Perceptions and Reality

The Artificial Evolution Laboratories, Lake Ashi, 2003

Yui picked up the phone. "Yes?"

"Yui? Inform all the female heads of Project E to report to my office for... Examinations..."

Doctor Ikari restrained a snigger, barely.

"Oh but Director Ikari, what of all the work we have to do?"

"Table it for tomorrow. Are you questioning a direct order from your Director?"

With a smug smirk, Yui made sure that her office door was locked.

"Yes. Yes I am. I'm being insubordinate. Whatever shall you do, Gendo?" she asked breathily.

"Clearly reprimandatory measures will need to be taken."

"What are you wearing?" She whispered into the phone.

"Ohhhh baby..."

The Present


"I said: That Rei girl's soul is that of the Black Progenitor, our Dad's opposite."


"I mean, yeah, I can feel the resonance of the body way way down in the Black Moon, but I am definitely feeling the Progenitor Mojo coming from Rei that indicates a soul."


"…Shinji, stop being a moron. I'm speaking directly to your mind, so what you hear is exactly what I mean."

Shinji rubbed his temples as though to alleviate a migraine.

"I'm sorry Sachiel, but you're asking me to believe that Rei Ayanami, my fellow pilot, has the mind and soul of a billions-year old alien."


"That was put into the body of a human."

"Actually, from what I could tell the body is roughly half human and half of the Black Progenitor's. But yeah. Pretty much."

"Okay then, an alien's soul in the body of a cloned human hybrid's body."


"…I'm sorry Sachiel, but none of that's… possible."

Silence filled the room for what felt like hours, but was really more like thirty second.

"…You pilot a sexy-fine two-hundred foot tall cyber-thingie that contains a human's soul."

The young Ikari scratched his chin at that observation.

"Okay… You've got a point there-." Shinji stopped himself when he remembered something else the Child of Water said.

"Wait you mean it does?"

"What does what?"

"That Unit-01 has a soul!"

"Wait, you can't tell?"

"No! No one can do that!"

"Oh yeah that's right! Black Moon Progeny don't have massive Soul's Lights. But yeah. That's what I saw when I saw her. And I must say: She's Sex on Legs."

The human boy blushed red at the blatant and almost flippant discourse


"Okay Asuka, could you now move your right arm?"

"Right Arm. Affirmitive."

In the LCL-filled plug, Pilot and Second Child Asuka Langley Soryu moved the right butterfly control forward, and via reading the electrical impulses running through her brain and the entirety of her Peripheral Nervous System, the red-and-white clad arm of her Unit-02, the colors distorted violet by the coolant/LCL/restraint lake it was immersed in, moved in tandem raising one-hundred and twenty degrees from the rest position. With a smirk, the pilot concentrated on the hand beyond, which shifted so that the hand itself made a ninety-degree twist to the left, and the middle and ring fingers both curled into the palm, with the thumb moving into place on top of them and the index and pinkie fingers splayed out.

In other words, forming the "Bull's Horns" gesture.

"Ha ha ha Asuka. Very amusing." a different voice from the Pribnow Box said, any amusement sorely lacking.

"I only aim to please Sub-Commander." The girl said innocently.

The second-in-command of NERV-Berlin grumbled under his breath, something about "spoiled teen brats" or some such nonsense.

The sound of someone clearing their throat was heard, and the Science Director spoke up.

"Uh, yes. Now then Asuka, if you would return to the rest position…"

With the same ease Eva Unit-02's arm returned to its normal position at the Eva's side.

"Thank you. This Concludes Synchronization-Link test No. 22. Asuka, you may begin the De-Activation procedure now."

"Acknowledge. Begin De-Activation." 'About damn time too!'


Twenty minutes saw Asuka deactivating her precious Unit-02, voiding herself of LCL, peeling off her plugsuit and a quick shower to remove herself of the copper-smelling liquid. And waiting for her was Adonis reborn: tall, handsome, that roguish grin, that touch of stubble, that "just-out-of-bed" wrinkling of his clothing.

Her Guardian, her Man.

Ryoji Kaji. Her future Husband (ha).

"Hello Asuka."


It should be noted that Asuka Langley Soryu does not "Squee." Such actions are childish and unbecoming of an Eva pilot.

Asuka "Enthusiastically announces her pleasure."


"Oof! It's good to see you too Asuka." Kaji greeted tentatively, both from his recovering of her attempt to crush his ribcage, and slight nervousness at the teen's obvious crush on him, age of consent be damned. "So, how was the test?"

The red-head scoffed, still maintaining her vice-grip on his arm.

"Pretty boo~ooring. It was pretty much the usual stuff. It would've been so much more bearable had you been there Kaji."

Kaji tried to keep his choked throat clearing discreet. (Un)Fortunately Asuka's selective hearing was on today.

"Tempting I'm sure Asuka, but I'm afraid I have other things that demand my attention."

Her pout was adorable, in its own way, and had she not been interested in men old enough to be her father, Ryoji would have told her so. But since she was, it would only encourage her.

"Yeah, but the Sub-Commander's a real pain to put up with."

"Well, that might be because we just avoided a Third Impact a few days ago."


Kaji smirked at the instinctive tensing of the Second Child's shoulders.

"You have been keeping up with your Inter-Site notices, riii~iiight?"

Asuka turned her face away from the older man. If it were anyone else, she'd BS an "Of Course! Who do you think I am a moron?" But this was her beloved Kaji! She couldn't lie to him! If she made a habit of dishonesty, one day he might let the silly idea that she was being unfaithful into his head!

The Agent of SEELE/NERV/The JSSDF chuckled paternally as he patted Asuka on the head with his free hand. He knew she hated it, since it was the action one would give to a child after all.

Which was why he did it, anything to remind her of their respective places after all. Child Molesters, rapists and Kin-Slayers fare the worst in the world's prisons you know.

"Don't worry about it. I would, however, check out the footage from Tokyo-3 I e-mailed you if I were you. I'd say that the Third Child's first battle would be of interest."

At that nugget of information, Asuka looked up to Kaji with surprise.

"The Third Child's been found?"

"Mm-hmm. Shinji Ikari, Commander Ikari's son."

"His son?"

"That's right. In a way I'm a little annoyed by that, since it completely invalidates my little theory on why some children are chosen as pilots and others aren't." he said, playfully, "Clearly one's Sex is a non-factor." Seeing Asuka turn away from him for a moment, possibly in thought, a niggling little thought came to mind that amused the man to no end. "Perhaps you two could become a, team, assuming that he doesn't have… Alternative arrangements?"

