Requiem 2
From: akaroth <akaroth@geocities.com>
To: yu217708@yorku.ca <yu217708@yorku.ca>
Subject: Requiem - Part Two (normal fanfic)
Date: 10/9/98 5:37:00 PM

REQUIEM


Author's Note:  This is another re-interpretation of NGE.
It will, admittedly, begin in pretty much the exact same
way as the actual series; expect that to change quite a
bit as time goes on.  That's about it..


TWO / UNFAMILIAR CEILING


        One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is
convince her child that the monsters lurking in the shadows of their
imagination are just that - shadows, creatures invented by their
fears, apparitions, unreal.  Thus, one of the most difficult moments
in the life of an adolescent is the day he discoveres the harsh
reality masked by these lies; the day he stares into his fears and
discovers that monsters do, indeed, exist.
        Shinji faced that moment now, staring blankly out of his
cockpit into the crumbling streets of Tokyo-3, his entire being
penetrated by the bleak visage of the Angel, standing mute,
motionless, confused by the appearance of the new target.  But Shinji
knew its confusion wouldn't last.  He felt as if he was sealed in a
coffin, being slowly buried alive.
        The speakers embedded into the entry plug suddenly came to
life.  "Shinji."  Misato's voice filled the small chamber.  "I want
you to try and make the Eva walk.  Think only of walking.."
        Shinji nodded, confirming to himself his intentions.  He had
to try; he had to fight or he would die.
        "Walk," he murmured.  He focused his mind on that one
purpose.  He pictured the Eva lifting its foot, bringing it through
the air and setting it down again.  But it did no good; the robot
remained as unwavering and immobile as a statue.
        "Walk.." he hissed.  He closed his eyes, and this time
allowed his mind no distinctions between his self and the robot.  It
was easy, frighteningly so, to submit his will to the Eva.  When he
next thought, he thought of himself walking.
        The Evangelion took a step forward.
        "It's walking!" Ritsuko cried with excitement.
        The Eva took another step forward.  And another.  And then it
misstepped and fell forward, the Eva tumbling towards earth.
        The Angel wasted no more time.  It broke suddenly from its
position and strode towards the falled Eva murderously.
        "Get up, get up!"  Shinji screamed.  He placed a hand before
him and propelled himself off the ground, the Eva performing the
actions in his stead.  The robot rose just in time for Shinji to see
the Angel stretching forth its hand, grabbing the Eva's arm.
        The Angel gripped the limb tightly, causing bolts to break
and metal to fold upon itself.  Shinji gasped in pain.
        "Shinji!" Misato cried.  "It's not your arm!  Remember that!"
        Shinji did not hear her, not could he differentiate between
the Eva's arm and his own.  He grit his teeth, the pain beyond any
other he had previously experienced.  He tried to ignore it, to
command his Eva to fight back, but the pain was too much.  He stared
into the blank face of the Angel and knew he looked upon death.
        Ritsuko cursed.  "Where are Unit-01's defense systems?"
        "The system is not responding!"  Maya replied, trembling.
"AT field has not engaged."
        "Shinji.." Misato whispered.
        The Angel, as if gloating, callously drew his arm back,
twisting his grasp, snapping the left arm of the Eva in two.
        Shinji screamed.
        The Angel released its grasp, and instead grabbed the head of
the Evangelion as it stumbled forward.  From its black hand came a
sudden light and a sudden heat.  The metal plating of Unit-01's head
shuddered under the assault, and Shinji clutched his head with the
one hand that remained to him in his mind.
        "The front area of the head has been damaged!"  Maya reported
urgently.
        Again, the Angel sent a vicious beam of energy into Unit-01.
Again the Eva shuddered and made no move to resist.  Again.  Again.
        "The armor can't take much more!" Ritsuko hissed.
        "Shinji!"  Misato called.  "Can you hear me?  Shinji!"
        "No response from pilot," Maya whispered.
        Another energy beam swept out from the Angel's palm, but this
one did not merely damage the armor.  The terrible weapon penetrated
it, slicing cleanly through the robot's head.  To the horror of the
onlookers, blood began to pour from the wound - a river of blood,
gushing from the head of the Eva, pouring through the streets.
        "No!"  Misato screamed.  "NO!"
        From inside the entry plug, Shinji gazed dully, unseeing at
the flow of blood eminating from the robot's head - from his head.
I should've run away, he thought.  Then he was swallowed by the
blackness.

