Disclaimer: If I owned Evangelion, then why on Earth would I write fanfiction about it?

This story was partially inspired by Prototype and the Devil May Cryseries. And, thinking back on it, a little of Highlander, too.

Pairing: Shinji/Mana.

Rating: M, and for good reason.

Pain, rage, hunger, power, madness.

After the fifth attempt, Shinji gave up on using the phone, as they clearly weren't functioning properly. The young Ikari considered taking out the postcard he'd been sent from the person supposed to be picking him up, but decided against it. Considering how massive the city of Tokyo-3 appeared to be, the fact that he was the only soul around disconcerted him to no end. And while the woman on the card was indeed nice to look at, Shinji didn't need to be distracted.

While he preferred the quiet, he knew that something was simply wrong with his current state of isolation. Somehow, Shinji got the feeling that he was being observed, that there was a malevolent presence about.

Shinji was afraid of a couple of things, but more than anything else, he was afraid of death. And this entire situation practically screamed to his mind that he was in mortal peril.

And at that instant, the explosions began.

Missiles flying everywhere, debris falling all about him, Shinji's first instinct was to hit the ground as if it were an earthquake, but he managed to quell that plan a second later. He had to keep moving, had to stay alive no matter what, had to figure out why his father had summoned him so suddenly.

And then, he saw it, and instinctively began backing away as slowly as he could.

The creature was a massive abomination against everything in the natural world that Shinji was aware of. A goliath well that had to be at least a hundred stories tall, the monster had a beaked face like the skull of some sort of bird, skull-like 'pauldrons' on its shoulders, and a luminescent sphere on its chest, glowing like neon blood. And somehow, Shinji just instinctively knew that this, this, this thing was observing him in return.

I'm not gonna die, I'm not gonna die, I'm not gonna die, I'm not gonna die…

A blue sports car screeched to a halt next to him, which instantly derailed Shinji's train of thought. The feminine driver leaned across the seat, threw the passenger door open, and shouted, "Hop in, Shinji!"

Immediately recognizing a potential escape route, Shinji obeyed the stranger on instinct and leapt into the passenger seat, buckled in the instant he could right himself, and shouted, "Slam it!"

Given the choice between certain death if he'd stuck around, versus the potential of death by leaving with this woman he didn't know, Shinji took the action that improved his chances of staying alive, however slightly.

The woman complied with Shinji's advice all too readily, accelerating from a dead stop to nearly twice the speed limit within twenty seconds.

After the adrenaline in his system got down to a manageable level, Shinji asked, "Just how on Earth do you know my name, anyway? Are you some kind of stalker or somethi - oh, wait, you're the person on the postcard. Nevermind."

Looking outraged at the accusation that she was a stalker, the 'postcard woman' shouted, "Now wait just a minute, punk! For one thing, my name is Misato Katsuragi! And for another – JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM, SOME KIND OF SHOTACON?"

Judging by the look on her face, Shinji was in for a lesson on feminine rage if he didn't appease her quickly.

"I-I didn't say that at all, Ms. Katsuragi! It's just that, well, if a stranger pulls up right next to you on the street, calls you by your first name and tells you to get in the car, what's the first thing that would cross your mind?"

Huffing, Misato pulled her eyes back to the road and said, "I sent you a postcard with my picture on it, even drew an arrow pointing to my most recognizable feature!"

Not knowing how to reply to that, Shinji sunk into his seat and muttered an apology, before he heard the buxom driver start cackling. As he looked at her in confusion, he found that Misato had one hand on the wheel, the other holding her gut from laughing so hard. "Sorry for messing with you like that, Shinji-kun, but the look on your face was just so damned pricele – GET DOWN!"

With this command, Misato slammed on the brakes and tried to cover Shinji as the JSSDF's N2 mine detonated against the alien monstrosity, the massive blast sending the car flipping forward end-over-end for over a hundred yards. If not for Misato and the seat belt, the gravitational forces playing hell with him might well have torn him apart. Fortunately, however, when the car finally came to a stop, it miraculously landed on all four wheels.

Misato asked her charge, "Shinji, you okay?"

When Misato didn't get a response, she was terrified. "Shinji? SHINJI!"

However, as the young teenager began to stir, the Captain realized that the explosion had knocked briefly knocked him unconscious. Once Shinji was fully aware, and Misato had calmed down sufficiently, she resumed traveling to NERV while explaining the situation.

Misery begets misery.

