"I knew it!" Shinji thought in despair, "I'm not needed after all."
Shinji turned and saw Rei, the girl they'd just brought into Unit 1's berth on a gurney. She was the girl that they were going to put into Unit 1 because Shinji wouldn't. But how could he? He had only just been introduced to this robot not ten minutes ago.
Rei was heavily bandaged.
The sad music began playing.
Rei tried to pull herself up, whimpering with pain and breathing in deep shudders.
Shinji stared at her.
"Close up shot ... closer ... get the eyes ... closer ..."
The music changed and there was a loud crash, presumably from the Angel aboveground. The ground shook and Rei was thrown off the gurney with a shriek. She tried to pull herself back up, but fell back down in a heap of moans. Blood began to leak from her bandages.
"Get up, Rei!" one of the medical assistants grabbed her by the arm and tried to drag her up, "The fate of the world is on your shoulders!"
"I—" Rei gave one last trembling gasp and then collapsed completely, her head lolling.
Shinji made an involuntary sound, still staring in horror.
"We're losing her!" one of the medical assistants said as a shrill and steady beep came from one of the machines attached to Rei.
"What!" Gendo Ikari shouted as he raced to her. He grabbed the defibrillator unit away from the medics. "Stand back! The fate of everything is resting on this one girl—there is no one else who can do it!"
He spared a brief but significant glance at Shinji.
"Wa—Wait—" Shinji took a step forward, weakly raising his arm.
"Clear!" Gendo shouted, pressing the pads to Rei's chest. Her limp body jerked violently and then fell back to the ground and was still again.
"We're still losing her!" one of the medics desperately shouted.
The sad music began a more desperate chord, violins-heavy.
"Wait!" Shinji shouted, but no one was listening to him. He clenched his fists and closed his eyes.
"Crank it up!" Gendo commanded, feverishly rubbing the pads together over his head.
"But we're already past the safety limits!" one of the medics exclaimed, "Any more will—"
"Do it!" Gendo shouted, "If she dies, we all—"
"Wait!" Shinji screamed, "Stop it! Stop all of it! Now!"
Gendo looked up at him in disgust.
"Cut! Cut! Cut!"
The set bell rang and people began moving wearily.
Anno leapt up from the director's chair. "Shinji, what do you think you're doing?"
"I can't do it! I just can't do it!" Shinji clenched his fists. "This scene is ridiculous! This wasn't in the script before."
"Well, it's in the script now, isn't it, hedgehog Boy?" Asuka shot back from where she was standing to one side of the set with a mocha and a pair of crossed arms, "Why don't you just deal with it?"
"Hey! You stay out of this!" Shinji exclaimed, "You're not even going to show up for another eight episodes, so just—just—"
Gendo grunted as he walked off the set. "I need a smoke."
"There he goes," Anno clapped loudly, though no one joined him, "A wonderful human being. Great work, Gendo, great work."
"But if we could," Anno added hesitantly, "Maybe we could make this scene just a little bit ... harsher? You know, give it an edge. Could you—tone up on the coldness ... just a little bit?"
"I'll see what I can do," Gendo said noncommittally.
"That's all we can ask for," Anno clapped again, calling after him, "A wonderful human being, Gendo. You're a wonderful human being."
Rei sat up, looking around blearily. "What is the problem?"
"Ugh!" Asuka groaned as she forcibly disposed of her mocha cup, "Maybe if you didn't get so in character and black out all the time you would know what's the problem, Wonder Girl."
"Hey, leave her alone," Shinji protested, "Maybe if the script hadn't been changed to include these ridiculous ... whatever these things are called—" he kicked at the defibrillator pads, "She wouldn't have to pass out! Why do we have to use real electricity anyway?"
Anno squared himself. "Art is pain. In order to create true art, you must experience—"
"Ugh, not this shtick again," Asuka groaned again, "What do you care about caring anyway, Third Child? That's the whole point to your character, you care about other people. Haven't you figured that out yet? You might be totally spineless, cowardly, not much to look at—downright ugly, actually ... not all that bright, definitely a unique brand of pathetic, and ... but you're still ... wait, what were we talking about again?"
"You see?" Shinji shouted and pointed at her. "How am I supposed to fake warm and humane feelings when she's around? She's not even in this part of the series!"
Anno grimaced. "We all agreed that you needed more character practice at facing your fears, and that if we started early enough in the series, we might actually—"
"You mustn't run away, you mustn't run away," Asuka mocked in a baby voice.
"Argh! I'M NOT GOING TO RUN AWAY!" Shinji screamed, then stopped. " ... But I am going to call my agent, I just can't work like this!" He took out his phone and hit a predial.
Dr. Ritsuko sighed. "There he goes again. Ugh ... I need a donut."
Misato crossed her arms. "Don't you mean a Long John ... or maybe a real man?"
Ritsuko screamed and tackled her to the ground, clawing at her face, "That's it! We're supposed to be FRIENDS in this part of the series!"
Anno wearily raised his loudspeaker, "Clean up on Set-Right."
"Humph," Asuka smartly spun away from the two women clawing at each other, "So unprofessional. I don't know who's worse, them or emo-boy."
"Hey!" Shinji pulled his ear away from his phone, "I was an emo-boy before they even knew what emo was! I MADE EMO! Wait—" he turned back to his phone, "... Chuck? Chuck, you still there? No, I can't do this anymore—my trailer doesn't even have a slushy machine!"
"How pathetic," Asuka shook her head, "He's such an absolute dummkopf."
"And yet," Rei said quietly, "You find yourself madly attracted to him and unable to resist hot, steamy, unbridled and not-PG-13 thoughts about him."
