"We had access to hyper-advanced combat robots, the most powerful explosives known to man, and the supercomputers known as the MAGI. So naturally we destroyed Sandalphon with a high school physics lesson."

– Dr. Ikari, Recollections of the Angel War

Asuka's weekend shopping trip started out just as she'd planned. Kaji had arrived right on time and took her out for what she hoped would be a wonderful day that would end with them sharing their first kiss.

And truth be told, the first half of her trip was just as she'd imagined it. Kaji had indulged her choice of stores and the time she spent trying on outfits. He'd even bought her a cell phone charm of Unit 02 that was being sold at a NERV kiosk.

But the trip started to nosedive in Asuka's opinion, when she went shopping for swimwear. Kaji was decidedly unenthusiastic at the idea of accompanying her into the teen bikini section and attempted to excuse himself.

"Err Asuka, if you don't mind I'm going to check out this store's selection of watches." The older man began edging away from the young woman.

"Oh relax Kaji, it's not like I'm asking you to join me in the changing room… yet." Asuka giggled as she held up a white-and-red striped two piece. "What do you think of this?"

Kaji frowned. "I think it's too skimpy for someone your age. Girls your age should wear something more demure."

Asuka fumed inwardly. 'He's still trying to treat me like a little girl! Why won't he wake up to the fact that we're meant to be together? Maybe I should try engaging him in adult conversation instead of trying to flirt.'

Purchasing the swimsuit, the redhead turned to her escort. "C'mon Kaji, let's get something to eat."

The two of them each grabbed a bento box and sat down at a nearby park. Asuka picked at her meal, unfavorably comparing it to the lunches Shinji made for her.

Kaji smiled as he took a bite of his own meal. "So," he asked, "why so eager to pick out a new swimsuit anyway? Going to show off for one of the boys at school?"

Asuka shook her head. "Nope. There's a class trip to Okinawa coming up and I want to go scuba diving in the reclaimed area. Speaking of that, would you like to chaperone the trip? Please? I promise it's not because I want to see you in a swimsuit." 'Well, not the only reason.'

The older man laughed. "Okay, I'll bite. Why do you require the pleasure of my company?"

The young redhead sighed. "It's…Shinji. Well, not so much him as it is those idiot little girls that think they're good enough for him. Most of them only want him as a status symbol and the others are entirely too meek and spineless to do him any good. I won't be able to be around him the entire time and I want someone else to help shoo those twits away."

"So, none of them are good enough for our young Mr. Ikari? Well, I suppose there's no way they could be, compared to the Great Asuka Langley Soryu."

Asuka's face flushed red. "Kaji, I'm trying to help him. If I was interested in him, which I'm not! I'd have already sewn him up. It's not like he could resist me." She brushed her hands through her hair coquettishly to emphasize the point.

He chuckled. "No, I suppose not. Still, I'm afraid I'll have to pass on the trip. NERV isn't going to just let me take a day off to supervise a bunch of kids."

Those words replayed themselves in Asuka's mind as she listened in stunned disappointment to Misato's announcement. After what had turned out to be an unsatisfying end to her shopping expedition, Asuka had returned to the apartment, where the Captain had told her two charges that they would not be going on the school trip.

"What do you mean, we have to stay behind? Why can't we go relax and enjoy ourselves on a beach? After all the work we've been doing for NERV, I'd think both Shinji and I deserve a little holiday!"

Asuka looked at her male apartment-mate. "And I can't believe you're just sitting there and taking this so meekly! Why aren't you standing up for yourself?"

Shinji placidly returned her gaze. "Actually, I kinda expected this. I mean, I can't see NERV letting the best pilot just up and leave the city and they haven't seen how well Rei works with you in the field yet, so that keeps me here too."

Asuka smiled at the young boy. 'That is a pretty mature outlook. It seems that he's accepted being my wingman. Can't say that I'm too surprised at how quickly he submitted though, not after what I've learned.'

"Shinji's right," Misato shook her head and gave a wan smile. "NERV needs all three of you to remain on alert in case of another Angel attack. We can't predict their arrival. I know it sucks, but if you want to swim, there's always the officer's swimming pool."

The redhead slumped back in her chair, arms crossed. "That's another thing! Why are we stuck on the defensive all the time? Waiting for the Angels to show up just causes more damage and disruption to Tokyo-3. It'd be easier for everyone if we hunted them down and wiped them out!"

