I promised all of you that this would come. Now comes the battle that has been on Shinji's mind for the longest time. Marielle's prophecy comes to light as the two strangers of light send their agents to destroy mankind as Shinji is weakened by his own doing. Now, you'll see just how cruel I can be.

19: Light


"Where are they?" Gendo roared over the alarms.

"We have one signal coming from over the Western mountain range," Aoba said, "One coming from underneath the Eastern parts of the city, and one more three hundred miles off the Southern coast!"

"Status on the Evas," he yelled toward Ritsuko.

"Unit-01's forearms are severely damaged," the blonde growled, "Other than that, all units are functioning and ready for battle. I also have the modified rifles ready for use!"

"Good," he grinned, "outfit the Evas with all the modified weaponry, and have Unit-03 and 04 moved to the surface, Unit-02 and 00 will remain here for back up against the underground enemy." He looked over at Ritsuko, "How long until Unit-01 is operational again?!"

Ritsuko shook her head, "Not a chance. The forearms are totally shredded. It's a miracle that Unit-00 didn't sustain any damage."

Gendo sighed, "Alright, keep the unit in the hangar and repair whatever damage you can until its operational."

"What about Shinji?" Misato asked, "If the last few hours proved anything, it's that the angels are gunning for him!"

"He's to stay in the medical bay," Gendo snapped, "I don't want him anywhere near the Eva cages!"

xXx

Touji inside Unit-03 was standing nervously as he waited for his target to appear. His Eva was equipped with an upgraded pallet rifle that used his A.T. Field to charge the internal battery, filling the clip. "Man," he grumbled, "I hope this thing works."

The ground trembled, making him gulp and heft his Eva's weapon. "Alright, ya bastard, come on!" A sheen of sweat appeared on his forehead, "It's payback time for Shinji!"

Suddenly the ground erupted, a massive white body splitting the earth. Unit-03 was forced back by the sheer size of the creature rising before him, while Touji tried to recover his composure. The beast was already towering over his Evangelion, but the body kept coming. The body was actually a shell, a massive mountain of white bone with three large pillars seeming to be horns jutting out. At the top, an orange eye-like mark was etched into the shell above to smaller dots about the size of his Eva's head.

Then came the head of the beast, which extended from a long, flexible neck. Touji couldn't make out any eyes, except one gleaming yellow eye on the tip of the creature's tongue flicking out in front of two massive snake-like fangs.

"Oh, fuck..." Touji breathed, touching his com link, "Hey, Ken? I think I'm gonna need some help over here."

"...bzzt...Sorry, but I've got my hands full over here."

"What'cha got?" Touji asked, "A giant turtle?"

xXx

"No," Kensuke said, his face pale, "But it is big..."

The beast Kensuke was facing was fairly ridiculous in its looks, but as with Touji, the angel's size alone was daunting.

It bore similarity to a large bacteria with a yellow liquid membrane around a dark central sphere with many long internal structures going from the core to the outer edge of the membrane. What appeared to be its core remained at its exact center, revealing an eye the remained still as it rolled toward the city.

Kensuke looked down at his diminutive rifle, "I think I need a bigger gun."

The massive angel rolled to the top of a hill, seeming to glare down at the dwarfed form of the white Evangelion, then tipped forward, barreling down into the city with devastating speed. Kensuke growled, opening fire at once as his military mind kicked in.

The A.T. Field powered bullets sailed through the air, making contact with the angel's A.T. Field, shattering the layers.

"Come on!" Kensuke yelled in absolute glee. The angel roared toward him, never slowing in its advance even as the bullets shattered its final layer, and started eating away at the angel itself. The eye seemed to widen in anger and pain. "Like that bitch!? Have some more!" Kensuke cackled.

He had spoken too soon.

The angel picked up speed, not giving him a chance to flee before he and his Eva were utterly flattened.

x-With Touji and Iblis-x

Touji growled and cursed as he avoided the massive club-like appendage of the angel, even though that was his target. The core seemed to be the angel's main weapon of choice, but he had yet to find out if it had any other offensive weapons.

