One Winged Angel
By:
James D. Fawkes

A/N: Hey! I kind of got this idea a little while ago, and I've been trying to satisfy this urge I have to write a Shinji x Rei fic. So, this is the result. Shinji is Nephilim, just like Rei and Kaworu.
Chapter One: The One Winged Angel

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

A young, fourteen-year-old boy with short unruly white hair and fair skin sighed, closing his eyes as he leaned up against the green post of the public telephone, his hands slipping into the confines of the pockets of his black pants. A roll of his shoulders brought a wrinkle to his white dress shirt. He was wearing what appeared to be a school uniform, his shirt tucked into his pants.

Shinji pulled out the picture he had been given, the one that showed the lady who was supposed to be picking him up in a very…interesting pose. Shinji's dark eyes studied her figure carefully, seemingly memorizing every detail it could give him. In reality, though, Shinji was merely gazing upon the woman who had been his mother figure. She had treated him like a son, up until she was killed.

"She's late," Shinji muttered fondly, his crimson eyes narrowing and his lips pulling into a slight smile. It was just like her to be late. "Again."

Slipping the picture back into his pocket, Shinji ran his right hand through his hair, sighing again. "After all this time…Father is calling me back? Heh, he'll probably have a heart attack when he sees me."

There was a crash in the distance and Shinji's red gaze flickered briefly to the giant beast attacking downtown Tokyo-3, watching as planes bombarded it with missiles and various other weapons. Without any sort of acknowledgment, he turned his head back, closing his eyes as he fought back some of the anxiety rising up in his chest. He'd be more successful this time.

"Disgusting," Shinji thought, his memories providing him with a detailed description of the leviathan lumbering through Tokyo-3. He could remember each of the angels with distinct clarity, his near photographic memory providing him with a name and face for each of them. He felt a slight twinge of grief as he came upon images Kaworu and Rei, the only angels who hadn't been mindless and malicious. They had been the closest people he could call family without actually being blood related.

Rei, of course, had borrowed a great deal of her appearance from Yui Ikari, Shinji's mother, but Shinji had spent enough of the last three or four years studying the process to know that the DNA connection she shared with him was only about 0.00021 percent. The incorporation of Lilith's genetic material had warped Rei's genes to the point where only her physical appearance spoke of Yui's DNA, and even that was stretching it. Yui had brown hair and brown eyes, as far as Shinji could remember. Rei had blue hair and red eyes, and it had been these exotic looks that had first drawn Shinji to her.

Of course, with largest aspect of Kaworu's last gift to Shinji, the boy's DNA was also warped beyond recognition. Where before, Shinji had calm brown hair and blue eyes, thanks to Tabris' parting present, Shinji now had messy white hair and red eyes. Unlike Kaworu, whose hair had been a soft grayish blue, Shinji's hair was as pure as snow and lacked any real color. If he had to describe how his messy mane fell now, Shinji would say it looked similar to the style of his favorite manga character, Hiiro Yui.

You could say that Shinji was obsessed with the fictional Gundam pilot, to the extent that he had sometimes considered changing his name (his hatred for his father also had something to do with that). He supposed it had something to do with the way Hiiro handled himself; cool and calm. He was unshakable, and never let anyone in on how he really felt. During battle, this allowed him to fight without his emotions causing him to fumble. Shinji wished he had that kind of calm in the midst of a fight, but he could lay no claim to that.

It was while he was reading the Gundam Wing manga that Shinji had come up with an idea. A genius one at that. He'd read enough about Hiiro and his unit to know the ins and outs of the Zero system, so why not build his own Zero system? Why not create that powerful program that relayed tactical information directly to the pilot's brain? It was after this idea struck him that Shinji thanked Tabris profusely for his gift(s), the blueprints for Eva Unit 01, even though the Angel of Free Will couldn't hear him.

So, after that, Shinji spent the next two years leading up to his next meeting with Gendo building his Zero system, designed specifically for his Eva, Unit 01.

"I guess," Shinji mused quietly, "that I should pick a name for myself, now that I'm officially part angel. But what sounds good?"

A loud screech met Shinji's ears and he could see a speeding object out of the corner of his eye nearly fifty meters down the road. Standing up straight, Shinji opened his eyes fully, his hand reaching down and picking up the luggage he had carried with him. He hadn't really packed much, so it was rather light, even though the little black box that contained the Zero system rested inside. The only thing else he brought in his backpack was a few changes of clothes and his walkman.

Shinji scratched lightly at the itch between his shoulders. Tabris had explained that there would be two diagonal scars between his shoulder blades. They represented his identity as a Nephilim, an angel-human hybrid who had 'lost' his wings. He had explained that they were there as a mark of the sin that it took to conceive or create a Nephilim, even though, in Shinji's case, the end justified the means. Kaworu had them, and Rei probably did too.

A car slammed to a halt in front of him, and Shinji opened his eyes wide, his crimson gaze latching onto the somewhat dated looking red car in front of him. The purple haired exhibitionist from the photo sat behind the wheel, wearing an outfit much more conservative than Shinji might have expected were his only resource that picture.

"Are you Shinji Ikari?" She asked, her shaded eyes focused on Shinji's apathetic figure.

"Depends on who's asking," Shinji replied evenly. "Misato Katsuragi I presume?"

She flashed him a million-dollar grin, giving him a thumbs-up, "Yup. That's me!"

"Then we better get going," Shinji said, opening the passenger side door and sitting down. He needed to act oblivious. "After all, I still have to find out what Father wanted before that abomination destroys us."

The car sped off again, headed to the place called NERV. In all honesty, Shinji didn't much care what his father did or wanted, he had come simply because he wanted to save the future and Rei. Gendo Ikari would, Shinji knew, attempt to destroy humanity, and was now calling for him to pilot the giant bio-machine known as Evangelion Unit 01. Shinji, knowing what would happen if he went, had answered the beckon without much of a second thought.

Making a hard left, Misato pulled out a pair of binoculars to better observe the monster as something caught her eyes. She swore, "Oh shit! They're going to use an N2 mine!"

Flinging the binoculars to the floor, she dove on top of Shinji, pushing him into the seat as a massive shock wave sent the car tumbling. Shinji couldn't help the blush that crossed his cheeks, Misato's generous bust pressed against his face as her tackle sent them into the confines of the car's comfortable seats. It was just as embarrassing the second time as it was the first.

Desperately trying to pull himself from the embarrassing position he was in, Shinji climbed from the toppled car as the blast from the explosion subsided, a dark blush still coloring his face. As he stood, Misato followed him, extracting herself from the red prison that had quickly replaced their set of wheels.

"Well," Misato said lightly. "At least it's still intact. Come on, let's flip it back over."

Shaking his head at her ridiculousness, he stood next to her, adding his hands to the machine's side as well. With a mighty heave, the car was flipped back over into the right position. Silently, the two of them reentered the car, and a few seconds later, they were cruising down the road again.

"So, I imagine it's going to be quite a surprise to see your father," Misato said conversationally.

"No, not really," Shinji said lightly. "Not unless he's wearing a dress."

Misato laughed, glancing at him for a second, before giving in to her curiosity, "What's with the eyes? They remind me of Rei."

"A genetic mutation," Shinji replied simply, "caused by contact I had with an ethereal being that bestowed upon me this blessing."

"Really? What do they do?"

"Various things," Shinji told her. "Including 360° vision and the ability to see through most objects…such as clothing."

Misato squeaked, falling silent in an effort to hide her embarrassment. Shinji smirked. It seemed as though Misato didn't like the idea of people seeing her in the buff as much as she tried to portray. He'd finally pulled one on the older woman.

"I'm kidding, Katsuragi-san."

Misato visibly relaxed, until he spoke again, "They can't see three-hundred-sixty degrees."

Shinji laughed as she turned red, glaring at him as she realized she'd been had. He shot her a cheeky grin.