The older woman sighed. "I agree, it would be a lot easier if we could go on the offensive. Unfortunately not even the Magi can predict when or where an Angel will appear. I promise that if we get a chance to attack them, I'll make sure we take it. In the mean time…" Misato held up a pair of progress reports. "You two can spend more time studying. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed in your grades."

Asuka snorted. "Yeah, like my grade point average for my second pass through high school matters."

Misato smirked. "It matters if you want to avoid being grounded, young lady. If nothing else, you could always help Shinji with some of his schoolwork."

'Well, I have to admit; at least the pool is pretty nice. Not even close to a dip in the ocean followed by sunning myself on the beach, but not as bad as I'd feared.' A splash caused Asuka to turn her head and she watched the First Child begin to do laps in the NERV pool. 'How about that? Wondergirl knows how to have fun after all. It's nice to see her enjoying herself.'

As she turned her attention towards Shinji, she noted with some satisfaction that Rei might be a competent swimmer, but she was nowhere near her own level of skill.

The Third Child was seated at a small table away from the pool, brow furrowed as he studied something on his laptop. Upon reflection Asuka decided that not going on the field trip to Okinawa was actually a good thing for Shinji. He'd confessed to her after the plane left that he couldn't swim, and sitting on the beach the entire time would have been boring.

'Not to mention much harder for me to keep those little girls from tempting him with their skimpy bikinis and asking him to apply sun tan lotion.' Asuka shook her head. That kind of thinking wasn't helping her fight Angels, get Kaji to admit his love for her, or help Shinji with his self-confidence.

Approaching the young man, she passed Pen-Pen, who was currently floating on his back. Misato had insisted they take the quirky bird with them, and neither Shinji nor Asuka felt it worth arguing over.

"Whatcha working on, Third?" She leaned over the other teenager's shoulder to get a look at the screen.

"Huh? Oh, uh, j-just my physics homework Asuka." Shinji frowned. "You probably think this is baby stuff."

Asuka shook her head as she furrowed her brow. "Nah, my major was in Software Engineering with a minor in Psychology." She slowly read Shinji's work, laboriously translating it in her head.

"Have I mentioned how much I hate kanji? Looks like chicken scratches to me."

Shinji chuckled. "I think you may have mentioned it once or twice, yes." He glanced over at his teammate before realizing what Asuka had put at eye level for him as she bent over. Blushing, the young man turned his head back towards his laptop screen.

'Oops, didn't mean to tease him like that.' Asuka straightened up, removing her chest from Shinji's eye level. "Well, your numbers look good. What has you stumped?"

The young man swallowed, grateful his friend didn't yell at him for his accidental perving. "Well, it's this thermal expansion issue. I just can't seem to wrap my mind around it."

The redhead chuckled. "Well, do you want the simple explanation or the research scientist version?"

Shinji sighed. "Simple, if you please. I doubt I'm smart enough for the other version."

Asuka patted his head. "Aww don't worry about that. I bet you can understand it if you focus. Anyway, once you boil away the math and fancy word choices, thermal expansion means that the vast majority of things expand when they get hot and shrink as they get cold. For example, the metal part of the old SR-71's canopy would expand during flight due to the heat. If they weren't careful, it would shatter the glass and that'd be it for the pilot."

Shinji concentrated for a moment. "You mean like how rubber seals tend to crack in cold weather? The cold forces them to shrink, but since they have to stay attached at both ends they break in the middle."

Asuka nodded. "Yep, same principle at work. Think you've got it now?"

Shinji smiled. "Yes, thank you Asuka. That made a lot more sense than what the book was trying to explain."

"Any time, Third. Well, any time that I'm not with Kaji." Asuka grinned as she headed over to the diving board. As she swam laps, the redhead noticed Shinji casting the occasional glance at her. 'Well, that's okay. At least someone I respect admires my swimsuit, even if Kaji doesn't.'

Later that afternoon, Asuka found herself wishing she was back in the pool. She and her fellow Pilots were standing across a briefing table from Dr. Akagi and her assistant as the blonde described their find.

The redhead looked at the image displayed on the table. "That looks…like some kind of giant malformed fetus."

Dr. Akagi nodded. "Correct. We believe it is an embryonic stage similar to a chrysalis. The purpose of this operation is to capture this Angel as intact as possible."

Shinji blinked. "And if we can't, Doctor?"

It was her assistant who responded. "Then obviously we will need to destroy it, but that shouldn't be an issue."

