1. Prologue

The last thing Asuka Langley Sohryu remembered was her right arm splitting in half right in front of her eyes. After that, she saw the ghostly figure of Rei Ayanami staring at her from above before everything turned a brilliant white. A feeling of weightlessness overcame the young German girl and she felt herself moving towards something above her. She was no longer in the confines of Unit 02 which had been brutally decimated at the hands of the Eva Series. She wasn't even in her plug suit anymore, instead being stripped of her clothing by some unknown force. Even the A-10 neural clips in her hair had disappeared as she felt herself rising.

Am I…dead? Asuka thought to herself. She looked at her right arm and it was there, all in one piece. She blinked her eyes and she could see with both of them. In fact, it seemed her body retained no injury that she had received during the battle with the Eva Series. Impossible…I must be dead, Asuka thought. Those damn white demons…the things they did to my Unit 02…mama…even though I had mama on my side, I still lost…I'm worthless.

In an instant, the brilliant white light was gone and Asuka found herself in her school classroom, dressed in her school uniform. The windows on the left side of the class were open and a cool breeze gently blew into the room. She was sat behind her desk yet the rest of the desks were unoccupied and there was no teacher. "What the hell?" Asuka said to herself, looking around. She stood up and went towards the windows and looked outside, only to see something completely unexpected. Instead of the school parking lot, she saw a beach with a greyish, harsh looking sand. What was even more surprising was that it wasn't water, but a blood red liquid instead that washed onto the shore.

"What is going on here?" Asuka asked, backing away from the window. She felt very afraid, because nothing made sense. At one point, she thought she was dead and now she was in her school classroom with a mysterious red ocean outside. She turned around and headed for the door, only to find that it was locked. It was then Asuka assumed she was still dead and this was some ghostly vision. However, she didn't feel dead. In fact, she felt very much alive. Everything seemed so real. When she touched the window, she felt the cold glass begin to stick to her hand. When she tried to open the door, she felt the resistance of the lock, keeping her inside that classroom. Everything responded liked it was real. So why was she here after she thought that she had just died?

Asuka felt a compulsion to sit back in her seat which she did, not sure why she did or what it was in her making her feel the way she did. After taking her seat behind her desk, she heard the door unlock. It slowly opened, revealing a teen about her age with the same skin complexion and the same red eyes as Rei Ayanami. He had long grey hair that seemed natural for him, despite his age. He was wearing the same school uniform that Asuka always saw Shinji in, yet she did not recognise him. "Ah, you must be Asuka," the boy said. He stood in front of the teacher's desk with his hands in his pockets and a smile planted on his pale skinned face. "Who are you?" Asuka asked.

"I was your replacement after you lost contact with her soul," the boy replied.

Asuka felt angered by the boy now. He was the one who corrupted her Unit 02 with his presence? "What do you want with me? Have you just come to gloat?" Asuka inquired, not hiding her resentment.

"Of course not. That would be very rude of me," the boy said with quiet laughter. "In fact, I was killed by Shinji and Unit 01 so there isn't much to gloat about."

"Shinji killed you?" Asuka asked in surprise.

"I was the Fifth Child, Kaworu Nagisa to him. When he learned that I was an angel, things changed."

"Whoa, hold on! You were the Fifth Child and an angel?"

"That is correct. I happened to grow close to Shinji before I had to do what I had to."

"Which is to destroy humanity, huh?"

"It was my task, yes. But after spending time with Shinji, I thought that maybe humanity deserved to live more than I did which was the reason I had Shinji kill me."

"So you're dead then, right?" Asuka asked.

"Physically, yes," Kaworu replied.

"So does that mean I'm dead?" Asuka next asked.

"In a manner of speaking, yes. Think more of it as a period of transition," Kaworu explained. "It is a transition the whole of mankind is currently undergoing. It is the Human Instrumentality Project which is being implemented at the moment."

"This is weird," Asuka muttered. "So you're speaking to the whole of humanity at once or something?"

"No, I came personally to you," Kaworu replied with the ever present smile still on his face. "Shinji is speaking to Rei at the moment who is the vessel body for Lilith."