Like a female Rum Tum Tugger dismissing cream, Asuka stuck her nose up in distaste at the innuendo.

"Oh please. Even if the Third Child is a boy, I'm only interested in men, like you Kaji!"

'Oh good grief.' (Un)Fortunately, in her exuberance, Asuka didn't see the man roll his eyes. With a little effort, he did manage to free his arm, and return much needed oxygen to his hand. "Well, I'm very flattered Asuka. Now, why don't we get some dinner Second Child?"

Asuka's eye twitched at the reminder of the greatest barrier between her and her love (ha).

Six hours later saw Asuka once more trying to score with Kaji, and failing in a suitably humorous manner. As per usual.

Then she had another dinner of frozen pizza alone. "Reports to file," Kaji had said. Most girls Asuka's age would spend their nights running up the phone bill with friends, talking about boys, schoolwork, what the latest hot movie star was doing with that woman (who was obviously a slut), and other such topics for gossip.

Instead, Asuka Langley Soryu, age thirteen, sat in her room, the cell phone she was given in order for the aforementioned discussion with non-NERV girls still never ringing, with her sitting at the computer, filing through her official e-mail box.

And the over nine-hundred thirty e-mails of official business unopened.

Most of them were of typical, boring stuff: Announcements concerning potential fluctuations in pay and in schedules, the occasional Lost and Found notice and little celebrations across the base. Then there where the Inter-Site notices that were usually a little more interesting: data transfers between the resident science facilities, alerts on suspect Angel activity and the like.

"Ugh! Where is it? It's only been, what, three days? How can so much crap come in in such a short amount of time?"

Quite easily evidently, if one doesn't check her e-mail at least once a day.

Clicking the "select all" box three times got rid of a sizable chunk of the "junk" e-mails, bringing up the date the message she was looking for could be expected on.

"All right Third, let's see what you're made of…"

Once the video was loaded, Asuka watched the climactic battle with the Third Angel.

…Which was freakin' boring at first, so she dragged the curser towards the end, and thus skipping the right trouncing that Unit-01 and the Third Child got, and thus the most she saw of the battle was Shogouki going berserk.

Seeing the brutality at what she thought were Ikari's hands, Asuka found that she had a sudden hankering for some chocolate.

'Mmmm… Asuka likes…

'….WAIT! Where the HELL did that come from!'

Well you see Asuka, there comes a time in every young woman's life tha-

Shinji of Ikar province swallowed as he stood at the mouth of the cave, purple and green armor gleaming in the spring sun, a pin-point spark on the tip of the crest flaring from its nose. Within that cave was the maiden daughter of Lord Ayanami, a retainer of his father's court. In order to regain his Honor in his father's eyes, Shinji would have to rescue her.

She was said to have been of skin so pale, she was the envy of the goddess Amaterassu herself, and hair that had been kissed by the sky.

And a Dark Dragon from the depths of the underworld captured her to be his bride.

Drawing his sword, the Samurai warrior in training walked cautiously into the cave.

The air was damp, and even though the cave grew ever darker, he could still see. Clearly evidence of the dragon's dark magiks.

Rounding a corner, Shinji saw her, sitting in the lotus position at a golden alter, to whom he could not tell.

And she was just as lovely as the gossip said. And yet, for a captive, she was not caged, not chained or restrained in any way. And there was no sign of the dragon.

'No telling how long that'll last.'

Rushing off to the girl, Shinji startled her by grabbing her shoulder.

"Come Lady Ayanami! I come from my Father's court to rescue you!"

She looked to him in confusion.


"Yes my lady, from the Dragon that has kidnapped you!"

Something resembling comprehension crossed her face as she placed a tiny, gentle hand on his own.

"Young warrior, you have been misled. While in these past few years I have worn the guise of a mortal woman, this shell is nothing more than a vessel. More of a prison, one that I have finally freed myself from."

With that, Ayanami's form shifted and warped, the snowy skin staining to a nighttime ebony. Her sky-touched hair falling onto to the cave floor as the head lost all definition. The body grew to tremendous size, filling the cave.

The young samurai to be backed up in horror at the monstrosity before him, barely releasing a scream as the creature's steadying foot fell upon him and-

Shinji groaned under his breath. His eyes still blazing with the comforting burn of drowsiness, whereas the rest of his body stated that it was, indeed, time to wake up. With considerable effort, the young Ikari managed to pry open his eyes…

To see the grinning visage of Sachiel on his chest.


Oh how Shinji wished he could kill the Angel… Again… Especially since he clearly inspired that freakin' weird dream.

"Ya know what I've been thinkin' of?"

"…I'd say not to bother, if I knew you wouldn't listen to anything I said."

"Darn right!"

Shinji sighed. What else could he do?

"Anyway, I say you should make nice with the Black Progenitor!"


"You're doing that thing again. Stop it. And why shouldn't you? You should see your Ubber-Mommy when she's hurt."

"I… I don't think I should."


"Well… I don't know her. …At all really."

'Plus there's the fact that she's a freakin' ALIEN!'

"So? This is the perfect time to get to know her!"

"Well, I don't want to be a bother. What if I annoy her?"

"Then she'll tell you to back off, sheesh."

And that was just it. It would be better to avoid such an awkward moment than to risk making it in the first place. At least, that's what Shinji told himself.


"Shinji, it hasn't even been a week since I stabbed you in the eye. What's she gonna do that can top that?"

All Shinji did in response was roll over and cover his head with the blanket.

"So what? You're just going to leave that poor girl all alone all day in some kinda box, hurting and no one to talk to?"


"I can't believe you talked me into this."

"You're surprisingly easy to push around. We need to work on that."

Shinji starred at the door, "Ayanami, Rei" clearly written on the patient panel.

It was with more than a little trepidation that he rapt on the door.


Rei Ayanami continued to engage in the same activity she did yesterday: Starring at the ceiling, with the occasional split-second view of the inside of her eyelids.

Riveting stuff.

At that moment, a knock came from the door. This was highly unusual, and none of her previous 'guests' bothered with knocking. So out of place was the sound that Rei turned her head to the door instinctively. After a moment's pause came a tiny voice.

"Umm… Rei? A-are you awake? It… It's me. Shinji Ikari? We met yesterday."

