& another birthday giftfic, this one for Gabriela, also known as irisreceptor of tumblr, who requested one of the generation 'swap verses I've rambled about on tumblr (I'm Laryna6 there too). Happy (belated) birthday!
I call this one the Genswap verse, since it's Gendo and Shinji who are getting generation-swapped, although I also decided to swap Yui with a younger, gender-flipped Lorenz Keel.
Messian Order vs. Cult of Gaia is a Shin Megami Tensei reference.
It's interesting that Shinji responds to Kaworu so quickly in the anime. It could 'just' be due to reboots, that he recognizes him that way, but I also find myself wondering about the FAR, since Adam was made back then, and also souls were loaded into Lilith. You don't need reboots to justify a past-life romance there.
"Dr. Katsuragi?" he heard behind him.
'Run along, Misato,' he would have said if she hadn't taken advantage of his momentary distraction to slip loose. Well, she had on her parka and given how often she complained about the cold, she wasn't likely to wander out into a blizzard. "Ah, Dr. Rokubungi," he said, turning around to see one of the young biologists.
One of SEELE's, brought here by the young woman they had down here managing things for them. A daughter of one of their high-ranking members.
He tried to think of what he might be in trouble for now: Dr. Rokubungi went to grad school with the woman who had taken over his expedition. The one who had 'encouraged' him to bring Misato down here.
Dark, piercing blue eyes met his, though tinted glasses. Glasses like that were practical in Antarctica where the light reflected off the snow could blind you, but the father in him was sure they were a shield raised against the world, just like the music player Dr. Rokubungi always had in his ears when he was working, despite Dr. Keel's complaints that it made it harder for him to hear her when she wanted to call instructions to him from across the room. "Do you mind if we talk in my office?"
"Why your office?" Dr. Katsuragi asked after sitting down and accepting a mug of coffee.
"Because yours is bugged."
He almost fumbled the coffee: they both knew it was true, but to say it…
"You really care about that girl, don't you?"
Ah. So this was another threat. "Yes, Dr…"
"Call me Shinji." The young man looked at him over the top of his glasses. "Misato's fighting you every step of the way, and you're still trying to be a father to her. You're going along with all of this because they threatened her, aren't you? Killing two, three billion people."
"Don't talk as though you aren't part of this," he responded, stung. "Don't you think they might be telling the truth, that if we don't do something, this thing will wake up, and with the power of an S2 engine like that…"
"It might," the biologist said. "It might wipe us out. You don't know. We do know that if your calculations are correct, performing the experiment would kill about half of us." Hopefully less. Maybe more, as crops failed and economies collapsed. "We have no reason to think that it's hostile, nothing except Lorena Keel's say-so, and I just found out where SEELE's getting their information. Prophecies. 'Secret dead sea scrolls.' We're going to perform the greatest act of genocide in history on the say-so of a doomsday cult that thinks they can make your discovery fit some passage in some non-canon version of the Book of Revelation?" It wasn't an exclamation. Anger, and not-quite-disbelief, the weary and still outraged cynicism of someone who had long grown used to the fact that people were just that stupid, the world was just that ridiculous.
"Well, what else can we do?"
"We could try talking to it."
"Let me rephrase that," Dr. Katsuragi said, giving the young man a 'do you think that didn't occur to me?' look. It was downright insulting, and if this young punk was underestimating him so badly, did he really think he had a prayer of preventing SEELE from doing what they damn well pleased? "What else can we do when they have the guns?"
The young man smiled.
Contact experiment, that was what her papers called it. They'd intended to use it on lobotomized body parts, so a human could possess a 'god,' but something more promising was suppoded to happen when a pilot went into one of those things, with a mind already in there.
Mental contact. Maybe contamination. And here he wanted to try it with an alien intelligence in there.
Dr. Katsuragi was right: he had no idea why he thought this might be safe, forget why it would work as a way of establishing communication. Even with the lance still in there. He had no idea why he'd wanted to smile the first time he stood in the presence of this giant white humanoid thing. Why he was so convinced that it was a person.