Asuka shrugged. Either way it was going to be more action and glory for her, but still… "Dr. Akagi, if the Angel is inside an active volcano, how can we get to it? Our Evas weren't made to operate in an environment with that much heat and pressure."

The doctor's lips quirked in what could almost be called a smile. "We have a set of D-type equipment that will allow an Evangelion to operate with no risk of damage in the lava, as well as a modified heat-resistant plug suit for the pilot. However, due to production issues, the equipment will not fit either the Test or Prototype Units."

The redhead grinned, "too bad, First. Looks like you'll never catch up to Shinji and me at this rate."

Rei showed no signs of being bothered as she asked. "What will be my duties during this operation, ma'am?"

"Rei, you and Unit 00 will remain at headquarters on standby. Shinji," Dr. Akagi looked over at him. "You and Unit 01 will be on-site to act as backup in case something goes wrong."

The redhead mentally snorted at that, careful to not let the young boy see her disdain. 'Me? Need help capturing an Angel that's still in its egg? As if. Still, it'll help his confidence.'

Once inside the dressing room, Asuka took a minute to examine her so-called 'special suit'. "So what's so special about this thing? It doesn't look any different from my normal plugsuit."

Dr. Akagi responded without taking her eyes from the notes she was perusing. "Touch the button on your right wrist."

'Show, not tell, eh Doctor? All right then.' Asuka shrugged and pressed the indicated button. Instantly the entire suit ballooned outwards, catching her by surprise.

"Vas ist los!" The confused redhead lapsed back into her native German as she struggled to remain balanced. Doctor Akagi's chuckle recaptured her attention.

"The suit has a middle layer composed of memory foam insulation. That should help keep you cool during the lava bath without impairing your performance."

"Without impairing my performance? Are you serious? I look like…like a latex-covered sumo wrestler!" Asuka snarled. "Fine, let's just get this over and done with. The fewer people who see me like this, the better."

She stomped out of the changing room only to stop in horror as she gazed at Unit 02. Her sleek, elegant Evangelion had been 'dressed' in what looked like an ancient deep-sea diving suit.

"Mein Gott en himmel! Vas…what have you done to my baby?" Asuka glared with hate-filled eyes at Dr. Akagi.

The doctor replied in a bored tone. "Unit 02 has been equipped with D-type armor to help it weather the heat and pressure inside the volcano. The suit itself is able to better withstand intense pressure, and the coolant circulating inside the suit will help regulate the temperature."

"That's it? That's all you have to say for yourself? You make me wear this embarrassing fat suit, you force my Eva into that hideous getup, and all you can say is 'this will help'?" Asuka lost all control of her temper as she continued her rant. The mortification of being seen by Shinji, Misato, and Gott forbid, Kaji while wearing the 'special suit' was compounded by what she saw as a deliberate insult to Unit 02. Not to mention the fact that the modified plugsuit…chafed her in an uncomfortable place.

As her rant continued, it quickly began to meander between German, Japanese, and even English as she poured all her frustration about Kaji, the school trip, repeating high school and how the command staff had been treating her and Shinji into what she privately admitted to herself was an overblown temper tantrum.

"If you're that adamantly against it," the Doctor interjected during a pause in the ranting, "we can always have Rei pilot Unit 02."

Asuka stared at Dr. Akagi, dumbstruck. Before she could reply, however, she heard a voice that at any other time would have been most welcome.

"Awww, and I was so looking forward to watching Asuka perform." Kaji's drawling voice made the redhead cringe internally.

'Schiest! Not only do I lose my temper and act like a little baby, but Kaji has to see me do it? How can I expect him to accept I'm an adult if he keeps witnessing scenes like this? No, don't cry, you'll only make it worse. This has to be Misato's doing, making me look bad in front of Kaji. Well, we'll just see about that.'

Asuka straightened up as much as she could in the awkward suit. "Alright then, let's get this over with." She looked up at her Evangelion. 'I'm sorry baby, but we're going to have to put up with it this once.'

Asuka wiggled around in her entry plug. Dr. Akagi may have made every effort to protect her from the intense heat of the volcano, but the rotund suit made it difficult to sit comfortably in her Eva's chair.

Unit 02 was suspended in its drop harness while a laser bore drilled an entry hole in the lava below. As she waited, Asuka heard Shinji's voice over the comlink. "Hey, what are those?"

The redhead craned her neck to see what Shinji had spotted when she heard Dr. Akagi's voice. "That's the UN Air Force. They're on standby alert."

