any deny its existence, this entity is known as the Soul."

"When the spark of life fades away the spirit is freed from the vessel of flesh passing through the gate to the Soul Society, specifically a place known as Rukongai, which are a group of massive cities where souls live once they pass on but life is basically the same the dreams of a perfect paradise are a myth for the spirit world. However a spirit can choose to remain or in some cases be bound to this world through regrets, attachments, or other feelings in such cases a Shinigami must intervene to guide the soul through the gate."

"The Shinigami exist as part of the Soul Society living alongside the nobility of spirit world in a place known as the Seireitei, which is a massive Japanese styled castle surrounded by thick stone walls making it appear almost like a fortress. Shinigami are not truly gods, no they are simply human spirits that have gained spiritual powers and have been trained in the Seireitei at the Shinigami Academy in order to perform the duties of guidance and Soul Purification, which includes the arts of battle in all its forms."

"Regret, despair, and attachment along with simply staying on this plane of existence for too long can cause the Soul to lose its heart breaking the chain of fate linked to the soul and leaving a gaping hole where the heart once resided, thus a monster devoid of conscience is born, A Hollow. The soul that has lost its heart is left with nothing but raw instincts and so the soul changes taking on a devilish appearance no longer bound to a humanoid form and a white skull-shaped mask forms serving as the only separation of those bared instincts from the outside world."

"A Hollow feasts on souls devouring them for sustenance and power often drawn to those living souls that posses an abundance of Spiritual energy and emit a haunting cry that is said to freeze the blood. It is the duty of the Shinigami to defeat these evil spirits and through the use of their Zanpakuto purify them of the taint allowing them to pass on to the peace of the Soul Society. Of course normal humans can't sense any of this and remain blissfully unaware of the world at large but a select few gifted with Spiritual power can sense the presence of spirits whatever their alignment may be and thus will see them."

"Bwahahahahaha!" Drawn from his thoughts by the obnoxious noise he turned to regard its instigator.

Shinji Ikari blinked as his cobalt blue eyes looked away from the passing surroundings, to be met with the form of his guardian and commanding officer Misato Katsuragi with her arms crossed in front of her ample chest fingers spread wide making that annoying laughing sound. The purple haired Major seemed to be enjoying herself as she turned around in her seat on the bus facing him leading the rest of the occupants in the odd display causing the intolerable noise to come from all sides. Whether this was some warped gesture of solidarity for fans of wherever that bizarre ritual came from, or the males of the class simply trying to keep Misato's body in sight, which was clothed in a short dark blue dress and her Nerv jacket with her posturing causing her chest to put on a display all it's own, Shinji honestly didn't know.

"Come on Shinji join in!" Misato encouraged him.

"Umm, No thank you Misato" he replied timidly.

"Get in the spirit Shin-man we're actually going to be at a live taping of one of the greatest shows in Japan" the tall boy, Toji Suzahara sitting next to him spoke up.

"No I'm fine really but please continue" Shinji denied adamantly.

"This is so cool next to getting into Nerv this is quite possibly the greatest experience I could ask for in my life" A voice called out behind the pair leaning over the seat with his ever-present video camera and his spectacles, Kensuke Aida.

"It's just a TV show," the young Ikari muttered offhandedly.

"Baka, "Spirit Hunter" is more then just a TV show even your stooge friends know that." The Redheaded German Japanese hybrid with the sharp tongue known as Asuka Langley Soryu reprimanded from her seat with the freckled class representative Hikari Horaki.

"Soryu, Ikari is correct from what I know "Spirit Hunter" is only a television program." The monotonous voice of a blue haired red-eyed albino stated as Rei Ayanami didn't even look up from the book in her possession from her position sitting next to Misato.

"Oh is the commander's little doll coming to the rescue of the Invincible Shinji?" Asuka question sarcastically.

"I am not a Doll" it was as close to an angry reply as could be produced from the girl and as always it was directed at her only female comrade.

Shinji only sighed and turned his head back to the window attempting to tune the world around him out, while also hoping to avoid a return to the thoughts that had previously run through his mind and so he focused on just how he had found himself in this situation. Class 2-A of the Tokyo-3 High School was currently on a bus bound for Karakura town as part of a field trip to observe the live filming of a popular program called "Spirit Hunter" that would take place in the evening and upon hearing of the trip Misato, who he still hadn't figured how had gotten herself as well the three Evangelion pilots permission to go along with somehow also convincing their teacher to allow her to be a chaperone.

Discreetly, without those around him noticing, Shinji let his right hand slip into his pocket and wrap around what appeared to be an ordinary Pez dispenser, topped with an ornament that resembled the head of a rabbit coloured in black. Clenching his hand into a fist briefly as his mind was assaulted with images of staring at his hands coated in blood he quickly shook it away and withdrew his hand confident in the knowledge that he had not forgotten the seemingly normal object. The chatter around him had not lightened with Asuka's voice being the prevalent in the struggle for loudness between students but he simply let it fade from his mind once more rejecting the world around him.

"Foolish Bastard you will learn not to turn such scornful gazes on your creator!"

'I'm not your little Toy!'

"You are whatever I decide to make you or would you like me to teach you this lesson again?"

"No more . . . . . Please no more."

"Shinji"

"Whenever that rebellious spark enters your eyes I will remind you just whose creation you are!"

'Hai. . . . . '

"Hey Shin-man"

"You will be docile you foolish little bastard even if I have to take you apart piece by piece and put you back together once again. I won't allow disobedience in my finest experiment!"

'It hurts . . . . . Hai I will obey'

"Baka Shinji!"

'Hai, I won't disobey you again'

"Ikari" The shock of being moved finally pierced through his mind causing Shinji to sit up rigidly, cobalt blue eyes darting around almost frantically before they met two deep pools of blood red.

"Ikari, we have arrived" the voice of Ayanami stated before she turned and followed the line of students filing out of the bus.

'I'm safe; it was just a nightmare . . . . or a maybe just a memory...' he thought as he rose, his hand checking his pocket once again before making his way out as well.


Karakura Town

"Good evening everyone, this week's episode of Spirit Hunter is brought to you live from an abandoned hospital in the Town of Karakura, where the tortured screams of the dead can be heard echoing through the halls!"

"Who knows what horrifying sights we will witness here this evening?"

"And now folks, let's give him a warm welcome. This centuries premiere Spiritualist and messenger from hell Mr. Don Kanonji!"

Overhead a helicopter flew passing over the sight of a rundown and dilapidated medical facility, whose halls hadn't been walked in a long time by the living and remained wreathed in darkness due to a lack of electricity to fuel the long dead lighting. All eyes seemed to focus on the chopper as a man dressed in a combination of Japanese and British styled clothing, most notable being a long dark trench coat with a white fur lined collar and a tall dark hat with a white furred base. The man was dark skinned with his hair placed in dreadlocks and impressively build to match his tall stature a simple pair or circular sunglasses hiding his eyes. Suddenly the man leapt from the aircraft falling into the embrace of the open air and descending rapidly towards the ground his arms spread wide causing his coat to fan out behind like the wings of a bat.

"The Spirits are always with you!" he called out loudly as a parachute opened saving him from a rather squishy end.

'This guy is completely out of his mind.' Shinji thought with a sweat drop from where he stood in the crowd of fans with Toji on his left, Kensuke on his right, and Rei was behind him with Hikari and Asuka in front of them along with most of the class. The crowd was chanting the man's name as he landed safely on a stage erected in front of the observers and placing the hospital in the background.

"And how is everyone tonight? Hold onto your seats my babies its time again to hear the spirits cry!" Don Kanonji addressed to the audience causing an explosion of applause.

"So tell us what do you think of this place?" one of the two microphone carrying announcers asked.

