This was supposed to be another oneshot to add to This Alien Shore so it didn't end on such a depressing note as Colour 'verse, but the fic insisted on going into mental trauma and what happened to Asuka instead of being a simple comedy oneshot.

Once again, this is manga 'verse. Kaworu's ignorance will never cease to amuse me.

Kaworu frowned at the video of Asuka like he was taking this personally, like she was doing this to annoy him or something. "I told you that you needed to open your heart to the Eva!" he said, clearly frustrated and not understanding why she didn't take his advice.

Why she was letting that angel do this to her, and now there was a crease between Kaworu's eyes, annoyance changing to puzzlement and maybe just a trace of worry. "I don't know what a puppet is, but you have to open your heart to her!" he demanded now, voice raised over the sounds coming from Asuka. Sounds, Shinji thought, that should never come from someone as strong as her.

He almost wanted Kaworu to be right, that all Asuka had to do was open her heart to the Eva and this wouldn't be happening.

It sounded like nonsense, but why was it so important that Kaworu had burst into the girl's bathroom to tell Asuka this? Like he wanted her to know it, like it was important somehow to him for her to know this.

The boy who strangled a kitten because he thought that was what was best for it: was he worried for Asuka?

Maybe that would have made Shinji worried for her, worried about what the strange white-haired boy was going to do if it weren't for what the angel was doing to her right now. Asuka would have to be okay, would have to survive for anything Kaworu did to matter.

At first, when Maya announced that the angel was trying a mental attack Kaworu had just smiled and said, "Now things are getting interesting," with a light in his eyes like that, and Shinji had grabbed him and wanted to punch him.

Asuka was out there, and Shinji was in here, helpless, and Kaworu was looking forward to what the angel was doing to her? Thought this was some kind of show for his benefit?

"I told you to be quiet," Misato snapped at him angrily, turning away from the screen where Asuka begged for it to stop. "That was an order!"

Kaworu didn't act as though he'd heard her, frowning up at the screen as Shinji begged to be sent out there. "That won't help," Kaworu interrupted him. "If she can't beat it, what do you think you can do? You'll just end up like her."

Damn it, why would Kaworu not shut up!

"You're upset," Kaworu said, puzzled that Shinji had grabbed him again. "Why are you upset?"

"Because she's my friend!" And how dare Kaworu say there was nothing Shinji could do! Didn't he care what happened to Asuka?!

"What's a friend?" Kaworu asked, just like he'd asked Asuka what a pervert was earlier.

"Shinji," Gendo said shortly as Shinji stared at the fifth child. "The boy is correct. The angel bored straight into her mind even from orbit. We cannot allow the same fate to befall Unit-01."

"Unit-01," Shinji thought. "Not me." He knew the Eva was all that Gendo cared about already so it was an old, familiar pain, buried under his fear for Asuka. Almost buried. "And so?" Shinji demanded. "Are we just going to leave her there to die?!"

Without even turning to look at him, Gendo said, "Rei. Descend to Central Dogma and retrieve the lance."

Fuyutsuki and Misato both seemed alarmed by the idea. Fuyutsuki got an explanation: Gendo ignored Misato.

"Don't do that," Kaworu said when Misato looked away, giving up. "You know that's not allowed. The old men will get upset, and blame me for not stopping you."

Gendo looked down at him, hands together and face unreadable… Except while he'd seemed remote before, ignoring Misato's objections as of no consequence, he was actually looking at Kaworu. Actually paying attention to him.


The other boy was so strange. Shinji had thought he was like Ayanami was when he first met her, but that was wrong, he was even more… who didn't know what friendship was? Or why Shinji would be angry if someone killed a cat right in front of him, or why Shinji would be upset watching Asuka get her mind raped?

He was looking back at Gendo now, frowning a little but not really at Gendo, seeming completely unintimidated by the unblinking light reflected off those glasses. As though he didn't know what intimidation was either? How could someone not find Gendo scary at all, look like this was perfectly normal and it wasn't even occurring to him that being stared at should make him uncomfortable?

"Fuyutsuki," Gendo said finally. "Contact the Committee for permission to use the lance."

"They won't grant it." The sub-commander clearly was as confused as Shinji, although Shinji saw him glance at Kaworu as though he knew why Gendo was actually backing down.

"Not until we don't have any other options," Gendo said, still looking at Kaworu. "Unless their agent has a suggestion?"

There should have just been contempt there – who did Kaworu think he was, someone the age of the pilots telling Gendo what to do? – but it sounded as though Gendo did think that Kaworu could do something.

That silver head tilted now, looking thoughtful. Breaking eye contact with Gendo not in order to break it, but just because he wasn't paying attention to that anymore. Not, Kaworu's pose declared, that he'd ever cared in the first place. Not about Gendo.

Not when it was Asuka he glanced at, ignoring the way everyone was staring at him now. "The lance copies are ready," he said, "but they won't be happy with that, either, and it would take too long, wouldn't it?" To bring them here? Asuka wouldn't last that long.

Asuka should be saying that she didn't need anyone's help. Not begging for it.

