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Fading In To The Stolen Light

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“Save me ma, ma…save me!”

I don't want to die! As I repeat those words in my mind I know help isn't coming this isn't unit 02 the one place I always feel warm and safe, I know I'm dying I can feel every punch even from inside as unit 04's pink first smash against the metal of unit Alpha the UN's test prototype, it feels awful every blow is utter agony.

It's so dark inside this entry plug it's like hell, I have no control over anything there are no controls anymore they vanished into nothing and my hands are not touching anything but I can see on a single screen Mari's unit as it brings out its knife and I see it flying towards the screen.

I know what's coming before it hits and it's so painful. I can't stop screaming as my left eye just becomes an explosion of pain even floating here in the black void I'm screaming, it only gets worse as it feels like my right arm is being torn off, I look down seeing that it's being twisted in the wrong angle. I'm so afraid I hate being afraid yet in my mind I'm no longer twenty three years old I'm a frightened little child wanting nothing more than to cling to my mother.

I feel the pain as the Alpha unit collides with the ground it's so hard that my spine bursts into flames as it's bent in the wrong direction enough that I hear something crack. I should have known that Mari would do this because I have no doubt in my mind that Shinji and his younger sister Rei would have refused Gendo's orders to attack this unit and when they refuse an order so does Kaworu. He does it because his loyalty is always to Shinji above all others and always has been.

All four of us we grew up here at Nerv we came here in our early teens and as the years have gone by we've all remained friends on some level, but Mari has never been part of their group.

She transferred here from Britain just over a year ago and ever since I got stationed with her she's been riding my ass like some Darby race horse and I just can't get her to leave me alone. She just wants control of this team and she thinks I'm in charge of it, I'm not in charge of scheisse, there is no leader we are a team it's about strengths and weaknesses and skills.

I learned the hard way a long time ago that it's better to be part of something than be alone even if you're that person on the very edge who does not fit in which is sadly me because Rei, Shinji and Kaworu have always been very close and I've never really been part of that. I know why that is and I can't change it so I just accept it as their company is enough.

No I'm not the leader Shinji is, he's the heart of the group, Rei his younger sister is the soul and I'm just the muscle of the group, Kaworu is the spine that fits us all together. Mari's verficktes problem is she can't get her scheisse together and find her spot in the group. Worst of all, I used to be just like her maybe that's why I hate her four eyed face at times because it's like looking back at myself in some mirror back when I was fifteen.

Oh the arrogance and delusion I had, I believed I was god but I'm not god, I'm human just like everyone else, I can bleed I can die and being an Evangelion pilot should only be part of who you are not the whole.

My thoughts are cut off as I see the screen fading in and out, it won't be long now I can feel it coming to an end as blood leaks down my face from my damaged eye, I guess its not a surprise it would end this way I knew I would always die in the entry plug of an Evangelion. It almost seems fitting but at the end all I feel is sorrow and the desire to hug my mother but she's not here she died a long time ago.

The pain is even worse now my guts feel like they're being torn out and it's not even an illusion as I feel the skin separate near my stomach as something is yanked out while I watch unit 04 jaws ripping out the guts of this Evangelion that I'm trapped in side which has turned out to be an angel. If the pain in my eye was bad this is worse I want to throw up so badly and that's when I look up and see something I didn't see before something even more terrifying.

A black shadow with red eyes creeping towards me, it mirrors the shape of the unit but the detail is all blurry it's like smoke. They say when you stare in to the abyss long enough the abyss stares back and its staring at me right now and I'm so beyond terrified. I can't stop my own bladder expelling due to the fear even though the plug suite is meant to compensate for this and turn urine to water in seconds its still an awful feeling. The taste of LCL doesn't even taste normal now it tastes and smells like rotting flesh, it's so awful.

The beings huge clawed hands suddenly move towards my face grabbing it as the red eyes widen and the mouth opens in the flickering shadows revealing masses of teeth. If the devil was real I feel this would be his true form I watch helplessly as the outside screen finally blacks out and everything turns to darkness apart from flickering shadows caused by the red flashing code screens which are so screwed up you can't even read them.

All I can feel is the sensation of something entering me through my open wounds. I can see this pulsing liquid that has glowing red and blue veins as it shifts trying to get deeper inside my body. All of sudden it becomes very clear to me why this is happening it is instinct, the will to survive. The angel's outer body is dying it wants a part of something to cling to so it doesn't die. I'm not merged with the core I'm not in that deep, so now I'm going to be a host to a parasite who wants to use the only thing it has to live on which is my wounded battered and crippled body.

I repeat the words aloud but this time openly "I don't want to die, I don't want to die!" If I thought my pain and fear was bad a moment ago it suddenly gets so much worse as the whole entry plugs is crushed around me it comes in ward like a tin can and then the light comes through in beams like a some goddess of mercy as LCL is forced out of the cracks my good eye catch's glimpses of the outside world as the entry plug is suddenly thrown through the air and everything goes in to a violent spin.

I see the animalistic form start to scream long and loud with me it suddenly it becomes very clear that everything is going to get worse as I feel the plug collide with the floor rolling as more parts are torn open and more LCL floods out as whatever was trying to get inside me fades away slowly as our connections are severed completely.

The entry plug is stopped very suddenly and through the cracks I can see a different Evangelion hand holding it before lowering it, but it's too late I know that as everything stops spinning and I come to a stop falling on my side surrounded by red LCL fluid. My good eye looks out as the entry plugs doors door handle is turned from the outside, time really doesn't mean much when your badly wounded and dieing, I can't even figure out how long I was lying here before Shinji pulled the entry plugs door open. Rei is right behind him as always as they both force there way in shouting something which I can't even hear. All I can hear is my own heart beat pulsing slowly as my only good eye closes and the world truly turns to darkness.


"Is she going to make it?"

Misato looked at the tank where Asuka was suspended and bandaged almost naked as the huge machines worked trying to filter out any part that was angel though as normal Ritsuko's face said very little as she looked at her tablet. "Assuming she's not contaminated by angel." She looked at her read outs. "Her prognosis is terrible three broken ribs fractured spine, dislocated shoulder, shattered right arm and both of her legs are broken. There was internal bleeding though that's been stopped and as for her left eye it might never see again though the eye survived the eyeball is very badly damaged and they also put a length of her lower intestine back where it belonged as it had been completely pulled out." She looked at Misato. "And that's all assuming she even comes out of the coma she's in." She looked at her tablet again "Psychologically she could be a real mess when she wakes up, there's no telling what this angel did to her mind she was just starting to be absorbed by the core before the process was stopped and she had breached safe depth."

Misato looked up the red haired woman who was floating in the decontamination tank. "I don't understand the LCL is meant to protect them from broken bones." Ritsuko breathed in deeply. "And normally it would have, but Mari broke the entry plug and she would have crushed it all the way and killed Asuka, had Shinji and Rei not stopped the attack. The problem was Shinji knocking the entry plug out of Mari's Evangelion's mouth."

She looked up. "It meant that it took a tumble and there was barely any LCL left to cushion Asuka's body. That's what broke both of her legs. She just got thrown around like a rag doll on impact; yes Rei stopped the entry plug tumbling but the damage was already done." She lowered her tablet. "She'll have some time in here, just to be decontaminated and then Maya can move her to the hospital wing there they can reset all her bones but its going to be a slow and painful process for her."

Misato looked at her for a long moment before speaking. "Yeah well I wasn't going to let Mari chew her to pieces, I made a call." Ritsuko put her hand in her black suites pockets. "No you ignored Gendo's orders and he's not happy about it that's why I'm down here, when I should be doing more important things." Misato looked at her in disgust they had once been friends but that was a long time ago and now when ever they came in contact there was always a sense of coldness in their conversations. "You had the power to stop this at any time! It could have been your word against his, he listens to you your married to him you're basically his right hand."

Ritsuko narrowed her gaze she really wasn't interested in listening to Misato's whining about her having power, yes it was true she did have power but she wasn't going to go out of her way to waste it on a pilot who was expendable.

Pilots could be replaced and though they had four central pilots including Asuka and they now had Toji as well who was upcoming pilot ,though he was still running simulations in the training unit Omega on the huge hologram platform above, but he just wasn't ready yet though the hope was that this would be very soon and would be put with the seasoned pilots once his Evangelion was complete. "I'm doing my job, since Kozo was murdered I'm just picking up the pieces and I'm the only person Gendo trusts."

Misato felt a cold sneer form. "Yet you don't care about Rei and Shinji's safety and you never ever ask after them." Ritsuko breathed in sharply. "You can't stop children doing what they do." Misato stepped closer to her. "They are not children anymore they are adults who are all over twenties, they have lives, hopes and dreams and Rei and Shinji are meant to be your children yet you don't you care about them at all you don't even acknowledge their existence."

Ritsuko looked up in disgust she was so unimpressed by her angry display and she had no time for this type of pathetic emotional guilt tripping. "Just because I signed those wedding vows does not make them mine, that's your job Misato, you mentor pilots and do your best to pretend to be some kind of cool mother while I create machines and touch the hand of god." She took a slow step back. "You get far to attached to these pilots even though they can all be replaced. You and Kaji, your both obsessed with all that greater good analogy, you forget that life is a brutal vicious cycle and no one really cares who lives and who dies."

Misato watched as she walked away the days of close friendship were truly gone Ritsuko was now as cold as Gendo, they both now viewed people in the same way in that they were just toys and expendable, granted she'd always been cold but now she was just plain un-likable.

She thought when she married Gendo that Shinji and Rei would end up living with them and that they would have value, even there father's love. Yet once again both brother and sister were just pushed aside and even more so because Ritsuko had no interest in them being under her feet.

So nothing had changed for years Shinji, Rei and Asuka had all been under her roof and she had acted as a parent to them. Later Kaworu had joined them but for a shorter time but now all she did was come back to was empty rooms because they were no longer children, they were all in their twenties and had flown the nest and some days that made her sad as she had become so used to their company.

Nerv paid them a good solid wage and they all moved out and started to live their own lives they just came to Nerv for five days to work and did the odd weekends unless there was a sound out for an angel. If it weren't for her they would have had no free time at all as Gendo had wanted so badly to make it a full seven day week which she had stopped as it wasn't fair on any of them in this time in their lives.

Rei and Shinji lived in their own apartments but they were very close to each other and Kaworu had his own place as did Toji and Mari, every one was in the city and she could visit them all in there off time and they sometimes visited her.

Though Asuka was the odd one out as she had moved far away from everyone out of all of the children she was the one she saw the least of all in her off time as she preferred to live on the rural outskirts away from people and she never let people visit her home including her.

That had always made her sad, even if Asuka wasn't the egotistic person she used to be, she was still proud, still angry as an Oni at times but she was still not a people person. She accepted being on the outside openly and it was very hard to bring her in with the others.

When she piloted, she was well behaved, she took orders she wasn't rash she had learned her lesson from past battles, but there was always an air of loneliness like a void that no one had filled yet. What it needed to be filled by she had no idea and couldn't make sense of her distancing herself so much from the others.

She wasn't even interested in dating anymore and yet once she had been so forward and out going on the subject, almost all of the others dated even Shinji but she felt that was because Rei pushed him and though it didn't always turn out for the best he was better for it in his confidence which could still be an issue at times and he really needed pushing because at times he still believed he wasn't good enough.

Rei was the only other one who didn't date but for her it was much more of a personal choice because she was finding out who she was without Shinji as they had grown up together after the accident with there mother Yui, Gendo had just pushed them both on to another family member disregarding them completely. Hence they had grown up depending on each other for support and for many years Rei had been quite in nature it was only now that she was finally coming out of that shell and being much more outgoing and it was quite a transformation to say the least if anything she had benefited the most moving away and finding her own life.

She turned back eyeing the woman in the tank who was remained still maybe this accident would be for the better maybe Asuka being here might just get her to socialize again like she used back when she was fifteen. She looked up as Maya appeared running up to her with a disc in her hand. "Okay I got everything you wanted on disc the whole battle the records everything, I still don't get why you need them though."

Misato took the disc looking at it. "Thank you." The dark haired woman who had a very short pony tail breathed in deeply. Since taking on part of Ritsuko's job it had been very hard for her and like her she hadn't really taken her marriage to Gendo well ether. "They're all asking after her, Shinji, Rei every one accept Mari, they want to see her."

Misato felt her hand form a fist when she got hold of Mari she was going to wipe that self righteous smirk of her face even in her younger years Asuka had never been this difficult. Mari was a loose canon with a hell of a lot of ego much like Asuka had once had in that she had believed that was she was superior to every one else but she'd gotten over this she'd grown up and at least found her place in the group.

Mari just wanted to be top dog so badly and she loved pushing Asuka's buttons and causing conflict. "They can't see her not until she's fully decontaminated and it could take a while we both know that." She looked down sadly. "Look just tell them that she's alive and that she's breathing and that her heart rate is strong but that she has a very long way to go."

Maya shook her head this whole event had been really awful. "Well someone will need to go to Asuka's house the one that's out in farm land, they'll need to get her things and feed her cat just until her grandmother gets here, I contacted her after this happened and she said she's getting the fastest flight possible here."

Misato blinked in surprise as she turned to her. "Asuka has a cat?" Maya looked up slightly. "You didn't know?" Misato put a hand on her face. "No I didn't." She turned to the huge decontamination tank again. "I don't know anything about Asuka anymore she doesn't talk to me about personal things, its all just small talk." She put her hand on the glass. "I don't know anything about the second child anymore…."

Maya looked at the glass and the lifeless body hanging in the air as the machine carried on working. "To be fair I don't think anyone really knows the second child anymore, it's painful that she's distanced herself from everyone in these last few years. Also how she views her Evangelion is differently to everyone else as well, to them it's a machine yet to her it's a living being, she even talks to it and she's really possessive over it. I still think when she took on Shamshel something happened I mean she wasn't the same after that, her Evangelion got so badly damaged and we all thought she was going to die but then she just went berserk and wasted that angel's AT field like it was nothing giving Shinji and Rei the opening they needed and we didn't have the beast mode protocol fully in place at the time."

Misato eyed Asuka she wasn't even going to argue this, the second child had seen something all those years ago but she had kept it to herself and she wanted to know what it was.

End of part 1


Chapter Text


Misato looked around the planning room which was for angel attacks seeing the faces of all the pilots accept Toji who was training and Mari who was late which just pissed her off. She eyed Shinji and Rei whose face were filled with worry as was Kaworu's as they sat in there chairs looking at her waiting for her to speak.

They were all dressed in there normal clothes, she hadn't seen or spoken to them all day as she'd spent part of the day with Shigeru going over everything that had gone wrong and watching footage as the both of them were trying to work out how it could be corrected in future.

What pained her was that she had ordered the kill switch on Mari's Evangelion but that shut down had not worked at all, it made no sense and neither of them were any closer to figuring out this error and the only conclusion they could both draw up was that the issue wasn't with their technology but possibly Mari's Evangelion itself.

Hence why she was going to punish her big time for this and she was going to have the specialists look over that pink painted eight eyed monster and its entry plug because she was convinced that Mari had hacked it somehow from the inside. She remained standing paying no attention to the hologram screen behind her on the wall which had images of all the six angels they had now defeated but there would be more she knew that and so did all of the pilots. "Asuka is going to make it but she is in really awful shape."

Rei picked up her can of drink taking a sip before speaking quietly. "Yeah but she's Asuka, she'll bounce right back from this, she always does." Misato shook her head sadly. "No…not this time, this time is very different." Shinji looked up the uncertainty in his eyes. "How…different?" Kaworu raised his hand. "Yes how different I've seen her walk away from much worse." Misato put her hands in her red jacket pockets. "The entry plug when it tumbled had very little LCL in it, it fractured and broke her bones."

Rei looked up sharply. "But I…I tried to stop it, I mean Mari was going to crush her like a tin can, if Shinji hadn't punched her Evangelion in the face I would never have been able to get the entry plug, I mean we both went inside to check that she's still alive." Shinji breathed in painfully as the image of Asuka's body came back to him. Her arm had been bent the wrong way and there had been blood all over her body, her plug suite had also been damaged there had been big gashes on her waist arms and legs and part of her insides were hanging out. "I thought we were doing the right thing."

Misato moved over to them both putting her hands on both of their shoulders. "No one is blaming either of you, you did the right thing, Mari meant to kill her you saved her and I'm very proud of you both for doing what you did." She stepped back removing her hands. "Every breath she takes now is because of your actions." She took in a deep breath before speaking. "But it doesn't change her prognosis she has many shattered bones and it's going to take her a long time to heal and she might have lost her sight in her left eye." She looked at the floor sadly. "Physiologically we don't know if the angel got into her head at all so she's going to be really edgy and probably really pissed off but we've all been through this before we all know what to expect."

Kaworu put his hands together. "Not to be rude but I wasn't here last time, what should I expect?" Rei raised her hands intimating claws. "Expect Asuka to be like an Itsumade Oni, lots of swearing, throwing things just generally not liking the hospital wing and don't even be surprised if they have to sedate her….again."