"The stench of the spirit world hangs in the air around us, I'd have to say that-"he began with his right pointer finger raised in a lecturing pose.

"SMELLS LIKE BAD SPIRITS" the crowd finished the catch phrase together.

"Bwahahahahahaha" bringing his arms across his chest he laughed boisterously and deeply joined by the crowd. Smoke filled the stage just as the cameras cut to commercial.

"This way everyone we're about to get started make your way to the spirit purification location." Security guards advised as the crowd began moving again.

'I can sense a lot of people with high Spirit Potential in the crowd and now that I focus on it Toji, Hikari, Kensuke, Asuka, Hikari, and especially Rei seem to have abnormal levels of spirit energy. There also feels like more then one Shinigami are in the area but that doesn't make any sense'

Shinji thought as he followed behind his friends towards the new location something in the air didn't feel right to him. When the group stopped the young pilot of Eva Unit-01 allowed his eyes to wander around watching the crewmen moving equipment into place for the continuation of the show but as one person moved to set up an extra light stand at the entrance a wailing cry pierced the night washing over the crowd but ignored by the majority. Shinji's took notice of the tensing that ran through the bodies of his friends and comrades meaning they had heard the sound just as he had but his sight soon focused on the form of a man dressed in a hospital gown and covered in chains that bound him to the entryway of the building the lower half of his body actually sunken into the cement of the entrances walkway..

'A Spirit with deep attachment to this place but the Hole is only partially formed meaning it hasn't yet lost its heart. It shouldn't transform for at least another 6-7 months this could explain the presence of Shinigami I felt.' He thought as the lights came back up and the show started again.

"Do you guys hear something?" Toji asked suddenly.

"Yeah, it must be some sort of effect to keep things from getting boring." Kensuke hypothesized.

"Huh, and who the hell are you? You think you can come in here and defile my hospital. You've got some nerve buddy and what's with the crazy freaking hat?" the spirit of the man accused Kanonji as the man seemed to examine his face.

"Hmm this is bad, a truly evil spirit but with the power of my Super Spirit Cane I'll wipe it from the Earth!" lifting an ornamental cane topped with two wings and a blue jewel in the centre seeming to mimic the staffs of European royalty he then proceeded to jam the butt of the cane into the spirit's chest causing it to scream in pain.

'No that idiot is forcing the hole to expand if this keeps up the chain of fate will be broken and the heart lost!" Shinji thought with alarm his eyes widening.

"What the hell is that screeching sound?" Asuka demanded as she clenched her blue eyes shut.

"It's like someone's screaming in horrible pain." Hikari added her hands against her temples trying to lessen the pain the noise caused.

"Why is it so loud?" Toji seemed to be suffering as well along with Kensuke who had his hands over his ears.

Rei made no comment about the discomfort she was feeling as well nor did she point out to the others just what was causing it but her eyes also turned to the only other silent one, neither applauding like the majority or dealing with high-pitched sound and what she found was Shinji's right hand clenched into a fist and his eyes unblinkingly wide focused on the sight of Kanonji and the spirit he seemed to be hurting. The look in his cobalt blue depths was unknown to the First Child but it made an involuntary shiver to flow down her spine and an odd feeling to flare in her heart that she could not truly understand.

'Ikari, what is it you are seeing that is causing such a reaction? Do you see it all as well?' she thought with brief curiosity as a teenager with spiky orange hair hopped over the security fence and charged at Kanonji security tackling him and his diminutive friend a moment later.

'Accelerated deterioration of the Spirit caused by deliberate actions taken by the Human weakening the binding chains and the links in the chain of fate resulting in a reduced time until transformation.' Shinji thought as his watched the spirit of the orange haired teenager separate from his body dressed in a black Kimono, Hakama, with a white sash serving as belt to tie the two, white tabi socks with wooden sandals, and finally is an overly large sword resting in a corresponding sheath on his back.

'Identified, Kisuke Urahara, and a second unknown Shinigami' his mind analysed as he spotted a blonde haired man with greyish-blue eyes standing at six feet tall wearing a striped bucket hat and traditional Japanese wooden sandal's along with a seemingly normal outfit, while also using a simple paper fan to keep cool.

'Too late, the chains of binding have been severed and the chain of fate broken the Hole has fully formed.' Shinji thought as he watched the Shinigami with the large sword knock the spiritualist away from the spirit.

The spirit began to emit a cry of pure loathing echoing out around and growing even more haunting by the moment, its eyes were open wide and its face tight with pain unlike anything a person should be able to experience in their existence. Arms spread wide with his back rigid like a pole had replaced his spine the scream grew louder and suddenly in an instant the spirit vanished in a flash of light. The Shinigami looked back in confusion assuming the soul had passed on or had faded away to another location unsure as to truly what was happening.

"Look out Ichigo, above you!" a female voice called from behind the security gate as a sphere of energy began to form on the roof of the hospital tendrils of an unknown substance flowing into it.

"The Target has been Identified" Shinji's voice had come out in a monotone causing Rei's head to snap in his direction the others evidently ignorant of his words as he reached a hand into his pocket.

The sphere faded away revealing the misshaped body the spirit had taken on as a form with long gangly limbs and a thin frame baring a hole in the centre of its chest making it appear like a mutated amphibian the head that had been human was quickly engulfed with a white skull-shaped mask that resembled a demonic version of a toad or frogs head. It gave out a fiendish cry as the mask finished forming like an animal that was about to devour its prey and revealing deep in its throat laid a second mouth. A viscous dark liquid flowed from the openings in the mask dribbling across the opal surface almost like saliva or perhaps its blood.

"Ah, the pain . . . . . Must devour." It grunted out.

'No Choice but to intervene.' Shinji decided as he withdrew the black rabbit head topped Pez dispenser.

Flicking the top of the dispenser the young Ikari released what appeared to be a simple piece of green candy that landed in his palm and he quickly swallowed without hesitation. A sensation akin to moving through water or perhaps something thicker like pudding washed over Shinji as he felt himself literally step out of his body with lingering strings of spiritual energy snapping as he separated from himself. Once the feeling had faded he found himself dressed with a white undershirt, a black Kimono, black Hakama, a white sash serving as a belt, white tabi socks, sandals that mimicked the style used by ancient samurai, and at his side was a sheathed katana with a eight-point star-shaped guard, blue fabric wrapped around the hilt, and a diamond shaped silver gem placed in the pommel.

"Don't do anything stupid" he spoke with a calm those that knew him would never have expected turning to where his physical body still stood and received an energetic wave from himself.

"Have a little faith in me I won't mess up!" his own voice replied with enthusiasm pumping his fist.

"Shin-man who are you talking too?" Toji asked looking over at him.

"Who me, no one absolutely no one just barking at the dark you know this kind of place is just so creepy it has me a little jumpy."

'This won't end well, I can just tell.' The real Shinji thought with a shake of his head turning to walk towards the hospital.

"Ikari, where are you going?" the soft voice of Rei Ayanami reached his ears and with a quick look he was sure those crimson eyes of here were staring straight at him and not at his body.

'So she can see me, that's rather impressive but I don't have time to worry about it now.' Before the blue haired girl could speak again the Spiritual form of Shinji seemed to simply vanish from the spot he had been without so much as a sound.

He appeared at the front entrance of the former medical facility walking calmly through the shattered glass of the opening the sounds of the unidentified Shinigami and Kanonji running through the halls echoed above him but he did not break his stride even when he heard the cry of the Hollow as he moved up a rundown stairway. Stepping onto the second floor, he spotted the frog-like monster at the opposite end of hallway a gaping hole in the floor from where it had evidently forced its way up through the levels separating it from the delicious souls it desired. Placing his left hand on his sheath he pushed his sword partially out with a flick of his thumb before moving forward alerting the twisted creature to his presence and being eyed like the perfect meal for the starving spirit.