"Lilith, the Second Angel," Asuka noted.

"That's correct. The mother of all life. Rei is very much like me. This body, the body of Kaworu Nagisa is only a vessel body," Kaworu explained.

"Let me guess, of an angel?"

"Again, correct. I am the vessel of the angel, Adam."

"Wait, hold on," Asuka said. "You're Kaworu Nagisa, but you're also Adam? That can't work…that doesn't make sense!"

"Adam is in my body. I act on the will of Adam. However, I still retain everything that made me Kaworu Nagisa. It is likewise for Rei," Kaworu said. "The reason any of this is possible is because the forbidden union of Adam and Lilith and instigation of the Human Instrumentality Project."

"It doesn't really explain anything to me and I still don't understand but I'll go along with it. Next question, why have you come to speak to me personally?" Asuka asked.

"It's because I feel I owe you," Kaworu answered. "You gave me the opportunity to learn what it is that defines a human being. I learned what it was that gave them strength and the will to live. I learned about abstract things like love and wondrous things like music. It was under your unfortunate circumstances in which I was presented this opportunity but it was something you gave me nonetheless which is why I feel indebted to you."

"I see," Asuka said.

"Because of this, I think you deserve an extra option. You can take it or leave it, but if you don't chose to take this offer, then the fate of humanity rests with Shinji and your future depends on his decisions," Kaworu said.

"An extra option?"

"Yes Asuka. I'm giving you the option of going back to before you arrived in Japan. A chance to try and make things right for yourself. This is an opportunity that I am not supposed to be able to give but seeing as I am able to do it just this once, I feel that you are the one to take it."

"Going…back? You mean, back in time, before any of this happened?" Asuka asked frantically.

"Yes, back in time. This is only possible due to the union of Adam and Lilith and the time window in which it is possible is quickly running out," Kaworu replied. "So, does my offer tempt you?"

"It does…but what is the catch?"

"Catch? There is no catch. Your actions may change the course of history, but that is to be expected," Kaworu pointed out.

"Then I'll do it," Asuka said.

"Very well," Kaworu said. "Use your time wisely, Asuka."

"I…I will. And Kaworu…thanks."

"You're very welcome. I should warn you however that if we meet each other, then I won't be as friendly as I have been now. I won't know this ever happened. You, on the other hand, will."

"Okay, I understand."

"Good. Then I bid you farewell, Asuka Langley Sohryu. And be sure to say hello to Shinji for me..."

Asuka felt a chill in the air. It was dark and she was standing against a railing, watching the horizon as their ship raced through the waters south of India in the centre of a massive UN fleet. "What are you doing out here on your own? I thought you were in your cabin," said the familiar voice of Ryoji Kaji. Asuka turned to face her guardian and felt lost for a reply. Instead, she turned away again, looking over the railing. "Is something the matter?" Kaji asked.

"Leave…leave me alone for a while…please," Asuka said, her voice a cold whisper like the night air that surrounded them.

"Okay, sure," Kaji said. "Don't stay out too long, okay? It's pretty chilly out here. Also, if you need to talk, I'll be in the crew room."

"Okay," Asuka said without facing Kaji. He soon left Asuka on her own, leaving the girl to face her thoughts alone.

What just happened to me? Was all that…real?

Asuka looked at her right arm and saw that there was nothing. No marks, no scars, no reminders of anything happening. As she looked inside her mind, she found that she could remember everything. All the events that took place after she first fought an angel were memories. However, they were memories of the future. None of that in her mind had taken place yet and the young German girl struggled to get to grips with it all. I've got a second chance at it all, but I don't feel happy about it. I feel…empty. I feel the same way as I did when I lost the ability to pilot my Unit 02. The feeling of being lost, Asuka thought.

Suddenly, the thought of Unit 02 sparked memories of her mother. Knowing that Unit 02 was being transported in this fleet, Asuka knew she had to go to it. The knowledge that her mother's soul resided within Unit 02 might spark a change for Asuka and she needed to be there beside it. She walked away from the railing and up to the flight deck to see if there were any active helicopters. Sure enough, there was one. Its landing lights were on and there were crew members standing around it. Asuka approached the crew and asked, "Are you guys flying out anytime soon?"

