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 A work in Progress 
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Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 9:01 pm
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Location: The Frozen North of the Upper Peninnsula of Michigan
Post A work in Progress
My fanfiction section only has one story in it, an Eva fanfic called Knowledge is Power. Basically, a voice in Shinji's head that seems to know a lot about what's happening to him suddenly begins talking, and trying to help him overcome all the darkness around him. It's my first real work, and it's not exactly finished, but the whole project has ground to a halt since I lost my fanfic data in a hardware failure (read: I ran over the disk with my desk chair). I'll hopefully be getting back to it, but I'd like to see what other people think of it. I won't post it here, that'd be like Fiss posting one of his Omoi stories. These aren't quite that long, but long enough.

Any feedback, even outright 'God this is crap' is appreciated. Oh, and while you're there, check out some of my art! Click the hamsters! More art is forthcoming, after I get more practice in shading.

"The knowledge, it fills me! It is neat." --Evil Crazy Gir, "Gir goes crazy and stuff" ep 32.

Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:04 am
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Location: On a pale horse
Honestly, I don't like fanfics that focus too much on the dark and depressing stuff. NGE is great as is, but it could have been easier to enjoy, that's for sure. I'll have to find the time to read everything, but it looks pretty good so far. :)

What is left of your life now that you are dead?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:49 am
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Location: USA -> Texas -> Houston
Post Re: A work in Progress
}=]DarkNate wrote:
My fanfiction section only has one story in it, an Eva fanfic called Knowledge is Power.

Site Status> Bookmark Added
Will Read Shortly

(after the couple hours it takes me to go through this place....heh)

+-+-+ Monkeys Die...
+-+-+ RKumono

Avatar Image drawn by Sheldon Noble.

Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:54 pm
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Location: USA -> Texas -> Houston
Okay... after reading it all, there are a couple of things...

First, your characterization is pretty good... kept them in good... With just the slight changes, the story stays pretty constant, and it's shown that way too...

Very important when trying to do something like this to make sure the 'omniscient guide' doesn't completely change everything and then not know what will be next... done well...

I want to see more.... Bring it on...

However, you've got an error on your page...your books are mislabeled on the index page... Heh.. you've got them backwards... (Book One should be Know thy Enemy)

...more...heh...give us more...

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Avatar Image drawn by Sheldon Noble.

Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:29 pm
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Location: The Frozen North of the Upper Peninnsula of Michigan
Well, with feedback like that, I'll get started on the next one. Its a pain in the ass, as it's from Asuka, Rei, Misato AND Shinji's perspectives, all at the same time. I wasn't looking forward to writing it, and I was almost finished when the disk died. Ah well, after the local Anime Convention this weekend, I should be in the right mindset. But first, my 8-bit Theater FIGHTER COSTUME! I'll send pictures.

And by the way, Shizuka isn't omnicient, he's just... well, I don't want to spoil it, but by this point, I think I may have dropped enough hints to give you a good guess as to who he really is.

"The knowledge, it fills me! It is neat." --Evil Crazy Gir, "Gir goes crazy and stuff" ep 32.

Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:35 pm
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...notice how it's "omniscient"... ...can't have a real omniscient person or you don't have a story at all...

Heh...keep it on up...heh...

+-+-+ Monkeys Die...
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Avatar Image drawn by Sheldon Noble.

Thu Mar 18, 2004 11:22 pm
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Location: The Frozen North of the Upper Peninnsula of Michigan
Just so you know, I conceptualiezed, wrote, edited, and posted this in about two hours on Christmas Eve, so don't blame me if it isn't very good. Also, this is in no way related to my other NGE fic, which is currently in progress, chapter 3 is just getting started. I'm posting this to fill time until I finish off the next bit in my actual book, even though it's no longer the right season.

-- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Snowfall, a Christmas Eva short

By: }=]DarkNate, of Fizzy Pop. Inc.

?It?s been a few months since Instrumentality. Things are starting to go back to normal around the world, especially since most people have no memory of what happened on that awful day. Just us two??

Shinji sighed as he looked out the window of his room. The only good that seemed to have come from that horrible nightmare was that the Earth?s axial tilt had become more normal, ensuring normal seasons in the years to come. Asuka had gone back home to Germany to visit her father and stepmother, and Shinji was feeling lonely. Despite Misato?s zeal (and bizarre decorations) he just wasn?t feeling like it was Christmas.

?Then again, I can?t remember a normal Christmas. I guess I?ve never felt the ?joy of the season.?? He sighed again, more deeply, and wandered back to the kitchen to check on the food. Misato insisted on a nice dinner, and he wasn?t going to let her mess it up by cooking. The last time he had eaten her food? He shuddered in remembered pain.

Pen-Pen looked up at him as he walked past, and he gave the little penguin a scratch on the head. ?You look ready for the holidays, Pen-Pen!? Somehow, the bird had gotten hold of some bells and tied them to his flippers, making him jingle when he moved. A Santa hat lay on the floor, and Pen-Pen waddled over and put it on.

?Waugh! Waugh waugh waaaaugh,? he chattered, as though asking for comments.

?It looks good on you, buddy,? Shinji replied with a smile. ?Now, if only we could get Misato out of her costume??

The front door hissed open, and Mistao?s voice rang out in a singsong voice, ?Shiiiiiinnnnnjiiiiiiiii!?

?Speak of the devil!? Shinji grumbled. Misato slid into the kitchen, revealing what Shinji had meant by ?costume.?

Misato was dressed (if you could call it that) in an even skimpier outfit than she usually wore as pajamas, if that were humanly possible. A short red skirt trimmed with white fur and a halter top in the same style covered less than 25% of her body, and the Santa hat cocked back on her head made her look like some sort of corner slut on a holiday kick.

On the other hand, she DID look sexy in it?

Shinji shook his head to clear his thoughts. ?Can you change into something else?? he whined. ?It?s freezing outside, and you?re making ME cold.?

Misato pouted cutely. ?Aww, I know how to warm you up!? she said in a sultry voice. Shinji just glared at her. ?Humph! You?re no fun?? She strode off to her room. ?I?ll put on something warmer.?

Shinji went back to the stove, only to find the potatoes boiling over. ?GAH!? he scrambled to get them off the burner and clean up the mess.

Two hours of work later, and a true feast lay on the dinner table. A traditional Western Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings, and a plate of Pen-Pen?s favorite: red snapper. Misato looked over the spread, nodding. ?Excellent work, Shinji. Now, we just need our guests.?

Shinji was a bit surprised. ?Guests?? He knew Misato had asked for a lot of food for two people, but he had figured on leftovers for a week, so she wouldn?t have to cook. That they were having ?guests? was news to him.

?Yeah, Maya and Ritsuko are going to have dinner with us. Ritsu got out of the hospital last week, and she?s been feeling kinda down. I think her gunshot wound was more than just a physical blow.? Both of them remembered: Gendo had shot her in fury when he found out she had destroyed the Room of Gauf. She had been a long time recovering.

?Well, I?m glad she?s better. I?ll get some extra cushions.? Shinji scrambled away, hearing the doorbell go off. When he returned, he saw Ritsuko and Maya standing with Misato, whispering. He was too far away to hear, so he put down his load and went to check on the table. The three ladies walked in a few minutes later.

?If I may, could I say a blessing before we start?? Shinji asked. ?Seeing as it?s Christmas and all.?

?That would be lovely, Shinji? Ritsuko said in a quiet voice. He was a bit surprised to hear how soft it was, like she couldn?t speak any louder. Dismissing it, he bowed his head.

?Kami-sama, we ask that you grant your blessing on this food, and on these people. We?ve been through a lot in this past year, and all of us have suffered wounds, both physical and emotional. We ask that you watch over our loved ones and friends who are elsewhere, and grant peace to those who are no longer with us.? He raised his head, a tear running down his cheek as he thought of all those who had died in that final assault on NERV. Maya was the only surviving member from the bridge crew; she?d been inside the Magi when the bomb went off. Commander Fuyustki was awaiting his sentence in Switzerland, where a United Nations tribunal was trying him for high crimes against humanity. Gendo still had not been found, dead or alive, and never would be. Shinji had seen to that. The man had been evil, and manipulative, but he had his reasons.

The four humans and one penguin settled in to the business of eating. When everyone had finished, Shinji took away the dishes and started packing away the leftovers. Misato joined him in the kitchen. ?We?re going to have some eggnog, want some?? Shinji?s sleepy mind didn?t register that Misato?s ?eggnog? was really mostly liquor, so he went along with it. Taking a long drag from his glass, he sighed as the alcohol made his brain nice and fuzzy.

The ladies kept looking at the clocks, whispering to each other when Shinji was looking elsewhere. Then, he heard the door hiss open. Misato wasn?t in the room, so he figured she had just stepped out. Feeling rather warm, he stepped out onto the porch.

The sky was cloudy, and the night was cold, like winters were supposed to be, he assumed. The temperature had been hovering around freezing for the last week, something of a record for Tokyo-3. He stared out at the lights of the houses around the town, when he felt something warm and soft press up against his back. Shinji caught a glimpse of red hair in the corner of his eye.

?Merry Christmas, Shin-kun,? a familiar voice whispered.

He spun around, grinning. There was Asuka, cheeks rosy from the cold, with her blue eyes shinning and a smile on her face. She had a sweater and jeans on, but in Shinji?s eyes, right then, she was the most beautiful thing he?d ever seen.

?A-Asuka?? he asked, not quite comprehending.

?I? wanted to be home for Christmas. But, when I got back to Germany, I realized something.? She spread her arms. ?THIS is my home.? She took a step toward Shinji, and embraced him. ?And this is where I belong.?

Shinji tentatively hugged her back, and smiled as she looked up into his eyes. ?I?m glad you?re home, Asuka. I?m glad.? Then, he looked up to see a pole with something dangling on the end floating above their heads, coming from around the corner of the wall where he couldn?t see. He suspected Misato, but he didn?t care.

?Look up,? he whispered.

Asuka blushed when she saw the mistletoe hanging above them. ?You DO know what it means when two people stand under the mistletoe, right??

Shinji nodded.

Asuka nodded in reply.

Their lips met?

And a burst of giggling rang out from the apartment. Asuka growled, but Shinji held her close. ?Ignore her, she?s just having fun.?

?Oh, all right. But, Shinji??


?Let?s try that again.?

Shinji smiled, and did as he was told.

When they broke apart, they saw Misato, Ritsuko, Maya, and Pen-Pen watching them from behind the curtains, the three women giggling like little children. Shinji sighed. ?Stop goofing around and act your age!? he scolded. They all walked out onto the balcony, as Shinji and Asuka held each other and looked out over the lights. It was a beautiful, happy scene.

?You know, the only thing we need to make this perfect is?? Asuka trailed off, looking up in wonder. The adults all stared skyward as well, struck dumb by what they saw. Little white flakes were falling down, all over town as far as the eye could see. For the first time in fifteen years, and the first time since the city had been built.

Snow was falling on Tokyo-3.

Shinji smiled as he hugged Asuka tighter. ?What say we see if Misato has another one of her ?Santa? outfits in your size?? he whispered jokingly.

?What are you talking about?? Asuka laughed. ?What outfit??

Misato grinned. ?Come on, I?ll show you.?

Ritsuko and Maya looked at each other, and nodded. ?We have to go, Shinji. Thanks for having us over,? Maya said. Then, taking Ritsuko?s hand, she led the way out of the apartment.

The door hissed shut just as Misato and Asuka stepped out of the bedroom. Shinji?s jaw dropped.

Misato really DID have one in Asuka?s size!


"The knowledge, it fills me! It is neat." --Evil Crazy Gir, "Gir goes crazy and stuff" ep 32.

Sat Mar 27, 2004 6:49 pm
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This is a placeholder bump. Chapter three of Know Thy Self was completed last night, and I'm just doing the final checks before I post. If you happen to remember reading the earlier books, you'll want to see this one. It turned out a lot better than I had hoped. And expect more progress on this in the near future. Chapter Four is going to be fun for me to write, which means it'll go faster.

"The knowledge, it fills me! It is neat." --Evil Crazy Gir, "Gir goes crazy and stuff" ep 32.

Wed Jul 28, 2004 5:18 pm
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Location: The Frozen North of the Upper Peninnsula of Michigan
I spend all this time working on this stuff, keeping you waiting, and you want a disclaimer?! Skrew it!