Lorena said that its children were going to try to return to it. That they had to detonate it themselves before one of its children came and found it. Triggering the end of the world.
It probably wasn't normal that he wanted to touch an alien organism that, even leaving the stupid prophecies out of it, had enough power to end the world with that S2 engine it had. It certainly wasn't normal that since he'd come here, his dreams were full of music.
Shinji knew he felt a connection to this being.
His mother left him behind when she remarried. She didn't even love the man: she just wanted to be married again. It was too much trouble to find someone willing to put up with a little boy who was too smart for his own good. Shinji couldn't blame his birth father for not contacting him, not after he finally managed to get away from her.
Could he be one of those mythical children, drawn back to his source? (Was that why neither of his birth parents cared for him, the way Dr. Katsuragi did for Misato, enough to burn half the world for her sake?) Still dreaming, still unaware of what he was? Instead of saving half the world, he might be damning all of it. He'd hesitated. Until Lorena started talking, just hypothetically, about Instrumentality. Complementation. It was absolutely disgusting. Everyone's minds tangled up with his? Unable to get away from them?
If the world was going to end, then he'd end it on his own terms. If the world was going to be saved, then he wouldn't let it be at the expense of someone who made such beautiful music.
He didn't know what he expected, when he made it past the guards (with the help of a distraction) to touch a bare hand to that flesh. Not for it to give way before his touch, and an almost giddy urgency gripped him. If he went in, then he could be out of sight before the guard passed by again!
It wasn't until he was inside, until a moment passed and he found himself wondering what now (and also why he could breathe in here) that he found himself surrounded. Adrift in a red-orange sea, that music echoing in his mind.
A figure, rising up out of that sea of blood, with eyes the same color. Not oxidized blood, but fresh, living blood. Those eyes were still half-lidded: awakening, but unable to fully awaken. (So they were right about what the lance did, the scientist in him noted.)
He couldn't move, but that didn't matter, when all he wanted was to reach out to that figure. To have that numinous being come to him, put his hands on either side of Shinji's head and press their foreheads together until that song (so beautiful) burned so gloriously in all the neurons in his mind, and if this was how he was going to die, he could only laugh with delight.
You are not an existence that should die, he heard, he knew, he finally believed, after a lifetime unwanted (until Lorena Keel, but she wanted a genius she could use). Someone who could say I love you and mean it.
I know you, and for a moment panic echoed, because this world was the world where Shinji lived, even if he'd never cared for it until now. Now, when it was the world where he'd met… His other half? Trite, but he did feel like he'd missed this person forever. Like he'd known this person forever, and what if he was Adam's spawn? What if they'd destroyed the world and each other?
Reaching back, to the unimaginably distant past, dim memories (eroded by the S2 engine, that was one of its functions), far past the moment of its arrival on this world, the moment in which its children were conceived of. Shinji was none of them, and yet there were echoes…
I may have been born to meet you. Which one of them thought it? It must have been Shinji, because the other was made for a great purpose, and Shinji could think of no greater purpose in his life than meeting this person. Than sharing this bond.
Than saving his beloved from what SEELE planned.
The lance bound Adam in slumber, unable to free himself. It didn't bind a consciousness that was never supposed to be in that body. It didn't react when that consciousness seized control of an arm. Or when he seized the lance.
Stubby arms reached up, wanting the circling thing with all the colors.
It was so frustrating.
He was reaching out as far as he could, trying to attain the goal, but he couldn't even tell how far away it was. Unpracticed eyes couldn't quite judge the distance. Stubby arms ended with little pink blobs instead of lengthening, turning into coils that would reach as far as he wanted, catch the moving thing and yank it down so he could taste it.
That wasn't right. His body wasn't responding the way it should, and when he screamed it was with a combination of frustration and fear.
White-clad arms swiftly scooped him up, and he calmed when he felt the warmth of that familiar soul. He was with his Source. Everything would be fixed now, alright now. When his Source was there, he wasn't alone and scared.
