Disclaimer: Still don't own either franchise, I also don't own any of the recommended songs.

Author Note: Pretty Good Reception for the Pilot Episode, I think I'll press on in fact. Oh, to all those interested in the contest, keep up with the great ideas, though I'd much like to see illustrated forms of your ideas rather than descriptions. Though I have some replies to your reviews.

Starburst98: Now don't panic, Shinji and the exiled remains of the Gurren Brigade will meet, just not in the way you expect; and about the idea that Kamina will teach Shinji how to be manly, my plan is similar, but has a twist I think you'll find amusing.

Justanotherguyathiscomputer: Yeah, didn't see that plot twist coming either…

Paladin13: Love the color scheme you came up with.

Oh, and in true Gainax fashion, this particular chapter is the mandatory fanservice one, just not the kind you'd expect. Now on with the show

Soundtrack Listing:

(1) Someone's Cursing Someone Else by Iwasaki Taku

(2) Cruel Dilemme III by Sagisu Shirou

(3) Is a Mole Just a Mole? By Iwasaki Taku

(4)Rap is the Soul of a Man! Perk Up Your Earholes and Listen REAL Close to the Theme of Lord Kamina, the Man of Raging Billows Who Believes in Himself and Points to Heaven!! By Iwasaki Taku

(5) Hostility Restrained by Sagisu Shirou

(6) Do Mole-Pigs Dream about Spirals? By Iwasaki Taku

Episode 2: SCRUBBING A STORY: oral stage or "Get On Your Feet!!!"

"Was Man and Woman cast out of the Eden for disobedience, or ineptitude?"

(Three weeks later…)

(Somewhere)

(1)

Wake up…

The man groaned as he was roused from whatever state he was previously. He wouldn't have called it slumber, no he was far too aware to be asleep. It was more like, he had been awake with his eyes closed. His limited knowledge would not be able to place the sensation, but he had felt his consciousness dip and rise erratically behind his closed lids; almost as if there were distractions preventing him from napping.

"What? Who's there?" a redundant question; the voice was familiar to him, he recalled it's whispers concealed by silence in his former cavern of a home. It had always been there…but it never had a name. "Tou-san?" he tried.

Would you like it to be?

He smirked weakly. It was a foolish idea from the start, that man had only been with him briefly. This was something far more constant, like a shadow or set of footprints, never far behind, no matter the distance he went. "No, not unless it's the real thing…"

How are you here?

"Travelled." He said curtly.

What do you recall?

"Fighting…"

Who?

"The Beastmen, that huge skull thing."

A skull is a universal symbol of Death.

Though it probably wasn't an insult, he still took issue with that statement. His skull was different; his skull was on fire and was wearing a pair of the greatest sunglasses of all time (his design of course). It didn't represent death, it represented…well he wasn't quite sure what it represented, but not death. Death meant defeat, and he was certain he wasn't advertising that on his banner. "Not on my flag it doesn't!"

What does that represent?

He thought about it for a moment, what did he make it for? Revolution? Freedom? Manliness?

Ego…

Ouch. "Hey!"

Did you see death in that fight?

The answer almost didn't let the question finish. "No!" that creature was grotesque, and it had nearly (or had it?) killed him, but he did not see death in its twisted visage. He had seen death long before that: unceremoniously cast on the desert rock, mere yards from civilization, draped in red. Red he now wore on his back in legacy.

Why did you take it?

"What, Gurren?" Where the hell were these questions coming from.

Why did you take it?

There was no way he was telling it that. "It's a stupid reason, you don't want to hear it."

Are you afraid?

"No."

Are you alone?

"No."

Alone

"I'm not…"

Alone

"I said I'm not!"

From the very start…

"I have my bro, you bodiless creep!"

Do you want the loneliness to stop?

"What?!"

Then when the time comes, and you exceed expectations, open you arms…

"Look, if you think I'm just going to sit here and…and…"Something was prying his eyes open, he could feel the air blow dust onto their moist surfaces. His stomach gurgled, his lungs expanded, and his head hurt like hell. For the first time since he had been in this trance, he was feeling.

And embrace…

He didn't have long, he was being pulled away, or forced away from wherever was. But he managed to utter one last question. "Who?"

Something syrupy and dark tinged the familiar voice's final reply.

Everyone…

Softness greeted his back and the morning light screamed into his eyes as he truly finaly awakened.

The man quickly blinked to banish some of those invading rays away. He tried to lift a hand to help block them out, but found it ached to do so. His face scrunched up in effort, slowly allowing the light through to become better aquainted with it. If he got used to it, he could open his eyes, he could see.

Something came into focus, a ceiling, ordinary, plain, not one he was familiar with though. He looked to his left and saw there were beds, some hidden by a veil, others possessed people in varying states of injury, all unconscious. Injury was also something he wasn't a stranger too, although the room was cleaner.

He looked to his right, half-expecting to see Simon sitting beside him and was left breathless. What greeted him was a vision obscured by buildings, tall, huge, to the point they stretched out of the window's vision. And below that, vehicles very much like mining carts, but covered in metal and without rails sped along a perfect black road, while people bustled nearby, moving place to place in groups larger than he had ever seen before. The sun seemed to be captured in every pane of glass on every skyscraper.

Countless questions could've been asked: What is this? Where am I? But what passed out of his lips was not inquiry, but wonder.

"Wow."

Suddenly, Kamina didn't feel so tired anymore.

(NERV HQ)

(2)

In what one could very well say was a natural defense mechanism, the citizens of Tokyo-3 never really tried to think about what went on in NERV HQ. As long as the organization did their job and protected them from the Angels, they didn't pay them any mind. Because to ponder for even a moment of what complex happenings occurred in the depths of that guarded facility was only inviting irritation and befuddlement to one's mind. Who knows what happens down there, they could be constructing even more of those atrocious EVAs, experimenting on compounds so deadly a teaspoon of them could wipe out the city, or maybe they were monitoring everyone's activities via some gigantic surveillance system.