Fizzy Pop, Inc. presents

A story by }=]DarkNate

Knowledge is Power

Book Two: Know thy Self

"Why can't I be
Saved by science?
Can't science rescue me?
Saved by technology,
Since it put me
In the place I seem to be."
-"Saved By Science", Joanne Harris (Robotech OST)

Chapter 3


"Auska, wake up!" Rei said quietly, shaking the sleeping redhead awake from her impromptu couch-turned-bed. "We are going back to the command center. Ritsuko thinks she may have something."

Asuka rolled over, landing on her feet. She rubbed the last of the sleep from here eyes, and stretched. "Well, what are we waiting for? We need to find out what we can do to help Shinji!"

The pair of them strode off down the hall. As they went down the elevator to the command level, Rei asked, "Do you think there is anything we can do for him?"

Asuka growled. "I'll find something. Every second he's trapped in there is one second too long, and I'm gonna get him out as soon as I can. I'm gonna PROVE to him that I'm just as good as he is!"

Rei frowned. "No one would argue that with you, Askua. Shinji just understands his Eva better. You should stop treating it like a giant doll, and more like the living thing it really is."

Askua snorted derisively. "It's not ALIVE, Rei! It may be organic, but it's just a giant robot. It does what you tell it to and nothing more."

"Then why won't Shinji's Eva let him leave? Why has it taken him into itself?"

"Shut up." For once, Rei heeded the Glare of Doom, and closed her mouth.

They were silent as they got off the elevator, and made the short walk to the control center where Ritsuko, Maya, Misato, and the rest of the bridge crew were running the Geofront from. As they entered, Maya motioned to a monitor the rest of the crew was gathered around.

Misato spoke up, apparently carrying on a conversation that had been going on since before the girls showed up.

"What do you mean 'salvage' Shinji?" Her voice hard a razor edge to it.

Ritsuko replied in her normal 'scientist voice.' "Theoretically, Shinji's life-force is still there."

Misato snorted derisively. "And will you be respecting that life this time around? This isn't the first time we've almost lost him."

"Losing Shinji is out of the question now," Ritsuko replied, slightly miffed.

"HA! You just want him to pilot again! All you want is his Eva!" Misato retorted.

"I don't deny it."

Asuka glared at Ritsuko, angry. Maya coughed, and tried to shift the focus back to the task at hand.

"Our assumption is that Shinji's body has lost its Ego-Border and that he's now in the entry plug, but in a quantum form."

"So he is just in a new form we cannot see?" Rei asked quietly.

"Yes," Maya replied. "The LCL has chemically altered him to something very similar to the sea water of primitive Earth."

"In fact," Ritsuko continued, "it's almost identical to the primordial soup we've made in labs."

"I was never good with chemistry, what's primordial soup?" Asuka asked.

"Basically, all the substances that compose Shinji's body are still preserved in the Plug and his soul is still there as well. In fact, his ego image is trying to give a form to the Plugsuit we injected."

Maya nodded as her mentor finished. "In other words, the salvage operation must both rebuild his body and return his soul back into it."

"Can you really do that?" Asuka asked, wide eyed.

"With the Magi's support, we can."

"This is all theoretical stuff though, right?" Misato asked. "You won't know what will really happen until you do it."

Asuka looked worried. "He'll come back," she whispered. "He has to!"


The next day, Kensuke received a clean bill of health and got out of the hospital. He immediately caught a bus over to Misato's place, hoping to get some more news. The door was open and unlocked, so he knocked and stepped in, one of his crutches clacking on the doorframe. He was surprised to find a completely sober Misato sitting on the couch, one girl on either side, all staring blankly into space. There was definitely something wrong.

"Is Shinji..?" he asked.

Misato blinked, and looked over at him, surprised. "Kensuke? When'd you get here?"

Kensuke smiled slightly. "I just got out of the hospital today. But I guess they haven't gotten Shinji out yet, huh." His smile faded at the haunted look on Asuka's face.

"Ritsuko is working on a way to get him out," Rei said quietly, "but she isn't going to be ready for another few weeks, I'm afraid. The cover-story is that he was seriously injured and he's recovering in the hospital."

Kensuke nodded. "What about you guys though? I don't exactly see you sitting here on your butts for a month, doing nothing."

Asuka growled. "I'm going to help bring him back. Whatever it takes. Tell the school I'm out sick too, I'll be busy at headquarters most of the time."

Rei nodded in agreement. "I will help as well. If nothing else, we can make things easier for Ritsuko and her staff."

Misato smiled at them. "And I've got mountains of reports to file. The last battle did a lot of damage."

Kensuke put his hands behind his head. "I guess I'll just have to go to school then, so things don't look too fishy."

Misato gave him one of her 'Glare of Death' looks. "Remember Mister Ida, Shinji's condition is Top Secret. If you tell anyone, Section 2 will have you in a holding cell faster than you can say 'Evangelion.'"

Kensuke saluted. "Ossu!" Then, softening, he asked, "Is it okay to say I'm the new pilot?"

Misato smiled. "Yes, it is. In fact, I ORDER you to inform the class, then make up a believable lie as to the location of the other three children. Your new status should distract them. However, the incident with the 13th angel is still classified. Just say everything was normal."

"Ossu!" Kensuke stood as straight as possible for a person on crutches. "I will do my utmost to protect the secrets of this organization!"

Asuka turned to give the poor boy a glare. "Don't get too excited, nerd. I'm still better than you'll ever hope to be in the pilot's seat, and don't you forget it."

Kensuke wilted under the onslaught, and took the opportunity to salute one last time as he left.


In the classroom the next day, everyone was talking about where the NERV pilots were, what might have happened to Kensuke, and the huge hole in the middle of the city. Just before the bell rang, Kensuke himself came through the door, sagging onto his crutches. Touji leapt out of his seat, and exclaimed, "Kensuke! What the hell happened to you?"

Kensuke grinned. Since everyone in the class was looking at him, he raised his voice and did his best to stand tall. "I got beat up, that's what. I never realized how often you get the shit kicked out of you in an Evangelion!"

The class erupted in noise, and a couple students knocked over their desks in their haste to stand up. The Sensei came in then, and was surprised to see Kensuke Ida back so soon. He'd gotten word from the principal about what the boy was doing now, and they were ahead in the curriculum, so he let the class have its fun.

Kensuke clacked over to his chair and sat down, too tired from the long walk to school to stand any more. Raising his hands, he beckoned for quiet, and waited until he had it before starting his story.

"As some of you may know, NERV America sent over the recently finished Evangelion Unit-03 some time ago. At the time, no one was designated to pilot it, and I found out about it from my various sources, who shall remain nameless to protect them." At a chorus of groans, he smirked. "Anyway, I asked Shinji who I should ask about getting a chance to try out for it, even if I wasn't all that good, and what do you know? They called me down to the office to see the person in charge and got it all set up!"

Trying desperately to think up an excuse for his present condition the night before paid off now. "When we tested the Eva and I piloted it for the first time, I wasn't very good at it. The control system is like nothing you've ever experienced before! I can't get into details, but suffice it to say I fell down. A lot. And then, when I got the hang of that, they wanted me to SPAR with SHINJI in Unit-01! I got the crap kicked out of me, to say the least. They finally stopped us when I got hit in the head of the Eva and got knocked out. Later, in the hospital, I found out that the impact had crushed the cockpit and my legs both got broken when the Eva fell over and I slammed hard into the back of the cockpit with no dampeners. I wasn't in the last fight, and the Eva was still undergoing repairs. I just got out of the hospital yesterday."

"Well, where are Shinji, Asuka, and Rei?" Touji demanded. "They haven't been here for almost a week now!"

"Remember the last Angel attack?" Kensuke asked. Several of the children shuddered. They had been in the bunker Unit-02's head had slammed into after Zeruel had cut it off. "Well, the official story is that they're all in isolation for possibly being contaminated during the fight. But what's really happening is worse: the Commander is so cheesed off that they almost lost, not to mention that Units Zero and Two are heavily damaged, he's put all three of them in headquarters lockdown as punishment, so they can practice more! I got off because I'm still injured and my Eva isn't repaired yet, so I'm not in trouble. But that's only thanks to Misato, because she said that I'd just be in the way while she worked with the others."

A chuckle swept around the room, and Kensuke bowed in his seat. "Suffice it to say that I have no idea when they'll be off the hook. It'll be at least a couple more weeks I think."

More questions flew out of the crowd, and Kensuke finally had to point and choose. Hikari started off the Q & A round.

"So, was that blood we saw in the bunker? I thought I could see a spine and muscles in the Eva's head!"

Kensuke frowned. "Officially, I'm not supposed to know. However, since you've all seen it with your own eyes, I'll tell you what I can. The Eva series are actually biomechanical. The metal plates are really just armor. But most of you knew that already."

Another girl raised her hand and was called on. "So if they're organic, how do you control it?"

"Our controls act as the 'brain' of the giants. They control the muscles directly. More than that I can't say."

A boy this time: "Does your Eva have better equipment than the others?"

"I'm not sure. I've got enhanced sensors and stuff 'cause its newer, but I didn't get enough time to study them really well. And now my cockpit's trashed, so who knows? Next!"

The sensei asked a question, to everyone's surprise. "Are there really special shelters for the NERV staff? I heard that we got the older ones that were dug earlier in the city's construction, and there's better ones down below."

Kensuke shrugged. "NERV HQ got pretty badly damaged, as anyone could tell just from the observation deck. I don't think there's anything tougher than their pyramid in the whole world. One more question then I'm done."

A girl, one of the prettier ones in the class, stood up. "Are you busy tonight?" A blush flooded her cheeks and she studied the floor.

Kensuke, slightly surprised, smiled at her. "For you, I'll clear my schedule. Do you need my number?"

She shook her head, blushing brighter. "I have it in my terminal. Can we sit together at lunch?"

Kensuke's grin got even broader. "Of course!" His new girlfriend sat down amid applause and a few congratulatory whispers from her friends. Kensuke blocked Touji's incoming backslap with a crutch, whispering, "Back injury," as his friend gave him a lopsided grin. Then, raising his voice, he said, "And don't think you can weasel out classified stuff from me when I'm alone. They've got everything bugged and tapped." That got a few chuckles. Everyone knew how paranoid Kensuke was. Only this time, he wasn't kidding. He'd noticed an increased Section 2 presence that morning, spotted two of them following him in from home, and his desk had been moved, his lights replaced, and his computer tapped. He'd set up a dummy feed to the tap easily, then moved all his files onto a brand new laptop, which he kept on him at all times. Or with his neighbor when he couldn't do that.

Settling in, he leaned back in his seat and stretched his sore spine as the teacher droned on about things they'd already learned. "Phase one complete," he thought to himself.


Asuka and Rei were sitting in an out of the way corner of the observation deck, putting simple code into a computer program. They knew that any of the others here could do it faster and with fewer mistakes, but they also knew that it didn't matter.

They were helping Shinji.

Asuka typed furiously, cutting and pasting from other sources as fast as she could to improve her speed. She'd been here for almost seven hours now, with only a five minute bathroom break and a sandwich. Rei was starting to worry.

"Asuka-chan? Perhaps we should take a break. We'll just end up making more mistakes and having to go back and fix them if we strain ourselves."

Asuka kept typing. "I'm fine."

Rei sighed. She put her hand over Asuka's, pulling her away from the keys. She looked directly into Asuka's eyes. "You need to rest. If you make a mistake and miss it because you're too tired, Shinji might never come back. You can't help him if you don't help yourself."

Asuka sighed and slumped forward. A tear ran down her cheek. "I didn't realize how much I really wanted him with me until he was gone. And now, he can't even hear me."

Rei helped her friend and roommate to her feet. "Come on, let's go get something to eat and then get some sleep. You'll feel better after a few hours rest."

Asuka, in some remote part of her intellect that still registered normal logic, knew that Rei was right. But the rest of her, screaming with emotions, told her that the more she worked the sooner Shinji would be back, and she could finally apologize to him. And tell him how she really felt.

They ate simple instant ramen from a vending machine, as the commissary was currently closed for repairs. Asuka could barely taste hers, but gulped it down. She got up and started to go back to the computer terminal in the Observation Deck, but Rei put a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Your body needs sleep. Come with me."

Rei led her by the hand to a nondescript door, and into a room full of futon couches. Two of them were already set up as beds, and Rei gently but firmly pushed Asuka onto one. Then, forcing her to lie down, Rei began a gentle massage of Asuka's shoulders and back, humming a soft, soothing tune. Asuka's eyes grew heavy as her exhaustion caught up with her, and she was soon resting peacefully in a dream.

Rei sighed, and lay down on her own bed. Closing her eyes, she whispered, "I hope Shinji is all right."