He giggled now (gurgled, but it was an attempt at a giggle, and his Source answered with a playful hum) as he was rocked, pushing at his arms again, wanting to wrap around his source and cling. The pink stubby bits couldn't even grab the white sticking-up part around his Source's neck. They weren't any good at all.
Except that straining was met with a gentle no. His Source's mind pushed against his, when he tried to push his will into his body, tried to make it change and work right. No.
He didn't understand words yet, but if he could, the concerned sound would have resolved itself into, "What's wrong?"
"He's frustrated that he's stuck in this form," his Source said with a sigh as more flesh, the vessel of a different soul, touched the tip of Gendo's nose with a fingertip.
"And why can't we just let him play?" the other soul asked, ticking Gendo under the chin now.
"All Lilim need to learn how to make their bodies obey them. If he can just reshape his…"
"Then it'll be a crutch?" That hand rubbed sparse, thin hair. "You learned to walk fast enough."
"I had a good teacher." Kaworu leaned against Shinji a little, the baby held carefully between them.
"So why can't he crib from my nervous system too, then?"
"Because you're not child-sized anymore…" At Shinji's look, Kaworu admitted the truth was that, "After how the Lilim reacted to me changing my form in order to bear him like a Lilim…"
"I told you that you should have just made him," Shinji said. "Even if pregnancy is important to neural development, and even though you weren't in pain…"
Kaworu didn't want to have that argument again: they both knew this was best for Gendo's Lilim brain. Shinji was just concerned about Kaworu. He didn't hold with Kaworu trying to fit in too much. It wasn't like he could hide what he was at this point, the Lilim all knew, thanks to Shinji exposing SEELE's plans. Secrecy would just make them view him with more suspicion, make them think he had something to keep secret.
Perhaps he shouldn't have had this child, but… Shinji's child… He'd wanted it so much, and Shinji wanted a child, to right by him as his parents hadn't, but Gendo was the one who would have to live with their decision.
"They'll make tentacle jokes even if no one sees anything," Shinji told him now, sensing the direction of Kaworu's thoughts. "You're overestimating us if you think they won't."
Red eyes wouldn't quite meet Shinji's, instead looking down at the child's. He'd managed to give the child Shinji's hair (even if the thin strands were pale for now) but those red eyes, when Lilim considered red eyes a sign of demons?
Gendo wiped the blood away from his lip, grinning: the cut was already gone. They'd punched him first, so now Dad would understand, even though Father would be upset that he'd gotten in a fight at all. Again.
Saying things like that about Father, in whispers that Yui, sitting next to him, hadn't heard (otherwise the class rep would have scolded them for it), that they had to know he could hear? They might as well have been screaming for it.
It was easy to make them say it loud enough the whole class could hear them. Easy to make the 'exchange student' throw the first punch.
"Wait, Gendo!" Yui said. "I know what they said, but, but," she knew 'but you'll get in trouble' wouldn't work on him. "But you'll miss practice!" she finished, as Gendo ducked under another swing.
At least he could sense everything about this body, even if he couldn't change it. If he could, he could have pinned all of them to the ceiling, left the bone spars sticking out of them, but Father had locked his body in this shape, so he couldn't adapt like that.
He didn't need to, not when he'd been trained to fight the other angels, subdue them long enough that his Father could calm them down. They had to be weakened first, enough they wouldn't try to grab Father and use him.
Sure, this body was a lot smaller than an Eva, but tactics were tactics, and these guys were amateurs, even if this was a set-up. Otherwise, people like this wouldn't pick a fight with him unless they were drinking. So he could rough them up a bit, but he couldn't hurt them.
Not when some people thought that 'angels and humans couldn't live together.' Were trying to claim that SEELE had the right idea, and his Father should have had those horrible things done to him. That all of Gendo's brothers and sisters needed to be killed, not subdued, or else they'd wipe out the human race.
