Amidst a golden light, the screams of the Second Child echoed. Her spent weapon was abandoned as she fought hard against a psychic attack that threatened to destroy her mind.

Show me your pain… show me your life… show me what it means to be Lilim…

She couldn't hear the voice… perhaps she chose not to hear it, and in seeming retaliation, the power of the Fifteenth Angel only intensified.

Arael was desperate to know… she had to know; why did we struggle… why did we fight… why did we resist? Questions plagued her mind… questions that demanded answers. Why was the All-Father subjugated against his will by the children of Lilith? Why did they declare war against them? What were they trying to accomplish?

Her subject however wasn't about to give up the information… Asuka was a fighter at heart, this The Fifteenth sensed in her. The unfathomable being that rested in low orbit was upset and saddened but she did not hate the small creatures of this world. She only struggled to know why… why they chose to suffer rather than submit.

Her four crystalline arms gently adjusted her core, focusing the beam and intensifying her psychic focus on the Second Child. Unlike previous angels, Arael was a living symbol as much as she was an angel. Her core was held outside her body in the gentle grasp of four hands with slender fingers. Arael had no legs, only a lower body that would remind some of a moth or perhaps a butterfly, tapered to a point and of the same living crystal and light the rest of her body consisted of. Her face was featureless save for two oval indentations that served as her eyes, and a spread of five massive wings that stretched out for what seemed like miles in both directions sprouted from her back.

Despite her inhuman body, she appeared graceful and serene. Asuka would undoubtedly disagree as Arael continued her assault on the German girl's mind.

Show me your struggles… show me the meaning of strife…

Arael was beginning to see the images that haunted the girl… but her mind failed to grasp the meaning behind them. She saw a woman hanging from the ceiling next to a doll hung in a similar fashion. This image sparked a strong emotional response from the girl below.

"Please! Don't rape my mind!"

But Arael had no concept of rape… within the collective of angels, thoughts were not sacred… all was shared. Though each angel retained individuality, there were no secrets within the collective… pain was non-existent until the time of The Second Impact when Adam was taken from them. With no concept of pain prior to that moment, Arael and the other angels did their best to cope with it.

If she had facial features, Arael would be frowning. The Lilim could no more understand angels then a goldfish would have knowledge of astrophysics… unfortunately, Arael realized that the opposite was also true. She could not fathom how the Lilim lived….

As she pondered this she sensed something approaching rapidly, some form of projectile. Annoyed that the Lilim were still trying to sever her connection with Asuka, she threw up her AT Field. It was too late when she realized that the projectile wasn't a bullet or missile… it was Lancea Longini.

A flash of light burst forth from Arael's body as the deadly projectile hit its mark. Her body shattered like glass and its pieces pulled into the central point of impact. But Arael still had a thought left before death would overtake her…

… She would never understand the Lilim… unless she became one….


Archdruid Sephiroth Presents

A Neon Genesis Evangelion Fanfiction Story

Too Human: The Trials of Arael


I: Arrival


Miles away from where Shinji attempted to comfort the second child, a radar station picked up numerous falling objects from orbit. They were falling all over northern Japan in a seemingly random pattern. NERV would soon dispatch individuals to look into this but for the moment; the retrieval of Evangelion Unit 2 was of primary importance.

One of the larger objects fell to the north west of Tokyo-3. To on lookers, it would have appeared to be a comet or meteorite but it was falling too slowly for either object. In a patch of woods, the object punched though the canopy of trees and slammed into the ground at a steep angle, kicking up dirt and dust for hundreds of feet in every direction. As the surface of the object cooled, cracking sounds could be heard.

The object was a chunk of crystal nearly 10 feet long and 4 feet wide. Cracks spider webbed across it as the sharp temperature change caused it to destabilize. With a sound like a massive wall of glass shattering, shards of crystal where thrown in every direction, some sticking into trees, others sticking into the ground for a great distance in every direction. An object rolled out of the crystal shard coming to rest at the bottom of the hill. Five great wings unfurled with a sound that was reminiscent of wind chimes.