Shinji breathed in deeply. "Please don't remind me Rei it was so awful the last time." He turned to Kaworu who was if anything his closest and most dear friend. "Just don't bother her when she doesn't want to be bothered if she asks you to go away, go, do not push it." Rei pushed her light brown hair back her green eyes narrowing. "Oh yeah and don't bring flowers, bring her soft toys, German sweets, confectioneries, lager and video games, her brain hates boredom and the hospital just makes it worse. She goes stir crazy she's not like Shinji he can handle that white ceiling and nothing going on for long spaces of time."

Shinji raised his hand it had been years since that incident with Shamshel but he was going to mention this regardless even though Asuka didn't act openly violent anymore in that she didn't kick or punch anyone or make fun of them. He knew though that the hospital wing might change that as the two of them just didn't mix. "Oh yeah and don't use the words, passed out, failed or getting beaten…unless you really, really want to be hurt."

Kaworu nodded calmly. "I'll keep that in mind and pass it on to Toji." Misato looked up as she folded her arms. "Asuka's grandmother is coming down from the Nerv German division but it will take her a while to get here, she's going to be staying at Asuka's house and feeding her pet and she says she'll be visiting the hospital regularly." Shinji looked up sadly. "Her father's not coming?"

Misato put a hand behind her head. She hated how difficult this was to explain and since Asuka very rarely talked about her family other than her grandmother no one else would know this. "You all know Asuka was a birthing chamber child, she was grown in out side the womb because her mother couldn't conceive right? The technology is not that different to how Pen Pen was created but you can use it to create people as much as animals but with humans unlike animals tampering is very restricted you can only change the child's gender and hair and eye colour, mental and physical tampering is strictly prohibited." She watched as they all nodded. "Well technically Asuka's father is not her real father, her real father was a sperm donor and though Asuka lived with her step father and her step mother for a time, once she became part of the Nerv program she went to live with her grandmother, her step father doesn't have any contact with her."

Rei looked up. "Yeah well we know what that's like our father barely takes any notice of ether of us, it's just such a shame she never told us about it I mean we both know how hard it is." Misato breathed in deeply. "It's just complicated and I don't blame her for keeping it from all of you, the man was a terrible home wrecker. I mean I don't know everything but I know he had another child elsewhere because her mother couldn't conceive though I don't know his or her gender, it a messy awful story."

Shinji put his hands together. "Has she ever searched for her donor father?" Misato shook her head. "No and I have brought this up with her once in private two years ago and she got really angry, I mean I could pull the files for her easy, normally donors are kept private but Nerv has access to all private records and we can ignore most country's laws."

"So sorry I'm late."

Misato turned watching as Mari walked in adjusting her glasses. "Do hope I didn't miss anything important." Misato's felt the rage boil up before she could stop it she grabbed the woman by her long sleeve shirt's collar forcing her back against the wall opposite.

Mari took in a deep breath as she met Misato's dark brown eyes which were filled with burning hated. "You know harassment is illegal at Nerv or did you not read the employees hand book?" Misato kept her hand in place. "Right now I'm ignoring that code just like you ignored my orders to stop destroying the UN Alpha test unit, Asuka may have lost sight in her left eye because of what you pulled and she won't be back on her feet that fast. She's going to have terrible trouble and might have to learn how to walk all over again not to mention the other awful damage you caused her body. They can't even salvage her plug suit, thanks to you she'll need to have a new one build and those suits take a lot of time to make."

Mari shrugged looking down at her as she was slightly taller than her "Well what can I say, shit happens?" Misato eyed her in disgust. "You are not above the rules Mari and you will be punished this time!" Mari smirked ignoring the cold looks she was getting from the others. "What you gonna do…I'm not fourteen I'm classed an adult and you can't do shit without pissing off my division."

Misato looked at her for a long moment before speaking. "I've already spoken to your Nerv division over in Britain and they are not on your side this time in fact they are angry that you would disregard the rules so badly as you are meant to representing their county and its bad publicity for them. The director over there said that you've always been a problem child but he's really disappointed in you this time and he didn't enjoy cleaning up your mess to the media over there who have been pasting this story all over the news so this isn't over for you by a long shot. One of the delegates from that branch is coming over to speak with you personally and better pray that they can get this ironed out with Gendo and you don't get kicked off the program." She felt a sneer form on her lips. "So as of now you are grounded from your unit as I'm going to have that thing combed over because I'm convinced that you hacked it internally hence why I couldn't shut you down." Mari smiled coldly. "You can't prove anything."

Misato leaned closer to her "I can and I will and you'll spend the next twenty four hours doing the hologram training simulation in Unit Beta. You know the one you really hate because it's tweaked to be purposely unresponsive for the pilot, plus you're always saying that you can ace Asuka's score of ninety percent so prove it."

Mari eyed her in disgust. "This is ludicrous and unfair!" Misato looked up slightly. "Yes well life isn't fair, the other pilots know this from vast and painful experience but you're really slow to pick it up." She raised her hand pointing to the door as she let go out her shirt. "Now get out off my sight you start right now and you will pull a twenty four shift out on that training field!" Mari folded her arms. "I had plans." Misato narrowed her gaze. "I really don't care about your plans are now get out, that is an order!" Mari gave her cold look as she left slamming the door behind her.

Rei finished her canned drink. "She's going to really hate that…." She could speak from experience twenty four hour training shifts were normally punishments for pilots and they were not fun at all you only got two hours rest and then you were out again mentality it was really hard. The only difference was that herself, Shinji and Asuka had at least been allowed in their Evangelion's Mari on the other hand was using Unit Beta.

Nerv had two of these the other one was unit Omega they were the first type of Evangelion's created but they really didn't that work well, they had to be cabled and didn't have the S² Engines. You could put any pilot entry plug in to them, hence why they were used normally used for training pilots, where as the refined and updated models were for the advanced pilots and were very pilot pacific in that entry plugs could not be switched between units under any circumstances and the pilots couldn't be switched either.

Evangelion's were built around pilots not the other way around and building bay was always a hot media topic as no one in the media was allowed access down into the lower restricted levels where they built them. Toji's Evangelion was almost built and it would no doubt surface within the next three weeks or more and silence all the media talk which was currently in a huge frenzy. All of the pilot entry plugs from the main Units could be also be pulled out and tested this was normally done during training and if a pilot was injured, though Maya loved to bring everyone together for a weekly syncing test. She eyed the door. "You know Mari's going to be so angry when she finds out Shinji's test in the unit Beta was higher than Asuka's I mean he has ninety eight percent the highest score of any of us and even Asuka knows that and she really doesn't care about it anymore."

Shinji put a hand through his thick black hair. "Don't you dare tell her Rei, she will loose it if she ever finds out, she's like Asuka used to be in that she can't stand anyone being better than her score wise." Rei gave him a wide smile as she raised her hand. "Don't worry big brother I have no intention of doing so." She lay back in her chair. "Personally I think she'll be just as unhappy with idea of being inside the unit beta or Nurikabe as the people love to call it, I mean there no greater annoyance that being stuck in a machine named after a useless oni wall."

Kaworu leaned forward. "Yeah how did that come about again? I forget." Shinji slowly stood up. "They saw mine and Asuka's units go in to beast mode during angel battles and early testing, because they couldn't understand it or make sense off it they began to believe that all the machines are possessed by ancient Japanese Oni of folklore so they have named all of the Evangelion's after a certain Oni's even the lesser training units." Rei felt a smile form. "Yeah they've even created action figures, soft toys, posters and merchandise, Nerv hated it at first but then they realized that it helped with moral world wide and gives them great publicity so they just gave up and went with it."

Misato turned to them. "Yeah I might have had a hand in that, if you go up to head quarters we have a room near the visitors suite where all of the Evangelion things ever made are on display, people love it and it's a great ice breaker." She felt a smile form. "And of cause we are setting up a shelf for Toji that is for when his Evangelion is finished being built, though it shouldn't be much longer now."

She looked up realizing that she still hadn't told them everything as Mari had interrupted. "Since Asuka's grandmother won't be here for a while, I need someone to go to her house, just to house sit and look after her cat I'm assuming you've all been to her house right?" Shinji turned sharply. "Asuka has a cat?" Rei blinked in surprise. "Asuka has not let any of us go into her house since she moved there, she's always got some excuse, don't get me wrong she's nice about it and despite that we've invited her around to our homes but she doesn't come, though she did attend all off our house warming parties."

Misato looked at them in genuine shock. "So let me get this straight for the past three years you've not been to her house and she never told any of you she had a pet?" She watched as they all nodded, great so she clearly wasn't the only one who had no idea about who the second child was anymore.

She took in a deep breathe letting it out slowly as she eased out a bunch of keys that weren't her own throwing them at Rei watching as she caught them. "Okay these are Asuka's house keys you and Shinji both need to go up there tonight, I'll have the directions sent to your phones." She looked up slightly. "You both have motor bikes so it won't be hard for you to get up there." Rei looked down as she put Asuka's house keys in her pocket. "Yeah about that, mines in the garage, some one hit my front wheel two days ago it's being fixed though it'll be out by tomorrow." Shinji turned giving her a wide smile. "Its fine Rei we can both go up there together like we did this morning."

Rei shivered inwardly, great another ride on her brother's bike, which was no sports bike to any lengths of the imagination it was a copy of some post war cruiser and it was really not comfortable in the side car because as he had yet to get the better padding and it felt like your backside was on fire after being in it for a few hours.

She forced a smile. "Great I'm so looking forward to that." Truth was she had bust up that wheel due to speeding but she wasn't going to tell anyone that because she knew Misato would chew her out over the fact she had broke the speed limit and how reckless that was. Shinji would also have a fit over the fact that she could have broken her neck since she had come off during the accident though her leathers had meant that she hadn't gotten a scratch.

Truth was she had no interest in her older brother's hobbies he liked to paint huge canvas's which took months and a lot of his works ended up in galleries. Everything about him was about slow speed and relaxing while Kaworu, liked to play the grand piano and go hiking and Toji liked weight lifting and exercising because he had so much energy to vent. Mari from what she'd seen liked designing code and putting it in robots, her little scuttle bots could be insanely annoying as they could scale walls. Though they were banned from the lower restricted levels and the central control room, it didn't stop them pestering the staff in the upper levels with there loud music and buzzing sounds.

They moved so fast it was hard to wreck them, like when you tried to step on them and they'd just dodge you or climb up so they were on the ceiling well out of your reach. Some days she wished the old Asuka was still around because she'd have gone at them with a hammer and destroyed them.

Mari's rule breaking today was no exception ever since she'd come on the Evangelion program over a year ago she had disregarded the rules and yet somehow despite all of Misato's shouting and telling off she just did the same things over and over.

The only reason she hadn't been thrown off the program so far was because finding Evangelion pilots was incredibly difficult every year hundreds of young people from all over the world tested for the program but failed because they couldn't sync in the simulation tester as you had to have a very high mental discipline. Toji and Mari were the first pilots in years to sync and even when you could sync it then meant you had to train for a year before joining the elite pilots such as herself and Shinji and Asuka who had been part of the program since the every start. Not to mention with every new pilot it meant building a new Evangelion which took up to ten months from start to finish.

Kaworu was the first pilot from Ukraine and Mari Britain while Toji was from China, only herself and Shinji were Japanese born. Having pilots from all over the world was very interesting but it got really complicated when either Mari, Toji or Kaworu spoke in there own native languages as it was very hard to tell what they were saying. Asuka had very much gotten over this habit but it didn't stop her swearing her own language at times.

She stood up putting her hand on her big brothers arm. "Let's go then as on your motor bike it will take us ages to get there because it's slow." Shinji got up following her. "My motorbike is not slow you just have an issue with speeding."

Misato watched as everyone got up. "Okay now just remember when you get time, buy Asuka a gift, you know for when she finally get up in to the hospital wing." She watched as they all nodded as they left, yeah she should run them through training shifts but after everything that had happened she felt it might be good of them to just let them relax and besides they weren't kids anymore they were all adults. They knew there duties and they could get back to full training tomorrow on the other simulator field as there were two and it kept training pilots separate from seasoned pilots.


I can hear waves somewhere off in the distance it's a slow pounding sound so close and yet so far, it's the only thing I can hear in the dark void. "Die with me." I tense in the blackness I know those words they were my Mama's before the end before…well it doesn't matter I don't want to think about it. Thinking about it just hurts I may not show my pain to the others but when I'm inside in my house which is far from anyone. I lie alone some nights and cry because it's the only way to get the pain out, I never feel whole I just feel empty these days.

I don't understand it I thought living out side away from everyone else and having my own home and things would make me happy but it hasn't I just feel even more miserable. Some times I just…I just get on my motorbike the one that could kill me and I ride it maybe hoping for it to hit my emotional cords but it does nothing, all it does is ease my internal anger which I try so hard to control some days that it hurts. I don't want to see it hurt Shinji or Rei they're the closest thing I have to friends and we grew up as a together they are all I have. "Die with me."

That voice again it's in my head speaking harder and louder. I turn in the darkness realizing for the first time that I'm standing alone in a darkness dressed in my red plug suite but all my injuries are gone which means only one thing this isn't real it is a dream. "So pathetic, so human, always missing Mama." Asuka turned seeing red eyes appear in the darkness followed by white teeth flashing in the light. "Since this is a dream I'm just going to ignore you…because you're not real."

The black figure moved in darkness. "Ungrateful child you think I'm a dream I'm part of your reality now, I'm part of you, we are one and the same." Asuka felt her teeth grind together as she spoke coldly. "You're dead you died when Mari cracked the entry plug!" The huge monster moved its long black fingers and claws scratching the floor making an awful sound as it got closer. "No that's just your perception because you're human, you think in human terms my outer shell was crushed but not my soul I'm now inside you and I will own your soul…its just a matter of time, I just used your false god abomination to get where I wanted to go!"

Maya looked up sharply watching as Asuka's heart rate suddenly spiked causing her whole body to twitch inside the tank she looked at the hospital staff, who were keeping a close eye on the tank along with her. The tank had been moved into the hospital wing as there it would be much easier to get Asuka out once she woke up. "What's going on, did you two give her any medication?" The two men shook their heads. She eyed the heart rate which was beating faster now. "Okay I want you to administer a sedative just to calm her down, I don't know what's going on now but it's really strange but we can not have her moving around with broken bones."

She watched as the needle arm in side the tank rose up, right now she was thankful that Asuka was unconscious because every one knew that she was the worst person ever when it came to sedatives in the past she'd kicked out and violently fought against them in the hospital wing. Normally they were put in using a special medical gun and that was where the problem came.

Asuka was renowned for trying to grab the gun and fire it elsewhere like into the staff and she'd been successful more than once in her attempts and put out the male and female doctor attending to her. Years on the staff were still really weary of this and they'd been dreading her being here though a lot of that fear had gone when she'd come in, in the tank and she had so many shattered bones as she wouldn't be fighting them any time soon while she was here.

Misato had all of the pilots trained in hand to hand combat and all could fire guns and use weapons this was so that if Nerv was ever attacked they could disarm the people attaching them but it meant that they became nothing but a problem when they didn't want to play along in the hospital wing. She watched as the needle pierced skin and the liquid went in slowly followed by the needle coming slowly free as Asuka's heart rate started to go back to it normal rhythm. She closed her eyes leaning back she really hoped this would be the last disruption tonight.

Asuka felt the sharp in her neck which vanished as fast as it had come she put her hand on her neck rubbing as she met the two glowing red eyes. "Who are you?" The face moved closer allowing her to see the multilayered teeth. "I am Bardiel, I am your keeper from here on in!" Asuka raised her hands. "Oh what am I meant to be verfickte impressed by that on any level? A name is a name it doesn't mean anything." She folded her arms eyeing the dark creature. "Your nothing, you're…."

The clawed hand suddenly moved out of darkness grabbing her, the long fingers wrapping around her shoulders as the claws dug in painfully. "This feel real to you Asuka?" The mouth slowly appeared realizing it's self in the light with its hundreds of teeth. "Yes I know your name Asuka Langley Soryu, being inside you is very interesting and fascinating but also so pathetic." Asuka felt the blinding pain as she hit the floor hard on her back in the darkness as the light suddenly went out, she tried to get up only to feel a heavy weight on her back as a clawed foot came down digging in. "When did you become so weak, didn't you used to kick people around?"

The clawed foot moved off her back only to slam into her midsection with such force that it sent her skidding across the floor. "Like that." Asuka moaned in pain it was for this exact reason she'd stopped kicking and punching Shinji, because it hurt and she knew what it was like to be on the retrieving end, she tried to get up. "I'm better than that now!"

The red eyes moved in the shadows. "No your not your half as interesting as you used to be, all you do now is hide away pretending your someone else." Asuka felt the pain as she punched in the face and the voice came again. "You used to rule the school yard, you were a goddess among humanity. Boys would kneel at your feet wanting you to push them around and hit them and screw them and you did mercilessly and girls would want to be you they'd even sleep with you, you used to have so much sexual fun, in your later teens your sex life was legendary." Asuka breathed in feeling blood run down from chin. "Things change."