Bastards. His father would never do anything like that.
Going for the groin was a stupid move for those with merely human reflexes. But it left them winded, unable to fight without permanent damage, and it was really, really satisfying.
The head of the security detail nodded an all-clear after the last of the customers were hurried out of the ice cream shop. Gendo was too old to take his dad's hand now, let him lead him to the round, red leather stool, but he wasn't too old for an ice cream shake.
His dad didn't say much besides giving Gendo a pat on the back, but he didn't need to say it. He'd nodded when the Principal told him about the fight, made all the right kinds of sounds. And now they were having ice cream.
It was really hard to walk Yui home from school.
First, he'd had to convince his father to let him walk home from school on his own, instead of letting the security guards pick him up and drive him to NERV after music club got out, so he could stay in his father's office in the medical wing and do his homework while his father healed people until his Dad got out of meetings and they could go home.
It wasn't that he didn't want to spend time with his father there, coming back between patients to lean over and ask about his homework, answering questions and ruffling his hair. It was just that he was getting a little old for that.
His father wasn't that happy about it, not given Gendo's tendency to get into fights. He had to appeal to the fact that it was what normal people did, since his father wanted Gendo to be able to live like an ordinary Lilim even though he wasn't.
If only his father would let him use his powers so he could fly, he thought, scuffing his shoe a little on the ground as he waited for the light to change. Yui would really like that.
Then he had to learn about the train schedules, first so he could get himself home without taking too long or overhearing people saying things about his father. It wasn't as though they could actually hurt him, but his father didn't like him fighting.
Even when they said that SEELE was right, that father was an enemy of all life on this world even though he didn't want to hurt anyone and even Lilith said Adam wasn't her enemy and the prophecies were bullshit. Those damn old men had wanted to do horrible things to his father and they would have let billions of people die: how could anyone…
Gendo took a deep breath. He couldn't get too angry or else his eyes could glow. It wasn't as though Yui didn't know what he was (his father's child, an angel, the Antichrist if you listened to the Order of Messiah, which everyone knew was just a front for SEELE), but she'd said yes when he asked if he could walk her home.
Even though they didn't live anywhere near each other. Yui Ikari might be a pilot candidate, but her family didn't really have money, while Gendo's Dad was the head of NERV and his father was, well.
They might not have a huge mansion that was really a temple, like the one Aunt Rei's worshippers had insisted on building for Mother Earth, the goddess Gaia, the source of all life on this world (except for him, his father and the other angels), but their house was really big, he'd realized after the first time he got to take Yui to hers.
This time, she was letting him carry her cello.
He was sure it would have felt light as a feather even if he wasn't stronger than most people. They weren't dating or anything yet, but Yui didn't want to trouble people, so that meant she was letting him carry this because she knew he wanted to, and maybe he could try to ask her if she wanted to come back to his place to study or practice music tomorrow. There'd be snacks and everything, and she could probably meet his father even if Dad usually had to work late. That might be a good thing: Dad could be pretty intimidating, but he was sure that Yui would like Father once she met him. They were both really kind.
Most people were selfish: Gendo knew he was, and Dad was pretty selfish too. He hadn't thought there was anyone as nice as Father until he met Yui and…
Oh, for Lilith's sake, he thought, as he noticed people reaching under their coats, what seemed like a disorganized street full of people glancing at each other, starting to form up. Not now.
Gendo pushed Yui's cello at her as the Messian preacher raised the seven-eyed mask and declared "Spawn of the-!" before his head hit the curb.
When the cops arrives, they bundled Gendo and Yui into a car. "It's alright, Gendo," Yui said. "They were going to attack us, and," you were just trying to protect me, her eyes said, and Gendo felt a little bad. He'd wanted to impress Yui, but he hadn't thought that she might be in danger. It wasn't as though he'd let any of them near her, but it was his father that he was thinking about.
The doors of the van opened, and Yui blinked, pausing before stepping out, to find they were in front of an ice cream parlor. Gendo was already ahead of her, so she hurried to catch up.