        Shinji opened his eyes with a start.
        He was alone, lying on his side, surrounded by a bright,
white light that illuminated his surroundings.  He was swathed in
white sheets, lying upon a soft, comfortable matress.  Charts at one
end of his bed had been placed as a monitor of his progress. Somehow,
he had survived.
        Breathing softly, Shinji turned his face to look upon the
ceiling.  Ever since he had been a child he had fallen asleep with
his eyes on the ceiling.  After a few years at any one location, he
came to know the ceiling intimately, able to recall every facet and
irregularity of it in his mind.  One of the greatest shocks he
recieved every time he was moved to a new home was his view of the
ceiling before he fell asleep.  A new, distant view.  It was symbolic
of the changes in his life.
        "An unfamiliar ceiling," he whispered, and tears came to his
eyes.  Everything he had known to be true, all the circumstances that
had dictated his life had been destroyed.  Shaking, he turned away,
lying on his side, even though he knew he would not be able to fall
asleep.

        Keel Lorenz, chairman of Seele, sat back in his chair, gazing
out into the dark conference room.  Each member of Seele was present
at their own desk, illuminated by a pale light above them.  The
lights were all of different colors, each representing a different
country that belonged to the worldwide organization.  If any one
organization could be considered to control the planet, the honor of
that distinction would undoubtedly fall to Seele.  They were
responsible for deciding the future of mankind - a terrible burden to
bear.  Each member's face was marked by sorrow and anger - save for
Lorenz's, whose visage was masked by the darkness.
        He was beyond that.  He was beyond any emotion.  His eyes, or
the electronic implants that had replaced them, scanned the room
impassively, unconcerned but aware.
        "The Angels," he said loudly, his voice reburvirating
throughout the room, "have returned.  Unannouced.  Unforseen.  It is
a miracle we defeated the Third.  Had they come but a year earlier.."
he left the thought unfinished.
        "Disasters always strike without notice," the yellow member
noted quietly.
        "The fact remains," Gendo Ikari said, seated across the room
in the position of a guest member, "we did defeat the Third Angel.
And we will defeat the others, as well - once we have recieved Units
Two and Three and their pilots."
        "That will take time," Lorenz hissed, "and we cannot predict
the arrival of the Fourth Angel.  I expect Units Zero and One ready
to engage it upon its arrival."
        "Unit-01 will be ready," Gendo acknowledged, "but the pilot
of Unit-00 is still recovering.  She is not currently in a fit state
to pilot."
        "Can you do it, Ikari?" the green Seele member called,
threateningly, challenging.  "Or do you take this money - money
recieved at the expense of entire nations - and squander it, treating
the project as so many toys fit for your son to play with?"
        Ikari did not answer.  "The public must not know about this,
Ikari," Lorenz stated, gazing directly at NERV's commander.  "I hope
you will dispose of this evidence and control the information quickly
and appropriately."
        Gendo nodded.  "That matter has been taken care of."
        "And there is still another matter in the hands of NERV."
Lorenz withdrew a pale folder from his desk, thumbing absently
through the report contained within.  "The human complimentation
project.  This is our highest priority.  The only reason we even need
defeat the Angels is the threat they pose.. to this."
        "I have not forgotten it," Gendo said, adjusting his glasses
with a gloved hand.  "That, I believe, would be impossible."
        "Despite the Angel attacks," the blue member maintained, his
countenance stern, "it is the Complimentation that must remain our
highest priority.  It must not fall behind schedule."
        "I understand," Gendo said, staring upwards, seemingly
through the ceiling itself.  "Humanity has no more time."

        Ritsuko Akagi was a much more cautious driver than Misato.
She turned carefully and drove slowly through the streets of Tokyo-3,
Captain Katsuragi lounging beside her in the passenger side of
Ritsuko's blue truck.  They had just finished inspecting the
aftermath of the Angel's attack, and were on their way back to NERV
headquarters.
        Misato leaned relaxedly against the fabric of her seat for a
second, then leaned forward and began fiddling with something Ritsuko
could only see out of the corner of one eye.
        "What are you doing?" Ritsuko asked, irritated, and unable to
take her eyes off the road due to heavy traffic - traffic prompted by
the evacuation of the shelters and the repair crews.
        "Looking for the air conditioning," Misato replied.  An
instant later she flicked a switch, and a cool blast of air came from
the vent in front of her.  Misato leaned back again with a contented
sigh.
        "The air conditioner is, in my mind, the greatest achievement
of humanity," she said.
        The traffic began to pan out, and Ritsuko found herself able
to turn to face Misato.  "Did you know Shinji recovered
conciousness?" she asked.
        Misato looked up with interest.  "Really?" she replied.  She
paused a second, her eyes focused into the distance, dwelling.  "I
meant to visit him this morning, too.  I wanted to check on him." She
sighed heavily.  "I completely forgot.. how is he?"
        "No _external_ wounds," Ritsuko replied, "but his memories
are a little confused."
        Misato drew in a sharp breath.  "It's not-"
        "No," Ritsuko interrupted hurriedly, "no sign of mental
contamination.  It happened too suddenly for that.  It's just the
severity of the burden imposed upon his cranial nerves - he may take
some time recovering."
        "His _mind_," Misato corrected.  "He's a human being, not a
machine like the MAGI or the Evas."
        Ritsuko did not reply.  She looked straight ahead instead,
turning her attention to the primary task she was responsible for -
driving.  They passed by a huge weapon being transfered throughout
the city by construction crews, its gunlike barrel gleaming in the
sunlight.
        Misato looked at it, enraptured.  "If the Evas and this city
function properly, we'll win," she said, and sounded convinced.
        Ritsuko smiled, but there was a hint of derision in it.
"That's certainly an optimistic point of view - especially
considering the circumstances involved with our first target."
        "Yeah, well-" Misato stopped and thought a second.  "It's not
optimism so much as hope.  If we don't win, we die.  And if we're
devoid of hope, there's no reason for us to keep living.  Hope is a
necessecity for human life.  And I have faith in humankind - that's
why I believe we'll win.  I wouldn't be here otherwise."
        Ritsuko considered this, then nodded.  "Yes.. I see what you
mean."  She turned to Misato.  "It's nice talking to you, Misato.
It's very.. refreshing."
        "People are too cynical nowadays," Misato muttered.
        "Perhaps they have a right to be," Ritsuko said quietly.