"Go in."


"Go in you nincompoop! What, you expect to have a conversation through a door? DAD you need help."


"Don't apologize just go in!"

The door opened, revealing the person she suspected would own the voice. The Third Child, the Commander's son. He who threatened her standing here.

He who looked about as nervous as Rei felt.

At his side, she noticed that his hand was flexing in a nervous manner. What was he here for? Perhaps the commander told him to finish her off?

Granted, that seemed highly unlikely given the current place of things in the Scenario, but given how Rei had been nothing but a failure to this point with her Eva, she would not be surprised that the commander was angry enough to risk a destabilization of the Scenario at this stage to try again. And she could not fault the Third Child for carrying out the task. After all, she herself would not hesitate if the situation was reversed.

Shinji scratched his head as he averted her singular gaze, shuffling from one foot to the other.

"So umm… How are things?"


"Well, yeah. You're hurt I get that. Umm… I was… Was… I uhh."

Rei stared at Shinji.

Shinji stared at Rei.

Sachiel in the immaterial looked back and forth at them both in a hopeful and expectant manner.

Repeat ad nausium.

'Why is he here? If it is to mock me for my failure, he is doing a very poor attempt at it.'

"Well, uhh…" Shinji said, trying again, "I… saw that you were hurt, and I wanted to see how you were doing… Umm… I'm Shinji. By the way."

For several crawling seconds, the two teenagers remained in silence, Shinji looking more and more nervous and embarrassed, with Rei… Well, being Rei.

When she finally spoke at last.

"Why are you here?"

Strangely, the boy seemed puzzled by her question. Which in turn puzzled her. And while it didn't register to even her to make a note of it, as he spoke the Third Child's eyes kept jolting to his right, as though looking to someone for reassurance.

"Umm… Well, I uh… I saw that, you were hurt. And since, you know… Uh… You, got more hurt when… When my father wheeled you out to pilot Unit-01 when Sach- when the angel appeared, well… I just… I just wanted to… check on you. Is all."

"…But why?"

Shinji looked dumbfounded at the question, his hand twitching like a rabbit as he seemed to fight within himself over a decision. Then, he looked to the side for a second, as though listening to someone. When he spoke next, it at first sounded like he was reading a script, but seemed to take it to heart as he spoke.

"Some-sometimes… Sometimes, people just… people just, care, about people. I, I just want to see if you're all right Rei. I mean, sure, we'll be… working together I guess, but… but maybe we can… Can… you know?"

No, she doesn't know, but the sentiment was understood nonetheless.

Rei's face didn't change on a superficial level, but to those who knew her best, all two of them, he expression was one of full befuddlement at the thought of someone caring about her for her, and not as a piece for some scenario.

It was… uncomfortable for the bluenette.

But at any rate, whatever it was that Shinji Ikari gained, it was lost just as quickly as he swallowed hard with an audible "gulp."

"Uh… well. I uh… I'll… I'll be, going, now. I'm… I'm sorry for, for disturbing you, Rei."

And so, with the girl still looking at him, the boy turned around and walked out the door.

Once more alone in the room, Rei turned her head to the other side, towards the large windows that overlooked the Geofront. This time it was not without a thing to do that she stared blankly, but rather it was due to having much to occupy her mind.

'He… cares? For purely altruistic purposes? How odd… And yet, Ikari seemed to believe what he was saying. Is this the Commander's way of saying I am forgiven?

'…Perhaps so.'

"And you are certain about this?"

"Yes commander, the patient has always been a fast healer, so she could be released today. But as her doctor, I would like to keep her for observation until Tuesday, then she can go home for bed rest for a week if she agrees to come in for daily check-ups, then she can go back to school."

"I see. That would be satisfactory. That is all."

When the door closed behind him, Shinji fell back onto the wall, hand rubbing his forehead in relief.

Misato smiled from where she stood across from the boy, to the side of Rei's room.

"Well well Shinji, I have to say, that was very sweet of you."

"Uh, thanks Misato, for taking me in today."

The purplette waved off the boy's gratitude.

"Think nothing of it Shinji. To be honest I had some extra work I needed to take care of myself anyway. You know the way back to the apartment right?"

She smiled and pulled out a pen at the boys nod.

"Good! Now if you'll excuse me, I've got an enemy almost as bad as the Angels to take care of."

At that Katsuragi went one way, and Shinji and the Angel floating by his side moved for the nearest elevator depot.

Once the door to the carriage closed, Sachiel floated into Shinji's field of vision, arms crossed and a pleased expression on his face.

"Well done Ikari my man well done. Granted you struggled, but boy did you power on through! And what's most awesome? I just told you to say that people care about people, and you went on to ad-lib a full blown speech almost!"

"Oh, oh no, I don't think so."

"Well I do bro, and I gotta say: With a little bit of practice and some self confidence, and you'll be an inspiring leader! Almost a deity-ruler or something!"

"But she just sat there. She probably didn't even listen to a thing I said."

"Pfft. So what? That's her problem. But you know what I noticed? How she seemed like she couldn't comprehend you bein' nice to her? Is that normal for Females?"

Shinji looked at the Child of Water with some surprise. But then, now that the tiny Angel mentioned it, she did seem a little confused at what he was doing.

"Well… No. Not really. Actually, it's probably supposed to be the other way around. I think…"

Shinji looked 'through' the door in the figurative direction of Ayanami's room. And now that he thought about it, the nurse seemed a little surprised that Ayanami would have guests at all.

Didn't she have… Anyone?

"So… What are you thinkin' about Shinji?"

"Just… thinking…"


"Well… It seems like Ayanami doesn't get any visitors, and she must have worked here for years right?"

The Angel shrugged.

"And… And yet, she seems so alone. So… sad." 'Like… me.' "Do you still think she's the… 'Black Progenitor'?"

Sachiel nodded emphatically.

"Oh yeah. With no doubt at all now. She is definitely the soul of the Seed of Life of the Black Moon., with her body somewhere below us."

Shinji looked down at his feet, pondering. If what Sachiel said was true, Rei, in a kinda-sorta way, was the source of all life, and in an abstract way could be seen as Mother Nature herself, as the White Progenitor was the Angel's father…

And she seemed so sad, in spite of having someone being her guardian, like what Misato was for him. Surely.

He could relate.

As though reading his mind, Sachiel sat himself on Shinji's shoulder, placed a hand on his cheek, and asked a simple question.

