Disclaimer: Neon Genesis Evangelion is the creation of Anno and Gainax. I don't own it, make no claims to it, and am making no profit from the fan fiction. No infringement of copyright is intended. In other words, please don't sue.
Disclaimer: Birdy the Mighty is the creation of Masami Yuuki. I don't own it, make no claims to it, and am making no profit from the fan fiction. No infringement of copyright is intended. In other words, please don't sue.
"Kinda creepy, isn't it?" Shinji commented.
"Yeah," Asuka agreed, "I don't know how Rei managed to put up with it for so long."
The two former EVA pilots stood in what had once been the Dummy Plug production plant, looking up at the large tube in the center of the room. Most of it had been painted black, but part of it remained transparent. Through that part, the two of them could see the head and shoulders of a body that looked exactly like Asuka.
"Totally worth it, though," Asuka added.
Shinji just nodded silently, contemplating the eventful two months that had passed since the final battle of Tokyo-3.
He also couldn't help but wonder what the clone would look like in a few days, since NERV was rapid aging it to be the age Kyoko had been when the contact experiment with Unit Two had shattered her mind and soul. There wasn't any DNA from Kyoko to be had anywhere, so Akagi and Fuyutski had decided that, lacking a vessel like the one Kyoko had been born with, the woman's soul would most likely inhabit a body cloned from a close relative.
"So, seen enough for today?" Shinji asked.
While he could certainly understand her enthusiasm, he didn't see the need to monitor the process quite so closely.
"I want to talk to Akagi and Fuyutski before we go," she replied.
"Asuka, you just freak them out by popping up at the labs all the time," Shinji said, exasperated. "You're probably slowing them down."
Asuka huffed. "I still can't believe that we're just going to let them go once they're finished. They'll both probably rush off to Buenos Ares-Dos or some other place where they'll be safe from the law."
Shinji shrugged. "We need to give them some motive to succeed, and it would look pretty suspicious if we turned them in so long after the battle," he pointed out. "Besides, in the end, they were just dragged along for the ride by my father. Like a lot of people."
"I guess," she conceded.
He smiled slightly. "Come on," he said. "Let's get out of here."
The two of them made the trek through the bowels of NERV headquarters, going from Terminal Dogma up to Central Dogma. Unlike down below, where NERV still managed to squirrel away a couple of secrets (namely that they had Akagi and Fuyutski), Central Dogma was practically crawling with UN inspectors, even after two months.
Ignoring them, the two made their way to the command center, where they found NERV's new commander.
"Well hello, you two," Misato greeted them cheerfully. "I didn't know you were coming in today."
Shinji shrugged. "Well, you know how Asuka is," he said with an exaggerated, long suffering sort of sigh, earning himself a light punch in the arm.
"Well, you really can't blame her," said NERV's new top scientist. "It's not like you don't understand what she's going through, right, Shinji-kun?"
Shinji grinned, a little sheepishly. "You're right, Mother."
Yui Ikari smiled back at her son. The process of getting her out of Evangelion had been much easier for her than it would be for Kyoko, not least of all because NERV already had a template handy for creating a vessel for her to inhabit. Akagi had made one more Rei clone, then rapid aged it until it was as mature as Yui had been when she'd been absorbed.
The body being the age Yui had been when absorbed had been important, Fuyutski had claimed, because the more the vessel resembled the self-image that Yui's mind and soul had of herself, the greater the chances of her inhabiting it. As Yui's soul had quickly moved from the EVA to the aged Rei clone when NERV had made their first salvage attempt, Fuyutski apparently knew what he was talking about.
Of course, all this had resulted in Yui possessing Rei's unusual features and looking too young to be Shinji's mother.
However, these seemed like trifling annoyances indeed compared to the problems they'd once had to deal with. Yui had applied hair dye and colored contacts in order to look a little more like herself, and she cheerfully ignored the looks people gave her when they learned she had a teenage son.
"So, what brings you two up here?" Yui asked.
"Just wanted to say hello, and to ask if you'd be home for dinner," Shinji answered.
"Of course I'll be there," Yui replied cheerfully.
"Maybe I'll make it, if I'm really lucky, but most likely I'll be stuck here all night," Misato groaned. "I swear, the paperwork I have to deal with is insane…"
"You probably wouldn't have half so much if you hadn't run off to the media the second the smoke cleared and told them almost everything," Asuka pointed out.
"I had to, Asuka," Misato replied. "I promised I would, for him."
Asuka quickly sobered. "You're right," she said softly.
All things considered, the redhead had taken the news that Kaji had been killed surprisingly well, probably because she didn't feel as alone without him as she once would have. Even so, it had hurt her a lot.
Shinji cleared his throat awkwardly. "Well, we'll be heading home now," he said. "We'll see you this evening, Mother, and hopefully you, too, Misato."