While the creature that possessed them looked like Arael, it was doing something that was unlike her… crying out in pain. With no mouth, the sound was psionically created but it was no less painful to hear. Two of her slender arms held up her upper body while the others cradled her damaged core. A great crack appeared in the outer sphere of crystal which seemed to create a fissure that ran deep.

Flopping on her side she reached up tentatively with one free hand to the fissure and gently touched it with the tip of her finger. Her hand instantly pulled away as she let out another psychic cry. The lance had penetrated the outer layer of crystal but not the inner one. It was the only reason she was still alive.

Slowly she began to calm herself, though the pain was intense on levels she never thought she was capable of feeling. As her body calmed itself she realized two very important things; that she was on Earth, and that she was in danger of being found out.

Looking at her poor damaged core, she mentally frowned. This was going to hurt a lot…. She gently placed the core against her chest holding it with all four arms. Then she clenched her eyes shut and pushed it into her body. Being one of the most unique angels had its cost as she now had to internalize her core. In its damaged state, this was going to be excruciatingly painful.

As the core phased into her she desperately tried to stifle another psychic scream, slowly her crystline flesh yielded as the sphere began to enter her body. This would have simply been uncomfortable if it wasn't for the damage. As it passed the halfway mark, she felt the stress against it increase, and the cracks along its surface expand. Now screaming in agony, she pushed forward finally subsuming the core into her body. She curled a bit on her side, unable to lay on her back as her wings were still in the way.

Now that her core was inside, her body began to change. Slowly her wings began to shrink and her lower body began to split into two vertically. The changes made her feel weird and she fought the urge to give up on this path. She knew there was no other way… she had turned her back on the war now, and even if she wanted to go home, she could not.

Her four arms began to fuse into two as her muscle control shifted from the second pair of arms to her newly forming legs. Crystaline skin gave way to pale organic skin and hair began to quickly grow from her head. It was dangerous for her to use this much energy with her core damaged, but she was still in danger of being discovered. Finally after a full minute, she was finished. Slowly she got up to her knees, suddenly feeling quite cold.

She stood no more than five feet tall with long white hair that ended around the small of her back. It wasn't simply "so platinum blonde it was white" but was actually pure white like newly fallen snow. Her body was petite and shapely, an echo of the grace she possessed as an angel.

As the pain subsided leaving only a dull ache in her chest, she perused what little factual information she was able to glean from Asuka. The Lilim apparently wore clothing made from animal skin or grown fibers… normally the latter. She looked at herself and thought she would fit in by wearing a similar dress to one Asuka favorites.

Forcing herself to her feet, she focused her energy around her, covering her nudity with a light blue sundress. She attempted to open her eyes to see if she did it right. Her crimson eyes examined the dress carefully, critiquing her own work. It was simple but beautiful and at least in her opinion it looked good on her. Of course, she didn't know for sure but this was one of many details she would need to sort though as she learned how things worked in this world.

She attempted to take a step forward and her legs collapsed beneath her. Having never had to walk before, she was awkward. She pushed herself back into a kneeling position and blew her hair out of her face. Frustration only visible by means a forehead crease that would have seemed familiar to anyone who had ever seen Rei frustrated before. Determined, she tried again and met with more success.

Arael decided it would be best to take it nice and slow for the time being… after all, she wasn't in any rush. She didn't make it to Tokyo-3 that evening, only getting as far as an outer suburban area. Here, she decided it would be best to start getting used to the way Lilim did things.

Though it was dangerous in her condition, she decided to use her Psychic abilities to scan the minds of those nearby. Passively, she collected information, peeked into the everyday lives of people around her and started teaching herself how the world worked. Though the information would be useful, it still didn't answer her deeper questions and so she would need to move on and find out the answers elsewhere.

Eventually, a new feeling overtook her… fatigue. As she moved back into the wilderness outside of the city, she found a place to bed down for the night. Perhaps the city would yield better results.


Next Day

Although Arael was a bit dirty when she woke up, she didn't mind it too much. She was excited about the prospect of seeing what the city was like. Much of it was deserted unfortunately which left fewer individuals to examine. The few people she saw on the street had worry running though their minds. Most where on their way out of the city it seemed, and it was all because of her brethren. That thought made her sad… none of the people she scanned the minds of knew anything about the war beyond what they had been told. And Arael knew what was told to them was lies.