Then there was the angel's mouth. He hadn't dared to get close to the thing with those gnashing fangs, but it followed him with that one yellow eye. The A.T. Field was another problem he was having. It was powerful. His pallet rifle was barely making a dent in the field's density.

"Can't you guys send me a little help?!" Touji roared as he ducked under the tail again, "Kensuke's busy with his own monster and the other sonovabitch is still out at sea!"

"We're sending Unit-02 to your position," Gendo's voice said, "Hang on for just a little longer!"

"Easy for you to say!" Touji yelped.

"Quit complaining!" Asuka's voice yelled over the link, nearly deafening him, "Boy's always complain about girls, but have you ever tried listening to yourself!"

Touji grumbled. "Yeah, yeah, just shut up and get over - GRAH!" The massive club finally found it's mark and sent the black Eva flying into the buildings.

Touji groaned and rubbed his head, "Dammit!" He looked up, paling as he saw the angel standing over him with it's terrible mouth open, preparing to devour him. "Shit!" He raised his rifle...

...and was nearly knocked away by an explosion that erupted from the angels head. Said angel roared in shock and pain. Touji looked around for his savior and saw Unit-02 standing atop a building not far away with a strange weapon in its hands.

"Whoo! Nice one, Red!" Touji yelled.

Asuka's smug face appeared on his monitor, "You sound so surprised, Stooge. But this baby does pack a punch!" As if to prove her point, she hefted the weapon and fired again, giving Touji the impression of a bazooka. It resembled one, but had two blades underneath it, as well as the cannon she had just fired. "This is the A.W. Mastema, an all range combat weapon fresh off the grid!"

"Heh, now that's what I'm talkin' about!" Touji grinned, forcing his Eva back up, "Alright, Red, that thing on it's tail is the core! I'll keep it's attention focused on me, you see if you can take it down!"

"Did you just give your superior officer an order?!" Asuka roared.

"It was a request," Touji smirked, stepping toward the angel again, his rifle prepared to fire. "Now let's dance ya Godzilla wanna be!"

Unit-03 opened a barrage onto the angel, effectively catching its attention. The monstrous creature lumbered toward him on its two limbs, surprisingly nimble for something so large. It snapped its jaws at him, snapping out it's long neck in an attempt to catch him, all the while Asuka was lining up a shot with the thrashing tail.

"Come on," she muttered, gritting her teeth, "come on!"

Suddenly the beast raised the tail, "YES!" The N2 missile rocketed from her weapon, sailing straight. At that moment, the tail came down, meeting the missile head on. Touji grinned and maneuvered his Eva to safety as the angel roared with the explosion. The smoke cleared, showing a massive crack in the core. Touji growled and took aim once more, not giving the angel a chance to recover.

The core then shattered from the hail of bullets, the A.T. Field all but shattered from the punishment of his earlier efforts. The gigantic creature thundered down, collapsing, the shell melting into a red torrent.

"Hell ya!" Touji whooped raising his Eva's arms in victory, "We got the sucker!"

Asuka grimaced at him, "Celebrate later! Kensuke and Rei need help!"

xXx

"You gotta be - GRAH - kidding me!" Kensuke moaned. After the angel had bowled into him, his Eva hadn't come off of it. Now he was stuck to the creature as it rolled repeatedly over him, attempting to flatten him. "Someone get me off this - GRAH - thing!

Off to the side of the odd dual stood Unit-00. Rei, for once, was torn about the battle. Wondering if she should intervene, or...laugh.

xXx

Shinji was vaguely aware of what was going on above ground. He could feel the other angels fighting, and smiled as one of them disappeared. "They're doing good." He said, rising from his bed, and walking toward the door, "But they won't stop the third one." The door slid open, and the two section two agents stationed there turned to him.

"We're sorry, Captain," one of them said, "But we can't let you -AH!" Both agents yelped as they were lifted from the floor.

"I'm sorry," the white-haired teen said before flicking his wrist. The two men were sent flying into the opposite wall, and slumped to the floor, unconscious. Shinji sighed guiltily, "I guess the angel in me is more violent than I am. I need to try and control it better." He said, and sped off down the hall at a run.

