I do not own any of the characters from the Evangelion universe, as they belong to Hideaki Anno, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto and GAINAX studios.
I decided to try the idea of a smarter and far more vengeful Shinji in this fic, and what could have happened, had Shinji been more insensitive and less brave than the one we know from the series.
This fic takes place in the first episode of the saga, with only a small prologue of the previous days. That said, lets get to the story.
Commander Gendo Ikari of NERV was seated at his desk, inside NERV's headquarters. Sub Commander Kozou Fuyutsuki was standing at his side, reading a paper his former student and current commander had handed him. It was a letter, a letter that spoke of something that neither man had foreseen, a letter that represented something unexpected.
Shinji Ikari had refused to come to Tokyo 3, uncaring of what his father had said.
I've finally come to the conclusion that there is nothing between us that is worth saving. After a few years, I realized that you are no longer my father. As such, I have no reason to go and see you. Whatever you want, you can forget about it. I'm fine by myself now, and I don't want to see you again. Don't try to contact me again.
"It seems like he no longer needs you, Ikari," Sub Commander Fuyutsuki said after reading the letter Gendo had shown him. Even in their situation, Fuyutsuki couldn't help but have an inner laugh at this. The almost almighty Commander Ikari had foreseen about every possible scenario, but not this one; the idea of a rebellious Shinji Ikari hadn't crossed his mind.
"All the better for the scenario," Gendo countered softly "If the Third Child refuses to come at my request, then send him an official letter from the UN. He shall be here for tomorrow"
Seated in front of a table inside his room, Shinji Ikari was reading a new letter sent by his father. This time, though, the letter was official and not private, and it came from the United Nations organization itself.
You have been officially summoned to Tokyo 3 by the United Nations special agency NERV. You are to go to Tokyo 3 immediately. The necessary arrangements have been made, and you will find all the specifications to arrive to the city on the content of this letter. Under the Special Resolution of Human Rights Nº13254, failure to comply shall result in your forcible transport and six months of imprisonment or a fine of 2000000 yen.
NERV Special Agency, Commander Gendo Ikari, Sub Commander Kozou Fuyutsuki.
A grunt of rage was heard in the room, as Shinji punched the table in front of him, muttering only one word.
"As of 12:30 p.m. today a state of emergency has been declared for the Kanto and Suga region of the Koto district." The female announcer continued to recite its warning over the Emergency Channel, giving advice to anyone who was left behind.
For Shinji Ikari, that only meant even more inconveniences. He didn't want to be here, and he was intending to leave as fast as possible. After all, the UN's summon was only that, a summon, but he didn't have to stay here if he didn't want to. And he was certainly going to leave right after seeing his father. There was no way he could keep him here, no matter any UN's orders. After all, he was in his full right to leave.
"We are sorry, but this line has been temporarily disconnected. We apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you and have a nice day" Shinji sighed and left the phone cabin. This was unexpected. He didn't know what to do now, as there seemed to be no way for him to contact his father. So he decided that the best thing he could do was to get to a shelter until the emergency passed and then meet his father and have a few words with him.
Shinji took a look around. The streets were empty. There was no one here besides him.
Shinji started to walk. He remembered the early years of his life, and how sad they had been. He remembered his desired to be cared about, to be recognized by his father as his son. But as he started to grow up, he stopped wishing for that. He knew that it was pointless, and he realized in surprise that he no longer cared about it. So he left his father behind him and started a life of his own, no longer caring about anything related to his past. He didn't even visit his mother's grave - even at his sensei's insistence - as he didn't want to be related to the Ikari family anymore. He had let go, and now he was free.
Or at least, had been free. Because then that damned letter had come. And when he refused it, another one had taken its place. And now he was here, about to face a life that he had long left behind.
But he didn't care for that. He was here to end things. To cut all bonds he may have had with his father once and for all. He didn't know why the sudden interest of the elder Ikari in him, and frankly he didn't care. He just hoped that this would be done with soon.
But of course, things weren't about to go smoothly. Because a pair of guided missiles flew above his head and sharply cut the corner of the next street, causing a whistle like sound in the air. A powerful blast was the testimony of the two missiles success in finding their target, while one Shinji Ikari knocked to the ground with a thud was merely a side effect of it.
Shinji looked up. And he kept staring in shock and fear.