Thirty Days After Shinji's Absorption Into Eva Unit One:

At the moment, Shinji was sitting in a strangely familiar rail car, looking at two equally familiar figures whom he could not remember meeting before. One was a little boy with Shinji's face, and the other was taller and cloaked in shadows.

"Where am I?" Shinji asked the two of them.

"Inside the Eva," the little boy answered curtly.

"Inside the Eva?" Shinji asked in alarm.

"Yes Shinji," the taller figure replied.

"But... But I swore I would never pilot it again!" Shinji yelled, confused.

"Perhaps," Little told him. Tall continued, "But the fact that you are here, now, is irrevocable proof that you did in fact pilot the Eva once more."

"But why? Why would I do something that only hurts me, after I did so much to harm others?"

"Because," Little told him, "you care for the lives of those you love."

"You chose to save them, instead of condemn them," Tall added.

"Those I love?" Shinji's face was now twisted in confused thought.

Little. "Your friends, Touji and Hikari."

Tall. "Your roommates, Rei and Misato."

Little. "Your fellow Pilot, Kensuke."

And together, "And your love, Asuka."

Shinji buried his face in his hands. "But Asuka hates me! They all hate me! They think I'm a coward!"

"They do not hate you," Tall said sadly. "You hate you."

"How can I think otherwise!?" Shinji screamed. "All I do is hurt, even when I try to help!"

"But those you hurt, forgive you, don't they?" Little inquired.

Shinji was forced to nod. "Touji even forgave me for hurting his sister, the most important person in the world to him."

Tall flashed a smile that shone white in the blackness of his face. "So if they can forgive you, why can you not forgive yourself?"

"Because I don't deserve it."

Little frowned. "That's a lie. You fight in ways only you can, and no other human is as good. If you do your best, and fail, did you not still do your best? That is what should be recognized, and praised."

Tall added his words. "Failure is an inevitable part of life. You cannot do everything, save everyone, all the time. But you must try as hard as you can to save as many as you can as often as you can. If you do not, many more will suffer."

"But if I'm doomed to failure, why should I even try? Who am I to say one person is more important than another?" Shinji looked up at them, desperate.

"You must try because without trying, you won't know if you could say everyone after all. Sometimes you will fail, and sometimes you will succeed. And the successes will always outweigh the failures in your heart." Little and Tall spoke together, eyes locked on Shinji's.

"But what if I can't? What if I screw up?" Shinji seemed a touch more confidant.

"Then you must accept your failure, learn from it, and move on." Tall stood, and put a hand on Little, who continued, "And try that much harder to succeed the next time."

Shinji's head drooped again. "And if I never succeed?"

"Then at least you will have tried. And those who come after you will see what you have done, and learn from it." He wasn't sure which of them had spoken.

An image of Asuka, typing furiously at a computer, swam in the air before him. She was tired, with dark circles under eyes red with exhaustion and tears. Her hair was a tangled mess, her hair band was cracked and held together with tape, and her clothes were spotted with stains and dirt.

Shinji tried to reach out to her, to smooth away her fears and anxieties, but couldn't reach even the image.

It shifted, to show Rei. She sat at a monitor, reading off numbers aloud. Shinji couldn't hear her, but he could see from the way her shoulders slumped, her eyes were half-closed, and the moisture in the corners of her eyes and staining her blouse that she was tired and upset. Again, he tried to reach her, standing up and walking forward, but couldn't.

Another image. Misato stood looking over a railing, glaring angrily at something he couldn't see. He wanted to tell her not to look so mad, that things would be okay, but couldn't bring himself to do it. He curled up in a ball on the floor, sobbing.

Little and Tall stood over him, and a white light appeared in front of them. Shinji looked up at the light, heard the gentle thumping of a heartbeat. A voice reached his ears, and his eyes filled with the vision of an open field, bright blue skies and white puffy clouds.

"Shinji, you could stay here with me forever. You would never be hurt again, never feel pain or sorrow. None of the bad things in life could touch you."

"Mother?" Shinji asked, incredulous.

Another voice intruded on the idyllic scene. "Yui, you know he cannot stay here." It was the tall figure, holding the hand of the little Shinji. "If he remains, it is true he will feel no pain, none of the negative emotions of life."

Then, it put a hand out toward the scene, and it shattered like glass. "But neither will he feel joy, hope, or love. There will simply be nothingness. Human hearts are not meant for this place."

Shinji recoiled from both of them, gathering up bits and pieces of the shattered scene that lay around him.

"Relax and release your soul..." his mother said, soothingly. Shinji felt the shattered glass begin to stir...


On the deck of the Secondary Command Bridge, Maya yelled frantically to Ritsuko. "It's no good! His ego border is frozen into a fixed loop! I can't stop it!"

Asuka was barely restrained from throttling the poor techie by Rei, who latched onto her friend's waist and tried to pin her to the floor. It was a close match.

"The Entry Plug is ejecting!" Misato cried over the radio. "The hatch is cycling open!"

Asuka and Rei both rushed over to the cages, only thirty seconds from the bridge, Ritsuko hot on their heels. When they arrived, they found Misato holding an empty Plugsuit stained with LCL.

"What good is your goddam _science_!?" Misato wailed, glaring at Ritsuko. "It can't even save one small life!"

Asuka fell to Misato's side, sobbing uncontrollably. Rei, fighting back her own tears, left the room to mourn in private the closest, truest, first friend she'd ever had.


Shinji saw, in the window of the train car, Asuka's wail of anguish as she clutched at his empty Plugsuit. Misato's tears moved him greatly. These weren't the tears a superior gave to a soldier who had fallen. They were the tears of a mother who has lost a son.

His view shifted to show Asuka's face, soaked with tears. Her chest heaved with body-shaking sobs, her grief so great it was painful just to watch. He wished he could soothe her, but she was beyond his reach.

Then, the scene shifted one last time. Rei, sitting out in the hall where no one could see her, crying. She tried so hard not to, Shinji could see that in her face. But her grief was so strong, stronger than any emotion she had yet felt, that she could not maintain her usual calm composure.

That, more than anything, set him on the edge of tears himself. For Rei to feel so strongly about anything was, well, unusual. She was usually fairly reserved, even after so much time with her friends. Her emotions were usually so private you had to look deep to fins her true feelings.

His mother's ghostly form appeared to him. "Do you really want to return to such pain? Isn't feeling nothing better than feeling that?"

The other two appeared on his other side. "But even in the depths of such sorrow, is there not some brightness to the world? You would lose the love, the kindness, the joy of simply *living*. And there will always be some joy to balance the pain if you try even a little."

Shinji looked at each of them, and turned to his mother. "I'm sorry. They are right. I want to live, even if it means I will feel, and give, pain. I will not leave the people I care about in such anguish."

He took the hands of the tall figure and his younger self, and they vanished. Yui Ikari, watching them fade away, returned to the shadows of the Eva once more.

"Good luck, my son."


Asuka and Misato looked up at a loud noise, like when someone squeezes a giant wad of wet laundry into a deep bucket. There, naked and covered in thick orange ooze, lay Shinji.

Misato tried to get to her feet, but Asuka was much faster. She grabbed Shinji, wrapping him in a fierce hug, as though she was afraid she might loose him again. She sobbed into his shoulder, and his eyes began to open.

Misato enveloped the both of them in a hug as well, yelling, "Shinji! Thank Kami you're alive!"

The sound of running footsteps echoed from the hallway, and Rei appeared, skidding out onto the catwalk and rushing to Shinji's side. Seeing that he was intact and conscious, she smiled in relief and scolded, "Put on a shirt, you'll catch a cold."

Joyful laughter rang through the room, and the Eva almost seemed to smile with them.

That one took a long time to get done. Wow. Almost four months between books. But that wasn't wasted time, no sir. There's just too many projects, and none of them are complete.

In any case, after three months of ignoring this chapter, it's finally been completed. To be honest, I dreaded writing this one. This whole section was crucial to Shinji's future development, as well as the girls and Kensuke, but I just couldn't figure out a way to do it and still remain true to the original nature of this episode. So, in the end, I just put it off and figured it would come to me eventually.

The strangest things will cause a spark. In this case, the trigger that finally got me working on this again was a short 4-volume manga: Alien Nine. If you haven't read it, do so now. Even if that means sitting in the bookstore for an hour and reading a volume cover to cover, dodging the staff. I saw the four-episode OVA a year ago, liked it a lot, and moved on to other things. Then, I spotted the first volume of the manga on a routine shopping trip to the one bookstore in my college town that carries manga and anime. I snapped it up immediately. That same semester at the school anime club's bi-yearly mini-con, I cosplayed as one of the girls: Yuri Ootani. The hat took two months to finish, the rest of the outfit I did the night before. I was never so obsessive over ANY anime or manga ever before, nor am I likely to be.

In July, I found the other three volumes. The manga author took four years to finally release the fourth volume; he'd planned to stop at the third, and gave into the fans. That reminded me of my own book project. I figured it was time to start working again. And you know what? It just worked. So here we have it.

This one is shorter than I originally planned, but the longer text I was going to use--an edited version of the transcript of what Shinji saw in the Eva in the episode--just didn't fit the mood I wanted to project. So I made it up instead.

Adding Asuka and Rei into the final scene will work better with what I have in mind for the next chapter. Yes, Asuka still gets her mind raped. But Shinji's new spine has suddenly hardened to adamantium, and another confrontation is imminent. How will he react to not being allowed to pilot and save his love?

Only time will tell. And I really want to write this next chapter, so we may not have long to wait.

But for now, its time for OMAKE!


Asuka and Misato looked up at a loud noise, like when someone squeezes a giant wad of wet laundry into a deep bucket. There, naked and covered in thick orange ooze, lay Shinji.

Misato tried to get to her feet, but Asuka was much faster. She grabbed Shinji, wrapping him in a fierce hug, as though she was afraid she might loose him again. she sobbed into his shoulder, and his eyes began to open.

Misato enveloped the both of them in a hug as well, yelling, "Shinji! Thank Kami you're alive!"

The sound of running footsteps echoed from the hallway, and Rei appeared, skidding out onto the catwalk and rushing to Shinji's side. Seeing that he was intact and conscious, she smiled in relief and scolded, "Put on a shirt, you'll catch a cold."

Then she slowly and sensuously removed her own top, draping it on Shinji's head. As Asuka looked on in shock, Misato stood and did the same, joining Rei in a slow striptease. Then, when both of them were down to just panties, they grabbed Shinji again and began making out with him, as he groggily let them have their way.

"YOU'RE ALL A BUNCH OF HENTAI!" Asuka yelled, furious. She ripped the railing away from the catwalk and began to beat them to death with it, impaling them all on the vertical pieces.

Shizuka looked on at the carnage and sighed. "At least it wasn't Shinji's fault for once. Oh well, back to the drawing board."

Thu Jul 29, 2004 6:37 am
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Location: The Frozen North of the Upper Peninnsula of Michigan
You wanna talk about fast turn-around, check this out: I finished chapter four in no time flat. It's passed spell-check and ready to go up. Enjoy, or don't.


(disclaimer)It's late. I don't feel like even trying.(/disclaimer)

Fizzy Pop, Inc. presents

A story by }=]DarkNate

Knowledge is Power

Book Two: Know thy Self

"If I was invisible,
Then I could just watch you in your room.
If I was invincible,
I'd make you mine tonight.
If hearts were unbreakable,
Then I could just tell you where I stand.
I would be the smartest man,
If I was invisible...
Wait, I already am."
--"Invisible", Clay Aiken

Chapter 4


Shinji awoke to a combination of the mental prodding of his guardian Shizuka, and the argument outside his door.

"I just want to go and sit with him!" One voice yelled.

Another made shushing sounds. "Quite down, you'll wake him up!"

The first countered, "Good! He needs to get up and back to living!"

A third voice intruded. "I wouldn't be surprised if he just slept forever. His ordeal was quite taxing."

Shinji smiled. "Sensible Rei-chan," he whispered. "How long have I been out, Shizuka?"

The familiar voice of his mental companion was a comfort to his tangled and fuzzy mind. "You've been asleep for almost two days. But you were trapped for far longer."

Shinji was instantly, completely, awake. "HOW LONG?"

Shizuka sighed. "A month has passed, Shinji. Yui did not wish you to go easily."

The memories of his visions in the entry plug, in that bizarre half-world, came flooding back, like a movie in fast-forward, except that he knew what was happening even at that speed. The jolt of it was almost a physical blow, and he dropped back down, breathing heavily.

"That, was not a happy thing."

