Well howdy-doody all you lovely Eva-fans! Got another chapter done now and it's the first of the new year! w00t! Nothing else to report, so let's get to the exciting stuff, shall we?
I do not own the rights Evangelion and all related things pertaining to it; Anno and Gainax do. And anything copyrighted mentioned here I also claim no ownership of. Quit yer' grinnin' and drop yer' linen, it's time for more of 'The Last Man on Earth'!
I awoke with a gasp to find myself in a room of some sort, the only light source being a crack in the doorway to the place. Barely able to see, I felt around my bed's surroundings to lean against the wall, my body weak and heavy as I wheezed. Where was I? What had happened? I remembered the terror of the Angel fight, though it all happened so fast.
Beyond the doorway I could hear a shower in the distance, a familiar womanly voice humming a tune softly. Hobbling over to the door, I managed to open it only to be blinded by the hall lights, my sudden loss of coordination causing me to fall on my rear with a loud thud. I winced at the impact, noticing that my only attire was a set of panties like I'd been wearing in this world for a while and a loose but short shirt that was meant for a girl my age.
I heard footsteps thunder my way from down the bright hall. My eyes had adjusted then as I caught sight of a dripping-wet, naked woman coming to my side.
"Oh goodness, Shinji!" I heard her gasp, holding onto me tenderly. "Are you hurt, sweety?" She parted to look me over.
My vision normal I looked over who was holding me. The woman's neck-length, russet hair was plastered to her head as it freely dripped warm water onto her shoulders and bare chest, and her skin was light and soaked. Her large breasts were drooping slightly with dark red nipples. Her belly was mostly flat though with a slight spare tire that was barely noticeable due to her wide, child-bearing hips. While her face was of a middle-aged woman and not of the thirty-something from my childhood memories, I could tell instantly who had come to my rescue.
"M-Mother...?" I asked, shocked more than anything. Her look she gave me was of warmth and relief as she smiled with tears in her eyes before holding me again.
"That's right," she cooed. "Sorry for the wait." I felt my face heat in a massive blush as it was pressed against her warm, soaked bosom, forcing me to shut my eyes tightly.
"M-Mother...Please get a towel-!" I sputtered as I tried to divert my thoughts (and blood flow) elsewhere as I felt my panties tighten as well as moisten from the water.
"One moment, dear," she spoke in a reassuring tone. With surprising strength, Mother actually lifted me into her arms and carried me like an over-sized baby to the room I was just in! Gently placing me back into the bed, she then spoke once more. "Be right back, Shinji," she said in an audible smile as I heard her leave and return a couple minutes later. "Open your eyes, Shinji. I'm covered now."
Peeking through the darkened room towards the bright doorway I was rewarded with the silhouette of Mother with something wrapped around her body as she came and propped me up with the pillow and sat on the bedside facing me.
"Mother, what did...how...where-?!" I asked, trying to make sense of things. A tender grasping of my hand calmed me.
"Shhh," she hushed me softly. "One thing at a time, Shinji."
Taking a deep breath I asked,
"What happened to the Angel? Is Rei alright?"
"Rei's alright. She defeated the Angel without getting herself hurt."
"Where is Rei then?" I asked with more concern.
"She..." Mother winced. "She's...currently being disciplined for...her behavior."
I felt my skin crawl at the resurfacing memories of that...thing my sister had turned into in the fight. In my world, I'd never seen even Asuka look so bloodthirsty, let alone my world's Rei...
"I'm so sorry you had to see that, baby," Mother sighed. "Please don't be frightened of what you witnessed..."
"What...What was that?" I asked with trepidation. "Does Rei have some...mental disease...?"
"No, goodness no," Mother actually chuckled for a moment, her face serious again. "What you saw there...Was Rei protecting you."
"Protecting...me...?" I leered.
My mother looked down into her lap with a melancholic expression. "I...We conditioned Rei's synchronization levels to be high by having her focus on protecting you, before you came back that is. She's been through hundreds of virtual simulations designed around you being in danger for various scenarios. Mind you we had to guess on what you actually looked like all these years, but we weren't too far off. "
Once again I was reminded of the issue of my existence here.
