Creation began on 10-15-13

Creation ended on 11-15-13

Neon Genesis Evangelion

A Maddening Cause: The damage is done

A/N: Here is what I hope to be the final chapter. Hope you enjoy this.

With the loss of the police station, Tokyo-3's civilian population no longer felt safe and secure. Not when there was a child loose on the streets murdering people, left and right, that was brought over by a semi-public agency that worked underneath their feet. Cars packed to capacity with men, women, children and as much of their belongings as possible were trying their hardest to ride out of the city before they were likely to become the next set of victims, with even the remaining police fleeing after accepting that they were dealing with a kid that was beyond any other criminal they had dealt with before in their careers. Schools were shut down indefinitely, convenience stores were closed, office buildings evacuated and the hospitals cleared; there wasn't a single person left alive that wanted to risk becoming next on Shinji Ikari's list of victims, even if there was a slim chance that he wouldn't kill them for one reason or another. The only ones left around were the large, handful of people that spent hours working underground, trying to make sure that the world would be able to protect itself from an enemy they had yet to meet with on the battlefield, and some of them were getting set to leave before the next day, which was becoming synonymous with Judgment Day, the End of Days, and the Day of Reckoning, only it was being caused by one person, one loner with no ties to anyone that had any meaning left to him.

-x-

"…I had always expected the city to be abandoned because of an Angel attack," went Ritsuko to Misato, as they took the express linear elevator in the latter's car. "I'd rather be dealing with them than a kid that was locked away."

"I guess that's our fault for being unprepared," Misato responded, which was true to a fault. "NERV was purposed with dealing with Angels, not people. Tell me something, though. When Shinji decides to come knocking, are you going to be there?"

"Don't you mean if he comes knocking?"

"Nope, I meant it the way I asked it."

"I honestly don't want anything to do with the boy. But his father… You can hardly say 'no' to him."

"You had best pray that he doesn't want to kill you."

The faux-blond didn't say anything after that comment, but Misato knew she didn't have to. They didn't want to get killed by Shinji, but they didn't want him to carry out his vendetta's conclusion tomorrow, even if it was only his father that he really wanted, and was willing to murder as many as possible to get to him. Yet Misato couldn't stop feeling pity for the boy, as she would've done the same to her own father…if she had the will, the motivation…to deal with him herself. If anything, she was torn between wanting to see Shinji stop the unnecessary killing of people and face reality that life is unfair…and see his goal through and face the consequences later when he was finished.

As they were nearing their destination, several more members of NERV HQ's work staff were aiming to get out of the base and flee the city, not wanting to die young. They could care less about what was recently revealed about all access to and from the base being restricted by order of Commander Ikari; if his kid wanted to kill him, they were more than willing to let the child do as he pleased if it meant they got to live to see another day. And as these people were leaving, so was Sub-Commander Fuyutsuki, but not to flee the city; he just needed to go home and clear his head, despite the order of not to leave the base, which he could assume was nothing more than Gendo's pathetic attempt to protect himself from Shinji before he came after him.

-x-

Now sporting just a sling around her left arm, Rei Ayanami walked around the halls of the medical facility with her guard watching her. With NERV HQ on lockdown, the medical staff was mostly confined to their facility…and Rei was their only patient. Minus herself, the doctors, nurses and other staff members versed in their medical practice were concerned that the Third Child (if it was even right to continue referring Commander Ikari's son with that designation) would come and kill them, despite having never done anything to him. They were willing to let the boy murder his father, if that was what the child truly wanted. But Rei, needing purpose in her life, felt that she needed to protect Commander Ikari, even if it meant facing the boy that was brought to the city simply to protect it from the Angels.

The Third Child, she thought, staring out the windows at the Geo-Front and the underneath of the city held in place by powerful hydraulics and magnets. There is something about him that is both odd…and terrible. All Commander Ikari explained to me was that he spent most of his life in an institution and had very little contact with others. But why was he sent to an institution?

Then, for just a moment, the albino saw a little girl in armor that seemed almost alive, with wings and a sword. She had long, ebony hair, blue eyes and a face that looked very lovely, but very uneasy, as if something terrible was going to transpire soon, and she could only hope to remedy the awfulness. And then, she was gone, and so was the unusual feeling of sadness that had filled Rei's heart; she wasn't sure what the sad feeling was about, but it seemed as though an awful thing happened once, but she couldn't remember what it was…or whether or not it was just a dream.

A childhood sacrificed, she thought, and a life taken before its time too long ago. A silent wailing, buried deep in the darkness, longing for its other half, which had been left to suffer. What is the other half? Who's childhood was sacrificed and who's life was taken before its time?

"Rei?" She heard the voice of Dr. Akagi, and slowly turned to her right to face the faux-blond woman that was several feet away from her down the hall.

"Yes?" She responded back.

-x-

Crack! The doors to a small market were broken open by none other than Shinji himself; the absence of most of the city's population meant he needed to break into places that held what he needed for himself, which, at the moment, was just food because he needed to eliminate his hunger. He wasn't concerned with the police coming after him now, after taking down the majority of the law and order last night, he felt he could move about with more freedom than before, though he still felt that it was better safe than sorry to continue moving in the silence of shadows. The pickings were many, but the trouble he had was what he wanted to consume for replenishing his diminished strength.

"I feel like I've been caught between light and darkness, allover again…Slayer," went Driving Force to his other self, manifesting behind Shinji, who stood motionless as he looked at the canned food selections in front of him.

Slayer, manifesting shortly afterward, responded with, "Maybe we should feast like the kings of old, since it may very well be the only time we'll ever be able to eat like such. There's other foods we've never tasted before in too long a time."

The two personas looked around, making sure that there wasn't any others around, and then Shinji, once his personas disappeared from sight, picked up a can of sausages and went to examine the other food selections, popping the can open and helping himself to something new to eat. He became enamored by the new taste in his mouth and soon grabbed a large bag of potato chips that were supposed to be barbeque-flavored, not that he ever tried barbeque in his life; the devastation of Second Impact meant the loss of many thousands of animal and plant lives, leaving only a scarce variety left on the planet. All he ever had to eat back in the institute was rice and water, and most of the time, the rice was bad and the staff did nothing to remedy the problem, thus forcing him to go several days without eating…and sometimes, they didn't feed him at all. As he tasted a chip, he soon enjoyed the taste and engorged on the rest of the bag.

The only thing wrong with his current state of enjoying something was the same as the other times: His expression remained the same, unable to give even the smallest of smiles.

-x-

Misato, in a panic, rushed home to her apartment in order to check up on Pen-Pen, whom she had forgotten about; just because Shinji hadn't managed to kill her last night didn't mean that he probably didn't try to find her last night, and could've found where she lived. Riding up the elevator and reaching her floor, she ran to the door and entered her home.

"Pen-Pen?" She called out to her feathered roommate. "Where are you?"

"Squawk?" The penguin responded, popping up from underneath a pile of garbage that accumulated in the kitchen.

"Oh," she sighed, relieved that her bird was still alive; as far as she was willing to assume, Shinji probably lacked the cruelty to kill animals.

Then, for a split second, she saw something that seemed out of the ordinary: A woman, a little younger than she was, with long, ebony hair, greenish eyes, a sense of motherly devotion, dressed in unusual, predominantly-silver armor, reminiscent of the ancient samurai in a way, but looking almost like it was an actual part of her body, and wielding a wooden staff. Her face seemed saddened by something weighing heavily on her heart, and she raised her right hand up, revealing a silver-colored gauntlet with a ruby and pearl adorning the back of the hand as a form of decoration, and uttered something that, to Misato, seemed like a warning.

"Take the cause out of the man, there is no cause for a man," the woman expressed, and then she was gone, as if she were never there to begin with.

"Wha… Take the cause… Who was that woman?" She wondered, feeling like, for some strange reason, she knew the woman, even though she had never seen her before.

"Squawk?" Pen-Pen caught her attention, and she snapped out of it and picked him up, running out of the apartment.

-x-

With a burp that was so silent, you might as well have missed its presence, Shinji, with his stomach full of a large meal comprised of junk food, fruits, milk and energy drinks, stepped out of the store and onto the streets. The sky's sunlight was beginning to dim, and he decided to turn in early for the remainder of the day. There were plenty of places he could hide, but where to hide was the new question he was asking himself. Since he adjusted to this existence he had by simply being subject to unpredictability, he went wherever he felt like going, feeling like no one could touch him, anymore.

Shinji… Shinji… He stopped walking down the lonely street, hearing the same voice he heard the last few times, and looked up at the sky. Shinji…remember what happened before the cruelty.

He cracked his neck and resumed his journey toward a place where he could rest up for tomorrow. For some reason, he got a feeling that whoever this voice was that spoke to him sparingly, he would find out about it tomorrow.

-x-

"…Commander Ikari would probably demote you if he found out you left the base to get him," Ritsuko told Misato, who returned with Pen-Pen, who ignored her warning.

"I had to risk it, 'cause we don't know if he even knows where I live," she countered, rather risking her life for her penguin than to lose him.

"Anyhow, you got a phone call from lover boy eight minutes ago."

"Huh?"

"Kaji. He called. It turns out most of the branch over in Germany's been throwing a pool over how long it'll be before Shinji comes and kills his father. They're being foolish, trying to profit from the suffering that kid has caused. One lady's close to making the equivalent of twenty-five grand after that stunt that was pulled on the cops."

"That's more than I'll make in eight years."

"Kaji said something else, too. He was wondering if the commander was in his right mind when he had his son removed from the institute he was rumored to have paid the authorities to put him in after the murders he caused."

"I somehow doubt that he is capable of such parental misconduct."

If only you knew the truth, thought Ritsuko.

RING-RING! The phone rung again, and Misato answered it.

"Hello?" She questioned.

"Hey, is this Misato Katsuragi speaking?" A male voice asked in response.

"Yes," she answered.

"Hey, Katsuragi, it's been too long."

"Kaji, it hasn't been long enough. Go bug someone else."

"But it's easier to speak with those far away than those close by. Do you know how long it takes for the news of what's going on in Japan to spread across the ocean towards Germany, or how long it takes for the other branches of NERV to find out that there's trouble brewing in one of their locations? Not too long, and for many, it's both suspenseful and terrifying."

"You don't know the meaning of either word, Kaji. Tokyo-3's been reduced to a ghost town, and it's all because we set free a boy that was better off dead…or locked away for good because of who his parents, especially his father, were."

"That's quite a feat for a boy like Shinji Ikari. When you overlook the wrongs he's committed, along with his flaws, I actually find him to be quite a fascinating person, able to go to extreme lengths to do whatever he has to."