There was a huge creature walking through the streets of the Tokyo 3. It was enormous, reaching about sixty meters in height, and with an appearance that seemed taken off from a Godzilla movie. While the creature had a human's basic structure - four limbs, head and torso - that's where all similarities to a person ended. It looked like a beast came from hell itself.
Several aircrafts and VTOLs surrounded the creature and opened fire, in what unfortunately was a futile attempt of killing the beast. The creature didn't take long in disposing of them, while the battle intensified.
Shinji ran. The hell with everything. He ran for his life - literally. But when he was about to cross the street, a blue Renault stopped in front of him. The driver was the woman he had seen in his dad's first destroyed letter.
"Sorry I'm late." She said with a smile and a wink. "Get in."
Shinji jumped into the car, swinging the door shut before he even landed in the seat.
"Lets go!" the woman said with a cheerful face that didn't quite add to the situation.
After one hell of a ride, that actually included a nuclear blast and a batteries theft, Shinji and Misato entered NERV's Headquarters with Misato's car. Several heavy doors closed, all of them with NERV's insignia marked in the front.
"Uh-hu," Misato answered cheerily "It's a secret organization controlled by the UN"
"And that's where my father works?" Shinji asked swiftly.
"Well, yeah," Misato said smiling "You do know what he does, don't you?"
"To tell you the truth, I don't," Shinji said "I never wanted to know, and I wouldn't be here if it weren't because he threatened me" Misato looked at Shinji in surprise at his words, thinking about how they would get him to pilot in future missions if he didn't even want to be here in the first place. But Shinji didn't see her alarmed look, as he was staring off into space, deep in thought "I hope we get this done soon, so I can get back. I really don't want to see him"
Gendo Ikari was standing in the Command Centre inside NERV's Headquarters. He had seen the futile fight the JSSDF had put against the Angel, and how they attempt to destroy the creature with a N2 mine had failed as well. Now, he was waiting to be cleared to take command once and for all, and take matters into his own hands.
"You are now the commander of this operation," one of the JSSDF generals said after a phone talk with his superiors "We'll see how you deal with it"
"Ikari, considering our available weapons, I have to admit that we have no effective way to deal with the target," a fellow general spoke.
"Are you confident that you can defeat it?" the first general asked.
"That's the reason NERV exists," Ikari said calmly.
"We leave matters in your hands," the generals said before leaving the Command Centre.
Standing behind Gendo, Sub Commander Fuyutsuki wasn't as confidant as his former student. Hands clasped behind his back, Fuyutsuki turned to look at Gendo.
"The UN's forces can't do anything. What are you going to do?" the aging professor inquired.
"I'll activate Unit 01," Gendo responded, turning to face his second in command.
"Unit 01? But we don't have a pilot," Fuyutsuki said.
"A spare is being delivered as we speak," Gendo concluded.
"The boy didn't even want to come here," Fuyutsuki rebutted "Ikari, are you sure about this?"
"We have no choice," Gendo stated coldly "The Third Child will pilot Unit 01"
"Misato," Shinji said after a tense silence "We are going to see my father, aren't we?"
"Of course," Misato said "Of course we are"
"He works in this place, doesn't he?" Shinji asked. Again, Misato watched him. His voice was even, and he wasn't showing any nervousness, but this was the second time he asked that question in a few minutes. Misato tried to figure out why, but she couldn't come up with any explanation.
Shinji turned his head to look at her, the silence having stretched too long after his question. Misato blinked and smiled again.
"That's right, Shinji," she said "By the way, did your dad send you an ID card?"
"Uhhh, yeah" Shinji said, suddenly uneasy "But I threw it to the garbage with his first letter. He didn't send me a new one after that"
"Oh," Misato said, not knowing what to do. After all, no one had told her very much about this - just go and pick up the Third Child, they had said - and she had done that "I suppose you ARE Shinji Ikari, aren't you?" she asked smiling again.
Shinji chuckled and nodded.
"Here, start reading this, okay?" Misato said while giving Shinji a folder with NERV's logo on the front.
Shinji gave the folder a look and he suddenly turned grim again. The folder read the words 'Welcome to NERV' and 'For your eyes only', which meant that its content was classified.
"NERV..." Shinji muttered "No, wait, Misato, I can't read this, it's classified" he said, returning the folder to Misato.