"So. Wanna make friends with your Mom?"

The teen winced at the term. "It's kinda creepy referring to Rei as my mom Sachiel."

Oh you have nooooo idea kid.

"But… Yeah. I'll do it. I mean, if nothing else, I have to work with her until she heals right?"

While this conversation was taking place, in the Boardroom of Doom-I mean, the mausoleum-NO!-Commander Ikari's office, Sub-commander Fuyutsuki and everyone's favorite necromantic were discussing the conversation they had just witnessed between the First and Third Children.

The dirty voyeurs.

"So." Kozo said. "How does this affect the scenario?"

Ikari was silent, pondering on the possible implications of the actions he just witnessed, and how to best make use, or disuse, of them.

"According to the Third Child's psychological profile, he shouldn't be this extroverted." the older man continued.

'He's just like me at that age.' Gendo thought to himself. 'Imagine if I had taken Fuyutsuki's advice and raised the boy myself.'

Delusions are a powerful thing it would seem. But still, a Shinji that reached out to Rei could be… problematic later on when the time came. Rei needed to be willing to give up her identity, however briefly or permanently, and be sympathetic to himself in order to give him command of the Anti-AT energies in the upcoming Third Impact, if Yui was to be freed. Fortunately, the derailment was still in its early stages, and was minor enough that damage control was still feasible.

After a stretching moment of silence, Gendo answered Fuyutsuki's inquiry.

"This… Can be, used, Fuyutsuki. We just have to control the perception of this incident."

"Is that so?"



"…You're not telling me how, are you?"


After all, such things needed to be carefully worded.

It was about noon-ish when Shinji and Sachiel returned to the apartment, and the boy was feeling a bit pekish. A sandwich was in order.

After collecting the assorted accoutrements necessary for the small meal, Shinji pieced it together in silence.

Or would've, had it not been for the intangible Angel floating around him.


"So what?"

"So, what are you gonna talk with Rei tomorrow about Shinji?"

"I'm not."

The Child of Water looked to the teen with surprise.

"Huh? Why not?"

"I've got school the day after tomorrow Sachiel, and I still need to do my homework."


"You're doing that thing Sachiel. Stop it."

"Huh? …OH! Right, last night, I get it. Anyway, why do you care about this, 'home-work,' business anyway?"

"Well, I've got to do it anyway, so I might as well do it now."

"But what about getting friendly with Rei?"

"I can always do that Sachiel. From the looks of it, Rei isn't getting out of the hospital soon, and if I understand Misato and Doctor Akagi right, I'll be at NERV everyday anyway, so I can visit her then. Besides, I'm, not really used to trying to get to know people." He turned to the tiny green abomination apparition. "Is that better?"

Sachiel crossed his arms, his face clearly showing that he was not pleased, but in the end the Angel just sighed and threw up his arms.

"Fine! Fine, whatever."

In the halls of the medical wing of NERV, Rei was taking her daily walk, the Commander taking time out of his busy schedule to make sure that the girl didn't over-exert herself. Though he made no sign of his thoughts on the subject, Rei felt certain that he was displeased at the fact that he had to metaphorically hold her hand to make sure that she did as she was told.

'Clearly I have made another mark of my inadequacy in the Commander's eyes, if he feels he has to take time out for a trivial matter such as this…'

The two walked down the hallway in silence, aside from the occasional squeak from the IV-Stand's wheels. Young Ayanami assumed that the trend would carry on like this, so Ikari's voice startled her. If a blink and a minute turn of the head towards her right could be called a 'startled' reaction.

"What are your thoughts on the Third Child Rei?" Gendo said as he pulled out a PDA, and began tapping a series of icons on the screen with the stylus.

Unbeknownst to Rei, all the security cameras in the halls flickered, and when the screens returned to normal, Security would find that the audio was missing, and would be for the next few minutes.

"I am, uncertain Commander Ikari. He expresses concerns outside of his duties, and does not focus on NERV's mission."

"I see." Gendo said in an even tone. "Rei, what can you tell me about the Scenario?"

That did get a reaction out of Rei, in that she turned fully towards the Commander. Why would he ask that?

"Sir, you know the Scenario perfectly well."

"Humor me Pilot."

"…Yes sir. The primary stage, that is currently being played out, is to eradicate the progeny of the First Angel, Adam, both to prevent an early Impact, and to prevent their interference in the Endgame.

"Secondary Stage, which will run concurrently with the Primary stage, is to retrieve the Lance of Longinus, and to dispose of it in a manner that will be justifiable to the Committee. Like with the Angels, this is to prevent it from interfering in the Endgame.

"Tertiary Stage, also runing concurrent with the Primary and Secondary Stages, is the retrieval of the embryonic Adam, preferably via a double agent of classified identity. It is preferable that this is done without the Committee's knowledge, but is in theory justifiable should they find out.

"Endgame. Once the last Angel is killed and the Lance of Longinus is removed from the equation, the Adam sample and I are to merge with the Lilith sample in Terminal Dogma, and yourself. Then, using the Anti-AT-Field energies created in this form of Third Impact, we are to then retrieve the soul of Doctor Yui Ikari from Evangelion Unit-01. After that, the being created is to be split up between its composite parts, and the Lilith and Adam samples are to be destroyed irreversibly."

"Very good. Now, why is it that we are trying to retrieve Doctor Ikari?"

Rei blinked, stupefied. The girl had never thought to ask why the commander was going to such lengths to save a woman she had never, and likely never would, meet. She never had cause to think to ask.

When Rei hung her head in shame (well, more than it already was, considering she was slightly hunched over on the stand), Ikari did something most unexpected: He patted a hand on her shoulder. The contact was only for a brief second, but at the girl's tiny blush, it was clear (to anyone but Gendo, who didn't see it) that it had a penetrating effect.

"As I am sure you noticed," the man continued, "the Third Child is very introverted, but soft-hearted. The latter is admirable, but the former can be damaging."

He would know.

"The former trait, most likely started due to being present during Yui's… Accident, even if he doesn't remember it. The best way to begin his healing, and help the Third Child recover is to give him his mother back."

Or, you know, an actual father figure, but a mommy works too.

"And this is why we are intentionally diverting the Committee?" The nephil asked innocently.

The man was hesitant in giving his answer.

"…It is a sizable motivation. Yes."