Asuka blinked. "So are they here to help us then?" Not that she needed the help, but more observers for her inevitable victory couldn't hurt.

Ritsuko's voice came back loud and clear. "They're here to clean up if we fail."

Asuka frowned. She never failed, but just in case…"What do you mean?"

The doctor's dry voice robbed her statement of the emotional impact it should have had. "They're prepared to drop N2 charges to destroy the Angel, the volcano, and us."

Asuka could barely hold back her outrage as she heard Shinji's voice. "Who would give that kind of order?"

Ritsuko ended the conversation with just two words. "Commander Ikari."

Looking to change the subject, Asuka decided to ask about her future husband. "Hey, where's Kaji-san?"

Misato's scowling face popped up on her view screen. "That jerk isn't anywhere near here. Not that he'd have any reason to be here in the first place!"

'He ditched me... again? How could he? After convincing me to wear this disgusting suit the least he could do is keep his promise! Grr... why can't he be reliable, like Shinji? Sure, he was ordered to be here, but it's not like he can do much without D-Type equipment. But at least he's here, unlike... no, stop. I don't have time to think about that now; I have to focus on the mission.'

Composing herself, Asuka signaled she was ready to begin her descent. Approaching the pool of lava, she couldn't resist the impulse to joke with her teammate. "Hey Shinji, think I should do a cannonball?"

His answering laugh helped to steady her nerves. "I don't think Dr. Akagi would be impressed, Asuka."

Asuka shivered despite the wave of heat that washed over her as Unit 02 entered the lava. "Yeah, probably true. I'm in the lava now, continuing descent. Internal temperature is warm, but within tolerances. Misato, I can't even see the cage in this crap, switching viewer modes."

The redhead thumbed her way through several different scanner settings before finding one she liked. "Okay, I can see now…barely. Descent still continuing."

All was quiet for the next few minutes. Only the constant whirr of the cooling fans and Lt. Ibuki's monotone recitation of the depths reached broke the silence. Asuka kept herself from fidgeting by going over the cage deployment steps in her head.

"Maximum safe depth reached, continuing dive." The change in Maya's chant snapped the redhead's attention back to her monitors, making sure everything was still working properly.

Because of that, she was keenly aware of when Unit 02 had reached the target depth.

"Misato, I'm at the right depth, but there's no sign of the egg or anything that looks remotely like an Angel." 'It better not have run off on me. This was going to be my second Angel kill.'

Dr. Akagi's voice came over the line. "The lava currents at that depth are faster than we predicted. I'll have to recalculate the new target depth to account for their speed."

Asuka tapped her fingers on the controls until the Evangelion shuddered and then continued its descent. Maya's constant reporting of the depth now had a tinge of concern in it, a concern that the redhead was grateful for even as she dismissed it.

She was halfway to the new projected target depth when sounds of alarm came over the radio.

Quickly double-checking all her warning sensors, she asked what was wrong.

"The second coolant pipe has developed a crack, Asuka. There's no reduction in coolant flow, however." Dr. Akagi's statement might as well have been delivered by a robot for all the emotion it showed.

Buoyed by the doctor's report, Asuka simply nodded her confirmation as the dive continued. Eventually Maya changed her depth reading to say: "Unit 02 is now over the maximum depth, let alone the safe depth."

Misato's voice then came over the line. "Are you holding up okay in there, Asuka?"

'Really, what do they expect me to say?' "Aside from sweating like a pig, I'm fine Misato. Let's hurry this up so I can go home and take a nice long shower."

A chuckle answered her. "Tell you what. Capture this Angel without any problems, and I'll take you to the hot springs for some relaxation."

Asuka grinned. "You've got a deal, Captain."

Unit 02 was halfway to the new projected depth when Asuka felt a shudder in the Eva's left leg and a warning light flared into life. "Schiest! Misato, I think I just lost my prog knife! Can you confirm?"

Misato nodded in the communication screen. "That's what we see as well, Asuka. It looks like the strap attachment failed." The line went quiet for a few minutes before the Captain continued. "Lieutenant Ibuki thinks we should abort the dive before anything else happens. I'm inclined to continue, what say you?"

Asuka smiled. "It's just a simple capture mission. I won't even need the knife, right? I say push on."

Misato nodded and cut the communication. Back in the command trailer, she smiled. "Attagirl."

After what seemed to Asuka to be far too long, the cables finally stopped lowering Unit 02 into the depths of the volcano. Peering around, the redhead spotted the egg-shaped mass.