Shizuka agreed. "But we got you out. And just in time. The trials and tribulations are not yet over. For you, perhaps, there will be a respite. But your room-mates are about to face terrors of their own. And we must be ready."

Shinji hated it when Shizuka did this. "Care to explain?"

"In due time. For now, let us go and see the ones who REALLY brought you back from the dead."

Shinji gently planted his feet on the floor, and padded across the soft carpet to the door. Sliding it open, he saw Misato baring the doorway with her arms, Asuka trying to get past, and Rei standing to one side trying to mediate. Asuka's nose was bare inches from his own.

He flashed a smile. "It's nice to be home. Is it time for dinner yet? I'm hungry enough to brave Misato's cooking."

All three girls just stared at him. Finally, Asuka turned away in disgust. "If he's willing to eat YOUR food, Misato, then he's clearly brain damaged. We better call the doctors."

Rei smiled broadly at him, teary eyed. "I am glad to see you are awake and able to make jokes. We were very worried."

"I've been out for a month, haven't I? I was stuck in my Eva?" His face showed little concern.

Misato blinked, gave him a long look, and finally smiled. "Yes you were, on both counts. But now you're home, Kensuke is all better, and life couldn't be more perfect."

"Yes it could," Shizuka said through Shinji. "Asuka doesn't seem to happy."

Rei looked in the direction the redhead had gone. "I don't understand either. Perhaps she is overcome with relief. She was most happy for your safe return."

Shinji smiled, taking control back smoothly. "I'll just have to talk to her then." He strode down the hall, and knocked on Asuka's door.

"Asuka-chan? May I speak with you?"

The door opened a slight crack. "What?" Her face showed signs of tears.

Shinji smiled faintly. "I just wanted to make sure YOU were okay."

"Why wouldn't I be?" she asked flippantly.

"Because while I was trapped, I could still see you."

Asuka recoiled in fear. "What do you mean?"

Shinji pushed the door open gently, and embraced her. "I was so confused. I thought it was a dream, or a nightmare. I thought I would wake up, and everything would be okay." He sniffled, tears coming to his eyes. "But it never ended. It hurt seeing you so sad. It doesn't matter why you were in pain, whether it was me or something else." He looked straight into her eyes. "But I never want you to have to hurt like that again."

It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. At that moment, Asuka's soul was laid bare. Shinji could see the anguish, the heartbreak she had felt for the last month. And he could see, faintly, the happiness and relief. But then, anger clouded it all. She shoved him away.

"I can take care of myself! I don't need you to protect me! I don't need anyone!" She punched him, hard, in the stomach. Shinji doubled over the fist, his breath gone. He lay there gasping as Asuka stalked off. By the time he could sit up, she had already left the apartment.


Rei found him there a few minutes later, still sitting where he had fallen. He was looking out the door where Asuka had left, unmoving.

"Shinji-kun? Are you all right?"

Shinji looked over at her, a haunted, vacant stare. She recoiled, confused at the meaning of the strange gaze.

"Asuka." Shinji's lips barely moved, and Rei had to strain to hear him. "She... She hit me. She left. She doesn't care about me at all."

Rei knelt down beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder. "This last month has been... difficult," she said softly. "Especially for Asuka. She never stopped worrying about you. I practically had to tie her down to make her sleep at night. Now, you are returned to us, apparently unharmed. She does not know how to react, so she does what she does best: lash out."

Shinji rubbed his stomach, wincing at the soreness. "Yeah, she's quite good at that." Rei offered him an assisting hand, which he took. Standing, he added in a thoughtful voice, "Just before she punched me, she said, 'I don't need you to protect me.' She got all defensive when I was only trying to help. I wonder why?"

Rei shrugged. "I know little of her past. Perhaps something you said touched a nerve, or brought back bad memories. Who can say?"

Shinji sighed, and winced as his slightly bruised ribs protested. He went back to his and Misato's half of the apartment suite, and got some ice from the freezer. "I just hope she comes back."


Three hours later, Shinji had just finished making dinner--over protests from Misato that he should be resting--and Asuka still hadn't returned. Shinji was beginning to become worried, but Shizuka seemed to be even more on edge.

"What's wrong?" Shinji asked mentally. "You really seem stressed."

Shizuka tried to brush it off. "Nothing. I'm just thinking about the future."

Shinji shrugged, and served up the simple fried rice and chicken. It was the only thing he could make with the ingredients on hand, so he had made do. As he settled down at the table, he winced and robbed his still-sore belly.

"Shinji? Are you okay?" Misato almost leapt over the table she stood so fast.

"I'll be okay. It's nothing major." Shinji slouched down, a deep sense of foreboding emanating from his mental passenger.

Misato glared at him, then at Rei. Rei knew what her superior wanted, so she explained. "Asuka got upset and hit him. Shinji is fine."

Misato's face turned purple with barely-suppressed rage. "Let me know the INSTANT she gets back."

Rei nodded, and Shinji just sighed. He shoveled some of his rice into his mouth, intent on eating before things got any worse.

"I'm home."

They got worse.

Asuka stalked into the kitchen, still obviously upset but starting to cool off. Before Shinji could say anything to stop her, Misato unleashed her rage.

"How COULD you?!" she yelled, the force in her voice almost a physical blow to the redhead. "Shinji was practically DEAD, and you welcome him back with a FIST TO THE STOMACH?!" Asuka backed up against the wall, and Misato pinned her there with a hand on either side of Asuka's head, not relenting.

"I don't know what's wrong with you, Second _Child_, but it's going to stop. Until a month ago, I hadn't EVER seen you two fight. Why the HELL did you pick right *now* to start?"

Asuka seemed to wilt under the tirade, but then she glanced at Shinji. He was sitting there, watching, wanting to _help_ her again. She hated that.

"Back off, Misato!" she yelled. This unexpected turn made Misato falter, and she stumbled backward from her charge. "You have no IDEA what I've been through! I'm not like him, or Wondergirl! I'm not a little kid you can just intimidate! I'm an ADULT! And I don't have to take that from YOU or ANYONE!" With the last word a scream, she slammed the door to her half of the apartments and stomped to her room. There was a loud 'click' and Shinji knew she'd thrown the deadbolt on her door, something he'd put in for her when they got the other apartment.

He sighed. "You didn't need to yell at her, Misato. She was about to apologize."

Misato growled. "That still doesn't give her the right to hit you, Shinji."

"I know. But if that's what she needed to do to vent her frustration, I'd gladly take the blow."


The next day dawned cloudy and dim. Shinji took one look out the back window, and he could feel Shizuka's mood sink. "Another Angel?" he asked his guardian and guide.

"Yes. But this time, it will not be you who must face their demons." And that was all Shizuka would say.

Shinji shrugged, and prepared breakfast. When Rei arrived, he whispered, "I have a bad feeling about today. Something about this weather doesn't seem natural. Let's keep on the alert for anything odd."

Rei nodded. She, too, had the strangest feeling in the pit of her stomach. Like an evil force was hovering just outside her perceptions.

Asuka came in, saw Shinji, and turned around. "I'll eat out." the sound of the front door closing was like a slap to Shinji's face.

Misato awoke next. Knocking back her morning beer, she groaned as she looked out the window. "We've got a synch test today. Where's Asuka?"

"Out." Both pilots looked at each other and smiled at their timing.

"Well, I'll call her in a bit. I want to eat first."

After a short, quiet breakfast, Misato dialed Asuka's cell. "We have a synch test today. Be at HQ by eleven-hundred."

The tiny voice responded with a one-word positive before hanging up. Misato sighed and put the phone back in its cradle. "I wish whatever was wrong with her would just stop."


At precisely 1100 hours Tokyo-3 time, Asuka, Shinji, Rei and Kensuke were all present in the testing bays, clad in their Plugsuits. Kensuke's casts had finally come off, though he was still sore and limped. His Eva was in slightly worse shape, and was still regenerating its core components. Ritsuko had estimated another week, tops, before it was ready.

The tests were fairly uneventful. Shizuka didn't even provide a topic for Shinji's concentration, which normally eliminated some of the boredom. When it was over, they gathered in the briefing room to hear the results.

"Rei, you're down a point. You need to try and concentrate." Ritsuko consulted her notes, and smiled at Kensuke. "You're up to 30 points, Ida-kun. A bit more and you'll be able to manifest an AT field." She turned to Shinji. "Your score is down fifteen points. You're still well above the AT field threshold, but I can't say we didn't expect this after so long trapped in your Eva." Shinji hung his head and sighed. Ritsuko frowned, and turned to Asuka. "I'm disappointed in you, Asuka. This is the first time Rei has gotten the top score. You've dropped ten points. I don't know what's gotten into you, but you'd better fix it and fast."

Asuka growled, then laughed. "At this rate, NERV couldn't defend itself from a swarm of bees, much less an Angel."

"Be that as it may-" Ritsuko began, but was cut off.

The alarm klaxon had begun to sound.

An Angel was attacking.


The whole group rushed up to the bridge, Kensuke lagging just slightly as he limped along, his left leg still giving him minor trouble. Once assembled, they all turned to the main monitor, showing a picture of a large bird seemingly composed of white light. Maya read them the information.

"We just detected it in high orbit. It seems to be stationary, but this wouldn't be the first time something that LOOKED harmless turned out to be dangerous."

Misato rapidly formulated a battle plan. "Okay, Rei's Eva is still somewhat damaged from the last battle, so she can't go out first. Shinji, you and Asuka will-"

Gendo's voice boomed out over the command center. "Unit One is in bakelite lockdown until further notice. We cannot take the risk it will run rampant again with no way of turning off its power."

Misato growled and turned to Shinji. "Fine, you stay here. Unit Three is still regenerating, so Kensuke has to sit this one out as well. Asuka, you're point. Try and shoot it down."

Asuka saluted and grinned at Shinji. "Consider it done. This will be a piece of cake."

She and Rei marched off to the elevators to the cages. Misato looked over at Shinji, who was just standing there. "Shouldn't you be in your Eva so you can monitor your friends?"

Shizuka shook Shinji's head. "I will remain here. There's nothing I can do with my Eva impounded. I can worry just as well from the bridge as anywhere else."

Shinji asked silently, "Why are we staying here? If we were in the Eva, we could at least talk to them."

Shizuka's reply was so mild that at first Shinji didn't realize he had spoken. "Because of all things, this must change."

Shinji was about to question that, but was interrupted by Asuka emerging from her lift. "I'm in position," she said over the tac-net. "I'll try to hit it from here." Her first shot was aimed, fired, and was far short.

Before she could fire again, a beam of light erupted from the Angel high overhead. Shizuka screamed aloud, "Cut the power to her Positron Rifle!" When Maya didn't respond, he ran over with Shinji's body and slapped in the codes himself.

The light struck, penetrating straight through the Eva at the Entry Plug.

Asuka screamed.

And screamed.

And screamed.

Her Eva convulsed, pulling the trigger on the rifle as hard as it could. Had the rifle been active, it would have blown several large holes in Tokyo-3. The bridge crew stared at Shinji.

Shizuka took over once more, still agitated. "Asuka's been really trigger-happy lately. I didn't want her to fire out of reflex from the hit and damage something. I certainly wasn't expecting THAT!" He pointed at the Entry Plug's internal camera, showing Asuka curled up in a fetal position, holding her head and screaming.

"It's raping me! Oh, Gott! It's raping my mind!"

Shinji was suddenly given control, and he only barely managed not to stumble. Misato frowned. "Good thinking, Shinji. You spared the city a lot of destruction, even if it was only by luck." Then she looked at the Angel. "Is this serious enough to get Unit One out of storage?"

Gendo's voice sounded particularly malevolent. "No. Not until we have exhausted all other options."

Misato let an angry growl escape her throat. "Send Rei the JSSDF positron cannon. Maybe that can reach."

Shinji mentally asked Shizuka, "What's going on? How did you know Asuka would react like that? What's WRONG with her?!"

Shizuka let out a tired sigh. "All her worst memories are being brought to the surface. It's exactly like what you went through in your times trapped in your Eva, battling your innermost fears. Only Asuka can't argue back, only watch."

Shinji stared in silent awe and fury as Asuka continued to suffer under the assault of the Angel of Birds. Then, softly, he asked Shizuka, "How do you know that?"

"I have seen them. Her darkest secrets. I can link you to her for a while, show you what she is seeing now. But I warn you, This will not be pleasant."

In the background, Shinji could sense himself sitting down against a wall, techs scurrying as they fed power to the Positron Cannon in Rei's giant metal-shod hands.

"Show me."

Shizuka began to replay Asuka's memories in Shinji's mind. Then he took control away, so that no one could hear Shinji's screams.