"My brothers and sisters have been trying to destroy the human race… but for the actions of a few?"

The thought actually made her a little sick. All this time, only a handful of people were behind what was done to the All-Father, and her brothers and sisters were all hell-bent on destroying the entire human race because of it. Wasn't that wrong? How could anyone judge an entire race by the actions of a few?

As she continued to move into the most populated area of the city, she picked up on a lot of things, but nothing that brought her closer to her goal. She felt the hate and fear around her and it made her feel horrible.

"We are the cause of this…."

She decided it would be best to block it out for now since she wasn't getting anywhere. But when she tried to, she found she couldn't. Perhaps it was her transformation into a human form, or perhaps it was the sheer number of voices that surrounded her broadcasting negative psychic energies that interfered with her ability to use her powers, but whatever the reason, she couldn't tune them out. Worse yet… the number of voices she heard began to increase. Overlaping psychic signals and thought noise assailed her mind from every conceivable angle.

She winched and held her head as she tried desperately to get it under control. A few individuals nearby took notice as she stood on the sidewalk, and their thoughts only intensified the noise.

"Who is that?" "Why is her hair like that?" "What's wrong with her?" "Man… I don't need this right now." "Should I call the police?" "Get this bitch out of here, she's bothering me." "Why are her eyes red?" "Hump… must be a druggy." "She should be at school." "What is wrong with her?" "Someone needs a half-way house."

The overwhelming psychic feedback sent jolts of pain though her head. Realizing the problem was in her immediate vicinity, she ran down street, trying to get distance. At one point the pain caused her to squeeze her eyes shut as she suddenly became light sensitive, but her feet refused to stop moving. At that moment, the door to a shop opened ahead of her… she didn't see it in time.

With a crash the person she slammed into fell back as she did. She hit the concrete hard, the sudden jolt of pain in her back and physical pain to the back of her head caused her to see stars. Stunned she tried to shake it off and suddenly realized the psychic noise had stopped. She opened her eyes as she sat up and saw a boy around her apparent age getting up. He wore dark pants and a white button up with short sleeves. He rubbed the back of his head, checking though his dark hair for any blood.

"S-s-sorry!" Arael blurted out.

"Huh?" the boy replied, clearly quite confused. "Oh! S-sorry! It was probably my fault."

Arael shook her head. "No it was mine. I wasn't watching where I was going." The boy got up as she tried apologizing and dusted himself off before offering the girl a hand.

As she reached up and took it, the physical contact triggered something, and a feeling of calm washed over Arael. Her crimson eyes met his cobalt ones and her heart started beating rapidly.

"What… what is this? What am I feeling?"

The boy seemed to look at her strangely. "Are you ok?" he asked.

"I…" Arael couldn't find words. She didn't know what was happening to her. She could feel her skin heating up, and her heart fluttering madly. But none of it made any sense to her. "What was it about this Lilim that is making me feel this way?"

She cleared her head a moment to accept his help back to her feet. Her outfit had gotten dirty sleeping in the wilderness and now it was fraying and looked damaged from her fall.

"Well you seem ok now," he said at length. "Sorry about this." The boy collected a small bag he left the story with and began to walk away.

Arael wanted to say something… anything, but… Suddenly the psychic cacophony began to fade back in around her. This confused her as it was gone only a second ago….

"That boy… what is he?"

She followed after him picking up the pace so she could get closer. Sure enough the closer she got to him the weaker the noise was until it was gone.

"Hey! Wait!" she called out.

The boy stopped, looking confused. She knew she had to say something… anything… She'd loose his attention again if she didn't. Arael had to find an excuse to stay near this boy…

Just then a new feeling overcame her… hunger. From the information she managed to skim from the minds of those around her, it was a natural part of life as a Lilum… you have to eat to survive. The boy in front of her seemed to sense her need.

"You… you look hungry. Are you sure you're alright?"

Arael sighed. "I wish I were," she whispered. "I don't know where I am or where I should go. I've been traveling south for a while now."