The place was cleared out, except for a single man in a booth.
The Commander of NERV.
Yui ducked her head nervously. She didn't look that much like her father, the member of SEELE who went on the Katsuragi expedition, but if this man recognized her? She'd made it into his son's class, she'd survived the background checks that must have happened when Gendo Rokubungi, son of Adam and Lilim, a son of god in human form, started to develop his crush on her.
Had her luck run out?
Once he was sitting down, Gendo blinked at her, and scooted a little further into the booth to make room. "Dad, this is Yui. Yui Ikari."
"It's nice to finally meet you, Yui," said Shinji Rokubungi, looking at her over steepled hands, over the tops of the small tinted lenses he'd started wearing in Antarctica, to protect his eyes from the glare of the snow. She didn't know exactly what displays were built into them (NERV had access to the technology hidden in the geofronts, the treasure troves SEELE had intended to raid and keep for themselves).
Yui hoped she was doing a good imitation of cutely shy and overwhelmed.
"I've heard… Well, Kaworu has heard a lot about you," Shinji said with a glance at Gendo.
"You were going to find out anyway," Gendo muttered rebelliously as gongs rang out from the Temple of Gaia.
The Goddess was returning to her holy city.
"Does the noise bother your ears?" Yui asked, getting into the booth to hover over him when the noise died down.
"He always gets like that when Aunt Rei comes to visit. Were you there when she dropped him off at school and pinched his cheeks?" Shinji wondered.
The boy (the angel) shuddered. He might be immune to physical attack thanks to his AT field, but no young man was immune to embarrassment.
"Eat up," Shinji told him. "I ordered your favorite, and you're going to need your strength."
Yui wondered why she was surprised that the Black Seed, the usurper who took this world from Adam, bringing forth children who were cursed, sentenced to solitary confinement inside their own souls until death took them, found them so quickly. A soul like Gendo's must stand out like a beacon, even if the NERV security around this place hadn't given it away.
"Oh? Did Gendo get in a fight again?" She asked, closing the door firmly behind her so her adoring worshippers couldn't follow her in. "You always buy him ice cream when he defends Kaworu's honor."
"Well, it was the 'Messian Order' again," Shinji told her, almost with air quotes. Everyone knew SEELE had their hands in that group, even though all the members of SEELE still uncaptured were in hiding. "So I'm sure they would have repeated the old lies if he hadn't shut them up first." That Adam was their enemy, that Adam intended to destroy the Lilim, that Kaworu's kindness was just a false front. That trying to set off an explosion that would have murdered two, three billion people was perfectly justified.
Gendo suffered through the hug, every stern line of his body declaring that he was too old for hugs, and way too old for cheek-pinching, of all things. "Oh, don't sulk," Rei told him. "It's not very becoming, is it?" He didn't want to embarrass himself in front of Yui, now did he?
They took Rei's limo back to the Rokubungi manor, as Rei chatted with the former biologist about the reconstructive work she was doing on coral reefs somewhere. Gendo stayed well away from her, so Yui sat near him on the padded seats across from the Black Goddess and the traitor who freed Adam.
Adam's chosen, the most blessed among the Lilim. The beloved of a god, and yet he wanted to deny that bliss to everyone else. Deprive them of complementation and instrumentality.
Keep all that power for himself!
Rei had a photo album spread out on her lap long before Ada-before Kaworu returned from the hospital.
Gendo's pictures really were adorable, but what fascinated her about Gendo were those red eyes. The sign of his heritage, of his sealed power.
The red eyes he shared with the Black Goddess, and the White God that gave him life. The being of the gentle smile she saw in so many of these photographs (they must have been taken by Shinji, most of them, the way they focused on his love as well as their child).
Interesting how Gendo was so subdued around the Black Goddess, when he was forceful in class and with the other students. Some innate hostility? When his kind and hers were not meant to dwell on the same world. And yet their combination offered the potential of godhood.