"Kaji…you're pathetic right now. You wouldn't be saying all this if you were face-to-face with Shinji and he put a gun to your head, or a knife to your neck…or if he stomped on your testicles 'cause he's killed over one-hundred-twenty people! And when tomorrow comes, there won't be single doubt in my mind that he won't hesitate to kill everyone down here if they make the mistake of getting in his way of killing his old man! I'm lucky he didn't kill me when he tried to shoot at me last night before the police station was blown to the ground!"

Misato then hung up on her old flame and slumped into the chair beside her. Somehow, Kaji always had a tendency to say the wrong things and irritate the wrong people. Still, Misato had to count at least one blessing for the fool; that he was over in Germany with Asuka, safe from Shinji's wrath, instead of being here in this ghost town that people probably wouldn't come back to. She even had to wonder if there would be rumors about Shinji after all was said and done, or how NERV was going to recover its less-than-tolerated reputation in Japan after releasing a killer and failing to contain him, and how big his body count would be after he was stopped.

"I'm actually surprised you didn't run," Ritsuko told her; she wouldn't have blamed her for fleeing, since a part of her wanted to get away, too.

"I'd rather run from the Angels impossible to defeat instead of a boy that hasn't spoken a word for years," the purple-haired woman responded. "You think he's gonna strike at midnight or after dawn?"

"To be honest, I don't know. I just spent some time looking at some more of his drawings, and found three that haunt me more than the one he drew of my mother as a corpse."

Misato turned to look at her, and the faux-blond held up the drawings that were haunting in a way. Unlike Shinji's other drawings, which depicted the positives and negatives of life and death, these three drawings seemed to indicate a theme of purgatory or limbo. It was an environment, a beach-like setting, with white sand and a sea of blood, a night setting, but without any sense of heavenly beauty. The second drawing, an extension of the first drawing, showed what had to be a dead world, stripped clean of life; Misato could only assume that there wasn't even a weed to be seen. And the final drawing, another extension, showed a lone person overlooking the world, with probably a sense of hopelessness.

Misato couldn't help but wonder if this was how Shinji perceived his penalty after his life was over. Or if this was one of the places where bad people go to after they die. It was almost scary from her point of view that a place like this could actually exist after life ends.

"Squawk!" Pen-Pen squawked, seeing the pictures, and then waddled away from Misato, as though he were afraid of said drawings. "Squawk…"

"It's like every time we got this kid figured out, he shows us through his drawings that he's not fully understood…by anyone," Misato expressed.

"You can't really expect to fully understand anyone," Ritsuko expressed, "no matter how much time you spend with them."

"Tell me, Rits, have you recently had any visions or dreams that seemed out of sorts? Maybe you saw someone you've never met before, and they just appeared outta nowhere to say something or show something to you for a moment?"

"Yeah, once. Why?"

"Before I left my apartment, I saw this woman. She was dressed up in samurai armor and said to me, 'Take the cause out of a man, there is no cause for a man'."

Then, as if being coerced by a subtle force, Ritsuko responded, "It was earlier this year, before the summer started. The actual summer, before Second Impact changed the ecosystem of this country, that I had a nightmare about Rei. She wasn't a quiet girl…but a type of sociopath, not all that different from what Shinji is right now. She stabbed me at one point, with tentacles. It made me wonder who I should be afraid of when it comes to three people: Her, Commander Ikari, or Shinji Ikari."

"And who are you more afraid of?"

"I'm not sure. I'd rather be afraid of Shinji, but I'm willing to be afraid of Rei more. She is more than capable of harming somebody if she chooses to."

"I wouldn't know. Her background's a mystery."

-x-

"…The whole of Tokyo-3 has become a ghost town because of your son, Ikari," went the displeased voice of SEELE 04 to Gendo during the next meeting. "He's murdered more than half the police authority and sent the remaining members elsewhere with the rest of the population, leaving NERV defenseless for when he shows up, and you've done nothing to stop him."

"He has been unpredictable in every encounter," Gendo tried to explain the repeated failures. "Every time he's discovered, he enters a no-hostage situation and shoots to flee or kill."

"And we're to understand that you tried to send bounty hunters after him, only to meet with failure, time and again, because they either overestimated their ability to handle him or underestimated his unwillingness to be stopped?" SEELE 06 questioned. "It would seem your son became aware of your desperation to get rid of him if he couldn't be managed and dealt with most of them."

"And he's coming to deal with you on the anniversary of your wife's death, as he made it known when he left his bloody message when he escaped from you the first time." SEELE 01/Kiel Lorenz made sure that the information they had received was solid. "How do you intend to deal with him on that day, which is hours away?"

"I still have several bounty hunters remaining," Gendo revealed. "They will deal with him, should he appear and cause more trouble than he already has."

"And should they fail? Should they be unable to stop him and he comes for you and tries to put a bullet in your heart?" SEELE 13 asked him.

"Then I'll resort to using Unit-01 against him."

"You dare use an Eva against one that isn't an Angel?" SEELE 07 questioned. "That would be a waste of time and resources."

"Time, money, and personnel," went SEELE 02. "Exactly how much of these must be wasted by your family, Ikari? Your son's already dealt a serious blow to the police force and has emptied the majority of NERV HQ, and you've been unable to halt or repel him. When you add all that he's done in the past few days, the total sum of an answer varies, but it's clear that you have a psychotic child that you let loose onto the world, and he's intent on sending you to the next world before anyone can put him down, and is willing to execute those that get in his way."

"You had best watch your back, Ikari," went SEELE 10 to Gendo. "Remember what we told you. You're just as replaceable as anyone else is."

With the meeting now adjourned until the next meeting, Gendo was left both furious and worried. With every passing hour, the anniversary of Yui's…displacement closed in, along with the threat of his son coming to kill him. While he was certain that Rei, with Unit-01, would be able to stop him should the remaining bounty hunters fail, he was unsure if the Eva, or rather, his wife herself, would be willing to deal in death to Shinji, despite his willingness to deal in death.

It's a pity I didn't tell the people in charge of watching him to put him in a straightjacket, he thought.

"Is it truly pity?" In the darkness surrounding his desk, Gendo saw the hallucination of his murderous son, dressed in his dirty clothes and covered in the filth he'd been building up over the years. "What do you know of pity, Father? It's just a word, with no ties to whoever it's directed to. It could've been because of that word that you were allowed to live this long when I could've killed you days ago. Was it pity that I knew absolutely nothing of my brother, whom you killed, as it was fear that drove you to send bounty hunters after me? You're truly pathetic if you think it's pity. Pity is for the weak and helpless, those that deserve what they've suffered time and again for, and fear is what you deserve."

"Do you ever warn people when you show up, announced and unwelcome?" Gendo asked him.

"But I'm not even here. I'm out there somewhere. But I will be down here soon enough, and when I do, there won't be a hallway, some cafeteria, no closet where I won't find you."

Then, the hallucination of Shinji's filthy self was gone, and Gendo was left feeling further agitated by his questionable slipping of sanity. He then picked up the phone in his desk and called Ritsuko in order to confirm Unit-01's availability.

-x-

"…So, Kaji," went the redhead that was Asuka Langley Soryu to the unshaven man in his room, who had just gotten off the phone. "Is it true about what has happened to that city in Japan?"

"Tokyo-3 being a ghost town?" He questioned her question. "Yes, it's true. It's been abandoned by the majority of the people."

"And that kid NERV wanted as the Third Child being the one responsible?"

"That hasn't changed."

"Why did they go through the trouble of getting him? He's not that special. I heard about him from some other people, and they all say that he's a killer, born and raised."

"I somehow doubt that anybody really raised him to be what he is today, Asuka. I've done my share of homework on him, and found that he hasn't had anyone to really look after him since his mother died and his father abandoned him, causing mental issues that were never resolved. In a way, everything from his parents' absence to his environmental, detrimental development caused him to be this way. Shinji Ikari's present state as a sociopath and psychopath is the result of external and internal factors all gone wrong with no attempts made to correct them. A…perfect storm, in a way. So Shinji's an isolated person that doesn't know any boundaries…and may not have any boundaries."

"So, basically, he's a nut that doesn't know when to call it quits," Asuka confirmed in her own way.

"Yeah, if you want to perceive him that way," he sighed and gave in; ever since he met this girl years back, she's been as aggressive and uncomfortable to others as he found out about Shinji being viewed as a danger to others, especially those that wanted nothing to do with him.

One of the few things he had discovered about the boy that spent most of his life in a asylum was that he hadn't been tended to by any physicians since before he was tried and sentenced, and, as a result of such medical neglect, was probably a walking cluster of contractible illnesses like the measles and other contagions one needed to be vaccinated for. He considered it a miracle that he's lived this long.

-x-

The night was quiet once more, but the city itself was cloaked in its darkness. There were no signs of anybody out on the streets below, and the power was cut off in every building. This was of no consequence to Shinji, who liked the darkness a bit more than the light; people could say that they live in darkness, but he was reborn in the darkness…and hadn't seen the light until he was released from the asylum. And in the solitude of the night, he was able to think with greater clarity between his two personalities that governed his body.

As he laid on bed (one of those beds with a headboard and spring-loaded mattress instead of a futon), asleep for the first time in a long time where the sleep was considered pleasant, his two personalities manifested to engage in further conversation in the apartment Shinji broke into in one of the skyscrapers on the highest floor.

"Tomorrow will be the day," Driving Force expressed, sitting atop a kitchen table. "Tomorrow, the last of a family whose cruelty that knew no bounds will be brought to its end. No more borrowed time to do anything else."

"Father will die," said Slayer, leaning against a refrigerator. "I'm going to kill him myself."

"Yes."

"Heh-heh-heh! He and any that try to protect him are gonna die! Their blood's gonna spill onto the ground and walls, like music spilling out into the air."

"Yes."

"Say…when this is all over, when this is all behind us…what will become of us when the darkness devours our existence?"

"I wouldn't know for sure. We don't have any beliefs in anything. As much as I want to believe in something worth believing, I can't. There is belief in nothingness, nonexistence, where any and all things, light and dark, good and bad, returns to nothingness."

"Meaning, once we've fulfilled our cause… We shall return to that nothingness, too. So long as that man goes along before we do, I'll accept that fate."

"So long as you're with me…it's not a bad thing to be no more. Even in the end, when nothing else matters, I'll always need you at my side, whether you're a killer or something else."

The filthy manifestation of the Slayer persona then removed the strands of dust and grime-matted hair, revealing his grime-covered face, and gave a small smile to his superior persona, who was like a brother or twin to him for some reason that felt meaningful to him.

-x-

"…It's midnight now," went Ritsuko to Misato, wired on another cup of coffee. "You know what that means?"

"No," the purple-haired woman responded to her, wishing she had a beer right now.

"It's the anniversary of Ikari's wife's death, the same day the boy expressed that he'd be coming back to take care of his old man, once and for all."

"Rits…if you wanna run for your life, I wouldn't blame you if you did right now."

"Says you."

