A Different Kind of Impact
Disclaimer: Do not own.
So I keeptrying to start writing, but part of my brain turns off after very little time. So I'm going back with 100 word shots to have something freaking written. Some take place in a specific 'verse (the one I've been staring at for the past few days trying to get onto the page despite it being so thoroughly planned out), others in something more closely resembling canon (I've read the manga and watched Rebuild, but most of my knowledge of the anime comes from rather extensive fic reading and wiki delving). Also note that some of these (particularly "Solar" followed by "Aloud") are interconnected. "Nonsense" is technically set in the 'verse of my version, but I've tried wording it carefully so that it both doesn't quite spoil some of the twists and could theoretically be seen to have occurred in canon.
Ritsuko still didn't understand how that idiotic routine had worked. The dancing was only the surface. In reality, the two would need to not only strike in unison, the MAGI had calculated, but also have their AT Fields in harmony. The two couldn't possibly synchronize even if given years. A spineless little boy who couldn't stand attention, and a deluded girl who believed herself to be the best in everything. They might be able to match physically, but mentally? The world was as good as doomed.
Kaji grinned, wallet pleasantly full. She should have known; never bet against the matchmaker.
When Shinji dived into Mount Asama to rescue Asuka, Kaji chuckled to himself (after the initial moments of panic subsided when he saw the two Evangelion rise, largely intact, out of the volcano). Again, Shinji did the impossible to protect his precious person. Kaji found himself morbidly curious at how powerful the Second and Third Children could become if their relationship progressed beyond the teenage awkwardness they currently had. People laughed at works that spoke of love as a great power, to trump war. With the Evangelion, the most terrifying and destructive thing of all had been crafted: weaponized love.
Shinji really did enjoy cooking. It was something he had always excelled at, a reminder of his value outside of EVA. When Misato declared him the designated chef, he allowed himself a small, real smile.
When Asuka would demand dishes, he would oblige. Outwardly, he was cowed by her, but inwardly he appreciated the challenge. While it was all well and good that Misato praised his culinary abilities, there was just something special about seeing Asuka's eyes light up for that split second when she took that first bite, before she forced herself to scoff and declare it "acceptable".
The Thing wondered how such base creatures could have birthed it. They ran about so foolishly, squabbles so petty even though the proof of their inferiority was right there and was the only chance they had of survival against the Others. They were even absurd enough to disdain their clear Alphas, the ones who wielded Things such as itself against the Others. Did the foolish creatures not recognize the stupidity of risking the wrath of the Things? They may have fancied themselves higher forms of life, but no ape would be stupid enough to provoke the ire of an Evangelion.
Some days, Gendo wondered why he continued to trust the Dead Sea Scrolls, after all his son managed to do that the Scrolls clearly hadn't accounted for. The scrolls were useful as a tool to aid in the detection of the Angels, he had thought at first, but they did not account for everything. The Evangelion were wildcards that didn't follow the script, that could change the outcome of the play entirely. He never wrote his "scenario" down for that very reason: no one could prove things weren't going to plan if no one knew what that plan was.
When it first occurred to him, Shinji couldn't help it. He burst out laughing, the sound cracked and painful coming from his too-dry throat. The thought was beyond absurd, and he desperately needed a laugh these days.
On second thought, maybe it wasn't so absurd. It wasn't crows that Ayanami's head was scaring off, though. It was people. It had been nearly six months since he had woken up on that beach with Asuka, and there had been no sign of anyone else arriving. Even if anyone had emerged from the sea, they wouldn't come near a giant human head.
A valiant warrior whose duty it was to slay foul beasts and villains. That's what she had always pictured herself as. What was the Evangelion but the modern combination of a steed and a weapon? Asuka had believed she was a knight, and would conquer all.
She now realized part of her metaphor was off. Oh, she was still a grand warrior, but the Evangelion was no mere steed. It was a dragon, every bit as much as her foes. The reaction to them, when the Angels were finally gone, would be identical to the reaction to any other dragon.
"Come on, it isn't going to bite, Third."
Shinji said nothing, not fully comprehending the situation.
"No, seriously, Third, it can't hurt you. It's three feet deep. At the deepest point."
Shinji continued staring, mind racing, panicking.
"Third. Shinji, come on. I told you I'd teach you how to swim, but I can't do that if you won't get in the water."
His heart pounded, deafening. It was only a matter of time before the German beauty realized her top was floating in the water beside her. Oath be damned, this time he needed to run away.
Many had declared the Evangelion too dangerous to exist uncontained, and that the Commander having control of the Evangelion rather than the UN was tantamount to releasing the things. Gendo scoffed. What did they think the complex was?
Did they think that the huge metal restraints were to stop the Evangelion from falling?
Did they think the bakelite was in place to stop people?
And what the hell did they think the remote self destruct protocol was about?
No, Ikari Gendo was absolutely terrified of the Evangelion. And he refused to allow the abominations to move without taking every precaution.
It hadn't even occurred to Gendo that there was a chance he had underestimated the Evangelion. He never once stopped to think about what the thing that his wife had given her life for would truly be capable of, or how it would react. He hadn't considered what it meant that it eroded even the souls of the Angels, beings infinitely more powerful than any man or woman.