Maya sat up sharply hearing the buzzing sound once again she looked up seeing this time that it was not the heart monitor but Asuka's brain which had gone completely wild with activity, it was alive as if she was awake and she wasn't and on top of that the pain receptors were firing over and over in different sections of the brain. She stood up seeing the out right confusion on everyone's faces. "Bring me up a body scan!" She looked up as the holographic screen came up on her desk showing all the internal organs which were working normally they weren't damaged and even the internal bleeding in her stomach area which had been stopped seemed fine none of the internal stitches had come loose, herself and the surgeons had worked there and then on it because it was the worst area and might have caused her death if not treated and they'd put part of her intestine that was hanging out back in. She eyed her holographic screen setting off the recording she had expected the issues with heart rate but not this.

True people who went in to comas did have brain activity but it wasn't like this at all this was just out right odd. Some days she wondered how she'd gone from her role of bridge lieutenant to this medical role which was centered around looking after all of the pilots closely and monitoring the Magi but then Ritsuko just didn't care about the pilots anymore. She only cared about social ladders and being Gendo's right hand she thought people were throw away and she hated her for that. She'd been so in love with her once and had tried to pursue her but it had ended so painfully due to the method Ritsuko had used to bring her down.

It had been so brutal and it still hurt her even after all these years despite that a part of her had moved on. She let go of her thoughts as her gaze drifted back to Asuka and the present. Whatever this was she couldn't explain it Asuka was clean of contamination maybe it was some anomaly from being broken free of the LCL in such a violent way Rei had, had unusual brains waves during Unit 00's early testing when it had gone wrong. Maybe Asuka's mind being what it was just wanted to remain awake despite injury, maybe this was how it fought with injury.

Bardiel's red eyes narrowed. "Clearly not for the better, you're not half as interesting as you used to be." Asuka got to her knees breathing in deeply trying to ignore the pain. "I like my life and I'm a better person, I don't hit people break there hearts and the anger I have is channelled." The huge mouth formed a cold smile. "Oh you mean your pathetic life were you hide away from everything and cry your self to sleep at night because deep down your just desperately sad and lonely? As for the channelled anger you speak off that's a lie and we both know it, your anger is now repressed its half the reason your so miserable because anger is your strength and it always has been, with out it being burning in flames of your soul, your not happy."

Asuka looked up. "It's better that way! People don't get hurt and I don't hurt them like I used to." Bardiel's mouth formed a sneer. "But you had such power your insults gave you strength." Asuka felt the pain as she was hit again in the face causing her to hit the floor hard on her side. "Hurting people weaker or more emotional that your self, does not make you powerful…it makes you a coward and a bully."

She was struck again on her back as the dark voice hit the air again. "Spoken like a true hero…for some one so smart you're so disappointing." Asuka felt her body get turned over and clawed hand came down hard on her chest despite that she couldn't get up she spat the blood in her mouth in Bardiel's direction. "You call me disappointing yet in battle I've won so many times against you and the rest of your race?" The huge jaws opened as a long tongue came out and a deep roar hit the air as the mouth came towards her face. "Time for you to wake up second child because I really don't want your body stuck where it is right now it does nothing to further ether of our personal desires."

Asuka's good eye snapped open as her hand came up hitting what felt like glass as she spoke through the breathing mask not caring that it was loud enough to hear. "Fick dich!" She blinked realizing that she was no longer dreaming and awake. She felt her eyes dart where was she? Nothing felt right she looked around realizing that she floating around in blue liquid seeing that her hand had hit what looked like solid glass.

She was suspended upwards and it was making her feel sick not to mention the incredible pain that was running through her body as everything started to hurt. She couldn't move her right arm or her legs which she couldn't even feel and her chest was on fire. She could see through the liquid which wasn't LCL that no one was around and the room she in was empty. The only thing she could make out was three empty desks and the symbol of a snake wrapped around a staff which meant that she was in the hospital wing.

The heavy breathing apparatus on her face was making it hard to move her neck. Worst of all, all of her clothes were gone she was naked in this tank apart from underwear and thick bandages of some kind around her chest and stomach. She made a fist with her good hand despite that it hurt to do so then banging it on the glass which took so much effort. She hated the sensation of being under water it felt like she was drowning. LCL was different it felt protective this sensation on the other hand was awful she banged again harder hoping that someone was listening as she heard the beeper go off.

Maya slammed her coffee down on the table as she ran back in to the decontamination room with the two other men seeing that all of the holographic monitors were up and Asuka's fist was up against the glass, she was awake wide awake as a matter of a fact. Granted her brain activity had been going off for the last five hours but she had not twitched at all. She ran up to the glass seeing the Asuka's only good blue eye fall on her as she banged on the glass again the panic showing.

She raised her hand knowing that Asuka could hear her through the glass. "Hold still Asuka we are going to get you out okay, you need to calm down!"

End of part 2


Chapter Text


Rei breathed in deeply as the side car was jutted again causing pain to her rear as Shinji sped down the dirt road that led to Asuka's house. Granted it wasn't far off one of the main roads but it was well outside of Tokyo three and though you could join the main road it still seemed so far away as it was inside rural land and there were rice fields all over the place.

Maybe Asuka liked to look at the city at night or some thing as even from this distance the lights looked beautiful. Her thoughts were cut off as the side car jutted again causing pain she eyed Shinji as she adjusted the goggles and helmet. "Slow down your hurting me here!" Shinji turned giving her a smile. "You said you wanted fast!" Rei narrowed her gaze. "Where is this house anyway, there's nothing but fields how does she live out…!?" Her next words were cut as they swerved to avoid a huge green tractor, which was making it was down the worn out path if the road was bad nothing compared to how much her body hurt as they sped over the grasslands before slamming back down on the dirt road.

Shinji looked at his sister. "Its Asuka we are talking about here, she's not a people person!" Rei breathed in deeply. "Are we even close to it?" Shinji shook his head. "Misato said that we would know it when we saw it, she said she only saw it when Asuka moved in that was three years ago."

Rei felt them slow down but only slightly. "Oh so she's been here, yet none of us have not once, I find it annoying that Asuka always fobs us off with excuses as to why we can't visit." Shinji looked up catching sight of a house it was the only one and it looked like an old farm house but it had clearly had work done that was really modern, the roof had dark tiling the outer house wasn't white but dark in colour. There were glass windows in the upstairs and downstairs and a large garage add on. The front yard had garden which was filled to bursting point with sunflowers and there was even parking for another vehicle outside the garage, granted both his and Rei's apartments were modern but he had never even thought about buying an old rural house and doing it up this way.

He brought his motorbike to a stop in the parking area watching as Rei jumped out wincing painfully before taking of her helmet and goggles okay maybe her thoughts on the side car were right, maybe he needed much better padding, he eased of his helmet putting it on the handlebars. Rei up her helmet in the side car as she walked up the garden path granted it wasn't that big but it was stunning with all its sunflowers as they were all in full bloom.

She blinked realizing that there was a metal screen where the door was and a machine sensor. They had this on their apartments as well which explained Asuka's keys as she had the special sensor on they key which the machine would read before it would open the metal screen and then you could put in the door key in. She eased up the black key putting the end inside the machines sensor hoping it was right one as Asuka had two. She watched as the numbers appeared and a clicking sound was heard the huge heavy metal shutter flew up as a wooden door came in to view. She eased the key out putting it in the door turning it feeling it open which was such a relief as they both went inside closing the door behind them. Shinji eased up his hands clapping them though the light didn't come on through movement or sound like at his home. "No automatic lights."

Rei caught sight of a panel inside the hallway where you could hang your coat which was lit up in red so you could see it in the darkness. She could see muddy work boots soaking in water and a thicker winter coat hanging up. "Oh I get it's all runs on an IDHS." Shinji eyed the panel. "What do you mean by IDHS?" Rei eased up the second key. "It means it's really specialized and it turns on certain things when you get home it's like an AI which you program to suit your needs. IDHS means intelligent, digital home system. You should stop being so old fashioned and get one fitted, there so helpful." She stuck the yellow key in she was really fascinated to see what would turn on as these things were so personalized.

Toji had one in his apartment and it had been so fascinating to walk around he had said that Mari also had one as well inside her skyscraper apartment. She turned the key hearing the wiring as everything suddenly came alive and all of the lights turned on and the curtains opened giving a view of the city lights in the far off distance.

Shinji blinked eyeing the house in front of him which wasn't Japanese's in the slightest as all of the blinds had been pulled out changed for walls and doors everything had been remade to look more like European house there was a large kitchen area which had a black granite board surface and a wide front room with a leather recliner and two seat sofa as well as a wooden and glass coffee table.

He looked up seeing a flat screen television lower itself from the ceiling turning on as it moved in position so it was in front of the recliner, it instantly turned on playing something while a special coffee maker in the kitchen started up as it made coffee, all of the inside was painted in relaxing subdued colours.

Rei smiled as she looked around. "Talk about missing home, this place looks more like Asuka's grandmothers house back in Germany , well you know with out all the super modern stuff." Rei eased the key out walked over to the TV seeing that it wasn't playing as such but had brought up a list of things of interest the idea was that you spoke to the screen and it played what ever you wanted and it could pause, record and copy things elsewhere. "Sports, music, movies, series, cat videos…this is quite an interesting list."

Shinji stepped closer to her. "You know you shouldn't tamper with that, we are here to feed her cat not to go through her things." Rei stepped away from the flat screen. "Well then let's find her cat." She caught sight of a two doors one led to the garage while the other led outside and had a cat flap while there was an opening to the upstairs.

There were various engineering magazines for cars and motorbikes but they were tossed around on the coffee table like she had read them but gotten bored of reading them. Shinji went in to the kitchen eyeing the now smoking coffee which was sitting in the machine ready to be drunk, though he had no intention of drinking it as German coffee didn't appeal to him and Asuka drank it strong. He opened the large fridge which was filled to the brim with food, most of it junk food though there was a whole section which had all German food. While one of the lower shelves was filled to the brim with German and Japanese beer and lager he groaned inwardly it was like being in Misato's fridge all over again he really hoped that Asuka had not picked up her habit of a morning beer to start the day.

He looked around at least it wasn't really messy though like Misato's apartment had been, himself and Rei had always ended up cleaning up her place as kids. There was a sense of something not being right though it was the way things were tossed around it was like boredom or frustration of some kind.

Rei walked up the stairs seeing a long hall way with three large rooms she opened the first which was the bathroom only to close it again. She moved to the second seeing a bedroom come in to view as interesting as the front room was the bedroom was always the most interesting in terms of people it was more private and personal, the room had a large window which over looked the city.

There was a VR helmet sitting on the double bed which had a wooden frame again it hadn't been put away but lazily thrown there. She could see a long mirror for getting ready and lots of shelving and cupboards for clothes and a book shelf filled with books both in, Japanese and German though it was mostly regarding mechanics.

She picked up the VR head set she had one of these they were, where you could view the World Wide Web and talk to family if you wanted have a more private conversation away from your computer or phone, but they could be used for video games and simulations as well. Asuka's had to be for video games, she turned on the visor slowly putting it on, okay it was rude to pry but she was curious. She watched it went from black to shimmering colours only for a naked woman to appear on the screen in a very sexual position she suddenly didn't feel so good and now she regretted even putting on this helmet, because one thing about VR's head sets was that they tapped in to your brain and made the sensations feel very real. The woman moved towards her touching her and she felt the sensation instantly she yanked the head set off almost in panic, switching it off wishing that she'd even touched it. It wasn't that she hated the idea of a woman touching her in that manner, she just hated make out sex on VR head sets with a passion because they messed with your head.

Nothing about them was real, not even the person you were having sex with and anything was better than them including sex toys, why would Asuka even have one of these things anyway? True it was no secret that Asuka was bisexual but in the past she had gotten dates easier than any of them, yet now she was reduced to this unreal stupid sex simulation.

Asuka's sexuality had never caused anyone to blink an eyelid as same sex marriage was considered a social norm in over a hundred and eighty two countries now including all of Japan . She eyed the head set again if Asuka wanted this she could go out to a club and get it.

She looked around her, maybe she was missing something obvious here but she just couldn't wrap her head around Asuka being so withdrawn this way, it was just strange because she's always been so outgoing in the past when they were younger. She looked up as Shinji appeared poking his head around the door as he spoke. "Did you find her cat?" Rei stood up dropping the headset on the bed. "No, she's not up here."

She adjusted her trousers as she walked towards him. "Just all her clothes but we should pick some of them up she might need them in the hospital." Shinji eyed the VR headset. "Was there anything interesting on her VR headset?" Rei tensed slightly. "No…just private e-mails, I shut it down." Yes that was a lie but she wasn't going to tell her brother what was really on it despite that she didn't like the idea of Asuka getting of on sex simulations what she did in her personal time sex wise was her own business.

Shinji opened the door to the final large room stepping inside realizing that he was suddenly in a cave of wonders as there were book shelves filled with computer games all lined up and ordered as well as comic books and graphic novels there were also model kits on display along with a separate small area where she painted them and two computer chairs so she could move in between desks.

There was a large desk with a computer gaming unit which had a keyboard and mouse as well as a controller and normally the VR would be here to be it was in her bedroom. This was a purposely built games room, all the rooms had images here and there but in this room had a huge wall scroll with unit 02 on it on its side wall, it was literally the only thing of her unit in the house and it was here of all places.

Rei looked around wishing now that they had been able to visit at least once because she loved the idea of playing these games and using her games machine. "What a collection, I mean some of these are old game are conversions."

Granted ninety percent of games were streamed now but some people liked to port twenty century games and older but they had to put on a special disc and as it was difficult to do it and it was expensive as these games had to be done in batches. Again though there was something not quite right about the room it looked like it hadn't really been used in a while as one of disc cases sitting on the desk was dusty and the modelling desk had no current kit on it to be painted. Shinji put his hands in his pockets. "Let's check the garage and the kitchen again I mean I saw a cat flap near the back door." Rei breathed in closing the door, Asuka had never really liked sliding doors but personal she found the entire idea of doors to every room really strange.

She watched as Shinji opened the garage door she caught sight of the empty space which was clearly for Asuka's motorbike which was cruiser like her brothers but with a much faster engine, she'd seen her drive in to work on it countess times it was a very plain looking thing and not that colourful just a toned down grey.

There was something though on the far side of the room that was large and covered with a blanket and there were all manner of tools lying around. This was Asuka's hobby at least this was the one they all knew about as she liked to tweak engines so they ran smoother or faster she had even helped Shinji with his bike a year ago she had just brought him the extra parts and fitted them so it was a smoother ride and she'd asked for nothing in return even though he'd tried to pay her it.

Rei moved over to the cover, she knew it was wrong but she was desperate to see what was under there. Shinji looked up sharply. "You know you shouldn't touch that she's obviously working on what ever is under there." Rei felt a sly smile form. "Yeah right like I'm not going to look, I always knew that cruiser wasn't the real deal and just her get to work bike, its way to tame for her."

She pulled the cover off watching as a black monster of a motor bike came in to view it had huge tires and thick black and red plating. Granted all bikes and cars ran on power cores but this thing was soaped up to the max. She breathed in feeling her heart race. "A Trident X309." She looked over seeing that this monster could go even faster than her sports bike it had a long planed glass and a huge front but what made it interesting was how you sat in it, you sat low in it like in a chair as it had a backrest made of pure leather and because of this it had a huge wheel at the back and least one other person could sit on it.

What made the Trident bikes so special though was the three core engine it meant a lot less charging and dangerous amount of speed she felt bad for doing it but she eased her leg over sitting in the seat putting her hands on the handlebars. "This thing can go so fast I mean how did she even get hold of this? I can't get hold of this the waiting list is two years long for it, I mean I have the money for one but I can't even get a second hand one because everyone wants one and people even pillage second hand ones for the engine and parts because their so top of the range."

Shinji breathed in deeply. "Well it didn't come from her step father or step mother maybe her grandmother poked the German Nerv division or something, I heard the other divisions like to spoil pilots, they give them perks for good behaviour because they represent their county." Rei lay back against the seat. "Yeah and yet our father doesn't spoil us at all he just ignores us." Shinji narrowed his gaze. "Tell me about it? I mean I wouldn't even want this death trap of a bike but something would be nice you know for the fact that we risk our lives on the Evangelion program and have been doing for years." Rei looked at him sadly. "You know if mother was still alive she'd give it to us she did nothing but love us, he never cared about us to him we were both throw away items and as soon as our mother died he put us on our grandparents doorstep."

She took in a painful breath trying to hold back the sting of her own tears. "You know I just wanted him care, you know just once." Shinji moved forward putting an arm around her. "I know Rei I know, just remember its not you it's him." He held her close he had tried so hard to protect her ever since they'd come to Nerv when he'd been fourteen and she had been thirteen but no matter how hard he tried he couldn't protect her completely from Gendo and he responded very differently to them both.

To him he threw out insults about not being man enough to do what was needed to done and he'd gotten to the point of just shutting off to these insults. What ever his father said didn't define him as a person but to Rei he was much crueller he treated her like she wasn't there and never faced her when talking to her, it was cold indifference. He knew why it was there it was because she looked like their mother she had her dusty brown hair and green eyes this was no fault of her own though and didn't deserve Gendo's hatred.

He gave her a gentle kiss on the head. "I mean we have our own homes now, our own lives, we are away from him." He heard a low meow behind him he turned watching as a short haired tortoiseshell cat appeared looking at them with its large pleading yellow eyes it was a rather odd looking little cat as it had a chewed up right ear and pointy teeth. "Ah there you are been we've been looking for you." He eyed his sister who breathed in as she wiping her eyes of the tears. "What's her name?" Rei got off Asuka's bike watching as the cat came close rubbing against her leg. "She called Erika it's German."