As the two women sighed and continued to drown out the coffee to stay awake and alert, the First Child was waiting in the Entry Plug of Unit-01, ready to go at a moment's notice of Shinji Ikari's return. She wasn't fully recovered, but had to be ready to deal with the boy the instant there were no other alternatives on how to deal with him.

In her dreams, the albino saw something that made no sense to her, whatsoever: She saw…herself, dressed in a blue and white yukata with tigers sewn into the back and sleeves, wearing a bracelet with a ring affixed to it by means of a strand of metal, adorned with a black diamond on the ring and a ruby on the wristband of the bracelet itself. There was something off about the way she looked in the dream, as if she wasn't herself, anymore, but a different girl, with more of a personality…and some measure of independence in herself.

"Who are you?" She asked the woman that looked like her in her dreams, standing in front of her.

"I'm you," she answered back, "but without the obedience that Ikari hammered into you before your life began in the flesh you wear."

"You are not me. I am me."

"We're the same, but our lives are played differently in different lifetimes, different worlds, different universes. I'm merely here to warn you of a great danger. Whatever Ikari tells you to do, don't do it, no matter how desperate he may seem. He's not worth the damage that lost soul has taken in the short years of life that were never lived."

"What lost soul? What damage?" Rei asked the other girl that claimed to be her from another life.

"The answer will come at the end of the cruelty that wretched family had unleashed upon one of their own. Wake up and see. Wake up!"

Darkness surrounded the First Child and soon…silence. A silence so massive that it must've rivaled the devastation caused in the Hiroshima event.

GASP! Rei gasped, waking up inside the plug, feeling like someone had been out to get her in her sleep. Only that whoever they were that were out to get her almost did.

Is protecting Commander Ikari…truly not worth protecting? Is it right to allow Commander Ikari…to be killed by his son?

-x-

As if by a supernatural shock to the head, Shinji awoke to the silence of the new day, which was what he awaited for, and rose up from the bed. He stretched his arms and legs and picked up one of his Glock 17 pistols that he had on the nightstand and chambered a bullet. Before the day was over, there would be blood on fire, on the ground, in the water and in the air. That blood would belong to any that stood in his way. But first, he had to make a short trip to a different place in the city…to see a face withered by emotions he had banished from his own face.

He picked up his bag of guns and left out the front door, never to return.

-x-

Even though he knew there was no point in actually going, Kozo decided to go see Yui's grave for the sake of appearances. He guessed he just needed to remind himself that, while she still resided within the Eva on a spiritual level, the young woman was no longer around on the physical level. The lack of a maternal influence was probably another layer to the reason Shinji was the way he was today, and why he decided to murder his family above all else he decided to murder. He could've gone home like he wanted to, but he chose to visit an empty grave to get a weight off his shoulders, and the fear of what Shinji could do to him if he wanted to waste him, as he couldn't shake the details of Shinji's questionable recollection of him from the past to the present.

Was everything that happened over the years truly worth the pain and suffering he had to go through, Yui? He thought, still troubled by the fact that Shinji was beyond salvation. Shinji's not interested in anything related to anyone's goal or goals, helping people survive, or appears concerned about the Angels yet to appear. Was everything that happened in the years after you left worth the pain and suffering, Yui?

As he drove back into the abandoned city from the vast cemetery, the elderly man pondered how long it would be before NERV was invaded by the boy they thought they could control. Unless, of course, he was already there and dealing in death and mayhem. The streets were as empty as sinks on display or swimming pools without swimmers, something that didn't sit too well with Fuyutsuki; he hated the loneliness and preferred the comfort of anyplace, no matter how stained or tarnished by sins, that had people in it. It then made him wonder if Shinji, based on some of the drawings he had seen, periodically imagined the world around him as an desolate environment with only himself around.

"If they did this to Shinji on purpose," he recalled Jericho Higurashi's words prior to leaving back to Tokyo-3, "deliberately, withholding all medical treatment and therapeutic requirements to rehabilitate him for societal reintroduction, if he ever got out, that is, for many years, then it's moot to even try and help him any further. The damage is done, and it's something you can't fix, anymore."

He parked his car and entered the empty lobby of his building, entering the elevator and going up to the fifteenth floor. Unfortunately, upon reaching his apartment door, he stopped; the door was open, with signs of forced entry, based on the fact that the doorknob was on the floor. Slowly, he stepped inside, seeing that nothing was out of the ordinary so far, so whoever had broken in was either long gone or out of sight. He could only deduce that it had to be someone that thought he'd have something worth stealing, since there was the uncommon belief that elders had items of significant value, but something was wrong with that theory: He hadn't seen any other apartment doors broken out in the hall. With nothing much to lose, the man reached into his uniform coat and withdrew a pistol; just because he disliked violence in extreme cases, it didn't mean that he liked to risk his life.

As he walked into the kitchen, he noticed one thing that was off: A piece of paper on the table, with an arrow pointing toward the living room area. He followed it to said area and found another piece of paper on the floor, right next to his closet, which had been open, with its contents spilled out; he didn't keep much in there, except for his spare coats, his umbrella, boxes filled with old papers from his days as a college teacher…and…

Oh, no, he thought, realizing that whoever broke into his house could've decided to take the machete he kept hidden in his closet, and picked up the paper, revealing who had been here. Oh, no.

It was a drawing of Shinji himself, back when he was a child that recently out of diapers, dressed in a yellow shirt with blue shorts; Fuyutsuki recalled Shinji had been dressed that way the day Yui participated in the Contact Experiment. It was all the proof the elder needed to know that Shinji himself had found out where he lived.

Suddenly, he heard a noise that sounded like the carrying of a heavy load and looked up behind him, seeing the ultimate nightmare made real: Shinji, standing in front of him, armed with his bag of weapons and wearing some of them on his person, hidden partially beneath his coat. He was frightened by the new addition to his arsenal, his old machete, looking like new, gripped in his right hand.

Shinji stared at him, but didn't approach him, as if he was waiting for the elder to make the first move.

Fuyutsuki, as much as he thought of raising up his gun at the boy, stood still for a moment before he made his choice. He raised his gun up…and threw it aside; it was pointless to try and fight Shinji.

"Shinji," he spoke up, "if you want your father…I'll take you to him."

Then, as if appealed by the elder's decision, Shinji sheathed the machete in his weapons bag and re-armed himself with his Glock 17.

Fuyutsuki then felt like the temperature of his surroundings dropped a few degrees, and found himself in a strange setting. It looked like an abandoned city, aged down, corroded, withered, decayed and with buildings crumbling down every now and then. In front of him were the two personas of Shinji instead of Shinji himself.

"Well, then," went the Driving Force persona, leaning his head down forward at the man.

"Whenever you're ready to lead the way," ended the Slayer persona, giving the man a cruel smirk.

-x-

"…Sometimes, I had to wonder if it was ever a mistake to send your brother away," went Gendo, standing in front of a large, shrouded object that appeared to be a type of cylinder with a bubbling sound beneath it.

A small plaque set at the base of the lower half of the cylinder glistened in the dim lighting. Behind and surrounding it, a series of slight giggles from a legion of young girls that looked emotionless. The plaque's only other details was the name of who resided inside it.

"I could ask for your forgiveness again and again right now, like I did years ago, but you probably wouldn't forgive me," he continued. "But…for whatever it's worth, what I'm trying to achieve here is for the good of the people, and I wish your brother could see it that way."

He looked at the plaque's engraved name and sighed at the reminder of his sin as a parent: Mako Ikari. It was his first time holding one of his sons, and in one moment, one wrong step he made, he had caused a great wound that couldn't mend completely. While he might've walked for unintentional homicide, he couldn't ever hold Shinji after that day, not without being reminded that his brother died at his hands. He had once read up on the myths relating to twins and had often wondered if, in at least a previous life if the boys were best friends that died in battle…or if one of them was corrupted before he drew his first breath. He had doubts on the theory of there being evil twins; even though Shinji had the look of someone truly evil (the look he obtained after shedding his worn-out cloths and cutting his hair), Gendo couldn't deduce his son was like a tyrant or possessed by a demon, just angry.

"I hope I can be forgiven one day, but if it's between me and your brother," he continued, "I have to make sure that I live long enough to direct this hopeless world into what could be the only future left available to take."

-x-

Fuyutsuki found it awkward, if not insane, to be in the same car with the only, living son of his former student and a man he detested. The drive was quiet, as Shinji never made a sound, like he had something on his mind, which the old man could only guess at was nothing more than the murder of his father. And every time he turned just to look at him, maybe even to question what happened to his blue cap that was missing, Shinji, who never looked back at him, simply raised his gun and gestured for him to drive to NERV. Yes, he found it very awkward to be in the same car with him.

"Your artwork is exquisite," he then said to him, just trying to make nice. "You're talented as an artist, Shinji Ikari."

It was only natural for Shinji to deduce that this man had seen his drawings after he escaped from his father, since when he left the institution, he pretty much had to cast aside his only luxury. But being able to draw once more before he left Fuyutsuki's home proved that he still had his flair when it came to drawing his childhood memories on paper. And as for the elder, Shinji had some measure of doubt he would even pull the trigger and put a bullet in this man; Fuyutsuki had never once made himself an actual threat to Shinji, so Shinji didn't feel much of a reason or need to kill him, even if he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe he just hated having to kill those that wanted very little to do with him, but had no interest in causing him pain.

"…And…I've spoken with your former therapist," the man spoke up again, which caught Shinji's negative attention, as he gripped the handle of the gun. "I… It was just a small conversation about what happened, and why he stopped seeing after four visits. I hope you can understand that he didn't stop because of something you did, Shinji. He was forced to stop. Your father threatened him."

As he kept explaining his visit to the former therapist, Shinji recalled the other three days that Jericho Higurashi had visited him. His Driving Force persona had to admit to the Slayer persona that the man had almost gotten him to speak with his voice. Almost, but then the visits stopped. Since then, he couldn't let himself be troubled with the lack of positive visitors that he might've seen only a few times.

Fuyutsuki sighed and decided to cease trying to converse with Shinji; if the psychological damage, along with the physical and mental ones, had been caused too long ago, then there was no point in trying to reach out to the victim that was trapped in a personal Hell that had no way out. The damage was done, and it couldn't be mended. The horse was dead, so he had to get off.

"I am sorry you had to suffer the way you did, Shinji," he told him.

Shinji's grip on his gun then loosened, a calmness before the return of a great storm.

-x-

"…Looks like everyone that lived in Tokyo-3 relocated to Tokyo-2 and towns far from here," went Ritsuko to Misato.

"Can you blame them?" She asked her. "They're scared. I don't think they'll ever want to return to this city again. Tokyo-3's become no different from a ghost town."

"And several more people down here are leaving, despite the order that access to and from headquarters is restricted."

"It doesn't look like anyone's gonna listen to Commander Ikari now. If it's between Shinji and living to see another day, they'll choose to live for another."