"So painful . . . . . must feed . . . . . . Must devour. . . . . MUST EAT YOUR SOUL" It roared crouching low and positioning for a charge.

"Then come" Shinji replied lowering his body into position to attack his right hand wrapping around the hilt of his sword and his knees bending causing him to lean forward, cobalt blue eyes narrowed.

Launching towards one another at nearly the exact same moment the Hollow blazed through the distance using its four limbs to propel itself at the boy oozing the delicious spiritual energy but for Shinji time seemed to slow down around him the hallway fading from his awareness leaving only the vicious approach of the corrupted spirit. In the span of heartbeat the dark haired boy had crossed the expanse between them seemingly to simply vanish and appear in the spot his right hand drawing his blade the arch bringing the edge and all of Shinji's momentum to bear on the Hollow, slicing into the flesh making it release a screech of pain and then sending it upwards at the ceiling the concrete giving way under the force of impact allowing it to pass through to the third floor.

"I'LL DEVOUR YOU!" Shinji heard it yell out as it found new targets in the form of the orange haired Shinigami and Kanonji.

"Not . . . . . Enough. . . . . Room" the former seemed to be experiencing difficulty with using his larger sized sword in the close quarters of the hospital.

"What the hell is this? I can't freaking get it off!" evidently this Hollow also had other powers as the hands of the spiky haired teenager were now bound by some strange substance produced and spat from the enemies mouth.

Shinji watched as the unknown Shinigami was able to pierce the Hollow's left arm with his sword leaving it lodged in the flesh but as the monster expressed its pain, tearing through the wall the teenager was dragged along with it his hands bound around the hilt of his weapon. The Hollow easily crashed through the stone onto the outside before hopping it way up onto the roof the landing being enough to dislodge its passenger and send him skittering across the roof's surface. The sound of Kanonji making his way back down the hall towards the staircase that led to the roof gave Shinji the signal he waiting for before with seemingly no effort at all he leapt up through the hole created by the corrupted spirit and began silently making his way towards the rooftop entrance.

'Despite the size of his Zanpakuto and his level of professionalism this Shinigami seems to lack anything in the terms of skills or practical knowledge of how a Hollow thinks or reacts. He's making mistakes that aren't usually present in field operatives.' He thought making his way quietly up the stairs seemingly without rush despite the situation at hand above him.

Stopping in the opened doorway of the roof he found the unnamed warrior bound to the railings at the side of the roof by the goo the Hollow used as a projectile weapon with Kanonji standing between him and the Hollow with his cane wedged in its wide open mouth, preventing it from going any closer and from feasting on the trapped teenager. A gagging noise was being emitted from the spirit as it kept trying to snap the wooden obstruction with the pure strength of its bite, while its arms flailed wildly unable to reach the target in its way.

"Kanonji?" the orange haired young man spoke in disbelief seeing the man protecting him.

"Are you hurt kid?" the man asked looking back.

"You can't handle him, get the hell out of here!" was demanded by the younger of the pair.

"NO, I know my own strength and I know the difference between my enemy's powers and my own. I must say you made quite an impression on me today, putting the safety of others first, that's great! You and I are two of a kind what say we be friend?" Kanonji responded looking back with a twinkling smile at the end.

"Oh uh, that's alright really."

"AH! Kanonji Ultimate Attack, Cannonball!" the star of the show called out as a ball of spiritual energy was formed in his hand before he raised his palm pointing it at his ally and released the attack, which seemed to be a sphere about the size or a marble or gumball that slowly wobbled its way to the bound teenager before exploding with surprising power and ripping apart the goo attached to the young man.

The cane finally snapped under the pressure of the Hollow's jaws and with a single swing of its right arm sent Don Kanonji flying through the air, yet as he was the man still wore a smile giving a thumbs-up to his new friend before landing on the near the doorway. Shinji watched as the Hollow turned ready to pounce and began moving forward his right hand tugging at his sword even as he spotted the orange haired guy moving to try to intercept the oncoming assault. The silver glint of sword edge trailed behind Shinji as he drew his own blade and with a gurgling noise born of injury the Hollow was launched back into the far railing twisting the metal and leaving it dazed with cracks forming in its mask.

"Who the hell are you?" Shinji turned his sword sliding easily back into its sheath.

"Finish it" he ordered simply and began walking towards the door.

"Sorry pal but this is the end" Shinji watched from the corner of his eye as the orange haired Shinigami raised his sword high and with those words cleanly split the Hollow's head right down the middle.

"Well done" were the words of Don Kanonji he heard before fading from the scene as if never there.

Appearing amidst the crowd of cheering fans and other onlookers Shinji silently made his way back towards his body, the cobalt blue of his own ways watching him approach along with a pair of red that belonged to a blue-haired now standing next to himself. The entire prospect of seeing yourself, even if said self is acting like a hyperactive version of you would cause a headache for most but Shinji simply approach and with a pivot turned before hurling himself backwards into his physical form. Blinking his eyes as he felt himself reorient to being back in his body he turned his head to find Rei staring at him with a slight look of curiosity, while Toji and the others were still engrossed with the finale of "Spirit Hunter".

"What's wrong Rei? Do I have something on my face?" he asked nervously with a bit of a laugh not at all comfortable.

"Ikari, you are uninjured?" was the simple question given in soft reply.

"Oh sure, I'm fine Rei, don't worry about me, this show is just not my thing." He answered her sounding apologetic.

"I found this experience to be quite . . . . . . Intriguing" Shinji did not like the way she had said that but remained quiet.

"I'm glad you enjoyed it then Rei" he finally stated with a bit of a smile as the group were heading back to the bus.


Tokyo-3

Shinji found himself laying on a table, thick leather restraints binding his wrists and ankles keeping him in place on the slab as if he were a corpse in a casket. The chilly temperature of the metallic surface of the table bit into his exposed skin making him realize that his body was completely bared to the world around him and forcing him to struggle arching his back away from the cold table as much as the restraints allowed. The scent of antiseptic was heavy in the air leaving the pristine white room with a frigid sterile feel to it with harsh lighting that Shinji shied away from looking at even as his continued to wriggle in vain.

"What an intriguing specimen you are." The sound of that voice made Shinji freeze his eyes wide in fear.

"You are still quite small and fragile but your potential piques my interest you should be honoured only a select few can hold my attention with only the mere promise of what I can shape them into." The person continued followed by echoing steps that drew nearer to the bed causing his pupils to shrink in abject terror.

"I have deemed you worthy of experimentation My Boy and not simply another application for research, through my tireless efforts you shall be moulded into something beautiful and superb proving my theories and because of it I shall be your creator." the silver glint cast from the edge of a scalpel flashed across his cobalt blue eyes.

"This will hurt quite a but, so please feel free to scream" that rather morbid statement was the only warning given before Shinji felt the steel of the blade bite into his fragile flesh and then begin to carve out a path of white hot pain as it slid forming the first incision.

Screams soon began to rip from his throat and tears of agony streak from his eyes with each new cut that was opened on his four-year old body but no matter how many times he called for them his Mother and Father never answered or came to save him.

"No one came to save me. . . . . No one cared about me."

Blood trickled from open cuts all across his body some minute and others far deeper creating a fountain of crimson that ultimately pooled around his feat, sweat glistened on his forehead sliding across hid body and irritating the scraps that marred his skin. Each breath seemed to become harder to take then the last sounding like the rasping cries of a dying animal as he attempted to force just a little bit more oxygen into his burning lungs but it never seemed to be enough. Despite all this his cobalt blue eyes that had once been so bright and innocent were dull, half-lidded, and possessing not an ounce of child-like beauty to them the gaze was that of a toy or perhaps a doll that had no feelings for itself and only uses.