She leaned down picking the cat up who just seemed happy for the attention. "Hello there you must be missing Asuka." She watched as her brother pulled the sheet back over the Trident. Shinji leaned over stroking the cats head it was clearly very friendly even if did look a little beaten up. "Let's get you some food ha, you know just until Asuka's grandmother gets here then she can feed you full time."


There are distant voices so distant yet close it feels like being in the void there's just nothing in this place but darkness I remember the tank and being pulled out, did I pass out? Yes I did, because I hate being that deep in water the sensation is too much for me. "Wake up!"

Asuka turned seeing Bardiel in the shadows again moving on his huge clawed feet. "If you don't wake up I'll give you the real sensation of drowning because I will fill your lungs up with your own blood so that you'll really choke." Asuka looked at him for a long moment he had to be a dream he couldn't be real. "I am real now wake up!"

Asuka felt the pain as she opened an eye but found she couldn't open the other one at all, it remained in blackness as she stared up at the white ceiling of what had to be the hospital wing. It hurt every time she took a breath her right arm was heavily bandaged along with both her legs which were up in the air and she had a breathing mask on.

She closed her only good eye again feeling the pain as it hit her fully it was just plain awful. "Asuka?" She heard a voice causing her to slowly turn realizing that Misato was seated beside her with concern in her eyes as she stood up she eased up her only good hand pulling the breathing mask off. "Misato."

Misato leaned over putting her hand on the younger woman's face. "How do you feel?" Asuka narrowed her good eye. "Like Scheisse." Misato breathed in she'd never been so happy to hear Asuka swear in her whole life because it meant that she was very much herself. "I'm so happy you're okay for a moment we all thought we'd lost you." Asuka raised an eyebrow. "How long have you been here?" Misato leaned against the bed. "All night its early it's five am the others will start coming in soon and they want to see you."

Asuka spoke despite that every word hurt "Don't bring Mari here." Misato shook her head. "She's not coming down here Asuka I've already punished her for what happened and some one from Nerv's British division is going to come down here and kick her ass, I know because they told me that her plane is going to be landed in an hour or so." She put a hand on Asuka's good one. "I promise you I won't allow Mari down here while you are recovering."

Asuka looked at her. "How bad is it, what did I break?" Misato looked down sadly there really was no point in keeping this from her. "You shattered some of your ribs, both your legs and your right arm were broken and there was a fracture in your spine and you had internal bleeding and part of your gut had been pulled out Maya and her team fixed that first." She looked up slightly. "Then they reset your legs and corrected the broken bone and fractures. They're going to put you on some of the best drugs to help you heal faster and plenty of pain killers." Asuka breathed in painful. "My left eye?" Misato took in a deep breath she had not been looking forward to this moment telling a woman this young that she could be blind was not easy. "Your eye it's very badly damaged, we think you might have lost your sight in it but it's too early to tell, I'm so sorry Asuka this was my fault I just wish I had gotten Shinji and Rei there faster."

Asuka looked down sadly. "Please don't blame yourself it was my fault for stepping into that stupid UN Alpha test unit, didn't think it was going to suck me into the core like it did and I didn't think that Mari would get such a kick out of stabbing me in the face…that hurt so much." Misato took in a deep breath squeezing her hand tighter. "If you do loose your sight in that eye its not the end of the world I mean we can fit you with a robotic one they're really good you can't even tell the difference."

Asuka shook her head. "No really I'm not up for that…" Misato gave her, her best smile. "Your grandmother is also flying in she'll be here very soon." Asuka breathed in deeply. "She's flying in from Germany ?" Misato leaned against the bed. "Yes as soon as she heard she was on a plane over here, she's said she wants to see you and take care of you and look after your house until your back on your feet and walking again."

Asuka tensed as something important drifted in to her mind "My cat…no one fed my cat!" Misato put a hand on her arm. "Don't worry I took care of that I had Shinji and Rei go around to your house and feed your cat just until your grandma gets here." Asuka eyed her for a long moment. "You know if they touched anything in my house other than my cat they're both dead." Misato leaned closer. "Now there's the Asuka I know, I have not seen her in a while." Asuka breathed in leaning back on the pillow closing her good eye she wanted to go back sleep everything just hurt so much. "She just pops in from time to time…but the world is still better off with out her."

End of part 3


Chapter Text


Mari breathed in feeling the pain as the simulated angels arms hit her in three places causing the Beta unit to slow as she tried to get out of the way of the shots only for it to creak as the beeper went off as she went out of sync causing it to judder violently.

She kicked the inside of the entry plug hard with her foot. "Why do you fucking suck!?" She looked up as Kaji's face shot up on her holographic screen, the older man eased up a finger shaking it. "Now, now be nice to Nerv technology Mari it's still expensive." Mari felt a sneer form. "Expensive more like stone age junk." Kaji breathed in deeply. "You know both Rei, Shinji and Asuka all trained in these things in fact once up on a time the Evangelion you're sitting in was once combat ready and even saw battle though not against angels but then this and the other ones were both base prototypes, Rei's and Shinji's, were the first real deals with those S² Engines which mean that you don't need cables."

Mari eased herself back in the seat taking hold of the controls. "Then why doesn't it work anymore, why does it go out of sync and shut down?" Kaji leaned back in his chair. "Asuka broke it." Mari rolled her eyes she was tired and that was the last thing she needed to hear she spoke not caring that her voice was thick with sarcasm. "What a surprise…princess broke it, I should have guessed."

Kaji leaned forward. "You know she might beat you up when she gets out of the hospital right?" Mari felt a wide smile form on her lips. "I'm personally looking forward to it, I've heard back when she wasn't a pathetic loner her beatings used to be legendary along with her sex life." Kaji looked up watching as the huge Beta unit started to move again from his position in the control station this station wasn't like the main one in central dogma it was outside off Nerv in a special building which could lower itself in to the ground along with the media and visitor centre.

The two huge training fields took up a massive amount of space both the training units and the advanced units could test there skills here and keep them sharp or try out new weapons and it was much better than older simulated training inside a four walled room. "You know very few people, unless they are a complete idiots want a beating from Asuka, it's not a pleasant experience, ask Shinji he'll tell you all about it as they both have history."

He looked down at his holographic panel retyping watching as the huge hologram which was mimicking one of the angels vanished as he reset the training field. "Plus you almost sound Jealous." Mari's face appeared on the screen opposite him up till now she'd only been voice. "Please don't insult my intelligence she's a grease monkey loner who lives out on farm land she has nothing I envy or desire." Kaji shook his head. "It's such a shame you weren't here in the beginning." Mari leaned forward in entry plug chair narrowing her gaze. "Why do you say that?”

Kaji sat up in his chair. "Because the Asuka we all know today is so far removed from the egotistic hot head we used to know. She's calmer and slightly more focused and just takes your constant insults yes she gets angry and tells you to shut up but that's it, the old Asuka had violent misdirected anger which included, hitting, threats and open insults and she would not have put up with you for a second." He raised an eyebrow. "May be you shouldn't wish for the old Asuka back the result for you might make your life very miserable." He typed watching as the hologram came up again. "The field has been reset." He leaned closer to the screen giving her a coy smile. "Oh and by the way your last score was sixty percent you're going to have to do way better."

He watched as she rolled her eyes as her image disappearing from his holographic screen he looked up watching on bigger screen as her Evangelion started moving trying to avoid the attacks from the simulated angel. "Such deluded arrogance."

He looked up as Misato came in he gave his best smile. "Why hello." Misato gave him a sad smile. "Hello Kaji." Kaji raised an eyebrow. "I assume by the look on your face that today has not been a good day." Misato breathed in sadly. "I just had to tell a twenty three year old woman that she may never see again in her left eye and could possibly loose it." She looked up just in time to watch as Mari's Beta unit was literally thrown across the floor of the training ground. "The worst part is that she took it so well, I expected her to cry, scream get angry but nothing." She pulled up a chair sitting in front of it so her arms were leaning against the seat rest. "She didn't even blame me for the accident and I'm the one who put her up to this."

She ran a hand through her hair in frustration. "I mean she didn't even want to pilot the UN Alpha test unit, I nudged her into it I didn't even have to stroke her ego like I used to, I just brought her German coffee, even Rei and Shinji said it would be good for her." She looked down at the flashing hologram panels half ignoring Mari's dull grey Beta unit as it was thrown in to the training grounds separating wall only to hit the floor hard on its three eyed yellow face which was followed by her cursing in English which she couldn't make sense off. "Gendo's first choice was going to be Toji but I said Asuka would be better."

Kaji put a hand on his beard. "Toji would not have survived it and he's just not ready." He eased up his finger pointing at another dull yellow Evangelion with three orange eyes was running around on the opposite field to Mari trying to avoid holographic planes and tanks which were hitting it and since this was a simulation the bullets still hurt, even though in the real world they couldn't penetrate the armour but it was training for any situation and everyone knew Evangelion's could get their plating ripped off by angels he leaned over pressing the com on his panel. "Pay more attention to your right side Toji."

He watched as the Evangelion lifted his leg trending on a tank causing to blow up and vanish. "That's it." He watched as Toji's face came up on the holographic screen he smirking as he spokes "Thanks there like rats." He turned as Mari was thrown yet again only for her Evangelion to rumble and cut out he leaned over turning of the simulation. "Again Mari, get that heap of stone age junk as you called it to its feet." He eyed the scored panel. "Seventy five better but not good enough you need to push at least eighty."

Misato leaned over pressing a few buttons on his holographic panel to increase the difficulty of Mari's simulation. Kaji eyed her. "Isn't that a little mean?" Misato shrugged. "I don't care it makes me feel better." She leaned over pressing the speaker so Mari could hear her. "The British Nerv delegate just landed Mari, they want to speak to you I want you to run this simulation three more times and then you can see them, you know the room." Toji's image came up again as the big butch young man gave her a smile. "Hello Misato."

Misato gave him a wave he might be a strapping young man but he was polite and very well mannered. "Hello Toji." Mari's image suddenly popped up again. "Who is coming to see me?" she felt a sneer form on her lips. "Is it a man or a woman?" Misato stood up. "I don't know I didn't care to check." That was a lie it was a woman she watched as the grey Beta unit got to its feet. "Just be there Mari and when you're done you're to get back here and on this platform, your long hours are not done."

Kaji breathed in pressing buttons to turn it to silent so neither of the pilots could hear them talking. "It's like having Asuka all over again." Misato put her hands in her red jackets pockets. "No its not, at least we always knew where we stood with Asuka even when she was being an egotistical jackass, Mari's all smoke and mirrors I really hate it." She was about to say more only to stop as her phone went off she eased it up eyeing the message. "Asuka's grandmother's plane has just landed you'll have to excuse me." She took in a deep breath readying herself she was not looking forward to this one bit.

Asuka's grandmother was no nonsense person who didn't care for excuses and she could be very hard to deal with but she was going to be in a hell of a mood today and she was utterly dreading the meeting with her and the British delegate Alexandra because they didn't get on at all. She did however get on with general Marcus who was a really beaten up old war dog but he wasn't here today and she knew why it was because he just didn't want to face her wraith over what had happened with Asuka.


Misato walked up to the landing bay where the German war plane had landed the sliding door opened as a woman in her mid fifties got out. She had white plated long hair and a black army gear with black army boots because she clearly couldn't stand heels or skirts she wasn't very tall ether not that, that mattered much since what she lacked in height she made up with her temper which Asuka had very clearly inherited.

Word had she had in her youth been special forces and had seen a lot of ground combat before being snatched up by the Nerv branch she took a deep breath before walking towards her. "Geraldina Zeppelin we are so glad that your here." Geraldina gave her a cold look as she spoke evenly. "Please drop the formalities I'm not interested in them, where is my granddaughter?" Misato took in a deep breath meeting her eyes which were the same colour as Asuka's if anything they were proof of Asuka's heritage as she had seen images of her mother and Asuka looked nothing like her as she had, had blonde hair and green eyes. "Your granddaughter is in the hospital, we are putting all off our efforts into getting her well, she'll have the best health care money can buy."

Geraldina sneered not bothering to hide her disgust. "Maybe that help would have been better if you had not talked her in to testing the UN Alpha test unit in the first place, then I wouldn't be standing here right now having to talk with you and worried that my only granddaughter might not ever walk again and might have lost sight in her left eye permanently!" Misato eased up her hands. "It was my call and it was a bad call but believe me I did not talk her in to it the way you think I did and she wasn't Gendo's first choice, Toji was but Asuka was put forward because she could handle it better if anything went wrong because of her experience she's made of far stronger stuff than Toji he wouldn't have survived this." Geraldina breathed in painfully. "Yet you could have tested it with Rei or Shinji but you didn't."

Misato narrowed her gaze. "We both know why that happened I don't make the rules Gendo and Ritsuko do and they both wouldn't allow that option." Geraldina carried on walking watching as the other woman followed her. "Favouritism of the worst kind…my granddaughter is not expendable or throw away it's time they both realized that. My family has suffered greatly due to the Evangelion program so you people can reap the rewards and if Asuka's grandfather my late husband were still alive he would want her off this program." She took in a painful breath. "I on the other hand realize what it is to sacrifice for my country and I know that if I pulled her off this program she would hate me forever because this is where her heart is and I will never take that away from her as long as she lives." She met the taller Japanese woman's gaze. "The last time we stood here I didn't mind so much because Asuka was injured during battle and fighting to save this world, its one thing to die in the glory of the battle but its quite another to be injured because of another stupid pilot who seems to have issues."

She felt her whole body tense. "Don't think I have not seen the image of that pilot cracking my granddaughter's entry plug that web feed has haunted my every waking moment since I woke up to this mess and I know a purposely placed kill shot when I see one." She looked at her hand which was missing the third finger as it had been blown off long ago in battle. "I've killed enough of my enemies to know what it is to be the one firing that gun but I believe you should fire on the enemy not your own side and I will have retribution for this action believe me when I say the British division of Nerv has a lot of explaining to do and when I'm done with them I'll see my granddaughter." Misato breathed in deeply normally with delegates it was all just hot air but she knew better Geraldina meant every damn word she never ever bluffed.


Mari sat in the small office she really hated this room it was so confided and it reminded her off some school yard teacher's room but she had no choice being here and she was feeling so tired right now. She heard the door click behind her she turned only for her smile to fade in an instant as a blonde haired woman in her forties walked in dressed in a brown suite with a short skirt and high heels walked in with a truly pissed off expression on her face. Mari folded her farms great it wasn't Marcus the head director of the British Nerv but his second in command Alexandra and they had never gotten on. "No Marcus?"

Alexandra moved slamming her suite case down hard in front of the table as she sat down looking Mari dead in the face as she put her hands together. "You know what really pisses me off Mari?" Mari adjusted her glasses. "Wearing that skirt and high heels?"

Alexandra opened her suite case pulling a bunch of news paper throwing them in front of her violently. "No being woken up at two of clock in the morning with the prime minister breathing down my neck because you fucked up big time and it's splashed over every newspaper along with every news feed on the world wide web and very news station imaginable! The worst part is you could have been today's hero rather than its villain if that UN Alpha test unit had been unpiloted." She looked up slightly. "It wasn't though was it? You nearly killed the German division's pilot!"

She stood up. "What in your right mind compelled you to stick her entry plug in your Evangelion's mouth and crack it?" She eased up hand. "Because you know that's the image the media is running with right now, do you have any idea how much shit I'm going to have clean up today because of your little conflict of interest?" She felt a cold sneer form. "I'm going to have to apologise to Gendo himself and pray he doesn't punish us for this, then I have to speak to the German divisions leader who by the way is Asuka's grandmother and hope that she forgives for us for mangling her granddaughter!"

She folded her arms. "I get it problem child it's all one big joke to you, its all fun and games because you get to play hero in your pink monster but for us it's yards of paper work, for us its trillions of pounds per day outfitting your machine and paying for your bullets. It cost us so much money to have that thing built and specially made for you and British tax payers are still paying for your joy ride every day, Marcus is very soft with you he's an old war dog and he lets you get away with a lot because he loves that you're crazy."

She breathed in deeply. "I personally don't like you but out of all the three pilots tested you were the best but those other pilots are still gagging at the bit to get on the Evangelion program as they are our reserves." Mari tensed meeting her cold gaze. "You won't swap me out for them." Alexandra shook her head. "Sadly no we can't, because if we did that we'd have wasted so much money on building your toy and maintaining it that we can't afford to ask the government for another hand out because of what yours cost us and if the division is shut down we only get you back not your toy."

"That will stay here in Japan and be dismantled because its expensive insides which we paid for can be used to rebuild other units and we don't get what Nerv promised which is the first small power core sized S² Engine prototypes because both us Germany, Ukraine and China had joint construction in the creation of the large version which powers your toy and the other pilots and I can't tell you how much other countries want this technology and not just for weapons this will make power core technology obsolete, no more recharging cores in your garage over night, this will bring about the founding of clean safe energy. This is a big deal for us and all countries involved in Nerv will be first to get this and the whole world will be begging for it its going to make the countries involved very rich and there will be a lot of commerce and trade." She looked up slightly. "We might actually pay off the dept for your toy and have an easier time making house sized bullets for your guns." She sat down seeing that Mari had gone very quite. "Our cover story is that your unit had a fault and that bullshit is only just riding public wise."