Actually, generations of historians will good naturedly debate over how much of this motivation was genuinely felt, and how much was total manipulative fabrication.

But that's not important.

What is important however, is that Rei bought it, and the intimate moment not only further entrenched her loyalty to Gendo (ick), but also stired a little… something, she never learned what, inside her for the Ikari boy (subjective ick).

"I see."

Monday morning was finally here. Vacation was over (if it could be called such), and it was time for school to start once again.


Shinji had spent the rest of Saturday and all of yesterday doing his homework.

This was no easy task, as Sachiel kept interrupting with questions ("Wazzat?" "It's math." "What's a Math?"), interruptions ("Look! That looks like dead rock!" "Sachiel that's a cross-section of a sheep's eye.") and his own brand of, ahem, 'help' ("The answer is always 42! Just write that down!" "Sachiel that's not how you balance chemical equations.").

Thank goodness for the distracting powers of the Internet. ("So what am I looking for again?" "Two girls-")

And now his homework was (mostly) finished, and the fourteen-year old walked through the main gate to the Tokyo-3 Municipality Junior High School. His little invisible friend didn't like being left to his own devices however.

"Why can't I come?" he had said

"Sachiel, I have enough of insanity to deal with. I don't want to be called insane and committed on top of that. If you're good, and promise to be quiet, I might let you come with me."

The tiny Angel crossed his arms and pouted. "Oh all right. Fine. But what the hell am I supposed to DO all day?"

"Well, I dunno… Maybe, just look around I guess? Do some exploring?"

"Awwww! Do I have to?"

"Well I can't exactly have you talking with me all day. If people are going to leave me alone, I'd rather it not be because they think I'm crazy."

Shinji sighed as he walked down the hallways towards his new homeroom. Keeping the tiny Angel's existence a secret was looking up to be a heavy task if he couldn't find a way to keep him occupied, even if he did feel guilty of leaving him alone.

Looking down at the slip of paper the lady in the office gave him, the pilot checked the signs above the doors for the matching designation.

"Let's see.. Room 2-F, 2-E, 2-D… Oh here we go. Room 2-A."

"Good morning, can I help you?"

Looking down, Shinji finally noticed a girl around his age, with long pig-tails, and a few scattered freckles across the bridge of her nose.

"Umm, yes. I'm Shinji Ikari? The new student starting today?"

"Oh yes! I heard we were getting a new student!" with an exuberantly cheerful expression, the girl bowed and then proceeded to shake Shinji's hand. "Hello, I'm Hikari Horaki, the Class Representative for class 2-A!"

With a tiny blush stemming from not being used to meeting people, let alone pretty girls, Shinji returned the greeting gestures.


And lo, did the young Ikari's educational life here in Tokyo-3 begin.

But that's boring, let's go somewhere else.

Geofront Medical, room 108

Rei Ayanami ate the first meal of solid food she was allowed since the accident: a light salad, apple slices, and her daily dosage of Anti-Rejection pills.

Sweet, delicious Anti-Rejection pills.


Gendo Ikari went about his usual routine: Breakfast at 7:40, file forms from 8:10 until 9:30, brood and angst away for his beloved Yui, staring into the abyss over his clasped hands, slowly sinking into madness until 11:25. 12:30, have lunch, then make the rounds: sit upon his Titanium Throne of Terror on the bridge, look in on the progress of the various projects of Project E, goose Ritsuko, talk to Unit-01 for a good hour, head down to the lower areas to check on the Reequarium and the Dummy Plug Uploading systems. 2:15: Jazzercise. 3:00 stand on the pier at Lake Ashi and just stare at the water for two hours. 5:00, have dinner alone, then a quick shower before staring at Yui's side of the bed for hours on end until fall asleep.


Katsuragi Residence

It took a while to figure out the "ree-moat con-troll," but after a few trials Sachiel was able to channel surf with the best of 'em, and was now engaged in the age-old tradition of couch potatoeing with an "annie-may" marathon.

Currently, it was Preschool of the Dead.

"HOLY CRAP! That toddler just ate that guy's nuts!"

…Who would air this crap during the day?

Lady Katsuragi the Beautiful fought valiantly, slashing the enemy left and right, and yet the spells of Doldrums she had been plagued with were taking their toll upon her.

And in the real world, Misato fell asleep at her desk.

Tokyo-3 Municipal Junior High

The bells chimed for the last time, classes were over, and it was time for everyone to either go home…

"Let's go Kyonko!"

"Haruki! I can walk just fine!"

Or to their respective clubs. In other circumstances, Hikari Horaki would have loved nothing more than to be part of any of the Home Economics clubs, or maybe even be on the student council, she had the grades for it after all. But with Kodama at college, and Nozomi getting out of elementary at the same time, and the fact that she was the one that needed to fix dinner for everyone, there really wasn't any time after she finished her Class Rep duties for the day.

"Okay everyone, listen up. Clean up duty was on the board since this morning, but if you missed it, today is Aida, Miyazaki and Anno's turn, and no complaints from any one of you either."

Hearing that he was free to go, Shinji put in the ear buds for his SDAT, and made it for the door. As such, he didn't hear Hikari's next announcement, not that it would affect his choice to leave in silence anyway.

"Now, does anyone know about Suzuhara and Ayanami? They were absent again today and someone needs to send them their print-outs. Anyone? Any volunteers?"

Katsuragi Residence

'Okay' Shinji thought to himself as he twisted the key and turned the door knob to the apartment, 'I'm only a little behind in my math, but given how the teacher seems to go into Second Impact at the drop of a hat, I should have plenty of time to catch-'

"Ohh~hh Sousuke…"


Slamming the door closed, Shinji ran into the living room to find Sachiel sitting on the couch watching…

Well, from the looks and sound of it, a very family unfriendly film.

"Sachiel? What are you doing?"

"Learning how human's breed." the child of water said, oh so innocently.

Ikari grabbed the remote from the tiny ghost-Angel, despite the protests.

"Sachiel you can't just watch stuff like this!"


Shinji clenched the black brick that was the remote in his hand.

"Because it's not decent!"

The little Angel's face screwed up in confusion.

"Why? It's just procreation, why hide it? And if it's supposed to be hidden, why are people making moo-veez of it?"

"eh-! Buh-well uh... Well…"

Oh yes Shinji, real informative. Try syllables and sentences.

The boy was saved from the awkward topic by the sound of the door to the apartment opening.

"Shinji! I'm home!"