None of these things had crossed his mind until it destroyed the dummy plug. Annihilated a soul inside it. With dawning horror, he knew:
Ikari Yui's soul had not survived first contact.
Maya tried not to think about what they were doing. It was the only way, she repeated to herself. No one would be doing this if there were any other option. That didn't make it better.
Shinji should have been in an orchestra or a cullinary school, humble but accomplished. Asuka should have been excelling in her chosen field of scientific study, causing grown men and women to weep at her sheer talent. Rei should have had a family, been anywhere else.
Instead, Maya watched as three child soldiers were sent on a suicide mission to catch a living meteor.
Two weeks after an Angel attack, the school hosted a fencing club. Misato had "encouraged" the Pilots to join, hoping they'd bond over extracurricular activity.
They only attended one session. While at first it went as might be expected, with Asuka and Rei easily dominating every bout they went into and Shinji not really wanting to be there at all, some utter moron with admittedly impressive ability had dominated against Asuka and belittled everything about her, some points hitting uncomfortably close to home.
Shinji faced him next. There was only one intact set of equipment remaining within six seconds.
There was a sudden, awkward silence. Maya put a hand over her mouth to cover her giggle. Ritsuko had covered her face with her palm, sighing. Misato was openly guffawing, tears coming out of her eyes. Fuyutsuki wore a small, almost unnoticeable smile. Gendo raised an eyebrow a fraction of an inch. Rei had tilted her head to the side a few degrees, not quite understanding. Asuka, despite a fiery blush that made it difficult to tell where the plugsuit ended and her face began, looked murderous.
And Shinji had thought people only accidentally said things out loud in jokes.
The Evangelion lay broken across Tokyo-3 as the Angel oozed its way through, demolishing entire blocks with each passing second. Rei sat in her entry plug, silent, bleeding slightly from a head wound, barely conscious. They had lost. From Unit 03's battered form imbedded in a skyscraper, Toji weakly chuckled.
"Isn't this the time that either Shinji or Asuka would normally pull something out of their ass to save us?"
There was no response from the other conscious pilot. There wouldn't be any miracles any more. Not from them. Those two hadn't come back after Third Impact, after all.
Logically, Rei knew that what the Second and Third Children had done with the Evangelion was fundamentally impossible. Against Sachiel, the Evangelion moved without power. Against Shamshel, Shinji had won by injuring himself and working past the thought noise of the two passengers. The Ramiel incident had only been resolved by Shinji thoroughly ignoring how that gun should have worked. Doctor Akagi had literally ranted for six hours on the Gaghiel incident.
The only logical conclusion for why they hadn't killed Israfel was that no one had done something illogical enough, Rei decided. Clearly, she would need to remedy that.
Toji was actually dramatically less bothered by his loss of limb than most thought. Yes, it was immensely traumatic and would permanently ruin his life plans of playing sports, but Toji was still less bothered by the ordeal than one would have guessed.
He never managed to quite express why he felt that way to those who asked him. The few words he managed to put together in explanation were always empty, not quite right.
The only ones who could understand never asked him, but Toji didn't hold it against them. To the pilots, dismemberment might've been preferable to reality.
Asuka really was radiant, Shinji decided, in all possible meanings of the word. When she smiled, her eyes lit up just so, and warmth just flowed from her in waves. When she was angry, it was like the sun blaring down relentlessly.
Even sitting as she was in her plugsuit, soaking in the LCL, it was like she was some sort of goddess. Somehow, the shine of her hair wasn't dampened by the liquid, and her determination in even this most routine of activities burned brightly.
And for some reason, at some point, her face had started burning, as well...
Shinji shuddered, but it wasn't from the cold. Not a full year ago, he could have sat outside and watched a meteor shower and have been bored. Now, though?
Now he and Asuka both stared up at the night sky from the apartment's balcony, faces carefully blank. Even after the official explanation of Second Impact being a meteor strike, people hadn't panicked from meteor showers. No, the alarming reality was that they were afraid that the shooting stars were actually alive and going to try to kill them.
No one made fun of them for those thoughts. Not after Sahaquiel.
Letting your guard down, even for a moment, was just asking for trouble in this line of work. But no one can be all-business all the time without cracking, so they had to develop their own methods to entertain themselves even while on duty.
The vast majority of the staff was fairly straightforward in their quirks, Ritsuko's sarcasm and Misato's flirting easily the most infamous of them. As it turned out, though, Gendo had not always been quite as brutal while on duty, even after Yui's death.
Actually, he just found the looks of terror on his subordinates' faces hilarious.
Many saw no resemblance between the father and the son. The father was cold, calculating. The son was apologetic, unambitious.
These people were fools. Father and son shared a singular determination for their most precious person that made them truly frightening.
Gendo crafted an army capable of slaying gods to reach Yui, and was ready to slay all of humanity to bring her back.
Shinji dove into an active volcano for Asuka, and actually did slay all of humanity to bring her back.
Truly, perhaps the most significant difference between them is that Shinji succeeded where his father never could.
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