She eyed her for a long moment. "Which brings me to our other issue, did you hack the unit? Because I've been told by Misato that it's a very real possibility and from what I'm told tampering units from the inside is very serious they have outside control for a reason."

Mari folded her arms leaning over the table. "No." Alexandria leaned closer to her. "Don't lie to me one off the things that got you noticed was your hacking and coding skills which if we both remember right you were using to hack the secret service from some ones basement they had you arrested and you would have served jail time." She breathed in deeply. "But then Marcus had this idea that you might do well in an Evangelion sync test and what do you know he was right and you got off totally free of your crimes which would have gotten you locked up for a very long time."

She raised her hand. "You're lucky that you're sitting across from me now and not sitting in a cold jail cell serving time. So you'll tell me right now if you hacked the unit because if you did I can at least explain to Gendo about your colourful little hacker back history and he might be less annoyed."

Mari looked down at the table. "Okay I hacked it." Alexandra looked down sadly. "I'm so disappointed in you right now Mari, I thought you were over this childish joy ride where every damn computer system is a challenge for your ego." Mari looked down feeling the pain rip at her chest she hated being called a child.

Alexandra put her hand on the desk. "How did you hack it the details are very important here." Mari tensed sharply. "I hacked the coding internally I over rode the safety parameters it meant that they couldn't shut me down because I deleted the code at my end." Alexandra pulled out a small tablet from her suitcase handing it to her. "I thought as much, now write down the code you used on this device because then the scientist's and specialists here will ensure that you don't do it ever again." Mari breathed in sadly as she turned on the tablet slowly writing down the code.

Alexandra eyed her. "The only good that's going to come out of this Mari is now we'll be able to muscle in on the UN over their unit's failure and they might just give us what we want for once." Mari looked up hating her smirk, this was why she hated politics and politicians no matter what country they came from they from it was just about one person jutting for position and power and they didn't care about anyone but themselves.

She preferred military commander's like Marcus they weren't about all this bullshit and she always knew where she stood. "I don't really care for politics Alexandra, we both know that." Alexandra turned to her. "Maybe you should start because when this war with the angels is finally over, there could be a very cozy seat for you beside the prime minister concerning weapons division or if that doesn't interest you, you could head up the secret service division in one of the best branches in British intelligence then you can spend the rest of your miserable life hacking in to every ones secrets and pulling stunts like this, the difference is no one will care because you'll be doing it for your country."

Mari raised the tablet. "I've finished." Alexandra snatched it from her hand. "This better all be here Mari because I swear if you've left one snippet of code out any punishment Nerv is giving you right now I'll make it ten times worse, because I will not be fucked over again by you problem child." Mari folded her arms. "Still sore about that other time, what can I say it was a judgment error." Alexandria leaned forward. "I don't see shutting down an ancient nuclear reactor as a judgment error on your part more a like a total fuck up, you almost caused a melt down because of your so called missing line of code." Mari moved her chair back. "As fun as this has been can I leave now?" Alexandra narrowed her gaze. "No you can't, you're going up to the main office with me there you can explain all of what you've told me to Gendo, Ritsuko and Asuka's grandmother!"


"I'm not interested in your pitiful excuses or your formal apologies this pilot here tried to kill my granddaughter!"

Misato stood in the centre of the room feeling truly deflated she could see Gendo and Ritsuko sitting at the joint desk showing very little emotion on one side she had Alexandra while on the other side was Geraldina. Mari was squarely in the middle and if anything she looked completely out of her depth but then this was her first time up here and she knew how scary this place was for the pilots because when they were brought up here it meant they were really in trouble and it could mean your termination from the program.

Alexandria eyed the German woman who was clearly not in the mood for anyone today. "Please I can explain everything." Geraldina folded her arms she hated politicians and it was clear as day to her that Marcus had sent his second rather than himself because he wanted to avoid her for whatever reason. "Yes please explain it to me Alexandra, explain to me how my only granddaughter's entry plug was in your pink monstrosities mouth being crushed like a tin can while she was screaming in agony inside." Alexandra pulled up her tablet. "Mari hacked the Evangelion she over rode the safety protocols and deleted the code at her end the problem child made it so you couldn't shut her down from the outside."

She passed the tablet to Misato. "All of her code is in here I made sure she left nothing out, I'm sure your technicians can put in a protocol to stop hacks like this in future. Believe me this is not my first horse race with this young woman, she's had issues like this for a long time though you may not be aware of them."

Misato moved handing the tablet to Ritsuko who looked it over ignoring Mari's cold gaze. "Oh really do tell me about that because I didn't know, our records only show that the secret service had her tested for the Evangelion program."

Alexandra breathed in deeply. "Yes and that is accurate what your records sadly fail to show is her rather problematic history before that, we kept it a secret because we thought she might be rejected from the program though we thought she would be much smarter and not behave this way." She looked down at floor. "Mari was a hacker and a very good one what got her caught was when she the hacked secret services branches and they really didn't take well to it." She turned to Mari who looked really uncomfortable now. "She was hacking in trying to obtain government secrets to sell to the dark side of the web." She folded her arms. "After her father left and her mother became a raging alcoholic who was later murdered Mari was left stranded in the worst part of a London district which meant that she needed cash because she couldn't stand living like that." She put her hands behind her back. "She would have served a massive prison sentence if Marcus had not tested her on the Evangelion program, even though I personally believed that she was the wrong choice and it should have been one of Marcus's two teenage military candidates who are both disciplined and don't have these kinds of childish emotional issues." She took in a deep breath meeting Mari's cold gaze. "But Marcus insisted that she was better than the both of them and that her hacking back ground made her the better candidate, though again I disagree."

She stepped forward. "Mari's hacking antics have always caused issues, some of us over in Britain didn't take to kindly to her tampering with an old nuclear reactor and almost causing a melt down which though she stopped last moment she still saw the whole thing as a game not that innocent people might die." She straightened her suite. "Ether way we thought this behaviour of hers would end once she got on the Evangelion program and we thought it had but we were seriously mistaken."

Geraldina felt a cold sneer form on her lips. "Well thanks to your little verficktes oversight my granddaughter is now lying in the hospital wing." Ritsuko lowered the tablet. "Impressive Mari I had an assistant once and she couldn't pull off a hack like this." She looked up. "The question is have you ever hacked in to the Magi system here at all? You should think very carefully about your answer." Mari tensed. "No I've never hacked the Magi system, why would I care about the Magi system? I only hacked the Evangelion because I wanted to know how it ran and what all the codes were." Ritsuko took in a deep breath. "Hacking Evangelion's is one thing but it ever find you tampering with the Magi system you won't remain on this program at all, I will have you packing your bags and shipped back to Britain."

Geraldina stepped forward eyeing Gendo. "My family has sacrificed for your program first me then my daughter and now my granddaughter, you owe me and my division and you know what I want Gendo we talked about this from the start its time you paid up because I'm so tired of waiting on your promises when I know you have the money."

Gendo breathed in deeply. "Very well you get more money for your division so you have an easier time building 02's weapons which should silence any issues in your country but like the other counties you wont get the S² Engine prototype right now and it will be another six months before you do." He turned slowly to Alexandra. "Your pilot will remain here she currently being punished for her digressions but you will never ever keep back ground information like this on pilots from us again if you do I will make your division suffer for it." Alexandra raised her hand. "But like I said Mari would have never made the program." Gendo pushed up his glasses. "No she would have, because many of our pilot's pasts are less than savoury and we pick them for their syncing that is all we care about here."

Geraldina turned eyeing Alexandra. "Maybe its time you taught this young woman here that being a great warrior means you don't cock your leg up and piss all over others." She turned eyeing Gendo coldly. "As for me since I'm done with the lot of you, I'm going to visit my granddaughter and I swear if this happens again I will see blood spill." Misato watched as she left slamming the door behind her.

Gendo stood up calmly. "You all have your answers now go." He eyed Mari. "That includes you and I better not see you up here again any time soon."

End of part 4


Chapter Text


Geraldine walked the long white corridor that led to Asuka's hospital room she knew where it was she'd been here before but it had been some years ago and this time felt so different. She breathed in feeling the pain in her heart as she caught sight of her grand daughter whose only good eye was staring up at the ceiling she was an utter mess both of her legs were bandaged and her right arm as well as her chest and stomach but that was covered by hospital clothes, word had it that the stomach wound had been serious and there had been massive internal bleeding and a least a section of the young woman's guts had been hanging out and it would probably leave a scar for life along with the loss of her left eye.

She eyed her hand which was missing a finger, scars though you could carry with pride mental damage was much harder to treat and being bed ridden could drive even the best warriors and soldiers crazy when they loved to fight and the road to recovery could long and painful, the last time her granddaughters healing had been fast but this time it just wouldn't be.

She turned seeing a dark haired woman was talking to her Asuka she was dressed in a white lab coat and dark trousers who was called Maya. She had been Ritsuko's assistant once but since Ritsuko's shift of position and power people had been moved around some dethroned from power positions like Kaji who was now stuck doing pilot testing on the hologram field while Maya had risen up but unlike Ritsuko she took a lot more time and care with regards to the pilots mental health and well being and ironically she was happier about her being the one standing in this room than Ritsuko.

As it meant her granddaughter would get both the mental and the physical help she needed. She took in a deep breath pulling up her bag which she'd picked up before coming down here as it was a number of gifts for Asuka. Looking at it she realized that despite everything she was old fashioned and she still liked to spoil Asuka like she was a tiny child when ever possible but maybe that's how she saw her always as the little girl who used to run and grab her leg.

Asuka being with her step father and step mother had been the worst thing ever she had seen it only right to take her away from them after her mother's death, plus she was so mentality screwed up thanks to them and she had started to bury her feelings inward which young children shouldn't do. She had been desperate for attention and for her mother to see her and instead all she had gotten from her mother who was psychologically broken after testing unit 02 was abuse and violence.

Kyoko had refused to see that she was her daughter and had once tried to strangle her when she was five. That event had made her custody battle for Asuka so much easier ironically because her step father had been screwing the doctor who was Asuka's step mother in the other room and not paying attention and Asuka had almost died and after her mothers suicide she had become hardened and very with drawn, plus she had nearly drowned in the lake near that house because they weren't paying attention.

She would never forget walking up their house packing Asuka's things and taking her hand and taking her away from those awful people and their daughter to live with her, yes it had been confusing Asuka who had been seven at the time but she wanted her granddaughter to have something of a normal life to be at least happy on some level and she had never regretted the decision. Asuka still had problems and she had gone through an awful bullying ego phase in teens which she was in part to blame for as she had not taught her the difference between power and cruelty and she had done everything in her power to correct that when she'd found out about it but now as an adult Asuka was well rounded and calmer, she had her moments but every one had their moments it was what was being human was all about. She took in a deep breath opening the door to the hospital room hearing Maya's gentle voice as she spoke. "You know you have to eat the food Asuka." Asuka looked at the bowl in front of her which tasted awful. "I hate this hospital food…its disgusting."

Maya breathed in deeply she should have seen this coming from a mile away. "Listen this is all you can eat right now, your stomach won't be able handle solids for a while, believe me." Asuka lay back on the pillows which were pushing her up but not fully because of her broken legs. "Great I get part of my gut yanked out and now I have to eat this anything tastes better than this even LCL." Maya put a hand on the bed rail. "LCL tastes disgusting and the smell sticks around all night." Asuka raised her eyebrow. "That's because you just don't understand it, it's warm, loving if your one with it." Maya blinked in surprise. "All you pilots always say that to me, but you never tell me what you mean by it." Geraldine smirked as she looked up. "Maybe some mysteries are better left unknown."

Maya turned watching Asuka's grandmother come in to view. "Geraldine it's so good to see you." She walked towards her taking her hand. "I hope your flight over here wasn't too difficult." Geraldine shrugged. "Nothing could keep me from my granddaughter." Maya recognized that shrug that was Asuka's she had clearly gotten it from her grandmother. "I'll leave you two alone maybe you can get your granddaughter to eat her dinner."

Asuka watched as she left she winced as she tried to get up. "Grandma." She didn't get to move much more as the older woman's arms wrapped around her tightly as she spoke her words full of pain. "I'm so glad that you're okay Asuka…I saw the news I saw your entry plug…" Her words ended as she held her even tighter. Asuka spoke keeping her voice soft. "I'm okay grandma I'm just sore." Her grandmother pulled away giving her gentle kiss on the head. "Please don't play down your pain Asuka I know you better than that." Asuka breathed in painfully. "Okay but I didn't say how I really felt because it would involve curse words and I know you hate curse words." Geraldina pulled up a chair. "To be fair little one I would understand you're cursing right now, it's not every day you get put through the grinder like this, you know you're going to have some amazing scars to boast about when you're up and walking again."

She opened her bag. "Speaking off which I brought you a few things, you know to cheer you up." She put German boiled sweets on the table and a large bar of chocolate. "I know you can't chew but you can wait for these to melt in your mouth, they might make the food your stuck eating taste less horrible." She eased out another item. "I also got you some large bread pretzels which you can have when your stomach is more up to it but I'll keep them at your home and your favourite coffee don't worry I didn't just bring you some small can ether I brought you at least six months worth, because your forever telling me how much you hate the coffee over here and how it doesn't taste like home."

Asuka felt a smile form. "You have no idea, though my coffee maker helps, it just never tastes right." She took in a deep breath despite the pain in chest. "Thank you Grandma." Geraldine put a hand on her face. "Anything for you little one." Asuka breathed in deeply. "Could you tell me what's going on back in Germany I just haven't visited in so long?" She watched as her grandmother nodded as she started speaking.

Misato watched through the glass granted she couldn't tell all of what was being said because the glass was sound proof all that was clear to her was that Asuka was happy at this moment in time and that was all she really cared about as it would help in her recovery she turned as Shigeru appeared walking towards her. "Is everything okay?" Shigeru looked up as he raised his hand. "Sorry to trouble you but the British delegate is leaving but specifically asked for you to see her off, clearly she wants to talk to you about something." Misato shook her head. "Okay take me there…."

Shigeru put his hands in his trouser pockets. "Would you like a drink, you know after this shift ends?" Misato shook her head. "Look I don't want a date Shigeru." Shigeru breathed in deeply. "That was not what I was asking, I was asking if you wanted a drink, because you look tired and like you need a pick me up after everything that has happened?" Misato turned looking in to his eyes seeing that he was being genuine. "Okay a drink after this over, meet me here at the end of the shift."


Misato walked the long bridge to the landing bay seeing the British Helicopter which was gearing up ready to take off. She could see Alexandra standing arms folded looking at her coldly. "You asked to see me." Alexandra breathed in deeply. "I see you're struggling with Mari, would I be correct?" Misato looked at her for a long moment before turning her eyes to the bays where unit 02 along with 00 where being brought up to the surface of the other training ground it had be done with all the units.

They had to come to the surface to be washed by one of the teams and their glass lenses were checked for cracks and the S² Engines fired up just to check if they were working then powered down, it was normally done below but since Toji's Evangelion was being finished all focus on the lower bay was about completing the work. Also some Evangelion's were twitchy she had no idea what caused this but unit 02 had been known to break parts of the lower bay sometimes with it's hand during maintenance checks but up here with the teams who were air born and in planes they could work in safety on it.

Unit 00 and unit 01 had this same problem the rest of the units never misbehaved she could only assume it was coding error the scientists were yet to crack. Unit 01 had the worst history of twitching but it was getting less and less where as 02 was starting to get worse for some reason, these machines weren't alive even if they had living parts so she had very little understanding as to why.

She watched as the huge section of the field came up on ether side of unit 02 and like a giant car wash started spraying thousands of tons of clear water on it which in turn caused two months worth of dirt to flood down in an almost brown stream to the unit's feet. The washer stopped as it moved to unit 00 doing the same though what came off was half as much dirt. She turned back to Alexandra. "Yes I'm struggling with Mari."

She was about to say more only to see unit 00's huge blue hand suddenly moved even though it was turned off which caused Alexandra to blink in shock. "I thought that unit was switched off it just moved." Misato breathed in deeply. "It's a coding error." Alexandra looked at her for a long moment before speaking. "You say that so casually is this issue in Mari's unit?" Misato put her hands in her pockets. "No it's only in the older units, we only wash the twitchy ones above ground because there have been accidents before, it's an ongoing problem we are trying to fix but Evangelion's are expensive and time consuming machines but I don't need to tell you that, you already know." She looked up seeing two black media helicopters in the distance doing there rounds they couldn't enter the training ground but they liked to test there luck regardless and record from afar and they were always around during the elite pilot training simulations and during these three units cleaning and testing. Alexandra turned back to her. "On the issue of Mari you're struggling because you're too soft with her."

Misato blinked she wasn't going to mention that she had slammed Mari up against a wall and chewed her out. "Believe me I've not been soft, once upon a time Asuka had similar issues but she grew out of them so it's not my training." She looked down at the floor. "Mari is more difficult and I'm still confused as to how you got her to confess to hacking." Alexandra felt a cold smile form on her lips. "That's easy you see the problem child thinks it's all fun and games until you remind her off her past and her beginnings and that she is in essence a convict who got out of doing prison time."