"That's why I am giving it to you, silly," Misato smiled "Don't worry, no one's gonna put charges against you just for reading that"
Shinji wasn't satisfied. Even though he seemed less on edge after hearing Misato's words, he suddenly turned more focused, his mind trying to get a reason for this. He looked at Misato worriedly.
"It's not that," Shinji said after a few seconds "What I mean to say is why are you giving me this? I don't want to work here or anything; don't give me something that could relate me to this place. I don't want to be here any longer than after meeting my father"
Again, Misato was left speechless. This kid seemed intent on refusing them - how in hell would they convince him to stay in the future? - Misato supposed that he would get used to the idea after a while. Some training sessions and he would be okay.
At least, she thought so. But here and now, that didn't matter all that much. She knew that it wasn't her place to explain things to Shinji right now - that would probably be the commander's task - so she couldn't just go and tell him that he would need to read the folder without giving away some of their intentions. And Shinji's mind was sharp, she realized now. It wouldn't take long for him to figure out things if she wasn't careful. So she decided upon the next best course of action - switching topics.
"Sounds like you don't get along with your dad," Misato said thoughtfully "You sound just like me"
"What do you mean?" Shinji asked "You don't get along with my dad or yours?"
But his question was soon forgotten, as the train they were taking suddenly gave view to a huge subterranean dome. Shinji said nothing, but his eyes widened in surprise. City buildings hung from the ceiling, as if the city were turned upside down. There was a magnificent lake at the bottom, with a huge pyramid beside it. It was a truly impressive sight to watch, especially for someone who wasn't used to such modern cities as Tokyo 3.
"This is the Geo Front," Misato answered the unasked question "Our secret underground base, NERV's central. This city is the key to rebuilding our world. A fortress for all mankind"
Shinji stared in awe for some seconds before regaining his grim face. He turned to Misato again.
"And the place where my father works, right?" He asked for the third time "That's why I'm here, isn't it? To meet him?"
Misato turned to look at Shinji, and this time she found his eyes boring wholes in hers. But she didn't loose her cool and answered calmly.
"Yes, Shinji," Misato said "I can tell you that your father spends a lot of time down here, you know. Don't worry, you'll see him soon"
Shinji seemed to calm down a bit, if calming down was the right way to put it. He turned to look through the window again, but his eyes didn't loose one bit of their sharpness. He wasn't nervous, but it was clear that something was off for him to get the picture right now.
"If I'm here just to meet my dad, then why did he send a Captain to get me? Why did you give me that folder, and why do you keep showing and telling me things that I shouldn't know?"
Misato felt like cursing her luck. Those were precisely all the questions she couldn't respond right now, and that damned kid had just asked them in line. And now it was obvious to her that he wouldn't be taken off guard with another topic, seeing that even the sight of the Geo Front hadn't had that effect. Under other circumstances, Shinji would have been one hell of an interrogator. And right now she felt like the prisoner whose being interrogated.
Shinji was looking straight at her eyes now, waiting for her to answer. Misato realized that there was little she could do at the time, so she decided to say all what she could right now.
"Shinji, my job is to get you to him, nothing else" Misato said, feeling unease but keeping a cool face "That's all I can tell you right now, I'm afraid"
And now she could finally see past the calm façade the boy was putting, and she saw him seething in rage. Shinji turned to look through the car's windows again, his voice now gaining an edge of cold fury that made it deeper, and somehow darker.
"So, I was right," Shinji muttered loud enough to be heard by Misato "And the bastard dragged me here for some interest after all; and you know what that is and you still won't tell me. Well, I don't care about what he wants. He threatened me to come here and I came. After I see him, I'll leave"
Misato said nothing-
"Ugh, what on Earth...?" Misato sighed "Isn't this the right way?"
The sight of Misato holding a map upside down would have been funny to Shinji if it wasn't for the circumstances. Still, he was getting tired of wandering around NERV's huge base in the company of an obviously lost Misato. Shinji gave Misato a bored look.
"I'm just not used to this place," Misato continued "Mmmm, I wonder where Ritsuko is"
"We passed this spot twice already," Shinji informed with a sigh, looking at Misato. The captain gave him a death glare.
