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 Up for critiquing... 
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Post Up for critiquing...
I've been working on an Evangelion fanfic for quite some time now, but I'd like some feedback before I continue. I'm really not sure whether or not it's post-worthy (even though I know it's about a third or so finished), so I'm submitting it for critiques. If you can help, that would be great, and hopefully I can make it sound feasibly good. Domo.

I really gotta stop taking long breaks between posts...

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Shin Seiki Evangelion
Dear Traveler




First it was quiet. Then, as he began to see shapes in the redness, a song began. A familiar song, one that was regaled by many as a masterpiece for the ages, throughout time and space, bringing a smile to whoever heard it.

Ode to Joy.

He felt more terrified than he had before in his entire life. The world was tumbling down around him, crashing from his grasp of reality, and the many figures of Ayanami Rei filled his eyesight as he traveled through her mind. All of the figures were swimming effortlessly through the rich, blood red matter. Giggling, and laughing. Smiles. On they swam, unaware of the traveler that was upon them.

The violins began to warm into their position.

Slowly, he descended into the red abyss. As he sank deeper, memories began to flood his mind. Unfamiliar memories. Those that were not his. Pain. Anger. Rage. Hate. Despair. A swirling mix of emotions cascaded throughout his mind, as his eyes filled with tears. "Is this what they really think?" he whispered.

The choir started vocalizing.

Regret. A spatter of blood. Horror. A sorrowful fall. Anger. A swift knife. Shame. A sign upon a door. Fear. A run from everything. His tears overwhelmed his eyes, and he looked at his hands, afraid to see what was coming. He covered his eyes as the memories began to come faster.

Cellos hummed their entrances to the melody.

Men striking cowering women turn into name-calling children throwing rocks, as people spat death and decay at each other, then turning on themselves in gruesome manners. Memories and thought became one as they channeled into his mind, and slowly left, to make way for others. Pain upon pain struck him, insult upon blow, lash upon tear. His tears began to flow. "Maybe I should just die..."

Slowly, the percussion rolled to bring forth the coming climax.

"Maybe...they should all just die."

His own memories took him then. Every comment, every insult and remark, punch, kick, and blow, everything he had ever said and done to another filled his mind at once. He was in his room, feeling listless, rejecting Misato's affection, then an inch, a millimeter away from Asuka's mouth, close enough to feel her warm breath upon his own lips. He was back inside Unit 01, struggling to kill the fourteenth angel for the sake of all that he knew...and cared about. He was on the ground after Toji's punch, jaw stinging. He was on top of Ayanami again, face burning and confused. He was looking at the sign outside Asuka's door, worried. He was standing on the railway platform again, bag in hand. He was looking at Kaoru, and heard the affection in his voice, and felt the deception and betrayal.

"NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

And the chorus swelled!

Shinji Ikari screamed as his mind exploded, and Instrumentality succeeded.
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It was dark out. The stars shone above, despite the lights coming from the nearby ramen stand and bar. Shinji sat on a bench, head tilted back to view the heavens above. His eyes were unfocused, staring straight into the sky, as if expecting something to cross his vision. Shinji's mind was wandering, lost to the whims of random thought.

"Shinji-kun!"

Shinji's head snapped up, and he looked around for the person who had called him. He noticed a middle-aged man striding towards him, two bottles in his hand. As he approached, Shinji was surprised to see Vice-Commander Fuyutsuki grinning and walking at a fast pace. The man was comparatively younger than when Shinji had first met him. The slightly-less older man reached the bench and sat, still smiling.

"Hello Shinji-kun. Would you care for some sake?" He swirled around the two small bottles. Shinji, for lack of a better option, took one. "Isn't it illegal for minors to drink alcohol, Fuyutsuki-san?" he asked.

The Vice-Commander waved his hand dismissively. "You don't need to worry about that here, Shinji. And don't be so formal! Just call me Professor Fuyutsuki." he said. Shinji blinked. He had known the Vice-Commander had been a college professor before joining NERV, but why did he request to be called by his former title now?

"Fuyutsuki-sensei!" a feminine voice rang out. Both males turned their heads to see where the call had come from.

Shinji's heart almost stopped.

Waving and smiling as if she had never disappeared into the innards of Unit-01, Yui Ikari walked towards the bench where Shinji and the Vice-Commander sat. She stopped just in front of the bench, hands on her hips. A look of mock-frustration was on her face. "Why are you sitting out here, Sensei? I thought you came here to enjoy yourself and relax!" she teased.