Misato looked over watching as one of the cracked lenses was eased free of unit 02 left upper right eye and moved away as a new one was brought up and slowly hovered in to place so the work man and women could fit it. "Isn't that rather cruel?" Alexandra shrugged. "This is what I mean by soft, you shouldn't be so nice to these young adults just because they have bad pasts they use that kind of stuff no end to get what they want."

Misato tensed uneasily she really didn't agree with that statement at all but she wasn't going to say anything. "Are you seriously suggesting that I beat Mari up emotionally over being a hacker and having a prison sentences?" Alexandra straightened her grey jacket. "Believe me it's the only language she understands, we tried playing nice with her many times and it didn't rub off, in fact when she was caught by the secret service the integration torture did nothing and believe me when I say they really worked her over but when it got to the physiological, well things changed fast, her body might be able to take a real beating but her brain well that a little softer." She put her hands together. "The only way you'll get through to her is through physiological carrot and stick it's the only method that works and it wipes that self knowing smug smile of her face in seconds." Misato turned meeting her gaze. "I don't believe in that, it is not how I train pilots."

Alexandra breathed in deeply as she watched the work man and women finish refitting the lenses on the red Evangelion's eye. "Well what you're doing isn't working, you might want to reconsider, believe me if she was back on my soil, I'd give her what's coming to her." Misato tensed not liking her words. "May be it's for the better then that she's not coming home."

Alexandra looked up feeling her smile widen. "I'm just giving you my opinion, because this won't end until you insert your dominance over her and yes though I know your German pilot has a history of beating people up who get in her way and annoy her but that really isn't going to work on Mari. The ratty little child spat blood in the face of special services interrogators she's not afraid of pain in fact I think she really enjoys it. Like I said physiological carrot and stick because she's real sore about her poverty stricken past and being ditched by her father and her mother having alcohol issues which made her miserable, she spent all of her money on drinks rather than raising a daughter, the fall from grace and loosing everything was so awful for her as husband took everything she had apart from Mari, granted her murder was an awful tragedy but it was bound to happen when you when you drink like that you end up making bad choices."

She stepped in to the helicopter looked up as the red unit's whole body suddenly jolted violently enough to cause some of the roped women and men to jump off she rose her hand pointing in the red units direction. "Yeah and you should really fix that red unit, the press will have a field day with that." Misato breathed in as she stepped away as the British helicopter took off blowing dust in its wake.

Clearly Alexandra didn't keep up with the news, everyone around the globe knew about this issue the press had long stopped running with it because it wasn't interesting anymore. She watched as the washer lowered back in to the ground and the workers planes moved as far away as they could get as the both units started up suddenly standing bolt up right there eyes glowing as S² Engines worked like a charm as always.

Both units slumped as the engines were shut off and the glowing eyes faded to black. Another successful test she watched as they were both slowly lowered down back in side Nerv central no doubt unit 01 and unit 03 Kaworu's, Mari's unit 04 would come up after and probably remain up all night while they fixed a lot of the plating which had been damaged during the battle along with two of the many eyes.

They had not found anything interesting in her entry plug, just a load of empty energy drink bottles, but nothing to ring home about other than that Mari was very laid back and didn't care about keeping the entry plug clean which was meant to be a protocol but she couldn't really tell her off for this as now and again the other pilots brought things in to LCL because it helped them in battle and she wouldn't take that away from them no matter how much is annoyed the specialists who cleaned out their entry plugs and maintained them.


Kaji slowly opened the double doors to the pilots wreck room, which were sealed off to most staff accept a trusted few the room was very large with two three seat leather sofa's and two personal sofa chairs which were Asuka's and Mari's and at opposite ends of the room to each other. There was a large flat screen TV in the corner and a pool table along with arcade machines and a pin ball machine and a large bar which was set up so they could drink and eat and had cushioned tall chairs on either side.

There was a completely separate room for showering using the toilets and a separate area for dressing in plug suites which were all kept in special glass casing along with there interface clips. All of the pilots also had there own personal lockers when the children had started out they'd only had one what looked like a school locker but now all these years later they had very large deep special lockers, where they could keep everything inside and these had become very personalized now.

Shinji had painted his in bright colours Rei's had computer game cheat codes stamped all over the place, Toji's had army trucks and sports cars and Kaworu's had musical pages some which he was writing on his own, while Mari's was just yards and yards of computer code which she liked writing. Asuka's though was completely clear apart from an image of a Trident motor bike and a few basic engine schismatic sketches which were in the corner and next to her locker was one of the old school lockers but it had dents in it and it was also hers and she tended to take her frustration out on it.

No one ever touched it, accept her and normally when she was kicking it they just let her get on with it. He eased up the red interface headset clips the only part of Asuka's plug suit that had been salvaged he had the rest in a box under his arm as it had only been needed by the technicians to they could take the shape and dimensions and compare them with the new ones which the hospital wing had sent down as they had time to give her a full body scan when she'd been in the decontamination tank which was called Orion and had been built by Maya's team.

The technicians were building Asuka a brand new plug suite with a new colour scheme maybe it was ironic that her bright red one had been destroyed as she had been complaining for months that it didn't fit and it was uncomfortable around the shoulders and back. He had brought the old one up here so she could have it, with her things as she might want to keep it as a trophy. She didn't have a child's body anymore though she had a young adult's body though her face had not changed that much it was still very youthful and the other's were the same.

Only a few of them had gained some height and that was Shinji, Kaworu and Asuka while Mari was the tallest of the women and Rei was the smallest of them all but she was still the youngest and could still be very shy at times though she had very open moments now and again, Toji was by far the tallest off all of the men.

All of these children were adults now and he had already seen the work that was being done on all their suits, only Mari and Toji didn't need replacements as they were fitting perfectly with out any complaints and Mari was a real complainer if the chest didn't fit right. He was convinced that one of the issues with Asuka's not fitting wasn't just her growing up as she should but more due to her become muscular as she and Mari spent the most time in the gym doing combat training on the one of the upper levels with the special force sector of Nerv who trained everyone in hand to hand to combat and trained the staff in firing guns and using knifes and other weapons.

Misato had ordered that everyone here have combat training including the pilots and most days he saw Mari and Asuka coming and going from the gym but never at the same time and never together because they loathed each other on and off the field. The gym at Nerv was something of a specialty in that every level had sports you could do anything from ping pong ball to tennis to gymnastics and weight and exercise machines, there were even a huge spa with hot tubs and sauna's and the lower level had a huge sub tropical swimming pool.

That was the only good thing that had come out of Ritsuko taking the helm as the second she had, had the levels refurbished and added on lots of luxuries. There was a whole massive section now called the Arcade which had shops, bars and restaurants and it spanned more than sixty levels, she liked the idea that nice thing would make employees happy and they'd work harder and she was in fact right.

He turned seeing Rei's long flowing gymnastic dancing ribbon trophy hanging up close by she was a beautiful gymnast and the other one who visited the gym quite often along with Toji as he like to do weight lifting. Shinji and Kaworu hardly ever visited other than to relax in the hot tub now and again and watch everyone else burn calories they instead preferred to play music. Kaworu played the piano and Shinji either played the Viola or played alongside him on the piano. They both played on the special open level of the Arcade where employees could play instruments or bring there own, hearing them in symphony was beautiful.

Long gone was the self loathing young boy Shinji if anything was a young adult man who could take care of himself and was surrounded by friends. He was fiercely protective of Rei even back when he had been a child despite his self loathing he had always stood up for her even against Asuka when she was going through her bulling ego phase though Rei had also stood up to her as well at times and things had often gotten very heated between them.

He looked around seeing that Rei was sitting on one of the three seated sofas dressed in jeans and decorated short sleeve shirt playing with her handheld console not really paying that much attention to him he smiled as spoke. "Hello Rei."

Rei sat up pausing her game. "Hello Kaji, sorry I didn't hear you come in." He felt his smile widen, Rei was always so polite he looked around him. "Where are the others?" Rei tensed as she sat back. "On the gun range practicing….apart from Mari she's still being punished on the training field." Kaji breathed in realizing why Rei wasn't there.

Her and Mari were superb mark's women with rifles both in Evangelion's and with the real thing but nether of them were as good with the normal hand guns or machines guns or pistols which the others excelled at in and out of the Evangelion's. "Hand guns still not your thing?" Rei shrugged. "No I hate them, plus I'm Shinj's mark and it's not like he ever lets anyone get that close to me anyway." Kaji eyed her hearing the slight bitterness in those last words which were very two fold in there meaning. "Big brothers are like that." Rei looked down at the floor. "Yeah I know but sometimes I just feel so outside of everyone else because of it."

Kaji eased up the box he was holding. "Well when they get back, you can all go see Asuka and bring her your gifts." He breathed in deeply before speaking. "Mari though is forbidden to go near her until she's back on her feet." Rei nodded as she looked up. "I understand." She looked at the box. "What's that?" Kaji carefully handed it to her along with Asuka's interface hairclips. "Its Asuka's old plug suit her damaged red one the technician's just couldn't save it, it was to far gone, maybe when she's up and walking around you can give it back to her. She might want it as a trophy or memento since she's seen a lot of battles in it." He eased up his hand. "Her interface hair clips were the only things that weren't broken so she won't need new ones."

Rei put down her hand held opening up the large box then carefully eased up the tattered red plug suit which was stuck in skin tight mode as it could no longer deflate there was a massive gash in the lower stomach. "How did she even survive this? When we opened that entry plug I thought she was dead it was really awful part of her insides were hanging out."

Kaji shook his head. "I don't know and I'm afraid I don't understand the complexities of Asuka because I don't get how someone could have that anger all the time, like how do you live with that twenty four seven and it not tier you out? I know she's calmed down a lot but still." Rei took hold of her canned drink taking a slow sip. "Ask the locker in the other room, the one she's always trying to break the door off." She breathed in deeply. "You know it wasn't so bad some time ago it was only when Mari joined the program it all started to get bad again. I mean she does nothing but antagonize her and the worst part is that the old Asuka would have just beaten her up there and then, there would have been no hesitation and it would have ended this there and then but not our Asuka she just tells her to shut up then sits there stewing and I know she's restraining herself and its so hard for her I see it in her eyes, she's so conflicted." She looked down sadly. "I think when Asuka looks at Mari she see her old self and she hates it but what Mari's issue is with her is no one knows and she won't say, all I know is she hates Asuka so much and she wants to see her really suffer."

She took another slow drink. "It's really sad because I could see them being best friends in some other life time as they are not so different." Kaji felt a wide smile form. "That's very insightful Rei." Rei looked down hating that she was nervous right now, she found it so easy to open up to her brother and Misato to a point, yet she struggled with others like Asuka, Mari and Toji and even Kaworu. "No it's not insightful I have just read a lot of books." Kaji straightened his Nerv uniform. "Well your instincts are still good regardless."

Rei put Asuka's plug suite back in the box closing it. "I'll pass the message on for you." Kaji eased up his hand. "Maybe I'll see you some other time then." Rei eased up her hand held console. "Maybe." She watched as he left personally she doubted it as despite that he'd tried to socialize with Misato she had always refused and had kept him at arms length despite that they were friends. Not that she could really talk when it came to relationships she'd only ever had a few and she just didn't connect with the people in question on any emotional level and the emotional level meant so much more to her, than sex.

She wanted someone who would be gentle someone who could give and not just take everything she had to offer and frankly she didn't see that person showing up in this life time. She paused her game again no longer wanting to think about how she hated being lonely as she picked up Asuka's interface hair clips moving them between her fingers more out of a curiosity than anything else because she'd never gotten this close to them before. As Asuka no longer wore them outside like back in her school days she always wore her hair loose and she hated the attention she got wearing them and the rest of the time they were behind glass or on her head when she was in her Evangelion not once in all the years they'd piloted had she ever held them like this.

Also they smelt strangely like flowers but what flower she had no idea LCL smelt disgusting to most people but she had noticed that every pilot had a certain smell when they came out of it and it wasn't disgusting at all it was normally sweet and she was sure it caused by the LCL giving the pilot a sensation to please them when they were synced with there Evangelion.

End of part 5


Chapter Text


Asuka breathed in deeply she'd been given a very strong pain killer to take the edge off by Maya who was the only person she trusted to use the medical gun on her because she was gentle and didn't shove the needle in to her neck. The pain killer wasn't perfect though she was still feeling some pain in her stomach sadly though she couldn't have anymore because if she did it would send her as high as a kite.

Her grandmother had left and had gone to look after her house and her cat and she'd said that she would be back tomorrow. Though she had told her not to worry and to go see Tokyo three and do some sightseeing and shopping for herself as she was truly grateful for the sweets and chocolate, though a part of her wanted nothing more than a vanilla and caramel ice cream based milkshake but Maya would never let her have that at this moment because her guts were still healing. She probably wouldn't get around to even eating the chocolate or sweets if Maya had anything to do with it.

She closed her good eye about to drift off only to hear the stomping of feet and shouting she opened her good eye seeing Shinji and Rei Toji and Kaworu's faces all up against the glass as they waved at her. Maya looked up eyeing all the pilots who had gifts she had just given Asuka her painkiller and had been about to leave her alone. "Looks like all off your friends are here Asuka." Asuka felt a sneer form. "Great…the peanut gallery is here."

Maya raised her hand signalling them to come in. "I'm going to ignore that comment since it's probably your painkillers talking also I don't see your friends as hecklers." Asuka tensed painfully she just wanted to sleep and the last thing she wanted was for anyone to see her like this, since she was basically crippled and in this awful state. Maya watched as everyone came in. "Oh I see gifts." She eyed Asuka who didn't respond in the slightest.

She eased up her hand pointing at Toji as the tall young man came in. "You no touching of her broken legs or arm, the bones have only just been reset and she can't have any pressure there, do you understand?" Toji raised his hand. "Yes Miss Ibuki." Maya put her hand in her lab coat pocket. "Good because I will not have you unsettling her bones by mistake like you did Shinji's six months ago after he broke his leg." Toji tried to give her his best smile. "Technically that was an accident, Miss Ibuki." Maya narrowed her gaze. "Yes hence why I don't want another accident." Shinji watched as she left, he moved over to Asuka's bed watching as the other gathered around taking seats on the left side of the bed. "Hello Asuka."

Asuka looked up at him truthfully she was happy to see him and Rei just not the others as she didn't really know them as well as she would have liked and when Kaworu had gone to live with Misato she had left nine months later she'd been the first one to leave three years ago because she had just wanted so much to get away.

Now she regretted that the people around her were people she really didn't know any better. "Hello Shinji." Toji leaned forward seeing his moment to speak to a pilot who he had considered his idol ever since the program had started. "So how many bones did you break?" Asuka narrowed her good eye. "What are you stupid!?" She eased up her good hand. "Enough to make my life really miserable and I won't trouble you with the whole issue of my lower gut!" Toji backed away okay maybe that wasn't the angry response he had been expecting.

Shinji felt a smile form. "We brought you gifts." Toji moved over seeing his moment to show off his gift. "I got you a cool action figure of you, it's a special edition and since you're getting a new plug suite this is the last time we'll see you in that all red plug suite!" His smile widened. "Now you can play with yourself." He watched as Shinji turned staring at him in shock while Kaworu just shook his head and Rei put a hand on her face.

Toji slowly put the toy on Asuka's table which already had chocolate and sweets on it as he looked around at everyone else. "What?" Asuka rolled her good eye. "You should be so happy right now that I can't move." Kaworu moved forward easing out a little puzzle box made of wood. "I brought you this." He put in front of Asuka. "It's called a Karakuri it's a puzzle box it's for when you get bored in here."

Asuka looked at him for a long moment. "Okay but I'm not that good with things like this." Kaworu felt a warm smile form. "Well we can all learn new things given time." Asuka picked up the box truth was that at times she found it hard to fathom that Kaworu had once been a child rebel fighter in his home country who had been seeking revenge for his parent's deaths. Because he was so calm so relaxed and so full of philosophy and he was always so at peace, she had always envied Rei and him for that because they had a calm that she knew she would never have or ever obtain as long as she lived. She looked at the box again. "Thanks."

Shinji moved forward as his best friend stepped back. "I brought a Furin chime, it's for your house you could hang it outside your door." Asuka eased up her good hand gently taking the wind chime from his hand looking at it. "Thank you Shinji." She gave him a small smile despite that she wasn't really smiling on the inside but the last thing she wanted was to hurt his feelings in any way. Shinji turned tapping Rei's arm watching as she looked up realizing it was her turn. Rei stood up easing up a fluffy cat toy which had been painted in Evangelion 02 colours and had two tails. "I got you a cat toy."

