Fugue No. 1 in E Minor op 5
"Inheritance."

[A Neon Genesis Evangelion FanFiction by CyberForte

-Disclaimer-

Neon Genesis Evangelion and all associated characters, concepts et cetera are property of Gainax. This is merely a work of FanFiction for which the author shall receive no legal tinder for the creation of, and thus is not intended to violate that copyright. All original situations, characters, and concepts are copyright to CyberForte, but may be used freely by others so long as credit is given to their creator.

Author's Notes

N/A. See the End Notes.

"Inheritance."

"Will the Director of Project E please report to First Commander Ikari's office." It was a common enough announcement. In fact, it tended to happen at least once every day. But, on this day, at least several members of NERV found themselves exchanging secret glances. Particularly the older members. Today was the day...

Regardless of the activities committed by her fellow staff members, Dr. Ayanami at first didn't seem to react to the announcement, despite the fact that she had been awaiting it the entire day. If it had been anyone else, they might have said they were anxious. She had merely waiting, looking outwardly as she did any other day. Now, in actuality, she was indeed responding; the focus of her typing had changed to the wrapping up of her work as soon as the P.A. had come on, but it still took her a few moments. She knew that the Commander would expect this, and not react to the slight delay.

Once she had indeed concluded, she logged off her terminal in a timely manner (although with no rushing) and stood. She was still wearing her white lab coat, but she knew that this too would be expected by the Commander, and so it was of no consequence. Brushing her hand slightly against the Blue NERV logo embroidered on the left breast, she seemed perhaps to be removing dust? Of course, if it were anyone but the Doctor in question, it might have been taken as a gesture meant to reassure her it was real.

Once this was done, she calmly opened the door to her office and exited, the action taking her into a hallway which ran behind the operations center of the complex. This had been done purposefully, so that the Second Commander and Head of Project E would have easy access to said center if an emergency arose and she was required. But it also meant that she had to pass by the Center on her way to the elevator which would take her deeper into the complex.

Thus, as she passed, without moving her eyes much, the young woman glanced into the room in question. Although all the faces within were known to her, only perhaps three were truly familiar; the same three would have been familiar to Pilot Ayanami five years prior. And, of course, it was these three who threw their blue-haired commander slight glances as she walked past. The others were oft too unnerved to even look upon her. It was likely due in part to her physical appearance, of course, but that couldn't be all of it; she was more of an exotic beauty than a freak, even if she never bothered to attempt to look pleasing. No, it was rather her aura; her cold stare her methodical manner; her apparent lack emotion. These things scared off easily those who did not know her, and she did not encourage others to know her...nor did the First Commander.

Moving down the hallway beyond the doorjamb, she moved through the rest of the maze that was NERV HQ without faltering. Ignoring all she passed as was her prerogative, she only interrupted her travel with outside considerations twice more. The first time was when she passed the pony tailed director of Section Two whilst navigating through the break room. As ever, he was flirting with one of the staff, at least until the woman scurried off when the quasi-albino's crimson gaze fell upon the two. Flashing the former First Child a smirk, considering that he knew exactly where she was heading and why, he then moved on.

Ayanami's thought's lingered on him for a moment before doing likewise, however, even as her body followed in suit, drawing her towards the destination. Ryoji Kaji, former employee of SEELE, NERV, the Japanese Government, and an undisclosed number of other groups. Thought dead prior to the Third Impact, the man had in fact gone underground, intending to return once he had discovered the truth. To his misfortune, however, although he had returned to the post-Third Impact world hoping to be reunited with Misato Katsuragi, she had been killed in the SEELE attack on NERV HQ prior to Instrumentality, and thus had been unable to return herself. Deprived of his love, the man had been easy for the First Commander to draw into his resurrection of NERV with promises that he would at least be in a position to better discover the truth.

By the time these thoughts were done, she had reached the elevator that led into the depths of NERV. As she moved to press the call button, however, she found that the doors of the metal container opened off their own accord, divulging a slightly excited Kensuke Aida, the young man currently in charge of maintaining and working with the MAGI. Although he was a skilled worker, placed directly under her command, Ayanami still often found the boy's somewhat hyperactive nature irksome. And he seemed to believe that he could treat her with familiarity merely because they had known each other since before the Resurrection of NERV.

But, thankfully, he didn't seem inclined to pester his superior today, knowing better than most what this day must mean. Merely giving her a slight nod, which she did not acknowledge (not that he'd expected her to), he walked out and towards his station. Of course, the reason for his somber attitude was mainly that the First Commander had explicitly ordered it, but he hoped that the woman would appreciate it nonetheless. Shrugging to himself, Aida continued on his way back to his office; he needed to finish up work so that he could head home. Not that he didn't love the MAGI, but he had hopes of his own for the rest of the eve...

Without much regard, outward or inward, for the encounter she had just concluded, Ayanami merely stepped into the elevator and pressed the lowest of the buttons. It lit up for a moment, then the doors rolled into their closed position and the metal box descended into the bowels of the complex. But even now, her face was stoic as to the nature of the upcoming meeting, betraying none of what, if anything, she felt.