The pair left the command center, stepping back out into the hall. "Are you okay?" Shinji asked once they were alone.
"Yeah," Asuka replied, then forced a smile and took his hand. "C'mon, let's blow this popsicle stand."
He nodded, and they left the base, soon finding themselves back on the surface of Tokyo-3. Huge cranes and other pieces of construction equipment could be seen just about everywhere in the battered city, slowly but surely rebuilding it.
"They're going to get the school repaired way too soon, aren't they?" Asuka asked as she took a glance at all the heavy equipment.
"Probably," Shinji agreed with a small smirk.
Asuka shook her head. "It's a nice day today," she said. "Let's walk home instead of taking the bus."
"Sure," Shinji said with a smile.
However, they had no walked two blocks before his contented expression was soundly replaced by a look of dread.
"Oh no…" he muttered.
Approaching them were none other than Toji and Kensuke, which normally wouldn't have distressed Shinji. However, they were in the company of someone he'd rather they not associate with, especially while he around.
For a moment, he looked about desperately for an escape route, but it was too late. They'd already seen him, and in any case, Asuka would never consent to flee from the likes of them.
"Hi, guys," Shinji greeted with false cheer as they drew near. "Hello, Shion."
Smirking, Birdy greeted him, while Toji and Kensuke just stood there silently, looking like they couldn't decide whether to drop down on their knees and worship him or grab him by the shoulders and shake him until he came back to his senses.
Of course, they'd wanted to do the latter ever since they'd learned he had started a "thing" with Asuka (Shinji and the redhead had not yet gotten around to clearly defining their new relationship, but they were in no rush; with the war over and the threat of death no longer looming over them, such matters felt less pressing).
However, whenever the opportunity arose, Birdy had been amusing herself by using rather strong innuendo to make them believe that she and Shinji had once been intimate together. And Toji and Kensuke couldn't believe that Shinji would opt to be with Asuka when Birdy appeared more than willing to go back to him.
"So," Shinji said, deciding to preempt any comments from them, "how're your new limbs doing, Toji?"
The jock smiled and opened and closed his fist a couple of times. "Great! I can't even tell the difference between them and my old ones any more," he said. "Mari's totally on the mend, too. They think she'll be fully recovered by the end of the year!"
Shinji smiled. "That's great," he said.
"Hey, why didn't you ever tell us your mom was working on making some great medical breakthrough?" Kensuke asked. "I kinda thought she was, well, dead."
Shinji shrugged, "It was kept really secret for some reason. I don't know why."
Birdy caught his eye and they shared a quick, amused glance. God bless the wonders of Federation technology, he thought. And Federation bureaucrats desperate enough to keep me from telling their media how one of their people "killed" me that they'd let me take it back with me.
Not that Shinji would have told the whole story to some Federation reporter anyway, but it hadn't hurt to let the paper pushers up there believe he might.
"You know how paranoid government types can be," Asuka said. "They love their little 'top secret' rubber stamps."
"Well, we gotta head home," Shinji said. "I'll catch you guys tomorrow, okay?"
Normally, Toji and Kensuke probably would have protested, but they were quite happy with the company of "Shion" at the moment, so they let him go without argument. Soon after, Shinji and Asuka had made it back to the apartment building.
Yui had purchased the apartment right next to Misato's, and Shinji and Rei had moved in with her. So far, the occupants of the two homes had been treating them like they were just one big apartment; they all ate together, and there was even talk of knocking a hole in one of the walls and having a door installed to join the two apartments.
Shinji opened the door to the Ikari apartment…and then recoiled as smoke came billowing out at him.
"What the hell?!" Asuka exclaimed.
Shinji went charging inside, soon finding Rei. The former First Child was standing at the stove, upon which sat a frying pan where something was burning. She was desperately trying to put it out by throwing water on it, but her efforts were only generating more smoke. Shinji quickly grabbed the lid from a pot and pressed it over the blackened contents of the pan, stifling the flames.
"Thank you," Rei said, coughing.
"Ugh, Rei, I'm not sure even Misato could have pulled this one off," Asuka said as she began to open windows to let the smoke out.
Rei blushed. "I am sorry."
"It's okay," Shinji said. "At least you somehow managed to avoid setting off the fire alarms. Help us air this place out, then I'll give you a cooking lesson."
"Thank you," Rei said, and quickly got to work.
A half an hour later, the air quality in the apartment was back to almost normal, and Shinji was teaching Rei how to prepare a meal without making the whole apartment smell like smoke.
"I still can't believe you used to eat almost every meal in the NERV commissary," Asuka commented to Rei, the redhead shuddering slightly at the mere thought.
"It was…convenient," Rei said. "I never needed to cook before."