"Well, don't worry about it," Misato said, switching to her cheerful face in an instant "I will call my good friend Ritsuko to get us out of here"
The doors of the elevator Misato and Shinji were in opened, revealing a blonde woman wearing a swimsuit and sporting a frown in her face. Misato blinked and backed out a few steps, letting the blonde walk in.
"Hi there, Ritsuko," Misato tried to say cheerily, but the effect was lost with her subtle stuttering.
"Why are you wasting my time, Captain?" Ritsuko asked, her frown never leaving her face "Don't you know we are short on time and manpower?"
"Ehh, sorry," Misato said offering an embarrassed smile.
Ritsuko sighed and then turned to look at Shinji, which was looking at both women with a very serious face.
"So, this is the boy?" Ritsuko said, turning to Misato again. Shinji's eyes turned sharply at Misato, waiting for her to answer.
"Right," Misato said, missing the look Shinji was directing at her "According to the Marduk report, he is the Third Child"
"Pleased to meet you" Ritsuko said to the young boy. But Shinji only gave her a look and nodded, looking at her straight at the eye. Then, he turned to Misato "What does Third Child mean? What is the Marduk report?"
Misato said nothing, as it was Ritsuko the one that answered.
"Third Child is just a codename for you," she said, getting a piercing look from the young man "Don't worry, you'll get used to it"
"I doubt it," Shinji answered very coldly "I have said very clearly that I won't work for my father. So you can drop that codename of yours"
Misato turned to Ritsuko.
"I'm afraid he is just like his father," she sighed "The gruff and unfriendly part that is"
A speaker was heard on the lift Misato, Ritsuko and Shinji were taking. The female voice was announcing a Level One Alert placed on Headquarters.
"There we go," Misato said.
"It sounds pretty serious," Ritsuko commented.
"So, how's Unit 01 coming?" Misato asked. Shinji was standing beside her, but he said nothing, as he actually didn't understand what they were talking about.
"It's currently undergoing refrigeration, using the B-type equipment," Ritsuko answered the Captain.
"Does it really work?" Misato asked again "It has never worked before, has it?"
"The possibility of activation is of 0,0000000001%," Ritsuko said "Around here, we just call it the 0-9 system"
"Does that mean, it doesn't work?" Misato inquired.
"Don't be insulting. It's 0-9, as in Oni, a Japanese Devil"
"Well, anyway, I suppose it's a little too late to say 'sorry, it doesn't work"
There was a little trip for the trio after the elevator ride. Shinji had kept quiet during the road, taking in his surroundings and trying to get as much information as he could out of the two older women's talk. But he understood little of what they said.
They entered a dark room. And then the door behind them closed, leaving them in complete darkness.
"Misato? Akagi?" Shinji asked, unable to distinguish anything in the dark "Are you there? What's happening?"
The lights went on. And they revealed the sight of an impressive monster, right in front of Shinji's eyes.
"Ah!" Shinji let out a yelp, startled by the demonic face of the creature in front of him "It's a face. A giant robot"
Ritsuko gave Shinji a sideway glance before speaking.
"This is man's ultimate fighting machine. This is the synthetic life form known as Evangelion Unit 01. Built here in secret, it is mankind's last hope"
Shinji stared in awe and a little fear at the creature in front of him. But his voice remained very cold.
"So, this is my father's work, isn't it?"
"Correct," a loud voice thundered in the grand cage. Shinji raised his eyes and saw the face of the speaker.
Commander Gendo Ikari was standing tall, in a room above the Evangelion, looking straight at him.
"It's been a while," Gendo said.
Shinji regarded him with barely suppressed rage.
"Not long enough," he spoke quietly after a brief silence "You sent for me. What do you want?"
"We are moving out"
"Moving out!?" Misato shouted "But Unit 00 is still in cryostasis! Wait a minute! You're going to use Unit 01!?"
"There's no other way," Ritsuko said, face unmoving.
"Wait! Rei can't do it, can she!?" Misato gave Shinji a very brief look before turning to Ritsuko again "We don't have a pilot!"
Ritsuko was impassive. She spoke in a very level tone.
"We just received one," the doctor said. Then, she turned to a very stiff Shinji "Shinji Ikari, you will pilot it"
Anything Shinji could have said was lost as Misato beat him to it.
"But even Rei Ayanami took seven months to synchronize with Unit 00. It's impossible for him to do it! He just arrived here!"