"I did come here to enjoy myself, Yui. I just stepped outside to catch a quick breath. You can't expect me to keep up with all you young kids all the time, now can you?" Fuyutsuki smiled politely. Yui smiled back. "I suppose not. But you're not that old, so when you're ready, come back inside to share a drink, okay?"

"Okay."

Not once during this conversation did Yui look at Shinji, which unnerved him extremely. He remained silent until Yui had walked back to the bar. Fuyutsuki sighed audibly. "Was...was that...I mean...that was my..." he tried to begin.

Fuyutsuki nodded. "That was your mother, Shinji." He noticed almost casually that the boy looked positively spooked.

"Where am I, Fuyutsuki-san?"

The Vice-Commander and Professor didn't bother correcting Shinji's error in the pronunciation of his title. "You are in a memory of a night from over fifteen years before. You are looking into my mind, and seeing that which I remember from before Third Impact; the remnants of a chain of memories that was stored within my mind prior to the accident in which we lost your mother. Before NERV, even Gehirn, was started. In this memory, she is just the girl I met so long ago..." Fuyutsuki sounded wistful.

"Why didn't she notice me?"

Fuyutsuki inhaled deeply, then exhaled. "Shinji, you are what we humans would consider as God."

He expected some sort of outburst, maybe a shocked look. When the boy didn't act or reply, Fuyutsuki continued.

"By fusing with the Lance of Longinus and becoming the Tree of Life, you held both the Fruit of Wisdom and the Fruit of Life, and by holding that which gives man his mind and his body, you became God. Logically, that is how the process is supposed to be. And the logic that enforces the thought of the Fruits of Life and Wisdom is written in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Your becoming God was almost completely orchestrated; every act that we commited, every Angel we fought, was all foretold and predicted. The same thing for the Second and Third Impacts. Besides, even if you weren't God, you wouldn't be noticed because you are not part of this memory. You wouldn't even be able to talk to me. You could only glimpse at it, not take part.

"Can't you see?" he asked.

Shinji turned his attention from the older man to look at the surrounding landscape. On the edge of his vision were fleeting shapes of figures, barely there...but still somewhat tangible.

"I can see them..."

"That's right. They are the other people of the world. Others who do not share this memory. But because they are not God; they cannot participate in the memory, only peek in and leave. You can only talk to me and interact with me because you have the power and ability to...and because you created this endless world of memories."

Fuyutsuki's words hit him like a blow to the face. Shinji said nothing for a long while. He stood abruptly and walked away from Fuyutsuki, wishing to leave the old man and his memory.

It was the least he could do after trapping everybody inside their own past and present.

Fuyutsuki just sat and watched as Shinji walked on, then eventually faded as he left the setting. He noticed, as he stood to join Yui in the proffered drink, that Shinji had never touched his bottle.
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Shinji sat curled in a dark corner. It was not a memory of his, nor anyone else. It was a place he had willed to be alone in, where nobody could see or hear him. Periodically, he brought his head up to check if anyone was intruding upon the sanctity of his isolation, and every time he looked, there was nothing at the edges of his vision. No ghostly figures, no fleeting phantoms. Nobody looking in on him, wondering who he was. If they knew the truth, he thought, they would probably kill me. Let them. I don't care.

Let them.

Shinji stood from the corner and walked away from it, letting it disappear in his mind, knowing, absently, that it would still be there if he needed it.
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He was standing outside the door to an apartment. He thought, for a moment, it was Ayanami's apartment, but realized there was no construction sounds. No half-finished pillars or draped tarps anywhere. He grasped the handle and, after a moment's hesitation, opened the door and stepped inside. He shut it silently, took off his shoes, and walked further into the apartment. The furniture and decorations were completely unfamiliar, but the apartment itself smelled slightly recognizable. Shinji's eyes widened as he saw a can of Yebisu beer on the messy kitchen table...along with many others that either lay scattered across the table's surface or upright. A Yebisu-pyramid was formed in a dusty corner. He heard voices coming from a back room, and carefully made his way to the source, avoiding familiar foodstuffs and the occasional undergarment.

There were two rooms: a bathroom and a bedroom where the voices were coming from. They sounded familiar, but then, not exact to what he remembered. Younger, less mature. Shinji slowly stepped around the corner into the room and immediately halted, blushing. Inside the messy room lay Katsuragi Misato and Ryoji Kaji; neither were particularly dressed. They were deep in conversation, though Misato's attention was focused away from Shinji.