        It was several hours before Shinji had the courage to leave
his bed.  Carefully avoiding looking at the ceiling, he swung himself
off the edge and placed his bare feet onto the cold, hard floor.
After a short time searching under the pale window light, he found a
pair of slippers.  There was a venitian blind positioned above the
windowframe, and Shinji jerked the cord quickly, dismissing the
intrusive sunlight.  He lay back against the wall, comforted by the
still darkness.
        A minute later he cautiously turned the doorknob set into the
wooden door of his room.  Before stepping out, he made sure his
white, sheetlike hospital robe was fastened securely.  He felt
vulnerable and sickly wearing it, but it was better than nothing.
        The corridor beyond his room appeared as though it might lead
to some kind of afterlife.  One side had various doors set into it at
room-sized intervals, wheras the other was pure glass, and cast a
luminescant glow upon the hallway.  Shinji stepped out across the
floor and stared out the window directly opposite his room.
        The window presented a view that was decidedly unspectacular
- a good part of the hospital building was visible, as were some
buildings in the distance, but nothing more.  But that image quickly
faded from Shinji's vision - he suddenly noticed a pale reflection of
himself was visible in the glass.
        Shinji looked confusedly at this ghost of himself.  He put
his hand to the glass, and his double mirrored the action precisely,
their palms making contact.  This is wrong, Shinji thought.  I
shouldn't be here.  I shouldn't be alive.
        I died, he thought, grasping within his fragmented memory for
answers.  I was killed by - killed by an Angel.  It put its hand on
my forehead and-
        The boy on the other side of the glass looked small and
frightened and alone.  Shinji turned away from him.  He backed away
from the window and began walking down the corridor, quickly, his
head down and his eyes focused on the floor.  He didn't care which
direction he was going.
        Suddenly a familiar and unusual sound reached his ears.  He
looked up just in time to see a doctor wheeling someone by on a
stretcher.  Shinji stepped aside, allowing the patient to pass.
        He recognized the girl on the stretcher.  She lay prostate,
her arm and face still bandaged in the places they had previously
been.  Her face was expressionless, emotionless.  As she passed
Shinji, she looked at him with her one visible eye.
        Her eye was red.. like blood.. like her blood.  Shinji could
not avert his gaze.  She was the reason he had piloted the Eva.. to
save her from the pain.   He nearly laughed, thinking back on it -
she couldn't possibly have fought the Angel in her condition.  Better
that he had died fighting it.
        But he hadn't died, had he?  The stretcher wheeled past him,
taking its inhabitant elsewhere.  Shinji turned to the window behind
him, staring into the streets of Tokyo-3, and staring into himself.
        Rei.  Her name had been Rei.

        Misato looked around the hospital waiting room with
trepidation.  It was nearly empty, with a few lonely people in white
gowns staring gloomily into space or at the lone television installed
in the upper right corner of the room.  Then the small figure at the
back, staring at the floor, caught her eye.
        "Shinji?" she asked, walking across the room towards him.
        Shinji lifted his head.  "M-miss Misato?" he asked.  He
looked weak and shaken, but intact.  He even attempted a smile.
        "Come on," Misato said, smiling, offering him her hand.  He
took it uncertainly, and she helped him to his feet.
        "Where are we going?" he asked.
        "Why, to find you a place to live, of course," Misato
replied.  "We'll have to pick up your clothes first, though."
        Shinji nodded, and swallowed.  Misato looked at him with deep
concern.  He had been badly upset by the experience, that much would
be certain.  No one could live through something like that and not be
affected, regardless of whether they were concious or not.
        Misato looked into Shinji's eyes.  He looked away for a
second, uncomfortable, but she caught and held his gaze.  "Will you
pilot Eva again, Shinji?  There will be more Angels, we know that for
sure.  But we can't force you to do it."
        "I don't have a choice," Shinji murmured.
        Misato sighed.  She didn't know what else to say to him, how
else to comfort him.  She felt miserable for being part of what was
being done to Shinji, what had been done to Shinji, but what else
could she do?
        Taking his hand again, she led him out of the waiting room.