-x-

"…Man, I'll be glad to be out of this place," said a male technician to a female technician, as they and a dozen others walked out of the metal pyramid.

"Say," went another of the men leaving the building. "Isn't that Sub-Commander Fuyutsuki's car?"

"Yeah, he's the only one that drives an old Subaru that's faded green," answered another of the women.

When the Subaru came closer, some of them noticed that the sub-commander wasn't by himself in the car; all they could see was that he had a passenger with him. It then stopped a few feet in front of them and the elderly man saw them and had an expression of restrained fright. The passenger side door opened and the people froze in terror: Shinji, with one of his guns in hand, looking at them with an empty stare. If anything, the boy was wondering if they were any wiser than the last time he was within NERV HQ, which would've allowed for them a greater clarity.

He walked around the car and took a step forward the primary entrance…and the crowd of personnel that wanted to live backed away. His Driving Force persona manifested in front of him and looked up at the people, who had to wonder if they lost their sanity.

"It's a day of fatality!" He shouted at them. "Now, in case the blood message wasn't seen by many of you when the first escape was made, if there's any of you here…that don't want to suffer…then I suggest you run while you still have your legs attached."

Then, Slayer manifested and added, "Only Father will pay for his cruelty…and those that get in the way of vengeance."

The people then ran past Shinji, not even bothering to scream; since he was letting them go, they were better off just leaving and not looking back.

-x-

"…He's here! Shinji Ikari's here!" One of the men that hadn't left yet yelled in the halls, alerting Misato and Ritsuko, who grabbed their pistols and got set for conflict.

As they ran out into the halls where dozens of people were running about, Gendo, along with the remaining bounty hunters, at least twelve of them, were heading out to the front of the Geo-Front where the boy was.

-x-

…Shinji…he is coming, that voice, that same, disembodied voice that he'd been hearing spoke up again, which left Shinji wondering who or what was trying to talk to him.

The sunlight that was fed through whatever made it possible irritated him a little; he might as well as been born and raised in darkness for all his life and didn't see the light until after he had escaped the Geo-Front the day he was released from the institution. But there was some satisfaction in being in the light, along with a sense of freedom and invincibility. Still, he had to own up to his acceptance of the darkness having a light he grew accustomed to, and in the shadows that he saw more than what others could only gaze at the surface of seeing.

"Here…they…are," went Driving Force, and Shinji's body saw his father, protected by twelve large men that were no different from the other men that came after him, or the cops that chased him, or the bastard he killed after being shot in the leg.

"Like an army's going to protect him," added Slayer.

"So, you're him, aren't you?" One of them asked, most likely able to his two personas. "You're the Third Child. The crazy kid that got locked up for murder. Heh-heh, the child nobody wants. Nice outfit. Not so sure about your hairdo, though."

The environmental temperature grew cold as Slayer pointed a left, index finger at Gendo's head.

"We just want Father," Driving Force explained. "Are you really willing to suffer for him?"

"He's off-limits," said another of the men. "We're getting paid a lot to put you down…and we're putting you down."

"Yeah!" The rest of them raised their voices.

Shinji inhaled and exhaled through his nose; he wasn't surprised that his father would do this to protect himself, since he never did a thing for him that had some meaning or out of his responsibilities as a parent to his child. But he wouldn't deny what was coming from their refusal to stand aside and let the vengeance be carried out.

"Then, I guess you've made your decision," went Slayer, who began to fade away with his fellow persona from sight.

"Now, let's see you enforce it," finished Driving Force, who disappeared, leaving Shinji alone.

"You're such a disappointment to me, Shinji," Gendo said to him. "I guess you brought this upon yourself for your carelessness."

Shinji's eyes pointed daggers at Gendo, and then he reached into his left jacket pocket, and pulled out a grenade, without its pin, and threw it at them.

BLAM! It exploded and released a cloud of smoke around them.

"Ah! Ah, man! It's teargas!" One of them shouted.

BLAM, BLAM! Two more explosions came, and with them came more smoke comprised of teargas.

Shinji then ran around the smokescreen and into the building.

Fuyutsuki, who saw this transpire from the safety of his car, pointed the bounty hunters and Ikari toward the building once the smokescreen cleared.

"Son of a bitch!" A man with a snake tattooed on the left side of his face said.

Suddenly, gunshots came from inside the hallway, through the glass of the doors and crippling three of the men and sending them to the ground. They looked and saw Shinji, who must've had a change of heart on how to evade or do what he was doing, running back out and wielding two sub-machine guns. Or rather, Shinji just needed to run into the building and then run back out because he was moving a lot faster, despite the disproportionate weight of the bag of weapons he carried around showing no indication of slowing him down.

"What the Hell is he doing?"

"Pissing us off, that's what he's doing."

Shinji then, against all forms of logic, ran up the side of the building's pyramidal structure, and like there was nothing in his way.

"No way!" A guy behind Gendo gasped, who was also surprised by the boy's ability to run up the pyramid. "He ain't human!"

Turning around, Shinji ran back down and opened fire upon the bounty hunters. He had managed to kill five of them and forced the rest to run back into the building, just as he planned. Then, he fired at the glass windows he ran over and let himself into a different part of the building, which stunk of stale air.

-x-

"…Who is this kid?!" A male technician questioned, seeing Shinji on the screens as he ran through the halls of the medical ward, shooting out the cameras he was fortunate enough to see.

"I don't care if he's the Devil incarnate," a female technician expressed, throwing aside her headset device as she got up from her chair, "I'm not staying around to get killed by him!"

"Amen to that, sister!" Another guy agreed with her and ran out the room with her.

"Hey, wait for me!" The other guy yelled and followed them.

-x-

In the plug, Rei, hearing the sounds of people running around and screaming, decided that it was no longer necessary to wait in Unit-01 and climbed out of the enclosed environment. She hoped that by paying attention to her dream from last night, she would understand what was the right thing to do about Gendo and his killer son. Still, she couldn't fathom why there would be another girl that looked so much like her that was a bit more…alive and free. She had never been adept at doing lively things or being social, not even with Gendo, whom she would speak with occasionally.

"I don't know how you could still put up with him," she heard a male voice say, but she turned her head left and right, seeing no one close by to speak with. "He killed one of your boys. I'd be disgraced."

"It was an accident," a female voice responded, sounding familiar to her, although she hadn't heard of it before.

"It was still a surprise you had twins," another female voice uttered, and it made Rei realize something as she wandered the halls down to a different locale: She was hearing voices from the past, words that had already been uttered out long ago. "I've heard stories about what happens when one twin is dead. The one left can still feel their presence, even if it's very minute."

And the fact that she was going down a dark hall didn't ease her questionable sanity one bit. Especially when she started hearing what seemed out of place; how many people at NERV complained about hearing a baby crying every now and then?

-x-

"…He was last seen around here," one of the bounty hunters informed the rest, looking around the medical ward.

"How do you get around carrying a bag full of stolen weapons and wearing a coat on a summer day down here?" Another asked.

"This kid's inhuman, that's how," answered another hunter.

Packing full-auto arms, the bounty hunters looked around the place for Shinji, but not seeing him or his bag of noisemakers.

"Holler!" They all and saw the little boy persona of Shinji's, standing atop a counter with a sadistic grin on his face.

They aimed at him, but he told them that it was foolish to try and shoot at him; he wasn't flesh and blood like they were. To shoot him would be no different from shooting at air.

"Tell me, though," Driving Force expressed, "what do you intend to do about…him?"

He pointed past some of them, and when they turned around to see what he pointed to, let's just say that they knew the meaning of a surprise attack when the use of a distraction was required. Their target had shown up behind them and let his primary persona mess around while he pulled out another pair of sub-machine guns and brought the rain of pain that was the lead of retribution.

"Heh-heh-heh!" Driving Force found it within himself to let out a chuckle, even if it was full of cruelty. "Don't you just admire it when things get out of hand?"

Shinji walked past his child persona, counting at least seven men dead, but he was certain there would be more to follow; the smart people knew better than to chase after him…and the dumb sought out the end of their lives like flies that were attracted to a bug zapper.

BANG! His advance down the hallway was halted by an impact made to his back, and he turned around, seeing a young woman with a raised gun.

BANG! He shot her in the head, blowing her face to Hell.

Thud! What was left of her body fell to the floor, and he moved on. His Slayer persona appeared over the dead woman and he simply sighed at her stupidity.

"You should've just ran for your life," he told her corpse, and then vanished.

-x-

"…We may need Unit-01 to deal with this situation," went Gendo to the remaining staff, arriving in Central Dogma, just around the same time as Misato and Ritsuko did.

"Use an Eva against a boy, sir?" One of the male technicians questioned, wanting to live and wanting Shinji to be stopped, but questioning the moral ethics of using a war machine the size of a skyscraper against a fourteen-year-old that, judging by both the way this kid worked and the time he spent away from NERV HQ, might not have enjoyed murdering people like a sadist would've if he just wanted to kill his father…and was willing to question the confirmed lack of love the father had for his son. "Isn't that a little…extreme?"

"Not as extreme as the boy's body count," another of the men spoke up, driven by his survival instincts. "Use a war machine to deal with a vicious psychopath or wait until he comes here to add us to his body count? You do the math! I don't want to die!"

"We have a problem," one of the remaining women technicians uttered out. "The First Child's not in the Entry Plug! Unit-01's vacant!"

"What did you say?!" Misato demanded, now fearing for the worst.

"Shinji might kill her just for laughs," went Ritsuko; she was actually hoping that the boy would do her an unwitting favor and kill the girl.

"Not funny," Misato retorted. "We have to find her now."

"And the sub-commander brought him here? What the Hell was he thinking?" They heard one of the other technicians question, which was in need of an answer.

Why did Fuyutsuki, who was probably still in his car, bring Shinji back to NERV?

-x-

Now Fuyutsuki had a lot of regret for bringing Shinji to NERV just to murder Gendo, walking down the halls and seeing the fallen workers that stayed. Some were armed with guns while others had probably taken to charging at him and he shot them dead. Fortunately, it seemed like Shinji had some bad aim on some of the later victims he found, for he'd seen at least eight that were still alive, but with a ruined limb or two; instead of dead, he had left them crippled.

"Aaahh…that kid ain't right," said one of the women that lost a leg.

"Which way did he run off to?" Fuyutsuki asked her, helping her up.

"He's on his way to Terminal Dogma," she answered him.

Terminal Dogma? But why would he go there?

As he helped the woman get to Central Dogma, the boy that brought death and tragedy with him had come across more workers that shot at him, forcing him to kill them with his guns.

BANG! Shinji's eyes looked upon the blood spilling from his right hand under the sleeve of his coat, no doubt from the two bullet holes that pierced his limb…that still worked for him.

"Oh, just die already!" A man yelled at him, but Shinji couldn't do that right now.