The brief respite was ended when a fist slammed into his jaw launching the four or five year old boy through the air until his back slammed into a stone with on the far side of the room a sickening sound associated with bones being fractured or perhaps even shattered. Trembling with exertion with dust falling into his eyes from strands of dark brown hair he pulled himself from the indention his body had made on impact stumbling from the human-shaped crater his legs shook with the effort he put into staying upright and not on his knees. If his tormentor cared it didn't show as a second later a knee slammed into his gut forcing blood and saliva to fly from his mouth eyes wide in an expression of utter pain even as a hand wrapped around his throat cutting him off completely from an air supply with a vice-like grip crushing his windpipe with each moment that passed.

Shinji entertained thoughts of finally being allowed to die and cease his unyielding torment but it was not be as his body was slung around limbs flopping like a puppet whose strings have been cut before the hand was released and he found his left cheek scraping along a rough sandy surface ripping at the already raw flesh and exposing layers of muscle. Laying there on his side his body no longer responding to his commands to rise instead only allowing him the tiniest movement that translated into little more then a twitching in random directions he felt the approach of the person responsible for his current state. A soft hand grasped the tatters of his striped t-shirt lifting him with ease and Shinji waited for the next attack his mind briefly wondering what part of him would shriek in protest next before being replaced and joining the collective that was his overall stack of current injuries.

"You have improved seven percent since our last session and after your most recent procedure." A soft feminine voice stated before Shinji felt his mouth pried open and a tablet slipped inside, wisely he chose to swallow it sadly only being able to ease the decent with his blood and saliva.

"Why won't you let me die?" he whispered his voice hoarse and his throat raw as the woman began walking while maintaining her hold over him. A sizzling could be heard followed by a hiss from between his dry chapped lips as steam rose from each of his wounds even as they began to rapidly close with no visible scarring to the flesh.

"Rest now; Mayuri-sama will come to perform your next procedure in a few hours." The voice spoke as he was lowered onto a mattress and then a chaste robotic kiss was place don his forehead.

"My existence no longer held value, save as an experiment."

"Try again" the angry voice belonging to the one responsible for his torture commanded Shinji.

The six year old nodded without thought and lifted his left hand up his dulled cobalt blue eyes showing the barest hints of concentration in their depths as a bright sapphire aura came alive around his small body quickly expanding in size turning into a twisting mass of Spiritual Energy that flowed around him like a maelstrom. This power was why he was important to the man for even at such a young age he had been born with abnormal levels of spiritual energy making him a perfect candidate for the insane ones most twisted of projects as well as anything else he deemed important enough to test out on him in hopes of improving one of his favourite creations.

Focusing his mind on the task set before him instead of dwelling on useless thoughts concerning his existence he began to gather the energy around his extended left arm forcing it from its natural chaotic state into a more controlled malleable form. Biting his lip in concentration, he began to reshape and mould the energy giving it substance, drawing the lines of power together into the solid stable shape of a simple longbow just as he had been instructed to do. Lifting his right hand, he felt a brief shock as his fingers made contact with bowstring but it was easily ignored and he then began drawing it back allowing a brilliant arrow of light blue to form as if freshly notched from an archers quiver.

"Excellent you've actually been able to do it." The man spoke up with a bit of chuckle, one that only intensified as Shinji levelled the weapon in his direction a dangerous glint in his eyes.

"What are you planning to do with that?" he asked in amusement.

"I intend to destroy you Mayuri-sama" the words had been calm but the sheer glee that the boy radiated as a spark of hope ignited within him made him lose the intended cold edge.

It would all be over with one single shot; all of his torment would end with the life of this deranged sadist and he would be free of a meaningless existence as another of that man's creations. But as he released the projectile his eyes widened as the target seemed to simply vanish and his arrow struck only the wall causing an explosion on impact. Before Shinji could pull the string back and form another arrow he felt something rip into his left shoulder and exit through the back sending his blood flowing like a river, crimson staining the gleaming surface of a katana as the blade remained lodged in his body.

"My dear boy you truly are a foolish bastard, though you have exceeded my expectations in creating a variant of the Quincy bow this soon you are still not perfected just yet." He was taunted even as the bow dissolved from his arm and he glared at the man.

"Such a scornful eye you turn on me, that won't do at all it seems I still have much work ahead of me where it concerns you my dear boy. For only a docile tamed personality will do for one of my most prized creations you will learn this lesson well my dear boy." The blade was dug in even deeper causing Shinji to clench his eyes shut and bring his right hand to his shoulder hoping to ease the hurt.

"Evolution . . . . . . My Evolution was not yet complete."

He was surrounded by the grotesque forms of ten Hollow's their near-constant cries of hunger or pain creating a hauntingly surreal song that echoed in the confined training area even as saliva dripped from the mouth openings in their masks dribbling like fat rain drops to the floor around their legs. Standing just beyond the line of enemies was a group of Shinigami all with glaring arrogant eyes and smug faces painting them as the thugs they truly were and meaning if he should survive the initial onslaught he would then face them. Shinji felt no fear as he stood there his twelve-thirteen year old body wreathed in the black shihakusho of the Shinigami ranks and his Zanpakuto resting at his side eagerly waiting to taste the vicious carnage of conflict.

Hailed as a prodigy among the Shinigami for completing the academy in less then three years instead of the usual six Shinji had for a single moment held out the ember of hope that such a feat would free him from his creator but such was not the case as he had been immediately assigned to Mayuri's division, where his agonizing existence as the man's prized experimental subject continued with fervour. It had taken a long time but finally the sadist had gotten his wish and broken Shinji completely of his sense of self and the past longings of the human child that had been brought to the Soul Society, leaving in his place an introverted, uncaring, highly intelligent, and dull shell that had seemingly lost the ability to care.

Currently ranked as the Third Seated senior officer of division twelve gave him no joy and with such a measured level of strength Mayuri had seen it time to begin testing the limits his body's augmented form could take before it needed to be repaired and changed to squeeze just a little better performance in the next trial. The only warmth of hope that still existed to the brown haired boy was that someone else would recognize his strength eventually and request he be transferred into that division he knew of at least one Fukutaicho position that was open and the Taichou had recently been speaking with Mayuri, so he allowed that warming hope to remain that he might in fact ever gain freedom from his torment.

"Come" he spoke simply and watched the beasts charge him followed by those filthy excuses for Shinigami.

"Blood . . . . . there's so much blood . . . . . . Why can't I get it off my hands? Why won't my hands come clean? My hands they reek of blood it's disgusting."

Shinji sat straight up in bed his eyes flying open wide with his shrunken pupils glancing around wildly in the darkness of his bedroom, cold sweat pouring down his brow making his skin feel clammy as his trembling hands clutched at his sheets. The sound of his own laboured breathing making him think back on that time before lifting his palms to stare at them and for the briefest of moment they seemed to be covered by thick clomps of crimson rolling down the flesh coating. Drawing his knees up to his chest and wrapping his arms around them he buried his face there holding back the urge to cry out knowing the sounds of sobs would draw the attention of his roommates and that was the last thing he desired if only because they couldn't understand this pain.

"Just a dream, I'm safe . . . . . . . just a dream, I'm safe . . . . . . Just a dream, I'm safe . . . . . ." on and on the mantra was spoken in a whisper as Shinji tried to calm his terrified mind and body.

'A nightmare I lived though and that makes it all the worse' he thought with a sigh laying back on his bed and turning his head to gaze out at the night sky outside his window.

The stars twinkled with hidden mirth dancing throughout the black expanse only outshone by the majesty of the crescent moon and only obscured by the few clouds that drew across the sky pushed by the currents of the wind that went where it desired unbidden by mortal concerns. Calm and Silent the night seemed so peaceful soothing the frayed edges of his nerves but not quieting the images that haunted him or granting him the peace necessary to slip back into fitful sleep. Groping blindly with his right hand he finally found his prize resting on his nightstand and brought it before his eyes revealing it to be the black rabbit Pez dispenser he had partaken of back in Karakura and with a flick another of those candies rested in his palm before he set its receptacle aside.