"So I think that Maki's been cheating off of Ritsuko, but I can't be sure if the answers are right because Ritsuko told me she's been getting them from Kana, who's been sleeping with the sensei to get them in the first place, but the sensei's not exactly trustworthy, so who knows? AND can you believe that-"

Misato was cut off when Kaji put a finger to her lips to silence her. "I think we have a guest." He smiled. Misato swivled her head to look at the entrance of the room and saw Shinji. Her eyes widened, and she smiled, though she made no move to cover herself Shinji promptly spun around, embarrassed.

"Shinji-kun! What are you doing here?"

"I...I don't know, Misato-san. I was just...walking." Shinji said, not looking back. Misato noticed this and placed a pillow in front of her abdomen, covering her breasts and scar.

"Just walking, huh?"

Shinji nodded. "Misato-san...is this a memory of yours?"

"Yes. Actually-" she snuggled into Kaji's chest. "It's both of ours."

"But I thought Kaji-san...died before Third Impact occured? I heard the message...how can he be here if he's already dead?"

"Yes, Shinji. It's true that I died, long before Third Impact, and it's true that I shouldn't have come back. However, it was if I was called back, just for this. Like something pulled me back from the grave to experience one last chance at life." Kaji put an arm around Misato, holding her tightly to him. "You see, Shinji, this is a memory of a time past. This is a place where we can be together again, and exist outside of what took our former lives. We're happy, and I finally said the words I couldn't say so long ago." He kissed Misato. "Shinji, you've given us a second chance at a happiness that escaped us long ago. We can't thank you enough."

"So you're content with this?" Shinji asked apprehensively.

"Yes," Misato said, smiling. "This may seem like a trivial thing to you, but this memory is one of the things I've cherished, even if it was fleeting. Here, time is non-existent. We can stay this way forever. Look." She shifted from Kaji's embrace, and stood, clothed suddenly. She pointed at something behind Shinji.

Behind him was a mirror. Shinji had not noticed it when he first entered the room, nor when he faced away from Misato. Unlike the messy, strewn-about room, it was perfect, pristine, and almost shone with a light of its own. No spots or streaks marred its surface, and Shinji could see his entire self in it. A young man stared back at him, with eyes that held pain most children his age would never know of. Misato stood behind him, arms wrapped around him in a protective hug. Kaji was standing slightly to his side, hand on his shoulder. All three of them, standing together in the mirror...




They looked like a family.





Shinji almost started crying. He'd finally found something that resembled affection, after so many years. Something that resembled what was worth getting up in the morning for, enduring pain for, fighting for, dying for. A fantasy that he had long since believed to have given up on, but here, in the memory, in the mirror, he remembered what it was to be loved. He noticed Misato was still smiling, though there were tears in her eyes. Kaji had a faraway look on his face, as if he was reminiscing about some past event. Misato sniffed, and said in a slightly choked voice, "Who knows, Shinji-kun...maybe this is how it could have been..." Kaji squeezed his shoulder slightly. Hot tears flooded Shinji's eyes.

He cried for a long time.
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Shinji found himself sitting in a darkened bedroom. It was completely unfamiliar; he did not recognize it at all, even from the brief chances he had from when he had seen Toji and Kensuke's respective rooms. He felt as if he had intruded upon someone's dream world while they were awake and away. He stood and started to walk away from the empty room when a voice startled him out of his concentration.

"Ikari-kun. We need to talk."

Horaki Hikari was lying on her bed, face up. Her eyes never left the ceiling while she spoke. "Class President..." he began.

"There's no need to call me that anymore, Ikari-kun. There isn't much of a class to be president of. I need to ask you something." Hikari interrupted. Shinji blinked, but said, "Okay. What is it?"

"Have you seen Asuka-chan?"

He felt emotionless as she said this, trying hard not to remember Asuka's ghastly demise. Hikari continued, "She's supposed to be laying next to me, right here. But she isn't. She isn't in any of my memories. I mean, I remember her, but her place in my memories when I live them again, it's empty; she's not there. I expect her to say something, but there is always nothing. No reply, no remark. I'm scared for her."

Shinji shook his head. "I haven't seen her, Hikari-san."

"Oh."

Hikari continued to stare at the ceiling, silent for a long moment. "Ikari-kun?"

"Hai?"