Asuka was a child again, watching her mother board the giant red robot she had been building for a long time. She knew mommy liked her robot, almost more than she loved Asuka, but that Asuka would always come first.

After mommy was inside, she heard a lot of yelling and saw people running around a lot. She didn't understand what was happening.


Her mommy was being dragged out of the robot's white tube. She looked like she was sleeping. Asuka ran to the window to watch, but one of the big people dragged her away and put her in a small room. Her daddy came to get her and take her home.


Mommy was in the hospital. Asuka wasn't sure why. And her mommy was holding a doll with red hair, talking to it. She called it Asuka. She told the doll, "You need to be a good girl, Asuka, or that girl over there won't like you." Her mommy was pointing at Asuka! Asuka was scared.


"Mommy! They picked me to be the pilot!" Asuka ran down the corridors of the hospital, toward her mommy's room. She was so excited. Mommy loved her robot. She would have to be back to normal now! She burst through the doors.

Her mommy was hanging from the ceiling, a sheet tied around her neck like a funny necklace. The doll was hanging the same way. Then Asuka saw the blood. She screamed.


At a graveside, with no tears. "I have to be a grownup now. I don't need dolls."


"I can only rely on myself."


"I have to be the best."





Shinji erupted back to consciousness, bare minutes after he'd started to see the visions. Rei was still trying to hit the Angel with the cannon, but there just wasn't enough power.

"The Angel is trying to interface with Asuka's mind directly!" Maya yelled over the din.

"We can't get to it!" Misato screamed, tears falling from her eyes.

Shinji stood.

"Draw all the reserve power!" Ritsuko yelled to the techs.

Shinji walked to Misato's side.

"We cannot risk Unit One or its pilot becoming contaminated by this mental attack," Gendo replied calmly.

Shinji reached out his hand.

"Than what can we do?" Misato yelled.

Shinji's hand closed around the object he sought.

"Even Unit One can't make that shot, Major!" Ritsuko growled angrily.

Shinji retrieved his target.

"Isn't there something we can do?" Maya wailed.

Shinji spoke.


Every voice on the bridge stopped, every eye turned. Shinji, standing calmly with his feet precisely shoulder-width apart, commanded their attention with his simple, calm proclamation.

In his hands, held perfectly steady, he held Misato's sidearm. It was a simple black handgun, normally unremarkable. Except that now, it was in the hands of a fourteen year-old boy. Who's love was in danger.

"Shinji?" Misato asked.

Shinji turned the gun, walked two steps to his rear.

"What are you doing?" Ritsuko questioned

His father glared at him, anger present in his features.

"Give me the gun, Shinji." Misato's concern fell on deaf ears.

Shinji took the gun, and pressed it to his temple.

"You will stop playing god right now. You know a way to save her."

The safety clicked off. There was a creak as the plastic of the Plugsuit tightened around the trigger. Everyone in the bridge cringed.

"Do it. Or Unit One becomes a multi-billion dollar paperweight."

Misato took a cautious step forward, to try and stop him, but Gendo spoke.

"Very well. It seems you have me at your whim." He keyed the comm. "Rei?"

"Yes, Commander?"

Gendo smirked in satisfaction. "You will proceed to Terminal Dogma. You know what to do."


Rei's Eva dropped down the catapult chute, lightning fast. Shinji watched the screen intently, still keeping his eyes on the rest of the bridge.

Misato was getting too close. She took one more step and...


A shot struck the deck at her feet, burying itself in the plastic. Shinji put the gun to his head once more as she stumbled and fell backward. His voice was as flat and level as she had ever heard it. "Stay there."

Rei reappeared on the monitor. In her Eva's hands was a long red lance, made of two strips of metal that wound around one another, ending in a two-pronged fork. She drew back like the lance was a javelin, and the end wrapped itself into a point.

Rei let the Lance of Longinus fly.

Shinji put the gun down, but gripped it firmly at Shizuka's urging.

The satellite picture showed it all. The lance flew through the clouds, tossing them away and releasing daylight on Tokyo-3. It ripped through the atmosphere like a pullet through wet paper, and struck the Angel. Its AT field evaporated and swirled away as the Lance plowed through without even a pause. The Angel vanished in a flash of light, and the beam holding Asuka captive vanished.

Shinji held the gun up. "You will retrieve Asuka," he told the bride crew. When no one moved, he snapped the gun back up to his head. "NOW!"

There was a scramble, and teams were sent out to recover her and her Eva.

He turned to his father. "I don't care who you think you are. I don't care that you're my superior officer. I don't even care that you're my father. You ceased being all those things when you didn't save her right away." He tightened his finger on the trigger. "Even if you try to hit me with a tranquilizer, I can still pull the trigger. Even if you knock me out from behind, I'll spasm and fire."

Gendo resigned himself to this. He had expected as much. "What?"

"You will deliver her to our apartment. She is not to be mishandled in any way. No drugs, no handcuffs, no exams. I want her there ASAP. I am going to join her." He turned to Misato. "Give me the fastest transport to the surface at Asuka's position you can. I want to be there when they take her out of the Plug."

At a nod from Gendo, Misato gulped and acknowledged. "Follow me. Ritsu, can we put a vehicle other than an Eva on a catapult?"

"No, but the emergency vehicle lifts can get you there almost as fast. Your car will be there in thirty seconds."

Shinji nodded. "We'll take those then. Come on Misato. I don't want her out there any longer than she has to be."

As he left the bridge, Misato two meters ahead of him, Shizuka looked back at Gendo. He had never seen such fury on the man's face.

Shizuka smiled to himself in Shinji's mind.


They reached the surface just as Asuka's plug was being lowered to the ground. Shinji walked over to the side of the plug, motioning the others far back from the hatch. He pointed to Misato. "Open it."

Misato hastened to do as she was told, taking heat-resistant gloves and unsealing the hatch. Inside, Asuka lay crying.

"Help her get out. We're putting her in the car and taking her straight home."

Misato half-dragged the incoherent girl out of the plug, and Shinji took one of Asuka's arms with his free hand. She flinched at his touch and he let her go. Misato carried her to the back seat of the car. Shinji climbed in the shotgun seat and said just one word.


Misato tore away from the area like the proverbial Bat out of Hell, and reached their apartment in record time. Rei was waiting, a NERV jump-plane fading in the sky. She too was still in her Plugsuit, dripping LCL from her hair.

"I made them pick me up straight from my Eva. I'll help carry her."

Misato and Rei carried Asuka, now quiet and seemingly calm, to the elevator, and into the apartment. Shinji sighed with relief. "Are we clean, Rei? There were no guards around?"

Rei shook her head. "None. We're alone."

Shinji dropped the gun, kicking it across the apartment floor. "Seal the doors, your apartment and Misato's." Rei pulled the panel off the door buttons on pulled out a wire. Then she quickly marched off to do the same in her apartment. Shinji turned to Misato, his voice gentle.

"Let's clean her up, then we can try and help her. Get her some comfortable clothes and put her in my room, please. No calls, no visitors. You and Rei are to make sure NO ONE gets into this house until I say so."

Misato stared at the boy she had thought she knew. "What happened to you, Shinji?"

Shinji growled. "They hurt Asuka. they could have saved her and they didn't. Now I'm going to heal her." He looked down. "Whether she wants it or not."

Misato, awe struck, gently began towing Asuka to the bathroom to clean her up. Rei returned. "The doors are both disabled and locked, and I blocked my apartment's balcony access. Should I do yours?"

Shinji sighed, thankful Shizuka's plan to link into the Eva's comm from a distance had worked. Rei's help was going to be invaluable. "No. Get the weapon and watch the doors, but keep out of sight. Asuka may need the fresh air and sun."


Ten minutes later, Shinji sat in his room. "How can I help her, Shizuka?"

Shizuka gave Shinji a soft 'smile.' "I think you know. You did well enough so far without my help."

Shinji smirked at that. "True enough. But I can't mess this up."

Shizuka sighed. "I honestly don't know. Maybe you can't. Maybe this is one of those times when no matter what you do, it won't make any difference. But at least you tried, right? We saved the city from being torn to shreds for another day."

Before Shinji could reply to that, Misato opened his door. She gently set Asuka on Shinji's bed, and left silently. The redhead sat there, like a doll who's strings had been cut.

Shinji banished that image. "Asuka? Asuka, can you hear me? You're safe now. It's okay."

"Who the HELL is okay?!" she snarled. Shinji sat down in front of her. In his hands, he held a knife.

"Would you rather I just ended it for you? Give you the easy way out? I can, you know." He tested the point of the blade on his finger. A drop of blood welled around it.

"Kill me, I don't care."

Shinji sighed, and put the knife at his left side. "Since when are you a coward? The Asuka I've known would never back down like this."

Asuka wailed, "You don't know ANYthing about me!"

Shinji whispered, "I know what it's like to loose your mother."

Asuka stared at him, shocked to the core of her soul.

"My mother was working on Unit One. I was only five years old." Shinji's eyes clouded with tears, and he threatened to choke, but he continued on with the memory, painful as it was. "She got into the Entry Plug. I was watching from the testing booth. My father was there, too. It was the last time I ever saw him smile. Sometimes I think he KNEW what was about to happen next."

"She came out half dead." Asuka supplied the words for him.

Shinji shook his head. "No. She never came out at all. The Plug ejected, just like it did with me. The LCL--and her body--poured out. Her soul remained behind."

He looked into Asuka's eyes. "Her soul, the part of her that goes on forever, was locked in that damn monster! I SAW her, Asuka. While I was trapped, she told me to stay."

Shinji's voice dropped low. "She wanted me to share her death."

Asuka screamed, clutching at her head. She made a grab for the knife.

Shinji kicked it away, grabbing Asuka's hands. She tried to scratch him, bite him, something! But he had gotten much stronger in his righteous indignation than she in her fury. "I can't explain how," he told her, locking his gaze with her wild, rolling eyes, "but I saw what the Angel showed you. What happened to you was infinitely worse than what happened to me, and yet so much less horrible. You at least had hope. Even soulless, your Mother still cried out for you in some way. Mine was just gone. But in the end, you used that anger and fear to become the best Pilot there is."

Asuka moaned, trying to wrench free. "But I'm not! You're so much better, and I HAVE to be the best! Or my mommy will NEVER come back!" Her voice was higher, like she was five again.

Shinji shook her forcefully. "The only reason I'm better is because I know one thing, and one thing only." She stopped, staring at him. "I know that my mother loves me more than anything, and no matter what, she won't let me get hurt."

Comprehension finally began to dawn on Asuka Langley Sohryu.

Shinji went on. "That wasn't your mother who hung herself, Asuka. That was the Eva. It wants you to die, to become part of it. That's why we can pilot so much better than Kensuke, and even Rei. That's why WE will be the best! Because our mothers will protect us! She didn't want you to die, Asuka. She wanted you to LIVE!"

The Second Child broke down in tears.


Rei sat outside the bedroom, listening. She understood now, what was so different about Shinji and Asuka. She understood, and in understanding was saddened. What they shared was something she would likely never experience.


Misato sat in the kitchen, drinking. Her hardest alcohol was only barely enough to drown the image of Shinji about to kill himself, and she realized that for the rest of her life, she would never be as proud of him as she was right then, standing up to his father.


The next morning, Shinji and Asuka emerged from the small bedroom. They stood hand in hand, and Shinji led the way into the sunlit porch. Together, they looked up at the cloudless sky, squinting as they saw a flock of birds fly overhead. Then, they turned to look into each other's eyes.

Misato watched them from the kitchen, sleepy and hung over. With all she'd drunk the night before, even Shinji's hangover remedy wasn't enough. Which was why she didn't quite believe it when she saw them kiss.

It wasn't a normal kiss. This was the desperate kiss of two people who thought that at any moment, their lives might end. Shizuka, watching from Shinji's mind, breathed a sigh of relief. Asuka seemed to have recovered herself. At least, enough to stay sane.

"One down, two to go."


Talk about fast turnaround! This one only took two days, start to finish. Just goes to show that when the good ideas come, they come fast and hit hard. Other than "Snowfall," that short Christmas bit piece I slapped together in just six hours, this is the shortest complete thing I've ever done, time wise. As far as size, it's about average for me: 30-some KB, right where I wanted it. Some of the extra line breaks account for the page count, so I try not to use that as a measure.

Remember what I mentioned about Shinji's spine in the last Author's Notes? This is what I meant. Love has the strangest affect on some people, and this world's Shinji wasn't exactly spineless to begin with. He's been slowly gaining confidence for this point, and it appears to have paid off. Shizuka's advice, and his influence, have saved Asuka from her deep depression, and revealed the truth of her feelings. Will that be enough? Maybe, maybe not. We shall see.