Obviously, Asuka thought, but made only a noncommittal grunt aloud.
"You seem distracted, Rei," Shinji said. "Is something on your mind?"
"I have been thinking about the previous Commander," she confessed. "The circumstances under which Birdy arrested him seem dubious at best. He is not a Federation citizen, nor was he within Federation territory."
"So?" Asuka asked.
"What if they release him?" Rei said.
Shinji smirked. "I wouldn't worry about that too much…"
Two weeks earlier…
"This is beneath me," Gendo grumbled as he reached down to pick up a piece of litter that some lazy Altarian had dropped.
He and the rest of his cell block were out of prison that day, getting fresh air in exchange for a little menial labor, namely picking up trash from the streets.
"But they'll give the one who picks up the most extra erkburgels for dinner!"
Gendo turned to look down at one of his fellow prisoners, a small, yellow alien with a vaguely amphibian body and ears that looked like bat wings. Said alien would do just about anything for his precious erkburgels. An utterly disgusting foodstuff, the things were green, almost slug-like blobs, each with a single orange-red eye. The prison served them still alive.
The former Commander of NERV turned the full force of his glare upon the little alien. The yellow guy was unmoved.
"Ikari! Get back to work!"
"Yes, Warden," Gendo said with a sigh.
He turned to pick up an abandoned can, and that's when he caught sight of them, walking on one of the hovering pathways that were everywhere on this planet.
He spotted Birdy's pink hair first. Then, once he'd identified her, he quickly saw the smaller figure that trailed close behind her, obviously afraid of getting lost on an alien world. His own son.
Shinji must have felt his father's gaze upon him, for he turned, and their eyes locked.
Then, a slow smirk spread over Shinji's face, and he mouthed two words to his father.
The scream Gendo emitted then ensured that he'd only get the usual amount of erkburgels that night.
That evening, Shinji ventured out onto the veranda, partly because the Ikari apartment still smelled of smoke, but mostly because he just wanted to look up at the dark sky and breathe the night air.
Part of him was still quietly reeling over the events of the last month. Had he woken up and found that the Seventeenth Angel had just been slain, or even that the Seventh Angel had just been slain, he wouldn't have been completely surprised.
"There's not a whole lot in the way of stars to see there, Shinji-kun, not in the city. And in any case, I think you're missing someone if you intended to make a romantic evening out of tonight."
He smiled and turned, seeing Misato standing behind him. "I thought you were stuck working tonight?"
She shrugged. "I'm the commander now. I can give myself the night off if I want to."
"Do you really want that?" he asked. "To be the commander of NERV, I mean?"
"Yeah, I think I do," she said. "The soul in Unit Zero doesn't seem to want to come out, according to Ritsuko and Fuyutski, and NERV can't be completely disbanded so long as one EVA remains, even if it is in suspended animation."
She smiled ruefully, "Besides, the angry old farts at the UN would probably start trying to make my life hell if I didn't accept this 'reward.' They were none too pleased to have the world see how SEELE played them all for fools."
"I know all that, but…" he hesitated for a moment before finding the right words. "The Angels are dead. Unless Godzilla or something decides to threaten Japan, I don't think anybody's ever going to call on NERV again."
"And being the leader of NERV will be a very boring post," Misato finished. "I know, and I'm okay with it, really. Once everything finally finishes blowing over, I'll have plenty of time to figure out how to move on."
He nodded, knowing full well how badly Kaji's death had hurt her. "You don't have to do it alone, you know."
Misato smiled warmly at him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Asuka's a damn lucky girl," she commented.
She then went back inside before a blushing Shinji could stutter out a reply.
Before he could regain his composure, something suddenly landed next to him on the veranda, nearly causing him to jump out of his skin. He was about to shout, but then realized that it was Birdy.
"Hi, Shinji," she said cheerfully.
"Uh, hello," he replied, wondering how long she'd been watching him.
The Altarian had not ever told Misato her opinion of the former Ops Director's battle tactics, something for which Shinji was grateful. However, she had also avoided Misato whenever possible, and Shinji didn't for a moment put it beyond Birdy to spy on him and wait until Misato left before making her appearance.
"Well, I'm heading out," Birdy said.
Shinji blinked. "Heading out?" he echoed dumbly.
This sounded a little too casual if Birdy was returning to the Federation, but he supposed it was possible. This was Birdy he was dealing with, after all.
"Yeah," Birdy replied. "The Federation has sort of loaned me to Earth so I can help track down the members of SEELE."
Shinji nodded. "I was kind of wondering why you were hanging around here," he admitted. "I just thought you were sticking around because you hadn't tried every flavor of ice cream in existence yet…"
She smirked. "That's a good reason to stay here, too."
"I guess," he said.