"Why are you here?"

"I was...taking a walk, Hikari-san."

"Oh."

More uncomfortable silence.

"Why can you walk?"

Shinji knew that the word 'walk' meant more than just leg movement. "Because...I can. I didn't ask for this, and I don't know the real reason. I just...can."

"All right."

Silence.

"Ikari-kun?"

"Hai?"

"When you do find her...say hi for me, please?"

"Hai."
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Shinji once again sat in his dark corner, though his mood was not of the self-deprecating sort. He was lost in thought, pondering the location of the Second Child. Hikari was worried, as was he. Resolutely, he stood, eyes shut, and began to concentrate on the things he remembered about Asuka. Her face. Her personality. Her voice-

NEIN!!

Shinji's eyes flew open and he gasped as a shock of purely emotional fear and hatred washed through his mind.

TODD!!

What? What is this?

INVADER!!

What is this? A barrier?

INTRUSION!!

Again, a wash of fear and hatred. The emotional feedback was so great that Shinji staggered and fell back against the metal sheet of the wall, and slid to the floor. It stopped as suddenly as it had flared up. Shinji lay on his back and shivered, feeling extremely cold and vunerable. His hands ached in remembrance of the impaling of Unit One's hands by the mass-produced Lances and the neural link between the organic components of Eva Unit One and his own body. His Eva's crucifixion at the hands of the Eva Series left deeper scars than just nerve damage, though.

"I think I found her..." he whispered.

He did not try again.
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Shinji left his corner only to find another dark room. However, he knew that this place was inhabited, as he could see the shadow of a person sitting in a old fashioned, straight-backed wooden chair. The NERV symbol blazed on the wall to his right.

"You know why they keep that sign lit on the wall at all times?" The prisoner asked.

Shinji said nothing.

"It's to break you. To show you that in the face of this massive organization you are just one person, and because you are only one person, you are nothing. A mere speck on the impeccably clean slate of NERV. I should know. I'm the one who designed the damned thing."

"Hello, Ritsuko-san." Shinji said.

"And you know what they do after the isolation? After they come to get you days, possibly weeks later, after wishing they would turn the damn sign of so you can get some sleep, after being fed through a slot in the wall, after being used and then discarded? They bring you to the doctor. She then decides if you have been good, or if you need more time alone with the giant semi-leaf on the wall. Do you know how many people have condemned to sit here in semi-darkness?" the figure asked in an almost airy tone.

"No..."

"One has--me. Absolutely nobody else though, to the best of my knowledge, has ever gone through this nightmarish process. Not even Misato, when she was being held while they were searching for Kaji. They were all too scared to say anything about it, even knowing that it violated almost twenty-six international humanitarian laws. Nobody rose to challenge it. Isn't it ironic that the person who designed the system to break the will of traitors becomes one herself?"

"You mean you're here because of what you did to Ayanami's...replacements?"

"Yes. Didn't you find it strange that I was just suddenly called away afterwards? Misato knew. In the end, she knew everything about NERV, Adam, Second Impact. Kaji saw to that, the bastard..." the shadow shook its head slowly. "I loved him once. A long time ago, before I lost myself to this cursed organization. And to him."

Shinji didn't say anything. He knew who she was talking about. Ritsuko stood and moved closer to him, though the shadows still masked her face. Her movements were slow and almost jerky, like she had little control over her motor skills.

"Don't you think so, Shinji-kun? He is a heartless old bastard, isn't he? He abandoned both of us. You know, I have the entire report on you after he left you with your old teacher. Model student, excellent in all your studies, but quiet, introverted. Never quite got along with the other children. Never fit in anywhere. Always alone. Isn't that right?"

"Yes..."

Ritsuko finally moved into the harsh, red glow emanating from the NERV symbol. Shinji gasped audibly. Ritsuko's face was horribly gaunt, thin and stretched. She was extremely thin, and there were dark splotches under her eyes from lack of sleep, and her eyes were sunken deep into their sockets. Her hair was ragged and stringy. She looked like she endured hell.

"Ritsuko-san..."

"Tell the bastard I said hello."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He was in Unit One again. A strong hand, clad in armor, was wrapped around a tiny body. It was not Kaoru's.

"Hello, father." Shinji said.

"Shinji? Are you here to give me my retribution?"

"Ritsuko-san says hello."

"Ah, yes...the puppet which is no longer needed..."