Suddenly, Misato's cell phone rang.

"That must be headquarters," she mumbled to herself, flipping open the phone. "Misato here. Yes, yes I've got him. Well, there was a small incident with that N2 mine, but we'll be there soon. Yes. Don't worry. His safety is my top priority. Look, can you get a car train for us? An express of course. Well I did volunteer to pick him up, so it's only my duty to make sure he gets there. Later." She put the small phone away and concentrated on driving.

In what seemed to be no time at all, they had stopped at station where they would be catching their ride, and soon, they were on their way to see Commander Ikari. Of course, to Shinji, that man would always be 'Father', even if he didn't think of the man that way. It ticked Gendo off to no end to be called something so endearing.

Shinji glanced out the window, mentally noting all the places he'd been to before, "Hmm. So this is a Geofront?"

"Yup," Misato said brightly. "This is our last hope against the angels."

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

Shinji walked behind Misato, pretending to read through the NERV pamphlet he'd been sent in the mail. They were wandering around the Geofront, and Shinji knew they were helplessly lost. Misato sucked at telling directions, and it would be ridiculously suspicious if he knew the way.

"Misato?" he asked tentatively.

"What is it?" she asked back, glancing around searchingly.

"We've been walking for a while now," he told her, mentally marking their location, "haven't we reached my father's office yet?"

"Sh-shut up!" Misato stuttered, turning her head to glare at him. "Just shut up and follow me, okay?"

Finally, as they were walking down a corridor that Shinji barely recognized, a door opened behind them and a faux blonde walked out, saying, "Where are you two going?"

Misato and Shinji turned around to see Ritsuko Akagi, hands in her lab coat pockets, an eyebrow arched in question, "You're late, Captain Katsuragi."

"O-oh," Misato turned around, grinning nervously, "Hey there, Ritsuko."

"So late, in fact, that I was sent to find you," Ritsuko said, as if she were talking about the weather. Then she got serious, scolding even, "We have neither the time nor the manpower for such nonsense! Really, Misato! You got lost?"

"S-sorry!" Misato stuttered, scratching the back of her head sheepishly. "I still haven't got the layout of this place memorized yet!"

At that moment, Ritsuko seemed to finally realize that Shinji was standing there as well and smiled coyly, "Oh? So this is the Third Child everyone is talking about?"

"Shinji Ikari," Shinji said, inclining his head quietly. He noticed Ritsuko's smile slip a bit at the hushed monotone he used, realizing that he probably reminded her of Rei, "Nice to meet you."

"I-I'm Ritsuko Akagi of the first engineering division," it took her a second to regain her composure, he noticed. "P-Pleased to meet you."

She opened a door, motioning for him to follow, "Come along, Shinji. There's something I want to show you before you meet your father."

Nodding, Shinji followed her through the door, knowing exactly where she was taking him. It was almost time.

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

Shinji took in the face of the giant purple robot, raising a barely noticeable eyebrow beneath his snowy white hair. Knowledge of the creature would be suspicious, so he asked, "So this is what my father has been working on?"

"Correct," a deep voice boomed. Shinji turned slowly to look at the glass observatory at the top of the room. His father stood up there, presumably the one who had spoken.

"It's been a while," Gendo said, his face ever impassive.

"Old man," Shinji acknowledged quietly.

Gendo raised one of his own eyebrows, "You've dyed your hair and wear contacts? This is new."

"Dye? Contacts?" Shinji chuckled. "This is natural, all of it! It's a gift from the one I consider my brother."

There was a pause, then, making no indication of having heard his son, Gendo said, "We're moving out."

Misato did a double take, absolutely surprised by the turn of events.

"Moving out?" she asked, confused. "But Unit Zero is still in cryo-stasis…" Her eyes widened as she realized what the commander intended to do. "Wait a minute, you're going to use Unit One?"

Ritsuko looked at the major, sighing almost unnoticeably. "There's no other way," she said.

"Now wait!" Misato said, throwing her hands up. "Rei can't do it yet, can she? We don't have a pilot!"

Ritsuko glanced at Shinji, and then focused her eyes back on Misato. "We just received one."

Misato stared at Ritsuko for almost a full ten seconds, eyes wide, as if the doctor had grown a second head, "You're serious?"

Ritsuko turned to Shinji, whose laugh had dwindled down to a soft snicker.

"Shinji Ikari," Ritsuko said. "You will pilot it."

Misato shook her head vigorously, her opposition to the idea clear, "But even Rei took at least seven months to synchronize with her EVA! There's no way he could do it! He just got here!"

"He just has to sit in the seat," Ritsuko put a hand on Misato's shoulder, trying to calm her. "We don't really expect much more from him."

"Has he agreed?" Gendo was standing above the scene again, his arms behind his back.

"No," Shinji said quickly, cutting off whatever the Doctor and Captain Katsuragi might have said. "I get that you want me to pilot this monstrosity, but I don't see a reason to. What's in it for me? What do I get in return?"

Ignoring the quaking Geofront, Gendo inclined his head and snapped his fingers, seeming to have only heard the word 'no', "If you won't pilot it, I'll have to get someone who will."

A sound caught Shinji's ears. It was the sound of small wheels, like those on the bottom of an easy chair, squeaking as they rolled along a tile floor. Slowly, Shinji turned his head and looked towards the end of the iron mesh walkway. There, on a hospital bed, wrapped in bandages and with IV needles protruding from her arm, lay a pale skinned, blue haired girl, with one of her crimson eyes covered by the bandage that wrapped tightly around her head.

Shinji felt déjà vu creep up his spine as he caught sight of her. He remembered her from the memory of this exact same day, rolled out on that stretcher for the exact same reason. He felt his hatred for Gendo increase. The bastard was using Rei to get him to pilot obediently. Shinji's eyes narrowed. He'd pay for it eventually.

"Rei," Gendo said calmly, no hint of remorse in his voice, "our spare is useless. You must do it again."

Panting painfully, the girl's voice shook as she spoke, "Y-yes, sir."

There was a shock wave, and everything suddenly lurched, knocking the doctors down and nearly jarring the girl from her bed. The doctors, surprised by the quake, fell into the disinfectant below, screaming as it ate away at their bodies. Misato, Ritsuko, and Shinji held fast to the railing, managing to stay upright. Shinji was jerked from his surprise by a soft gasp of pain, his dark eyes latching on to the girl's shaking form.

There was a loud creak as a large metal beam fell from the ceiling towards the prone girl laying on the frail gurney. Faster than he could rationalize his reasons, Shinji took off, racing towards her. As the huge beam hit the walkway and knocked Rei off her stretcher, he caught her gently, cradling her in his arms.

Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, he turned his smoldering red gaze up to his father, holding back a snarl. Venom dripping from his words, he said, "Fine! I'll pilot the damn thing!"

Carefully setting Rei back down on the cold walkway, he leaned forward to whisper in her ear. Quietly, he told her, "I'll pilot it…for you."

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

As he sat down in the entry plug, Shinji pulled a small black box out of his pocket. While the cameras were still off, he slid open a panel on the headrest, quickly reconstructing the tangle of wires within. After he had finished disconnecting the right wires, he hooked them up to his little black box, watching as a small light on the cube flashed green, then red. Smirking, he fit the box into place amongst the circuits and closed the panel, righting himself in the seat. The cameras flickered to life.

"Cooling down cycle complete! All internal cage systems in docking position!"

"Pilot has reached the cockpit position within the entry plug!"

"Roger! Inserting entry plug!"

Several cables snapped loose loudly as the entry plug was inserted, swinging away from where they had been. The EVA's head slid back into position, locking the entry plug into place with the dorsal hatch. Shinji's features remained unwavering, his eyes set determinedly and his face etched into a firm, serious scowl.

"Plug lock-in procedure complete!"

"Initiating first level interface!" Maya Ibuki called out, Ritsuko and Misato nodding behind her. "Flooding Entry Plug!"