Oddly, no one really gave any thought to the idea of two people having a casual conversation in a small bar, drinking the same unhealthy alcoholic beverages that everyone else did. The key difference being that the subject of the casual conversation were giant robots.

Misato lightly twirled the glass in her hands, very glad that the liquor was there to stir the ice, and eventually go down her throat. "Thank God, I've been needing one of these for a while."

"You've been gone for only a few days." Ritsuko countered.

"A week actually," Her dark haired companion waited for the small sound of burnt tobacco smoldering in an ashtray before speaking again. "Going there just really threw me off Rits, and I'm not just talking about how my flights kept getting delayed."

The blonde took a sip from her own glass. "Did you learn anything new?"

Misato paused. It was strangely difficult to recall the meeting, by all means it should have been a fresh memory as it was so recent…

From what the MAGI had predicted, based on trajectory and the velocities required to break through the GeoFront's shields, that the "Gurren Lagann" or whatever its pilots called it, had emerged from what was left of NERV's Nevada branch.

The Dirac Sea created from Unit 04's meltdown had been under study, though the phenomenon itself was gone. The outpost there was monitoring the area as it always did, with little hope of discerning anything new, when that thing practically burst out of the ground, warping the ruins in a great paradoxical splash.

When the recovery teams arrived in the outpost, all three inhabitants were in different states of duress: one was dead, one was missing, and one was crazy.

No one had actually seen the machine come out of the area, all surveillance equipment had been fried upon its entry. It was a long shot, but NERV insisted that an account of the Gurren Lagann's origin would provide some insight on what it was and where it came from. And seeing as how Misato had seen it first hand, it was reasonable to believe she could help put the pieces together. That was a week ago.

So Misato went to the only primary eye-witness NERV had on hand, the crazy one.

Unfortunately, it took a full two weeks for the American medical staff to deem the survivor to be fit for conversation, much less a formal inquiry.

"Nothing we already didn't know," she waved. "Freaky, spinning object immolated in a strange energy we've never seen before." The glass of whisky weighed a bit lighter in her hand. "Waste of time if you ask me…"

"So you didn't speak with him before he…" Ritsuko paused.

"He was long dead by the time I got there…" her friend chimed. Neither of them enjoyed talking about suicide, not that they weren't used to it, with one of their mother's having done it and the other caring for a child whose mother had also taken her own life. Still, it was a touchy subject. "I didn't know whether to feel sad or irritated. After all the delays, the red tape, having to ride coach, I walked into that asylum with all the intent of milking out every drop of information out of the loon." The Major repressed a smile, ordinarily being in such a stark and dingy house of madness would've made her nervous and tentative, but she had been too pissed to even consider being wary. "And right there, standing at the lobby is some NERV officer telling me the man had killed himself a few hours before I arrived." She gulped down another mouthful of alcohol. "And that he was sorry for the inconvenience."

How easy it would've been to assume that was what was bothering her friend. But Ritsuko was a scientist, and such people were generally more thorough in seeking answers. "That doesn't seem to be grounds for drinking at this time of day, the two of us should be working." The blonde pulled the sides of her labcoat down in a vain attempt to straighten them. "I feel a bit silly for wearing this here too."

Misato sighed. "Yeah, well before he died, he left something behind." Refill. "Well a lot of things behind." She lifted a thick manila envelope up for Ritsuko to see. "When he was calmed down, he tended to draw…pictures…real amateurish stuff, barely above kindergarten level." Her fingers let the thing drop from them. "The agent wanted me to have them. Of course I didn't want them; they were pictures a crazy guy made. They probably had crashed cars, burning people and hotdogs shooting laser beams out of their tips." Misato ignored the odd look the Doctor was giving her. "But he insisted. He said that his branch had looked them over carefully and had discovered, 'subjects which your superiors would find intriguing.' Though he claimed he didn't know why." She took another swig. "I was too tired to argue so I took the packet and on the flight back here. Most of the stuff didn't make any sense but…well see for yourself."

Casting a small look of distaste at the Major, Ritsuko opened the envelope and gingerly took out its contents. She found that Misato was quite right, they were very childish, and didn't make any sense. One illustration had a sky full of eyes, looking down at a group of poorly rendered people, another had a boy (or girl? He really was a lousy artist) made out of roughly shaped squares. And there were pages and pages of planar curves inked in green, revolving around their points till they ran off the page. "This is complete nonsense."

"Keep looking…"

So she did, if anything to humor her friend. More abstract nonsense, and then, she saw what Misato had seen. It was a black lanky figure with spindly arms and legs and pointed shoulders, towering what was probably a city. Even this badly drawn, it was clearly and EVA, and those red things on its back, deformed looking as they were, were clearly wings. "What…rank was he?"

Misato smiled, considering this a subtle victory over the skeptical doctor. "He was just some low level employee, I think he made the coffee at the outpost…" she set the glass down for the first time they had started talking. "Which begs the question, how did he find out what our EVAs are really made of?"

The blonde swallowed slightly. "It might just be a coincidence, surely the idea that the EVAs are connected more intimately with the Angels they fight is not an uncommon one." She tensed a bit. "I can see why the Americans thought this would concern us, this information, even in this form, coming from NERV, could spark a great deal of inquiry from the public."

"Who knows what they'll do if they realize that what's protecting them is made from the enemy, right?" she hadn't taken that revelation particularly well when she oversaw the repairs of Unit 01, and thus knew the rest of the world wouldn't either. "He who fights monster, and all that…"

"Yes…" she answered, flipping to the next page and frowning again. "I thought you said no one there knew how the machine looked like." Another drawing, this time of a boxy machine with two faces, with a large cone for one arm, and a jagged shape clenched in its other. "And we suppressed the images from the surveillance equipment."