"I think I need some fresh air" he spoke aloud before popping the candy into himself and feeling his spirit separate from his body.

"I'll be back soon so please just stay here and don't cause any trouble."

"You got it boss!" Receiving a thumbs-up from yourself while your face grinned happily should have unnerved Shinji, but as it was he just slipped out of his window and into the night.

The quiet of the midnight world embraced Shinji as he moved agilely across the darkened rooftops his footfalls silent with each quick step he took before leaping into the open air and soaring across distances before landing or jumping off other buildings a serene smile gracing his usually depressed features. Cool winds gently caressed his form ruffling his clothing and combing through his hair like a concerned parent's fingers calming the frayed edges of his nerves and granting him a sense of peace that was deucedly in short supply for the third child. Quiet streets and darkened buildings soon gave way below Shinji as his random trek led him the roof of a building that was adjacent to the main entrance of his current place of employment, along with humanities supposed last hope for salvation, a place known as Nerv Headquarters.

Dawn was still hours away but even as the city slept in peace this place still carried on with a hum of constant activity with employees coming and going with the changing of each shift, passing through the thick steel reinforced doors with a metallic sound as gears turned and processors used to check security card beeped in approval. A fortress built around an existing Geofront creating an odd symbiotic relationship between pristine nature and lifeless machinery in order to facilitate the ultimate defence of the human race against hostile invaders of an unknown genus that sought to initiate a cataclysmic event that would ultimately wipe the planet clean of existing life forms.

'The official explanation sounds so much like a cheesy anime plot' Shinji thought jumping from his perch and landing in a crouch before the imposing doorway of the organization.

Waiting for one of the many staff members to enter the dark haired youth slipped inside completely unnoticed, which was true as virtually no one within the city had the necessary spiritual power needed to sense him while in his Shinigami form. Any other person given the opportunity to wander around freely as a spirit powers aside would have most likely amused themselves at others expense or given in to darker desires and began to enjoy the many sights of flesh that could be found, luckily Shinji liked to think himself above such things. It seemed though that during the wee hours of the night and without an alert going off that Nerv was fairly dull with only a few odd conversations between technicians and other workers providing a break in the tedium.

Spotting a brief flash of blue to his right Shinji moved down the corridor and around the corner before halting in his tracks as he spied the form of the First Child Rei Ayanami walking alongside an older man with the same dark brown hair as himself. Commander Gendo Ikari, the head of Nerv and father of the young soul currently observing him held an almost constant aura of apathy his eyes hidden behind sunglasses always piercing you when he looked in your direction and in his son's case eternally projecting chilly indifference with his orbs. The two could usually be found together so it shouldn't have surprised the teenager but still he found himself curious especially given the hours and for once finding a tiny shred of courage he followed after them, perhaps knowing the man couldn't see him had been what driven him to it.

The duo walked towards an elevator that Shinji had never really seen or used in the past Gendo imputing a code on the keypad next to it before the car could be summoned and the doors open lacking the distinctive ding of every other such device in the facility. He watched Rei's eyes widen by a small fraction as she entered and turned facing in his direction before he vanished before her eyes for a second time and seemed to simply appear in the back of the elevator as the doors slid closed. Shinji felt the machine beginning to descend but as he mentally counted levels, they began to sink lower then he was sure the base ran, yet they continued to go with neither physical occupant seemingly ill at ease.

'Where are they going?' he thought as the car stopped and the doors opened his steps involuntarily following.

They entered into a dark room that was highlighted by a large empty tube in the centre that ran from floor to ceiling and off to the side rested a complicated panel of controls being manned by a faux blonde Shinji recognized to be Dr. Ritsuko Akagi, whom spared Rei a chilly glance before going back to work. Stepping forward with wide eyes taking in the sights of this new place before approaching the glass tank like walls that oddly reminded him of the aquatic tanks people used to house fish, though instead of water these seemed filled with the same LCL the pilots used to breathe when inside their Evangelion's. Peering into the depths he took a step back in shock as his cobalt blue eyes spotted what appeared to be hundreds of nude Rei's swimming or simply laying there with blank eyes and widespread grins emitting a sickly sweet and all together unnerving continuous giggling noise that seemed alien in the girl he knew.

"My god what the hell is this?" he spoke aloud stumbling back until he back met the surface of the tube.

"Ikari, you do not have clearance to be in this area." Spinning around at the voice Shinji drew his Zanpakuto on instinct levelling the tip between the eyes of his co-worker, who simply blinked and continued to undress.

"Rei, I don't understand what is this place?"

"This is the Chamber of Gauf" she answered though her tone was lower seemingly to not draw the attention of the two others in the room.

Shinji turned away as the girl began removing her undergarment his hand reflexively sheathing his sword even as his mind was in turmoil over these developments and the unbidden memories they were drawing to the surface against his wishes. Hearing the sound of liquid he glanced back to find the real Rei now nude floating freely suspended inside the tube that was filled with the same blood-like liquid as in the tank, which caused him to blush and look away once again. Taking several deep calming breaths Shinji willed himself to move being mindful not to turn his eyes towards Ayanami and slowly bring him to stand as close as possible to the console expertly manipulated by the head of Project E.

Seconds, minutes, hours; time had lost meaning to the Shinigami as he watched in abject horror as someone he had learned to trust took something as beautiful and complex as the soul and turned it into little more then data to be saved like some file in a word-processing program. The cycle of life twisted into a perverse form of forced reincarnation that made the subject wish for nothing more then the cold grasp of oblivion rather then live through another death. Shinji found himself ill as the truth was laid about before him his informants none the wiser to his presence as they spoke revealing more the just the origins of Ayanami Rei, who stared at him seemingly impassively with her crimson gaze from her place in that disgusting tube.

'What else am I not being told?'

Matsushiro Secondary Testing Site

'This energy, I know this spirit energy, Father is this, what you truly have to ask of me?'

The sun blazed in hues of orange as it set on the horizon casting the sky into a sea of red broken by clouds that seemed as black as the robes said to be worn by the true Shinigami. Desolation was the only description that fitted the landscape as piles of twisted metal lay strewn across the scarred earth, trees upturned mingled with snapped telephone and electricity poles their wires tangling into horrid knots that seemed to strangle the wooden branches of the foliage. If hell truly existed, then perhaps this place shrouded in the colours of sunset, wreathed in ravenous flames that hungrily crawled about like flickering candles, and the shadows of the great monoliths that shared this land as a battlefield would truly be a depiction of it.

The burnished heavens watched as a beast garbed in the form of mans deadly guardians rose with a haunting roar from its grotesque lips, a cry that pierced through heart and soul bringing with it a feeling of unimaginable terror. It stood tall several stories in fact that would make some if not moist buildings seem small by comparison with plated of darkly painted metal serving as its armour, an oddly shaped head with a rounded top and exaggerated chin with a demons face, such was the body of the creature before him. Deep within that sinful being though rested another person overshadowed by the power of some raging spirit, possessed and helpless to fight the whims of the being he could do nothing but obey the commands and cut a swath of death and destruction through anything that dared get in his way as he marched.

'Toji, this is the spiritual energy I sensed from Toji! Toji is inside of that thing!'

Three children of whom the world constantly called upon to defend it had once more been deployed to stop the rampaging enemy but its strength was greater then those before it and within seconds the four-eyed beast of red had been conquered the heroine that acted as its will defeated. Hesitating when faced with the possibilities the mistress of the blue armoured cycloptic beast did not fire quick enough and so was struck down by the combined power of the enemy and one of their own, in the deepest parts of her mind she understood why she could not take the shot at first for it would bring immeasurable sadness to the boy with blue eyes that constantly watched over and worried for her safety.