Shinji looked down in feigned surprise as LCL rushed up from the bottom of the entry plug, rising quickly up his body, "Wh-what?!"

"Don't be alarmed!" Ritsuko's face appeared within a small, nearly opaque window a few feet from his head. "Once your lungs are saturated with the LCL, you'll be able to undergo direct oxygen exchange!"

"Calm down, Shinji!" Misato shouted. "You'll get used to it in a minute."

Tensing, Shinji calmed and closed his eyes, taking in a deep breath as the liquid rose above his head and engulfed his body. His face twisted in disgust. He'd never get used to the coppery, blood-like taste of the fluid. No matter how often he had to breathe LCL, he'd never be able to do any more than tolerate it.

"Main power connected!" Maya shouted, eyes glued to the screen in front of her. "All circuits fully functional! Initiating power up sequence!"

"A10 neural synapses operating within normal limits! First contact all clear! Opening reciprocal circuits!"

Misato's eyes widened as Ritsuko whispered, "This is incredible!"

On the screen showing Shinji's sync ratio, three digits glowed brightly, unwavering in even the slightest point: eighty-eight point six percent. All who could twisted in their seats, leaning over to try and glimpse what had stupefied the three women.

Pulling herself out of her shock, Maya said, "S-synchro errors are within zero point three percent."

"It's going to work," Ritsuko whispered, turning to Misato. It seemed to pull the other woman from her stupor.

"Evangelion Unit 01, prepare to launch!" the captain shouted.

"Releasing primary lock bolt!" Maya yelled, a large lock disengaging seconds later. "Release confirmed! Releasing umbilical bridge!"

The walkway Shinji had been on earlier zoomed away from the motionless machine, exposing the part of the beast's chest that had been hidden.

"Releasing primary and secondary restraints! Releasing safety locks 1 through 15!" several more locks around the large robot's body disengaged, freeing it just a little further. Only the arm restraints remained.

"Internal battery fully charged! External power outlet nominal! Transporting Eva to launch elevator!"

The metal tile the machine was standing on moved backwards, taking the giant robot with it. It stopped as it collided softly with a wall, causing its cargo to rattle slightly.

"Gate five, standby! Launch path clear! All green! Launch preparations are complete!"

"Roger!" Misato shouted, turning around. "Commander Ikari, do we proceed?"

Gendo merely stared at her from over his folded hands, saying, "Of course we proceed. If we fail to defeat the angels, humanity has no future."

Misato spun around, shouting, "Launch!"

As the pad underneath Unit 01 crackled with electricity and shot upward towards the surface, taking the monstrous mecha with it, Shinji could only smirk lightly. So far, so good.

In a matter of seconds, a gate opened and Unit 01 came up through it, the elevator slamming to a halt. Standing about 100 yards in front of the purple beast, the greenish monster that Shinji knew to be Sachiel stared, frozen in place.

"This is it, Shinji," Misato's voice crackled over the intercom. "Releasing final safety locks!"

The arm restraints jumped from the violet mecha's forearms and shoulders, freeing it at last. There was a pause, everyone breathlessly waiting for something to happen, then Shinji's voice lit up on the intercom within the Geofront.

"Um…how do I work this thing? Does it come with an instruction manual?"

The entire bridge crew was silent for nearly ten seconds, then Ritsuko leaned over Maya's shoulder and looked at the video feed showing Shinji, "Just concentrate. Focus your mind on the concept of walking, running, etc. The Eva is operated through mental effort! Your actions are only limited by your mental abilities!"

There was another pause as Ritsuko got a foreboding feeling from the tiny smirk on Shinji's lips as his voice appeared again, "So…the EVA's abilities are only limited by my mind? I can do practically anything?"

"Now, Shinji, I didn't say tha—"

"Thanks, Doctor Akagi." Shinji interrupted, turning his attention back to the angel.

"Concentrate," the bridge crew listened in intently as Shinji whispered to himself. "Concentrate…"

The EVA's hand suddenly shot out, palm up and fingers spread tensely. It looked like it was holding an invisible, Eva-sized basketball, its grip tight so as to keep from dropping it. Then, just as suddenly, it clenched its hand, a sword of flame clutched within its grasp.

The bridge crew was silent, but for the small background noise that filtered in and the occasional crash as someone fell from their chair in surprise. The background noise steadily grew, loud enough for the entire group to hear but too quiet to be distinct and decipherable. No one paid it any attention.

No one but Ritsuko, anyway. She turned from the screen to Maya, saying, "Turn up the volume! I want to know what that background noise is!"

"Roger!" Maya cried, fulfilling the command of her superior.

Music suddenly lit up the bridge, the chanted lyrics strong and overlapping the heavy beating of drums:

"Estuans interius
ira vehementi.
Estuans interius
ira vehementi.
Se-phi-roth!
Se-phi-roth!"

"Incredible," Ritsuko whispered, her face locked in an expression of awe. "He's directly linked his thoughts to the audio system in the entry plug, feeding this song through it and playing it as a sort of 'theme song'. I never even thought of something like this!"

"Estuans interius
ira vehementi.
Estuans interius
ira vehementi.
Se-phi-roth!
Se-phi-roth!"

"What are they singing?" Misato asked, turning to the doctor. "I don't recognize it."

"One Winged Angel," Ritsuko said. "It's from a pre-Second Impact video game called Final Fantasy VII. Only…it's not possible. After Second Impact, the game became so rare that it was almost impossible to find. The movie based after the game, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, is even harder to find."

"I asked about the lyrics," Misato replied flatly.

"'Burning inside with violent anger. Burning inside with violent anger', that's what it means," Ritsuko told her. "It's sung in Latin. Many of the fans who played the game and liked Sephiroth considered him the 'Angel of Vengeance' or the 'Angel of War'."

"Veni, veni, venias,
Ne me mori facias.
Veni, veni, venias,
Ne me mori facias."

"'Come, come, O come,'" Fuyutsuki translated, face set in a stoic frown. "'Do not let me die'."

"But," Ritsuko said, frowning, "how did he find this music? Where could he have come across the game or even the soundtrack made for the game? The Playstation game system is almost impossible to find and is so outdated that the latest models don't even play the game disks. How is this happening?"

"Veni, veni, venias, (Gloriosa)
Ne me mori facias. (Generosa)
Veni, veni, venias, (Gloriosa)
Ne me mori facias. (Generosa)"

"There could be several different reasons," Gendo said, interrupting the conversation. "Right now, it doesn't matter."

"Se-phi-roth!
Se-phi-roth!"

The entire crew turned back to the screen showing the battle as Shinji let out a war cry and charged towards the angel, fire-sword brandished threateningly. In response, the Angel's right hand shot out, intent on grabbing the Evangelion's head. It missed as Shinji ducked, moving inside the creature's guard and stabbing the flaming sword into the demonic beast's right shoulder.

"Estuans interius
ira vehementi.
Estuans interius
ira vehementi.
Se-phi-roth!
Se-phi-roth!"

With a cry from Shinji and a screech of pain from the angel, Sachiel's right arm was severed from his body. Smoke and steam rose from the angel's stump of a right shoulder as Shinji pulled back, rearing up for another slash. He ducked beneath a retaliatory left hook and swung his sword, cutting both legs off at the knees.

As the demonic creature flailed on the ground, Shinji brought his sword to bear again and slashed a third time at the beast's downed form. It flailed even harder as the sword of fire severed its left arm too, an angry hissing filling the air as steam rose from the vacant left shoulder. It was powerless up against the demon that was Unit 01.

"Estuans interius
ira vehementi.
Estuans interius
ira vehementi.
Se-phi-roth!
Se-phi-roth!"

"Hurry, Shinji!" Misato cried. "Kill before it can regenerate its limbs!"

"There's no chance of that, Misato," Shinji's calm voice replied. "Wounds made of this type of fire take weeks to heal properly."