"The mystery deepens…" Misato picked the glass up again. "But he was crazy, so maybe he became a conspiracy nut near the end." The sloshing of drink against glass filled the intense silence, the music not being on this time of day. "Why did you tell me?"

Ritsuko briefly looked at an image of several crude Sahaquiels lined up in a row on a conveyor belt. "Thought you deserved to know." She left out the part that the secret had been eating at her for years and Misato had been a convenient outlet. "And besides, didn't you ever wonde-?" a sharp ring interrupted her excuse. Her phone was taken out of her pocket and flipped open. "Yes?" she asked upon placing it next to her ear. "Yes, everything looks stable, it went by without a hitch…Thank you." With that she closed her phone and took a drink of her now cold coffee.

"Do I deserve to know what you just talked about?"

"I'm afraid not Misato."

The Major had to laugh at that. "So let me ask you a question, I know that you can answer, Rits."

"And that would be?" 'Rits' aked.

"What do you think those 'other' pilots are doing now?"

Despite herself, Ritsuko drank deeply from what was left in her mug, the cold bitterness oddly refreshing her senses, and gently fought back the fact that even with all of NERV's manpower, the 'Gurren Lagann' and its pilots, could not be found. "Probably up to all kinds of mischief."

(Tokyo-3 Memorial Hospital)

(3)

Simon didn't know the word for what had been spilled on the hallway floor. It smelled foul and made sides of his nostrils stretch in revulsion, but it wasn't blood, he knew all about blood. He hated cleaning up blood the worst. That and urine, he hated cleaning that up too.

It was something clear and bubbling, and he decided he liked this mess. Clear messes were a boon to him, a few slides of the mop and the majority of it would cling onto the many thick strings, and the rest of it would be too widely spread to be noticeable and too dry to slip on.

Blood was different, it was the color he decided…it always stained. Try to spread it out, and it becomes even more pronounced, and only a bit thinner. Plasma was always sticky and what was put in his mop always turned the water in his bucket red. As it smelt and looked like it, the queasy idea he was carrying a bucket of blood never left his mind. Which was ironic, he did ride around in a giant robot colored that way. Though that had been a while ago.

He had gotten what he thought was the last of the liquid, and made to leave to get to other areas that required tidying, when he noticed a stubborn piece of filth had stuck to the floor. Making sure that he wouldn't be in anybody's way, he took a small brush out of his belt and applied some soap on its bristles.

"Stubborn…" Simon mused as he got on his knees to better reach the dirt. "Just like bro…just like that memory…"

(3 weeks ago)

(outskirts of Tokyo-3)

"WHERE IS IT????!!!!" Simon screamed, pushing the brown-haired boy against the bizarre, purple Gunman. "TELL ME!!!!"

He had pulled the boy out of a large white cylinder that had ejected from the machine after they had crashed here. "I-I don't understand!" And he wasn't cooperating. "Who-who are you?"

Simon grit his teeth, casting a glance back at the open cockpit of the shattered Gurren. Kamina's condition was worse than he had imagined and he quickly understood why he refused to open the video feed between their Gunmen. There was the hole, which stood out most of all, a fist sized orifice that went straight through him. The awkward position of his body indicated that some of his bones were broken. Pints of blood were splattered around his cockpit. And even as Boota licked his face in vain, he wasn't moving…

The young founder of the Gurren Brigade shoved his old tunnel drill into the boy's stomach, causing the unknown pilot to gasp in pain. "Who am I? I'll tell you who I am. I'm Simon, a member of the Gurren Brigade, but more importantly I happen to be the best driller in Jiiha Village." He shifted slightly, with one hand pressed against the boy and the other on the handle of the massive tool. "I hold the record for cleanest penetration (don't you dare laugh!), most feet of earth excavated in a single day, and best of all, fastest tunneling through granite and diamond." The drill was given slightly more force to make Simon's threat clear. "WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?!"

"Please, I didn't even know what you're talking about!" the boy whimpered. "Just-just let me go…"

"You want me to bore a hole in you or not?!" Simon threatened. This guy was beginning to get on his nerves: all that sniveling, whining, and spinelessness. It was all so damn annoying…and all too familiar. How the hell did Kamina put up with this kind of behavior from him for so long? He decided to put that thought aside for the moment, his brother was dying, and nothing else mattered. "I'll ask you again, slowly…but you better answer fast! WHERE-CAN-I-FIND-A-DOCTOR..???!!! AND IT BETTER BE CLOSE OR-!"

(PRESENT)

Simon wiped his eyes at the memory, as if he had been the one with a drill against his stomach and not the hapless youth from weeks ago.

"That wasn't fair…I could have asked him nicely…"

The boy had told him of course, sobbing all the while. Simon and Boota left him where he was, curled up next to the violet robot.

After quickly stashing Gurren into an open cave, Simon drove Lagann to the building marked with the giant red cross, Kamina's still bleeding body slouched against him. Even he was amazed at the speed he had worked at, digging under most of the earth beneath the closed doors with his tiny Gunman, before going out the final few feet with his own drill, carrying his friend on his shoulders all the while. As he screramed and begged in that empty lobby much like the unknown pilot had moments earlier with Kamina in his arms, a nurse that had stayed behind with one of her bedridden patients took notice. Luck was on his side as most of the medical staff had evacuated to the shelters during the 'Angel' attack. She called a surgeon using a handheld communication device and told him "-to get your craven ass out of that glorified foxhole because there were still people outside of it that needed medical attention."…or something like that.

Though there was a lot to be thankful for in Simon's life, he was nevertheless quite a negative individual and could never truly muster half the confidence or optimism that seemed to ooze out of his surrogate brother. Imagine his surprise when he actually allowed himself to feel glad that they managed to 'stabilize' him. Though they tried quashing it with reluctantly delivered warnings that he may never wake up, Simon remained upbeat. Surely his brother could beat a 'coma' no matter what the doctors had said.