"I see the egg, deploying cage framework now!" A flick of a switch triggered the unfolding of the bars carried in Unit 02's claws as the Evangelion drifted towards its target.

Dr. Akagi's face appeared on her viewscreen. "Be careful, Asuka. With the way the currents are flowing, we'll only have one chance for you to make the capture. After that, there'll simply be no way for the crane to get you back into position."

'Thanks doctor. No pressure. Ah well, time to show just how skilled I am.'

"Closer, closer, almost there…" Asuka softly chanted to herself as she lined up with her target. When the cage framework gently slid over the egg, she activated the electromagnetic systems, encasing the object in a field of energy.

Her banshee wail of triumph alerted the command staff that it was over. Misato's face popped up on the screen. "Good going, Asuka. The hard part is over, and now you just have to wait while we haul you back up."

The redhead relaxed back into her chair as the winch began hauling her Evangelion to the surface. As she waited, Shinji's face appeared on her screen. "You okay down there, Asuka? I was kinda worried."

'I'd call him a wimp if so much of his combat history hadn't dealt with near-lethal surprises.'

"Don't worry so much, Shinji. I've found that most of the time fear of something is actually worse than the danger it really presents."

She saw the boy slump backwards. "So everything's fine then?"

Asuka waved a hand. "Pfft. It was easy. The hard part was wearing this disgusting suit; it feels like I'm in a sauna! You looking forwards to the hot springs like I am, Third?"

As Shinji nodded his agreement, Ritsuko handed her coworker a cup of coffee. "I'm impressed, Misato. You certainly kept your cool better than anyone else here."

The buxom woman took a sip. "I'll be honest with you, Rits. I was terrified. Still am, in fact. I'm not going to relax until we get Asuka…" her words were interrupted and her coffee cup fell to the floor as an alarm blared.

Asuka stared in horror. Cracks began to appear all along the black ovoid, and the energy walls of the cage began to flicker. "Vas is…Misato?"

Crisp and decisive, the older woman's voice comes over the radio. "The Angel is hatching. We're aborting the capture attempt, Asuka. Get rid of the cage."

The redhead quickly released her cargo and began backing her Evangelion away. "How am I supposed to kill this thing, Misato? I lost my knife and this stupid suit you stuck Unit 02 into can't brawl!"

"Asuka, I'm throwing my knife down to you! Be sure to catch it!" Shinji's own voice was a welcome relief to the young woman as she watched the giant shrimp-like Angel maneuvering to attack her.

"It's making an attack run. I'm dumping ballast to maneuver!" Asuka issued a command to her Eva, and the weighted belt cinched around the great machine's waist released. As the Angel sped towards her, Asuka kicked with her legs, and Unit 02 popped up out of the path of its opponent.

"Crap, where'd it go?" Asuka desperately scanned the monitors, trying to spot her opponent. "This is just great. I'm alone, unarmed, can barely see past my arms in this gunk…and sweating like a big fat pig in this outfit! Misato, you owe me a week at the hot springs for this!"

She barely registered the nervous chuckle on the other end of the line as her questing eyes finally spotted the enemy. "Shinji, it's lining up for another attack, where's that knife at?"

Misato's voice responded. "Ten seconds, Asuka, be sure to catch it."

"C'mon…c'mon….there!" As quickly as she could manage in the dense magma, Asuka snatched the sinking weapon, activating it just in time to parry the Angel's attack. Sandalphon's left claw met the furiously vibrating blade and Asuka flinched as a harsh vibration made its way into the entry pod.

"Not so fast you…ack!" Taking Asuka by surprise, the Angel quickly wrapped the claws of its other arm around Unit 02's left leg. Looking up, the redhead gasped in fright as her enemy's mouth opened, revealing concentric circles of rotating razor-sharp teeth.

While the Angel's mouth latched onto the faceplate protecting Unit 02's head, its grip tightened on the Eva's leg, squeezing the armor suit protecting the great machine. Asuka was staring at the buzz saw of teeth filling her viewscreen when she heard an alarm. "Dammit, left leg armor is compromised!" She winced as the armor was torn away, exposing her Evangelion's leg.

"Nnn…this doesn't feel good."

Grunting with the effort, Asuka shoved the Angel's claw away and slammed her Eva's knife into the creature's hide, only to wince as once again intense vibrations rattled her bones from her blade skittering across the enemy's carapace. She snarled in anger. "Arrrgh, why won't you just die!"