"Um...Mother...? About that..."
"Hm?" She turned to look back at me.
"I'm...I'm not the real Shinji," I felt my insides twist at my overdue confession. "I'm not your son."
Mother stared at me for seconds, blinking.
"Honey, what are you talking about?" She smirked. "I know it's been a long time, but do you think I wouldn't recognize my own son?"
"But I'm not your son!" I choked on my words. "I mean, technically I am, but I'm not the Shinji YOU gave birth to, but-" I was silenced as Mother placed her finger on my lips.
"Shinji," she then pressed her hand on my heart. "I carried you and Rei. I birthed you, nursed you, bonded with you. Whether you believe me or not, I can tell you're my true son just by feeling your very soul. Only as your mother can I do this and know that you're my Shinji, no matter what you look like and no matter what you might think. Please don't ever forget that." The look in her eyes was maternal, calming, and it hurt for me to not embrace her gaze.
I couldn't argue with her. Or rather, I didn't want to. My real mother was dead, and her real son was too. It was mutual gain, right? Maybe accepting this Yui Ikari as my new mother was the best thing to do. I'd never forget my real mother, but I think she'd want me to be happy and move on, even if it meant being adopted by a parallel copy of her. And really...this Yui seemed so happy to think her son was back that it just seemed too cruel to take that from her.
"Okay, I won't forget," I sighed but still gave a quiet smile. "Um, where are we?" I finally asked.
"The Safe House," Mother smiled back.
"Safe House?" I blinked.
"Yes," she nodded. "This is a special home secluded from Nerv and any government eyes. Rei and I have been using it to spend time together when we can. Not just that," she smiled as she stood up and walked over to the light switch. I braced myself for more blinding light, but was surprised to see the lights in the room lit softly from dimmers. It was then that I took in my surroundings with awe. "We all lived here at one time, back when you and Rei were still toddlers." As she slowly brightened things, my eyes adjusted to the full power of the lights and I was able to make out what was in the room.
The walls were adorned with framed photographs of a family of four. The father I recognized easily, along with the mother and son, but the daughter was the amazing part. She was pale, scarlet-eyed, and had sky-blue hair.
It was my family, or rather, this world's version of my family. Seeing father smiling was novel to say the least, but seeing Rei and this world's version of me as kids together was truly amazing. Imagining Rei and this world's version of me as little children was one thing, but seeing it with my own eyes as moments preserved in photographs floored me. It did, however, make me wonder why the Rei of my world wasn't raised with me if we were siblings. For that matter, I wondered if she even knew we were?
Gazing about, my eyes bulged at a picture beyond comprehension. A toddler version of Rei and me were smiling for the camera with another little girl. She had strawberry-blonde hair and bright blue eyes, and was clad in a traditional European dress with red ribbons in her mane, a sheepish pout on her face. Though she was far younger than when we first met in my world, there was no mistaking the identity of the third toddler!
"Asuka...?" I thought out loud in wonder. It seemed Rei was right about us being childhood friends. I wondered if Asuka remembered me, though. Most of the pictures had her looking nervous or unhappy with me in them, but she was all smiles with the ones of just her and Rei.
"Are you starting to remember things better?" Mother said with an endearing giggle. "She'll be coming to Japan soon you know, and will be fighting along side you two."
"Is that...a good idea?" I asked hesitantly.
"Hm?" Mother looked back at me with a quizzical face. "Oh," she paused. "About that," she then sat at the edge of my bed again. "It seems Rei will need a new training regiment as a pilot, and...well..." She gazed down at her towel-clad lap uneasily.
"What? What is it?"
"I...I don't want to burden you further, baby," Mother fidgeted a little. "You're already charged with saving the human race twice over as a pilot and as the last male, but...there's something else I...we need you to do, I'm afraid."
"Does it have to do with Rei's...aggression?"
"Unfortunately, yes," Mother sighed. "And I'm afraid you're the only one who can even do it. Keep in mind that I don't want to force you to do anything against your will, Shinji," she pled, grasping my hands tightly into hers.
"Tell me," I gulped.
"I need you to rein in your sister, Shinji. She has to be controlled."
My heart froze at Mother's words.