Red eyes looked conflicted now, when before Kaworu had always seemed like he knew what to do, never showed any doubts even when he killed something. "My sister… death is one thing, but… she's hurting her," he said quietly. Maybe it just seemed loud to Shinji because no one else in the room was saying anything, just looking at Kaworu with expressions ranging from suspicion to incomprehension.

Finally Kaworu sighed and stuck his hands in his pockets. "They were going to have me killed soon anyway, for not doing what they want. It's not like it matters if I die a little sooner."

That was when he started to glow.

Shinji didn't need Maya to tell him that familiar light was an AT field: he scrambled to get away, startled enough to trip on thin air, landing on his side and already trying to get back on his feet. Kaworu was an angel? Shinji had grabbed and nearly punched an angel?

Misato already had her gun out, the weapon appearing in her hands almost without her being aware she was taking it out, as though her will had just made it manifest it there. She wanted to shoot, Shinji could see it in her eyes, she wanted to shoot so much her hands almost trembled, but she knew it wouldn't work.

As Gendo watched, the only one of them not showing any surprise, darkness appeared under Kaworu's feet. He dropped down into it like it was a hole – they could do that?! Then what was keeping them from just dropping into Central Dogma?!

The way Kaworu had appeared in Asuka's entry plug, crouching on her lap and the cockpit around her.

"Wake up!" he ordered, sounding contemptuous, fist lashing out to hit not Asuka, who cowered there, clutching at her head, but the wall of the entry plug. "You said you loved her, didn't you?! Or was that another lie?! I told you that she was just like me! You only had a child so that she would do what you wanted, and if she doesn't give you what you want then you'll just stand there and let her suffer like this?!" He kicked the wall of the entry plug this time, the way a frustrated tech kicked defective machinery. "You're just like the old men! No wonder my sister won't let you into her heart!"

Asuka thrashed, hitting him with an elbow more by chance than anything.

He grabbed her, but carefully. Turning to look up at the angel, he said, "As for you-"

Whatever else he'd said was cut short as Unit-02 finally obeyed the order to eject its entry plug. Misato wasn't letting an angel take control of another Eva, and Shinji had his hands over his mouth, trying not to throw up at the memory of what happened to Touji.

Even though Ritsuko cut the connection to the entry plug in order to protect the Magi from the angel, he could still hear Asuka screaming like she was right there.

When he opened his eyes, she was. Kaworu lay on top of her like they'd both just fallen from the ceiling, pushing himself into a crouching position and pulling her to his chest protectively, ignoring the alarm as people realized that there was an angel. An angel here.


Still glowing, Kaworu ignored Asuka's thrashing too. The glow expanded, creeping over Asuka's body, and Shinji wanted to throw up again even as Kaworu grasped Asuka's face, telling her, "It's alright, she can't reach you now. I'll protect you, even if that woman won't."

"Let go of her!" Shinji yelled, fists clenched.

"Release the pilot," Misato said, low and dangerous, feeling just as helpless as Shinji.

"Ha!" Kaworu looked at Shinji, pleased. "I knew it didn't make sense, that you were concerned about my sister. So you don't care at all if Arael hurts her, do you," he said, nodding as though this made sense, this confirmed the order of the universe. Then he frowned. "But if family loving each other was a lie too… I don't care. Even if that woman doesn't love her, even if she's a Lilim and she probably won't love me either, she's still my sister and I'm not like you." He glared at Shinji now was though Shinji was the unfeeling bastard, when it was Kaworu that killed a kitten. "I won't let Arael hurt her. She knows what my sister's light looks like and she's looking for her. I'm going to protect my sister until Arael is dead. Or until the old men kill me, whichever."

"Your sister?" Asuka, Asuka was an angel's sister? Or was Kaworu possessed, like Touji's Eva was possessed?

"That woman used the same DNA to make her that the old men put into Adam to force her to bear me," Kaworu explained. "She wanted a perfect child so she could be better than that other woman, just like the old men wanted me to be perfect." The angel laughed, but instead of sounding mocking it was as though the sound was wrenched from him, a hard paroxysm that made him curl against Asuka. "She slapped me when I asked her about it, and said it wasn't the same thing at all, that she 'loved' her daughter. That she wasn't just having her to use her, for the sake of her twisted dreams, just like the old men. But if love means wanting people to grow up happy, then she didn't love her at all. The old men were right when they said that she was lying, although if Lilim are incapable of love then why do you have a word for it?"

Kaworu seemed to realize how silly it was that he was explaining this to Shinji and shook himself a little, poking at Asuka to try to wake her up. When that didn't work, "Hurry up and kill Arael so it can't hurt her anymore," he told Gendo. "I don't care if you use the lance now, I'm already in trouble for blowing my cover, or I will be as soon as they find out."

Gendo just looked down at him and Kaworu looked annoyed – now he realized that Gendo wasn't going to help? – and the darkness appeared under him again. Under him and Asuka.

Shinji tried to dash forward, to stop the angel from taking her with him, but they and the shadow were gone before his hand could touch the fall of Asuka's red hair or the pale hand that cradled it.