As the angel wiggled around on the ground, it began to glow, its red core shining brightly.

"It's going to self-destruct!" Ritsuko cried urgently.

Snarling, Shinji stabbed downward, piercing the crimson orb of Sachiel like a hot knife through butter. Silence ruled for a few seconds, the glow receding, then the Third Angel fell back to the ground, quiet as the still darkness surrounding it.

Shinji sighed, the flame sword dissipating into nothingness, and looked around himself, grimacing. The city had suffered a great deal of damage from Sachiel as well as when the beast had been thrashing around without its limbs. Its right arm had landed on a building, crushing it by sheer force of gravity.

Leaning back, Shinji closed his eyes and rubbed his temples, willing away his headache. The Zero System had worked perfectly, making it much easier for him to predict the Angel's moves and dodge around them, but it left him with one hell of a migraine afterwards. He quickly ruled out the system having any defects, having slaved over the thing for nearly three years before deeming it perfect. He'd just have to get used to using it.

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

Shinji ran a hand through his snowy hair, sighing in exasperation as walked through the halls of the NERV hospital. The hospital staff had insisted he stay overnight for observation after he had gotten out of the entry plug, claiming that they wanted to see what effects piloting the giant thing had on him.

He looked up as the squeak of tiny wheels filtered into his ears, watching two doctors move a gurney with Rei on it in his direction. Stopping the doctors for a second, both of whom threw him an irritated glare, Shinji turned to the girl in the moveable bed. Smiling, he reached down and cupped her uninjured cheek, "Get better, okay, Rei? Pretty girls shouldn't have to wear bandages."

He smiled as they wheeled her away, a small blush on her face. They were stopped again by the Commander, his father, who leaned over her bed and said something. He didn't hear what, nor was he sure he wanted to know, but Rei said something back, prompting Gendo to look over at Shinji.

Their eyes met, and Shinji tried to convey all the hatred he had for the man in one, flaming glare. Gendo, his eyes icy, gazed back without flinching, seemingly unconcerned with the hatred his son held for him. Then, the instant was over and Gendo turned away, following the gurney down the hall.

"Such a cold man!" Misato said, walking up next to Shinji. "Surely his soul-weary son deserves a kind word or two!"

"Misato," Shinji said, glancing at her from over his shoulder. She smiled brightly.

"I came to pick you up!"

Misato followed him as he strolled back towards his room, "I heard you were kept for observation, and then that you were okay…I'm glad, Shinji."

Shinji smiled, "Thanks, Misato-san."

"I can take you to your place," she told him. "HQ's got it all set up. You're rated private quarters."

Scowling at the memory of the shrinking form of his father, Shinji wasn't really listening, "Sure…"

Misato frowned, "Hey, are you okay with living on your own? If you submit a petition, you could arrange to live with your father."

"No," Shinji said, glaring at the twisting hallway Gendo had disappeared behind. "That's alright. I feel more at ease alone. Besides…I don't want to live with my old man."

"Oh, come on, don't be silly!" Misato smiled. "Parents and children naturally live together! Don't hold back — if there's something you want to say, let it out…"

Shinji sighed, "It's none of your business, Misato-san."

"Hey, what's with that tone?" Misato said loudly. "I'm just worried about you, that's all!"

Shinji turned a single eye, his smirk hidden behind his shoulder, "Don't you have enough to worry about?"

"So gloomy," Misato said, glaring at him in a creepy manner. "Like some kind of mood disorder…I'll fix that personality of yours."

She turned around and pulled out her cell phone, dialing the number at what seemed the speed of light, "Hello, Ritsuko. Yeah, it's me. It's about Shinji, he's going to be living with me for a little while."

Misato laughed at something Ritsuko said, though Shinji could see a vein protruding on her forehead, "Don't be a worry wart! I'm not so desperate that I'd jump a child. Just go get me the proper approval from upstairs, okay? See ya!"

She flipped the phone closed before Ritsuko could say anything in response, grasping his arm tightly and nearly dragging him away.

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

"Ha, ha, ha!" Misato laughed as they zoomed away from NERV headquarters, her car performing dangerous stunts all over the pavement. "Today we're going to party!"

Shinji sighed, staring out the window, his thoughts locked on his most important person, "What's there to party about?"

"A welcoming party for my new roommate, of course!" Misato said joyfully, glancing at the moody Shinji.

Frowning at the respect he'd seen in Rei's eyes when she'd talked to Gendo, Shinji glared out the window, "Forgive me if I'm not in the partying mood."

"Geez!" Misato whined exasperatedly. "What are you all upset about, now?"

Shinji's frown deepened as he realized that, as far as he knew, Rei still had a pair of the Commander's nearly-broken glasses sitting in her room, "Nothing…"

"Hey, I got it!" Misato swerved dangerously, taking a new route. "Just a small detour on the way, okay?"

After a few more minutes of driving, Misato pulled to a stop at a very familiar place and both occupants of the red car stepped out. In a dazed state of déjà vu, Shinji followed Misato as she walked up to the fence a few yards away.

He barely heard her remark as she checked her watch, "It's almost time…"

As the sun rose and the hidden buildings shot out of the ground, Shinji felt just as awed as when he'd first seen it. Quietly, he whispered, "Beautiful…"

"This is Tokyo-3, Shinji. The city blocks were lowered into the Geofront for the attack," Misato said softly, explaining the sight to him. "Our city, designed to withstand a siege from the angels."

Shinji had a slightly narcissistic thought about how it couldn't withstand a siege from him if he really wanted to destroy it. It was gone an instant later, though, simply because such a thought was un-Shinji-ish.

"More than that," Misato smiled lightly, speaking just as softly as before, "the city you defended."

Shinji blushed, staring at his toes with a slight smile, "I-it wasn't as heroic as you make it sound. Sure, I piloted the Eva, and I did defeat the angel…but it wasn't to 'save humanity' or anything like that."

He looked towards the rising sun, his smile more firm, "I piloted it…to make sure that Rei didn't have to."

"Well, I don't know what your definition of a hero is," Misato gripped Shinji's shoulder firmly, comfortingly, "but that sure sounds like a hero to me."

She grinned lecherously, "Just don't go getting her pregnant on us, hero, or you'll both be in big trouble."

Shinji blushed like a beet, shouting, "Mi-Misato!"

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

With a little difficulty, Rei pushed open the door to her apartment, halfheartedly considering the idea of asking for help from Section Two. The idea was tossed away as quickly as it came, however, and Rei walked through the door, her right arm slung in a cast and her right eye covered in protective gauze.

The moment she leveled her gaze on the tiny space of her desolate apartment, her eyebrows shot up into her hairline, her eyes widening in surprise involuntarily. Her room, her bed, her kitchen, her entire apartment was spotless. No stains covered her sheets, no clothes lay discarded on the floor, no longer did bloody bandages grace her trashcan or litter the tiles beneath her feet. It was clean, swept, and dusted.

Rei stared around in amazement, wondering if she had perhaps made a small error in apartments and was in the wrong one. She discarded this thought as she came upon the sight of a pair of cracked glasses sitting innocently upon a piece of her furniture, belonging to Commander Gendo Ikari. This was her apartment, but it did not look like it.

Her gaze turned to the windows, where freshly laundered drapes hung around the sides, allowing bright sunlight to filter in through the glass panes. The window itself had been cleaned, as well, to the point where she had trouble seeing the glass. It had been dusted and the scuff marks had disappeared too. It was too fresh to have been cleaned more than two hours before.

The smell of detergent brought Rei's attention to the sink that lay in her kitchen, prompting her mouth to fall open only slightly. Where, before, dish upon dish had been piled up in her sink, waiting to be washed, now there was an empty sink, devoid of the offending porcelain utensils. It was cleaned and scrubbed to the point that the sunlight streaming through the window easily reflected off of the shiny metal.