(36 Hours earlier)
With an inhuman snarl, Rei gripped the positron whips of the 4th Angel with all her might in Unit 00, her heart pounding in her rage. Her hands felt as though they'd been singed into ash, yet her grip of the lashing tendrils never loosened even by a hair.
"Nii-chan...!" She grunted with clenched teeth, her vision solid scarlet even with her video feed being fully colored still. Stretching Unit 00's arms out, Rei forced the floating leviathan closer until the Evangelion's head unit was only a few meters from the ruby sphere. The instinct to protect her most cherished person rang within her subconscious like blacksmiths hammering hot steel, drowning out every other thought. Death was the fate of anything in her warpath, and this Angel would be no exception.
(Rei! Go for it's core!) Misato ordered, though she wasn't entirely sure if anything would get through to the berserk pilot. Unit 00's progressive knife did activate though, and Rei let go of one tendril to draw the blade. But at the very moment it was freed, the whip withdrew and instantly struck forward into the midsection of the biomechanical mecha, impaling the titanic bio-weapon.
Gritting her teeth harder as she coughed, Rei's free hand instead lunged forward into the Angel's source of life as the seared, semi-organic hand gripped the crimson globe with all its might. The Angel squealed in a gurgling shriek as it flailed and twisted about in hopes of bucking off its attacker. But this proved to be the worst choice of action as Rei moved with the momentum of the thrashing to tear the core from its seating as the Eva's grip grew even tighter. In a deafening scream and shearing, the orb shattered in the clenched palm of Unit 00 as a blinding aurora of pure energy enveloped the city.
The command bridge at Nerv was a chorus of confusion and panic from the women momentarily blinded and deafened from the searing light and ear-splitting shriek of the live-feed.
As her eyes began discerning colors and shapes once again, Misato tried making out the aftermath of the battle
Her body heaved several deep breaths to calm herself down as she took in the image of Unit 00 as a frozen statue lying at an odd angle in the broken buildings; a toppled sculpture frozen in a pose denoting its airborne state just as it lost all power. In one hand was an inert, ivory rod the Eva's still smoking palm gripped tightly. In the other frozen hand were shards of ruby glass jutting out of the clenched fist with violet blood dripping from the burned and now pierced flesh. And just off to the side some several hundred meters of the yellow super-weapon was the toppled-over carcass of the lifeless Angel, it's body a slightly paler magenta than before and enormous eyes glazed over.
"T-Target...has gone...silent," Aoi gulped, her breathing deep and ragged. Her hands shook over her terminal as she attempted to calm down.
"Unit...Unit 00 battery supply has been completely depleted..." Hinata reported shakily. "Unit 01 has also lost all power..."
"How are Shinji's vitals!?" Misato finally snapped her attention back to her previous problem.
"Pulse is weak, but stabilizing," Maya breathed. "Shinji is unconscious but brainwaves are stable. No sign of neurological trauma or major damage from the sudden pressurization," Maya reported with trepidation.
"Any signs of nitrogen narcosis?" Ritsuko demanded from her lover.
"Scans show very minor signs of damage to Shinji's skeletal tissue and musculature. He'll probably be bedridden for a week at the most, but no long-lasting effects. All damage will be negligible."
There was a long sigh of relief within the group at Maya's words.
"Send the recovery teams out and get a medical team to retrieve the Third Child," Naoko Akagi ordered as she dabbed a bead of sweat from her brow with her handkerchief. "Have him placed in the ICU with Level 1 security detail and room lockdown." Glancing over to Misato, the sub-commander then said, "Sedate the First Child and have her detained in Terminal Sheol." Narrowing her eyes, the elder Akagi hissed, "Once restrained, initiate Cochytus Protocol." Maya gasped, Aoi and Hinata flinching with a turn of their heads to the sub-commander. "The First Child does NOT leave that cell until the commander gives the order...No exceptions, WHATSOEVER."
"Y-Yes, ma'am," Misato winced at the order. The entire command bridge became silent save the terminals' readings and audio of the display screen. Clearing her throat, Misato readied to issue the necessary commands but was cut off by her superior.