"That's ridiculous!" Asuka whirled on her. "Don't go all Freud on me, doll head, I don't like the little worm in the slightest!"
"Then why did you kiss him in episode 15?" Rei asked, somewhere near the opposite of emotionally charged.
"It's called acting!"
Rei looked away quietly, maybe almost sadly. "If only you two would admit that you have the hots for each other ..."
"Oh, yeah! Emo-boy has the hots for me, all right!" Asuka shouted, a bit unstably, "Kinda like at the very end of the series, oh how romantic it is to get strangled, not once, oh, no! But TWICE! It's kinda like we just let bygones be bygones by shaking hands—or should I say necks! Oh," her hysteria went prim, "And just how romantic would it be if we then went on to make mad hot, underaged sex on the beach surrounded by oceans of blood and being watched by a giant, dismembered head that just happens to be, of all people, YOU!"
"Would you do it if the head wasn't there?"
"AGH! It's just acting!" Asuka shot back. "Ever heard of it? I suppose when you've got a mental lexicon of just four words that consist of bland, depressed, introverted and suicidal, there's not much room for anything else!"
Rei stared back at her. There were more shrieks and limbs behind them as the cleanup crew tried to disentangle Misato and Ritsuko.
"Don't worry ... I forgive you," Rei said.
"What the heck for?" Asuka demanded, her face approaching a shade somewhere near livid red.
"For being jealous of me and my superior fan base," Rei answered.
Asuka gave a shriek of her own and jumped at Rei—Rei's throat. "TAKE THAT BACK YOU LIFELESS EXCUSE FOR A MANNEQUIN!"
Anno put his head in his hands. "Clean up on Set-Left, priority left."
They grappled as they fell to the ground. Rei held Asuka's wrists, her face blank as she continued. "Jealous of my more varied and sought after merchandise—"
"I've got just as much merchandise as you do!" Asuka panted as she tried to push past Rei's arms, "I've got key chains! I've got stickers! I've got miniature doll—uh, doll-like things ... that are, ugh!—better looking than yours because—I've got the fuller figure!"
"—Jealous of my more dedicated fandoms—" Rei continued, not heeding her.
"Dedicated fandoms of perverted pre-pubescent boys that prefer docile anime girls just so they can fantasize better!" Asuka screamed. "Where did Shinji put those gol darned shock pads? I'll show you acting you soulless, willynacking female variety of a dog—"
She abruptly detached herself from Rei and sank back on her knees, weeping passionately. "Why does this have to be a K+ fanfiction? How am I suppose to express all of my teenage angst without swearing? It's impossible!"
Voice from heaven: Because I have decreed it.
"But why?" Asuka wailed.
Voice from heaven: Because more family friendly ratings encourages more readers, and more readers encourages more reviews, and more reviews creates more happiness for me, and more happiness—
"Oh, shut up!" Misato groaned from underneath Ritsuko's elbow. "If you can't find happiness playing Dungeons and Dragons in your mother's basement for the rest of your life and making out with Asuka dolls, then I don't think getting written feedback from other people just like you is going to do it!"
"Yeah, why does he get to write us?" Asuka whined to Anno. "What does he know about Evangelion anyway? He's only seen the series through once, and—And he's not depressed or suicidal—he's not even Japanese!" She paused at Anno's expression. "Not that you're depressed ... anymore ... I think ..."
Anno sobbed into his hands. "My therapist says I'm making progress!"
"Why do you get to write us?" Misato shouted up at the ceiling.
Because I am God.
"Aw, SHUT UP!" the cast shouted back.
*poking heavenly stick in dirt* Okay ...
"Well," Anno sighed as he sniffed and stood back up. "Are we ready to get started again?"
Everyone looked at each other, then back at Shinji, who was still on the phone in the corner.
"—no, No, NO Chuck! A slushy machine is meaningless if there's no Hawaiian Carrot—I just won't do it!"
There was a general shout and then general chaos as everyone around Anno threw themselves at each other.
Anno slumped back down in his chair. "All I wanted to do was a shameless remake of a series about pain, depression, and mercilessly tearing characters apart—for just a little more money. Why can't they just understand that?"
A barbarian human sacrifice chant rose from one end of the set as the second shift of NERV extras arrived.
Anno looked up towards heaven. "Can't you do anything?"
Heavenly voice: What are you looking at me for? It's not like I've got the Script of Longinus.
"But wait ..." Anno gave a deathly whisper as he stared around in horror, "Then who does?"
Gendo leaned back in his chair as he stared down at the script open on his desk, the images of the cast and crew tearing themselves apart flickering on the pages. They echoed with the sounds of a few muted gunshots.
"They're such complete fools ... especially that worthless son of mine," he murmured, then grinned, "Just how I like them!"
He kicked his feet up on his desk and took a sip from his Hawaiian Carrot slushy, groaning contently.
"Now let's see here," he said as he casually thumbed through the script, "Let's see if we can do some proofreading ... Oh, what's this? I have a character motivation in the End of Evangelion movie for being such a complete and utter jerk throughout the entire series?"
He pulled his feet back to the ground, absently reaching for his Shinji stress ball as he leaned over the glowing pages.
"Well, we can fix that ..."
AN: Thanks for reading. As the stooping to ALL CAPS and the like might indicate, this isn't a completely not serious effort, so any mistakes shouldn't be taken very seriously. As Asuka said, I've only seen the series through twice (though I am going to rate this T just in case).
On the outside chance that anyone really likes this, I would like to say that there will be more (there's a low % that there will be), but no promises. So it's probably just best to assume there won't be. Still, this was fun to write, and it's definitely a Potentially Perpetual Plot (PPP). Anyway, hope you all enjoyed it.