        They drove in silence to the allotment building of NERV
headquarters, where residency was doled out and monitored.  They
climbed a few flights of stairs before emerging into a large, bleak
room, barren save for a model of Tokyo-3 in its center.  A man behind
a desk with a computer on it was the Residential Officer, who helped
Shinji to find a place of residence.
        "Yes, block six is quite nice and-" the man looked, puzzled,
at the ID card Shinji had handed him.  "Are you commander Ikari's
son?"
        "Yes, he is." Misato answered for him.
        "Well, then, won't you be living with your father?"
        "No, I don't think so," Shinji said quietly.
        "Hmm, well."  The man turned to his computer and typed in a
series of commands.  "Alone it is.  In block six.  I'll just print
you up a Resident's Card."
        "Alone?" Misato interrupted.  She wasn't sure Shinji was in
any state right now to actually live by himself.  "Are you sure,
Shinji?"
        "Sure," Shinji said, shrugging.  "I'm used to it."
        "Mmm," Misato considered.  "I have a better idea.  I think
you should move in with me instead."
        Shinji's eyes widened.  "You, M-miss Misato?" he stuttered,
taken aback.
        "Certainly!" Misato beamed.  "I mean, I live alone, and
there's more than enough room in the apartment for someone else.  And
these circumstances are incredibly stressful for one so young as you,
Shinji - I'd feel more comfortable if you had someone to guide you
through them."
        The Residential Officer looked skeptically from the woman to
the boy.  "Is this all right with you?" he asked, his eyes finally
coming to rest on Shinji.
        "Uh, yeah, I guess so," Shinji replied awkwardly.
        "Then it's settled!" Misato grinned.  "Ah, you'll need my
Resident's Card, of course," she said, rifling through her pockets
and finally handing it to the man.
        Shinji gazed with wide eyes at the model of Tokyo-3.

        Presently, the two left the building and climbed back into
Misato's badly damaged car.  Misato, true to form, was reckless at
the wheel, but there was very little traffic now that most of the
Angel's mess had been cleaned up.
        "Of course," she explained to Shinji, "we'll have to stop at
the convienience store first.  We'll really have to stock up for
tonight."
        Shinji looked at her quizzically.  "Uh, why, Miss Misato?
What's happening tonight?"
        "Why, your homecoming celebration!  Granted, it'll be just
the two of us, but that doesn't mean it has to be any less of a
celebration!"
        Shinji, to his surprise, laughed at that.  "That's very nice
of you, Miss Misato.  I've never had a homecoming celebration
before.." he said, smiling.
        Misato grinned.  "Then this one will have to be extra
special.  And you don't have to call me Miss, y'know.  Just Misato
is fine."
        "Er.. okay.. Misato."
        "That's better," she said, nodding.  "And there's one other
place I want to show you before we go home."
        "Oh?" Shinji asked. "Where?"
        "It's a surprise," Misato replied.  The next second, the
phone rang, and Misato once again found herself grappling with the
wheel while trying to open the reciever.
        "Hello," she said.
        "Misato!" Ritsuko's voice came clearly through the electronic
device.  "Have you set Shinji's residence up yet?"
        "Erm, well, I wanted to speak with you about that," she
replied, eyeing Shinji warily - who was, at the moment, staring out
the window of the car.  "As you can imagine, he was pretty badly
shaken after the Angel's attack, so.. I decided to look after him."
        "What?" Ritsuko gasped.
        "He's just moving in with me.  Don't get so worked up - it's
not like I'll have an affair with the kid."
        "That goes without saying!" Ritsuko cried, stunned.  "What
the hell are you thinking?"
        Misato held the reciever away from her ear to avoid hearing
Ritsuko's tirade.  "She never could take a joke," she confided to
Shinji.
        Shinji's face was bright red.