This chapter seemed to write itself. I love it when things do that, because I only have a vague idea of what happens between major points. But this was the one chapter I wanted to write this whole series for, just to save Asuka. But Shizuka said there were TWO left! We know one is Rei, but who is the other? Some will probably guess, and be repulsed, while others will praise me for my efforts. Like Shizuka told Shinji: sometimes, you can't save everyone. But the important thing is to TRY.

For now, I see no place where an Omake is appropriate. At least, not in the style I was doing them previously. So this chapter shall go without, unless I can find a good way to do one. Hmm... Scratch that, I just found it. Hehehehehe, I'm such a hentai.


Rei sat outside the bedroom, listening. She understood now, what was so different about Shinji and Asuka. She understood, and in understanding was saddened. What they shared was something she would likely never experience.

The noises were beginning to disturb her. Taking the pistol, she opened the door and fired two shots into the naked bodies in Shinji's bed.

"That should keep them quiet. Hentai."

Shizuka gaped at this unusual outburst from Rei, and sighed. "Note to self: sex will not solve Asuka's problems. Back to the drawing board."

"The knowledge, it fills me! It is neat." --Evil Crazy Gir, "Gir goes crazy and stuff" ep 32.

Fri Jul 30, 2004 8:31 am
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Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 9:01 pm
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Location: The Frozen North of the Upper Peninnsula of Michigan
Post Another day, another chapter. Feedback please?
Why bother with a disclaimer? No one is ever likely to read these anyway...

Fizzy Pop, Inc. presents

A story by }=]DarkNate

Knowledge is Power

Book Two: Know thy Self

"I hear the voice
of my destiny call
and I know I must go find my way.
The hardest part
will be leaving you all
an' I'll miss you much more than words can say.

I'll be only a memory away.
If you need me, you can call me
any time of day
and I'll be there.
It's okay.
Only a memory away

My intuition says something is wrong.
My friends said they'd come and say goodbye.
Oh I can't go until I know what's going on.
I fear there is danger somewhere nearby.


We've been together through good times and bad
you've always been there for me
I'll always treasure the best friends I've had

--"Only a Memory Away"

Chapter 5


Asuka wasn't sure she wanted to go to school. Not while she lay encircled by the arms of the first male who'd ever shown her real compassion in her entire life. She smiled. Shinji was such a different person than his loser buddies, Jock-boy and Military-nut.

Of course, she WAS a little biased. After all, she was in love.

Shinji felt her shift slightly in his gentle embrace and whispered, "Finally awake, sleepy-head? We have school today."

Asuka sighed. "Do we have to go to school? It seems so pointless."

Shinji sat partway up, the covers sliding off his t-shirt, revealing that both of them were still clothed. (I bet you thought they were naked, you perverts--Author) "You know the others will worry if we don't go. It's only been a few days, but it's time we started trying to get back to normal."

He spoke, of course, of the last attack on the city. The one where Asuka had been driven to the brink of insanity by her worst memories, forced to the surface by the Angel. Shinji still wasn't sure what the Angel had hoped to do, but it had failed. Asuka was okay. As his redhead tried to snuggle back down into the covers, he shook his head and pulled her up with him as he got out of bed. "Come on, you've got to get up now. Rei can't stall for us any more, and I've got a funny feeling that today will be interesting."

Shizuka laughed at the choice of words. "Interesting eh? What sort of 'interesting'?" he asked inside Shinji's mind. In a bizzare coincidence, Asuka echoed the thought mere milliseconds after Shizuka sent it.

Shinji grinned. "Just a feeling, that's all. And definitely not what your hentai mind is thinking."

Asuka pouted. "Hey, watch who you're calling a hentai. You must have me confused for Kensuke!"

Shinji just took her by the shoulders and gave her a push out of the room. He had resolved not to resort to sex until he was sure Asuka wasn't just in it because she was depressed and lonely. So he didn't tempt himself, or her. Sleeping together at night seemed to help with her nightmares, which was the only reason he did it.

Shizuka, however, wished Shinji wouldn't let her. He had plans, and he needed access to Rei for them. And he needed to do it without Shinji knowing what he planned.


Now that things seemed to have calmed down, Shinji, Asuka, and Rei took up one of their beloved past-times, one that had been spoiled by the myriad injuries and disappearances of various members of their crew: their walk to school.

Everyone was waiting at their respective corners as the group met up and moved like clockwork. It gave Shinji a feeling of great satisfaction that all of them had managed, at last, to get together in the same place at the same time, whole and healthy. Asuka was chatting away with Hikari and Rei, Kensuke was spouting some new crazy theory on where Eva's came from, and Touji and himself were laughing at the absurdity of said theory. Life was peacful and idylic, like a normal junior-high student's life should be.

Shinji took his seat happily once they reached the school, and noticed Asuka being welcomed back. Word of her fight with the last angel must have leaked out, along with rumors she had been injured. The class seemed very happy to see she'd come out of it none the worse for wear. They didn't realize how bad things had been, or they'd have been weeping with relief instead of just laughing.

The Sensei came in and began to lecture, and Shinji began to tune out. He kept one eye on Asuka though. Despite how she was acting, something still seemed off about her.

"She just came to terms with her past," Shizuka reminded him when the thought reached him. "Of course she'll be different. She still may not even be able to pilot. She still has to FORGIVE her mother before her Eva will start listening to her again."

Shinji nodded, sighing. He played idly with the laptop in front of him, and popped up the chat room. Asuka was talking to a couple of other girls who had worried about her, while he found Kensuke holidng a 'private' chat with a few other mecha-heads in the class. He once again thanked his fellow Stooge for getting him the program to scan private chats. He jumped in on the Eva conversation, where the others were comparing an Eva's power to that of a Valkyrie from Macross.

Kensuke: The Eva has the VF-1S outclassed in size and firepower, but the VF-1S could easily outrun it, even in robot mode!
Matsuro: No way, I have a vid of Unit One running fast enough to break the sound barrier! I shot it during the attack where the Angel fell from the sky.
Regura: How'd you pull that off?
Matsuro:I was camping up in the hills outside of town, and didn't have time to get to a shelter.
Kensuke: Okay, so maybe it can outrun a battloid. But there's no way it could outrun a fighter-mode Valkyrie!
Shinji: Actually, without the augmentation pods, doesn't the Valkyrie have a top speed in air of Mach 3?
Kensuke: Holy crap, Shinji! How'd you know that?
Shinji: One of my teachers had the whole series on tape. I watched it once, and I thought it was interesting.
Kensuke: So what's the Eva's top speed?
Shinji: No one knows. I hit Mach 1.5 that afternoon, but I could have gone faster on an open plain with no obstructions.
Regura: No shit?
Matsuro: You're pullin my leg!
Shinji: No, really! I was so busy watching out for buildings I couldn't push the Eva any faster or I wouldn't be able to see with the optics.
Kensuke: Well, I think my Unit-03 has improved sensors and stuff, so it could probably beat you.
Server: 'Shinji' left.

Having cleared that up, Shinji turned to check on Asuka again. He really needn't have bothered, he soon saw. Rei was keeping an eye on her, and she was apparently holding a chat of her own with some of the other girls.

"I'm glad you made the choice you did, Shinji." Shizuka had sounded pleasantly surprised ever since Shinji had made his heroic rescue of Asuka.

Shinji pondered the statement a moment, then asked, "How much longer would she have had to be trapped there?"

"A few more hours, I don't really remember." Shizuka sounded flustered. "I was rather upset at the time."

Shinji thought that sounded fishy, and said so. Shizuka sighed, "You know I can't tell you who I really am, it could jeopardize my mission. Besides, you wouldn't really like the answer."

And with that, Shinji felt the presence withdraw from his mind for a while. Staring down at his laptop screen, he felt more lost than ever.

"How am I supposed to know what to do if he won't tell me?"


Shizuka was, at that moment, checking on Asuka. It was something he'd been meaning to do for a while, but hadn't really wanted to. Now it gave him a reason to avoid Shinji's question. Lately his powers had been getting strong enough to not just look from outside Shinji, but see into the minds of others as well. He knew it had to do with how close things really were to the end, but refused to dwell on it. For now, he deleved into the young woman's mind.

It was utter chaos.

Visions of her mother, her Eva, and Shinji flew thick and fast. There was a lot of fear, uncertainty, hatred, and despair floating in her, and only a very little happiness. Shinji's little talk had done less than Shizuka had hoped.

And yet, Asuka wasn't suicidal. She wasn't acting like a five year old girl, or withdrawing into a shell. Outwardly, she was putting up a brave front.

At least she wasn't degrading further. She wouldn't be at top performance, but perform she would.

Shizuka flitted back to Shinji's mind quietly, barely alerting his young host/charge to his return.

"Now," he thought privately, "There's just the matter of Rei III. I don't have much time."


After classes were done, Asuka, Shinji, and Rei walked home together in silence. Finally, Shizuka took control and said, "So Rei, have you written any more music like that one we played?"

Rei, surprised at the question, shook her head. "No, I have not needed to write a piece quite like that for some time. Since that battle, I have not felt the need to preserve my memories in such a way."

Shizuka replied with a nod. "Still, you never know, right?"

It was enough to start the gears turning, he hoped, as he gave Shinji control again.

Shinji, to his credit, didn't stumble as he got his body back under his control, but did question Shizuka. "Something you want to tell me?"

"Not really," the mental passenger replied. "Just giving out a general reminder that you aren't immortal. Always made me feel better."

Rolling his eyes, Shinji turned to Asuka, who appeared to have paled somewhat. "What's wrong, Asuka?"

Asuka stared at him. "I-I don't like it when you do that, Shinji. Rei's the one who's supposed to be all gloomy. You're supposed to help us see the bright side of things!"

Shinji laughed. "I just meant you never can tell what's going on in that head of hers. Maybe she'd written something and just not told us because she thought it was bad!"

That got Asuka to laugh, which made Shinji breathe a sigh of relief. "Shizuka, you're getting to be more trouble than your worth sometimes."

Shizuka made no reply, but Shinji could feel his smile. Throwing an arm around Asuka's shoulders, he said, "Let's go out for dinner, my treat. Then, we can go back to my room and snuggle up under some nice warm blankets."

Asuka smiled, but shook her head. "My period starts tonight, and I'll be kinda sick all night. I'll stay in my room. I wish I didn't have to, but I don't want to accidentally puke on you if it's a bad one."

Making a sour face, Shinji shuddered. "No problem."

Shizuka's smile grew broader. "Perfect timing," he thought to himself.


At 3 am, Shizuka detached himself from the sleeping Shinji and scouted the apartment. Rei and Misato were sleeping peacefully in their rooms, while Asuka had a bucket next to her futon and was slightly restless, tossing and turning in her sleep.

Quickly getting back to Shinji, Shizuka carefully severed Shinji's connections to his central nervous system, one by one. After five tense minutes, he'd completely blocked Shinji out from his senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight, and removed his motor control from all parts of his body.

Then, Shizuka stood up, Shinji's body now his to control for a while. Making his way stealthily to the door to the girls' suite, he carefully slid the partition aside, careful to disarm the bell trap Asuka had installed. His steps took him to Rei's door as silently as a cat.

Not bothering to knock, and knowing Rei was fully dressed, he went in and put a hand over her mouth and gently shook her awake. Her eyes opened slightly, then widened as she realized what 'Shinji' was doing.

Muflled screams erupted from her mouth, and Shizuka clamped down harder, shushing her. "It's okay, I'm here to talk, nothing more." His voice was subtly different, and Rei caught it.

"I'm going to take my hand away," Shizuka said, "but if you scream, I'll shut you back up, and I don't want to accidentally injure you. Even your Angelic strength can't defeat me."

Eyes as big as saucers, Rei nodded, and she felt the static crackle of an externalized AT field fithdrawing as the hand pulled back. "You externalized an AT field?" she asked quietly. "Only those with Angels can do that!"

Shizuka smiled. "I learned from the best." Then, he quickly turned serious. "Listen carefully, I don't have much time before Shinji might wake back up."

"You are not Shinji?"

"Not the Shinji you know. More than that I cannot say."

Rei was suspicious. "Then why are you here?"

Shizuka's face was grave. "I bring you a warning. I am not certain of the exact time, or day, but you are about to die, Rei II."

Rei gasped. No one knew that she was the second except the Commander and Dr. Akagi!