She pressed its belly making it meow. "You know because they nick named unit 02 Nekomata." She looked at the cat toy. "I know you're not a huge fan of these kinds of things but I thought it might cheer you up." She passed it to Asuka who took it looking at it. "I think it's rather cool that they named your unit after that Oni." Asuka eyed the toy truth be told she really liked this but the last thing she wanted to do was make a scene because they'd all see her as weak or stupid but at the same time she didn't want to hurt Rei's feelings by making out that the gift didn't matter to her when it really did. "Thank you Rei." She eyed her chocolate eased it up with her good hand. "Would you and Shinji like a piece? I mean I know you both like Belgium chocolate." She watched as they took it breaking of some cubes she turned to Kaworu. "You can have some too, if you like." Kaworu shook his head. "Thank you but I don't eat chocolate." Toji pushed in front of Shinji. "Can I have some?" Asuka looked up narrowing her good eye. "No." Toji blinked in surprise. "What why?!" Asuka looked at him as she spoke unable to keep the anger out of her voice. "Because you're an idiot!"

Mari could see what was going on behind the glass even though she couldn't hear they couldn't see her, she was hiding off sight. She folded her arms she was tired her first long shift was finally over and now she just wanted to go to sleep. Why did Asuka get everything? She deserved nothing. Yet people loved her and she didn't even care for there affections she repaid them with nothing but anger and mostly discontent.

What she wouldn't give for them to surround her like that to shower her in gifts, she eased up her finger adjusting her glasses as she put her other hand on her black trousers. Yet that would never be, she was not part of the main group and was completely on the outside and had been since she'd come here as Misato never invited her around for the weekly get together, Toji was her only friend and they tended to hang out together, he was never invited to these get together dinners ether.

Maybe this feeling of rage was what had made her put that entry plug in her unit's mouth. She had never expected Shinji or Rei to intervene though or for Shinji to literally punch her unit in the face causing it to hit dirt so he could restrain her while Rei went after the battered entry plug in 00, she didn't understand why anyone would fight for this moody self serving princess, it was just beyond her.

Her thoughts were suddenly cut off as someone grabbed her white shirt's black loose tie violently causing her to be turned around. She looked down meeting Maya's ice cold gaze she gave the small woman a sly smile. "Why hello Maya." Maya kept hold of the much taller woman's tie. "You were just leaving weren't you?" Mari tensed hating that she was now banned from this place but she wasn't going to argue it as she knew full well that Maya despite her size and stature didn't put up with any ones bullshit and was not to be toyed with. "Yes I was." Maya let go off her tie. "Then get out." Mari eyed her in disgust. "Fine it wasn't like anything interesting was happening anyway."

Maya watched as the tall young British woman left walking away casually she couldn't believe she had to do this all over again. Granted the younger Asuka had, had issues with rule breaking but she had long since gotten out of the habit of doing this and played by the rules. Mari though was just like she used to be if not worse, because Asuka had broken the rules purely to get attention, Mari was breaking them because she found it funny and amusing to her everything was like some kind of big joke and that included other peoples suffering and none more so than Asuka's.


"What did I say, I don't get why she was so mad?"

Shinji breathed in deeply as he sat at the food restaurant table which was inside the Arcade and had glowing neon yellow lights and served all forms of Japanese cuisine. "We've really got to work on your Japanese." Toji banged his fist down hard on the table. "What all I said was now you can play with yourself." Rei took a sip from her honey dew bubble tea. "I'm sure you meant something different with that final word, like play with it." Toji blinked as he thought about that and the cogs suddenly clicked in his head. "Oh man I didn't mean it like that…I really didn't know now she probably thinks that I am some kind of sick pervert." Kaworu began to slowly eat his food. "Don't worry she'll probably have forgotten by tomorrow, she tends to get side tracked by other things these days and never really holds grudges."

Shinji began to eat his food he carefully passed his sister some soup since she was vegetarian. "Believe me when we were kids it was so hard to be around her, she could be really cruel and violent and she didn't get the whole concept of boundaries." Toji looked at his food. "You know I thought she was going to hit me." Rei slowly eat her soup. "No she wouldn't do that, I mean she won't hit Mari." Toji chewed on his food which tasted quite different to the Chinese food he normally eats. "If those two ever had a fight I could see it being very brutal." Shinji looked up he wasn't even to argue that. "I agree."

He carefully passed around the Soy sauce. "Maybe when Asuka gets better they'll finally work it out with their fists, since they both love fighting so much." Rei looked at them all. "You know I find it sad that your saying that Shinji, I mean Asuka wasn't put on this earth just to crack open people's heads." She took another long a sip from her bubble tea. "I mean you all refer to her like her purpose in life is to fight and nothing more." Toji breathed in deeply. "No offence but I admire her because of her fighting, I remember living as a very poor kid in China every day with my little sister Sakura and I would go find our food and then I we would go to this big screen in the city and watch your training simulations on these huge screens. Asuka was the one doing all those ace moves and kind of breaking the rules in unit 02 and disobeying orders." He looked up slightly. "She was so reckless and I loved it, I would not be on the program if not for her I mean they laughed at me when I went to the sync test."

He felt a cold smile form. "The chicken shit bastards weren't laughing when I aced it." He leaned back putting his hands behind his head. "Yeah that's a moment I will treasure forever and I only got that though being inspired by Asuka." Rei breathed in deeply. "I don't think she likes hero worship and if you had met her when we was younger she'd have loved that, in fact she'd have loved you then punished you."

Shinji looked at his half empty bowl. "Maybe it's for the better you never did meet that Asuka she might have loved you and left you, she was such a heartbreaker." Toji leaned forward. "Yeah I heard about this, one of the staff was telling that when she was younger she had a real ravenous sexual appetite, like she would screw any thing with a heartbeat." Shinji looked up. "That's putting it mildly basically Asuka was so full of it that she thought she was entitled to anything and anyone boys, girls who ever she could get her hands on. Granted it was all safe and consenting but she really hurt people's feelings and broke a lot of hearts because these people admired her some even loved her but to her they were throw away and it was always a one night thing."

He pushed his dark hair back. "After the battle with Shamshel, though she changed I mean she almost died during that battle and her Evangelion was a mess yet she went into this beast mode she was the first to ever do it and it wasn't done through codes like it is now but afterwards she was so out of it emotionally and she started to withdraw from us. She then started following the rules and stopped being cruel and violent towards both myself and Rei." Toji leaned closer. "You two dated once though didn't you?" Shinji breathed in sadly. "Yes it was during that unkind phase but after the battle Shamshel she ended it, she never said why and she won't to this very day she said it was best for us because the future didn't hold bright things for us. I never understood what she meant by that I was sad at the time but we both moved on and remained friends, I know that angels can get into your head but she has always claimed that Shamshel never did."

Kaworu eased up a hand. "I never knew the Asuka these two are talking about when I joined the program she was moving away from Misato's and had distanced her self from all of us but she's always been nice to me." Toji refilled his bowl as he looked at Shinji. "Would you ever get back with her?" Shinji shook his head. "No I think we've both moved on we are very different people now but she'll always be my friend." He looked down sadly. "I just wish she'd open up because I know deep down she has a good heart but I don't think she see herself that way. I think she dislikes even hates herself but she doesn't know how to change anymore so she doesn't try because she's afraid." Toji laughed as he looked up. "Please fear is not something I see in her."

Rei finished her soup. "I agree with you on the fear part, I don't think she's afraid of anything also her good side is so hard to see because her angry side just gets in the way all of the time." Toji eyed the small woman who never really said that much. "You know I did hear that she once came on to you, you know back when you were in school."

Rei breathed in deeply great she knew this topic would come up it always did when Shinji spoke about his relationship with Asuka. "It's the one and only time I've ever touched Asuka and I'm not proud of it, she was being creepy and disgusting so I slapped her really hard. Granted she never showed the same violence towards me that she did to Shinji it was more about her trying to assert dominance and getting in to my personal space. I was just so tired of her calling me names as well as Shinji and I made that known to her, after I slapped her she never ever tried to come on to me again, though she did get in my personal space from time to time though I just used to shove her away. After Shamshel though she stopped all name calling and all acts of violence stopped completely."

Toji eased up a finger. "If things had been different would you have you know slept with her?" Rei fidgeted uncomfortable. "She's really not my type and in all these years we've never hung out on a personal level I barely know her anymore." Shinji raised an eyebrow. "As someone who has slept with her, its not something you step in to lightly, you do it at your peril because she will dominate you no end and she has lot of energy to burn wearing her down is very hard work." He took a sip from his mug. "It was fun once but it's not the kind of sex life I want to experience again."


Misato eyed Shigeru who was eating as the sat in behind the bar which was located on the tenth floor of the Arcade . "I don't know what to do personally I do that carrot and stick crap I could make an already difficult young woman much worse." Shigeru looked up as he shrugged. "Well something has to be done but maybe you and Kaji can work something out." Misato took a sip of her cold beer. "I'm not going to Kaji about this he has enough on his plate and I think sometimes he finds it hard working the training field plus he gets paid less all thanks to Ritsuko and her lies."

Shigeru raised his hand. "Believe me no one at Nerv believes that he sexually harassed her all those years ago, she just wanted him removed because she hates him." He put his hands together. "You have it the hardest though I mean you brought up these kids up in a way, there now all adults and can take care of them selves but they still must feel like your children regardless." Misato took another sip of her drink trying to pace herself not that it would help. She would probably overdo it in private later on as she always did as alcohol was her weakness. "Shinji feels like my child yes Rei we have more of a friendship and Asuka doesn't talk to me anymore and she left on bad terms, Kaworu I can talk to but not Toji or Mari."

Shigeru pushed his long hair back as he spoke. "Maybe that's your answer then, maybe you've just got to some how gain Mari's trust I think everyone knows that there has to be more to this than just hating Asuka there has to be a deeper desire and need there." Misato looked at him for a long moment. "You're saying that I should maybe soften her by trying to be her mother figure?" She looked at the snack plate in front of them. "You know that didn't always work for Asuka at all." Shigeru shook his head. "Your comparing apples to oranges here, yes let's agree they are both crazy and angry and have had really awful childhoods but the real motivations behind their anger could come from very different places all together and Mari might be much easier to win over than Asuka."

Misato looked at her empty beer mug she turning it over which was her way of telling herself enough was enough. "Yeah and she might be way harder." Shigeru folded his arms. "Then you have a challenge on your hands but you love challenges."

Misato breathed in deeply. "Fighting angels is much easier than dealing with peoples emotions people are like Rubik's cubes and Mari and Asuka are both like Rubik cubes with lacerating edges and teeth. No matter how far you think you've gotten with them turn the cubes sides and it ether bites you or cuts your fingers when you try to get in to deep." She breathed in deeply. "Toji, Shinji and Kaworu all wear there emotions on their sleeves Rei is the only other one who is also difficult to make sense of, she's so shy and yes she is getting better but I never feel like I know her fully. I know I won't hurt my fingers turning that cube but I know that just like Mari and Asuka I will never ever see the centre of it no matter how many times I turn or try to adjust it."

Shigeru smirked. "Funny how your difficulty comes from young women rather than the young men, you would think that it would be the other way around." Misato shrugged. "Oh believe me the young men have their moments but Rei is never an issue out on the field and I didn't chew her out over her recent disobeying of orders. Her ability to catch Asuka's entry plug is the reason Asuka wasn't killed in the first place, I also personally feel that sticking Mari and Asuka together as a team, to force them to work it out was another bad idea."

She looked down sadly. "Six months down the line I've accomplished nothing and now we are in this mess." Shigeru took a slow sip from his beer can. "Some people will never get on it's just the way of world maybe because they need to change themselves first and then they can be better off with the rest of humanity." He took a snack biting down on it. "Maybe some twist of fate will happen and you'll finally get to turn those Rubik's cubes without getting hurt." Misato looked at him for a long moment before speaking. "You're talking about the miracles I only believe in them on the battle field, not when it's about human beings getting on." Shigeru eat another snack. "I'm sorry you feel that way."

Misato looked down at her turned the beer mug back up contemplating having another drink despite that she shouldn't and she knew better. "Its complicated maybe I feel this way because I survived an impact I think it changes you in that you look at something so beautiful that looks like starlight angels but then it kills everyone you love in one fail swoop and your left alone to watch the red sky in the darkness." Shigeru felt a sad smile form. "Well I believe anything's possible but then I worked with Maya for years and she believes everything is possible."

End of part 6


Chapter Text


Hands wrapped around my throat squeezing like a vice the feeling of fear, pain and helplessness on the golden sandy beach by the red sea. I'm being strangled by Shinji I know this is a dream I've had it over and over but the fear has never gone. I don't know if its fear of the unknown but all I get from it is Déjà vu' and I know its not because the dream repeats in my mind, no it's the feeling that I've been here before for real even though I know this has never happened.

The only changing factor is in my dream I'm so much younger and he's younger and then I remember this is why I walked away from this relationship all those years ago because I realized that I only brought him pain and misery. I bullied him abused him made him some kind of sex toy for my personal benefit.

He deserved none of it he's better than I am, he deserves to be loved. The strange thing now is in this dream I have the same bandages on my face and on my right arm it's really surreal. I know how the dream ends I put my hand on his face and I stroke it gently and he stops but he's broken he crying weeping on my chest. It's so depressing and I feel sick inside like I'm a monster and that I drove him to that but then it just gets worse because my younger self in the dream says the words how disgusting.

The irony is I'm verfickte disgusted at her she's not me we are not the same person! I will never be her again as long as I live I've hurt so many people just for being me and acting so awful, you don't break others to make yourself but I didn't know that in my youth and I realized it in my late teens when it was just to late for it to make any difference. It's the reason I stay away from people because I just hurt them when ever I get close. I hate this dream so much but at the same time I'm glad it repeats because it reminds me who I shouldn't be and how I shouldn't act and that my actions have terrible consequences.

Shinji is not a violent man he has never laid a finger on me so what ever I did that brought him to this must have been beyond awful. Asuka looked down realizing that she was suddenly away from her dream looking down on her younger self and Shinji from afar in her older body as the dark voice spoke behind her. "Pity such a nice boy shame you broke him."

She turned seeing the dark body and red eyes of Bardiel. "You again!?" Bardiel large mouth formed a sneer as he walked around on all fours almost like an animal but not because the body had a party human element to it so. It was in between like some kind of lycanthrope but with huge long whip lash tail while there were waves of black followed his feet. "Seems you hate yourself a lot…"

Asuka tensed realizing that in this dream she could see with both her eyes not just one. "I'm starting to really hate you more." Bardiel's shark toothed jaws formed a smile. "No what you hate more than me is knowing that you're a monumental screw up and no one will ever really love you on that personal emotional level that you crave. Because your damaged goods and you mess up everything you touch." Asuka breathed in painfully realizing that her dream was now frozen apart from them she turned as he spoke again. "It must be such a strain to have that kind of sexual energy inside you and have no release." Asuka sneered as she met his red glowing eyes. "I do have release and how I get it is none of your verfickte concern."

She watched as Bardiel laughed it was an ugly grating laugh like someone scratching a chalk board before he spoke again. "I'm surprised your RV helmet isn't broken, I will never personally understand humans and there obsessions with sex. It rules you like some false deity, not enough and you're worthless, too much and it gets messy for who ever are involved, if hearts are attached and it's not casual." He ran a clawed finger through the sands. "Well in your case at least I could count the numbers of men, women you broke once up on a time but it would be pointless because you're not a hot headed male, its not like you ever kept a score count to brag about." He walked slowly around her. "By far the worst part about your youth was in the beginning as you blamed others for your sexual desires, because in that mind of yours sex was such a big part of you, you wanting to grow up but you were ashamed even though you live in a world were women are no longer ashamed for having sexual desires and can have many sexual partners freely."

He looked up his red eyes flashing. "But that was your step parents fault wasn't it? They told you off and the other girl you lived with that having desire was shameful and disgusting and that you should act a certain way or you won't get a partner or children while pushing out of touch backwards gender roles onto you." He sat down on his hind legs. "Boys play ball, girls wear dresses outdated gender spectrums no wonder you and that other girl so often spoke about running away together so you could be someone else and have your own lives but only you got to run away because fate allowed it." He raised one of his clawed hands. "And now here we are talking about your pathetic existence."

Asuka felt her teeth grind together. "My existence is not pathetic!" Bardiel leaned closer. "What have you ever achieved outside being a pilot? Also when I say this take in to account that I'm not talking about all those hobbies you do which are to better your self outside the Evangelion like fighting men and women bigger than yourself in the gym."

He watched as she looked away. "That's right you can't answer because you have nothing beyond being a pilot and the world wouldn't even miss you if you vanished, because you've never really touched anyone in a way that they'd even care." He eased up a clawed finger as he stood up moving forward so he was towering over on his clawed hind legs. "Those you used have no happy memories of you because you gave them no happiness to treasure and those who know you on a personal level don't even know you as a person anymore and they'd just rather you weren't here because you're a problem and a burden and they hate you." He eased up a long clawed finger. "But do not despair, you will always have me, you just need to let me in, I can make it all go away." His smile widened. "With the right motivation you can be more than this pathetic flesh and bone form."

His clawed finger shot out slamming straight in to her left eye he pushed it in ignoring her intense screaming as red blood ran down her face dripping on to the golden sand at her feet while her small hands grabbed his finger trying to pry it out. "You just need to find that sweet spot between agony and ecstasy."