        The day progressed quickly.  The sun, a fiery, glittering orb
in the sky, was slowly dissolved and retracted by time's unceasing
march, transformed from a burning apparition to the serene source of
a peaceful, golden light.  Shinji stared out the car's window,
following with his eyes the soft patters traced upon the clouds by
the sun's slow decent.  They had, quite a while ago, finished
purchasing supplies.  But Misato did not yet want to return home - a
home that, Shinji supposed, would soon be his own.  There was one
more stop she wanted to make - her 'surprise'.
        The car came to a halt unexpectedly.  Misato stopped in the
middle of the road - there were no buildings or habitations of any
type nearby.  Shinji looked around confusedly.  The one
distinguishing feature the area posessed was what might have been
considered a lookout point - a protruding section of the highyway
that people could stand upon, surrounded by a stoic guard rail.
        "This is it?" Shinji asked.  Misato nodded.
        Shinji opened the door and stepped out of the car.  He strode
across the desolate highway towards the outcropping, the sunset
casting an enormous shadow behind him.  Misato followed, closing the
door quietly and coming to stand beside him at the railing.
        A faint breeze touched Shinji's cheek as he gazed out into
the distance.  He was staring at Tokyo-3 - a city constructed of
metal and glass and hope.  It might have been a beautiful view, but
Shinji couln't tell.  He had never seen a more desolate looking city
in his life.
        "It's a very lonely place, isn't it?" Shinji asked quietly.
        "There's not many people, no," Misato replied. "But they've
just finished reinhabiting the city - which means they'll start to
rebuild it soon."
        Shinji scanned the horizon carefully, his eyes staring deep
into the city.  Misato stood beside him, silent, the golden light of
the sun reflected in her eyes.  How long they stood there soon became
meaningless to Shinji.  There was a sense of lonliness here, yes -
but also a sense of peace.  Here, he was at last free from his
thoughts, free from his tortured self.  Here, he could just let his
mind drift away.
        Suddenly, he was shaken from his reverie.  He stared
meticulously at the city out of the corner of his eye.  Had there
been movement?  For a second, he swore he had seen one of the
buildings shift slightly in position.
        "Ah," Misato observed.  "They're rebuilding now."
        As Shinji watched, the previously miniscule buildings of
Tokyo-3 left their foundations and stretched upwards, towards the
sky.  Huge metal panels set into the ground slid open, revealing
new constructs previously hidden within the earth.
        "It.. it's growing.." Shinji gasped in astonishment.
        Now the city was fully constructed - a gleaming mass of iron
and glass and towering skyscrapers.  People began to enter the
streets again, the repositioning of their city finally completed.
No matter how inhabited or technologically advanced the city became,
there was no disguising its foundation of hope.  If anything, it
became more evident.  The golden light glittered majestically off the
newly created spires.
        "It's wonderful," Shinji said quietly.  "I hadn't imagined it
like this.  It no longer seems lonely at all."
        "This is the city you protected, Shinji," Misato said
solemnly.
        Shinji stared at the gleaming buildings, unblinking.  The
wind blew softly against his face.

        Night fell quickly after sunset, and Misato and Shinji
arrived home in the darkness.  The beams of light eminating from the
car's headlights cut through the blackness, announcing their arrival.
The majority of the residential space in Tokyo-3 was contained in
huge apartment buildings, and Misato's was no exception.  The
building towered above the small car in the night.
        "We're here!" Misato announced.
        Shinji crept carefully out of the car and out into the poorly
lit street.  Misato led him through the glass doors, into the
sparsely fashioned lobby and up to a sleek, metal elevator.  Misato
pushed the button for the third floor and the machinery began to hum
with the activity operation required.
        "I'm sure you'll love it," Misato said brightly as the
elevator climbed upwards.  "That reminds me - your stuff should've
been delivered by now.  I'll help you set it up."
        "Okay," Shinji said.  He was not confident in his ability to
handle these circumstances and yet, in retrospect, he was beginning
to believe living here was preferable to being alone.
        A small sound went off and the elevator doors opened.  The
corridor they stepped out into was brightly lit, but murky and
foreboding to Shinji nonetheless.  Misato hummed as they walked
along it, a rousing, lively tune Shinji decide to ignore.  Finally,
Misato stopped in front of a door.  She opened it triumphantly.
        "Well, it looks like your stuff's here," Misato observed,
indicating a large pile of boxes situated just beyond the entryway.
Labels on the side indicated that they were, indeed, property of
Shinji Ikari, and whether each contained furniture or personal
belongings.  Shinji had very little of both.
        "Actually, I've only recently moved into here myself, so it
should be no problem to get you set up," Misato chatted happily as
she stepped across the threshold.  Shinji, however, hesitated briefly
before entering.
        "Shinji!" Misato said, turning to face him.  "This is your
home too now, y'know.  You don't have to be shy about entering."  She
smiled.  "Come on in!"
        Shinji's foot passed through the doorframe, followed rapidly
by the rest of his body.  "I.. I guess I'm home," he said.
        "Welcome home, Shinji!" Misato tossed her shoes off and
strode forward into the shadows of the apartment, turning lights on.
Shinji started to follow her, stepping into the kitchen.
        "Ah, the place's a little messy right now, but just ignore
it," Misato said apologetically from the living room.
        Shinji stopped abruptly, staring incredulously at the sight
his eyes beheld.  The kitchen had been utterly trashed; dishes piled
up in the sink, and the tables were covered with instant meal boxes,
whiskey bottles, and beer cans!
        "A little?" Shinji gasped.  How did she live like this?  What
an untidy woman!
        "Um, sorry about that," Misato's voice was audible across the
apartment.  "Just toss the food in the refridgerator."
        Shinji took the food he had carried from the car and threw
open the fridge.  To his horror, it was completely filled - with
beer!
        I've never seen so much beer in my entire life!  Shinji
thought, disbelieving.  He looked back in the direction Misato had
headed.  What kind of life does she lead?  Fifty gallons of beer?
        "Miss Misato?" Shinji called.  "The refridgerator is full."
        "Is it?"  Misato replied, her voice muffled.  "Well, just
leave it on the counter for now.  I'll deal with it once I've
finished changing."                                   
        "Changing?" Shinji wondered.  He slid his head around the
kitchen wall, looking into the living room - and saw various articles
of womens' clothing littering the ground, presumabely in a path
leading to her bedroom.
        "Gah!" Shinji cried, quickly retreating back into the
kitchen.  Confused and amazed, he sat down on a chair and waited for
her to finish.