"Uh, yeah we are," the person who Asuka assumed to be the pilot responded. "We're just doing a sweep around the convoy."

"Can I ask a huge favour?" Asuka next said.

"Okay, shoot."

The helicopter crew obliged to Asuka's request, despite it beginning to get very dark. The crews often found themselves with nothing to so ferrying Asuka around wasn't too big a deal for them. After stepping off of the helicopter, the wind began to pick up, making Asuka regret the choice not to take some form of outdoor clothing. Her t-shirt and jeans combination were hardly much against the weather conditions of the night that the UN fleet was traversing through. She quickly made her way to the cargo bay of the ship, getting herself out of the cold. The lights were off and Asuka searched for the switch to reveal the contents of the cargo hold. Once she flicked the switch on, the large lights along the upper part of the walls of the cargo hold opened in sequence, bringing light to the once dark space. In the centre of the bay, amidst a pool of coolant was Evangelion Unit 02.

There you are, Asuka thought as she made her way towards the red Evangelion. But this time, I know the secrets you've been hiding from me. The walkway atop the coolant was hardly steady, not helped by the increasingly choppy waters of the Indian Ocean. Asuka didn't care however, moving towards Unit 02 with determination in her every step. She lifted the cover off of the unit to reveal the massive, four-eyed head of her Evangelion Unit. Looking at it, Asuka felt no connection. When she moved forward to touch it and thought about her mother however, she could feel something. It was the same feeling she had felt when she discovered her mother's presence in Unit 02 in her fight against the Eva Series except this time, that battle was long yet to happen.

As she felt her mother through the cold armour, she also felt the Eva becoming alive. Without a pilot or being started up, the four eyes of Evangelion Unit 02 lit up and the Eva began to shake violently. In fear, Asuka took her hand off of Unit 02. In the instant following taking her hand away, the Eva once again became static. Mother…you're still there, Asuka thought as she took a step backwards. Deciding that she had seen enough, she turned for the exit, knowing already what time had to tell.

Kaji was in his cabin, talking over a satellite phone. The line was encrypted such that even the intelligence officers on that ship and indeed that convoy wouldn't be able to listen. It caused a slight delay in the transmission and receiving of the phone signal but apart from that, it was an almost flawless method of secure communication.

"I take it that the passage through the Suez Canal proceeded without event?"

"That's correct," Kaji replied to his current employer. A man of Kaji's skills was highly sought after, causing him to free a bit more freer with his commitments. "The next possible hotspot is when we pass through maritime Southeast Asia tomorrow, although I don't expect that to be a problem," Kaji added.

"Well, keep me informed. I don't want anything at all impeding the delivery of the package."

"Okay, sure. On another note, did the operation to remove Jet Alone from the map go according to plan?" Kaji inquired.

"Everything went according to plan except for a minor detail, but it is insignificant as it did not affect the overall outcome of the operation."

"Little details can often make big differences, you know," Kaji pointed out.

"That does not concern me."

"Very well. I guess we'll just have to wait until we make port to complete the delivery," Kaji said.

"On that note, I shall be assisting you once you get within a reasonable distance of Japan with added support for Eva Unit 02 in the form of a power supply, as well as a spare pilot should an emergency with an angel occur."

"If that happens, I might just have to leave ship by plane, despite how much faith I have in Unit 02's pilot," Kaji chuckled.

"Do whatever it takes to deliver the package successfully," said Kaji's employer before cutting off the connection. Kaji placed the satellite phone on his desk and sighed. He was slightly worried about Asuka's sudden change of mood and what the cause may have been. Usually, if she had been down about something, she would show it through anger and hide the fact that she was sad. Today was a seemingly normal day in Asuka's world with her in a jubilant mood the entire day. She even said when she went outside on the balcony that she was going to enjoy the night air. When Kaji went out to check on her, she was suddenly downtrodden. He didn't understand why, but her let her be. She was, after all, a teenage girl and perhaps they went through phases like this. However, it was just how quickly her mood had change which had Kaji worried. He shrugged it off, knowing that Asuka would be back to her usual self the next day.