"He just has to sit in the sit," Ritsuko countered, paying no heed to the raging Shinji standing at her side "We don't expect more than that. Defeating that Angel is our top priority. If we have someone who has a chance of synchronizing with the EVA, then we've got to use it. You do understand, don't you, Captain Katsuragi?"
Misato fell silent before finally nodding. Ritsuko turned to look at Shinji. The boy was keeping his head low, but his left hand kept clenching and unclenching.
"So, this is why you sent for me, then," Shinji hissed.
"Now you know why," Gendo confirmed.
"So, you want me to take this thing, and go out there and fight?"
The answer didn't take long.
"And you actually think that I will do this for you?" Shinji snapped, his voice suddenly louder and stronger that anyone present would have given the young man credit for.
"You are the only one who can," Gendo countered "You have to do it"
"No, I can't" Shinji retorted, duelling with his father in coldness. But unlike Gendo's, Shinji's words were tainted by fury "I never saw this thing before. And even if it were like that, you really think that I would come here and do your bidding just like this, you bastards!? I said that I won't work for you!"
The air was filled with tension, as two cold, vengeful mans stared at each other, fighting with their words, and their minds.
"If you are going to do it, then do it now," Gendo said, his voice gaining an edge after his son's challenge of his orders "If not, then leave!"
Shinji raised his head and gave his father a look that spoke leagues about what was he thinking right then.
"So be it," Shinji hissed "Of course I'll leave. I never wanted to be here in the first place anyway. Fight your own battles, Ikari. Don't try to burden me with them"
A loud explosion thundered on the surface, making the entire Geo Front tremble. But everyone was very still at Shinji's utter defiance. No one had expected his refusal. Misato bent over to be on Shinji's level, and stared right into his eyes.
"Shinji, you musn't run away," Misato said clearly, her eyes shining "You must confront your father, and above that you must confront yourself"
Shinji gave Misato the coldest look she had ever seen in her entire life. It actually surpassed those of his father.
"I am. I'll never do anything that man asks me. I'll never do a thing you ask me. You have lied to me; you have brought me here against my will. You knew this would happen and still you said nothing until now. Did you really think that I would fight for you?" even if Shinji's voice was calm, he was still unable to control himself from shaking with rage.
There wasn't much else to do after such a statement of utter hatred like that. Misato, Ritsuko and all the technicians that were in the room were stunned at Shinji's words. He was willing to throw mankind to hell just to have his revenge at his father. He was fighting, but not the Angel. To Shinji, the enemy was NERV.
Gendo stood silent for an instant, thinking of how to make his son pilot. But there were no words that he could come up with to convince or force him, as Shinji saw him as the enemy to be fought, instead of the Angel.
But Gendo wasn't commander of NERV just for naught. He was a very resourceful man. If he couldn't convince Shinji by himself, then he would make sure someone else did.
"Fuyutsuki," Gendo said, turning to watch a monitor that displayed his second in command.
"Wake up Rei"
"Can we use her?" Fuyutsuki inquired in surprise.
"She's not dead yet," the commander's voice was colder than ever.
Fuyutsuki disappeared from the screens, and Gendo turned to speak with his only available pilot while regarding his vengeful son with cold eyes.
"Rei," Gendo said simply.
"Yes" came the response.
"Our spare is unusable. You'll have to do it again"
The exchange was finished with that. Neither the commander nor the pilot needed anything else to understand each other, as theirs was a relationship of complete control on one part and complete obedience on the other.
There was silence in the cage for a few seconds. Misato, Ritsuko and Commander Ikari watched Shinji, who looked at them in turn. It was obvious that the young man didn't feel diminished at all after his refusal, as if he wasn't concerned about what was happening. Yet, Misato felt like she could see the anger in his eyes if she looked closely, the anger Shinji felt at being used by the man he hated the most.
"Reconfigure Unit 01's systems for Rei! Restart!" Ritsuko ordered to the personnel. Both Misato and she turned their backs on Shinji, leaving him in front of the EVA.
Shinji didn't stay facing Unit 01, though. He simply walked away as well. Of course, it wasn't like he could actually leave the place right now, considering that Misato herself had actually gotten lost while in the base, so he figured that the best thing to do right now would be to wait for someone to guide him out of this hole. So, acting on that principle, he followed Misato and went to the side of the cage, turning his back on the EVA.