Meanwhile he had applied for a job at the hospital. The young driller had been discouraged at first, and those running the building initially refused, but buckled down after more and more of the hospital staff left town in fear of future attacks. So he was given a few tools, the mop, the bucket, the brush in his hand, and the occasional floor buffer, to maintain a bit of cleanliness in the busy and ironically understaffed hospital. Thanks were exchanged, both genuine: Simon for being allowed to help out and not be useless, and the Head Doctor for the fact that the lad was actually taking steps to repay the debt his unconscious companion was racking up in the coma ward.

The adjustment to his life in the hospital came fairly easy. During the mornings and afternoons he would clean the floors and scrub the windows. And in the evenings, he'd go to the coma ward and fall asleep by Kamina's bedside. Here, he found a near comfortable uniformity he had not experienced since Yoko, Gunmen, Beastmen, Guns, and Bathhouses came into his life.

Another thing he liked about his job was that it didn't require a lot of reading, though upon seeing how clueless he was at deciphering kanji, some of the nurses were kind enough to teach him how to read basic characters. On some occasions, during his breaks, he even went outside the building to walk around as much of the city as he wished, which often wasn't a lot.

This city was called Tokyo-3, a huge human settlement aboveground. Simon had never seen so many people in a single place. There were probably more humans in this hospital than there had been in his whole village! Despite his having ample time to do so, he hadn't ventured very far into the metropolis, fearing what would happen if he left the place that held his friend. Not to say that he wasn't fascinated by it: the cars, the skyscrapers, the streets, the lights that stayed on even as the moon hung overhead, the food, and the cola…when he woke up Kamina just had to try the cola!

"Speaking of bro, in a week he'll have been asleep for a whole month." Simon thought. "Maybe I should get him something to celebrate…" he wondered before bopping himself in the head. "No, that would be stupid, why would I make an anniversary for something as terrible as being unable to wake up?"

He continued to scrub the floors, still debating on whether or not to get his brother a cake for the 'anniversary' when a slipper-clad foot blocked his path. Attempts were made to get around it, and each time it stubbornly got in the way of his brush.

"Excuse me sir-." Simon looked up, intending to chastise the person who was getting in his way, and froze.

(4)

"Sir? Simon, how many times do I have to tell you, call me Aniki!" Kamina bellowed. "NOW GET ON YOUR FEET!!"

Simon did much more than that: he leapt.

"ANIKI!!!"

The still sore Demon Leader of the Gurren Brigade found himself on his back once again, this time with the trembling, crying form of Simon on top of him.

"BRO, YOU'RE AWAKE, YOU'RE AWAKE!!!!!" Simon yelled in glee. "I TOLD THEM YOU WOULD, I TOLD THEM YOU'D GET OUT OF IT!!!!" This was why Simon had never let himself get too far from the hospital. He might have missed this, and there was no way he'd miss this. His leader, his friend, his brother, back from Limbo, and among the living, it was almost too good to be true. "WHEN I GOT YOU OUT OF GURREN, YOU WERE SO…SO…I…I thought you were done for…" The laughter turned back into tears once more. "I don't know what I would have…I…"

Kamina's eyes widened, partially out of the pain coming from his back and sides, but mostly at what Simon had said. How long had he been asleep? "That creepy talk with that faceless bastard probably took longer than I thought!" Thoughts of revenge were quickly doused by the sobs of the boy who had tackled him. "It's alright Simon, I'm fine, see?" he patted the head of the youth reassuringly. "I'm not going to pass on anytime soon."

Simon sniffed. "R-really?" he asked, wiping some of the tears from his eyes.

"Of course, not till the world ends at least…Now get the hell off me, people are staring!" People of course, were staring. Some of them found the scene heartwarming, most however were wondering what the hell was going on.

"S-sorry!" Simon quickly scrambled off of Kamina's aching form.

"You better hope none of the nurses saw that!" Kamina groaned slightly as he stood up. "Haven't had a chance to introduce myself…Don't want to give them the wrong idea." He said casually.

The young driller's face reddened. "I-It was nothing like that!"

"Damn straight it wasn't." Kamina shot back, looking down at his clothes in distaste. "And where are my pants?"

Suddenly, Simon realized that Kamina was still in his hospital gown. "Well you see, it made it easier for the nurses to uh…" this was still embarrassing no matter how many times he thought about it. "…clean you when you were…dirty…"

The look of mild annoyance on Kamina's face from not having any pants changed to one of shock. "You-you don't mean-?!" he couldn't finish, the mere idea was terrifying. If anyone in the Brigade found out about it, he'd never live it down. "I-I didn't-?!"

His blood brother scratched the back of his head, as if hoping to find the right words there. "Well you were asleep for a long time…so it's only natural that you'd need to use the bathro-."

"Don't say another word!" he ordered, the less said about it the better. "Urr…Anyway, have you taken a look outside? It's incredible: An entire city above ground bustling with tons of people! And those buildings, I've never seen buildings that high. It's all so…" Kamina's voice trailed off as he looked out an open window, a light breeze ruffling his hair. "This isn't our world, is it Simon?"

Simon nodded, though he was surprised that his bro had picked up on that so quickly. It was just another testament to the fact that despite his reckless disposition, he was actually quite clever. "No, I don't think it is…"

Instead of an intense silence, or a deep sigh, what followed was Kamina grabbing Simon by the collar and shaking him. "Then what are standing around here for?" he demanded, shaking Simon harder. "Don't you realize what an opportunity this is? Don't you realize what this city is?" with no answer coming from the dizzy Simon forthcoming, he pressed on. "It's a blueprint for a society above the ground! You don't know how many hours I've been kept awake by wondering what life would be like if we moved the villages to the surface, and now here we are in such a village. You know what we need to do right?" the now dizzy Simon shook his head at one of the three Kaminas in his vision. "We need to get out there and find out all we can about this world, discover what they have, what they did, and then use that information to make our own huge buildings and roads when we get back home!"