        Twenty minutes later, Misato had finished changing and they
had resolved the problem regarding the lack of space within the
fridge.  Misato had simply removed a sizeable portion of the beer,
saying something about having to drink it all to prevent waste.
        This, Shinji supposed, was his homecoming party.  It
basically consisted of a plethora of instant, microwaveable foods and
a vast selection of beer for Misato to drink.
        "Woo-hoo!" she said after taking a long swig.  "Now that's
the stuff!"
        Well, it wasn't that bad a homecoming party, considering it
was Shinji's first.  But it wasn't exactly what he had expected.
        "What's the matter?" Misato asked, noticing Shinji picking at
his meal.  "Don't you like it?"
        "No, it's fine," Shinji said quickly, "It's just that.. I'm
not used to this kind of food."
        Misato took another sip of beer.  "You have trouble coping
with new experiences, right?" she asked.
        "Er.." Shinji said.  "I suppose you could say that."
        "But don't you think there's something nice about this?"
Misato replied.  "About sharing a meal with others?"
        "Yes," Shinji said.  "It's less lonely."

        After the meal was finished, it was readily apparent that
Misato's place was not in the most spectacular condition.  It was in
dire need of straightening out - and would be, likely, in similar
need after every meal.
        In anticipation of this, Misato drew up a chart after dinner,
citing who would be responsible for which chores on which days.
However, it had not yet been filled in with names; the squares were
all blank.
        Shinji listened attentively to as Misato explained her idea.
"What I propose," she said, "is that we have a game of paper-rock-
scissors for each empty slot on the chart.  The loser of that match
would then be the one designated to that position, and we'd write
that name there.  Sound good?"
        "Er.. I suppose so," Shinji said.  Why, he wondered,
couldn't they just divide up the chores evenly?
        "All right then," Misato said.  "First slot - ready?  Go!"
        Shinji hurriedly thrust out his closed fist.  Misato grabbed
hold of it eagerly.
        "Ha!" she smirked.  "Paper beats rock, Shinji.  Guess you're
doing that one!" She scrawled Shinji's name down for Sunday breakfast
duty.
        By the end of the determination, Misato has lost a total of
five times.  There were, all told, twenty-eight slots on the chore
sheet.
        "Hm.." Misato said, examining it after pinning it on the
wall.  "I guess you were just unlucky, Shinji.  Still, it was a fair
decision process, and I'm glad we've got it out of the way."  She
turned to face him.  "This means you're cleaning the kitchen today.
Well, make sure and do a good job.  I'm having a bath!"

        Shinji lay quietly in the darkness of his newly furnished
room, positioned uncomfortably on his side, facing the blank wall
next to him.  The wall was devoid of markings, silent and empty.  It
was like many walls Shinji had seen before in his life.  He almost
felt comfortable staring at it.  Perhaps, he thought, I'll learn to
sleep like this.
        Unconciously, he curled up into a fetal position, huddling
beneath his sheets.  The warmth of the bed and the darkness of the
room - they reminded him of something.. Shinji had felt himself die
inside the Evangelion - felt his head torn apart, his soul extracted
and diffused.  Why and how had he survived?  And why was he here?
Sleeping in a room he had never before slept in, staring at a wall as
bleak and empty as the void within his heart.  Why could he pilot
Eva?  Why him?  Why Rei?
        Shinji shifted suddenly in frustration, unable to lie
comfortably in this position any longer.  He would lie on his back,
and if that meant he had to look at the ceiling - so be it.  Or
perhaps he could just close his eyes.
        However, he never got that far.  His head jerked too quickly,
too spasmatically, and his forehead connected with the wall.  He sat
bolt upright, suprised by the sudden pain.
        As he stared out into the shadows of his room, a drop of
blood seeped from a small cut on his forehead, trickling down his
nose.  This sensation was familiar to him.
        Shinji bit his lip to keep from crying out.  He thrust his
head into his hands, sobbing, shuddering with the pain.
        He began to remember.