Rei's attention deviated again as the sound of music filled her ears. Someone, presumably a teenage male, was humming 'Ode to Joy' rather loudly, filling the entire apartment with a heavenly smoothness she didn't know the human voice possessed. Quickly, she deduced that the humming was coming from the bathroom, and she knew that she wasn't alone in her apartment.

The humming got louder as the bathroom door opened and light from the restroom lit up the small hallway the led up to it. A head of snowy white hair poked out, sideways and about level with Rei's knees. The head looked very familiar, from the style of the hair, all the way down to the red eyes and smile. Instantly, Rei blushed, remembering the last words she had heard from the mouth that smile belonged to.

"Hm, hm, hm, hm-hm, hm, hm, hm," Shinji sang, straightening and walking out of the bathroom. His hands, covered by latex gloves, held a large bag of garbage. Continuing his song, he walked past her as if she weren't there, went through her door, and tossed the gloves and the trash bag into a nearby open dumpster. They landed with a dull crash, the result of throwing something from so high up.

Only when he walked back in, turned off the bathroom light and turned to leave did he seem to notice her, his song abruptly ending. He blinked, mouth open slightly, then grinned sheepishly, "Uh…Hi, Rei."

"Ikari," Rei acknowledged. "Why are you here?"

"Ah," Shinji responded, still grinning. "I came to check up on you. I found out you lived here from Misato, so I came here to see if you were feeling better, but you weren't here. Your room was a mess, so…I kind of just cleaned it."

"Why?" Rei asked, confused.

"Because you deserve to live in a good place," Shinji said firmly. "Living in a dump isn't good for you, so I cleaned it up."

"Why?" Rei repeated. "Why do this for me?"

"Because you're the reason I'm still here," he said, all trace of indecision and nervousness gone from his face. "Because you're the reason I piloted Eva, and you're the reason I will continue to pilot Eva. I pilot it because I don't want you to get hurt. You're…important to me, Rei."

"I…do not understand," Rei said, her voice uncertain. She was confused, and Shinji found it cute.

He smiled, "Don't worry about it too much. You will eventually."

Moving closer to her, he lifted her injured arm from its sling, frowning when she flinched. Carefully, he lifted the bandaged limb towards himself with his left hand, placing his right atop her forearm. Reflexive tears welled up in the corners of Rei's visible eye, her brow crinkling slightly.

Shinji's hand glowed with a soft white light and Rei's face relaxed into its normal neutral look. A soft warm sensation spread along her injured arm, from her fingertips to her shoulder. It was a soothing warmth, wholly comfortable and extremely gentle. Were Rei an ordinary girl who grew up in an ordinary way, she would probably describe it as the 'Touch of an Angel'.

Shinji smiled, "There. I healed your broken arm, but I'm afraid I can't do anything about your eye. Eye tissue is too delicate. I mess up, and you could go blind."

Quietly, Shinji walked past the stunned Rei, heading for her door. He was just about to leave when she spoke up, causing him to halt and look back at her, "Ikari-kun."

She looked at him, face crinkling in concentration, as if struggling to find the words she wanted to use, "Thank you."

Smiling brightly, Shinji waved, then disappeared, replaced by three raven black feathers that slowly drifted to the ground. The next day, were it not for her healed arm and her clean apartment, Rei would have questioned whether or not it had all been a hallucination caused by her pain killers.

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

"And so, while mankind has always praised the maturation of culture that comes with the advancement of science, the time came when all was reduced to ashes. It was the last year of the twentieth century. I'm sure you all know about the great meteor impact in Antarctica."

The wrinkly old teacher straightened his thick glasses, then continued with his lecture, "As a result of that event, the ice of the continent evaporated in an instant and the sea level rose by sixty meters. The world was assaulted by droughts, floods, volcanic eruptions, and all the ensuing economic panics and racial conflicts."

"So," one girl asked quietly, whispering to her neighbor, "did you hear? All the guys have been talking about it."

"In a mere six months, half the human population was lost forever."

"About what?" the other girl asked back, leaning over her desk slightly to better hear the answer.

"You know that boy who transferred in yesterday?" the first girl asked, grinning excitedly. "They say he's the pilot of that robot."

"This event has come to be called 'The Second Impact'."

"What? You're kidding!" the second girl hissed loudly. "Are you serious?"

Both girls quickly snapped back to their proper positions as the teacher looked up at them, pausing in his lecture. He peered at them from behind his glasses, his expression unchanging. Shinji felt a small smile cross his face. He doubted the old man knew what was going on.

Shinji glanced over at Rei, whose head quickly snapped back to staring out the window, a slight pink tingeing her cheeks. A smile twitched at the corners of his mouth as he realized she had been staring at him, and he'd caught her in the act.

Rei resisted the urge to reach up and feel her burning cheeks, knowing that it would only bring more attention to herself. She couldn't explain why she was blushing, and she knew that that was what was happening to her, but she didn't know what had prompted her to stare at her fellow pilot. Something just felt…right about Shinji Ikari, as if her true purpose were to spend her life with him instead of being the Commander's tool in the Human Instrumentality project.

She couldn't explain it, just like she couldn't explain why she found it hard to breathe when she thought of Naoko Akagi. There was simply some part of her that recognized him as a key figure in her life, whether or not she knew why. And…the way he'd held her hand and healed her…

A memory suddenly popped up in Rei's mind of an event she had never known before. She was in her untidy apartment, naked upon the cold floor and lying prostrate. Shinji, with dark brown hair and blue eyes, kneeled above her, one hand on the floor holding himself up, and the other placed softly on her right breast. His right knee was pressed up against the apex of her thighs, his pants teasing a very sensitive part of her female body.

Still, the Rei lying on the floor, who Rei was sure wasn't the real her, did not so much as blush at the intimate contact, staring blankly into Shinji's surprised and horrified face. Then, with speed born of fear, Shinji flew backwards, backing against the wall and apologizing profusely, his eyes shut tightly. He was bowing, begging for her forgiveness, and yet the Rei lying on the floor did nothing but stare at him expressionlessly.

Just as suddenly as it began, the memory ended and Rei was again sitting at her desk in classroom 2-A. Nothing had changed during her brief trip into that strange memory, nor had anyone seemed to notice her spacing out. Rei frowned slightly, curious about what she had seen.

Maybe she should ask the Commander…? No. Rei mentally shook her head very strongly, before realizing that such a reaction was unbefitting of her character. Ever since Pilot Ikari had healed her, she'd been having very strong negative feelings towards the Commander, as though he'd betrayed the deepest of trusts she'd had in him. She found it hard to refute these feelings, deciding instead to ignore them.

But these…changes in her personality were most troubling, and something was definitely amiss with the entire situation. She would wait until she could gather further details…and maybe she would ask Shinji about this strange memory.

"That was fifteen years ago, and in a mere fifteen years, we've come this far. One could attribute this to man's inherent greatness, but it would be closer to the truth to say it was the result of your parent's blood and toil —the fruit of their labors."

As soon as the bell rang, the two girls who had been whispering before stopped Shinji from moving by walking up to his desk, saying, "Hey, Ikari! Got a minute?"

The blonde one leaned towards him excitedly, "How come you transferred here just as people were starting to evacuate?"

Shinji almost blinked at the question, realizing that he had forgotten about all of the questions and inquiring minds that would descend upon him shortly after the first battle.

He was given no time to answer as the blonde continued to ask, "So the rumor's true, isn't it?"

Shinji blinked, "Rumor?"

"Don't play dumb!" the brunette scolded him. "The rumor that you're that robot's pilot!"

"Is it true?" the blonde asked immediately, staring at him eagerly.

Shinji glanced around, noticing that the entire class was listening, waiting for his answer. He sighed, "Yeah, it's true."

"Oh my god!" the blonde screeched. "I knew it!"

The response was immediate.

"That's so cool! How'd they choose you?"

"Was there a test or something?"

"Weren't you scared?"

"Does it have a special attack?"