"Yes, I know all about the Reis, the Nephilim project, the truth of Insturmentality, even the secret of the Evas and Yui's original plan." Shizuka pushed onward. "In the end, the plan fails. I have had a but few moments and all of eternity to discover the faults and try to figure a way to win. For it to work, we cannot lose the work I and Shinji have put into you, Rei II."

Comprehension dawned on Rei at last. "You need me to preserve my memories for the new me?"

"I know Rei III will recieve a memory transplant," Shizuka told her, "But Gendo will make it incomplete on purpose, to bind her to HIS plan. I cannot simply store your mind and give it to her, my power is not that great. However, you MUST bring yourself back, or the world will be doomed once more. I will not allow the death our civilization to occur a second time."

Rei nodded. "That is why you asked me if I had written a new song. To see if I had forseen it myself."

"Indeed. But now more than ever, you must make haste. For all I now know, you may have only hours left. Too much has changed already to be sure."

Grabbiing pencils and blank sheets, Rei was already composing in her mind. "I thank you for the warning. Shall I include this conversation in my memories?"

Shizuka turned to leave. "That is up to you. Are you sure Rei III can handle it?"

Rei II wasn't entirely sure she knew the answer to that.


Shinji awoke somewhat stiff the next morning. Trying to sit up, he found that he moved in fits and starts, like the signal that controlled his muscles was being interrupted. "Shizuka?"

"Yes, Shinji?" The voice in his mind sounded nervous.

"Did you do something to me? It's kind of hard to move. Almost like I'm not all the way connected anymore."

Shizuka checked his connections from Shinji's mind to his nerves, and adjusted a few. "Better?"

Shinji moved an arm, and smiled when it was smooth and easy. "Much. What happened?"

Shizuka had been trying to figure out an answer all night, and finally said, "You had to go to the bathroom, but you were having a nice dream, so I severed your connections to your nerves so you wouldn't wake up while I took care of things. I missed a couple bits putting them back, that's all."

Shinji gasped. "You did WHAT?!"

Shizuka sighed. "I've been able to do that forever. It's how I take over from you all the time. This time, I had to disconnect your senses too, so I got a couple things mixed up. I've been cleaning them up all night!"

Shinji, not quite pacified, told his passenger, "Well don't do it again. Just wake me up next time."

"Sure, whatever."

Shinji marched sullenly into the kitchen. Rei was eating a piece of toast and scribbling furiously on a piece of sheet music. He looked over what he could see, and his eyebrows rose in surprise.

"This is a very complex piece, Rei."

Rei didn't even look up. "Yes, and I have little time to finish it. I will have to remain home from school today to complete it in time."

Shinji gave her an odd look. "Why the rush?"

Rei stopped, and looked up at him. "I have recieved a warning, and I must act quickly. This is quite literally a matter of life and death. Now please leave me to my work, I have a lot to do."

Shinji turned to put some of his own toast in the toaster, and asked Shizuka, "Any idea what that's about?"

Luckily, Shizuka didn't have to answer, as Asuka came lurching into the kitchen, green in the face and looking like she'd spent most of the night in discomfort. "I'm not going to school, I'm having a bad day."

"Okay..." Shinji was about to ask why she couldn't go to school if she was just a little sick, when she turned and bolted for the bathroom. The sounds of retching were clearly audible.

"Why don't we all stay home today?" Shinji asked aloud. "I can keep an eye on Asuka, and Rei can do her work."

Misato peered bleary-eyed around the doorjamb. "Okay. I've got the day off anyway. Call yourself in, okay?"

Shinji nodded, and dialed the school.

"Tokyo-3 Junior High main office, how may I help you?" the secretary on the other end asked.

"This is Shinji Ikari. I'd like to call in some absences please."

"One moment." There was a sound of typing, then, "Names?"

"Shinji Ikari, Rei Ayanami, and Asuka Langley."

"Reasons?" the secretary sounded interested suddenly. "You kids always get off on the wierdest things."

"Illness. Asuka's very sick, and Rei and I are staying home to nurse her."

The receptionist snorted in laughter. "I've heard better, kid. But I've got instructions to let you Pilots off if you get called in for just about anything, so you're lucky. Enjoy your day off. *click*"

Shinji sighed. "Just because some kids play hookey, doesn't mean we do."


By early afternoon, Shinji was wishing he HAD gone to school. Asuka was miserable but getting better, Rei was holed up in her room writing music, and Misato hadn't gotten up until one in the afternoon. Shinji was rapidly becoming a wreck himself.

"This is crazy, Shizuka! How can they be so much worse for just a few hours?"

Shizuka laughed. "It is your curse to have to deal with this sort of thing. Think of it as practice for parenthood."

Asuka came by. She was at least looking her normal color, and her nausea seemed to have gone. She plopped down on the couch next to Shinji, and put her head on his shoulder.

"I'm glad you're here, Shin-kun." She snuggled in closer to him. "I haven't EVER had a period this bad."

Shinji smiled and put a gentle arm around her shoulders. All this familiarity and touching was rather nice, especially since it never led to anything more. "I just hope you feel better soon, Asuka-chan. Between you, Rei, and Misato, I have no idea how I survived this morning."

A loud and violent 'thump' told him that hadn't been the best choice of words. The throbbing pain on his head was not foremost in his mind, however, as he sighed. "I deserved that," he said aloud. "Gomen. I didn't mean that like it sounded."

Asuka grinned. "It's not my fault, okay? And if you're going to be my boyfriend, you'd better get used to it."

Shinji tensed. "What did you just say?"

Asuka repeated the phrase back. "If you're going to be my-" She stopped in shock. "Did I just say what I think I said?"

Shinji's reassuring hug quieted her down. "I'd be honored, Asuka."

She melted into the embrace, tears in her eyes. "Shinji..."

They were cut off by the alarm klaxon.


Rei continued to scribe even as she heard the noise. "It may be too late, but I won't let things end like this." Shinji and Asuka threw open her door, but she ignored them.

"Rei, we have to GO!" Asuka yelled. "Who knows what kind of havoc an Angel could be making while you just SIT there?!"

"This is more important." Rei barely even heard herself reply. "Only a few lines left..."

A fist connected with the wall above her head, but she maintained her calm and kept going. Asuka's roar would have terrified any Angel into submision. "How can a SONG be more important than your LIFE?"

Rei, finally finished, traced over the notes one last time. Looking up at the panting Second Child above her, she said simply, "Because my life is already gone. The song is all that will remain."

And with that cryptic remark, she pulled off her clothes, revealing her plugsuit underneath. Jogging out the door, she breezed right past the stunned pair of teens, and down the ledge to the elevator. Asuka and Shinji had to sprint to catch her.

Unheard, Shizuka whispered to himself, "I hope it was enough. There is but one more task I can do."


Screaming into the car lifts, Misato's car had two struggling teens in the back, each putting on their plugsuits as quickly as they could while trying not to look at the other. By the time they had reached the Cages, all three pilots were clad in their uniforms. Kensuke met them on their way across to the Plugs.

"You guys should get housing on base," he said in a condescending tone. "I've been waiting quite a while."

Shinji huffed and puffed as they walked. "Why didn't they send you ahead?"

"Because they weren't sure I could handle it, and we're already in pretty dire straights." Kensuke looked slightly miffed. "It's just a glowing ring of light, as far as they can tell. I'm supposed to go out as cover for Asuka and Rei." He frowned sadly at Shinji. "Unit One's still in lockdown, I guess."

Shinji grimaced, but managed not to sound bitter. "At least it isn't up in orbit where Rei can't hit it this time."

Everyone cringed, and Asuka felt herself begin to cry as the memories made themselves known once more. The helplessness, the pain, the horror...

Shinji's hand on her shoulder gave her strength. "You can do this, Asuka. You know what to do."

She nodded. "I just hope it's enough."

They piled into their Plugs, and three of the four Evas rocketed to the surface.

On arriving, Kensuke immediately pulled his positron rifle into line with the ring, and began to fall back behind the tall building nearby. Rei began to move cautiously forward, her own more conventional rifle also at the ready. However, Asuka didn't budge.

"I can't. I can't. I can't." Over and over, the faint whisper came to Shinji over the private line he'd made to her. Glancing at a datafeed from the Bridge, he frowned. "Shizuka," he asked in his mind, "why is her synch ratio only 0.03 percent?"


Up on the bridge, Misato glowered and Ritsuko sighed. "I suspected this," the scientist said. "Her fear is driving her synch rate down so far she can't even move."

Misato snapped up the comm unit. "Asuka, what's going on?"

The same whispers came to the ear of the bridge now. Misato sighed, and returned the comm. "Bring her back. We don't need to make her any worse."

It was Ritsuko's turn to glare. "Why didn't you let me have her checked out? You could have convinced Shinji!"

Shinji, having a line to the bridge that Ritsuko didn't know was still active, replied for her. "Because I've been working with her. She's not afraid of the Angel."

Ritsuko looked up in sruprise. "And how do you know that?"

"She's afraid of her Eva. She doesn't want to end up like her mother." A pause, then with loathing, "Or mine."

Gendo's eyes narrowed, but his grin didn't falter. Ritsuko, shocked beyond words that Shinji knew about Unit One's accident, let alone Unit Two's, could say nothing.

Before anything more could be exchanged, they were interrupted.

By screams.


Rei fired desperately into the black snake-like Angel, even as it burrowed into her Eva's core. She could feel it mingling not only with her Blue Giant, but with her own body as well. It was then she knew her end had come.

But if fate had a back door, she was willing to fight for it.

She began to drag her Eva backwards, away from the city and into the hills. It was hard, but not impossible. Kensuke was firing at the tail end of the thing, but she could tell that it wasn't working. It continued to bore into her, unrelenting. She could feel it trying to speak to her, but she simply blocked it out, and concentrated on pulling herself to a safe distance.

Over her radio, she said, "Don't send Unit One, Major. This thing is after Shinji."

As the gasps and yells echoed over the comm, she realized she had finally reached the best place she could. And just in time. The Eva ceased to respond to her, and she was forced to face the Angel.

It had taken her form as it spoke directly to her mind. "Why do you fight me?" it asked. "I wish to become one with you, to take you from this loneliness."

Rei sneered. "Human hearts are more than capable of connection, even though they are separate. I don't need or want you."

"But you are not just human. You can feel the Angelic call just as I can."

"I can supress it. It does not bother me. I know eventually I will have to return from where I came, but I will fight that day for as long as I can."

The Angel smiled. "Why fight the inevitable?"

Rei slapped the image. "Because my friends are more important."

The Angel glared at her. "They are nothing. Mere humans will never know the wonders of our race!"

Rei turned away from the image in her mind, and reached out for the self-destruct on her Eva. "Your race will not survive this war. Humans may have been an Angel once, but they have grown well beyond their former self. For all their shortcomings, they are far better than you can ever be."

She pulled the lever.

"And Rei will see it happen."

An explosion ripped the land under her away like water dripping onto wax paper.


Shinji saw the explosion just as his Eva cleared the launch shaft. "Too late." He radioed back to HQ, "I'll go back to the hanger. Do you want to run some tests later and make sure my Eva's clean?"

Ritsuko sounded like she was having trouble speaking as she replied. "Just bring Unit One in. And we'll send out a recovery team ASAP. Don't go looking for her yourself, we can't be sure some of the Angel didn't survive."

Shizuka sighed. "Rei will be back, Shinji. Not quite the same, but she'll be back. Just like Asuka came back."

Shinji slumped into his control chair. "I couldn't even help her this time."

"You'll get your chance. Play the song with her when she gets back. In fact, do it as soon as you can. Your future with her might depend on it."

Shinji raised an eyebrow as the plug was retrieved. "Wha?"

"Sorry, can't say any more."

Pouting, Shinji crossed his arms. "I hate it when you say that."

Shizuka's voice seemed to carry the weight of a very wise old man. "If I simply told you everything, things would not work. This is better for you, trust me."

"And how do you know that?" Shinji growled mentally as he climbed out of his plug and made his way to the locker room. "I may be ready for more than you think!"

Shizuka chuckled. "You forget! I live inside your head, Shinji. I know you better than YOU do!" Then, he directed Shinji's gaze to his left.

Asuka was sitting on the end of the catwalk, knees drawn up to her chin, tears in her eyes. She barely even glanced at Shinji as he walked toward her. He knelt down in front of her, cupping her chin in his still-damp hand. A soft smile touched his face.

"What's wrong, Asuka?"

Asuka looked away from him, blushing in shame. "I can't pilot. She won't listen to me."

Shinji took her hand, and pulled her to her feet. "Ah, I think I see the problem."