        The collected technicians and officers monitoring Unit-01's
battle with the Third Angel stood in horror as the Angel sliced
cleanly through the Eva's head with it's energy attack.  The huge,
robotic creature reeled backwards, its enormous hand clutching its
head, writhing in agony, mimicing the pilot.
        "Head damaged!" Maya Ibuki screamed, monitoring status
reports with shaking hands.  "Extent unknown.  Trouble maintaining
activity."
        "My God," a technician reported, his voice strained and
wavering.  "The synchrograph has reversed!  Pulse readouts are flowing
backwards!"
        "What?" Ritsuko screamed.  "Cut the circuits!  Now!"
        "I can't!" Maya wailed.  "It's refusing the signal!"
        "The monitoring system just shut down," another technician
cried.  "Pilot's condition is now unknown.."
        The huge Evangelion dropped to its knees.  Its one good arm
shot out in front of it, preventing its head from collapsing into the
pavement.  The open wound still bled profusely, the creature's
lifeforce cascading into the streets of Tokyo-3.
        "Halt the operation!" Misato screamed.  "The pilot's
protection is our highest priority!  Eject the entry plug now!"
        "Didn't you hear what I just said?" Maya threw off her
static-filled headphones, and stared at Misato.  "It's refusing our
signal!  We have no way to contact it!"
        "It's dead," Ritsuko whispered, staring at the giant
monitoring devices with tears in her eyes.  For a second, no one
spoke - a silence that was like the silence of a tomb penetrated the
room.  Then Ritsuko slammed her fist on the console before her.
        "God DAMN IT!" she screamed.
        Misato turned away, her eyes moist.  This had been their hope.
Their only hope.  The first Evangelion sent into actual combat with an
Angel - utterly destroyed.  Even now, the Angel was rending the giant
robot apart, tearing off its armor.  Ritsuko had collapsed, sobbing.
All those years of work..
        And Shinji.. Misato felt her stomach clench.  "We have to be
able to do something!" she turned around shouting.  At least death
would free her from the responsibility for Shinji's fate.
        "Wait," Maya said, her hands positioned carefully upon her
console.  "I'm getting a reading."
        Ritsuko looked up, wiping her eyes.  Misato stared at Maya,
hope coursing through her.
        "What kind of reading?" Ritsuko whispered.
        "Every kind," Maya murmured, awestruck.
        Misato turned to stare at the screen.  Without warning, the
Eva's eyes glimmered, a powerful light illuminating them.  It hung
suspended by the Angel's grasp a second more; then its good arm shot
out, grabbing hold of the Angel's wrist.  It twisted violently,
sadistically, and the limb was torn asunder.  The Angel dropped its
foe, stunned, and backed away.
        "Can you eject the plug now?" Misato asked.
        "No," Maya replied, her voice small and frightened.  "It's
still not responding at all.  And there are still no signs of the
pilot."
        Misato's eyes opened wide.  "Do you mean it's acting by
itself?" she questioned, her voice incredulous.
        Ritsuko stood, calmly, smirking, once more in control of
herself.  "I can't tell you what's happening, Misato," she said, "but
I do know this - we're going to defeat that Angel."  Her voice
dropped slightly.  "That Eva's gone berserk."
        "What?" Misato gasped.
        Then the Evangelion screamed, and its scream was like that of
the demon it resembled, agonized and vengeful.  Misato covered her
ears involuntarily at the sound of that harsh lament, and found her
knees shaking and her stomach weak.  The Eva stretched out its
wretched stump of a left arm and, horribly and wonderfully, began to
regrow it.  But it was not the dull purple of metal, but the pale hue
of flesh.  The new limb was wholly organic.
        "Incredible," Ritsuko murmured.
        Howling, Unit-01 leaped through the air, visciously lunging at
the momentarily retreating enemy.  It collided with the monster's
torso and clawed savagely at its bony, portruding head. There was a
sickening snap, and it was rent in two once more, a strange colored
blood flowing from the hideous wound.
        "What happened to the Angel's AT field?" Misato gasped.
        "The Eva neutralized it," Ritsuko grinned.  "It's generating
its own AT field now."
        The Evangelion lashed out again, gripping the Angel's other
arm with its newly-formed hand and ripping it from its socket, casting
it unfeelingly into a building.  The Angel, little more than a torso
and legs, staggered backwards, attempting to retreat, but the Eva
grabbed it and threw it to the side, sending it crashing down into
another section of Tokyo-3.
        "My God.." Misato whispered.  "What happened to Shinji?"
        "Unconcious," Ritsuko replied.  "I hope."
        But Shinji was not unconcious; nor was he dead.  He had awoken
during the battle, and he now stared, in complete and utter agony, at
the decimation the Eva he did not control was inflicting upon its
enemy.  Never in his life had he seen anything so horrific as this, or
been in so much pain.  His only thought was Stop.
        Stop.
        Stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop.
        The Eva did not stop.  It gripped the ribcage of the Angel's
torso and rent it apart, shattering the black flesh and covering the
robot with blood.  Now, a deep red orb was visibe, set into the middle
of the Angel's chest, gleaming and shining and soaked with blood.
        Furiously, the Eva began to attack it, raining blows down into
its center.  The gem shuddered with each hit, chipping and cracking.
        The Angel's body convulsed with each attack and for the first
time it began to scream.  It roared in agony, a high-pitched, forlorn
sound that froze the blood.  A technician observing the fight turned
away and began to vomit, unable to stomach the conflict.  Misato's
knees nearly gave out, and she clutched a table to keep from falling.
        As the Angel's core began to erode, it convulsed a final,
erratic time.  With this movement, it leapt into the air, its flesh
reforming to grip the Eva's head.  But it was a futile gesture.  The
Eva coldly took a step backwards and swung its outstretched fist,
connecting solidly with the cracked, blood-red orb and shattering it.
        The Angel exploded.  An enormous halo of white light enveloped
the combatants, annihilating all percieved traces of either on the
monitoring devices.
        Nobody spoke.  Nobody moved.  There was nothing to say, no
words that could possibly express the inhumanity of the spectacle they
had just witnessed.  But they had won.  Ritsuko's prediction had been
correct.  The Eva had, indeed, defeated the Angel.
        But to do it like that.. Misato choked.  "Is the Eva still
intact?" she assked, her voice shaking with the effort.
        "Yes," Maya murmured.
        As this was spoken, the explosion cleared, revealing the Eva
on its knees.  It had been very badly damaged, but it was intact, and
possibly still functional.  There was no sign whatsoever of the Angel.
It had been utterly obliterated.
        "Pilot's life signs confirmed," Maya said.  "The Eva is still
in working condition, but a little beat up."  She drew a long,
shuddering breath, then turned to Ritsuko.  "I guess we won."
        Ritsuko nodded.  She was totally in command of herself and
the situation once more.  "Bring the Evangelion in for repairs.
Rescue the pilot and have him brought directly to the hospital."
        "The pilot's protection is top priority!" Misato shouted, but
no one really paid her any attention.  People were already leaving,
seeking activity to take their minds off the events they had just been
privy to.
        Misato sighed.  "Thank God he's alive," she murmured.  If he
had died and she had lived, she would not have been able to live with
herself.
        Even now, she was not sure she could live with herself.  But
they had won.  Lives had been saved.  That was all that mattered,
right?
        In her head she could still hear the Angel scream.