Shinji blinked again at the last one. Special attack? EVA? He nearly snorted. The day an Evangelion had any sort of secret ability or special attack was the day Gendo smiled for him genuinely, without any hidden meanings behind it. He was so wrapped up in the ridiculousness that the class took his silence for an 'I can't tell you'.

"Well, tell us this," a different blonde girl said, leaning urgently over his desk. "What was that monster? Was it some country's secret weapon?"

Shinji paused for a second, thinking back to the hulking form of Sachiel, and the different shapes and abilities of the other angels, "I don't know for sure, and I doubt anyone but my superiors know much about it either, but they called it an 'Angel'."

"You think you're all that, but you don't know anything, do you?" Shinji turned to regard the boy at the door wearing a tracksuit. "What are you— stupid?"

The boy Shinji recognized as Toji stood straight up, ready to make his way toward Shinji when Hikari Horaki, the class representative, stopped him. She said, "Oh! Suzuhara! You missed a whole week of school without permission!"

"It ain't any of your concern!" Toji told her loudly. "Shut up!"

He turned from the pigtailed girl, pushing a desk out of his way as he sauntered up to Shinji. Loudly, he slammed his right hand down on Shinji's desk, leaning forward in what he tried to make an intimidating pose, "Hey, new kid! Step outside, now!"

Shrugging, Shinji stood.

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

The sun shown brightly in the vacant lot, bathing its occupants in its bright rays. The pavement glowed a yellowish gray, the cement reflecting the unnaturally bright sunlight. Toji paced across it, throwing Shinji a glare every now and then.

"Okay, new kid, listen up!" Shinji was reminded of a drill sergeant by the strict force behind Touji's voice. "My younger sister was hurt bad— she's still in the hospital! My dad and grandpa both work in your lab, so I'm the only one who can go see her."

Toji stuffed his hands in the pockets of his jacket, glaring at Shinji, "Now, it's not the going there that I mind, but suppose she has a scar? She'll never be a babe! Don't you feel sorry for her?"

He moved a little closer, nearly hissing his next words, "Whose fault do you think it was?"

Shinji just stared, running multiple scenarios through his head. He needed one that caused the least damage, one that didn't get him or Touji hurt in the process. Having no solid connection to NERV, Touji's word wouldn't be considered credible if he claimed something outrageous about Shinji, and he doubted Touji would do something like that anyway. It wasn't his style.

"It's your fault!" he jabbed his finger accusingly at Shinji, yelling, "She was pinned under rubble because you had to go playing with your new toy! Don't think you're so hot just because they're all over you!"

"Sorry," Shinji said, "but I don't understand what you want me to do about it."

'Healing a wound like that…' Shinji thought, his brow mentally furrowing. 'Pinned under rubble? That sounds a lot worse than a mere broken arm. Healing her now would only reveal me too soon.'

"You little punk!" Toji swung his fist, intent on landing a solid blow on Shinji's jaw.

It stopped mere inches from Shinji's nose, hovering in front of the Third Child's face with no sign of moving any closer. From her position in the window a few floors up, Rei nearly gasped with surprise. In front of Touji's fist was a transparent force field, orange hexagonal ripples washing away in waves from the point were the jock's closed hand had collided with it.

"This is as bright as the Light of my Soul can shine without alerting my superiors," Shinji commented, staring past the fist to the surprised eyes of Toji. Touji nearly flinched as they locked gazes. Shinji's eyes had a sorrowful, regretful look to them, as if he was doing something he hated, or had seen one too many horrid things. "As it is, you can't touch me."

"Why you— !" Toji reared his fist back again, ready to let another punch fly.

"Hey!" Hikari Horaki glared at Toji. "What are you guys doing?"

Toji backed away, dropping his arms to his sides, glaring vehemently at Shinji. He walked past the white-haired boy, noticing that the hexagonal ripples had disappeared as soon as his fist had stopped touching the invisible force field. Angrily, he hissed, "You got lucky today."

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

Shinji stood on top of the roof, looking out over the majestic form of Tokyo-3. He could sense Rei watching him from the side of the sheltered stairwell that led up to the roof of the school, but she was just barely out of his line of sight. She didn't want him to know she was there, so he wouldn't let her know he knew.

It wasn't a reaction he'd expected, but it wasn't too surprising, either. Tabris' final gift had been the memories and souls of Shinji's closest and most precious people. Everyone that was important to Shinji had been sent back in time as well, their memories locked away with Shinji as the only key. He needed to have a certain type of contact to unlock those memories, and Rei was, so far, the only one who he had achieved that contact with. No doubt, she was slowly remembering things that hadn't happened yet and didn't know what to do.

So, she, having undoubtedly deduced that he was the cause of those confusing memories, had decided to watch him and to ask the questions she wanted to ask. As soon as she figured out what questions she would ask of him, anyway. He didn't think she had a firm grasp on what she was going to ask about, nor did she have any idea how to word her queries.

She was, essentially, a mixture of the Rei from the current time and the Rei he had known before coming back. She was Rei II and Rei III, but her personality was split between the two. He doubted she would be completely Rei III by the time she had relived the experiences she'd been through in the future, but she would be different. That much he knew.

But…if memory held, Rei III didn't remember much of what had happened during the timeline. Did that mean that this Rei he had gifted would only remember bits and pieces about what was to come? He wasn't sure.

"Hello, Shinji," Shinji looked over at the translucent form of Kaworu leaning up against the railing. "Or maybe I should call you Sephiroth, the Angel of Vengeance?"

Shinji smiled, turning back towards the sky in front of him, "Astral projection, Kaworu? I didn't know you could do that."

"I don't think anyone knew, Shinji," Kaworu said, smiling. "The only one of my angelic powers that I ever used in full sight was my 'AT Field', as the Lilim call it."

Kaworu's face turned serious, "Have you done it?"

Shinji nodded, "Yes. Lilith's soul is gone. Rei is purely herself now."

Kaworu folded his arms, "That leaves me as the only one capable of being used for Instrumentality."

Kaworu cocked his head, smirking, "Of course, with you here, there's no reason for me to start Third Impact, is there, Sephiroth?"

"No," Shinji shook his head. "Even if I must do so myself, SEELE and those responsible for Second Impact will be dealt with. I will do it. Even if I have to crash a meteor onto Tokyo-3, I will do it."

Detecting a hint of hesitation in Shinji's voice, Kaworu laid a translucent hand on his shoulder, "I know you don't like to hurt others, Shinji, and I will help you in our venture, but you have an obligation to our brothers and sisters…and to the human race. If Third Impact is to be averted, we must first rid ourselves of those responsible for the retribution of the Angels."

There was a silence as Kaworu's words floated in the air, the seriousness of his tone leaving no doubt that he was speaking the truth. This, Shinji knew. Those who had tried to experiment on Adam, the First Angel, in Antarctica nearly fifteen years ago brought on the presence of the Angels. There was nothing to be done but rid the world of those responsible, and the idea of killing others bothered Shinji, but there was something else that caught Shinji's attention.

"I have a question, Kaworu," Shinji turned to his ghostly friend. "Are the angels genetically related to one another?"

Kaworu blinked, then chuckled a little, sensing the moral distress in his voice, "No. To understand why we refer to each other as siblings, you must understand that the Angels love everything equally. Amongst the angels, who have no human soul, there is no romantic love or sexual desire.

"However, the same cannot be said about you Nephilim. Since you are part human and not purely angel, you have a human soul, and are capable of loves and other emotions that the Angels are not. This is why Nephilim who were originally Nephilim, like you and Rei, not me, are capable of falling in love."

As Shinji smiled in relief, Kaworu felt a funny prickling on the back of his neck and smiled sadly, "I must go now, Shinji. See you later."

Shinji nodded as Kaworu started to fade away, "Bye, Tabris."