"I-I-I-I-I-N-N-N-NEV-V-V-E-R-R-R-TH-TH-OUGHT-T-T-T-A-A-B-BOUT-IT-T-TH-THAT-W-WAY!" Simon managed to sputter out as the shaking continued.

"How could you not see what fate has brought us here to do?" Kamina berated, and finally released his friend. "Now let's not delay, there's a world out there to explore!"

He stepped boldly toward the door, intending to face his destiny with nothing more than the slippers on his feet and the gown on his back.

"HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!" someone yelled from behind the duo.

Kamina turned around to face what he would have sworn to be a short Beastman: a Raccoon Woman to be exact. The dark rings under her sharp eyes, her large stout frame, the small hands attached to great-ham like arms. She was clearly human though, she didn't have a bushy tail. "Where do you think you're going?"

Blinking slightly at this unwelcome interruption, Kamina crossed his arms and said. "Outside into the immense unknown to take back with me the knowledge of a human metropolis to my battle-scared home, like water to a desert's parched throat." He smirked, that had sounded pretty good for something he just thought up.

"You're not going into the immense anywhere 'till you pay your dues!" the nurse retorted.

"What was that you big raccoon?!"

Clearly unthreatened by Kamina's larger height, the nurse lifted a clenched fist to his face. "Is that any way to express gratitude to the woman that's been dealing with your crap for the last three weeks?"

Recognizing the nurse, Simon intervened, seeing the familiar signs of a potential brawl coming into existence"Koshi-san, please excuse him! He just got out of his coma!"

"And he'll be in another one, if he doesn't haul his tattooed ass back into bed! He needs his rest" Koshi shot back, then shook here knuckles at the blue-haired man's chin. "Or if I lose my temper."

The threatened youth eyed the fist incredulously, "What kind of nurse hurts her patients?"

"How the hell are you even standing?" the nurse probed. "You shouldn't even be able to move your big toe with how long you've been out!"

"Fighting spirit." He calmly answered.

Simon was at a loss, this could go on forever. He knew that Nurse Koshi was not a woman to take lightly, and would never back down from anything. In fact, she had been the one who had stayed behind in the hospital and help save Kamina. When he asked her why she didn't hide with the others, she said that after surviving something called Second Impact, she wasn't afraid of anything; and then berated him for being ignorant of the event.

Fortunately, someone had taken notice of the ruckus and politely stepped into the shouting match. "Is there a problem here?"

Nurse Koshi was quick to put him up to speed. "Doctor Hizume! This man just woke up from his three-week coma and refuses to rest!"

The doctor's eyes gave Kamina a quick once-over. "And he's on his feet? Remarkable."

Koshi groaned, somewhat expecting this. "He also refuses to pay his bill."

"Well we can't have that." Doctor Hizume sighed, amazement turning into dissapointment. "You must understand sir that with the economy as it is now, every yen helps. And you have been racking up quite the sum since we took you in."

This made Simon look to Kamina hopefully, perhaps Doctor Hizume's explanation had made things clear…

"What's an economy?" Kamina asked innocently.

…So much for that.

Koshi and Hizume's palms lightly smacked their faces in frustration. "Yet another ignorant illiterate to deal with…" As pleasant as Simon was, working with someone who seemed completely oblivious to everyday concepts and even basic kanji, was a taxing chore. And his 'brother' was looking to be just as thickheaded, if not moreso. "Your brother here," Hizume pointed to Simon. "Has been actively working for us to help pay your bills, scrubbing the floors and such. However, despite his efforts, a large amount of those payments still haven't been made. Not for a lack of trying though." He quickly added upon seeing the downcast look on Simon's face.

Ever so subtly, Kamina's iron stance softened. "So that's why Simon was cooped up in here…" Now he felt a bit embarrassed for practically threatening his surrogate sibling. "Scrubbing floors, when he could be adventuring." He scratched the back of his head in annoyance, mostly aimed at himself. "And what have I been doing this whole time, taking a nap?" That wouldn't do he decided, he needed to start pulling his weight around from now on! "Hrr…okay, okay I'm sorry, as the leader of the Dai-Gurren Brigade, I can't go back on any debt I owe to someone." His arms crossed once more. "It would set a bad example to my underlings after all. So I guess I could help clean up around here…"

Not having the foggiest idea what the tattooed youth was talking about, Doctor Hizume decided it was best to just accept the man's offer. "Good, seeing as you like Simon have no money on you, you can proceed with the lobby I suppose, work your way up, and dispose of the garbage bags at the end of the day."

"Where does this guy get off giving us so much work?" the newly inducted custodian mentally seethed. "Fine, fine…so, how long are we going to be doing this?" It better have been a week at most, no telling what was happening to Yoko and the others now…

The situation apparently resolved, Doctor Hizume made to walk away and attend to other matters. "Oh you should be done in several months."

"Sure, sure, alright Simon first things first, let's get me some pa-." Kamina began before realizing how long that actually was. "-AAAAAAAAAAA-SEVERAL MONTHS?!!! NO WAY, I DON'T BELIEVE YOU! SOMEONE HAND ME THE BILL, I WANT TO SEE IT!!!!" His head darted left and right among the three people present then stopped at Simon, whose outstretched hand held a crumpled piece of paper. "Thanks…" he looked at the leaflet with an unmistakable intensity…then turned it upside down.

"You can't read either, can you?" the stout nurse asked ironically.

Meanwhile, Simon was nervously chewing his lower lip. What could they do? These people had taken care of the two of them for weeks and it would be wrong not to repay them in some way. And yet, they needed to find a way home, though they were capable of taking care of themselves, the rest of the Dai-Gurren Brigade could be in serious trouble. He hadn't thought about them much in the last three weeks, everytime he did he felt a guilty pain in his heart.

What he should've been asking himself was what Kamina was going to do, because if he did, he might've gained an inkling of what his aniki was planning. Well, chances missed.