He knew that the two angels on the surface were only decoys, meant to weaken his friends and the other Evas. The final one was to be the destroyer. With the Evas weakened by the other two, the third, without his interference, would self-destruct, obliterating the team, and most of the city. It was also meant to draw him out.

He was it's target, not Lilith. This angel, Turel, was meant to kill him.

xXx

"Sir, we're getting reports of Shinji heading toward the Eva hangar!" Maya yelled.

"What?!" Gendo roared, "Where are the guards!?"

Maya shivered as she went back over a video, "He's taking them out like they aren't even there!"

Misato looked over at her, "That's impossible...I know he's...but they're specially trained!"

Ritsuko leaned over her subordinate's shoulder, her eyes widening, "He's..."

"I'm going down there," Gendo snapped, over turning his chair in his haste, "Kozo, take the con!"

x- Eva cages -x

Shinji stood gazing up at his Eva, its arms heavily bandaged because of the damage done mere hours ago. "This is it," he smiled at the behemoth, and stepped toward the plug.

"STOP!" Shinji halted, turning to see his father leaning against the door frame, and panting heavily. He glared at his son, "What do you think you're doing?! I told you to stay in the hospital wing!"

Shinji smiled and shook his head, "You know I can't do that."

"You can't fight either if that's your plan!" Gendo roared, advancing on his son, "Look at you! You're barely standing!" It was true, Shinji was paler than usual, and his steps were now unsteady because he had exerted his power too much in his attempts to get to his Eva.

Shinji kept the smile on his face, sighing, "Still, I have to go."

Gendo was only a few feet from him now, "And do what?! Die! Initiate Third Impact?!" He reached out and grabbed his son by the front of his shirt, "Why the hell do you think I'd let you do either?!"

"Because that's what you pay me for," Shinji smirked, then, to his surprise, was sent sprawling by his father's fist.

"Don't patronize me, Shinji!" Gendo snapped, "This isn't about being an Eva pilot anymore!"

Shinji, a little dazed from the punch, picked himself up, rubbing his jaw, "For me" he said, "It was never about being a pilot, Dad." The man flinched when he locked eyes with his son. There was nothing left of the little boy he remembered. He stood before him as a man now, hardened by war and loss. Yet, he still wore the same gentle smile he knew so well. "It was always about protecting those important to me."

"But you don't have to die for it," he said.

"I told Asuka that I never expected to live through this war," Shinji smiled, shocking him, "I was waiting for the one battle that I couldn't win." He sighed, then looked at him seriously, "I am not the Shinji Ikari you knew anymore."

"I can see that," Gendo muttered, his son's visage now completely different.

Shinji shook his head, "That's not what I meant." He smiled again, "You may not believe it, but I was sent here by an angel just after Third Impact."

Gendo, for all his posturing and stoic attitude, was shocked to hear this. But Shinji wasn't finished, "Don't worry. I am your son. I am Shinji Ikari, just not like I should have been when I came here. You see, I've already lived through it all. Through the battles, the pain, the death...but so much has changed." He looked up at his Eva, "Right, Mom?"

"You knew?"

Shinji nodded again, returning his attention to his father, "Yeah. The first time around, she managed to protect me a lot. But this plan of your's...it won't work. I've seen that much."

Gendo was shaking with a mixture of shock, rage, and shame, "So what now? Will you go off to die? Just like that?" He asked, waving an arm out, "Look how much you've done! If you know what will happen, then help us! Don't throw your life away!"

"It's not my life anymore," Shinji said, shaking his head, "It never was since I first set out on this...agenda. In the beginning, I fully intended to kill you, Dad, for all the pain you caused me, and the others to come." Gendo flinched again at the steel in his words, giving him no doubts he was telling the truth, "But you just wanted your wife back. Like you said, you loved her so much more than anything else in the world...then you told me that you saw her in me...I couldn't do it after that."

Shinji sighed, and turned back to the Eva to embark.

"Wait!" Gendo roared again, "You can't do this! I won't let you!"