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

Rei sat down against the edge of the small building that hid the staircase to downstairs. Lilith's soul? Sephiroth, the Angel of Vengeance? Nephilim? The destruction of SEELE? Averting Third Impact? Love? What did all of these things mean?

Shinji was part Angel? The notion itself seemed absurd. After all, if Shinji was part angel, and he knew it, then why was he piloting the EVA against the beings called Angels? Wouldn't he have sided with Sachiel and the others, preferring to help his brethren annihilate the human race for their transgressions?

But it made sense. The sword of fire that Shinji had used to kill Sachiel, the Third Angel, was not a feature of the Evangelion, nor was it an ability that humans had. To use such an amazing ability, Shinji couldn't be fully human, and he'd have to have an intimate knowledge of the EVA's angelic nature.

Then there was the healing thing he'd pulled off at her apartment, completely curing her of her broken arm. Without any sort of mechanical device, he'd grabbed her arm and healed her injury as if it were a smudge of ink on her skin. No human was capable of doing that, but no angel could physically take on such a convincingly human form.

And Shinji said that he'd purged her of Lilith's soul, making her into her own person again. But she was still part angel herself, she could feel it. Her S2 organ was still pumping pure energy through her body and accelerating her healing, and her AT Field simmered just beneath the surface of her conscious, waiting to be used.

Did that mean…she was now an Angel, too? Her angel half no longer belonged to Lilith, so did that mean that she was a new Angel as well, just like Shinji? It made sense. Lilith was no longer a part of her, meaning that she still had an angel half but it wasn't a separate entity all together, like it had been. That meant that Rei was useless to the scenario, and…a part of her was overjoyed.

They also said they were going to destroy SEELE, so that they could avert Third Impact. Did that mean they knew about the scenario, and about the Dead Sea Scrolls? They had to, otherwise the boy called Kaworu wouldn't have made that comment about Instrumentality. Shinji and his friend were trying to stop the end of the world, despite how hopeless the situation seemed.

And…Shinji had asked if all of the angels were related genetically. He asked, presumably, because he was romantically interested in one of the angels and it was considered taboo and disgusting to be in a romantic and sexual relationship with someone related to you by blood. He hadn't seemed…put out or disappointed when Kaworu told him that, though the regular angels were not genetically related, they loved no one person over another, which alluded to the idea that Shinji was interested in another Nephilim, namely…her.

Rei blushed a little as she realized that. She'd felt…odd since that event with Shinji in her apartment, as if she was two people slowing combining into one. Feelings and memories she didn't remember experiencing before were showing up in her life, but they felt foreign and separate, like they didn't belong. At the same time, they felt like it was natural for them to be there, and some of them weren't all that unwelcome.

Shinji…he treated her as though she were special. As though she had a purpose beyond piloting EVA and being part of the Commander's Instrumentality plot. He treated her nicely because he wanted to, and because he cared about her and not her predetermined purpose. He made her feel as though she was important just because she was herself, and not because she had some great, preset destiny. He made her feel warm inside.

This event she witnessed, she knew, and the fact that she witnessed it was a turning point for her. She could continue to follow the path Commander Ikari had set up for her, or she could help Shinji achieve his goals and avert Third Impact. She could follow a man set on the destruction of the human race, or she could follow the boy determined to save it.

Rei bit her lip in an uncharacteristic display of confusion and hesitation. This was a choice that would affect not only the rest of her life, but the future of the human race. If she made the wrong decision, the whole world would suffer the consequences of her poor choice.

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

"Up on the roof, all by his lonesome, the picture of the tragic hero!" Shinji turned around from his spot leaning on the railing to see Touji and Kensuke standing a yard or so behind him, the latter's hand up in a motionless wave. Touji stood with his arms crossed angrily, a glare on his face.

Shinji sighed, "Oh, you guys again. What do you want?"

Touji's eyebrow twitched angrily, "Moron! What makes you think we'd want anything from you?!"

"Oh," Shinji said, looking at Touji a little weirdly. "Okay, then. You must be really bored to check up on me for no reason."

Touji's fists clenched in anger, and he said, "I may not have a reason to be talking to you…"

Touji moved closer, jabbing his index finger close to Shinji's face, "But one thing's for sure! I hate your guts! That hot-crap attitude of yours! That 'Mister Innocent' look on your mug!"

Shinji sighed again, leaning back against the railing, "So you just came to pick a fight with me."

"Okay, then," Shinji shrugged. "If you don't like my attitude, then I'll apologize, but it's over after that. I can't be bothered by thoughts of what you'll do with every action I take."

Shinji turned to leave when Touji yelled out, "Hey! You can't just walk away from me!"

Shinji turned, sighing a third time, "You want to punch me again? Fine. If it'll get the desire out of your system, I'll let you hit me this time."

"FINE!" Touji yelled, a vein throbbing on his forehead. "But remember! You asked for it!"

He picked Shinji up by his collar, cocking his fist, "Don't go crying to anybody afterwards!"

Behind the staircase's little building, Rei made up her mind as her cell-phone alerted her of an emergency. After receiving the message, she shut the small device off and stood, coming out to the sight of Touji about to punch Shinji. Striding forward quickly, she interrupted them with a quiet but audible, "Ikari."

The three boys froze and Shinji turned his head, looking at her questioningly. She answered diligently, saying, "We just received an emergency call. I'll see you there."

Pausing only to look Shinji in the eye for a minute, she blushed and turned around, muttering an embarrassed, "Bye."

Shinji blinked, then wrenched himself free of Touji's grip, rushing after her.

"Wait a minute, Rei!" he called after her, running to catch up. "I'm coming too!"

Kensuke straightened his glasses, "I think he managed to slip out of that one."

Touji huffed angrily, "Bite me!"

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

"A state of emergency has been declared for the entire central Kanto area, centering around the Tokai region. Please proceed to your designated shelters immediately. Repeat…All residents please proceed to your designated shelters."

A screen flickered to life in NERV headquarters, showing a large, pinkish creature moving along the surface of the water of the ocean.

"Visual confirmation! Target has now entered controlled airspace!"

"All personnel," Misato barked, "prepare for level one combat!"

"Tokyo-3 now transforming to battle configuration! Armament buildings and air intercept systems currently at forty-eight percent deployment."

"Shinji!" Misato called. "Are you ready?"

"I'm ready, Misato," Shinji's voice said over the intercom.

"What timing," Misato sighed. "So an angel attacks while the Commander's away. This is sooner than we expected."

As the angel flipped out of the ocean and onto land, hovering over the buildings and other objects, missile pods opened up within the hills. They launched missiles at the centipede like beast, which seemed to have no effect on creature.

Fuyutsuki sighed, "What a waste of taxpayers' money."

"Captain Katsuragi!" one of the bridge crew members shouted, a phone in his hand. "The committee is demanding the immediate dispatch of the EVA!"

"I wish they'd get off of my case," Misato grumbled, folding her arms moodily. "I was about to do that anyway."

"They just like to think they're in control," Ritsuko said, her arms folded leisurely. "If they're not in control, they feel powerless, and that really bothers them."

Underground Shelter Number Three-hundred Thirty-four

"They're doing it again," Kensuke sighed, looking at the screen of his camera.

Touji glanced over at him, a bored expression on his face, "Doing what again?"

"This!" Kensuke shoved the camera in front of Touji's face, forcing him to read the message displayed on the screen.

At noon today, a state of emergency was declared for the Kanto district, centering around the Tokai region. Stay tuned for updates.

"All words again," Kensuke sighed in frustration. "They never show us civilians anything…and this is such a big event!"

Touji looked at him weirdly, "You really get off on this stuff, don't you?"

"Man! I just got to see it! Just once!" Kensuke griped, a crestfallen look on his face. "We may never get another chance like this! Ever!"

Kensuke fell silent for a minute as an idea popped into his head, "…Touji…"

"What?" Touji looked over at the other boy.

"Let's sneak out."