Shinji's hand involuntarily twitched slightly, causing Unit One's massive hand to squeeze slightly. Gendo never made a sound. "It's not nice to talk about others that way, father."

"Even though you yourself were a pawn from the very beginning? Even though I used you for my own gain?"

"Yes. It was my own fault for not arguing, for not fighting back. I did my job, or what I was told to do, because I was told it would save mankind. I was told that I would do good, and I would protect life."

"And through that," Gendo smiled. "You showed incompetence. You showed you were still the naive little boy I left behind all those years ago. It was easy to manipulate you, the Second Child, and the rest of NERV."

"You used NERV for your own gain..." Shinji began to get angry. "So did you find what you wished to gain?"

"Yes...and no. I wished to be reunited with your mother. She was the one I truly loved, and I would have done anything for her."

"You would have sacrificed mankind for her."

"That's right. And I did. But I only saw her for a fleeting second, just a moment in time...and now I am here."

Shinji remembered something Ritsuko had told him after she had killed Rei's replacements. "What about Doctor Akagi and her mother? What did they mean to you? Would you have sacrificed it all for them?" he said angrily.

His father smiled darkly. "Pawns, the both of them. They were nothing to me; just annoyances who served me to better my own plans."

"I see." Shinji said...before moving Gendo closer to Unit One's head.

"You know, Shinji, before this is completed, I want to tell you...I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything that I put you through, and if it would have been possible, I would have chose a normal life with you. I really would have."

"But is that the truth, father?"

The head of the Evangelion Unit One was filled with highly sensitive electronic equipment that allowed the crew of the bridge of NERV HQ to view and hear all that the Eva encountered while battling the Angels. Sound, Sight, Vibration Detection, Radar, Synchrograph Rate, and AT Field Rate were just some of the types of equipment stored and connected inside the armor of the Eva, aside from the biological components that were scientifically fused with the equipment. Everything was transmitted into the entry plug via synch headset or nerve connections, allowing the pilot access to everything the Evangelion had to offer in battle situations. In Shinji's case, the enormous eyes of Unit One allowed him to see his father's face as if it was right in front of his own. The display that was connected to the eyes allowed Shinji to see the faint smirk on his father's face...and that was all he needed.

Before Gendo's eyes, the Evangelion Test Type, Unit One, shifted in shape and became that of a demon, horrible teeth bared and eyes glaring.

A resounding CRUNCH filled the air.
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Fuyutsuki was enjoying his memory of the quiet walk with Yui up in Northern Japan?s mountains when suddenly...time froze. The birds ceased to make their noise, the trees halted in their swaying. He looked back and saw Yui frozen in mid-stride, one foot outstretched to avoid a tricky step in the rocks. He couldn?t feel the wind against his face, nor hear the crunches of the leaves underneath his feet. The man was very confused until...

?Fuyutsuki-san.?

He heard a quiet voice at his side, which scared the living hell out of him. Shinji was standing there with a slight frown on his face.

?Shinji-kun! Don?t do that! I?m not up to handling sudden shocks like I used to be.? The elder man held a hand against his chest for a second, trying to ease his heart rate before it leapt out of his chest.


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That's it, so far. Comments would be much appreciated! Arigato.

_________________
"I turn and see the hurt. I turn and see the pained. I turn and I see what I do not want to see, and I know that I've finally grown up." -Me

"Stand up straight. Don't look down. Keep your head held high, and the World will come to you." -Crim


Thu Sep 23, 2004 8:28 am
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Looks good so far. Where did you plan to go next? (With the idea, I mean.)

_________________
EVERYTHING YOU HAVE JUST READ IS A LIE.

INCLUDING THE ABOVE SENTENCE.

HAVE FUN! :D


Thu Sep 23, 2004 5:06 pm
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That's the problem...I have only a faint idea where to continue from; something along the lines of Shinji continuing on to ask Fuyutski about NERV's past, Gendo and the accident, and finally finding Asuka...but I've said too much.

And I know this should be in the General Fanfiction section, I just forgot to start it there. Me stupid. Me sorry.

(Edit: I forgot to mention that it will be going up at Fanfiction.net as soon as I finish. I have to register too...groan...

_________________
"I turn and see the hurt. I turn and see the pained. I turn and I see what I do not want to see, and I know that I've finally grown up." -Me

"Stand up straight. Don't look down. Keep your head held high, and the World will come to you." -Crim


Thu Sep 23, 2004 8:48 pm
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