'I can't, you can't ask me to destroy a living person Father, please don't ask me to kill my friend.'

There would be no break in the action for the young man to confront his misgivings nor would such an entity give any quarter to the monster that had slain its fellows and so the purple horned monstrosity found a hand clutching at its throat as the battle raged. Pain lanced through making the boy feel just what its counterpart was enduring because of his inaction but still the heart would not allow for anything save indecision and so he suffered through even as he heard the mocking orders of his father. Deep wounds that ran through his heart were torn open anew as he was told to kill the person, that it was his life or the others, ordered to commit murder in the name of the very culture that found it so wrong, and through it all he wasn't aware of what he said in response or how he had fended off destruction but that he simply had if for a moment.

"Engage the Dummy Plug system."

Control much like with the other was wrenched away from Shinji leaving him a prisoner inside his own Eva, inside his own body but he was still connected like a puppet whose strings were being expertly pulled he felt his Evangelion come to life in horrid rage and a cold dark presence sweep into his mind guiding them both. Images assaulted his senses causing him to whimper where he sat wanting them to end even as he felt his fingers, no the fingers of the Evangelion tear into the enemy driven by some berserker rage and an alien force that punished him with these memories. Hands pressed against the side of head he continued to feel every sensation, the machine attacked relentlessly on a mission to destroy and slowly driving him to the point of madness as tears slipped from his eyes.

"You live because I have a use for you my dear boy."

"I have a use for you"

"You must trust in Mayuri-sama he has only your best interests in mind Shinji."

"Don't you even trust your own Father?"

"So you killed them all excellent work my dear boy."

"That was good work Shinji."

"YOU FOOLISH BASTARD YOU WILL NOT DEFY ME!"

"THEN LEAVE, I HAVE NO TIME FOR A SIMPERING CHILD!"

"Shinji people are inherently evil in some way or another whether they are Shinigami or Ryoka."

He was standing next to an older man seemingly mild mannered with square glass dressed in the normal attire of the Shinigami with a white Haori with long sleeves over it.

'Aizen-Taicho, you were right. Father, my Father he is no different then Mayuri.'

"I believe that because there is no one that sits atop the throne of the worlds that such a cycle of cruelty will never end."

'Suffering exists not just for me here but for so many others Aizen-Taicho, why doesn't it ever cease?'

"Someone must sit in that position Shinji to act as the Father for every soul hat exists, too tell them something is wrong, too pick them up when their hurt, too explain to them how they should behave and treat others, and too love them eternally."

'I wish I could live in that world Aizen-Taicho.'

"If you want Shinji I'll share my dream with you as you're both my Fukutaicho and my friend."

'I was just a tool for you to use as well Aizen-Taicho, a way to reach your noble dreams but I didn't matter, as long as I trust their words though it should have been enough. I won't let this continue, I won't allow myself to be another's tool not again do you hear me, THAT'S ENOUGH!'

The fist of Evangelion Unit-01 halted in its descent on the possessed unit-03 the sinister eyepieces prone to glow orange or at other times crimson now shone with an incredible light blue shine the machine backing away from its prey before throwing its head back and releasing a horrible howl of outrage mixed with the tiniest bit of pain. Inside the entry plug Shinji sat hands wrapped firmly around the controls his cobalt blue eyes opened wide but the pupils had shrunk in an eerie combination of murderous anger and raw determination, veins began to run across the surface of his plug suit and soon his very skin as if something were invading his body or simply trying to repel him from his advances.

"Pilot's psychograph is highly unstable the Eva and the dummy plug both seem to be trying to contaminate his mind!" his face set into a twisted smile as he leaned forward deafened to the voices.

"The Dummy plug has been completely overridden by Pilot Ikari he's back in control of the Evangelion!" Spiritual energy began to roll off his body in waves bathing him in an aura of power.

"Synchronization score rising past eighty we can't cut him off from the Unit!" the word that represented his target appeared in his mind with a deadly clarity.

'This Angel is nothing but a Hollow!'

"Dummy Plug has been completely burned out but it's still attacking Shinji's mind!" The rage usually associated with these moments was gone instead; the machine lunged forward like a seasoned warrior instead of ferocious carnivore.

"Pilot's vitals are nearly in the red, psychograph off the charts if this continues he's going to go insane!" A kick into its midsection before he took the enemies head in his hands and brought it down on his rising knee cracking the protective armour.

"Synch ratio now passing ninety!" He jumped upon the downed machine his left hand pinning it down with through a hold on the shoulder his face moving closer to that cracked facial armour. Slowly his right hand weaved to the back of the head applying unheard of strength to the pressure plate that protected the entry plug.

'Are you watching Father? Are you watching Mayuri-sama? I've become the soulless doll you desired SO ARE YOU WATCHING YOUR CREATION NOW?'

"The Dummy plug is attacking his central nervous system one wrong signal and it will kill him!" The plate was off and tossed aside and slowly the rage was dying but not the knowledge as his fingers reached forward for the entry plug despite the things screams.

"Psychograph is starting to stabilize but the readings don't make any sense." Like a tiny toy or maybe a battery, he drew the cockpit of the unit from its place before leaping away from the biomechanical giant.

"Synch ratio rising past One Hundred." Landing with ease and shaking the earth around him he set the capsule containing his friend down before turning angry eyes on the rising enemy its howl now a pained screech as it clawed its own head for the missing pilot.

'I'm nothing, unworthy of love, undeserving of care, useful only as, an experiment and as a Shinigami, so be it.'

"Nerve connections cut the Fourth Child is no longer in danger from the synchronization of the target." Standing tall, he lifted his left hand and the machine obeyed the churning cyclone of power around him flowing through his armoured beast.

"Unknown Energy output detected coming from Unit-01." Spreading his fingers wide he felt the familiar burning around his wrist as he focused the energy and began to form his variant of the Quincy bow, yet it wasn't really his arm was it, no, it was the arm of the giant that acted on his will.

"What the hell is that?" he felt it form and lifted his right hand drawing back the glowing string sweat forming on his forehead unused to using this much of his power and through such a conduit as an Eva but still he saw the arrow form and levelled it at the enemy. The stability he had gained with this ability lost under the circumstance and differences in how he was utilizing the unique spiritual power.

"COME ON THEN FILTHY HOLLOW!" he screamed as the machine cried out and he released the projectile sending it screaming into the chest of the enemy. It threw its head back a scream of pure torture flowing past its lips as its spirit was bombarded by his attack and physically the arrow detonated in a bright explosion.

The illumination slowly began to die down alongside the roar of crackling energy that had been the arrow revealing the quivering mass of metal and flesh that was Evangelion Unit-03 or at least what was left of it. Cracks were widespread across the head with entire sections missing from the forehead and chin sections, eyepieces that had once been alight with sadistic delight and instinct were now dulled lacking even the smallest spark of desire denoting the complete shutdown of the formerly possessed weapon. Arms that had once been capable of stretching to impossible lengths now hung limply at its side with depressions shaped like unit-01's fingers imprinting the thick metal of the shoulders, where it had once stood proudly now it was resting on its knee's as if in submission.

The worst damage however was located in the centre of the chest, where the spirit arrow had impacted slicing through armour, flesh, bone, muscle, and anything else it its path until it had burst through the back of dark behemoth shredding the spine with only sheer force. It seemed though once the projectile had finished the condensed spiritual energy had overloaded thus exploding outward widening the gaping hole even farther obliterating most of the unit's centre mass. In the end as it sat there those observing could see the large wound that nearly split the beast into several sectioned and continued to spill vital fluids, bits of muscle, bone fragments, and what appeared to be intestines coated in bile.