Shinji growled, whirling on him, "I'm not a child any - "

"You're my child!" Gendo snapped, "You're all I have left!"

Shinji felt tears stinging his eyes that threatened to spill over, but his resolve was set. He raised his hand, "I'm sorry, Dad, but I have to do this...for all of you."

Gendo suddenly felt himself lifted off the cat walk, and flung back, and sent sprawling. Shinji wasted no time, and climbed into the entry plug.

Gendo looked up just as the plug was inserted into the Eva.

"SHINJI!"

The Eva then came alive with a loud crash as it tore itself from the restraints, the mouth coming open in a loud roar.

You know you don't have to do this, Yui said to her child as he extended his own A.T. Field, You know I can absorb you for a while to -

Not this time, Mom, Shinji said, smiling at the warm feeling he was getting from her. I know taht I can't survive this...I know you've seen it from my memories.

I have, she said sadly, I'm proud of you, Shinji, you should know that.

I know, he smiled, "A.T. Field, max power!"

Gendo then watched as the Eva roared again and sprouted wings of light from its back and shot up from the cage.

"No..." Gendo moaned as his son disappeared up the chute.

Then a small voice laughed behind him, "Encouragable, isn't he?"

Gendo turned and nearly fainted, "Mayumi?!"

Mayumi smiled, "Yes, but don't worry, I'm not a ghost, nor are you going insane. I'm just here to explain a few things...if you'll listen?"

Gendo nodded, "Tell me all that you know."

xXx

"Kensuke, ya mook, get off'a that thing!" Touji yelled.

"I'd like to see you do this!" Kensuke roared before he and his Eva were flattened once again, "Shoot the damned thing!"

Asuka was, like Rei, debating whether or not to help her teammate. The whole thing was utterly ridiculous, seeing Kensuke stuck to the angel like that, and getting rolled around like some corny cartoon character (AN: with this chapter, how could I not put a little comedy in?).

"Yeah, yeah," Touji muttered, raising his rifle, "Hold still."

"Seriously?" Kensuke moaned.

Touji fired.

The angel's eye widened in pain as the bullets pelted it, causing it to drop Kensuke, or let him slide off, given the angel's form. Unit-04 slumped to the ground, it's power depleted. Kensuke groaned from the nerve connections, "Damn, I never wanna go through that again!"

"We'll show you the video feed later," Touji growled as he continued his assault, "Rei, Asuka, gimme a hand here! This things still got some fight lef - Whoa!" Touji dove out of the way as the angel, seeming to have had enough of being shot at, rolled at him.

Asuke grinned, "This ought to do it!" She yelled, aiming her weapon, "Eat N2!" But before she could pull the trigger, a massive energy beam shot past her, boring right through the angel.

Asuka's eyes widened when she recognized the beam. An enhanced A. to form a powerful blast of energy she'd once seen used by...

"Shinji!" The red unit wheeled around, followed by the others. There, rising up out of one of the elevators, was Unit-01, yet...it wasn't the same Evangelion anymore. Where once green neon armor plates were, now glowed an angry red. The mouth was open in a grim, feral smile while the eyes were wide and white. From the back of the Eva were eight wings of light, letting it hover above the ground, and above its head was a thin, glowing ring. Almost like a halo.

"Wha-what the fuck..." Touji breathed out, his body trembling, "That can't be him!"

"Who else can pilot that Eva?" Kensuke asked, just as shaken as Touji, "C-can anyone get a link to him?"

Asuka was the first to try. What she got was a block. If Shinji was inside Unit-01, then he wasn't listening to anyone.

The Eva then turned toward the sea, and shot away, and Asuka noticed that there was no umbilical cable attached. "How's he even moving?!"

"Pilots!" Ritsuko roared over the com link, "Unit-01's been hijacked! Shinji's controlling it!"

"What?!" Was the collective shout.

"He broke out of the infirmary, knocked out the guards and attacked the commander!" Ritsuko was frantic, "He has to be stopped, or -wah! Wait, commander -bzzt-"

"This is Commander Ikari," Gendo said, "Disregard everything you just heard, and aid Unit-01."