A quick tearing of the bill heralded the end of the mental détente. "I've got it!" Kamina bellowed, clenching both his hands in delight and then raising one to Hizume's back. "Old man-!"

"I'm only 36!" Hizume corrected. Age seemed to be an issue with him.

Kamina adjusted his declaration, if only slightly. "-36 year old man! I challenge you to challenge us with an enormous task to win us our freedom!"

The decidedly not old doctor turned to Kamina, clipboard tucked under his arm. "What kind of task Mr. Kamina?"

'Mr.' Kamina grinned. "A cleaning challenge! You insult the two of us by thinking that we require days, weeks, and indeed months to exorcise this place of all its impurities. Well if you aren't afraid to put your 'yen' on the table and roll some bones then we'll have this place completely spotless in a SINGLE hour and in return you have to let us both go!" he pointed at himself with his thumb, the look on his face indicating he clearly believed that he and Simon could complete such an absurd trial. And for a moment, Simon felt confident and safe, just as he did whenever Kamina made one of these speeches. "And if we lose, you can triple our debt."

That rendered Simon unsure and endangered yet again, as he did whenever Kamina finished his speeches. "A-a-Aniki! Don't promise such risky things!" Failure meant making all of Simon's previous payments redundant. "And Doctor Hizume wouldn't even agree to tha-!"

"Okay." Doctor Hizume agreed and shook Kamina's hand. "You'll start in ten minutes."

The back of his white coat was grabbed from behind and his head found itself lowered almost conspiratorially to Nurse Koshi's level. "What're you doing, you don't have the authority to make that decision, and besides, the big buffoon over there will just make a mess of things if you give them this chance."

Hizume silently wished he was allowed to smoke in the hospital, he really needed one right now. "Nurse Koshi, I have just had another talk with that high school girl with the pigtails that keeps visiting the coma ward every now and again, telling her that the chances of the boy she likes waking up are still very slim." What was her name again, Hori-something or the other. "The look on her face was almost soul crushing, so I see this as an opportunity to sow some mirth in an otherwise typically somber and melancholic day." Koshi still wasn't letting go. "And if they fail, which is very likely, we get two indebted janitors, and may I remind you we are understaffed as more and more of us are packing their things and leaving this town….so it's a win-win situation, we're sure to get some laughs from seeing them try. Schaudenfreude and all that."

The iron look in Koshi's eyes flickered. Things had never been easy in this hospital, but they had always been dreary. The atmosphere was both tense and depressing; with more patients coming in, and more doctors leaving. It was a wonder either of them were still there. "Fine, seeing the buffoon making an ass of himself should be fun."

"YES!!!!" Kamina laughed, thrusting his fists into the air. "GET READY! BECAUSE WE'LL MAKE THIS PLACE SO CLEAN THAT EVEN THE FARTHEST AND DARKEST SHADOWS WILL BE OBLITERATED BY ITS BRILLIANT AURA!" The wind from the open window suddenly picked up, blowing the hem of his hospital gown dramatically. Unfortunately the garment was then blown upward, revealing…well…the reason why Kamina's backside was feeling drafty, and making several spectators feel terribly inadequate.

"ANIKI!!!"

Koshi was quick to shield Simon's eyes. "FOR GOD'S SAKE, PUT ON SOME PANTS!!!"

(Meanwhile)

(5)

Far from revived, scantily clad, manly revolutionary leaders, a teenage boy of barely 14 years lay down on a familiar bed, staring at a familiar ceiling, and wrestling with familiar anxieties.

For all the time that had passed since his battle with Zeruel, nothing truly significant had occurred. Shinji even thought that he might as well have been asleep during all those fleeting mornings and nights.

Every day seemed sluggish and unimportant, a prolonged emotional inertia, that made him unresponsive to whatever did happen around him.

"Shinji? I'm going to Hikari's place! Don't wait up…BAKA!!!"

SLAM

The memory was far from unique, identical to several others involving his fiery roommate and fellow pilot, all equally as harsh, but nonetheless negligible. After the 14th Angel, she had spent an increasing amount of time at Hikari's house. Sometime ago, someone told him that she did so because she enjoyed the Class Representative's company, although Shinji had a sneaking suspicion that even if Horaki had evacuated like many others were, Asuka would still find some excuse to leave the apartment. She was probably either ashamed for how she had been doing against the Angels as of late, or angry at him for succeeding, though to be fair the last fight's outcome wasn't exactly his doing. The young Ikari made a pathetic try at conversing with her once, and she screamed at him for it. He did not try again.

As usual, despite him vividly remembering that they were probably at a hospital somewhere, Section 2 had proved useless; their search for recent patients with grievous injuries turning up fruitless.

"With any luck this won't take too long, don't worry, I'll be back before you know it!"

Misato's departure a few days ago had sent a small ripple of sadness through his current apathy, but those feelings had been placated by the fact that she would be back soon.

And Rei…well, for some reason had shown a bit of emotion when they retrieved him: a small glimmer of regret, or was that disappointment? As always, It was hard to tell.

"Asuka shouldn't have been so upset about how things turned out." He found himself thinking. After all, he had tried to be the hero that time, and had wound up pleading for his life in front of a kid much shorter than him. "That was stupid, thinking I could make up for what I did to…Unit 03 by charging in and…and maybe save the day for once."

The frustrations of having missed a chance at redemption were not his main gripe, at least, not at this time. With Asuka and Misato gone, and PenPen nowhere to be found, Shinji found himself in a familiar state: that of being alone.

Loneliness for him, wasn't in itself awful. It was the fact that it was different from the sadness he felt at loosing his mother, harming Touji, and being distant from his father; it could be cured. Cured by reaching out to others.

"But reaching out, I could just get hurt, right?

Yes, that was true. Pain, harm, he wasn't a stranger to these, they practically engulfed him when he fought. But that was a different world wasn't it? A world of giant eyes and killer geometrical specters, surely he didn't have to hurt or bleed here, in the everyday, where he could find some measure of peace, albeit one drenched in solitude?