"So, anyway, I just got a lead, so I'm outta here for a while," Birdy said. "Don't worry, I'll look you up again before I go home."
"I'm glad," he nodded. "As crazy as you are, I'll miss you when you're gone."
Birdy snorted, then abruptly wrapped her arms around Shinji in a hug. After his initial surprise, he hugged her back.
"Well," Birdy said, ending the embrace, "so long."
With that, the Federation officer jumped off the veranda and disappeared into the night. Shinji stared after her—the young woman who'd come into his life by random chance and had had such a profound effect upon it—long after he'd lost sight of her.
The door to the veranda opened. At first her thought it was Misato again, or perhaps his mother coming to tell him to go to bed, but the figure was too short to be either of them.
"Missing your 'other half?'" Asuka teased.
"How much did you see?" Shinji asked.
"I just overheard her telling you that she was going after SEELE and would be back eventually," Asuka replied. "I almost feel sorry for the old bastards."
"Almost," he agreed.
"Exactly," Asuka said. "So, you haven't answered my question. You just standing here, pining away for the days she was rattling around inside your head?"
"No," Shinji answered emphatically.
It seemed too quiet inside his mind these days, but he was sure he'd adjust. And though he did like Birdy and certainly considered her a friend, he appreciated her a lot more when they were in separate bodies.
"I was just sort of wondering how things would have turned out if I hadn't bumped into Geega that night and gotten joined with Birdy," Shinji added.
Embracing him from behind, Asuka leaned forward and placed a quick kiss on his cheek. "I think it's probably better if we don't worry about that."
Shinji smiled. "Yeah," he agreed, "you're probably right."
Author's Notes: And so ends my third story and my first crossover. It's been a pretty wild ride. All in all, while I was very pleased by how some of it came out (the battle against the Twelfth Angel comes to mind), I don't think it was my best work. Some of the later chapters feel like there's too much info dump and not enough Birdy. Also, the sheer amount of stuff happening in the story, the result of it being a crossover and having two sets of villains, kind of overwhelmed me at times, I think.
On a related note, I now have a whole new level of respect for fanfic writers who can successfully pull of mega-crossovers.
One of these days I may return to this story and rewrite it in an attempt to sort out some of the flaws and make it as good as I expected it to be when orionpax09 threw the idea my way. Though, in all honesty, the chances of this are pretty slim; already I'm eager to start writing my next story, and I'm not sure I'll ever find the drive to look "backwards" and redo a completed piece. But hey, you never know.
On a completely unrelated note, I didn't create that alien Gendo was talking with. A million (meaningless) points to whoever can tell me who he is and where he's from. Here's a hint: he's not from a sci-fi, but an episode of a 90's kids show.
Laser Crusader, I've no plans for a sequel, or even any ideas about how I'd go about one, I'm afraid. Oh, and if you think the detective work was minimal here, check out the Birdy the Mighty OAV. Almost all the bad guys come to her, so there's virtually none.
Well, as always, thanks to my readers and reviewers.
Forgot About That…
"Hello, Shinji," Birdy said cheerfully.
"Uh, Birdy, you should probably get out of here," Shinji advised. "Now that I have my own body back—"
"I can do things to it!" Birdy exclaimed, then apparently realizing how that sounded, quickly added, "Um, I mean, we can finally unleash our pent up lust for one another!"
"That's not gonna happen."
They turned to see Asuka coming through the veranda doors. Demonic flames were already rising up from her form. Behind her stood Misato, whose eyes were already green, and Rei, who had fully transformed into the Silver Surfer.
"Oh, the Superwomen," Birdy said, looking more than a little crestfallen. "I forgot about them."
"How could you forget?" Shinji asked. "They were trying to figure out how to kill you without hurting me in an omake that was one chapter ago."
"I have a short memory, okay?!" Birdy growled. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I think it's time I—blah!"
The Federation officer had turned, only to find herself confronted with a woman who was hanging upside down from a string that was attached to the veranda above them. Spider-Woman.
Birdy quickly realized that the arachnid woman wasn't the only one barring her escape route. Miss Fantastic hovered nearby, as did Storm and the Iron Maiden.
"Well, crap," Birdy said.
"I warned you," Shinji sighed.
"Get her, girls," Asuka said.
As the crowd of super humans began to converge upon her, Birdy did the most unexpected, insane, and (argueably) brilliant thing possible. She grabbed hold of Shinji, and the former Third Child screamed as electricity was pumped into his body.
"WHAT THE HELL?!" Asuka exclaimed.
"You can't kill me!" Birdy said triumphantly, "Because the only way to save him now is for him to join with me again!"
Just barely conscious, Shinji decided that the odds of this becoming a repeating cycle were far too good.
Oh, for the days where she just made me slap myself…