The purple Evangelion unit-01 had stood still maintaining its archery stance for a moment longer before it lurched forward stumbling a step before crumpling to the ground causing the entry plug next to it to shake rather violently but thankfully remain intact. Armoured plates along with bits of flesh fell from the fingers of the right hand accompanied by bits of liquids only technicians could identify, while smoke rose from the left wrist where the bow had been formed leaving the entire section burned and cracked the heavy scent of roasted flesh mixing with scorched metal creating an acrid stench that floated through the open air.

"Evangelion Unit-03, I mean the target has gone silent."

'The target has been defeated but I'm so tired. . . . . I must have used too much energy on that attack . . . . . '

"Unit-01 showing sign of damage and all power was exhausted but it appears to still be stable."

'I wonder if anyone saw my bow this time or felt that release of power.'

"Pilot Ikari's vitals seem stable but he is about to lose conciseness retrieval teams are inbound."

'I'm just going to rest for a little while before the medical team gets here.'

Shinji felt his eyes slide shut and his form slump in its seat completely taxed from recent events it began the slow process of recovery and recharge but peace was always fleeting it seemed for this boy. A dreamless sleep seemed the greatest gift he could receive as reward.

Unseen by the people milling about on the ground a figure wreathed in the garb of the Shinigami with the addition of a straw hat atop his head stood perched on a fallen piece of metallic debris that had possibly once been part of some scaffolding. Lifting a lit cigarette to his lips, he took a long drag from the cancer stick before blowing the smoke out into the air and closing his eyes in thought before dropping the addictive product to the ground and withdrawing what appeared to be a normal looking cell phone. Flicking open the device he stared down at the display screen as a tracking program seemed to run revealing several red dots within the area, which he muttered to himself about as he closed the phone and put it away.

"Better handle the Hollows being created from this little debacle before I let Soul Society know about the kid."


Nerv

"COME ON THEN FILTHY HOLLOW!"

Hours had passed since those words had been spoken in the heat of battle by a young man many thought they had pushed too far with this most recent attack but none the less had come through for them in the end delivering victory on his own despite their attempts to force him to fight their way with the use of an unstable device that had turned on him. The image of the Third Child sitting in the cockpit of his Evangelion with that deranged smile on his lips and the crazed gleam that shined in his shrunken pupils was displayed on one of many terminals in Central Dogma, while the footage of the battle itself was constantly being played back for analysis and compared with every angle they had access too on the main monitor.

Sitting high above the chaos was the imposing form of Commander Gendo Ikari his features set into his usual look of apathy with his hands clasped in front of him and the harsh glare of the lights reflecting off his sunglasses shrouding his eyes in mystery and at his side standing tall like an eternal retainer or advisor to some tyrannical king was the form of Sub-Commander Kozou Fuyutsuki. Below them, the three main technicians also known as "The Bridge Bunnies" worked furiously at their consoles coordinating the operations at the test site while compiling the data that was incoming from the area and imputing it into the MAGI computer.

"The committee will undoubtedly inquire about the incident today Ikari" Fuyutsuki stated lowly so that they were not overheard.

"The Angel was defeated without impeding the timetable of the Scenario that's all that matters, how the Third Child secured victory isn't a concern." Gendo responded evenly his eyes focused on the frozen image of the Eva standing with that blurred form of a glowing bow and arrow ready to be fired at the enemy.

"What of the Third and Fourth Children?" the Sub-Commander asked after the replay began again.

"We will repair Unit-03 and until then he will be tested for compatibility with the other units to be used as a spare. The Third Child for now will be allowed to continue his duties once Dr. Akagi has finished with him" was the simple though partial answer given.

"Sir, Major Katsuragi has reported that the clean-up operation is proceeding smoothly and that she along with Dr. Akagi will arrive within the hour." Hyuga reported pushing his glasses up his nose.

"Inform Katsuragi to report to my office as soon as she arrives." Raising from his seat with those words the two leaders of Nerv made their exit from Central Dogma.


Nerv Medical Ward

"You have been shutting your eyes and covering your ears making yourself blind and deaf to what you wish to avoid."

'I just didn't want to acknowledge the world in which I was raised.'

"This is self-deception."

'Yeah I guess it is but I thought maybe it would be enough.'

"See your running away from the reality again. No one can justify their existence by linking their happiest memories into a kind of rosary. In particular from this point on I cannot."

'I didn't want to admit but I understood your meaning, though if I stopped lying to myself then it meant accepting that no matter how hard I tried I'd never be normal.'

'I hate this ceiling' the thought had come on instinct as a pair of dark blue eyes opened and focused on the scenery in front of them.

The steady beeping in his ears was ever present as the monitoring devices sang their tune informing him and all those around that he was indeed healthy enough to be left alone, briefly he wondered why the machines weren't made to be silent and only to sound if his vitals dropped or raised into dangerous territory. A light blanket made of a coarse durable material was placed over his body warding off the low temperatures that always seemed to exist in hospitals and beneath him was of course the usual uniform style of mattress that was just stiff enough to be comfortable enough to rest in without complaint.

Shinji could feel every fibre of his body pulse with pain as an after-effect of using so much Spirit Energy at once and channelling it through something like an Evangelion without any preparation beforehand or forethought on just how it should be done. It was really a miracle he hadn't killed himself with such a stunt though he considered the fact that every muscle in his body feeling as if three tons of lead were chained to it and the overwhelming desire he felt to take a long sleep without interruption were his bodies current way expressing its displeasure at him. Even with these issues, Shinji's mind was working as well as always and that meant with no way to distract himself he was forced to actually think about the current situation and the numerous things he had recently discovered.

'The Angels I've been fighting, though very different from the normal type, are Hollow's. There's no doubt in my mind despite the many inconsistencies in their design. In terms of size they are defiantly in the Gillian Menos category but they display intelligence and power levels on par with the Adjuchas class allowing them to think strategically when in combat with the Eva's and devise countermeasures to some of our attack plans. They have somehow developed a way to manifest physically but the cost of it seems to be weakening of the body from the usual metallic strength of most Hollow's to resilient, highly adaptive, quick regenerating flesh and blood forms with the A.T. Field acting as a supplementary defence shield.'

'They also seem to lack Holes but then again the Cores that act as their weak point could very well be filling the Hole commonly found in all types of Hollow, which might explain why every time we destroy one the Angel seems to overload and explode after all if the core is the concentrated location of their condensed power it is also highly unstable. This just doesn't make any logical sense though Hollow's like this have never been seen by any Shinigami before or if they were they didn't report it or think it was important enough to let other know about but despite all the differences what I felt today was a Hollow no doubt about it.'

'Did I really cut myself off from that much of my abilities that I haven't noticed all this time what I have been fighting? All the people that have been hurt or worse died because of my stupidity if I had just accepted the things in my past instead of running away from them maybe I could have done something different in those battles. I suppose that my self was right, I can't really continue to exist beyond this point if I just keep lying to myself and pretending to be happy because someone praises me or people act like I am worth something to them.'

"Guess that means my vacation is over" he stated with a mirthless chuckle before turning at the sound of the door opening before admitting the form of Dr. Akagi and the bandaged Major Misato Katsuragi, whose left arm was in a sling for some reason.

"Nice to see you're awake Shinji though I thought you would be out for at least a day after the battle." The faux blonde greeted him as she began checking the readouts from the machines.

"How are you feeling Shinji?" Misato asked cheerfully despite her injuries only to shiver slightly as his eyes focused on her.

"Is Toji alright?" his voice was soft in tone but the coldness caused both women to share a brief look.

"A little banged up but probably in the best condition of everyone thanks to you. He's resting right now in another room." Ritsuko had finally answered him; though once she had he simply turned his head away to gaze into the darkened Geofront.