Which would be a good thing.

If it weren't for the fact that the filthy filthy smut was still on the tube.

With a shout, Shinji turned to the TV to turn it off.

"Shinji? Is something wrong?"

Sadly, in his panic he almost dropped the device, and in the fumbling lost precious seconds. When he finally got a hold of the remote, he pressed the first button he could hope it would take away the erotic imagery, but wouldn't you know it, that button was the "up volume" button.

And right as Misato entered the living room to boot.

"Shinji I asked if- Oh."

Yes. Oh. Shinji, skin pale as a cloud, remote in hand, and evidently watching a television program involving… things.

After a moment of observing the program, Katsuragi 'hmm'd, pointer finger going to her face in thought for a seconds before lighting up with recognition.

"Sayoko! Sayoko Furokawa!" she said, the snapping of her fingers emphasizing her epiphany.

"Actually, her name is Masa-mune Fujishima."

"I wondered what happened to her!"

Crossing her arms, the head of operations at NERV got a smug look on her face.

"And either she's a very late bloomer, or she's had some work done." The grin turned into a greedy smirk. "And if so it looks like Ritsuko owes me a hundred-thousand yen!"

With a celebratory 'yes, I knew it' and a fist pump, Misato took the remote from Shinji's hands and began pressing buttons, pulling up menus. Specifically, one in particular.

It was an All-Day Access, Pay-Per View movie.

Shinji glared at Sachiel, damn the consequences. In reply, the Child of Water just shrugged.

"Hey, I just pushed buttons until stuff happened."

Further 'discussion' was interrupted by Misato, speaking in what Shinji would later learn to be her "Lecture Voice."

"Shinji, I know your fourteen years old, and in your veins is pretty much nothing but hormones, but the next time you want to indulge, do me a favor and use your own charge account, all right?"

His guardian looked aside to the boy, whose nervousness had returned in full.

"Now, I'm not mad," she continued, hands up in a placating manor, "it's just that for the next six months I'm going to have to deal with junk mail."

She looked down at her watch, giving an impressed whistle. "At any rate Shinji, I'm impressed. School's only been out for about twenty minutes, and you've already got this whole thing set up. Anyway, I'm going to take a bath, and how about I show you around town for dinner, huh?"

With a smile, Misato turned around and headed towards the bathroom, not waiting for the teen's reply, said boy following her down the hallway with his eyes. That was it? No mortified screams? No lectures? No grounding?

"OH! And another thing!" came Misato's voice from around the corner. Poking her head to look at Shinji, Misato and her newly found "lecture voice" met up with her "lecture face" for one last bit of use.

"When you get a girlfriend? Don't do that position they're doing right there, okay? It's dangerous, and the only reason Sayoko there hasn't broken her neck or her spine is because she was in the gymnastics club, and even then I wouldn't be surprised if there was a paramedic or two just off screen. Deal?"

"Umm… Sure?" What else could one say in the face of such a… forward conversation?

"Good!" said his visibly pleased guardian, a million watt smile on her face. "Now remember! I want you to be safe. And if you can't be safe be careful, and if you can't be careful… Name it after me would ya?"

The lovely woman's laughter could be heard loud and clean over Shinji's sputters.

"Soooo… Is she cool with the moo-vee?"

Shinji didn't turn away from where his guardian disappeared to.

"Umm… Yeah… Yeah I guess so."

"Cool. Anyway, take a seat Shinji, I wanna ask you something."

The boy turned to the Angel. "About what?"

"About the role in breeding that the squid plays."

The young Ikari turned fully to the Angel, confusion evident on his face.

"What squid?"

"Kiko, there is something I wish to tell you, something I have never shared with any woman…"

The wet sounds of… something, came from the television, followed the surprised, yet pleased, cries from the woman.

"That squid."

The boy barely made it to the sink before losing his lunch.

"That image is still seared into my retinas."

"Okay okay! I get it! That's not normal! I promise, on my brother Matariel's life I'll never look to moo-vees ever again to learn about human breeding."

It was Tuesday, Ikari's second day of school. After the little incident last night with the Adult Film, Misato had followed her word and took Shinji, and thus Sachiel, out on the town. Unlike Most cities only ten(ish) years old-and there were a LOT of them in the wake of Second Impact and the Impact Wars-Tokyo-3 was intended to look, behave and function as a bustling metropolis, which usually took decades, if not longer, to accomplish. The feat was all the more impressive given that the city was on the smaller northern shore of Lake Ashi, which prior to everything was really nothing but a bunch of golf courses, barely much more than a couple square miles, if that.

But the effort paid off. Tokyo-3 when not in its battle configuration looked the part, with the tall office, shopping and government buildings rising above everything man-made for miles around. Exploring the city at night with Misato was interesting, the boy never really went out much, so it was a new experience.

But it would've been better had the older woman not keep ribbing him about that movie.

As the school gate, and all the other students entering it, came into sight, Shinji shook the retained images from his head and looked to the spectral Angel.

"Now, do we remember what we talked about?"

Sachiel rolled his eyes (maybe, it was hard to tell with those solid black orbs) in exasperation.

"Yeah yeah, I know already! 'Keep myself occupied, don't bug you when people are around, blah blah blah.'" the Child of Water sniffed, rubbing a finger under one eye. "It's… It's like you're… Ashamed of me! Doo-hoo-hoo!"

Shinji stopped in his walk and looked at the bobbing back of the tiny Angel, guilt clear as day written on his face.

"Hey… I'm sorry Sachiel. It's not that, it's j-"

"Nah it's cool." The suddenness of his change in apparent mood could almost snap one's neck. "I get ya completely. 'Sides, it'd get boring if you got put into a padded cell or somethin'."



"So, you're okay with this? For real?"

"Sure! What's the worst that could happen?"

The day went more or less the same as the one before: Throughout home room, math, and English, the teacher went on and on about Second Impact, its aftermath, and almost Sci-Fi Show-esque spiel about how humanity had managed to reach Pre-Impact levels of societal stability in just fifteen years (naturally ignoring the constant turmoil in places like South East Asia, the Americas from the Kingdom of Tijuana and the warring Successor States of Mexico down to the Southern Republic of Gran Colombia, and the Middle East… actually, nothing really changed there, so never mind that last one), and ignored their actual topics entirely.

He seemed like the nicest guy you could have for a teacher, but he just when on a tangent and couldn't get off it, the poor guy.