"South?" the boy asked. "I wonder if she was anywhere near Matsushiro a month ago…"

Arael picked up that thought that went though the boy's head. She gently grasped that mental thread and pulled… she didn't get much but just enough to know that that was the location her brother Bardiel started his attack from. The city was decimated. She backed out of his mind before he could notice.

"I…" she breathed hard, trying to steady herself. This boy did move fast when he wanted to apparently and she almost had to run to catch up. "I used to live in Matsushiro. Something happened there… I don't know what, but… everything was gone…. No one came to help, so I left the city. I've been on the move ever since."

The boy looked hurt and momentarily she thought she had made a mistake. "I… see," he responded at length. "Then… you're family?"

This she didn't have to lie about. "Most of them are dead…. I don't know where the others are."

"By Kami… I'm sorry," the boy sad… tears welled up in his eyes.

The more Arael thought about the meaningless deaths of her kin, the more it upset her. Watching the boy's eyes begin to water at the thought of her family's fate triggered something within her in a sympathetic response. For the first time since she arrived she felt something leave her eyes which momentarily clouded her vision. She closed her eyes and felt wetness pass over her cheeks. The liquid traced down her face and dripped from her cheek onto her hands. Opening her eyes she looked at them, her sight quickly clouding over as the tears interfered with her ability to see.

"What's happening to me? Are these tears? Am I… crying?"

It happened so quickly… her angelic mind was only beginning to incorporate the emotions and thought patterns of the Lilim, and suddenly she was slammed by one overwhelming powerful emotion… sadness. She shuddered as she experienced this terrible force for the first time, her normally logical thought patterns suddenly smashed under this tsunami of misery she felt. Before she realized what had transpired, she threw herself into the arms of this boy she didn't even know.

Arael felt him tense up beneath her grasp, but she didn't care. This action seemed right to her and she really wasn't in control of herself any more. Now openly crying, she clung desperately to him even though she didn't know why she did.

The boy was at a loss… he didn't know this girl from anyone else on the street. She seemed weird to him, with her snow white hair and her crimson eyes… but those eyes reminded him a lot of another he knew. Now suddenly she was clinging to him, a complete stranger, for comfort.

He didn't know what to do, resisting instinct because it seemed wrong somehow. In the end he relented… if she wanted to hit him later for touching her like a certain red-head always did to him, he would take it. His arms moved of their own accord, wrapping around the tiny frame of this unusual girl. She tensed momentarily as if she didn't like what he was doing, and then she suddenly clung harder to him. He could feel her tears soaking into his shirt, as she lamented the loss of her family. Shinji could feel his own heart breaking for her, being familiar with the loss of a family member.

After a few minutes she relaxed a bit but didn't let him go. It was ok though… something felt oddly right about having this girl attached to him.

For Arael's part, she felt a little better but she couldn't explain why she did. Unaccustomed to verbal conversation she struggled with what to say next. As it happened, her savior spoke first.

"Do you have someplace to stay?" Shinji asked, earning a slight shake of her head to indicate a negative response. "You should come with me then." This earned him a slight nod.

Arael didn't feel like talking at the moment as she tried to understand why the deaths of her kin caused her to do that. She didn't have this reaction when the angels were dying before, because as an angel herself she was able to accept that things were the way they were. Now exposed to the gamut of human emotion, her mind couldn't completely deal with it. She was sure she would have done some kind of damage to her own psyche had this boy not been here to comfort her when she broke.

Carefully he switched to holding her by the shoulders and he walked with her though the streets back towards his apartment. "By the way," he said, trying to change the subject, "my name is Ikari Shinji."

Arael froze mentally. Did the Lilim know the true names of the angels? Her mind went over the names of the people in the suburb from last night trying to find one that seemed like it suited her, but she didn't know what would. She had to work fast though, and said the first one that appealed to her. In the end, she randomly chose….

"I'm Kotori Ayame," she said. "If you like… you can me by Ayame."

"Ok," Shinji replied, "but if we are going to be a bit informal with each other, you should call me Shinji then."

She smiled slightly. "A-agreed."

"How does he do this? How does he affect me so?"