"You did a really good job today Shinji" his guardian spoke up after he had been silent for more then a minute.

"Why was I the only one not told about Toji being selected?" the question gave both female officers pause for the moment.

"I was planning to tell you after the activation test but then things got out of hand and I'm sorry Shinji." Misato finally answered lowering her head after her words.

"Everyone's sorry but it wasn't you that he tried to use in order to kill Toji, no that bastard he tried to murder my friend and he was going to use my hands to do it." Utterly calm and controlled was his voice and once more the two women found it off putting.

"The Commander didn't have any choice left but to use the Dummy Plug system Shinji it might sound deplorable but one life is expendable compared to the rest of the world." Logic was the only way Dr. Akagi saw as a way to try to make the Third Child understand.

"Am I permitted to leave now?" he asked.

"I'm afraid not you still need to rest and I want to observe you overnight too make sure there aren't any ill effects from the battle." Shaking her head the head of Project E was in need for cigarette badly now.

"Oh come on Rits he's fine and he can rest more comfortably back home in his own room." Misato tried sticking up for her charge and hoping the change in venue might cheer him up.

"Oh fine but he has to be back here tomorrow for a full physical and some other tests and until then he is not to do anything but take it easy and rest do you understand me Misato?" normally Ritsuko could resist the insanity of her long-time friend but even she was bothered by Shinji's coldness despite the fact it could easily be understood.

"Right I gotcha Rits no problem just leave Shinji in my capable hands." Looking the boy, they expected to find a blush on his cheeks but he just kept staring out his room's window.

"Shinji your clothes are in the cabinet get dressed if you can while Misato signs your release papers." The doctor ordered as she turns leading her colleague out of the room.

'Great now I've been reduced to brooding I can't let this go on no matter how angry I am or I might turn into a copy of my Father.' Despite his feelings, or lack thereof, it was a thought that caused a cold shiver to roll across his spine.


Tokyo-03

A wise man once spoke "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" given his current situation the only son of Gendo and Yui Ikari felt fully justified to call that man a complete idiot and demand he switch places with him and prove there was no reason to be afraid. Normally Shinji could be considered a very calm peaceful young man with the notable exceptions of cases involving Berserk Eva's, Angels, Hollows, and the two principle causers of his painful life thus far but as he sat in the passenger seat of certain blue Renault owned by his legal guardian the shy introverted youth truly understood the meaning of panic.

Even on the best of days Misato Katsuragi's driving skills could easily be called reckless but it was nothing compared to the beautiful young woman attempting to drive with one hand, while also dealing with other various injuries she was wearing bandages to help facilitate the healing process. The few traffic laws she normally obeyed were forgotten and it seemed that the purple haired Major was in somewhat of a hurry as her foot pressed the accelerator to the limits tapping against the floorboard her hand hurling the wheel wildly to take even the simplest of turns.

"Shinji where do you want to pick-up dinner from before we get home?" She tried breaching the silence between herself and the fearful young man.

"I'm not very hungry Misato so please just get whatever you and Asuka would like." He replied still more or less annoyed with his legal guardian and engrossed in keeping as firm a grip as he could on his armrest.

"You should eat something Shinji with the battle today and everything you went through dealing with Unit-01 a good meal will help you regain your strength and might make you feel better." Misato stated as she pulled the car to a stop or more precisely slid the vehicle to a stop inside a parking space of a take-out restaurant.

"The hunger you feel comes from the immense spiritual power lying dormant inside your Body My dear boy and it will only grow worse until I help you unlock your potential."

"Oh well I guess your just to tired to eat I've had days like that and it makes the leftovers taste all the better." The injured officer commented as she began exiting the car.

"Misato" the call though quiet had made the woman lower her head back into the car flashing a bit of cleavage in Shinji's direction.

"I'll just have something light if you don't mind."

"That's the spirit Shinji a nice hearty meal and a good night's rest is just what the doctor ordered or at least I think that's what Rits meant with her instructions." Retreating from the car a smile worked its way to her lips, maybe Shinji would forgive her after all.

Dinner at the Katsuragi/Ikari/Soryu apartment had been shrouded in complete silence between the three roommates only speaking when absolutely necessary or to ask one of the others to pass certain articles of food but throughout the meal the two females stared at the single male trying to gage his thought and feelings. Shinji remained blissfully unaware to the attention however, as his body worked mostly on autopilot, eating mechanically so that he could freely let his mind focus on the many current dilemmas that had began to plague his admittedly very abnormal life in the Human World.

'What am I missing from the picture, Rei, Father, The Evangelions, Nerv, and the Angels, which in reality are a previously unknown type of Hollow or mutation I just don't understand how it fits together. If what I overheard is correct then Rei is a Hybrid of this breed of Hollow and Human but that shouldn't be possible. I have o find the rest of the pieces to the puzzle before something worse happens and I think I know where to start.'

"Misato, Asuka if you put the dishes in the sink I'll wash them before I go to school tomorrow I'm a bit tired so I am going to got o bed." Rising with those words and hoping the pair believed all was right with their world for now the young Ikari retreated to the safety of his room.

"Well it looks like the Baka is fine." Asuka stated with none of her usual venom behind her tone.

"No I think he's finally been pushed too far and I don't know what is going to happen because of it Asuka." Misato replied cryptically remembering the words he had spoken at Nerv and the look in his eyes.

"You'll see Misato he'll be back to normal by tomorrow that Baka never seems to be able to hold a grudge."

'I Hope' both thought.

Standing by the window in his room Shinji stared out at the star strewn sky basking in the tranquillity of the moonlight that spilled over him from the heavenly moon in the midnight sky. Lifting his right hand it was revealed that he was holding the mobile phone Misato had given him when he first had come to Tokyo-3 but it still despite the supposed friends he had gained it remained unused and without a real purpose beyond giving Nerv a way to track him down. Thumb gliding over the display lightly it then set into action quickly entering a number he'd hoped never to need to use but kept in his memory in case of an emergency, after all the person he was contacting had aided in his necessary return to Human World and escape from his past as a Shinigami of Soul Society.

"Hello?"

"It's Shinji. Wake Urahara up, this is important." He stated calmly to the sleepy voice that answered his call.

"Not that I don't enjoy hearing from you Shinji but couldn't this wait till morning?" a second voice yawned into the phone after a solid five minutes of the young man waiting.

"You said if I ever needed order something or a favour to call you and right now I don't have time to get into it." Eyes gazing back into the night he spoke the words that had been relayed to him before leaving Karakura Town that first time before the summons by his father.

"And placing an order couldn't wait until our normal business hour?" Urahara asked with a bit of confusion and curiosity.

"I need a full kit for field operations along with anything you think will help and I need you to deliver here within the next few hours before noon if possible." He answered truthfully his mind thinking back to the tank of Rei's he had seen the night before.

"I thought you had given up being a Shinigami? I saw how you intervened a few days ago have you changed your mind?"

"I've seen things Urahara, things that make it impossible for me to continue to live in denial of my past and my own abilities. It's not about what I want it's about what I have to do, will you please bring me the supplies I need?" Shinji didn't want to get into details over the phone and knowing the ex-Shinigami he would have to explain it eventually.

"Nice to see you've stopped running and I'll be there in a few hours but this is going to cost ya kid."

"It always does" with a flick of his thumb the call was ended and Shinji flopped back on his bed.

'I just hope this doesn't alter Soul Society to my location or at least alert Him


Please Read and Review

Author Note 1: Hey folks I hope you enjoyed chapter one because it only gets better from here. I need suggestions for Shinji's Zanpakuto I have one already but I want to see what the readers think. Also, in case of pairings, I'm taking suggestions but this story will be long crossing both worlds so anything is possible but no YAOI!

Until next time