Then there was lunch, where Shinji chose to eat alone, again. That's not to say he didn't talk to anyone. A few other students walked up to him and tried to strike up conversation, but the pilot really didn't know what to do, and so just answered any questions given with as informative and brief answers as he could and prayed that they'd leave him be.

Then it was science, history and PE to finish off the day, and that was that. Well, there was that Janitor that ran down the hall screaming in the middle of fifth period, but that was probably nothing.

So finally came the last bell, and Ikari began backing his things for the day.

When the now familiar pop of Sachiel appearing out of nowhere was heard at his shoulder.

"Man! What a day! Who knew that you could clean stuff with thick gunk!"

Shinji discreetly, and begrudgingly, looked aside to the Third Angel's form, regretting already his asking the next question in a low whisper. "You didn't… Have anything to do with that janitor an hour or so ago screaming through the halls… did you?"

Saito was finally calming down. He told his supervisor about what had happened, but Mr. Kusanagi didn't believe him! The school was haunted!

The tiny Angel looked sheepish for a moment, not making eye-contact with the boy.

"I didn't… not do anything…"

Palm met face as Shinji sighed in exasperation.

"Well so long as it doesn't happen around me, I don't think I'll care too much. Anyway, let's go back to the apartment-"

"Can I have everyone's attention please?" Shinji looked with everyone else to the front of the class room at Hikari, the freckle-specked girl holding up a small collection of papers.

"Someone needs to take these print outs to Ayanami, and I'm not letting anyone out until someone volunteers! Speaking of, has anyone heard anything about Ayanami since yesterday?"

Sachiel turned to Shinji, pointing to the class rep.

"Hey! You know about Rei! Say something!"

Shinji shrunk in further into his desk. "I'd rather not Sachiel. I don't like attention."

"Ikari?" Hikari asked, clearly having heard him.

'Crap.' "Uhh… I, I know where Ayanami is."

Oh crap, now everyone was looking at him. "Really? Where is she?"

Shinji fidgeted under the collective gaze of the class, "She was in some, sort of accident. She's in the hospital, last I checked."

Murmers whisked about the room, students already theorizing about what sort of accident Ayanami could have had.

Hikari walked over to Shinji, concern evident on her face.

"Is she all right Ikari?"

Shinji scratched the back of his head, not liking all the attention.

"Well, she's alive, but she looked to be in pretty bad shape when I saw her. I'm uh… I'm filling in for her at, work."

"Hmm, well it's good to see someone is looking out for his fellow student." Suddenly their classmates found things like the floor, the ceiling, the yard outside and even the contents of their schoolbags to be quite interesting. Oddly enough, said interest developed just as Hikari looked around at the class.

With a disappointed shake of her head, Hikari place the print-outs on Shinji's desk. "Anyway, could you give these to her? I'd hate to bother her with homework while she's recovering, but either way it would be best to give these to her now, rather than a huge stack later. Maybe she could use the time in bed to catch up."

"Well, uh umm… Okay."

Hikari didn't seem to pay attention to the boy's mumbling as she walked back to her own desk.

Shinji and Sachiel looked down at the sheets of paper on his desk for a moment in silence.

"Well, looks like you've got yourself an excuse to see Rei! Aren't ya glad?"

"…Yeah. Woo hoo."

Funny, the boy didn't seem excited.

The hallways of Dogma were as interesting as ever as Shinji and Sachiel wandered through them towards the Medical center.

"Well hey there Shinji!"

Turning, the boy and Angel saw Misato walked towards them in a different hallway, coffee mug in hand.

"What are you doing here?"

Ikari pulled out the print outs to show his guardian as he answered.

"The Class Representative gave me Rei's missed homework assignments to pass on to her."

At the look on Misato's face, Shinji began to wonder if he said to much.

"Daaawwww!" She said, patting him on the head, "dat's sho shhweeeeet of you Shinji! Tryin' to put the moves on Rei already? You smooth operator you!"

"You're givin' the kid WAY to much credit lady."

With the two-pronged assault, Shinji naturally flubbed.

Misato laughed good-naturedly at the sputtering teen before her. "Oh I'm sorry Shinji, you're just too much fun to tease. Anyway, I'm afraid the girl you're looking for has already been checked out."

Shinji's blush vanished at that.


"Yeah, I was a little surprised too. From what I heard she didn't get hurt all that long ago." She shrugged. "Maybe her injuries weren't as bad as I figured. Oh well.

Hey I know! I'm pretty much done for the day, how about I drive you over to Rei's place, and you can give her her stuff there."

Shinji put the papers back into his bag.

"Umm, okay, sure."

The drive took longer than Shinji expected. And it wasn't because Misato suddenly realized that there were traffic laws either.

Evidently Ayanami's apartment block was clear across the lake, in the Pre-Impact area that was in the middle of demolition. The earthquakes of Second Impact having damaged the buildings to the point where it was cheaper to just tear them down rather than try to repair them, but not enough for them to fall on their own.

But why would Ayanami be living here? Wasn't the whole area condemned?

From the frown on her face, Misato was having similar worries to Shinji's.

"Are… are you sure this is the right place Misato?"

The woman pulled the car to the side of the road, pulling out a slip of paper with the address written on it, comparing it with what was on the GPS screen.

"Yeah, pretty sure. At least, according to Ritsuko it is."

For a moment Shinji just looked at the dilapidated state of most of the buildings, and listened to the sounds of the demolition equipment, and just considered asking Misato to just take them home. Given the look on her face, it was doubtless that she'd agree.

Then he looked at Sachiel, whose face clearly said only one thing: 'Get out of the freakin' car, and do what you came here to do.'

With a sigh, Shinji unbuckled his seatbelt and walked up the stairs.

There are times when getting closer to a place shows that it wasn't as bad as you had thought it would be.

That wasn't the case here.

Beer cans, cigarette butts, empty needles, spent bullet shells, all showed that this place really wasn't a safe place to be. Misato said that, as pilots, he and Rei were given 24/7 Section 2 Surveillance, but that didn't give him much comfort in this place.

But eventually he and Sachiel reached the door that, according to the address, was Rei's apartment.

For a while, Shinji just stood there at the door, really not wanting to knock on the door, if by some cruel twist of fate the place was in fact being used as a Yakuza hide-out. But, Sachiel motioned for action, and so Shinji rang the doorbell.

Or at least, pushed its button. The bell didn't go off.


