Disclaimer: Studio Gainax animation owns all rights to Neon Genesis Evangelion… I do not. Should Gainax, or anyone affiliated with them, request it, this story will be removed from the Web.
"Approaching absolute-borderline," Maya Ibuki said, her voice sure and calm, "all boards are green."
Misato Katsuragi sighed, "It worked fine for Rei," she said, "why is this test necessary?"
Ritsuko Akagi looked up from the monitor she had been observing. "The cross-sync test is necessary because we need to find out if Unit 01 AND Unit 00 are compatible. So far, Rei synced fine with Unit 01… but that doesn't mean 00 is going to just sit there and-"
As if on cue, an alarm began wailing. "Error in the third stage!" Maya called out, "Pulses are flowing backwards… Unit 00 is out of control!"
"Cut the power!" Ritsuko said quickly, "Sever the connections."
The power supply jettisoned from the back of the blue mecha. "Power supply is away," Maya reported, "but I can't cut the connections! Unit 00 is refusing the signal! DAMNIT! I've just lost the camera feed to the cockpit - I can't see Shinji anymore!!"
Misato's eyes widened as Unit 00 clutched its head, shaking it from side to side, then lurched forward and slammed its fist into the thick glass separating them from it.
"Get back!!" Ritsuko called out.
If Rei Ayanami heard her, she made no indication. She simply stood still, shards of breaking glass flying all around her, and watched as the giant biomechanical beast tried to get to them. -To me…- she thought, her eyes narrowing ever so slightly, - it is trying to get to me…-
Abruptly, the blue mecha froze, its single eye locking onto the First Child… and it slumped forward.
"Unit 00 has gone silent…" Maya announced, her voice shaking.
"Shinji!" Misato said quickly, standing up from where she had been crouched behind one of the terminals, "How is he??"
"I'm fine… Misato…" Shinji Ikari's voice came over the speakers, "just a little shaken up…"
"Oh thank God…" Misato breathed. She and Ritsuko hurried to the emergency hatch to get Shinji out, ignoring the demands of Asuka Langley Souryu, the Second Child, for someone to tell her what the hell was going on… and never even noticing the uncharacteristic frown on Rei's face.
"Something is… wrong…" Rei whispered to herself, her red eyes still focussed on Unit 00's single one.
She would not find out exactly what until it was far too late… but she was the only person in that room that had even a vague inkling of the horror that was about to unfold…
Steel-blue eyes fluttered open, finding an unfamiliar ceiling awaiting the child's return to consciousness.
"You're up," a soft, feminine voice said from his right.
The boy turned his head, "Why am I here…" he paused over her name - just the barest of hesitations, "Misato? I said I was fine."
"You know it's standard procedure," the purple-haired woman replied, "but you can come home now, I think everything's fine."
-Oh, better than fine,- the boy thought, repressing a smile, -MUCH better…- "Will… Asuka be there?" again, there was a slight pause. Something Misato should have picked up on - and might have, had she not been so tired from staying at his bedside all night.
"No," she replied, "Asuka's on duty tonight, but-" she stopped as the door slid open, turning her head… and missing the small snarl that flashed over the boy's features.
Rei stood in the doorway, uncharacteristically hesitant.
"Come in, Rei," Misato said encouragingly, "I was just about to tell Shinji that you were here."
"No…" the blue-haired girl replied, staring into the boy's eyes, "I was only going to stop by for a moment to make sure he was ok."
"Yup," the boy said quickly, "just fine. Guess you have to be going then, bye bye."
Misato blinked, looking from one to the other. She opened her mouth to ask if she was missing something, but Rei replied before she could speak. "Yes… I should."
Without another word, Rei turned and left the room, stealing one final look at the boy's eyes… his dark, predatory eyes…
"Umm… it's probably nothing, but there's a very slight irregularity in Shinji's brainwave reading from after the accident."
"You called me at home for this?
"Well, I… thought you would want to know. Shouldn't I check it out?"
"Don't be stupid, Doctor… of course you should check it out. Is it something that must be done now? It is late, and I want to be there for the test."
"Umm… no, I think it can wait until morn-"
"Very well, schedule it for first thing. Goodbye."
Misato paused as she came into the kitchen, staring at the boy's profile.
"Shinji…" she began hesitantly, "are you… really ok?"
He tuned from the vegetables he was chopping, "Of course… why do you ask?"
"I…" she sighed, crossing the room and pulling a beer out of the fridge, "I don't know… you just seem… more relaxed… more easygoing…" she shrugged.