Finally, after a rather long, if smooth, ride, the door opened, revealing the dimly lit corridor that lead to the First Commander's ante-room. Walking through these as was her right, Ayanami completely ignored them. They were not of any consequence to her objective, which was the door at the far end of it. Stopping at the threshold, she actually hesitated for almost a second, but it was quickly opened. The time had come...

Opening the door soundlessly, she stepped into the room, taking stock of its interior more out of habit than any expectancy of encountering something new. The office rarely changed; it was dark, of course, and quite expansive. Upon the floor was engraved a great rendition of the tree of life, much similar to the gigantic one which had been formed by Unit-01 and the MP Evangelion Units during the Third Impact. The room's only light eerily shown upward from this carving in certain places, giving the room a blue cast.

For most visitors, one of three circles in the engraving would alight for them, both showing them their standing with the Commander and putting them at a disadvantage by harshly illuminating them whilst preventing them from seeing he well. Further from the desk was the Malkuth, or lower crown. This was where visitors who were in disfavor with the Commander or those deemed unimportant. It represented the power of accomplishment still, however, as it was an accomplishment to be in the Commander's presence at all.

Next in line for visitors, those who had no favor or disfavor and whose business was of some important were beckoned to the Yesod circle, which represented manifesting. This was the circle which meant one would actually manifest within the NERV Council, when it was in session, allowing the person within to address the council from a position of some authority, as opposed to those in the Malkuth, who would be seen as outsiders and not truly worthy of the Council's attention.

Finally, for those in high standing with the Commander and those who had highly important business, there was the Tipheret. Representing balance, symmetry, and creative power, it was a high honor to hold this circle. Not only was it the closest to the Commander, but in a meeting of the NERV Council, its holder would be actually be close to the center of the Council, and so be considered worthy of the rank of almost an equal, as well as being allowed to hold their full attention.

As to the Council itself, it was made up of the Commanders of each of major branch of NERV, and they held the remaining seven circles. Starting at the bottom left (from her prospective), the first circle, Hod, was held by the Commander of NERV France and represented intellectual and observational power. Sitting opposite to Hod was Netzach, the power of the now, and so well-suited to the Commander of the American NERV.

Moving upward from this circle, next was Chesed, the power of vision. This seat was occupied by the Commander of the Russian Branch, who was fittingly somewhat of a visionary, being one of the first to show interest in spreading the resurrected agency, and supporting them in the initial struggles against a SEELE-dominated UN. Above him, moving closer to the commander's desk, was Chokmah, the power of wisdom. This seat was occupied by the English NERV commander whose visage brought to mind the former holder of Ayanami's job, but with a bit more...substance.

Finally, moving back to the left side, opposing Chesed was Gevurah, the power of intention and judgment. This seat was, of course, filled by the hotheaded commander of NERV Germany, the former Second Child. Of course, it was rather incontinent for the agency that she often did modeling work on the side, but no one save the First or Second Commanders had the authority to intercede, and neither seemed to care enough.

Finally, her gaze fell upon the highest circle to her left; Binah, the power of love. Despite her technically being only the Second Commander, it was she who took this station, representing the main headquarters of NERV here in the rebuilt Tokyo-3. It was the only one of the installations to have two members of the council hail from it, also; between herself and Chokmah and further back in the room, past an ebony desk that was always covered in very neatly stacked papers, sat the final circle: Keter: Supreme Consciousness: The First Commander.

And, it was only he who was present, currently. Sitting at his desk in the calm and composed position that the Ikari males were so famous for, he looked quite unapproachable. Most others, even those who knew him, would have hesitated to even step past the unlit border of the first circle, but this was she, perhaps the one person in existence who could be imposing as well as her superior. Closing the door, she stepped further into the seemingly wall-less chamber, bypassing the three visitor circles without comment or acknowledgement. This was her right; even as she approached the hidden final circle, the one that no other guests were permitted to touch, he rose also, his face still unchanging, eyes unreadable beneath azure-tinted sunglasses.

As he stepped around his desk with a measured tread, the visitor finally spoke, offering her Commander a polite nod, "Commander Ikari."

Nodding in kind, and reaching the secret circle at the same time as she, he replied in kind, "Good evening, Doctor Ayanami."

As both stepped into the confines of the glass disc, it began to diffuse a soft azure light around them, the particles almost seeming to glow as they permeated the air. It was not the harsh lights that were used in the three circles before it, of course. Rather, it was comforting; enveloping. And it was warm. Raising his white-gloved hand to cup the face of his direct subordinate, the commander whispered slowly to her, "It's been five years to the day now..."

Shinji Ikari smiled, and the mask fell to pieces; shattered. It was not long before Rei's followed in suit, allowing herself a smile; it was a surprisingly intimate gesture, for both involved. A smile was something that both reserved almost exclusively for the other, in one case by necessity and in the other by choice. But it was not enough, at the moment, and the blue-haired woman's answer was to pull the other's head against her own, unleashing her passionate response in the form of a kiss rather than insignificant words. For these two, silence was comfortable.