        Shinji's thoughts were interrupted by a faint knock on the
door of his room.  The noise was accompanied by a voice.  "Shinji?"
Misato asked, hesitantly.  "May I come in?"
        Shinji sighed, wrapped up in his sheets.  He didn't respond.
He didn't particularily care.
        The door slid open and Misato's form was shillouetted against
the light of the hallway.  Shinji turned away, huddled in his
bedclothes, feigning sleep.
        "Shinji," Misato said, "I want you to know something.  No
matter what anybody says, you did something admirable yesterday.  You
saved the lives of many, many people.  You can be proud of yourself."
        She paused, waiting for a reply.  Shinji remained facing the
wall, staring into it, his eyes wide open.  He did not speak.
        Misato lowered her head.  "Good night, Shinji," she murmured,
and then she closed the door.
        Shinji was left, once more, alone in the darkness.  In his
mind, he considered Misato's words.  He thought back to Tokyo-3 as he
had seen it with her - bright and shining, like a newfound hope.  He
thought back to Rei, and how he kept losing himself in her eyes.  He
thought of his reflection, the pale ghost that was no ghost no longer.
He had survived.
        But now what?  Could he possibly pilot an Eva again?  Was it
worth it - the lives saved by his hand?  Was humanity worth his
suffering?  Did the world deserve this chance, this chance that would
be bought with the blood of children?
        Slowly, Shinji turned away from the blank, unforgiving face of
the wall.  He lay straight, his back against the matress, his eyes
focused directly upwards.
        Somehow, he thought he recognized the ceiling.






End of Part 2