So Ikari resorted to knocking on the door, silently praying that no unsavory characters were nearby to hear it.

For a few seconds, nothing happened. No gunshots, no screams, no sirens…

Oh yeah: And no Rei either.

But just as Shinji was about to just walk away, the shuffling of feet could be clearly heard on the other side of the door. Said door creaked open slowly and efficiently to reveal Rei Ayanami, with an arm in a cast and her right eye hidden behind a (sadly non-piratey [yar!]) eye patch…

And also clad in only an undone white button up shirt and underwear.

The bottoms, not top. Said shirt only just maintaining something resembling modesty, PG-13 though it is.

For a solid minute, Shinji gapped like a beached fish, shamelessly gawking at the curves of lovely milky boobage being advertized.

Oh if only he knew the source of said boobage. O HAI MINDBREAK!

"What is it Ikari?"

If Rei 'The Wall' Ayanami initiates a conversation, you know you've taken to long.


Tilting her head to the said, Rei pondered over what was wrong with the Third Child. The she noticed that his line of sight was not with her eye. Remembering her talks with the Commander and Dr. Akagi about the need to make eye-contact more often, Rei decided to remedy that.

…By leaning forward and putting her hands on her knees. Oddly enough, Shinji's eyes still didn't meet her eye.


Yes Shinji: Dangles.

Floating between the two teens, Sachiel looked at the teens before positing a crucial question:

"Hey Shinji? Is this how human mating starts?"

That got Shinji's attention. Burning red, Shinji sputtered a string of barely intelligible apologies, standing ram-rod straight and averting his gaze.

The two stood there like that: he looking anywhere but at her and sputtering 'I'm sorrys' like there's no tomorrow, she only looking on. Once again her curiosity proved to be stronger than her patience.

"Ikari? Why are you here?" Maybe now he would answer her.

Realizing that he wasn't going to be hurt for staring, Shinji swallowed audibly and, without looking at Rei, filed through his school bag for the print outs.

"Uh… w-well, Hikari, uh… Class Representative Horaki, gave me your, your homework print outs, a-an-and I was supposed to give them to you."

Rei looked at the pro-offered sheets for a moment before grabbing them with her uninjured hand.

"Thank you."

Rei turned around and walked back into her apartment. Had it not been for Sachiel's non-verbal urging, Shinji would've just let her go.


Rei turned back to Shinji, a(n in)convenient wind giving the boy a generous look at more pale flesh.

Shaking his head to get the image out of his mind, the boy spoke.

"uh… Well, you see… It's uh… Well, you… you always seem… alone Rei. Are you… okay? I mean, your building seems a little… run down."

The girl's reply was of her typical cold and clinical caliber of observation.

"I am fine with it. I am used to being alone. Good-bye."

And with that she closed the door.

"…Well. I think that went pretty good."

Future site of Tokyo-3, approximately four miles down, 2002

There were no lights. They were unneeded, because they were superfluous to the purpose. All that was required of her was to produce Life Blood, and generate the lifespark. The Micro-Dirac Portals channeled the fluid to the sea, and once microbes functioned on their own she was done. In fact, the field that helped to jumpstart Lights of the Soul was extinguished millions of years before the first Sea Scorpions walked onto the land.

But still she produced the Life Blood, and so she would remain until either the star swallowed the planet, or the atoms surrounding the Black Moon decayed enough to justify retrieval, where the process would start again on some other orb.

It did not make it any less lonely.



She was a being of massive scale, standing at a height of two-hundred and fifty feet, she was immobilized via a large metal cross. This was a difference from her counterpart the Life Fruit, who, if the rumors she heard long ago from her sisters were true, was allowed movement in his version of spawning life.

Suddenly, the head the size of a small house tilted, as though in thought.

WHAT IS HE LIKE, THE WHITE PROGENITOR? she wondered, not for the first time in her long, long existence in solitude. I WISH I COULD HAVE MET ONE. JUST ONCE. BUT IT IS FORBIDDON FOR US TO MEET.




The Black Progenitor's thoughts were interrupted by a soft sound. This was unusual in that it was the first sound she heard other than her own movements, heartbeat, and falling liquid in over four-billion years. It was a low, rumbling sound.

And it was getting louder.

Then without warning, part of the wall in front of her, at a forty-degree angle, gave way, revealing the broad, circular surface of a bore-type drill, some fifty-feet across, a relatively bright light pierced the darkness, nearly blinding the eyes of the biomachine.

The stabbing pain was dulled by the Progenitor's wonder at the sight before her. She leaned forward on her mount to try to get a better look at the machine.



"We've found it Doctor Ikari." came a voice over a radio in the machine, "I repeat, we've found Lilith."


"Very good, now fire the Synthetic Lance, let's see if we've gotten the elemental properties down."

"Roger that, firing Lance."


With no other warning, a large explosion resounded in what was soon to be Terminal Dogma as, from the center of the drill, a synthesized Lance, essentially an over-sized spike and nowhere near as sophisticated as what would come down the line, sailed across the space and into the Black Progenitor's chest.

A roar that was felt more than heard shook the Black Moon, the seven eyes blinked in rapid succession as she twitched on the cross. Confusion rattled her brain, and emotional hurt stabbed her heart more painfully than the lance. Then her head settled to one side, and everything went dark again.

Years later, she would see light again. But this time there would be no solid memory of millions of years in solitude, and her first memory of waking up in the warm and comforting arms of one of the kind scientists of the First Ancestral Race, would be cruelly replaced by being in a cold tank, looking into the face of a man wearing glasses…

No. This is not a Shinji/Rei story.

Anyway, sorry for the delay folks. The Rei-Shinji scenes were so freakin' hard to write man! And how to bridge between the hospital scene to Rei's homecoming was a nightmare I'm telling you. I'm better at brainstorming AU ideas, not developing them! Plus: School. That comes first.

Anyway, originally the bookends were scenes of Yui meeting Gendo, but given some of the facts brought to light in them, my Betas suggested saving them for future chapters. So instead you get Yui and Gendo initiating Phone Sex at work!

You are now seeing Gendo pulling an EoE-Shinji in his office.

You're welcome.

]run troll-face,jpg

ALSO! My Enemy, My Friend now has a TVTropes page! Check it out, fill it out, and give the Crowning Moments of Funny, Heartwarming and Awesome some love!

I'd do it, but that's just poor taste don't you think?