"Despite this fresh victory, the commander will NOT be pleased by today's events, Captain," the Magi-designer added to her subordinate who shivered at the arctic chill of the elder woman's words.
Inside her pitch black plug, Rei's clenched teeth drew LCL in and out as she sat in her cockpit breathing heavily, her adrenaline levels dropping gradually. Shakily, she released her grip on her controls as her body slowly curled into a ball, tucking her legs up to her chest as she began to sniffle. The flooding of delayed sensory input bombarded the blue haired girl as she wept. With her high crashing, the now all too vivid memories of her brother's horrified expressions she had barely noticed in her bloodlust became a waking nightmare that would not end despite her protests.
"Nii-chan..." She whimpered in a soft voice. "No...! No...!" Her voice became inarticulate murmurs as she curled up tighter in her seat, her lips quivering and her voice silenced by her swirled emotions of panic, fear, sorrow, and regret. She didn't even notice her plug's interior vents open at the rear as concentrated levels of anesthesia flooded the surrounding fluid and forced Rei to drift into a deep slumber...
With time being of the essence, the recovery and medical crews swiftly removed the two bio-mechanical giants and their unconscious pilots with perfectly-rehearsed expedience. While the last man of Earth was placed in intensive care to be treated for the rapid pressurization, greater speed and efficiency was executed for detaining his twin. Rei Ikari lay suspended in a cylindrical vat of LCL, her body cocooned in a tight set of bondage that connected perfectly with her own alabaster plugsuit. From outside the tank, it only appeared that it's inhabitant was a human-sized mass of white devices and curved polymer bulk.
The women who transported the restrained pilot were armored themselves, albeit for the opposite reasons as the young girl's. Shock and bullet-proof exosuits with strength-enhancing gear allowed the unit to rush down the halls to the elevator platform at speeds impossible for even some Olympian sprinters.
Vitals of the imprisoned pilot chirped and beeped numerous readings from pulse to brainwave activity to hormone levels. As the hydraulic bulkheads opened to allow the transportation of Rei to her cell, the women stayed alert with their heads-up-displays glued to the chamber the girl lay encased within. Not a single sound was uttered, save one woman sneezing which forced the others to draw their stun batons instantly. The false alarm over, the group impatiently awaited the final bulkhead allowing them access to the second-deepest part of the base: Terminal Sheol.
Much of the vast holding cell comprised of massive hydraulic pistons surrounding a small chamber that the vat of LCL containing Rei was carefully situated into. The mechanisms armed by a wireless device one woman carried, the gargantuan mechanized restraints compressed and locked around the cylinder, enshrouding the pilot completely. Hurriedly, the women exited the heart of the cell as it was then encased by bulkheads and walls at least 3 meters thick with balkalite emergency hoses ready for sealing the entire chamber should the prisoner manage to break free of her restraints.
Vacating the premise, the guards' eyes stayed glued to the enormous shutters as they rode the platform back to the command center above the chamber. Though no sounds came about (save the low humming of the super-sized motors used to ascend), every woman remained on-edge throughout the whole trip.
Deep below in her holding cell, Rei Ikari slumbered in a dreamless sleep for the time being.
When Commander Yui Ikari had been informed of the situation she was still en-route to Tokyo-3.
(So,) she began with a stern tone over the secure line. (What you mean to tell me, Naoko, is that the Third Child was knocked unconscious by sudden pressurization that could have potentially grave effects on his still-developing reproductive system?)
Gulping softly, Naoko answered. "That is correct, Commander. Captain Katsuragi-"
(-is below you in rank and her orders can be rescinded by yours easily!) The mother of the two pilots quickly silenced her subordinate. (Why did it not occur to your 'brilliant' mind that the Third Child could suffer irreparable damage physically from such a hasty decision!? And that is just ONE matter, Naoko! Let us not forget that he was supposed to be on standby only until necessary! Why did you not have the catapults disengaged until your command!?]
Silence came from the Sub-Commander's end. Then finally she spoke,
"I...have no answer for explaining my poor judgement, Commander," she responded with forced professionalism. Another bout of silence came, this time from the Commander's end.
(Have an unmarked vehicle ready for me in the private bay,) Yui finally replied. (And have the Third Child transported there without his IV and other monitoring equipment. I will personally see to his recovery and debriefing.)