But he wanted company; a primordial force inside him was urging him to be near others.

Who could he go to though? Misato?

"No, have no idea where she is…not sure what we'd talk about…"

Asuka?

"The point of reaching out is to not get hurt and she's in no mood to speak to me anyway."

Someone less fiery and elusive then, Someone he knew wouldn't and couldn't hurt him.

"Ayanami maybe?"

A small memory, one of an escalator, from long ago, had the usually silent and unresponsive girl slapping him in the face for insulting his father.

"No, she can, she can hurt me just like anyone else."

How about a friend, a friend who can just be there, be there to listen, listen and not say anything that could cause you pain? Where would you find a friend like that?

"Touji…" Shinji silently decided as he got himself out of bed. The maimed pilot was still in a coma at the local hospital, ever since…ever since the 13th Angel had put him there. Perhaps due to his own part in his friend's condition, Shinji had not gone to see him, at least, not yet. "I'll go see Touji…"

A sleeping friend couldn't hurt him, right? And with a quick straightenting of his shirt and a quick slip of his shoes, he was out the door…

…Yes…things are commencing….nicely…

(Back at Tokyo 3 hospital)

The first thought that came to Simon's mind after Kamina's proclamation was "PUT SOME PANTS ON THERE ARE KIDS IN THIS HOSPITAL!"

The next thought that came to Simon's mind after he realized that Kamina was entirely serious was "We're going to die…"

And that thought came to him once more, thirty minutes later as he found himself nearly passed out on the floor in exhaustion.

"We're going to die…"

Almost half the time gone and they weren't even a quarter of the way through cleaning the hospital. At first, things had started quite well. A few moments of teaching Kamina how to use the cleaning equipment (and getting him a janitor's uniform to match his own), and they were off, scrubbing, mopping, sweeping and gingerly disposing (of biological waste). They even washed an old guy or two.

Then upon reaching the third floor they just started to run out of steam. Completely understandable really: the hospital was quite large to accommodate all those injured in such a big and (honestly) hazardous city, rapid breathing from all that exertion had caused them to inhale a lot of the fumes coming from the chemicals they were using, Simon had never worked this much so quickly before, Kamina had actually taken time to polish the stairs, and one of them had only recently gotten out of a coma.

"Bro, I can't go on…" Simon gasped.

Kamina, not on the floor, but struggling to keep himself standing, gave his downed companion a look. "Don't….that." he managed to get out. "You've…always been the hardest worker of Jiiha village…" His hand pressed against the wall for support. "Don't tell me that living on the surface has made you soft."

Simon smiled, he had never thought of it that way, things were more easygoing in this world, at least, his life in the hospital was. The cramped tunnels and barren deserts of his world were a far cry from the hospital hallways and shining city of Tokyo-3. "Maybe it has…" he said morosely.

"Damn…our way of cleaning up is taking too long." Kamina heaved. "We have to find a way to wash this place down faster." Then he saw it, guarded by a sheet of black glass lay an object familiar to the boisterous man. "Is that a firehose?"

His friend lifted his head and indeed, a few feet away was a firehouse, enclosed in its protective red cabinet. "Yeah…it is…"

"Does it still shoot out water in this world?"

Simon's head began to droop back down, oblivious to the eagerness in Kamina's voice. "I think so…"

CRASH!!!

(6)

"He didn't…" Simon's eyes snapped open.

He did.

"Okay, does it still work the same way?" Kamina had a foot against the wall, trying to wrestle the rest of the white tube out of its set coil.

"ANIKI! Someone might have been using that wheelchair!"

"The thing wouldn't open and no one was sitting on it when I threw it!" Pulling the hose out was surprisingly difficult. "I think it's stuck on something…"

"There are shards of glass everywhere!" Thankfully, none had hit him or his struggling brother.

"So? They'll be the first things we clean up after I get this stupid thing out of its case!"

"It's for emergency purposes only-."

"This is an emergency!" Kamina pulled harder. "The fate of mankind, maybe not here, but the one back home needs us! And we can't help them if we're stuck here working in this place. WITH THIS HOSE WE CAN ANIHILLIATE THE OBSTRUCTIONS OF FILTH AND GRIME, CLEARING OUR PATH FOR-." The hose bulged, as it had loosened the obstruction that had kept it in it reel…the valve…

And so did man bring about a flooding sream, flailed about and clinging to the maw of his foolishness, slamming onto the floor and ceiling, whilst drenching all in sight.

(Outstide)

Shinji stood, having suddenly found the faded lettering of the hospital's sign rather interesting.

Nothing was stoping him from going inside. It was just that, he could take his time in this case. Touji wasn't going anywhere. He wasn't nervous or afraid, nor was he having misgivings of any kind…really….he wasn't. He could take his time, no one was forcing him to do anything, not now anyway. He could take his time.

Take your time…

(A few minutes Later)

(Inside)

Water dripped down a corner of Nurse Koshi's nametag and sliently slipped off to fall into one of the miniature ponds forming at her feet. "Well hope you boys enjoyed your first hour as a clean-up crew." She spoke flatly. "Because as of today, you'll be doing a lot of cleaning for a very long time."

They were back in the lobby, all in some form or another, soaked to the bone. Koshi had decided to keep a close eye on the delinquent duo to make sure they didn't screw up and to be there if the large one's body finally wised up and collapsed. She was fortunate to have been there for the latter. Hizume had been unfortunate enough to walk in on the havoc.

Kamina and Simon themselves, sat back to back on the lobby floor, thoroughly drenched, and quite exhausted.

"This-is-your-last-chance." Kamina managed to pant. "Give up, and let us go, or face the terrible consequences."

Oh, now that was just fresh. "Mr. Kamina." The wet doctor muttered. "It's over, you've lost."