He took a grenade and threw it at their feet.

"Oh, shit!" They screamed.

BOOM! It self-destructed and sent them flying across the hall in pieces. And as Shinji walked past them, he staggered against the wall on his left, not because of any physical injuries he had sustained in his trek to his father, but from the headaches he suffered from in absolute silence, just as another building, in his mind, had crumbled. He channeled his suffering into more strength, needing to keep up until he had fulfilled his agenda, and resumed his search for vengeance.

Shinji… Shinji… That voice again, called out to him, but it was stronger than before. There is light in the darkness…toward the end of your journey. I am waiting for you.

He inhaled through his nose and took out the machete, not wanting to waste any more of the bullets, even though he had enough to take out a small army. If any more people came for him, he would cut them to pieces, no matter how much pain he felt in his head.

-x-

"…Judging from the decreasing activity in the halls, Shinji's heading…for Terminal Dogma," Ritsuko revealed, monitoring the decreasing activity through the cameras that Shinji kept damaging.

"Can we flood the halls with Bakelite?" Gendo asked her.

"Not possible. The lack of personnel in charge of the Bakelite system make it insufficient for flooding."

Gendo then lost patience and left the chamber; if he couldn't keep Shinji from going to Terminal Dogma by technical means, then he had to stop him personally, even if it meant inviting the possibility of getting killed by him. He had to protect his investments…and he had to make sure that Rei was kept protected from Shinji.

-x-

The color red…was almost no different from the color of darkness. And darkness was where those often choosing to do something they feel would make a better difference than it probably would've in the light. Except now something different has come to light in the darkness…and the red that hid those that still lingered in existence between life and death…dwindled from the world of colors as one such person found themselves unable to stand idle while a massive body count belonging to one individual continued to rise. All they knew from the understanding of what had happened in the last few days was that someone had changed for the worst of reasons…and needed to be shown the error of their ways.

A hand reached out from the darkness and pulled its owner out from a well of distortion. Another hand followed and a head with reddish-brown hair…and a facial structure so smooth and skinny, you could almost assume there to be androgynous traits in this person with an angular jaw structure. When the rest of their body emerged from the darkness, it was revealed to be none other than a woman, dressed in a ridiculous outfit that looked like a diving suit that had been modified with tiny wings on the back. She gasped and breathed for the first time in too many years, and climbed out of the darkness of an empty tube and fell onto a bridge.

-x-

"…Aaaahh!" More people screamed, being sent to the next world by Shinji, either through being impaled in the chest, dismembered or simply cut in the head by the machete he used, soaking the blade in blood.

"Gaaaah!" A man screamed before his head was severed from his body.

BANG! A woman that lost her left hand earlier tried to get Shinji in the back, failing as he turned to face her, raising the end of the machete up for her to know that her time had come.

SLASH! He took her head off and dropped her in two seconds. Right now, the scent of blood filling up the halls was more acceptable to the boy than the staleness of sanitized air from earlier and from his time in the institution…but rather paling to the smell of water from a lake or flowers from a garden that were mixed with the fresh air. As much as he took some joy in those smells when he reveled in the days of freedom he had, he had to accept that those days were no different from pleasant dreams that he rarely had. But whenever he had to do what the people referred to as the staining of his soul by doing the darkest acts that were murder, he had to accept that, while he took no pleasure from hurting people he wasn't after, that didn't cause him the agony his heart had to endure, he felt a similar freedom because he was able to get away.

"Accept there won't be anyplace to run to after today," his Driving Force persona expressed, appearing before him and pointing him to the left of a fork in the hall. "What comes after today is the one we can't run from. The one that can't be beat."

As Shinji turned left, Driving Force looked to the right, seeing several men in black suits and glasses.

"More lambs to the slaughter," he uttered to himself, just as Shinji turned around in time to receive a bullet to his right leg, below his kneecap.

Shinji dropped his machete and brandished two sub-machine guns from inside his coat and unleashed a storm of bullets at them, sending at least four of them to the ground while the rest of them hid behind a corner in the hall.

"Shinji Ikari!" One of them shouted. "Cease and desist! This is NERV Department of Security Intelligence! Surrender immediately, and you'll be escorted to Central Dogma. Any responses from you, other than surrendering, will be dealt with by deadly force."

Shinji wasn't going to be intimidated by such a threat, since he had nothing left to lose. His Slayer persona appeared down the hall and in front of the men in black.

They could've shot him, but thanks to the information they received from the news video, they wasted no time on a thought made visible to them.

"You're all going to die," he told them, just as a pair of grenades appeared; Shinji had his killer personality distract them so he could use his own deadly force. "Hell awaits you."

"Aaaaaurgh!" They screamed, and attempted to run.

BOOM! The grenades exploded and sent all twelve men in black flying and falling.

Shinji walked over their bodies, fully aware that they were still alive, and shot each man in the back of their head, killing them. Then, he fell against the wall again, baring his teeth as pain coursed through him with much intensity. His left hand, out of his control, fired the sub-machine gun at the floor until it ran out of bullets, and he dropped the other one to relieve his left hand of the gun. In his mind, Driving Force and Slayer were examining the deteriorating city they resided in, and saw only a handful of old, rotted buildings remaining after two more crumbled into rubble piles.

"Slayer," Driving Force expressed, "we can't waste any more time. Find that man, find that girl that looks like that other disgrace, and send them to where they deserve to go."

Ignoring the fallen gun, he caught his breath and continued to seek out his targets. Despite his mind feeling like there was very little time left, he had plenty left.

-x-

"…I don't understand," went Ritsuko to Misato, "why would he be going to Terminal Dogma? I mean, there's nothing down there. It's just a dumping ground for failed experiments relating to the Evas. There's nothing of value down there."

"It probably doesn't have to make sense," Misato responded, as they traveled down an elevator that would take them to Terminal Dogma. "Ever since we met this kid, he has been beyond much of our understanding. You think he's going to do something, and he does something else entirely. You can't predict what he's going to do until after he does it. He's unpredictable."

"That's probably his greatest aspect; the fact that his actions can't be predicted by anyone makes him dangerous, and if he can't be caught…"

"He can't be touched," Misato cut her off. "He's like a ghost…or a juggernaut, unstoppable, unpredictable, and unreachable."

"Tell me, how do you think he might've been had he not resorted to murder at such a young age?"

"Probably lacking a spine, plagued by self-doubt, fearful of people and longing for acceptance."

"Why couldn't he be like that instead of what he is now? A spineless kid is someone I could live with."

"But either way, we'd be at fault. He wouldn't know what was going on until after he arrived here, never being informed ahead of time. He's never been trained, never taught why he'd be needed here. It'd be no different from blackmail. But he's not killing out of blackmail. He's killing out of hate, directed toward his family, those that can be viewed as the cause of his problems. Eliminate family, problem dealt with. Eliminate what's left of your problems, nothing to tie you down to what's an inescapable penalty that awaits you."

"Misato, you're crazy sometimes."

"Not as crazy as Commander Ikari has become."

DING! The elevator had reached their destination and the doors opened, revealing a long hallway, and who they were looking for.

Shinji, turning his head to face them, saw that both women were armed, and ran down the other hall that made up a large, horizontal cross; the hall that led up to the elevator and the other hall that Shinji just ran down.

"Shinji! Stop!" Misato ordered, chasing after him. "Don't make me shoot you!"

But Shinji didn't stop. He couldn't stop. Not yet.

Misato gave in and raised her gun at him, and fired at his back, missing his bag and hitting his shoulder blade, hearing the sound that bullets usually made whenever they struck flesh.

Shinji stopped, turned around, and raised his own gun at her, shooting her in her right arm.

"Aaaurgh!" She screamed, falling against the wall and onto the floor.

He approached her, stepped onto her damaged arm until her fingers, which still held the gun, loosened, and then he grabbed her by her neck, lifting her up onto the skin on her legs.

"Aaaurgh! Shinji…" She choked, his grip tightening on her neck, cutting off the air in her lungs. "Shinji…please…"

"Shinji, stop this!" A different voice was raised, and Shinji, who frowned at Misato, looked up and looked behind himself, back down the hall he was running down, and saw a face he'd not seen in many years. "That's enough."

A woman, probably in her late-twenties, dressed in a white diving suit-like outfit with small wings on the back, slowly came out of the darkness. Her face made Shinji loosen his grip on Misato's neck and drop her to the floor.

-x-

Some could've said that it was an act of God or a miracle, though not many people living today had ever seen or heard of Yui Ikari. She had been declared dead for more than a decade, and here she was, looking unchanged from the time she was last seen.

Shinji himself hadn't forgotten what his mother looked like; his drawings were a prime example of how good his memory was, even though his childhood wasn't.

"Shinji, you can stop now," Yui told him; she had seen the bodies he left allover the halls she had to traverse in order to find him, and was immediately repulsed that he was capable of such violence, never imagining that he could perform such acts that would've earned him the death sentence. "I'm here."

His face seemed affected by her presence; his often-neutral expression started to look almost saddened, and his gun-holding hand dropped said weapon. He slowly walked over to her, just as Ritsuko had caught up with Misato and see how brutalized she had become by Shinji.

Yui slowly brought up her hands to his face, almost touching his cheeks, but not still a fair distance. She looked into his eyes, hoping to see some glimmer of light in him, but all she saw in his gaze were darkness. It was as though a part of him had disappeared or had been buried long ago. The next thing she knew, she felt a quick, stinging sensation in her abdomen, and a sudden weakening in her legs. The sight of her son's face was also a fright; his saddened expression had shifted into one of unrestrained rage and brutality with his teeth bared.

Ritsuko and Misato were frightened now, for Shinji had done the cruelest act by far: He had taken his machete…and impaled his mother with it!

Yui looked down at his right hand gripping the large blade, recognizing it as Fuyutsuki's, implying that Shinji had to have taken it from the elder, and then saw his hand let go of it to grab her by her neck.

"…Shinji…" She tried to speak, but had blood spilling out of her mouth, and was moved closer to his face, as if he wanted to get a better look at her.

His lips moved and his teeth separated, exposing his tongue and gums, along with the dark gap that led down his mouth, and the next thing that was unreal.

"…You shouldn't have left me," all three women heard him say, his first words in over eight years since he was locked away. "YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE LEFT ME!"

He then threw her backwards onto the floor and approached her as she tried to get up.

"Aaaurgh! Gaurgh! Aaaaurgh!" He grunted, now kicking her in her legs, chest and arms.

"You left me! He dumped me! They condemned me! They tried to kill me! I don't have time for any of this! There's no time for any of this!"

BANG! Ritsuko shot him in his waist, just below the bullet-proof vest he had on underneath his shirt, sending him staggering backwards. BANG, BANG, BANG!