Arael didn't understand it… something about this boy made her feel good. His mere presence blocks the psychic cacophony of the city, his touch makes her heart do odd things, and his smile makes her feel like she's back in the collective…

…safe and comfortable…

No one else around her had the same effect on her, so it must have been some kind of power he had. But she sensed no psychic power from him. Sure his mental strength was well above average, but something about him was just different on a level she couldn't comprehend.


Elsewhere

The Wheel of Prophecy was an artifact from ancient times. It was found in cave, similar to the one that housed the Dead Sea Scrolls and appeared to be from that time. It was a stone disk about 3 feet across. Engraved into it an ancient script were the names of the fifteen messengers that were to come after The Second Impact.

This artifact resides in the hand of one Keel Lorenz… and it was this man who watched as it changed with the death of each angel in kind. As the messengers were defeated, their names began to glow on the disk itself. It was as if the disk was designed to monitor the spiritual lock over the world that prevented the Red Earth Ceremony from commencing.

It was this fact that had Keel perturbed now. His cybernetic eyes gazed upon the stone surface. There were but two angels left… so why were there three names that remained dark?

Arael's name never began glowing. Although the footage sent to him by Commander Ikari showed that the angel was destroyed, the fact remains that the artifact told a different story. With the video already proven to be genuine, it left Keel with only two possibilities. The first being that the artifact is malfunctioning somehow, but he knew that was impossible. Ancient religious artifacts do not simply stop working like an overheated CPU… which left only one possibility.

"She's not dead," he whispered. Somehow the Angel of Birds avoided her own demise, which didn't bode well for him or the rest of the committee. For SEELE to enact The Red Earth Ceremony, all 15 of the messengers had to be destroyed, otherwise the only ceremony that could take place was the White Earth Ceremony… the one where the angels win and humanity is annihilated.

"This wasn't part of the scenario," he whispered to no one. His plan was now in jeopardy… and he didn't know why.

His chair turned and faced his monitor, which was looping the replay of the Lance of Longinus impacting the angel. It appeared that her physical structure was destroyed in the hit… so her being alive is not possible… yet the Wheel did not lie.

Letting it play, he noticed something odd. It almost looked like part of the central portion of the angel did not get caught up in the vortex created by the lance impacting her core. But he couldn't see what happened next.

He needed the rest of the tape….

Tokyo-3, Later

"I'm home!" Shinji called out as he entered the apartment with his guest. But he knew no one would be home. Misato would be stuck at NERV doing a veritable mountain of paperwork and Asuka would still be in debriefing possibly pertaining to suspension of her piloting. He didn't know how she would react but knew it couldn't possibly be good. As it was, she spent little time at home, running to Hikari's every chance she got.

He was glad of that much… no awkward questions for the moment at least.

Arael/Ayame looked around at the apartment. Though she knew little about the living spaces of the Lilim, she could tell this one was barely in good condition as far as its level of cleanliness and organization. She did get the impression it had more to do with Shinji's Guardian… this Misato Katsuragi he told her a little bit about. The woman was another mystery for the angel to solve.

"Wait here, I'll get you something," he said to her. She nodded her reply and sat on the well used couch.

Arael knew that humanity was in essence the 18th Angel… the myriad and infinite variations and possibilities. But she also knew they had to have some unifying factor between them all. The key to her self imposed mission would be to learn what it was to be a Lilim, though she wasn't a Lilim herself. She was still an Angel, just one in human form.

She heard a beeping sound coming from another room and wondered just what it was. The technology of the Lilim was truly amazing, and in time she would learn it all. Within moments, Shinji came out of the room holding a bowl that was steaming softly. Arael picked out a new scent in the room that suddenly overpowered the plain and homely smell of the apartment. Though she had never eaten before, her senses were none-the-less stirred into life by what he had brought her.

"Sorry its so simple," he apologized. "Left over miso from last night. It should still be good though. If you'd like, there is a recipe for Tori that I've been meaning to try."