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Of course, most of NERV knew that the two were lovers. Hell, most of the world did, with the way gossip flies around, but of course no one made comments openly. When one is talking about the heads of an organization that tore down the United Nations and is currently the world's highest military power. In whispers, it was often speculated that the two were either carrying over some sort of comfort relationship from the Pre-Third Impact Angel Wars or that they were engaging in their affair to satisfy the Oedipus Complex and Electra Complex that many rumors indicated that the First and Second Commanders of NERV possessed respectively. This assumption seemed to stem from the great physical similarities between Yui Ikari and Dr. Ayanami, as well as the obvious similarities between Commander Ikari and the previous man to hold that title.

If the two knew of this slander, they certainly didn't seem to care. So long as most of the world thought that they were just engaged in sexual relations and had nothing deeper, they didn't really give a damn what anyone said. Of course, those few who did know the truth--mostly the few NERV personnel to not die Pre-Third Impact and to re-manifest after it--were sworn to silence about it, and they knew that although Shinji might have donned a mask, he would still probably be willing to kill to keep his secret, and that Rei defiantly would. The trauma of the Angel Wars, the SEELE-NERV War, and over five years in the business of being in command of the major military power will do that to a person.

Thus, not even the great Asuka Langley Sohryu, now the Commander of NERV Germany and the only of the original Children to still pilot her Eva (or to have an Eva to pilot, for that matter) would tell anyone the truth, although not even the First and Second Commanders were certain whether Asuka's silence was out of respect, disgust, fear, or an attempt not to look jealous. One man probably knew, as the Truth was his job and passion, but no one cared enough to ask him. They were content with things as they were.

As for the continued existence of Project E, even with SEELE and the Angels defeated, well that could be attributed to the fact that NERV's continued power in world affairs was due to the Evangelions, as it's number of troops was actually very low. Thus, despite their somewhat distasteful nature, it was required that clones of the First Angel be made still. Luckily, Dr. Ayanami had, through her insight during Instrumentality, developed a way to create artificial souls, which made the piloting much less dangerous and the sacrifices much lower. It wasn't like there were many instances that the behemoths were actually used anyway; they were more a saber to be rattled.

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Several hours later, within a bed on the level below the office (surprisingly, there was one. It was accessed through the Da'at Circle that the two had stood within at the beginning of their meeting), the two laid entwined and unclad, though covered by several sheets and blankets. The room was surprisingly Spartan, despite the constant inhabitance of one and the fact that another spent a good many of her evenings there as well. The only real exception to this rule was the kitchen area, which could easily rival that of a Five-star resort. Apart from that and some necessities, all that could be seen within the room were a few trinkets, a cello and a violin.

Neither of the occupants had much use for material possessions, really, despite being in positions that would easily allow them lives of tremendous luxury. Really, though, they were both far more comfortable and happy with the simple things. Contentment came not in the form of items, but in the contact they shared. Few secrets existed between them... but, there was something that Rei had been meaning to ask about for quite some time. "Ikar--Shinji, do you still hate your father?" came the quiet question.

He didn't mind the slip of her tongue in addressing him, of course. It was hard for both of them to maintain their masks in each other's presence in public, and it was far more important that they maintained the proper facades, even if it did cause occasional slips in private. Words weren't that important anyway. As to the question, though... "Hm... No, not really. I lost the right to hate him for his actions five years ago." Although he saw no more need to say more out loud, to himself, he added, ...when I realized that I loved you.

Truly, it is very hard to continue to hate someone when you realize that you could see yourself following in their footsteps, even if that's quite hard to accept at first. But, even if not, there were others reasons that he couldn't hate Gendo Ikari. The foremost being that, although it was selfish, if his father hadn't done the things he had, the two would not be together now, and Rei likely wouldn't exist at all. That was a thought that the young man couldn't endure.

But, aside from that, there was another inheritance had had from his father, he mused as he snuggled closer to the quasi-albino. A mask. The mask. For, Shinji mused, even a coward like me can be imposing if he wears the right mask.

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Author's Notes Part II

Wow, I actually rather enjoyed writing this little one-shot. I've seen a number of 'Shinji becomes Gendo' fics in the past, and I decided that I wanted to do my take on the idea. Being a person who can easily put himself into the shoes of 'maniacs,' I can see that being Gendo has many advantages, and so I made this. The title refers to the last line, of course. And I do rather like the idea of that office I designed a great deal. I might use it in an Eva-based RP at some point. Overall, I'm not planning to change anything on this, since it was really just a spur of the moment whim on my part to even write it, but I am curious as to what you think of it. Thus, if you have time, reviews would be appreciated, whether you liked it or not. There were originally a few more details about the SEELE War that I was going to include, but they didn't seem to fit. It was mostly about Asuka pretending to betray NERV, but then destroying SEELE once she was in their confidence. Anyway, I'm glad I could do this, as I'm having trouble deciding where I want to go with An Angelic Scenario, but I still wanted to write, so... Anyway, thanks for reading another of CF's little crimes against the lilim race.