Gendo already possessed the power she craved, and that made it easier to be fascinated by him.
Then she saw the source of those eyes.
He only had eyes for Shinji.
She looked at them out of the corner of her eye as they embraced, and noticed Gendo doing the same. Rei watched openly, with a smile: why was she so happy for her natural enemy? Just happy that Adam was content, contained, his heart captured by this Lilim instead of trying to reclaim the world that should have been his?
Shinji really had bewitched him. How?
But if a young punk of a scientist could snare a god, then she could snare an angel.
"You got into another fight?" Adam asked when Shinji released him.
"I didn't get into it, they started it," Gendo said, folding his arms and hiding behind annoyance as his Father touched his shoulder gently, concerned and sad. Why had the Lilim attacked his child? Because it was the nature of the Lilim to be cruel to anything different, she could have told him. Why had his child hurt them, even in self-defense? Because his child's blood was mingled with that of the Lilim.
So much worry on Adam's face as he sat down next to this child, before he finally turned to smile at her. "So you're the young lady from the music club? I'm sorry you were caught up in this."
She shook her head. "He was just walking me home: he really didn't do anything. Those people just attacked us."
The commander of NERV in his dark uniform, the hunter of those trying to improve the human race, leaning back in his chair, the barrier between themselves and the world all Lilim erected. The god made flesh in his white coat, the garb of a healer, leaning forward, reaching out. How had her mother let them anywhere near each other? Hadn't she felt the connection, the resonance between them, despite their complete opposition to what the other embodied? Or was it just destiny?
Kaworu embracing Gendo, whose stiff body language proclaimed that he was Too Old For Hugs (but it was clear he didn't really mind) while Shinji watched, a benevolent (unless you were his enemy) shadow.
Thank goodness it wasn't her job to create trouble in that paradise.
Her goal was the child of that union between god and man.
The King of the Lilim.
Once again, I went way over the wordcount budget. They're going to try to capture the angels instead of killing them in this 'verse, since they're Kaworu's babies. Gendo's going to be jealous when that happens, like a kid getting a whole bunch of younger siblings at once. There's a lot more worldbuilding/angel hybrid psych that came up in the speculation in this 'verse, but I didn't want to retell all of Eva here.
Shinji rewarding Gendo for getting into fights is a less messed-up reflection for Gendo only wanting Shinji to fight. Since Shinji wasn't raised well or cared for as a child, he doesn't know how to deal with children well, but positive reinforcement and ice cream are no-brainers, and now that Gendo is trying to be Grown Up and not a baby anymore, he appreciates being spoken to like he's a fellow adult.
Young!Gendo is a punk, even with a loving family.
Kaworu and Yui are the two people in the show who display (or seem to display, in Yui's case – there's a lot of hints that she's faking there, and remember that she is the daughter of someone from SEELE, and the person they had take point on the entire 'set off Second Impact and kill half the world' project, that's why she was studying what she was studying to begin with) the capacity for unconditional love. There's a saying that people look for people like their parent of the opposite gender… But this occurred to me in a certain context that made me realize that given what happens to Rei, and that Ritsuko implies that Gendo was using her as a substitute for Yui sexually as well in the second draft of episode 24, I would be very worried for a Kaworu that grew up in Gendo's power. Especially since manga!Gendo says he hates Shinji because from the moment Shinji was born, he took Yui's attention, and here's someone else who loves Shinji instead of him.
At the end of the TV show, we see an AU where everyone got to grow up without SEELE, Second Impact and all of that distorting their lives.
We see Rei, as she would have been without Gendo and Ritsuko.
Rei is not naturally an emotionless girl. She has the same love for life that Kaworu does, and since Kaworu is damaged himself, the true Rei shows much more enthusiasm and energy.
So it's a bit of meta revenge for Gendo to huddle up into a defensive shell the instant Rei shows up in this 'verse, even if it's just embarrassment instead of how canon!Gendo was trying to cripple her development as a person, since her having a personality of her own would remind him that she wasn't Yui.