Asuka looked at him intently. "Really?"

Shinji tugged on her hand, trying to pull her to the locker room. "When we get home, I'll tell you all about it." A worried look crossed his face. "I hope Rei is all right."

Asuka hung her head. "Me too. Somehow, I don't think I could get used to not having her around."

They arrived at the lockers, and Shinji smiled. "See you on the other side?"

Asuka clutched his hand tighter, and pulled him through the door to the ladies' half. "I'd rather not be alone right now."

A smile flitted across Shinji's lips as he followed.


An hour later, two sleepy but sated teenagers stumbled out of the lockers, dressed sloppily but presentable. Misato met them outside the doors.

"What am I going to do with you two?" she asked with a sigh. "They recovered Rei's Plug. She's in an isolation cell in the hospital, but Ritsuko says she'll pull through."

Shinji breathed a sigh of relief. "How soon can we see her?"

Misato looked away. "I don't know. Ritsuko said that until she wakes up, we won't know what kind of damage there was."

Asuka looked frightened. "You don't think her Eva...?"

Shinji shook his head. "No, if she'd been absorbed, we'd already know about it. Her Eva self-destructed. Her plug ejecting must have injured her a lot."

Asuka smiled. "Well, she heals fairly quickly. She'll be up and around in no time."

Misato motioned the toward the car bay. "There's nothing we can do now, let's go home."

Shinji nodded. As the trio started walking, Shinji had an opportunity to set Shizuka's plan in motion. "Say Asuka? Why don't we practice our parts of Rei's new music and surprise her when she gets home?"

Asuka grinned. "That's a great idea! I can't wait to see the look on her face."


It turned out, Rei woke up later the next day. Shinji and his two roommates went to see her, and met Kensuke on the way up.

"Rei-chan? How are you feeling?" Shinji asked.

"Pilot Ikari?" she asked in a very quiet voice.

Shinji blinked in surprise. "You haven't called me 'Pilot Ikari' in months, Rei-chan."

"I am sorry. I have... some amnesia."

Asuka sighed. "Well, at least she's alive. Memories or not, it wouldn't matter. Unit Zero's toast."

Kensuke slumped. "They might put her in Unit Three. I'm not exactly a terrific pilot after all."

Rei shook her head. "Unlikely, Pilot Aida. I doubt I will be capable of piloting an Eva again."

Despite himself, Kensuke smiled. "Good. I like piloting."

Shizuka 'frowned'. "Shinji, ask her what she remembers last before today."

Shinji, confused, asked the question.

"I..." Rei paused, confused. "I am not sure."

Shizuka sighed. "Shinji, we need to get her home ASAP. This could be critical."

"Shizuka, what's going on?" Shinji asked. "Why has Rei lost all her memories, but she still remembers who we are?"

"She'll tell you herself if she wishes to, once she has her memory back. You know I can't."

Shinji frowned, then turned to Misato. "Well, isn't she just as likely to get her memory back at home as she is if she stays here?"

Misato nodded. "Possibly more. There's a lot of her stuff back in the apartment that might jog her memories." She turned to the pale, bandaged Ayanami. "How about it?"

Rei looked confused for a moment, but then, she nodded. "This is logical. But my apartment is very small and I have little furniture."

Asuka grinned. "You mean that dump? You don't live there any more. Trust me, your room has plenty of stuff in it."

Shinji nodded. "Well Misato? How should we get her home?"

Misato grinned. "Ritsuko owes me a favor. I'll get her out of here tonight."

Asuka took a closer look at the bandages on Rei's arm. "Is there a reason you're all bandaged up? You look fine."

Rei looked even more confused. "I feel fine as well. Nothing appears to be broken. This is all so confusing!" She looked to be on the verge of crying.

Shinji took her by the chin and tilted her head up to look at him. "Don't worry, Rei. We'll get you fixed up in no time."


It took some work, a few bribes, and a long sheet, but Asuka and Shinji managed to sneak Rei out of the hospital while Misato ran interference. Kensuke, meanwhile, headed to the apartment as fast as he could to make sure it was still secure. After they got their charge into the car, Misato ducked out and met them.

"Rei?" she asked.

Rei's voice was muffled by the sheet. "I am here, Captain Katsuragi."

Shinji chuckled. "She's a major now, Rei. Remember?"

A brief silence came from the sheet. Then, Rei responded. "We had a party for her, didn't we?"

Asuka laughed. "I'd say we did!"

Misato grinned. "At least we know she's getting some of her memories back."

Shinji motioned to the road ahead with his hand. "Let's get going before someone finds out where we are."

Misato pulled out with her usual high-speed manuvering, and they rocketed down the road for home. Asuka kept one hand out to help steady Rei, who was still feeling rather weak.

Arriving back at the apartment a few minutes later, Shinji clambered out of the car quickly. "You guys help her up the stairs. We know the elevator has a camera, and we don't want them to catch her on tape just yet. I'll go on ahead and help Kensuke out with making sure Section 2 didn't tamper with anything. They're probably watching us anyway, and they already know Rei's out, but we don't want to give them anything more than we have to."

Misato grinned. "It's like your some sort of superspy, Shinji! Where'd you figure all this stuff out?"

Shinji blushed a bit. "Kensuke's conspiracy theories. He may be a nutcase, but he's still got the right idea." Then he ran up the stairs, leaving the three grinning ladies to laugh at him.

He met Kensuke at the door to the girl's apartment. "Well, anything?"

Kensuke shrugged. "I checked all the obvious places, and nothing. I also checked the traps on the doors and windows, and none of them looked like they'd been opened. Just to be safe, I covered everything in the girl's apartments with sheets and towels, including the walls and ceilings. It won't stop microphones, but it'll at least keep the visulas off us. We should have a few hours before they really figure out she's here."

Shinji nodded. "Great work, Kensuke. With a little luck, that may be all the time we need."

Kensuke shrugged, and opened the door as the girls came up the stairs. Taking a pistol out of its hidden compartment in the side table near the door, he twirled it on his index finger. "We expecting trouble?"

Shinji nodded. "My father isn't going to take this sitting down. Rei was his most prized posession, the daughter he never had. He's going to be furious when he finds out."

Kensuke got the hidden meaning in Shinji's words, and sat down in a chair just around the corner, gun in his lap. "Well, I'll take a nap while you guys do whatever you're up to. Wake me if something important happens."

Shinji nodded, and Rei was escorted into the main room of the girls' apartment. Shinji left to grab his cello, and the sheet music they'd stashed in the kitchen drawer. On his return, he saw that Rei's bandages were mostly removed, and Asuka was carefully peeling away the eye patch. A violin and a viola lay on the couch nearby, and some music stands stood in the corner. Shinji went to the stands, arranging them in a circle in the cneter of the room. Another trip to the kitchen for some chairs, and everything was ready. He distributed the copies of the music to each of the stands, and took up his bow and instrument. Rei composed herself in her seat, and scanned over the music as Asuka and Shinji did the same. After a brief nod of agreement, Shinji tapped out a rhythm with his foot, and they began.


For Shinji and Auska, the music was just that: music. Haunting, soft, and slow, but no image accompanied it.

Rei was in a whole different situation.

The music was like the source of a projector in her mind, replaying memory after memory. As the images poured into her mind, she could feel more and more a sense that something was seriously amiss with her. Finally, as the music drew into a brief surge of sound, then suddenly dies as the song came to an end, a final memory revealed itself to her. Another Rei Ayanami, writing this music.

A Rei Ayanami who was not her.

A Rei Ayanami who had died.

Rei screamed, dropping her instrument and clutching at her head. This time, of her own volition, she remembered being removed from the tank of bodies, being given the injections that were supposed to programm the once soulless shell do function properly with the new soul infused within it. The memories of what she was, what she had been, drowned her in their intensity.

The screaming stopped, and she passed out.


Shinji and Asuka stared at the limp form of Rei, suddenly quite after her outburst. Shinji asked quietly, "Is she okay?"

Asuka cautiously crawled over, and felt for a pulse. "She's just passed out. Whatever was going on, it's done."

Misato shivered, mostly from fear. "Whatever that music was, it did something to her. Why did she write it?"

Rei stirred, slowly picking herself up off the floor. One hand was held to her head, and her eyes were screwed shut as though she was in pain. The others looked on as she grimaced and sat upright again. "That, Misato, was the last desperate cry from a dead girl."

Misato looked confused. "But you wrote it, right?"

Rei shook her head. "No, I didn't."

Asuka raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "But, we saw you writing it! It had to have been you!"

Rei picked up her copy of the music, and turned over the first page. "No, I was not the one who wrote this. It was left to me so that I could make her sacrifice worth it." She held up the paper, and everyone could now see the title: "The Memories of Rei II".

Shinji seemed to finally understand, as Shizuka's grim laughter echoed in his mind. "Then you aren't the Rei we knew, are you?"

The girl known as Rei Ayanami stood up and bowed. "I am Rei III. It is a pleasure to meet you again, for the first time."


Bit of a twist there, wasn't it? I was going to end this one differently, but this seemed the appropriate point to stop when I got here. Rest assured, the next one picks up right where we left off, so you won't miss the expressions on everyone's faces.

This was a harder chapter to write, mostly because I had to deal with Asuka still not being perfectly all right, find a way to restore Rei's memories quickly and completely, and still make sure she was dead.

Luckily, when I did the planning for this one, I had an idea. Now you can see why her talent as a composer was so important way way back in the earlier chapters of Know Thy Enemy. It saved her memories for her. And no, she didn't put in the bit about Shizuka in her melody. She did, however, accidentally trigger memories even Rei II didn't know about, which make the twists even better.

As we get closer to the end of this section of Eva, I begin to wonder if I'm really doing the series justice. I honsetly haven't watched any of the episodes in over a year, and I'll probably have to go back and review more about Kaoru for the next chapter. As to the fate of the Angel of Free Will? You'll just have to wait and find out.


This Episode's Omake sponsored by Dr. Pepper, the Author's drink of choice to clear up morning drowsiness.

Asuka was sitting on the end of the catwalk, knees drawn up to her chin, tears in her eyes. She barely even glanced at Shinji as he walked toward her. He knelt down in front of her, cupping her chin in his still-damp hand. A soft smile touched his face.

"What's wrong, Asuka?"

Asuka looked away from him, blushing in shame. "I can't pilot. She won't listen to me."

Shinji took her hand, and pulled her to her feet. "Ah, I think I see the problem."

Asuka looked at him intently. "Really?"

Shinji tugged on her hand, trying to pull her to the locker room. "She's jealous. I've got you all to myself, and I can do anything I want to you!"

Asuka growled. "I will NOT be your plaything, you pervert!" A wall suddenly appeared in Shinji's line of vision, as Asuka hurled him head-first into it. A bloody smear was all that remianed as Shinji's body slid down the steel.

Shizuka sighed. "I really need to get that kid's mind back out of the gutter. Back to the drawing board."

"The knowledge, it fills me! It is neat." --Evil Crazy Gir, "Gir goes crazy and stuff" ep 32.

Mon Oct 18, 2004 10:04 am
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Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2004 3:52 pm
Posts: 44
Location: Bay Area, CA
I read the first couple pages, and I've enjoyed it very much so far. The idea is very unique and interesting. Your writing flows nicely, and I think it has alot of potential. I have only one constructive critisism. When Shinji first hears this voice, he doesn's show too much reaction. He kind of instantly accepts that this is a guide sent to help him. If you deliberately meant for it to be this way, then by all means don;t change it. If not, then I'm glad I could be of service. Keep working, I'd love to read this fic.

"I fear not death, for I leave no place for the sword to enter."

Mon Oct 18, 2004 11:09 pm
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Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 9:01 pm
Posts: 280
Location: The Frozen North of the Upper Peninnsula of Michigan
Rosenberg wrote:
When Shinji first hears this voice, he doesn's show too much reaction. He kind of instantly accepts that this is a guide sent to help him.

Well, at that point, Shinji was being held paralyzed by a force beyond his controll, and he was still the type of person to do as he was told. Later, we broke him of his spinelessness, but at first meeting, he sort of went along with it because he wasn't sure he believed it himself. Hell, I listen to random voices in my head all the time. It's usually just me yapping at myself, but there are occasional insights.

The next Chapter is going to be somewhat dificult, as my story as diverged dramatically from my original plan. Suffice it to say ttah Kaoru shows up, and the end of his tale will be a suprise.

"The knowledge, it fills me! It is neat." --Evil Crazy Gir, "Gir goes crazy and stuff" ep 32.

Tue Oct 19, 2004 5:31 am
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