Shinji fell to the floor, redirecting the pain of his first gunshot to the waist elsewhere while the other three hit his vest, but he soon got back up and took out a new Glock 17 and shot the faux-blond in her left arm. Another round was fired into her waist, sending her to the ground.

"Aaaurgh!" Ritsuko groaned as she tried to get up, but was now at the mercy of Shinji, who was suddenly right in front of her, like a ghost with supernatural speed, pointing the gun at her.

BANG! He fired at her, but not at her face or chest. He fired below her waist, where her legs connected with her body.

"Aaaurgh…" She groaned again, lowering to her front.

With her mobility now stunted, Shinji turned away from the women and left down the hall he was going down. Whether they lived or died now made no difference to him, as he had a bigger priority to contend with. But, personally, he expected that each woman, his mother, in particular, would live, just long enough to see the end of the day.

-x-

Gendo had made it to the bottom of Terminal Dogma in one piece, having avoided Shinji ever since he left Central Dogma to find Rei, finding said girl in front of the giant that was Lilith, crucified to the large, metallic cross after harvesting enough of her mass to create Unit-01 and the spare components for Rei.

"Rei?" He called out to her, and she slowly turned to face him, but her expression was that of mild uneasiness. "What are you doing here? You're supposed to be in Unit-01."

"He is calling out to him," she responded, pointing toward a room nearby. "He is calling…and he is coming here."

Then, they both heard the sound of gunshots and screaming from behind the large doors that Gendo came through, indicating that what remained of his bounty hunters, as well as the security of NERV, had been faced with Shinji, who was hard at work eliminating them. Soon enough, the doors slowly opened, against Gendo's wishes, showing a pair of bloody hands forcing their way through. And Gendo could see him. It was like seeing a man wrapped in all the hatred the world had to offer him, and he wore it, albeit against his will, like a cheap suit to a pathetic party.

Shinji, with just his raw strength alone, forced open the doors that separated him from the one he had fought his way through an army to see.

"FATHER!" He yelled at him, which surprised Gendo, as he hadn't spoken a word in years; the last he ever heard of his son's voice was when he left him in the care of his wife's side of the family.

It had to be his eyes, as Gendo's brow started to show sweat; his son's eyes with their darkness that no innocent soul should've ever been exposed to. He turned and started to run, taking Rei with him to the room where the spares were kept, at the same time Shinji got through the large doors, revealing a layer of blood seeping from a wound on his head under his hair. He activated a switch on the other side of the room that made the door close, locking Shinji out.

BANG! A large impact was made on the door, no doubt made by a punch from Shinji.

"Aaaaurgh! Urgh! Father!" They heard him shout on the other side, banging on the door, creating several more dents on the reinforced steel door. "I will get you! Do you hear me?!"

On Shinji's side, the boy backed away from the door that he damaged and dropped his bag of guns, taking out his Mossberg 500 shotgun, pumped it, aimed it at the door and fired.

BANG! One round was shot, but it didn't make so much as a hole in it. Unfortunately, there was no room for error, and the boy had a promise to keep. He pumped a new round into the chamber and aimed elsewhere by the door, shutting his eyes and letting himself wander for a moment. The world around him became silent, with only the sounds of his own heartbeat and those belonging to two others. He imagined the inside of that room, seeing Gendo and the girl from before…and a switch.

His Driving Force persona appeared in front of him and then walked over to the damaged door…and right through its metallic frame, into the room.

"What in the name of…" Gendo gasped, raising his gun at the little boy, but then realized how pathetic this seemed, to be aiming at a person that wasn't truly there.

"This time, it's no illusion," the child said to him. "I am here, talking to you, looking at you. Escaping is futile. Death is inevitable for all."

Then, the child persona levitated in front of them and beside the switch. It was enough to make Gendo wonder what he was hoping to achieve; a personality manifesting in a visible form was no different from an illusion or the research conducted on low levels of ESP that dealt with astral projection. This persona was intangible, a wannabe ghost of a living person. There was nothing to really fear.

Driving Force touched the switch, his left hand actually phased through the button, but his face, despite being an imitation of what Shinji looked like as a little boy, displayed two veins that showed signs of strain, like he was making an effort to do his part in getting to Gendo.

"You're such a disappointment," Gendo taunted him.

Driving Force looked at him and a vein protruded from his forehead.

"Don't be disappointed in me," he told him. "Be disappointed in yourself…because you couldn't get away from retribution."

Then, his hand managed to press the button, opening the door, just in time for him to vanish.

Gendo and Rei saw Shinji as the door slid away to reveal him; he had removed his coat, revealing several guns hanging on his sides and his reloaded shotgun…and an expression of relentless fury.

"Time to die!" Shinji told them, pumped his shotgun, and aimed at Rei.

Gendo grabbed her and dodged as a bullet hit the large tank behind them.

"Grraurgh!" He grunted, pumping another shell into the gun and fired again.

SMASH! The next bullet hit the tank glass again.

BLAM, BLAM! Gendo, with his gun, shot back at Shinji, but missed with his two shots, hitting only the air around him.

BLAST! Shinji fired again, counting the rounds he fired, destroying the glass of the tank he saw with all those girls that resembled the one that looked like his mother, and their faces enraged him further.

Gendo fired at him again, getting him dead in his right shoulder, but Shinji continued to walk forward, fired another round, and got Rei in her right leg!

"Aaaahh!" She screamed, falling to the ground, never feeling this type of pain before; it was nothing like what she experienced in the Eva.

"Rei!" Gendo gasped, trying to get her up.

BLAST! GASP! He then felt a bullet get him in his waist, blowing him onto his back.

"Aaaaurgh!" He groaned, seeing his son put the shotgun away and taking out one of his sub-machine guns, intent on finishing the job he had started. "Urgh!"

BANG! Shinji fired at his gun-holding hand, blowing it off his wrist!

"Aaaaurgh!" He screamed, and tried to reach out to Rei with his remaining hand.

"Don't try it!" He heard and saw the Slayer persona, just as Shinji blew off his remaining hand.

"Aaaaurgh!" Gendo gasped, blood splattering across the floor, wall, and his own face.

"Don't even beg, Father! Don't!" Slayer yelled at him, and Shinji fired a few more rounds into his father's body; two more went into his waist while four went into his legs, crippling him.

"Aaaurgh! Aaaurgh!" Gendo groaned, never imagining, not even in a hundred years (as if he would ever live past sixty) that Shinji would ever try to really harm him.

As Shinji turned away from his father, Rei turned onto her back and looked up at the boy that showed his insanity for all to see, staring at his split personalities that were right beside him in the room.

"…I…I can see clearly now," she groaned in agony over her bleeding leg, and Shinji's Driving Force persona looked at her. "You're the lost soul your family unleashed cruelty upon."

Driving Force walked over to her, with a cold, emotionless expression on his face, and questioned, "Who are you?"

"I am…Rei Ayanami, pilot of Evangelion Unit-00. The First Child," she identified herself.

He then looked over at the tanks filled with copies of the girl, and responded, "Maybe, but I doubt you're an original. I see your face all around, and I see…too many faces that all look the same. You look like that pathetic disgrace that was my mother…and the sight of her disgusts me, just as his face (he points to Gendo) disgusts me. And worst of your presence since the day I saw you…is that he looks at you…like he cares for you…enough to want to save your life. Why is that? Why?"

"I don't know why," she confessed to him. "Why not ask him? He's right there."

Shinji didn't turn to face Gendo, leaving Slayer to look for him, allowing him to see him, all the same.

"Except that there's nothing to say to him," Driving Force revealed to her. "Nothing that really can be said. Nothing's going to change what was decided upon that day family ceased to mean anything to a boy everyone around him treated with contempt. What that wretched woman that was his wife's sister said was something that will haunt and taunt me to the day after never: If he dies, he won't be missed. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true: If they don't, he won't miss them. There's nobody to really miss at all, really."

Rei blinked her eyes and asked the one question that she decided upon that needed to be asked.

"What about him?" She went.

"Him?" He pointed to Gendo.

"No," she corrected, pointing to something behind Shinji. "Him."

Shinji turned his head toward the cylindrical object that stood out in the room, covered in an old sheet, and its presence got his attention enough to warrant an investigation.

"Rei, be silent," Gendo ordered her, but Shinji was already interested in knowing what was so special about whatever was really underneath the sheet. "Don't go near it."

Shinji went over to it, saw that the sheet was tied down by straps that looked like belts, and started untying them.

"Stop," Gendo told him, but he persisted. "Shinji, stop."

The first of the four belts came off, and the second was being undone.

"Shinji, stop it!"

Off went the second belt.

"Shinji, it's not worth it!"

The third came off like an anvil.

"Shinji, please! Don't look under there!" Gendo begged him, but Shinji ignored his pleas. "Don't!"

He pulled the sheet off and beheld the sight in front of him. The sheet fell from his bloody hands as his eyes showed one of the few other emotions he had ever experienced as a child before he turned. He stepped back and went around to the front of the tank and faced the latest addition to his awful present.

Floating in the orange, water-like substance was a baby, probably no older than a newborn, perfectly preserved, and looking like it was sleeping. But what made Shinji uneasy about the sight of it was not the fact that it was there, but the feeling that he knew this child from somewhere. He then looked down at a small plaque that read what had to be the child's name…and he looked at Gendo with a renewed sense of viciousness.

Slayer, knowing what he saw on that plaque, asked Gendo, "Who the Hell is Mako?"

Shinji returned to the sight of the plaque and read what was there, seeing a date of birth that matched… The birth date matched his! Not just the date, but the same last name, as well. And it appeared that this Mako was survived only by…

"There used to be a brother?" Driving Force questioned. "I had a brother, and nobody bothered to tell me about him? No doubt you kept the truth silent to all ears that knew nothing of it."

Shinji took out his shotgun and aimed it at the tanks containing the copies of Rei.

"It's just as I came to accept long ago," went Slayer; it seemed that both personalities shared the same knowledge to the point where they each could've been addressed as the same person that was Shinji. "Nobody is innocent, not even the innocent, and everyone is guilty, including the guilty. There is no hope left for anyone."

BLAST, BLAST, BLAST! Shinji fired his shotgun shells at the glass, shattering them and causing the mindless, nude copies of Rei to spill out onto the cold floor around them. BLAST, BLAST!

As countless copies fell out onto the floor, he reloaded his shotgun with new shells and resumed shooting at the tank, the strange water that they were immersed in started to stink up the place. To Shinji, it smelled no different from that of blood. When he had shot up the tank to the point where it was unnecessary to continue disposing of the mindless copies of Rei, he reloaded his shotgun again and turned to his father and the girl that, while not mindless, was on his hit list. There was no time left to let either one live past today.

"Shinji…do you have any idea what you've done?" Gendo asked him, surrounded by the bodies of the albino girl he made sure to have an endless supply of in case she died. "You think destroying the Dummy System will change anything? We'll just rebuild it. Even if you kill her, she'll not disappear. She's irreplaceable. You hear me? She can't be replaced. Not like you can."