"Doing what?!" Asuka roared, "You know that if he's gone this far, his life's in danger!"

"I'm aware of that, Pilot Shikinami!" Gendo roared back angrily, "And so does he! Believe me, I made the mistake of trying to stop him! Now just get over there and help him! That last angel is meant to destroy everything! Shinji's on his way to stop it! And he'll need all of you to help him, he just won't admit it!"

"Alright," Touji said, looking over at Unit-00, "Rei, help Kensuke and find a power cable, Asuka, what are your orders?"

Asuka bit her lip, fighting back her tears, "Follow the orders of Commander Ikari, and try to keep Captain Ikari alive!" She looked up at the flying figure ahead of her, "Eva's move out!"

xXx

Shinji was in hell, or close to it. The moment he'd spike his A.T. Field, his body had been racked with pain. He was already coughing up blood into the LCL, and he could feel his heart pounding like a jackhammer.

"Just a little more," he muttered, shakily, "Just a little longer."

He touched down at the edge of the city just before it met the ocean, the form of his enemy very close now. Unit-01's exterior armor was starting to crack under the heat and power of his A.T. Field, but he knew the new F-type armor would hold out just long enough for him to complete his task.

Turel advanced on him faster than before, the huge monolith of an angel floating toward the Japanese coast. At his base was a face almost like a humans that that rose into a massively tall head, leading to the crown where the core was sitting like a gem atop a throne.

Marielle had explained her brother's ability. Like the previous battle, this angel was a suicide attempt, meant to self-destruct, and destroy more than half the country, and exposing Lilith to the outside world, making her vulnerable to another angel. The secondary purpose was exactly what Shinji was doing. His A.T. Field would take the brunt of the explosion, but the strain of pushing himself so far would be too much for his body to handle, even if he was enhanced by his angelic core.

I'm ready to die, Shinji told himself, directing the thought toward the angel as well, seems you are, too. The angel didn't answer, but he felt a small tremor run through his mind, almost like anticipation. The angel wasn't afraid.

Shinji grinned with grim pleasure, and raised the arms of Unit-01, "Come on."

"Shinji!"

Shinji whipped around, "What the - !" Unit-02, 03, 00, and 04 were all running toward him, "You idiots! What the hell are you doing here?!"

"What's it look like we're doin'!" Touji snapped as his Eva ground to a halt beside him, "We're here to help!"

"I don't need your help!" Shinji growled, "I can handle this thing myself," he said, keeping his eyes locked on the approaching angel.

"Shinji," Asuka's voice said calmly, "Open the video link."

"No," Shinji said immediately.

"Do it," Asuka growled, "Or I'll knock you out of your Eva. The commander already told us about this angel and what it can do, so you can stuff telling us what to do up your ass!"

Shinji huffed, smiling as he reached for the right button, "Bossy as ever, eh, Asuka?" Her face appeared in front of him, as well as the others. Asuka's eyes widened in shock when she took in his appearance.

"Mein Gott," Asuka breathed out. All of them had seen his white hair and red eyes, but now...

"So much blood," Kensuke ground out through his teeth, then he slammed his fist down on his controls, "What the hell's wrong with you?! Do you want to die that badly?!"

Shinji smiled weakly, "Asuka and I already had this talk."

He was right to be upset by their captain's appearance. Shinji was surrounded by his own blood floating int the LCL, and more was leaking out form his nose and mouth, and even through his eyes slightly. His face was sunken in, making him look almost dead.

Touji didn't look as shocked as the others, surprisingly, "Yo, Shinji," Shinji turned his attention to his friend, "You ain't comin' outta this one, are ya?"

Rei looked a little shocked, "Is this true, Shinji?"

Shinji found himself nodding grimly, "Yeah, he's right...this is my last fight."

"So you lied to me?!" Asuka shouted, "You have given up!"

"No I haven't!" Shinji shouted back, glaring at her, "Do you think I want to die like this?!"