The sound of footsteps caught Shinji's attention, just in time for him to see two nurses and a doctor bring a stretcher into the cage and in front of the EVA. There was a blue haired girl lying on the stretcher, her right eye and arm covered in bandages. Yet her face remained completely still, as if she didn't feel any concern or fear about the current dilemma NERV was in.
Nevertheless, the girl started to whimper in pain as soon as she tried to sit up.
Shinji couldn't believe that NERV was so desperate that they would actually make that girl pilot the EVA. It was simply insane, as it was obvious that she wouldn't be able to keep conscious for long. But then, he reasoned that he actually didn't have that much of a better chance. He had no idea of what an Evangelion truly was, less how to pilot one. Hell, not only he was untrained, he actually had plenty of reasons for not doing it, his refusal of his father's wishes being one of them. So, he simply watched the girl just like everyone else. After all, he wasn't a part of NERV, he didn't want to be a part of NERV, and this wasn't his fight.
Shinji's musings were interrupted as the entire Geo Front started to tremble, feeling the effect of the Angels incredibly powerful blast. The explosion was so powerful that it shook the entire EVA cage, making the girl fall from the stretcher. Some lights fell from the ceiling and clashed with the ground near her - had the girl been a few feet to her left and she would have been crushed.
No one moved for an instant. Shinji and Misato stood slowly, while on the other side of the cage Ritsuko took a hold of her clipboard and stood as well. But the girl in the stretcher didn't. She couldn't even sit without moaning in pain.
Some doctors rushed to her side and tried to help her. Shinji watched as they futilely tried to make her stand up.
"If you don't pilot, the First Child will take your place and fight for you, even in her condition," Gendo said calmly, his eyes boring holes in his son's. But he realized that he had spoken too soon, as his child's hatred for him was still to great to be ignored.
"You are mistaken," Shinji countered. His voice was no longer calm, as he was disgusted by what he was seeing. Yet, even if he had lost his composure, he was still talking with rage "Piloting that monster of yours is not my place, nor that girl will do it for me. She's doing it for herself. She chose to pilot. And I choose not to"
Silence filled the cage again, as the doctors tried to reanimate the injured girl. But aside from that, everyone present was attending to the duel between father and son, both even in coldness.
"You take the coward's way out, then. I'm disappointed" Gendo smirked. He had hoped that Shinji would take pity in Rei's condition and pilot, but he had underestimated his son's resolve. But even if he was still reluctant, the presence of Rei would shame him, and Gendo only needed to probe a little deeper in his child's ego to coerce him.
"Whether I disappointed you or not is of no consequence," Shinji countered. Nearby, Ritsuko flinched - that was the same expression Gendo used to employ. But Shinji wasn't done "You will always be a bigger coward than me. You ran away from your family"
Tension filled the air as Gendo stood silent for some time. No one dared to speak, as this was the first time they saw the commander speechless. But the moment was lost as Rei let out a low whimper that the silent amplified as if she had shouted.
"Shinji, listen to me," Misato said, seeing that Gendo was out of words by the time. In reality, the Commander was starting to lose his temper, his son's refusal and insolence starting to get to him. Heedless to the commander's dilemma, Misato approached Shinji "There is only three people in the world that can pilot an EVA. You and Rei there are the only available ones for us at the time. But unlike you, Rei has embraced her destiny and decided to pilot, and to fight. You mustn't run away from what you are Shinji, and whether you like it or not you are a pilot. So please, get inside EVA and fight"
"No Misato, I'm not a pilot," Shinji said coldly, his voice rising in anger at each second passing "I don't know how you came to the conclusion that I am, but I'm not. I don't care about any destiny you may name. I don't give a damn about destiny, and to me, this is only a waste of time. I have already said that I won't do this, so stop trying to coerce me! I won't work for you! I won't pilot that thing!"
"How can you turn away from your duty!?" Misato said, having none of it "You are the only one who can do this! You have to fight, is your responsibility, your destiny!"
"And what makes you think that this is my duty!?" Shinji shouted "I have refused, dammit! If I refuse, then it's not my duty, so don't try to burden me with it!"