"Yes, ma'am," the Magi creator sighed.
(And terminate Cochytus Protocol in approximately 60 hours from now. Have Rei then transported to a Level 1 secure room with 24 hour security and monitoring. Document and record every twitch, every murmur, every sigh she does until I retrieve her personally.)
The hairs on Naoko Akagi's neck stood straight out as a shiver traveled up her spine.
(Do you copy, Naoko?) Yui demanded.
"Y-Yes. I will do as you instruct, Commander," the elder woman finally replied. The line cut off without Yui Ikari saying anything further, the eldest woman in Nerv finally hanging up the receiver. Her gaze at the desk she sat at, she slammed her fist upon it with a loud thud.
"Dammit!" She grunted through the throbbing pain of her hand as she grit her teeth. "That...that BITCH!" Sitting up, the doctor pulled out her pack of cigarettes and began her first smoke of the day with a long drag to settle her nerves. Once the first unfiltered rod had been diminished to just the tip at her lips she stubbed it out and went to the next. She would probably go through two packs in but a few hours, but it was the only way she could calm down these days.
After the second one was removed and put out in the ornate lead-glass ashtray that sat at her desk, Naoko began the task of relaying all of her superior's commands. This was going to be a LONG day...
I was speechless at my mother's request.
"R-Rein her in...? How...How am I supposed to do that, Mother...?" I blinked in confusion and dismay at such an absurd request.
With a frown that gave me a queasy feeling, she responded, "Shinji, you're a MAN. Men are SUPPOSED to take charge and straighten out the women in their lives. It's a man's DUTY to be dominant, it's his INSTINCT, and even if you're the last man on the planet you HAVE to be on top of things."
I felt pale at my mother's lecturing (probably was too). What the hell happened in this world for my mother to be like this?
"I...Uh...HUH?!" I gawked. "You can't be serious! Rei's stronger than I am! She's a martial artist! Everyone here is frightened of her, and now I know why! How the hell do I rein HER in?!" I sputtered in fright.
"Smack her, for starters," Mother narrowed her eyes with a hiss in her voice. I gulped as my eyes bulged. "Rei may be strong, but she has one weakness."
"And that is...?"
Mother leaned forward, her death-glare intense. "You, Shinji. You're the only person she cares more about than even Asuka or me. She will do ANYTHING for you if you ask her. But if you only cower at her, she'll just take that as a sign of you needing to be coddled and protected."
"No buts!" Mother barked, my body sinking at her tone and look. "Rei is dangerous without restraints of some sort, and you are the only thing that will subdue her without fail. As the new Adam of Earth you need to be a true Alpha-Male and be dominant. Rei will submit to a Shinji who is assertive and strong. You may not realize it, but you're even more powerful than Rei."
Words failed me as my jaw was dropped by this point.
"Manning up to Rei is not just to keep her controlled, it's the stepping stone to your ascent to being this world's king. When all is said and done, when the Angels are defeated and the world saved, YOU my dear will be womankind's savior; husband to all nations and father of the new world, that is your ultimate destiny, Shinji!" Mother stood up in a dramatic spreading of her bare arms. "I expect nothing less of that man's son. You may be young but you have all of your father's commanding aura and MORE!" She pumped her fist up as she gazed upwards. "To bear the hero of our time, to give birth to the last and first man who will singlehandedly give rise to all nations..." Mother's eyes glimmered as she sniffled with a smile. "I am truly the luckiest woman alive~!" She then clasped her hand together at her chest, blushing.
I was frozen in shock. Words still failed me. My left eyelid even quivered.
No WONDER Rei acts the way she does in this world! She gets it all from MOTHER!
"But first," Mother turned her gaze to me, smiling so serenely that it just couldn't be real. "You, my dear, need to recover your strength."
"Y-Yeah..." I nodded uneasily. As if on cue, my body shuddered from a groaning in my stomach.
"Hungry, I see," Mother giggled. "Not to worry, Mama has JUST the thing."
"Ah, you made something already?" I felt a little more at ease. She's still a mother, even if a rather eccentric one. I wondered if this Yui's cooking was anything like the few meals I remembered my mother making when I was just a child?