"You've already replaced me," went Slayer to him. "You replaced me…and Mako…with her. And that's just wrong. You might as well say that you abandoned your children and played at being a parent to someone else's child. But it doesn't matter, anymore, because I don't care about why you did. I came to make good on my word to kill you…and I intend to do it now."

Both manifested personalities were beside Shinji, who pumped his gun and aimed at Gendo's head.

"Any last words?" Driving Force asked him. "Do be quick, though."

"You could've had it all, you know," Gendo told him. "You could've had whatever your heart desired, so long as you did as you were told. This world and everyone in will be wiped out in due time. Probably in a few months, maybe even a few years, three at the most, but nothing will survive. You were needed to stem the devastation caused by a great enemy long ago, and you turned away from your destiny and caused nothing but disorder. You can't walk away from all that you've done."

"What makes you think I want to escape from this?" Shinji asked him; now he had something worth talking to his father about. "You honestly think I want to escape? There IS no escaping this nightmare that is life without anything meaningful. I already knew what to expect when I decided to murder our family, even what was to be expected, what I would have to pay to make sure the goal was achieved. I had spent what felt like an eternity locked away, deprived of any warmth, in the darkness and cold, longing for a time where there would be people that would say things to me. Nice things. But there were no nice things to be said. No gentle hands to hold. My hands became those for choking and ripping. My arms, hitting. My legs, kicking. Feet, stomping. There is nothing left for me in this world of bitter resentment and pain, where even every thought in my head results in perpetual agony that is too much to take. But I won't go into the darkness alone. I won't let those that hurt me enjoy any fruit of whatever efforts they took to get to where they are…or wherever it is they want to go. The only thing left in this world…is the end, which is synonymous with the coldest, cruelest of beings: Death. Relentless, merciless, uncaring, unloving, deprived of any hope. Your chances of living beyond today are the same as mine…nonexistent."

"Is that truly all there is left to life?" Rei asked him. "And the only point of life to face the inevitable?"

"There's nothing else left to live for," he told her, disgusted with her face because it was so much like his mother's."

"Then…do it," she let it out. "Kill me, please. I'd rather be nothing than see another day."

"Rei…" Gendo tried to speak, but Shinji had raised the gun at his face, silencing him.

Shinji then pointed at her head…and reduced it to pulp, sending her to the darkness, just like his previous victims.

"And now it's your turn," he said, pumping another shell into the gun.

"Shinji, please," Gendo begged, now feeling the color drain away from his face as he felt fear. "Please, Shinji, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

"I wish I could believe you, Father," he told him, "but I don't."

BLAST! He blew a hole in his father's chest, destroying his heart. He watched as his father's eyes glazed over, leaving this world just like that.

He took out new sub-machine guns and emptied several clippings into his body, Rei's and her copies until he was certain that there was no hope of trying to save them. He'd done it at last, and it felt like a weight had been lifted off him. His Driving Force and Slayer personas disappeared, and he discarded his guns, all save a Glock 17 and the shotgun, walking to the tank that contained his dead twin.

"Mako," he sighed. "It's all over now."

BLAST! He shot the bottom of the tank and shattered the glass, spilling out the blood-smelling liquid and he caught the remains of his twin. Since they had been together in the beginning, if he was truly his twin, it was only befitting that they leave together, even though Mako had left long ago.

-x-

Misato, despite her injuries, was able to enter the room that Shinji had gone into, seeing the giant creature that was crucified onto a large cross, and the boy that brought nothing but death to the city that was meant to be a fortress against the Angels that would be coming soon. In her eyes, there was something off about him now, like he had finished a goal he had set out to fulfill. But his face seemed to exhibit a degree of loss. She raised her gun at him until he stopped and looked at her. It was only then that she noticed that he had a gun in his left hand…and a baby in the other.

He raised his head at her…and then tossed the gun aside.

"It's not necessary," he told her, slowly moving to the edge of the lake of what Misato had learned was LCL, the substance needed for the Evas. "I can't fight the inevitable, anymore. I've already fought it for years, and it hurts to hold it at bay."

She saw him fall to his knees and then to his chest. He then turned over and released the baby that seemed dead.

"Who's that?" She questioned him.

"Mako," he answered back.

"Do you know who he is?"

"My brother."

"Your elder twin."

"For a long time, I thought I was an only child. I never knew he existed until today. It doesn't matter, though. I mean…it does matter, but…not for long. I can feel my heart slowing down."

Misato didn't know whether to feel sorry for this guy or to walk away as he probably lay dying.

"If you think I'm looking for pity or sympathy, you're sadly mistaken. I don't want any. I wouldn't know what to do with it. If you want to kill me before my life fades away, go ahead. There's no point in me living. I've already taken so many lives, it's enough to warrant my execution, and nothing I could say would change my fate. To people, I'm nothing but a murderer. But I bet they've never been hated and abandoned before."

"You seem bright for a child with a brain the size of a golf ball."

"A golf ball? Maybe that's why my head hurts all the time. Is there anything else about me that I should know about?"

"Is there anything you wish to know about?"

"No. It doesn't matter."

"You…don't regret anything you've done in the days you've been running around, don't you?"

"I learned long ago to cease caring. I threw my heart away to stop from feeling anything. That man…and that bitch…in a way, this is retribution for them. One dies, the other lives…only to know the harshness of what they tried to do. What parents leave their kids with people that treat them like unwanted gifts or burdens they had no right to cast aside, and then send for them and try to exploit them…or even come back after years of absence and pretend like they never left? It only enforced my acceptance that family is nothing more than a curse. One that I am free of."

Misato looked at his arms and legs and saw the bloodstains on the sleeves and pants; maybe the reason he felt his heart slowing down was because he was bleeding out through his wounds. There was likely a chance he could be saved, but that was very slim, and for very obvious reasons.

"It's…strange now," she heard him say. "It hurts… Everything hurts…no more. I can't see…the light in the darkness. Cause… A maddening…cause."

Then, he turned his head to the left as his breathing stopped. Just to be sure, Misato placed her head on his chest to listen for a heartbeat…and couldn't find one. This boy, this murderer, this lost soul…was as dead as they could possibly come now. In a strange way, it seemed fitting that the boy lay dead with his preserved twin; separated in life, but united in death.

"It was a maddening cause that drove him to continue living until he made the family pay for their sins against him," she turned around and saw the little boy persona that Shinji possessed. "They have paid with their lives, in one way or another."

She looked at him and then back at Shinji, wondering what was going on now.

"He's dead now, lady," the boy told her. "His soul's drifting off to where mine will soon follow. My name is Mako, and Shinji's my brother. I'm merely borrowing the appearance of his Driving Force persona, the part of him that made the choice to make the choice to punish the family."

"Shinji had two personalities?"

"Two very separate minds that had the same goal, but worked toward them with a different perception. Driving Force, the little boy, was the primary persona, and the secondary, the one you saw my brother as the day he was removed from the institution, was called Slayer, the one needed to do what Driving Force couldn't do."

Misato looked at the deceased boy beside her and questioned, "Your brother needed a second personality just to kill people?"

"To kill…and to absolve himself of some of the guilt he felt when he murdered the people that were supposed to care for him. I saw their cruelty…as though it was me being abused. Mother's sister made the drive to hurt others easy for Shinji when she said those awful words he heard. Children that slowly grow to hate the people that won't say kind things to them, even when they're supposed to when they're young and helpless, can lead to them doing things that even they're unsure of being right or wrong. But Shinji was consumed by anger…and confusion. He would question himself, not knowing what he could've done to deserve the hate of others, and why they wouldn't tell him before he killed them. He was affected by their murders to the point where he couldn't bring himself to admit that he was responsible for their deaths. So he created Slayer as a sort of scapegoat, one that could live with the murders committed by him and serve as a sort of guardian. It's wrong that nobody saw the signs of Shinji being a child in need of love and acceptance, instead labeling him as a dangerous person, and any that did see him as a child in need did little to nothing to help him. So, sometimes, the ultimate form of vengeance against others is the vengeance you seek…to save what's left of your soul from the damnation that awaits…when those that should've help you chose to deny you aid…and those that could've helped you chose not to. It's choices like that, along with how he came to be the person that he was in life…that led Shinji to accept what had become the only understandable truth to him."

"Nobody is innocent, not even the innocent, and everyone is guilty, including the guilty?" She asked.

"Yes. Those that know you need help but won't permit it are the guilty ones…and those that can help but won't do so are the innocent that have become guilty." He answered her. "Was I the only true person in life and death that cared about him, whether he was good or bad? I gave up my place in Heaven just to be with him when he goes into the darkness. If he couldn't be accepted into paradise or anyplace where people could accept him or even say kind things to, then there's no point in letting him suffer in loneliness with hatred weighing him down. In the end, we're all guilty of what we did to him. Call him what you will. A murderer, a monster, a lost cause. It doesn't matter, anymore. He was my little brother, my twin, and everyone turned a blind eye on him and threw him to the wolves like he wouldn't be missed. People may not miss him, but I hope they don't forget him."

Then, he walked around Misato and to his dead brother and his infant body.

"The sins of the parents shouldn't be absolved, carried, or reflected upon by the children they try to manipulate to do their unforgivable work. One murdered accidentally by their father before he was even a month old, the other abandoned by both mother and father as he continued to live, led a life where he didn't truly live, even in the last few days out in the sunlight, until he couldn't breathe any longer. Shinji…I don't know if your heart, whatever light is left in it, can hear me say this, but I want you to know…that I will not let you wander in the darkness alone. I will stand by you…until such a time comes where you can believe in life being something worth having. See you soon."

Then, Misato saw him disappear, leaving her alone with their corpses. It was finally over at that moment, and the cost was already too high before she had even met Shinji. The very thought of the name Ikari was no different from the words 'sin' or 'disgrace'. To think that so many lives could've been preserved if people had just done the right thing and got a surviving twin help after he had been abandoned by his parents and left with relatives that wouldn't show him love or kindness. Of course, this was only her belief, but there was doubt that any would accept it as a truth.

She used her uninjured arm and pushed the boy and the baby closer to the edge of the LCL pool; she wasn't sure if this was the right thing to do, but it was better than letting them lay there. The baby, the elder twin brother, fell into the pool first, and then Shinji followed soon after. All the while, Misato watched as the baby, due to being dead a lot longer, with its insides all solidified, sank beneath the LCL surface, and then Shinji, who probably never took lessons in swimming or weighed a bit more than his dead twin, started sinking into the orange liquid.

Down, down, down, they sank, deep into the darkness where only the strongest of light would ever hope to find them.