In front of Unit 01, Rei finally lost consciousness. The doctors raised their head to meet their commander's eyes, and one of them shook his head. And Gendo - that was starting to get used to the idea that Rei would end up piloting - knew that he was lost. Everything now was up to his unreasonable child, which actually seemed to take pleasure in defying him. For the first time in years, Gendo was out of options. Still, he would try to the last second, even if he had to engage in an argument with Shinji in the middle of an Angel attack. After all, it wasn't as they could do anything else, short of self destructing the entire Geo Front, and he couldn't let that happen.
"You refuse the only hope mankind has of being saved," the Commander said, expecting Shinji to see reason "With your petty reasoning and childlike attitude, you send the entire human race to its doom"
But Shinji was fed up with him, and swiftly countered with a hard blow.
"Ikari, you are the only responsible for that. Aren't YOU the Commander? Isn't this YOUR duty? Don't try to blame me for your own pathetic failures!"
At those words, all present people actually turned to look at Gendo, as if they were in fact according to Shinji in that regard. Gendo tried to come up with an answer to that, but he found that he was incapable of doing so. And right now, both father and son lost in the heat of the argument, Shinji was starting to gain an edge, throwing back at him all his failures as commander. And so, for the first time since the creation of NERV, Gendo Ikari lost his temper and shouted.
"This is what you were born to do! This was the will of your mother!"
But the response was impossibly fast, as Shinji hesitated only for a brief moment before shouting with more hatred than ever before.
"Then...Then you knew about this! Mother died ten years ago! You knew that I was capable of piloting this thing since I was a little child and you still didn't tell me until today!" Shinji's voice was rising more and more, as the young man realized the farse that his life had been "What kind of Commander are you?! You have been playing with me for my entire life!"
Shinji's words were met with stony silence. For Gendo Ikari had actually been beaten at his own game, his son having realized a very important fact, something he could not counter. But Shinji wasn't done.
"Are you that much of an incapable leader?! How in hell did you manage to become Commander?! You knew about this, and still you waited until today!" Shinji stopped, gasping for air after his tirade. But that second of silence actually gave him an edge, as he still came up with more reasons for his hatred of NERV and the Ikari family. He continued in a cold, dead tone "I don't care at all about the will of my mother. I don't have a mother, as I don't have a father either. I don't care if she wanted me to pilot this thing. Didn't she think about what would I want? Or was she too goddamm busy creating this beast and forgetting about her son!?" Again, no one talked. Shinji raised his head and looked at Gendo straight at the eye "Thank you. You just gave me the ultimate reason for not doing this. I'll never lift a finger to help you. I don't care if I die. That's better than working for you"
"Enough of this! Third Child, you are ordered to pilot the Evangelion and fight the Angel!" Gendo shouted in rage. He could not tolerate Shinji's defiance of Yui's wishes, and right now he no longer cared to keep his cool.
"If you try to force me, Ikari... I will join the Angel and smash you. You'll have only increased the problem"
Misato, Ritsuko and almost every technician in the cage actually wanted to jump on Shinji and tear him apart at the sound of his terrible ultimatum, as no one doubted that he would actually do it. Misato faced Shinji with fury in her eyes.
"Would you then send the entire human race to oblivion out of your own personal vengeance?!"
But Shinji, having made his final decision, regarded her with calmness. Even in the middle of the hell they were in, he had actually made peace with himself, and closed the chapter of his life that related him to his father and mother. He was free from his old hatred. So, he simply countered as if they were in a peaceful exchange taking place in dinner.
"No, Misato, you are mistaken. I'm not sending anyone to their deaths. You did. This is truly Your duty. You have accepted to do this, you have taken this responsibility out of your own free will, and you failed. I'm not responsible for killing you... but I won't save you either"
And then everyone realized that there was no way out of this, and that they had failed. They had put all their hopes in an unknown factor, and they had found that said factor was cold and vengeful. Instead of a saviour, they had found a monster. And now it was too late to try anything, as the monster had refused every attempt they had made, whether it was the use of reason or the use of force.
"Very well," Misato said. She took out her cell phone and called for her assistant "Hyouga, call the JSSDF and tell them that NERV is unable to deal with the problem. Tell them to destroy the Angel at all cost, no matter what happen to us. I don't care if they have to nuke the entire base, as long as the Angel dies too. Katsuragi out"
Misato threw one last look of contempt at Shinji before leaving, intending to get to the Command Centre. Ritsuko followed her. The technicians simply stared, as they had nothing to do now. Evangelion was useless. NERV had failed.