With a blush, Mother undid her towel, letting it drop to the floor as her body was presented to me in all its natural glory.
"My dear baby, I've had this meal ready for you for a decade now," she then sauntered over to me. I felt my face go beet red as I was paralyzed in shock and confusion. I tried to run, to move away, but my weak body was no match for the superhuman strength of my mother bringing me to her chest, resting my back on her bare lap. My nose pressed into the soft, hot flesh as I tightened my lips to prevent the deep crimson tip from entering my mouth. What the HELL?!
"Now now, no need to be fussy, sweetheart," Mother purred as she took her other hand and tickled my belly. Instinctively I gave a gasping laugh before the hot peak invaded my mouth. My teeth accidentally chomped the flesh, Mother issuing a delighted moan as jets of hot fluid squirted onto my tongue. I coughed, trying to part, but Mother only buried my face deeper into her bosom giggling as I was forced to swallow the liquid.
My eyes widened further. But not in fright or shock. The milk...it was...it was...INDESCRIBABLE.
My body felt warm, relaxed, but hungered for more. Before I realized it I was nursing in a daze. As I suckled, my mind took in Mother's scent, rewarding me with a wave of nostalgia. Memories without clear details, words that sounded familiar but indecipherable, and voices I recognized yet couldn't place exactly flooded my consciousness as I daydreamed of a different time and place...
"...and now Second Impact has flung the world into chaos," a familiar, male voice spoke gravely. "Why must our children be forced to live in such a Hell?"
"Hell?" A woman snorted with humor. "Heaven can be made wherever you wish. As long we have one another, nothing can take our happi-"
The man gave a phlegmy, heavy cough with an audibly painful heave.
"Oh, God! Dear, are you al-!"
"I...I'm fine...!" The male voice heaved again beating his chest a few times before inhaling deeply. "This one wasn't...as bad. Sorry for worrying you, dear."
The woman was silent, but as she tried to speak, a baby's voice cried to the right of where I was. That child's voice...it too was familiar...but I couldn't understand how that could be...
"Ah, sorry baby," I felt a shifting of my body as I was laid on a soft mattress of some sort. The baby wailed as the woman cooed, the child's voice vibrating slightly from soft patting sounds thumping her back. With a high-pitch, gurgling belch the crying ceased and was followed by a soft yawn. I couldn't see anything other than monochromatic blobs of abstract shapes moving about, but I felt the baby laid next to me as her hand moved atop my own, clumsily gripping my wrist as the world became darker, hazier...
When I awoke I was greeted with the sight of my still naked mother looking down at me as she gently ran her fingers through my hair as I laid on her bare lap now. I blushed at seeing her nude upper body, but...it was somehow less discomforting...
"Feel better?" Mother asked with warmth and love.
True enough, I'd somehow suckled enough to be completely full...was it even possible for a woman to have THAT much milk in her boobs at once? Before I could answer, a gas bubble escaped my mouth with a slight burp.
"That's a yes, I take it?" She giggled with the same loving smile my sister inherited. Though on my mother's face it was ten times more comforting to me. "You need to rest a bit more, but you can call me any time if you need anything, alright?" She then carefully placed my weak body back in bed and tucked me in properly.
I didn't want this to end. Being cared for by my mother was something I realized I had been longing for ever since...well, since my real mother passed away. This Yui Ikari was strange, and her goals for me were beyond bizarre, but ultimately she was still a loving mother. Even if I wasn't her real son, I already felt a warm, deep connection to her that couldn't be explained.
"Thank you, Mother," I yawned a bit with a pleased smile. Mother wrapped her towel around her body once more as she headed to the doorway, dimming the lights back to darkness as her silhouette became the last thing I saw before dozing off slowly.
As my world became dark and silent, I could just hear her voice whisper with love,
"Sleep tight...my baby..."
To be continued...
Author's Unsolicited Blabbering:
Okay, I'll confess warm and fuzzy feels are a guilty pleasure mine now and then, so do pardon the diabetes-inducing sweetness this had sprinkled in with all the seriousness. More to come, so stay tuned!