Asuka growled, looking furious, "That's exactly what it looks like, you asshole! What happened to that dream you were teasing me about?! Don't you want to try to make that dream come true?!"

Before Shinji could reply, Turel made itself known by beginning to glow. It was time.

"I don't have time for this," Shinji sighed, readying himself, "If you're all going to be helping me, then you'd best spread your A.T. Fields to max if you wanna survive this." He said, "On my mark."

"Ready," Touji said sadly.

"I am prepared," Rei said emotionlessly.

"Okay, I'll follow your lead," Kensuke said, his Eva stepping up beside Unit-01, "But if you live through this, then I am so punching you in the face!"

"He's not the only one," Asuka growled as her Eva also moved into position.

Shinji smiled, "I look forward to it, actually." He said, hoping they did see the tears floating from his eyes. Turel groaned, the glow becoming brighter. "Get ready!"

I am sorry, Brother, said a voice inside his head, They are making me to do this. Shinji looked at the lowered face of the angel, realizing that it was Turel's voice, May light guide you down your path, Brother...Goodbye.

Shinji flinched, "Raise the fields now!" He roared.

The explosion, as it met with Shinji prepared shield, nearly pushed off balance as he fought against it. The firestorm that erupted from the death of the angel was so great that the sea began to boil. Shinji's A.T. Field began to shatter in layers as the he pushed against Turel's attack.

"Help him!" Asuka yelled, adding in her A.T. Field, and gasped at the burning pain she felt when it made contact with the blast, Sheisse! How is he holding this back!?

Touji, Kensuke and Rei quickly joined them, increasing the power of the shield ten-fold.

Shinji groaned in pain, his heart hammering into his ribs painfully, his breathing becoming labored. Suddenly his heart clenched painfully, "Ugh!" He lurched in his seat, clutching his chest.

"Shinji!" Asuka cried out when she saw him, "Hold on!"

MOM! Shinji called out.

I'm hear, Darling! Yui's voice cried soothingly as she took control of the Eva's arms and kept the field going, Just a little longer. The blast is almost gone. You're doing so well, Shinji!

Thank you..I'm so sorry I couldn't get you out of this thing...Shinji said sorrowfully, I wanted so much to let you meet Rei...and Asuka.

I know, dear, and I'm sure I would have loved her. Rei is already such a darling, I want so much to hold her...

She'll be Unit-01's pilot now, so she'll have a chance to meet you...maybe...god I feel so tired...

Stop that! Stay awake! Yui yelled, and Shinji could almost feel her shaking him.

I...

xXx

Maya was monitoring the battle with the remaining angel, going over the syncronization rates of the pilots, and shrieked when she came up on Shinji and Unit-01. "Sir!"

"What wring?!" Gendo asked, shaken from her cry.

"Shinji...Shinji's vital signs," she cried, her tears spilling over, "His pulse, respiration, and EEG are dropping to nearly zero!"

Gendo paled, and turned to Kozo, "Get me a car! I have to get out there!"

"Right away, Sir!" Misato yelled, answering for the vice-commander as she rushed out of the room, grabbing Ritsuko as she went, "Come on, Ritsuko, he'll need medical attention after this! Where are Mana and Mari!"

"In the locker room!" Aoba yelled after her.

xXx

Shinji felt tired. Far beyond anything he'd ever felt before.

The blast was finally quelling, and Unit-01's arms were nearly melted down to the metallic bones that kept the mech together. The other units were slightly better off since the purple unit had taken the forefront and the brunt of the attack.

Much of the coast was scorched by the explosion, but the city remained safe.

He could still feel his mother calling out to him, but he couldn't hear her voice anymore. He couldn't feel anything. His pain had ceased long ago. He felt numb, the only thing he could feel was a dull beat in his chest that was getting slower and slower with each beat.

As the fire disappeared, Unit-01 dropped its arms and he felt her presence leaving him as the Eva went silent. He felt himself falling. His sight began to fade, as if all the light in the world was being extinguished.

Then, as he fell, Shinji felt a small hand reach out to his own, pulling him up.