Shinji was oblivious to all of them. He didn't care at all about them, the people that had deceived him, the people that had used him. He had a smile in his lips instead. He was proud to say that he had made his father stumble. He had hit at the only place that could hurt him - his plans, and his desires - and in doing so, he was retaliating for all the dark deeds Gendo had committed. He was completely free now; free of other people's manipulations, free of the Ikari legacy, and above all free of his old hatred. He had his revenge.
Author notes 2:
I've got the idea for this fic as I watched the first episode again. Come to think about it, it really takes some courage to do what Shinji does then. This fic is my idea of what could have happened if Shinji were less brave and more vengeful.
C'mon, seriously, if you are dragged by force in the middle of that hell, then you learn that you are expected to help the people that kidnapped you - and that they actually won't give you much of a choice in the matter -, then you realize that even your mother was intending to use you for this, and that about everyone knew since you were a child and they have been playing with you for your entire life, would you actually jump at the chance of fighting for them? I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't. I know I would be pissed. And it would only take a proud, vengeful guy to send everyone to hell after that (And perhaps a less brave man, as not everyone has what it takes to get in Unit 01 at the first sight you get of it)
Of course, the Shinji of this fic is completely OCC, as he no longer needs his father's nor anyone else's approval, and because he is insensitive enough to let Rei and everyone die out of his own anger.
But I don't think that that could be considered that extreme when you think about the circumstances. Going out there and risking your life in what is an almost (if not completely) suicide mission for the people that played with your for years, and actually having the courage to fight what it's obviously an impossible battle; that isn't something that you or almost anyone else would do willingly. In my personal experience, an extreme situation can bring either the best or the worst qualities of a person. If someone's pushed to the limit, then he can respond with bravery, rage, compassion and many other emotions. In this fic, it was rage and desire of revenge.
In any case, even though the Shinji of this fic is an arrogant bastard, he is also quite right in many of the issues he poses. After all, Gendo really didn't have that much of a reason for not calling him a little earlier to train him a bit in his EVA. And in the end, it's NERV's responsibility what happens in the war against the Angels. If they can't do better than bring an untrained and unwillingly guy and hope for a miracle to happen, then it is certainly a huge failure from their part at the performing of their duties.
As for the constant questioning Shinji does at Misato while they arrive at the Geo Front, is based on the point that Shinji actually believed that he was only going to see his father and nothing else. But during the ride with Misato he slowly realizes that there is something else than that, and something big. And then he gets a little scared (who wouldn't) and he reminds himself that he will never do a thing for his father. That leads to the conclusion of the story, and his final absolute refusal.
Of course, this fic is based on the perspective of this OCC Shinji Ikari, that sees NERV in the worst light possible, thinking the worst of every situation NERV's involved in. That means that he sees everything as black, even though in reality many of the things that happen around the series are majorly gray from an ethics point of view (At least, that's the author's opinion)
One little thing: Shinji doesn't see Rei standing in the streets this time, as he refuses NERV and any possible contact with them. As such, Rei doesn't appear for him, as she will never get to know him, even if they survive the battle with Sachiel.
One last detail: as far as the author's knowledge reaches, Yui Ikari's agenda is unknown. It's impossible to tell what she wanted for Shinji when she talked about the bright future she had planned for him. She was involved in the Human Instrumentality Project just like Gendo, so even if she didn't agree with SEELE's scenario, it is feasible that she did want to start Third Impact in some way. For the sake of this fic's plot, Yui's agenda was taken a little more darkly, as if she wanted Shinji to be a pilot from the very beginning, thinking that he would be a saviour of sorts (To which this fic's Shinji counters by saying that he didn't actually want that, something that I think concurs with the series' Shinji, who never wanted to be a pilot)
I didn't want to give this fic an absolute enclosure after Shinji's refusal, as I am still pondering about writing some chapters about that – it's unlikely that I will, though. I had thought of a few different conclusions to this story, one of them featuring a Shinji forced in the entry plug and taking out his synch clips, which would have led to Unit 01's destruction, as the EVA wouldn't have been able to synch with the pilot and therefore wouldn't have gone berserk. The other ending featured Rei piloting the Unit and dying in the process.
But enough of my ramblings. As always, feedback will be appreciated.