"Hour isn't over…"

Koshi's left eye gave a very noticeable tick. "You can start with what's left of the third floor…"

Simon sighed, he should have known things would come to this. "I'll get the mop…"

"Don't move Simon." Kamina weakly ordered. "We're men of destiny after all." You could almost taste the delirium in his voice. "You'll see, at any moment, the heavens will open up, and fortune will rain down, just like last time…"

Before Simon could remind him that the last time that had happened a giant robot and a scarcely clothed woman was what had fallen through, there was a faint creaking from above.

Those that could looked up at the grate of the air vents that ran along the ceilings of the complex. A crease had formed near the center of the grate and was quickly causing the rest of the plate to fold. The small sound of skittering was the prelude to a small, burry, brown bottom peaking out of the fold. Attached were two tiny legs that were fruitlessly attempting to grasp at the vent. The flap of metal grew and what everyone was sure were small paws audibly scratching at metal stopped, and a creature decidedly not fortune helplessly fell down from above.

Luckily, Boota was a quick thinker, he had to be to outwit his much larger pig-moles in order to survive. So the third semi-founder of the Gurren Brigade aimed to land in the softest possible place to cushion his decent.

And to further his blessings, Koshi had much bigger breasts than Yoko.

(Outside)

"This was stupid," Shinji chastised himself. "I might not be the only visitor: Kensuke, Hikari, even his sister, they might be with him right now…" There could have been others, others that would see him, others that would judge him. "I should go." He said aloud, and was about to, when…

"AUGHHH!!!!!" a woman wailed from within the hospital.

Jovial shouting followed. "HEY BOOTA!!!! LONG TIME NO SEE!!!!"

Panicked apologies commenced. "KOSHI-SAN I AM SO SO SORRY!!! HERE I'LL HELP YOU GET HIM OUT OF YOUR-. DON'T THROW HIM!!!!"

Shinji was rooted to the spot, bewildered and inexplicably curious at this conversation.

"SIMON…THAT THING IS YOURS??!!!"

Simon…where had he heard that name before?

"Y-YES, I-I'M SURE HE DIDN'T MEAN-."

"YOU'VE BEEN HIDING VERMIN IN THE HOSPITAL???"

"OI! BOOTA ISN'T A VERMIN YOU BIG RACCOON!!!!"

"THAT'S IT! BOTH OF YOU, TAKE YOUR FILTHY PET AND GET OUT OF HERE!!!"

"BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DEAL?"

"FORGET THE DEAL!!!"

"HAHA! NOW YOU REALIZE THE AWESOME POWER OF THE GUR-HEY! PUT US DOWN, WHAT'RE YOU? AHHHHH!!!!"

Without warning, two screaming boys were launched through the hospital doors and right into Shinji.

BAM!

It had been weeks since Simon had felt physical pain, and he was quickly reminded why he didn't miss it. His head was spinning, it was hard to breathe, and there was something crushing him.

"Hey, you okay man?"

Whatever was heaped on top of him quickly got off and he could breathe again. The world that had exploded out of focus returned to order. Things were looking familiar now, including one of the guys who had crashed into him.

That hair, that height, those eyes…his stomach gave a slight spasm, remembering the point that had been jammed into it, with threats of going in even further if he didn't tell him where the hospital. He was sure, the darkness be damned, that this was that boy. And by the look on the lad's face, he recognized him too.

"Y-you-!" Shinji's shriek was interrupted by a harsh grip on his shoulder and he found himself looking into the red eyes of a man he hadn't ever met before.

The man pointed a calloused finger at Shinji's startled face. "You!" he said eagerly. "I know you!"

To be continued….

(Misato) Preview: As Gendo's discusses his latest machinations with his former Sensei, his son finds himself as the reluctant escort of SEELE's most wanted. Is the worth of battle scars determined by how many there are, or how deep they are? All that, and Kamina comes to a startling decision. Next on Neon Toppa EVA Lagann, Shape of Spiral, Shape of Man or "That Can't Be Right!!!"

Author Note: What, I said there'd be fanservice didn't I? Pantsless Kamina, Simon dominating Shinji, Simon pouncing and landing atop of Kamina, accidental flashing, the Gurren Brigade getting wet and wild, and to top it all off, Boota does his thing, with a nurse! Never say I didn't give you guys anything!

I'd like to apologize on how long it took to get this chapter out. Though I think it's been an improvement over how long it took to publish my last one. Funny story, I had started the Pilot episode in January, then I bought a copy of Persona 4 (property of Atlus), the rest is history. This time the culprit was the vastly underappreciated Beyond Good and Evil (property of that guy who did the original Rayman games), but that took a much shorter time to finish.

As Misato said, the mystery deepens, sorry the Ritsuko's revelation of the Evangelion's true nature to her best buddy occurred offspring, but I wanted to set that aside so I could shoe-in a lot of foreshadowing and shout outs to the first episode of Gurren Lagann into this chapter (and manservice, can't forget that). There might seem to be a lot of plotholes here like how Simon escaped detection for so long yada yada…but don't worry, I'll get to that.

Side note, how's the soundtrack working out for you? Should I drop it?

Is my Shinji in character so far?

Lastly, I have one simple request. Please post your reviews! I know there are a lot of you reading this that don't and still enjoy the story. But you have to understand, reviews fuel the fire of my creative furnace (the kind that produces, not the kind that immolates) and incinerates laziness and writer's block. I'm-already-running-low. .!!!!!!!...........ROSEBUD!!!!!! (Citizen Kane property of Orson Welles) Sorry, had to do that. But seriously, I'd love to know what you think of my story, and if you think I should keep it going. That also goes out to all those that may have this thing on story alert!

All in all, hope you had a good laugh, and hope to write you soon.

P.S. Love some of the ideas of what EVA Lagann looks like, and I hope more people get involved. I'd like it to be as much an enormous guessing game as Cloverfield was, except with less…not very bright Cameramen. Pictures are always welcome, and the contest is still on!