As the pair arrived at the Geofront and Misato parked her beaten-up car, Shinji asked, "Correct me if I'm wrong – and I dearly hope that I'm wrong – but that psychopathic monster out there laying waste to the city is what you call an Angel, my father is your boss and the head of some kind of clandestine paramilitary organization that's trying to stop it, and for some inexplicable reason, you guys need MY help. For some reason, this sounds like an over-used manga plot."

Smirking a bit, Misato replied, "Nope. You're dead on the money, Shinji. You should feel lucky – you're going to help save the world!"

Sighing, Shinji remarked, "Damnit… I knew I should've stayed in bed today."

Captain Katsuragi lightly smacked him, saying, "You're a boy, so suck it up!"

Shortly after that, the duo got to an elevator and encountered a blonde woman with reading glasses, poring over some data as she headed in the same direction.

"Misato, you're late… again."

Scratching the back of her head, Misato good-naturedly replied, "Quit your bitching, Rits. The JSSDF nearly blew us up with the damned N2 mine, so cut me some slack."

Shrugging, the scientist introduced herself, glancing at Shinji for all of three seconds before turning back to her data. "I'm Ritsuko Akagi. Head of Project E at NERV, and one of your father's top scientists. And it's about damn time you got here."

Misato, mildly indignant, shouted, "Hey, that's not fair, Rits! You don't even know the kid and you're already judging him? Not everyone can keep up with Commander Ikari's impossibly high standards, you know!"

Shinji, not wanting an argument to start, sighed as he asked, "Could someone at least give me the truth about why I'm here?"

Ritsuko instantly paused mid-step and silently gazed at the Third Child for a full ten seconds, seeming to pierce his very soul.

Licking her dry lips a bit, the blonde asked, "The truth, eh? Heh. Fine then. I'll tell you the truth. As Misato should've told you already, a group of extraterrestrial entities known as the Angels are attacking. And in order to fight them, we created a weapon – a synthetic life-form which we call the Evangelion. But, just like any weapon, it requires a pilot. And for that, we have you. And before you ask, let me paraphrase that: You are here to pilot a death machine to annihilate the enemies that are trying to destroy our species. There is no reason more. And to be perfectly truthful, I'm not even convinced that you're good enough for the job. But your father insisted, for some insane reason, and so here you are. Now move it, shrimp."

Having gotten her monologue out of the way, Ritsuko led Shinji to his fate without even a choice in the matter; Misato stunned and spluttering at the unexpected cruelty she'd just witnessed from her best friend.

In the name of the greater good…

Shinji nearly had a nervous breakdown once he saw the Eva, and asked, "This is why I'm here? You want me to fight a monster by using another monster?"

Tonelessly, Ritsuko answered, "Nobody wants you to pilot the Eva, Shinji. Everybody DEMANDS that you do it. The Evangelion is the only reason we summoned you. Unless you get in the Eva and fight the Angel, you have no purpose. You have two very simple choices, Shinji: Either get in the Eva and fight, or refuse, and just die with everyone else."

With that ultimatum, Shinji felt as if he'd been punched in the face, and fell to his knees, shaking. However, just as Ritsuko was about to abandon him, he muttered, "Fine. I'll pilot the Eva. Tell me what I have to do."

Of course, the prospect of fighting the abomination he'd seen earlier scared the daylights out of him, but death was the one thing that Shinji feared above all else. He wasn't ready to die. Not yet. He saw only one chance to survive. And took it.

Meanwhile, in a distant part of NERV, Gendo Ikari observed Ritsuko tormenting his son and felt no emotion at all. Once Shinji agreed to pilot, the Commander sent an order to the Eva cages.

"Prepare Unit-01 for combat."

any sin can be excused.

In the five minutes since Shinji agreed to fight, Ritsuko had rapidly forced him into a plugsuit, given him a pair of A10 hairclips to boost the Sync Ratio just in case it actually worked, and then locked him in the entry plug without any expression of sympathy or goodwill.

As the entry plug filled with orange liquid, Doctor Akagi appeared on a screen and said, "Shinji, the fluid currently flooding the plug is called LCL, and it's hyperoxygenated, so you won't have to worry about drowning."

Over the next couple of minutes, the Evangelion was activated and unrestrained, before Misato gave the order to launch.

Once the humanoid death machine surfaced, Sachiel paused for a moment to observe the Eva… before immediately charging at it like an enraged bull.