Dr. Akagi spoke up from her position inside the monitoring van. "The Angel has developed to survive inside a high heat, high pressure environment! The progressive knife can't cut through that!"

'That's encouraging, Doctor. So now what do I do? C'mon Third, show that improvisational genius of yours…' Asuka's thoughts were cut off as Shinji's voice came over the link.

"Asuka, thermal expansion! Just like the rubber seals!" Her eyes widened as Shinji's comment registered.

"Of course! Next time we go for dinner it's my treat, Third!" Asuka pulled back the knife and sliced open one of the coolant hoses. "Alright you eldritch abomination, eat THIS!" With that comment, the redhead pushed back the Angel and shoved the spewing hose into its mouth.

"Quick, transfer all coolant pressure to hose number three!" Asuka smiled grimly as cracks began to appear in her enemy's shell. She promptly attacked with the knife again, welcoming the vibrations as her blade began to penetrate.

Flailing desperately, Sandelphon made one last attack with its claws, shredding three of the remaining four connecting hoses before going limp and succumbing to the pressure of the lava surrounding both of them.

The redhead spent no time taking comfort in her victory, as warning lights were everywhere in the plug. "Misato, I've got a problem. External armor integrity is compromised and is beginning to fail." A shudder reinforced those words as the chest of her Eva's diving suit suffered a concave dent. "I…I don't think my Eva is going to make it." For some reason, she couldn't bring herself to say out loud what she really meant.

Garbled static was her only response as Asuka gazed upward at the last hose, now beginning to tear. An ancient Japanese death poem came to mind. "Had I not known I was dead already, I would have mourned the loss of my life." For some reason, it bothered her that she couldn't remember the author's name. As the last hose broke and her Eva began to sink, Asuka took a moment to hope Shinji wouldn't take her leaving him that badly.

'I wonder if Momma worried about me when she left. I know Poppa didn't.' Her musing was abruptly halted as Unit 02 jerked to a stop. Looking upwards again, she saw the purple armor of Unit 01, the Eva hanging onto the cables and grasping the tattered remains of her support.

Asuka smiled softly. "Shinji, you idiot…thanks."

Asuka sighed in relief as the warm water of the hot springs soothed her aching leg. She turned to her guardian, wanting to ask about the stern lecture she had overheard Misato give the Third Child, when a boyish yelp and the squawking of a penguin reminded her that the young man in question would overhear them.

'Yeah, this is a conversation that needs to be held in private. I'll find the time at the apartment.' Asuka nodded her head towards the wooden divide and asked "so why did you bring Pen-Pen? Don't you think you're spoiling him a bit much?"

Misato chuckled. "Wasn't me this time. Kaji sent him up here."

The redhead frowned. 'He can't be bothered to show up and watch when I risk my life, but he pampers that stupid bird of Misato's?'

"Whatever," she grumbled as she reached for the shampoo bottle. A quick squeeze, however, showed that it was empty. 'Of course it is...'

Looking back towards the wooden barrier, she raised her voice. "Hey Shinji, would you mind tossing over your shampoo bottle?"

"Sure thing, here it comes." A few seconds later the bottle in question came flying over the divider. Barely even looking, Asuka reached out her hand to catch it. 'Hunh. A blind toss and we executed it perfectly.'

"Nice toss, Shinji, and thanks."

As she and Misato scrubbed themselves, the older woman caught Asuka starting at the mass of scar tissue over her sternum. "It's a legacy of Second Impact." explained Misato, in a rare moment of seriousness.

"Do you think about it often?" Asuka's question was more timid than normal. This was a rather personal issue, after all.

Misato shook her head. "It's in the past. Ancient history and I can't change it."

The redhead nodded. "Misato, you know about my past, right?"

The lavender-haired woman nodded. "Yep, I had to know since I was your guardian."

"So does that mean you know about Shinji's past?" Asuka was curious now.

Misato sighed. "Not as much as I'd like. I know his guardian was an old schoolteacher who didn't exactly care for him, but not the specifics."

Asuka turned her head and frowned slightly. 'And another answer just gives me more questions. If he was raised by an old man, what happened to his mother? Why is it so hard to learn about the boy who saved my life?'

She pondered this question as she watched the sun slowly set on a humanity that would see another day, thanks to her. Asuka Soryu, the Second Child.

AN: About Asuka figuring all these things out about Shinji, we have to remember that she's terrifyingly brilliant. She managed Eva combat training AND graduating from college by the time she was 14.