Chapter one: A man can be Brave.

==========#

He wanted to run away.

The sun was shining on the grave, little more than a white cross with her name and the dates of her birth and death.

His wife was dead. Gone. Consumed by Unit-01 in an accident that wasn't really an accident at all, and Yui was dead and he didn't know what do do! He had no master plan, no cunning maneuver to escape the undeniable truth.

Yui Ikari, the love of his life was dead, and she had left him and Shinji all by themselves.

And goddamn it if he had any idea on how to comfort the boy. He himself had no idea on how to move on , let alone how to handle his grief racked son.

He couldn't even cry, his life was in tatters and he hadn't even shed a tear yet.

Shinji on the other hand didn't have the same problem. As they both stood before Her grave, Shinji let his tears flow freely, even as he tried in vain to chock them back. His hand was in his, so small and so warm, despairingly gripping it to try and draw strength from him,

But Gendo didn't have any to give.

He had planned to call his Aunt and Uncle, so that they might take the boy, he was in no way fit to look after him, he went from suicidal despair, to mind numbing rage in a blink of an eye, all he would do was hurt his son, and he didn't want to do that.

But another part of him didn't want to give up his son, he wanted to hold onto the last part of Yui, even as he knew how selfish it was, he just couldn't shake the feeling. Even if it was the worst thing he could do to the boy, better that he be sent away, away to his Aunt and Uncle who were kind and caring in a way that he never could be.

But maybe... Maybe he could be brave, just this once... For Shinji's sake.

As they both gazed at the last memorial Yui Ikari, Gendo made his choice.

"Lets go home, Shinji" He said, Squeezing his son's hand gently.

======#

Maya was shaking in her boots.

She had come for a job interview in NERV, having decided that a job in one of forerunners in the science and technology was her dream career.

The thought of joining the people who had engineered the E-45 Wheat crop or R-19 Rice plant and the N2 Power Core, had sent her heart a flutter. All of these inventions had saved the world in one way or the other. The Rice Plant had saved China from starvation, the Wheat crop done the same for Europe and the US.

And the N2 Class reactor cores had given a world that was on the brink of reverting to the Dark Ages the power necessary to overcomes its wounds.

Maya, an avid student of the Sciences, had followed the efforts of the UN body with a near fanatical enthusiasm. NERV was seemingly everywhere; from creating crops and plants that helped to beat off starvation, to the liberation of Sweden and Finland from Nordic Imperium, NERV seemed to be the people at the forefront of the resurrection of the world.

So Maya had applied for a job straight out of University at NERV, and if she was completely honest, she expected to get a position, perhaps not a high level one, not working under the legendary Dr. Akgai straight away, but she was the best in her year at Tokyo-U in regards to Meta-Physical Biology and Theoretical Physics and Applied Bullshit Engineering.

The last one was real by the way; it was the name of the course that thought the art of creating large scale engineering such as the Pallet Rifle and the Dublin Space Tether.

So Maya had sent in her application and had in the space of a week had gotten her reply, they wanted to have an interview. She was ecstatic! Her dreams were coming through, everything that she had endured, the sexism and homophobia, the long nights of work and toll, all of that had finally payed off.

Until she read further into the letter and found out who in question was going to be conducting the interview.

It was going to be Commander Gendo Ikari.

She had damn near peed in her panties.

The Commander was both regarded as an international hero, having head up all of those operations and projects that gave NERV it's reputation, under his stern hand NERV had saved the world twice over.

He was also infamously demanding, workingthe men and women under his command to the figurative bone, and was regarded as one of the most intelligent and intimidating man in the service of UN.

So Maya was understandably terrified when she came to the NERV Geofront ( A sight that would haunt her with its beauty for a long time) and she was guided by the very pretty help desk clerk through the literal labyrinth that was NERV HQ and she brought to the Commander's office.

And she knew fear.

It was designed to be intimidating, Maya knew that by simply looking at the room. But the knowledge didn't offer her any real comfort. It was massive, situated at the top the Geofront pyramid; it looked out over the entire area, giving her an amazing view of the sprawling green that was the Geofront.

The ceiling and floor were made out of reflective black marble that gave seemed to stretch on forever, before coming to the Desk, with the Tree of Sephiroth glowing behind it, casting the room in long shadows, and the man who sat behind in darkness, only his silhouette visible.

Making her way further into the room, Maya felt her discomfort grow. She was going to meet up with the Supreme Commander of NERV! If she blew this is was doomed.

Now more nervous than ever, Maya made her across the rest of the floor and stood just in front of the desk, where the commander was sitting.

"Please, take a seat" He said politely, gesturing to the chair in front of his desk.

Doing just that, Maya nervously sat down in the deliberate slightly uncomfortable chair, it was slightly too small, by a bout an inch or two, and it pinched her sides slightly, which over an extended period could drive a man insane, and took in the sight of her potential boss.

He wore the NERV officer uniform, abet with the jacket open, white gloved hands that sat in front of his face, hiding his expression. Covering his eyes were a pair of reflective amber sun glasses, and to round off the whole package of intimidation was his chin strap beard.

It would have the scariest thing that Maya would have ever seen, except for one small detail.

There was three children giggling in the back corner, two girls and a boy around six or seven, playing the Pokemon games on their Gameboys if she saw right, laughing loudly and gesturing wildly with arms and legs as they enjoyed their play time.

They were a rather strange looking bunch too; with a red-haired European girl in a frilly red dress, with her hair wrapped up with ribbon in two tails that fell down her back. The other girl was an albino; judging by her pale skin and red eyes, she wore a pink shirt with a pair of denim short and pink also had blue hair, of all colors, cut in short bob.

The boy was more normal looking by simple comparison, with dark brown hair a slightly tanned complexion that was the norm for Japanese people, he wore a white shirt with blue short and a pair of light up runner that boys his age adored.

He also had the most beautiful blue eyes that she had ever seen.

"They do rather ruin the atmosphere that I was aiming for, but their usual minder is out handling an issue with the JSSDF, so I am stuck minding them for the evening."

Jumping slightly at the sudden voice, she turned to see the slightly smirking face of the Commander, his hands resting on the table, no longer hiding his rather handsome face.

His smirk was swoon worthy, if one were into that kind of thing.

"S-sorry sir!" She sputtered out, her face turning absolutely crimson in shame.

"It is of no consequence, they do tend to be rather distracting when they play"

"NEIN!"

A cry, filled with despair and heart wrenching anguish, cut through the last bit of tension in the room, anguish clear in the girl's voice, even as another rose up in jubilation.

"Especially when Asuka's Charizard is defeated"

Maya giggled behind her hand, the red-head was adorable when she was pouting.

"Shall we begin?" The Commander continued, hands back to there position in front of his face, once more hiding his expression from view.

====#

NGE: The Good Father.