"Sounds good," she said. Though she didn't know what Tori was, a brief look at Shinji's surface thoughts told her it was a form of onion soup. Arael took the bowl carefully, noticing parts of it were very warm to the touch, and using the spoon she was given took a sip of the warm soup. Instantly her eyes widened as the subtle spices and flavors of the soup assaulted her taste buds. It was unlike anything she ever experienced before, and she felt an overwhelming urge to chug the entire bowl. But she knew if she did that, she would likely burn her throat and the taste would be gone too quickly. Instead she sipped carefully, taking in every bit of the flavor she could.

Shinji watched her drink the soup, and instantly felt even more sorry for her. She probably hadn't had anything real to eat in a while and yet she still ate slowly and carefully.

"How is it Ayame?" he asked.

"Its very good," she said softly, trying not to sound too surprised or shocked that such sensations were within the grasp of Lilim. "Did you make this?"

Shinji chuckled sheepishly with a hand behind his head. "Y-yeah," he said modestly. "It's a recipe I've been working on since I arrived in Tokyo-3."

Arael though for a moment, realizing this was her chance to learn more about this boy. It took a few seconds to formulate how to go about it. She knew from her skims that random small talk about seemingly inane subjects was all part of their communication, a way to get others to feel comfortable around you, and she was about to try her hand at 'small talk'.

"So you haven't lived her your whole life?"

Shinji blinked a moment. "No… no one has. Um… do you know why this city was built?"

She shook her head no, wondering what she said that was wrong.

"Oh… I guess not everyone knew about it then. This city was built as a fortress against Angel attacks."

"Angels?" She asked innocently. "Aren't Angels good things? Why would you need to fight them?"

"I don't think they're really angels per se," he explained. "I think they are something else entirely. A real angel wouldn't try to destroy us." His voice held a bit of masked resentment in it, and Arael took note of this. "And they wouldn't be like that…." The last part was almost a whisper.

"You sound as if you speak from experience," she noted.

Shinji sighed. "You really aren't from around here. I guess it wouldn't hurt to tell you. I'm the designated pilot of Evangelion Unit 01."

"Evangelion… the false spawn of the All-Father that the Lilim use to fight us…This child is a pilot? How can that be? He's…innocent!"

"You pilot it?" she said surprised.

"Only children born after The Second Impact can, at least that's what I've been told."

"Goodness," she whispered. "I've heard stories about giant monster battles in Tokyo-3 but I thought they were just stories! I didn't know it was actually happening. Is that why there are so few people here?"

Shinji nodded. "Many left considering the damage done to the city from previous battles. A lot of good people died… and people I care about keep getting hurt."

Shinji didn't know why he was so open with this stranger… something about her was comfortable though, not comfortable in the second mother Misato way or the odd relationship he's had with Rei kind of way. This was completely different… as if their meeting was destined. It was a though that worried Shinji a little. He knew he wasn't in control of his own destiny, but is this good thing or a bad thing? He didn't know. All he could do now was ride the tide and see how things turned out.

"I… I'm sorry," she replied.

"This war has caused the Lilim much pain and sorrow. Up until today, I didn't know what those feelings were…but now…"

"Nothing you could do," he replied. "Sometimes… sometimes I wish I never came to this city… sometimes I wish my father never called me here."

Arael raised her head. "Called? He's someone important in your organization?"

Shinji nodded. "My father is Ikari Gendo… Supreme Commander of NERV."

"That must be one of the people behind the subjugation of the All-Father. This poor child's father is one of the Lilim responsible for starting the war."

"I see… you couldn't refuse?"

Shinji shook his head no. "I never even considered it when I got his letter. Seeing the power my father wields now though… I know what would have happened had I refused."

Arael shuddered as a mental image popped in her head of gruff looking men armed with killing implements alien to her and all wearing the same clothing. In her mind they were forcing this poor child into a black vehicle of some kind… But then she realized these thoughts were not her own.

"These are his thoughts… what's happening here?"

"Are you alright?" Shinji asked her.

Now she knew something was amiss. She gave no outward indication something was wrong and yet, somehow he sensed her mental distress.

"S-sorry," she apologized again. "I'm not feeling like myself I guess."

"Understandable," he replied. "If you wish to rest, I'll let you use my bed. I promise I won't disturb you." I hope she doesn't think I'm a pervert like Asuka does all the time. I wouldn't do anything like that.