"Are you nuts?!" Touji hissed loudly. "We'll be killed, dumbass!"

"I know," Kensuke said calmly, "but don't you have an obligation to watch this fight?"

Touji looked at him oddly, then Kensuke elaborated, "That robot saved us from that angel thing, and yet you tried to punch him. Don't you owe him for that?"

Kensuke smirked as the first traces of guilt swept across Touji's face.

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

"You understand, Shinji?" Ritsuko asked. "Do you understand your orders?"

There was a pause, then Shinji's voice crackled over the intercom, "Yes, ma'am."

"EVA 01!" Misato shouted, watching as the elevator came to life. "Launch!"

No more than a second later, the giant purple machine shot upward towards the surface, popping up out of one of the hatches that hid the elevator. From the hills, Touji and Kensuke watched as it appeared from within the ground.

As the angel came into view, Shinji grabbed the gun that had been supplied for him, aiming carefully at the target. He knew his orders and would follow them, but he had other plans too. Without any hesitation, he fired, pulling the trigger of the rifle.

"Idiot!" Misato cried as smoke obscured the angel from view. "It's impossible to see it through that smog!"

As the smoke started to lift, two whips made of energy flew from the cloud, cutting the gun in half as Shinji dodged out of the way. Clumsily, he fell back on his butt, then stood again, ready to go, the EVA's huge form defiant and menacing.

"I'm sending up a spare rifle!" Misato shouted. "Grab it, Shinji!"

Seconds later, a panel on one of the buildings opened up, revealing the spare rifle Misato had been talking about. Before Shinji could even think of grabbing it, an energy whip struck out and snapped it clean in half, leaving Shinji with very few weapons and nearly as few options. He needed a strategy, and there was something he wanted to test.

While he was thinking, the angel took advantage of his distraction, lashing out again. Stumbling backwards in a dodge, Shinji was unable to prevent the angel's whips from slashing the umbilical cord that left him with power and from tripping him and forcing him to fall on top of a building. He sat as the synchronization backlash left him with a pain in his ankles, butt, and back.

"EVA has switched over to internal power!"

Taking advantage at Shinji's inactivity, the angel wrapped one of its whip-like cords around the EVA's ankle, flicking him upward and tossing him a good distance away. It tossed him so far, that he did, in fact, land on one of the outlying hills outside of Tokyo-3.

As Shinji held his head, trying to get over the pain of being bodily thrown in such a way, he noticed something out of the corner of his eye that he really should have remembered. Touji and Kensuke were huddled between two of the EVA's fingers that had impacted with the hillside. They looked up at the robot fearfully. Shinji bit his lip. He didn't have a choice.

"Unit 01's active time remaining is three minutes!"

Instantly, the Angel was upon him again, lashing out with its whip-like energy cords. Knowing his choices and his chances, Shinji reached out and grabbed them, a burning sensation running up his hands as the EVA's finger armor began to melt.

"Shinji, fall back for now!" Misato cried.

Tactical data running through his head, Shinji jerked on a control and the EVA's dorsal hatch clacked open. The entry plug pulled out swiftly, revealing it to the world. The reactions to this course of action were instant.

"Shinji!" Misato shouted angrily. "What do you think you're doing?!"

"Come on, you two!" Shinji yelled down at the stunned boys, ignoring Misato. "Get in!"

"EVA Unit 01 active time remaining is two minutes!"

Obediently, Kensuke and Touji climbed into the entry plug, gagging on the LCL. Kensuke mourned the loss of his camera as the liquid quickly damaged it beyond repair. The dorsal hatch slid back into place, giving Shinji the green light for action.

Aggressively, as the timer for his combat time remaining crept down from one minute, he stuck the EVA's foot out, pulling on the whip-like cords. With a mighty heave, ignoring Misato's angry yells and Touji's growling, he kicked his enemy away violently. Slowly, as the timer dropped even lower, the EVA stood again, the extra passengers making its actions sluggish.

"Now!" Misato shouted, his time limit nearing the point of no return. "Fall back!"

Tactical data ran through Shinji's head as he plotted and planned, predicting the outcome of every action he could take. Sighing, he told her, "I'm sorry, Misato, but I'm going to have to pull something drastic here. I don't have enough time to retreat before I run out of power."

"What?!" Misato yelled vehemently. "Shinji, you —!"

With a flick of his wrist, Shinji shut off the intercom and the entry plug fell silent. Shinji sighed again as the lighting failed too, plunging the three occupants into pitch blackness. He ignored the panicked ranting of his companions, putting his full concentration into the desperate tactic he had yet to try. Everything hinged on its success.

Instantly, the entry plug was lit again and the intercom crackled to life as the results of Shinji's experiment reached the Geofront. Shinji nearly smiled as the words filtered into the LCL and to his ears.

"Pattern blue detected! It's another angel! It's…Unit 01! Sync ratio at…ninety-nine point nine percent."

"What?!" Gendo's voice called. Shinji smirked. This was most certainly not a part of his father's precious scenario.

As Kensuke blinked in wonderment and fretted over the innovations of the entry plug, Touji noticed something that he had not seen before lights went out. There was a large rip in the back of Shinji's plugsuit, right over his right shoulder blade. Protruding from that rip was a large, black-feathered wing, folded almost protectively around Shinji's right shoulder and biceps. A single wing, and Touji found it odd.

"Shinji…" Misato's voice came back, uncertainty floating within it. "What…?"

"Don't worry, Misato," Shinji said, glad he'd stopped the video feed. "This is just my ace in the hole."

As the Angel stood, Unit 01 grasped at air, a sword of flame appearing in its palm once more. There was a pause where the two opponents seemed to be sizing the odds up, then, with a war cry from Shinji, both charge at one another, weapons brandished.

As the angel's whips lashed out, Shinji jumped over them, somersaulting into a kneel, thrusting his sword out. Time seemed to stand still for a moment, then the energy in the whip-like cords died as the angel ceased to function, its core impaled upon a fire-sword.

Shinji leaned back in his seat and sighed as the power died once more, his wing disappearing back into his flesh. All that remained as evidence of its presence was a rip in his spandex suit. He rubbed his temples. The headache wasn't as bad as it had been the first time, but it was there.

Touji rested a hand on his shoulder and Shinji looked at him, hearing the words, "Dude, are you alright?"

Smiling, Shinji nodded.

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

Next time…

Shinji has come back from a desolate future to save all that he loves, and he's already made multiple changes to the original timeline. Somethings seem to want to stay the same, and that doesn't bother Shinji too much. He's being subtle for the time being, but he can easily abandon the timeline for a more…forceful approach. He has the power to do that.

He's made contact with Rei far sooner than he did originally, and, though she doesn't seem to respond to it too much, he knows he's making progress much faster than last time. If he has his way, he'll have her away from his father in no time flat.

The Fifth Angel is up next, and then Asuka will come into the picture. If Shinji has his way, he won't have to worry about the German girl at all, this time. If all goes as he plans, Rei will be the other pilot rooming with Misato, not Asuka.

Next chapter, "Nephilim Partners."

Which side will Rei choose in this silent conflict between the ideals of the father, and the ideals of the son?

o.0.O.O.0.o —

A/N July 18: I've made a few changes, including Shinji's angel name and type.

Disclaimer: I do not own Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gundam Wing, or Fallen (which is where most of Shinji's Angel powers come from). Or Final Fantasy VII, from where Shinji will be getting a few extra powers, though nothing too Gary Stu.

This one was inspired by another story (I can't remember what it's called or even if it's still posted on FFNet) where Shinji got an S2 organ, just like the one Rei supposedly has. Also true to that story, Shinji's S2 organ has replaced his appendix, but most the rest is my idea.

Did anyone catch the Final Fantasy reference during Shinji's talk with Kaworu? "drop a meteor"?

Ne me mori facias!
James Daniel Fawkes
James Daniel Fawkes(Signature best viewed in Wendy Medium font style)