Shinji, not having enough time to try and get used to the controls, instinctively leapt out of the way, inadvertently crushing a couple of buildings in the process.

It's generally accepted that one must learn to crawl before one is capable of walking.

Poor Shinji had to skip straight to running. Quickly getting back to his feet, the Eva Pilot observed Sachiel closing in once more, but this time, wasn't fast enough to dodge.

Sachiel effortlessly dislocated the Eva's right arm, before grabbing it by the head and smashing it into the ground again and again and again.

Shinji brought his good arm up and gripped the Angel's arm, desperately trying to break it, but was unsuccessful as Sachiel rapidly speared him in the face not once, not twice, but three times before throwing the purple giant off to the side.

However, just as everyone at NERV prepared to dismiss Shinji as dead and useless, the sync ratio jumped to 97 percent, and they heard murmuring over the comm.

Hope is a lie.

'I'm not gonna die, I'm not gonna die, I'm not gonna die, I'm not gonna die…'

Driven half-mad by pain, Shinji shoved his right arm back into its socket, clenched his teeth, and forced Unit-01 back to its feet.

As he began to hyperventilate, Shinji opened his eyes and screamed, gripped in a fear that produced in him even more power than if he were enraged.


FEAR is power.

As Shinji's fear gave him strength, the Eva's eyes shone like miniature blue suns, and Unit-01 charged at the Angel, destroying three blocks of city in the process, drawing back its fist as if to punch…

What happened next would haunt those who saw it in their nightmares for months, as Shinji gored Sachiel's eyes with his fingers, causing the Angel to let loose with a psychic scream of pain and fear. Then, before it could react any further than this, Shinji then spun around on his heel, and then swung the Angel over his head like a sledgehammer, in a maneuver that, on anything with a more humanoid anatomy, would have torn the skull open and flung its brain across the damned city.

As the Third Angel was thrown across Tokyo-3, Eva Unit-01 – still fueled by the fear-maddened pilot within – lunged, and drove it to the ground, and began to pummel the life out of the eldritch abomination, savagely punching its still-healing 'face', before tearing its arms off.

It was well that that section of the city had been long evacuated, because any lingering souls would have drowned in a tide of sapphire blood.

Soon, however, the battle-madness proved too great a strain on Shinji's mind, and he passed out. Unfortunately, the Evangelion had long since gone berserk itself; the NERV technicians simply hadn't been able to realize it because it had still been synchronized with the pilot.

Then, the Eva seemed to get an idea, and if Ritsuko hadn't known any better, she'd have thought it were grinning as the Unit-01 grasped the Angel's core with both hands and began to pull, quickly severing it from the alien flesh by using its A.T. field.

Tearing its own mouth open, Evangelion Unit-01 roared in triumph as it then brought the core to head level and took a massive bite out of it.


As the NERV bridge staff watched with increasing horror, Unit-01 continued to consume the crystallized soul until it was gone.

Silence reigned throughout the city for ten seconds…

And then the silence was instantly crushed in a roar of pain as Unit-01 reeled back, clutching its head, made all the worse because Shinji had just regained consciousness within.

Suddenly, a bolt of white lightning burst out from within the Eva and struck a nearby building, which caused an explosion that, although certainly flashy, was thankfully not too damaging.

However, more and more power began erupting from the Evangelion in this way as it continued to spasm as though having a seizure.

Ritsuko's awe was momentarily burst as Lt. Maya Ibuki shouted, "Doctor, look at these readings! It's almost as if… as if the Eva were somehow mutating!"

And indeed it was, and the changes were visible. What had once been a light purple became a few shades darker. As Shinji screamed with a new agony, the Eva seemed to increase in mass, which should have been physically impossible. The greatest change by far, however, was that the lower arms now had bracer-like armor on them, much thicker than anywhere else upon the machine. Somewhat perplexing was the presence of a hole in each bracer, near the back of the wrist, which seemed not unlike a gun barrel.

Makoto Hyuga, suddenly remembering that he was supposed to have been monitoring the pilot's vital signs and conditions inside the entry plug, shouted, "The entry plug's been electrified! Pilot Ikari's going into shock!"

Then, with one last defiant scream from both Unit-01 and the human within, sky-blue energy erupted from the indentations in the bracers, speared an impressive hole in the apartment buildings on either side of the Eva, and the massive death machine collapsed.

Well, there you have it. Read and review. I'll get back to working on one of my already published fics later in the evening.