Arael froze. She knew that name… it was the first Lilim she tried to establish a link to, the one she was interfacing with just before the lance damaged her core. She must live here too. She knew she should not overstay her welcome and avoid contact with the girl, but she also knew to try to escape so suddenly would only arouse suspicion… and at this point, she had no real intention of leaving this boy.

"I couldn't impose like that," she replied. She didn't want to seem too easy about it either. Something told her that wouldn't be right.

"It's ok… really."

Arael paused a moment before replying. "Ok." She stood up handing her empty bowl to Shinji.

"Let me show you the room," he said. He placed the bowl on the table for the moment and led Arael into the room.

Arael looked in and saw that unlike some other rooms in this house, this one was just shy of Spartan. It was also quite small.

"Its not much but it is home," he replied on seeing her thoughtful expression as she considered the room.

"Its more than generous," she replied as she walked in.

"I'll leave you too it then. Rest well Ayame…"

"Thank you."

When Shinji closed the shoji door, Arael sighed. Though he was further away now, extended contact seemed to have strengthened the range of his unique talent of shutting out psychic noise. She stripped out of her dress, leaving her in her bare skin and slipped into the covers. The warm sensation of soft cloth around her made her feel comfortable, and the scent of the boy was also enveloping her, intensifying the feeling.

"Somehow… Shinji and I have become linked on some level… but how? Was it because he was the first Lilim to show me kindness after I became separated from the collective?"

That was a traumatic experience for her. It was the first part of her pain. The moment the lance pierced her core, she was torn from the Collective. The voices of her remaining siblings, Armisael and Tabris, went completely silent. Angels need their connections to each other in order to balance themselves. Only Tabris, Angel of Free Will, seemed able to spend considerable time away from the collective without suffering any kind of side effects, likely due to his nature. But as Angels were dropping from the collective as they were dying, most of the Angels did seem to become less enthusiastic, though she didn't realize how it had affected them all.

Arael kept her pain buried so far that it wasn't until she arrived on Earth and turned herself into a Lilim that the barriers over her emotions had begun to crumble. Out of instinct and need, her soul latched onto the first kind hearted soul it could find.

At least that's the excuse she was using to describe what was happening to her. While part of it might be true, she knew there had to be more too it then that…

…but what?

These thoughts followed her as she snuggled under the blankets, taking in the softness and warmth against her skin and letting the scent of Shinji permeate her senses as she drifted off into sleep for the first time.

Her dreams were anything but agreeable….


End of Chapter 1

An angel strays upon my door, so frail and lost within,

To weep upon her days of yore, my decadent come in

Her strain and tears upon my floor, the sorrow that she brings,

Devotion of a life outworn, in decadence come in...

-Tristania, Sequel of Decay


DISCLAIMER: I do not own Evangelion… I only wish I did… of course if I did I probably wouldn't write fanfiction.

A/N: This is a little project to help me get back into my other stories. Most of the stuff I write is action packed and full of 'badassery'. This is meant to be more a subtle story compared to my other works, but it will likely turn out epic anyway 'cause that's just the way I am.

Ideas are forming and it seems as if I work best when I have at least 2-3 active projects going at once… I can't explain it.

It is time I explained something though. While I don't do songfics, you'll notice that almost all my works usually have a few lines, a verse or a refrain from a piece of music after each chapter. This is because music influances my writing just the same. For example, if anyone here has been reading Adrift, the song chosen for that story is "Death Dies Hard" the principle line being "I will deny you, this world belongs to me, you try to fake it but all wounds are there to see". This hints at the who really controls the world and who is really pulling the strings. It also hints that old hurts and traumas will always be there no matter how much you try to push past it.

I leave it to you to discover the hidden meanings behind the songs I've chosen, but feel free to give your own interpretations (if you have any) in your review should you decide to leave them.

Thanks again for reading more of my insane prattle, and see you next chapter. More than likely, it will be either the next chapter of Bloodlust or Adrift.

A/N 2.0: This story is dedicated to my fellow Arael lover Neferius. This is both a tribute and an apology for killing her off (though not permanently) in Tempest Aterna.