-x-

When word got out to the hospital in Tokyo-2, that Shinji Ikari had died and left a lot of victims in need of medical aid, the people were hesitant to offer help unless there was concrete confirmation. The confirmation came from Misato, who told the police that she saw him breathe his last breath and die; she even told them where they could find his body if they wanted more proof. Excluding the sight of dozens of copies of Rei Ayanami, Shinji had amassed a body count of three-hundred-thirty-eight, including the police he left for dead and the NERV personnel that weren't reached in time. Some of the known survivors were Ritsuko Akagi, who was left paralyzed from the waist down due to Shinji shooting her in the lower abdominal area where her legs connected to her body, Aoba Shigeru, who lost the use of his left arm and right leg to Shinji, and a woman confirmed to be Yui Ikari, who had been impaled with a machete and left for dead.

-x-

"…NERV has been left in ruins," went SEELE 05 to the others of the council.

"The people have discovered Lilith, Tokyo-3 has been abandoned, Unit-01 is useless, and Ikari has been murdered," added SEELE 10. "All because of Ikari's inability to control of dispose of his son."

"No," went SEELE 09 to them. "The only reason the people know about all of this…is because both Ikari and his wife wanted too much from somebody that knew nothing of what they were trying to do…and wanted nothing to do with their goals. And so, their son punished them…along with everyone that wouldn't stay out of the way."

"Did they find the boy's body?" SEELE 01 asked.

"They had to send in divers to retrieve the remains. The kid…and a dead baby that had been preserved. The boy's a record of long-term abuse, excluding the bullet holes. Ikari deliberately had the medical staff at the institution his son was admitted to withhold medical treatment, physical evaluations, blood tests, vaccinations, therapy, everything a kid would've needed to have a semblance of a healthy life…and it all aided in turning the already-unstable child into an outcast. If he had gotten some help, he would've been a better pawn to manipulate, even if his ego was unstable."

"He was a necessity to Unit-01, but now that he's gone, even if we got the Eva working again, its core would need to be reconfigured." SEELE 07 expressed. "What has become of Ikari's wife, who just came back to suffer at the hands of her son?"

"When word got out to the public that she was the boy's mother, the people demanded justice. She was sent to the institute where her son had been incarcerated in; they needed someone to blame for all the death and ruination, and she was used. She wouldn't even fight back, not that she could, recovering from an impaling and being tossed aside and discovering that her husband got most of his head and upper body blown off."

"We'll have her removed from the institute and placed in our custody within a month; having her continue to perfect the technology required in creating the Evas is considered a priority." SEELE 03 revealed to them. "With only one working Evangelion and one pilot at hand, we'll need to search for replacements for the First and Third Child."

-x-

She couldn't believe that her surviving son had spent most of his childhood here in this room. Or that he was constantly abused by the staff, in one way or another, whether it was being assaulted, disregarded, denied medical treatment…or simply left alone to whatever he did to pass time. After Yui had been transferred over, she was given the majority of Shinji's drawings by Fuyutsuki, who made an effort to see her as much as possible after the whole country found out about her relation to who they regarded as one of the world's most wanted psychotics, and she spent several minutes of each hour of the last four days looking at what Shinji made over the course of over eight and a half years. She had to admit that these were passable attempts at leaving behind a record of his own existence, proof of the boy who never lived a real life, but had a major impact on the lives of others…even if that impact was of the darker kind.

"You shouldn't have left me," she recalled his cold and anger-filled words, equaled only to the impaling she received from him.

I shouldn't have left him, she thought, looking at the drawing of Shinji murdering her sister. It wasn't supposed to be like this. It wasn't.

She thought it was blind luck that Fuyutsuki didn't receive any penalty from what Shinji did, since he was one of the many that took his threat to deal in fatality to Gendo and any that stood in his way to heart (and not because he only helped Shinji by bringing him to NERV HQ to carry out his vendetta), but she had to wonder how, since she was told that he had such a small brain with an overlooked tumor that might've been a contributing factor in his death, Shinji was able to find him the way he did, not even bothering to break into any other rooms to do so. It was probably a recessive gene or an abnormality that enabled her son to think with more clarity, despite such a reduced development in his brain growth…or just something Shinji knew how to do without being told anything. How his mind worked, especially with a dual personality, was a mystery that had no answer. But there were to be no answers for her on any questions she might've had on Shinji. Or Mako, whom she had allowed to be preserved by Gendo in the hopes that maybe one day, when science had evolved further, he could be brought back to life.

No, there would be no answers to any questions she might've had on Shinji, Mako, or anything else for that matter that was her children. She had caused pain to the only child she had left that was alive, and now he was dead. The damage was long since done, and there was no such hope to undo it. You couldn't undo the great damage caused to a child that people taught to hate and be hated.

-x-

There was nothing left of what was once a large city that crumbled into irreversible decay. All the buildings that were empty, rotten, unstable and everything had fallen, leaving only cracked streets with dead weeds and dust clouds of atomized concrete and glass. In the center of the massive amount of debris lied two boys, one the size of a small child, and the other a young man of nigh-skinny build, dressed in withered garments that looked like they came from a hospital. From above, it looked like both had fallen into the pattern associated with the yin/yang symbol, with the little boy on the left and the older boy on the right. These were Shinji's dual personalities, Driving Force and Slayer, deprived of what passed for life after Shinji had died. There was no light in their glazed eyes, nothing to indicate that they ever were alive.

When the maddening cause was fulfilled, the inevitability of death just came, and Shinji had allowed it to happen. He felt the presence of his inescapable fate, fighting back against it every day for as long as he could remember when he started feeling pain that he had internalized and redirected, just long enough to ensure he would kill his father; there was never any intention of escaping from the people that would be after him. There was no plan of escape after murdering Gendo, making him suffer and pay the ultimate price. If Shinji had any belief in things others had belief in, then he would've defended his reasons by stating that, while most people that went nuts would try to escape after performing a murder, but he had no such idea of escaping, and that he would still be a prisoner, even in death.

Yes…even in death, there was no escape. There was only a light, so small that it could be overlooked…but only bright enough to ensure some measure of acceptance that it was there. It would always be there, never flickering, never fading, and never an illusion.

-x-

BURST! A massive creature emerged from the depths of the Japanese coastline, or, rather, what was left of the actual coastline. It looked like a humanoid with fish-like traits, but had something like a bird-like face made of bone and a glowing sphere on its front, just below its head where a ribcage appeared to be, protecting it. It made its move on the smaller beings of a nearby town and walked towards its destination.

The Japanese military were near and began firing their tanks, rockets, bullets and whatever else they had at their disposal against what they only knew as a beast that was Hell-bent on destroying the world. But nothing they had to be hurting it; every missile that was fired upon it exploded before it could make contact with it, like a force field of sorts was protecting it.

-x-

"…So, they've finally returned," went Misato, looking at the screens that showed the Angel as it moved through military forces like they weren't there.

Time had gone by swiftly, not a lot of it, but enough to show that NERV HQ had been repopulated with at least five-hundred technicians, support staff, and a new head honcho to replace Gendo, along with the arrival of Ryoji Kaji and Asuka Langley Soryu. Even Ritsuko Akagi, despite being confined to a wheelchair, was still around.

"How soon until Unit-02 is deployed?" The new NERV commander, a man in his late-thirties, asked the faux-blond.

"It's being deployed immediately," Ritsuko answered him.

In the area of NERV HQ where the Evas were kept, the red behemoth known as Unit-02 was launched right out into the abandoned city of Tokyo-3, carrying an overconfident young girl that had a lust for violence and combat.

As the Angel, having plowed through all opposition thrown against it, made its way to the city, the girl, Asuka, was getting excited on dealing with this threat to mankind; it would be the perfect first step in getting over a heavy period of shame and restore NERV's reputation, as well as making the people forget about the failed attempt at getting a boy to aid in preserving the future.

"Asuka, get ready," she heard Misato say to her over the intercom. "Take it out."

Unit-02 deployed the use of its Progressive Knife, but suddenly, the Angel did something the redhead found somewhat off: It just stood still in front the Eva; it didn't even give any indication that it was active, just standing in the middle of the street like some disgusting statue.

"Misato, what's going on?" Asuka asked her commanding officer.

"We're not sure," Misato responded in Central Dogma. "Ritsuko?"

"Its AT-Field is still there, but nothing else about it that we're able to discover so far is nonexistent." Ritsuko explained, which terrified her.

"Try to attack it and see what happens," Misato suggested to Asuka.

"Roger that," the Second Child replied, and charged toward the Angel. "Eat steel!"

The Angel didn't so much as react to the charging behemoth and stood its ground.

CLASH! Unit-02's Progressive Knife made contact with the Angel's AT-Field, but the blade broke in half; the Angel didn't so much as flinch from the assault.

"What?!" Asuka gasped, and willed Unit-02 to hit the field again, but got the same result. "Urgh!"

A second later, the Angel raised its right arm up, straightening out its middle talon, and then, almost as though it were taunting Unit-02, gave a gesture of not to do anything against it.

-x-

"…Tell me this isn't happening," Misato said to Ritsuko, never imagining in a million years a monstrous creature that looked like it belonged in a comic book doing something as crazy as taunting an opponent.

The new NERV commander was confused at this. He'd been recently assigned this position from his superiors, and none of them mentioned the enemy being able to perform such actions as comparable to a person telling another not to do something without speaking.

"Have Unit-02 brought back," he ordered.

"Uh, sir?" One of the computer techs that avoided Shinji's wrath questioned.

"Just do it," he pressured.

-x-

Down in Terminal Dogma, the being crucified to the giant cross known as Lilith became mildly aware that something different was happening. She wasn't sure what, but that whatever was expected to happen…wasn't going to. At least not the way they were expected to. Something…vastly different and unspoken of for thousands of generations was returning, and it was all due to the unforeseen and disregarded circumstances caused to and dealt by a soul so fragile that it tilted to the edge of unspeakable cruelty…and responded in turn with as much cruelty as that which was inflicted upon it.

With her sickly, human-like shell that acted as a prison for some of her soul, and the other prison that was made from her flesh all but expendable, her essence was almost whole enough to make sense of the madness that had poisoned the world. All she could do was hang on the cross, wondering what was going to become of the people whose souls had ceased to connect with their hearts to those of others…and why the sound of a heartbeat that was supposed to be gone had suddenly returned with a different rhythm that was just as unfamiliar with those of others.

Where one cause, the one filled with madness, ends, an ancient and, somewhat, motherly voice spoke out from the darkness within each soul that lived on the planet, deaf to its presence, a new cause begins. One that is far from the hands of desire…and closer to the will that knows more than any number of souls will ever amass in one-hundred lifetimes.

A/N: Well, this is it for A Maddening Cause. But now something new is coming. I'd like to thank the people that reviewed this story of hurt, madness and retribution, and let them know that this isn't the end of everything. And anybody wondering about Shinji, you'd best expect that, like the great phoenix that rises from the ashes of its previous demise, he will be back like something you didn't expect!