"Oh," he said, smiling, "I'm just fine…" he turned to face her and started walking towards her. "Actually," he said softly, "I'm worried about you… Misato…"
"Me?" she said, blinking, "What do you mean? Why?" Her eyes widened as her reached out to touch her cheek.
"Because I know you…" he said softly.
"I… what?" she stammered, entirely confused.
"I know you're lonely," the boy said quietly, stepping closer still, "let me hold you… let me take away your loneliness…"
Misato's eyes were wide, "Shinji… you… you shouldn't…"
He smiled, his face inching closer to hers, "Let me be the one to make love to you…"
"Shin-" Misato's protest was cut short as he slipped a hand around her waist and pulled her lips to his.
The beer slipped from her fingers as shock overwhelmed her senses. -He's kissing me!!- she thought frantically, -What is he thinking?!-
She put her hands on his chest and pushed, trying to break away. "Shinji," she gasped, trying to form a complete sentence as he kissed her over and over again, refusing to stop, "I don't… I don't want this…"
"You know something Misato?" he said idly, "I REALLY don't give a fuck!" He laughed as her eyes almost came out of their sockets, his smile becoming hard and cruel, "You'll do what I tell you…"
A gasp escaped her as she felt cold steel slide up the front of her shirt. -The knife…- she thought, suddenly terrified, -he's still got the knife!- "Shinji," she said, licking her lips and pressing herself up against the wall, "please don't do th-"
"You keep calling me that…" the boy said, pressing the tip of the knife against her chest, right between two of her ribs, "that's not my name."
"Oh God…" Misato moaned, feeling the tip dig into her skin, -He's going to kill me,- she thought desperately, -no matter what I do, he's going to kill me!- She thought of all the different escape methods she had learned in training… and discarded them one by one. There was no move that she knew of that would stop a seven-inch steak knife from slipping into you if it was already positioned.
"Now then…" the boy said softly, "take off your shirt."
"I knew that I smelled your foulness in the hospital…" a third voice said softly, causing both the boy's and Misato's heads to snap towards the door.
Rei stood just inside the apartment, a nine-millimeter pistol held firmly in her small hands. "Release her…" she said firmly.
The boy snarled, "You…"
Misato yelped in pain as the knife sank a bit deeper into her flesh… a small rivulet of blood running down her stomach.
"I shall not be denied, First," the boy spat, narrowing his eyes, "and you know you may not kill me… or you kill him." He smiled suddenly, "And you care for him, do you not?"
"Who… WHAT are you…" Misato breathed, wincing in pain as every breath reminded her of the quick death that was seconds away.
"Shut up," the boy ordered, never taking his eyes off of the blue-haired pilot.
"I do," Rei whispered, thumbing the hammer back and bracing her feet, "but you are not him… and you must not be allowed to go free."
"You wouldn't…" he replied, smiling confidently, "now say goodbye to this one!"
Misato screamed as the knife began thrusting into her.
So loud was her scream, and so bright was her pain, that she hardly even heard the roar as the nine millimeter went off. Firing once, then again… and again… and again…
"So will she live?" Asuka asked, staring at the space between her feet as she sat on the bench outside the operating room.
"Yeah…" Kaji Ryouji replied, glancing sideways at her, "Ritsuko said another two inches and the knife would have gotten to her heart. Rei sav-"
"Don't you DARE!" Asuka screamed, jumping to her feet and rounding on the surprised man, "Don't you dare say she saved ANYONE! Not after…" her face collapsed, but she tried to maintain her rage, "after what she… did to… to…" she cracked. It was too much for her to take.
Kaji caught the redheaded pilot as her eyes rolled up into her head and her legs buckled out from under her - the stress of the situation overcoming her. "She did what she had to do…" he whispered to the now unconscious girl, cradling her in his arms, "and if it had been me…" he added softly, "the knife wouldn't have even gotten that far."
In the Evangelion cages, the blue mecha designated 00 sat inert, waiting patiently for the day when it would be needed again.
Author's notes: I've had this idea kicking around in my head for a while now, and I finally just sat down and wrote it. Initially, it was to be a one-shot, culminating in Shinji getting his body restored, and the… other being forced back into Unit 00 - then I realized all the potential ways I could continue it… and Shinji's body had to go. ;) I've got at least two more chapters planned, possibly more, depending on whether or not this one is well received. So if you like it, let me know. The future of this fic in your hands! (but, uh… no pressure… heheh)
Thanks to Ryoma for a fine pre-read, damn good job, my man! (incidentally… I hear that he will sell no whine before it's time…)
Also thanks to 20Eva for pre-reading and catching a couple more mistakes (damn… I kinda suck…)
Feedback is always welcome at [email protected]