"Come on, Shinji," a familiar voice said, "It's time to go home."

xXx

Gendo held on for dear life as Misato drove with her usual finesse across the city to reach the Evas. Which is to say that he, Ritsuko, Mari and Mana were all praying to whatever gods there might be for the ride to end soon.

"Misato, I really hate bother when you're driving," Ritsuko stammered, "But do you think you could, maybe, try to miss one of the damned pot holes?!"

"I don't have time for that!" Misato roared, as she turned down another street, "Look, there they are!"

xXx

"Asuka, keep trying!" Rei cried, pumping Shinji's chest, "Please, brother, don't do this to us!"

Asuka choked back her tears as she breathed into Shinji's mouth again, the taste of his blood making her want to gag. Please, breathe! She thought frantically, There's so much more I want to tell you! But Shinji remained unresponsive. His lips were blue, and his body was going cold.

There was a screech of tires, which caused them all to look up as Misato spun to a stop, and Ritsuko lept out of the car, her medical bag in hand, "How is he?!"

"He's not breathing!" Touji yelled, "We dragged him out of the Eva about fifteen minutes ago!"

"That's too long!" Ritsuko growled as she bent to examine the boy.

Gendo and the other came running up then, falling to his knees beside the boy, "Shinji! Come on, boy, speak to me!"

"Shinji!" Shouted the other women as they came running. With shaking hands, Ritsuko felt for a pulse. Wrist, throat...heartbeat...nothing.

"Asuka," she said sadly, "That's enough."

The red-head glared at her, "What the hell are you talking about?! you haven't done anything, yet!"

"Because I can't," she said gently, "Asuka, he's fought so hard until now...let him rest."

Finally, it all seemed to hit home. Shinji wasn't going to wake up. She was never going to be able wake up to his gentle breathing in the morning, or tease him when he did too much housework..."B-b-but I...he..." her tears spilled over then just as Rei's did at the realization.

"But he's all I have..." Rei breathed out, her voice quavering, "My only family." A sob racked through her chest, the feelings familiar, yet so new. Loss, sadness, but on an entirely different level then what she had felt for Mayumi. "Can't you help him?"

Ristuko shook her head, "I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do for him."

Touji passed a hand over his eyes, "What the fuck's going on here?" He growled, "NERV is supposed to be mankind's last hope! And you're telling us you can't even save one guy's life?!"

"His heart burst, Touji," Ritsuko snapped, causing her to recoil, "Maya kept me informed all the way here! There's no coming back from that!"

By now, Asuka and Rei were wailing crying, Asuka wailing like a newborn.

"You can't do this!" Asuka screamed, "This isn't fair! What the hell am I supposed to do now?!" Her sobbing constricted her chest painfully, "You selfish, son of a bitch! You were supposed to be there! When all of this shit was over!"

Kensuke crept up behind Rei and gently moved her away. Gendo sat across from the German, still stunned as he listened to her babbling.

Touji let his own tears flow. His best friend was dead.

xXx

Shinji opened his eyes to a blinding white light. He felt a gentle pressure on his hand as he was pulled along, "M-Marielle?"

"I am here, little one," the angel answered softly, "You've done so well. I truly wish I could have watched you until this war was over."

Shinji let small smile grace his lips, "Yeah, me too." He said, "Wonder how Mayumi's gonna take this...Ha, who am I kidding? She's gonna be one pissed off angel..."

Marielle chuckled lightly, "I sent her to have a chat with your father, so he would understand and take your place...perhaps he will do what you intended."

"Let's hope so," Shinji smiled.

"WAIT!"

Shinji and Marielle started. A new figure appeared. "R-Rei?!"

"No!" The new angel yelled. Though she did resemble Rei, her hair was longer, and turned white as it went past her face and down her shoulders. Her wings were like light captured inside of crystals, and her eyes were a rosy pink in color. "Marielle, give him to me!"

Marielle glared at her, "I won't let you hurt him!"

"I have no intention of harming him, sister!" She yelled, ruffling her wings, "I'm going to help him!"

"You lie, Arael!" Marielle growled.


Arael appears before the pilot.

Next time: Dream