Maya stood up as she heard the screaming which was loud enough to echo down the hall, she left her desk not stopping as ran in to Asuka hospital room as the other staff ran in. Asuka's only good hand was clutching her bandaged eye as the rest of her body shook violently, the heart monitor was also going crazy while her other blood shot blue eye shot around wide awake. She grabbed the medication gun knowing this was not going to easy. "Hold her down now stop her moving or she's going to break her bones!" She watched as the men and women grabbed every possible limb they could. She moved over to the red haired woman who was in such pain much, she'd seen Asuka in pain many times but not like this, this was different because she looked absolutely terrified.

"Asuka I'm going to give you a painkiller, followed by a sedative okay." The blue eye moved and her mouth moved but whatever the words were they never came out she could only take them as a yes she pushed in the medical gun firing it watching as the violently fit like shaking stopped. She pressed the gun watching as it reloaded a sedative she pressed it against her throat before firing the switch. The single blue eye suddenly stopped moving erratically as it went to centre as the pupil dilated becoming large as both drugs kicked in and the eye slowly closed as everything became still she breathed in deeply as everyone let go and the covers were put over the young woman who lay still.

She leaned closer watching as thin red trickle of blood ran out from under the bandaged eye as Asuka's left arm fell flat. "Okay can someone change the eye bandage she's bleeding again?" She watched as they began to work. "What happened here, was anyone in the room?" the man close to her who was called Jiro shook his head. "We didn't do anything she was sound asleep, I was passing by the room and she just snapped awake screaming it scared the hell out of me."

Maya looked at Asuka as they took off her eye bandage seeing that the blood stain had come not from the long thin scar which went straight through her eye but from her tear duck which was very strange, it wasn't an open wound at all she'd literally cried blood. She leaned over very carefully opening the damaged eye whose white had turned to blood red from the trauma force it was far to early to tell if she'd lost her sight as the eye needed to heal fully, as for the scar that would be a permanent feature for the rest of this woman's life. "Can someone check her hormone level because she might have developed haemolacria." The woman closest whose name was Ara spoke. "I'll do that right away." She looked at Asuka's bandaged body if she could just remain still for one more night it would be enough that the fast acting drugs could heal the last of her broken bones.


Shinji ran up the hospital corridor watching as Rei followed they'd just gotten the news that Asuka had, had some sort of fit last night and had been violently sick all morning though her grandmother would be coming up this afternoon he and Rei wanted to see her first. He stopped seeing that she was sitting up in bed with her head over a sick bowl, the powerful drugs that healed bones had fixed her right arm at least as she had it by the side of her face and her fingers were moving. Her legs had been lowered but she wasn't moving them and they'd given her white hospital trousers and a top to wear rather than a dress her left eye had also been re bandaged.

She didn't look right at all she looked pale and tired he watched as Maya walked up to him the concern in her eyes as she stopped in front of them both. "We heard she had a bad night." Maya looked up sadly. "That would be putting it mildly, she woke up screaming in the middle of the night clutching her left eye and her body was in full spasm, I had to put her out or her leg bones would have never healed right."

She shook her head. "She can move her right arm now and fingers and her spine seem better as she can lean forward on her own but it hurts. Her legs are another issue all together there all healed but she still can't move them and her ribs are all completely healed which means she can breath better." She shook her head sadly. "She keeps on being sick though, we don't know what's causing it none of the medications we put her on are meant to cause this kind of thing nether is her food and she has not been eating anything she shouldn't I made sure of that because her lower gut is still in the process of healing." She breathed in deeply. "You're both going to have to be very gentle with her she's really weak and very out of sorts and do not be surprised if she's sick again we have given her something to stop her nausea but it's having no effect what so ever."

Rei looked up feeling her eyes dart. "What do you mean by out of sorts, I mean is it anger?" Maya shook her head. "No there's no anger whatsoever, she's just not fluid she keeps talking in German, I'm not even sure she knows what she's saying herself and I made sure not to overdose her on painkillers."

Shinji looked up. "We'll keep that in mind." He carefully opened the door allowing Rei through first, he watched as Asuka looked up her good eye darting as she spoke. "Oh look the welcome wagon…come to gloat over my broken body." Rei blinked okay that wasn't Japanese's that was in German and she literally had no idea what the older red haired woman had just said as the only thing she ever understood where Asuka's swear words.

She sat down opposite Shinji who put his hand on Asuka's good one. "Asuka it's us its Rei and Shinji, you recognise us right?" Asuka looked at them both for a long moment as if she was struggling to remember them her next words came out in perfect Japanese. "Didn't I screw one of you and come on to the other?" She suddenly laughed but it was a cold laugh. "The one I came on to slapped me so hard." Her face suddenly turned to pain almost misery. "That hurt…I know I deserved it but it still hurt." Shinji moved a little closer. "Yes we had a relationship but it was a long time ago, you ended it, do you remember?"

Asuka didn't look up her face remained pained and miserable. "Is my Mama here?" Rei eased up her hand stopping Shinji from speaking because she knew he would tell the truth but in Asuka's state of mind she wouldn't be able to handle it, as it seemed like she was drifting through her past memories. "No Asuka she's not here."

She stood up moving a little closer to her putting her hand very gently on her red hair which was soft to the touch. "Why do you ask for her?" Asuka looked up but not in to her eyes it was more like she was looking past her. "Because my sunflowers are dying my step parent's hate them they won't water them." She looked at her hands. "There like the sun light and they smell so nice." Shinji put his hands on his knees. "You have sun flowers Asuka there at your house."

Asuka eyed him but it was like she was looking through him. "I'm not old enough to own a house you idiot, I'm fifteen years old." Rei looked at her brother she turned back to Asuka she had not heard that word towards ether of them in so many years. Hearing it now felt so out of place it was like she was switching between memories and even her own age without even realizing it because when she had come on to her she'd been sixteen and when she separated with Shinji she'd been eighteen.

She kept her hand on her head stroking the red hair very gently. "Asuka." She watched as the red head turned to her again. "My name is Rei and this is Shinji we are your friends." Asuka looked at her for a long moment before speaking in a strange child like tone. "You're really beautiful and you have nice eyes there really soft and gentle." Her face seemed to become deeply conflicted and uneasy. "But if my step parents found out that I have these awful disgusting feelings they'd be so mad because you're only meant to like one gender and I like both I know if they found out it would be one more reason to hate me." Her face turned to utter sadness and deep despair. "I guess I'm always going to be broken goods, no ones ever going to want me my Mama didn't she killed herself by hanging herself from the rafters of her hospital room I walked in on her it was so horrible." She looked at her hand. "I was going to tell her about the Evangelion program that they had accepted me you see I thought she would recognise me…she never recognises me, she thinks the trashy doll is me."

The good blue eye was now showing real pain and almost tearing. "Do you think I'd made a good pilot? Its just I want people to like me, I just want to matter I don't want to be someone else's trash." Rei felt her heart twist in her chest that was probably the saddest thing she ever heard come out of Asuka's mouth. They had both asked her about her mother before but she'd always been really cagey about it and only said that she had committed suicide and left it at that.

Now she knew why in the past Asuka had, had issues with drinking it was because she had been drinking to forget the awful memories. She could see the sadness in Shinji eyes as she turned back to Asuka who was looking at her as if waiting for approval in such a child like way. She gave her, her best smile as she looked at her. "I think you would make a great pilot Asuka." Shinji stood up doing the same. "Yeah you'd be great." Asuka's good eye seemed to light up. "Do you think they'll let me wear red?" Rei felt her smile widen as she moved her hand away from her hair. "I'm sure they would."

Asuka gave her a smile but it faded as she put a hand on her stomach then grabbed the sick bowl throwing up violently. Her next words came out half heartedly as she put the bowl to one side. "I'm so tired and my left eye hurts so much." Rei moved slowly around the other side of the bed helping her lie back on the pillow. "Get some rest Asuka." Shinji helped his sister pull the cover over her. "You'll feel better." He carefully took out his Walkman putting it on her bedside table with her other gifts. "When you feel better you can play with my Walkman, it might keep you company."

Asuka spoke although she seemed slightly more with it this time. "Which tracks are the best?" Shinji gave her a wide smile. "I like tracks, twenty five to twenty seven but track thirty has an odd base but maybe you will find more some tracks that suite you." Asuka didn't say anything as her good eyed closed and she seemed to just drift off. Shinji looked up at Rei speaking very quietly. "Did you see the way she looked at you?" Rei breathed in deeply. "There was nothing in it she didn't know who I was, or even who you were."

They both stepped away from the bed allowing space so Asuka could sleep. "She was just reliving her childhood memories, it's like some thing has just shook them out of order." Shinji looked down sadly. "I didn't know that was what happened to her mother, I mean I didn't know she died that way." Rei shook her head as she breathed in sadly. "It explains why whenever we brought it up in the past she got really cagey and really aggressive." She folded her arms. "Why didn't she tell us, we would have understood we lost our mother and our aunt?" She breathed in painful. "Also what she was saying about her sexuality was so sad as well I had no idea it was like that for her, she must have felt so awful about herself."

Shinji nodded calmly. "Plus it's an outdated attitude I knew about it when I was with her and I never thought of her as disgusting for liking both genders. No wonder she went so of the rails growing up, to have that kind of repression and then to have everything suddenly opened to you in your teens, it's a recipe for emotional heartache and pain."


Misato eyed Ritsuko in disgust from her work desk. "Tell me you're not seriously saying this to me!" Ritsuko folded her arms. "It's not up for debate it's an order from Gendo himself he wants a switch test below ground!" Misato raised her hand. "You want to test Mari in unit 02 please we have done this shit before it doesn't work! You swap the pilot over the Evangelion rejects them and goes crazy it's only on the training units it works but the newer units are just not built that way. It's the reason we have to have a lot more pilots because fighting a war with two or three would cause serious issues and make us weaker because we can't switch them around at the drop of a hat. The governments and UN agreed that after the disaster we had of putting Rei in to Kaworu's unit some years back that they would never repeat the scenario again because the pilots are just too precious."

She raised her finger as she stood up not caring as she got inside the blonde woman's personal place. "I will not see another pilot get put through the grinder, Rei was very badly wounded in that incident and it really terrified her, she practically slept in my room for three days and cried her eyes out, because it scared her that much. She said she saw things she didn't want to see and that she felt like that unit 03 was purposely trying to hurt her and rejected her." Ritsuko felt a sneer form on her lips. "Mari is made of much stronger stuff than Rei, she can handle it!"

Shigeru looked over from where he'd been standing. "Your confusing arrogance and delusion with courage and honour they are not the same thing." Ritsuko turned to him as she raised her gold ringed finger. "I didn't ask for your opinion." Shigeru sneered as he eyed her. "But I'm giving it you all the same we already have one pilot who is in the hospital wing and will take a number of days to recover, you really want another?"

Ritsuko eyed him she hated Shigeru, Kaji and Maya, Makoto would have agreed with her in a heartbeat but he wasn't here right now he was elsewhere. "The reason this is going ahead is because Asuka and Mari have a similar brain wave patterns, they have a similar way of thinking and analysing problems." She leaned against the chair off Misato's office. "That is why we believe this will work."

Misato narrowed her gaze. "I really don't care for your science on this topic, to me they are not the same on any level and since you don't spend any time with the pilots you wouldn't know that. Yes in battles they use similar patterns and strategy to get to accomplish the same goals but once they get out of those plug suites they are totally different people on every level. I mean you programmed these Evangelion's you know that its not just about the fighting they have accept the pilot as a whole with all the bad and good points, it's the reason the Beta and Omega unit became training units because they were so unreliable because they never synced that well with the pilots."

She stepped back folding her arms. "Those were your words when we first started training pilots." Ritsuko looked at her for a long moment. "Things change." Misato breathed in deeply. "No you've changed that's the whole problem you've forgotten what it is to care about other people just like Gendo." Ritsuko felt her whole body tense as she looked up. "Do not speak ill of my husband!" She raised her hand. "Because we both know I can make life very hard for you here." She watched as the dark haired woman looked away the anger in her face. "You should be happy, you don't even like Mari she is a monumental pain just like Asuka who has always been a problem." Misato turned meeting the other woman's cold gaze. "I hate Mari's behaviour its not that I hate Mari, she's a young woman who has issues like all of the other pilots have I would get zero pleasure from seeing this test going wrong and seeing her end up in the hospital wing."

She breathed in deeply. "Also yes Asuka's is a pain but she is better than she was I mean she is at least tolerable now and she doesn't go around hitting people and throwing around abuse." She put a hand on her hip. "She's a young woman who has behavioural problems which were caused by her childhood and she's not the only one. Some of the pilots have seen awful things in there past that they shouldn't. Toji's mother died from starvation and he lived in poverty in China with his little sister, Kaworu's rebel mother sacrificed her life for him when fighting force broke in to their house and machined gunned her down. Mari's mother was brutality murdered and she also had to deal with poverty in Britain and Rei and Shinji's mother Yui died during the Evangelion 01 test as well as there aunt Kiko who died in the Evangelion 00 test on the same day, they never even got to bury either of their bodies." She tensed painfully. "You should be proud even astounded that any of these pilots can function as well as they do, they are a credit to their countries of origin and they deserve respect. They also know there lives are on hold because in all the years we have fought this battle they know an angel can come at any time sometimes its years apart but they always know their coming and that until all of them are defeated that they have to pilot no matter what."

She looked up slightly. "They also have to do this while trying to live normal lives despite that some of them have an almost godlike celebrity status and when they mess up in any way, the world press is on them like a rash and they get their faces plastered all over the news and reminded that they messed up even if they didn't because the media love its heroes and villains and likes to make out that there are winners and losers." She felt her hand form a fist. "They don't see six pilots fighting for the world they only care that their pilot is the one that gets in the final blow that killed an angel that is literally all that matters to them." She looked down sadly. "Not to mention that five of them are now a stable parts of every young boy and girls toys line." She shook her head. "You can walk in to any store now and buy a Shinji poster or an Asuka action figure or a Rei mug, Nerv gets so much revenue from this that we are swimming in money, we don't need to struggle anymore to out fit new Evangelion parts we have heaps of parts lying around, old plating parts gets put in museums and has been made part of history.

"The pilot's countries still have to pay out for there bullets despite that they shouldn't have to, it's crazy. Because of all this I made that collectors room up in the visitor centre, because I didn't want these poor young adults to feel so terrified by it all and to see these things as part of their accomplishments rather than what they are which is a massive proper ganger machine to make the public think that the pilots are gods, when their not they are just young men and women who can cry and bleed."

Ritsuko shook her head. "None of this concerns or even moves me I don't care about any off it, if anything it's makes your job easier! What I care about is both you, Kaji and Shigeru following my orders. You can paint your pilots how ever you wish it doesn't change the fact that there just tools of war and there job is to fight angels get rid of the three terrorists groups who threaten us and do humanitarian work where ever possible. So you will follow this order no matter how much you and Shigeru hate it, Mari is going to do the test tomorrow morning regardless!"

Misato watched as she left slamming the door behind she turned kicking one of the stools close by sending it flying as she looked at the closed door. "I hate that woman." Shigeru folded his arms. "That makes two of us it was so much easier when she wasn't Gendo's wife." Misato sat down looking over her e-mails, which were mostly get well wish messages for Asuka from people all around the world.

Since it had been publicly announced that she was alive and recovering they had been sent down from Nerv's media centre which was above ground like the visitor centre, both of these building were opposite one another. Asuka didn't care for these messages she'd said in the past that she didn't want to be shown them because the people were just being fake. She was in part right but at the same time wrong as she had opened messages in the past which were from school children who had done pictures of her but she would probably never look at them as she said in the past that she didn't like kids and that she didn't want to be around them.

She looked up meeting Shigeru's concerned gaze. "Yeah well I heard that Gendo cheated on Yui, I only met Yui once I was a teenager at the time and she was so kind and caring, I hate that her and her sister Kiko suffered due to some awful error which meant they both got sucked in to the core which meant they both couldn't return and died." She turned looking out of the window over at unit 01 and 00 which were seated side by side in a huge red lake of blood which came up to there shoulders. "It's a truly horrible way to die to starve out in some void like that and have your bones rotting away in to nothing."

Shigeru moved a step closer to the window. "That's why you fear the test right, because you think that could happen to Mari if unit 02 doesn't play nice?" Misato looked at him for a long moment before speaking. "Yes because Rei said when she switched units she felt like she was being eaten alive and she saw some real awful imagery like war torn battles and people being blown up, I think when these units don't like the pilot they try to consume them."

She leaned forward. "Also unit 02 has been so twitchy this past year, I mean at first it was always unit 01 but it's so calm now it hardly ever moves on its own unlike 00 which is starting to twitch as well." Her gaze shifted to unit 02 which was also in the red water and was sitting next to the huge pink unit 04 which was Mari's behind them was the white and red 03 and behind that Evangelion was an empty bay which was waiting for unit 05 which was going to be black or so she had heard.

"I think there's just too much of Asuka in unit 02 and I think it might react due to her bad feeling towards Mari." She looked at the units four green eyes. "It's a beast, it doesn't have the nickname Nekomata for nothing and it takes a very strong personality to control it, a personality that is in its self aggressive." She leaned back in her chair. "Mari just isn't that person yes she's aggressive and bold but not nearly half as fire some as Asuka. I see nothing but pain and misery once she steps in to that entry plug the only good thing is that unlike Rei we now have much better protocols in place so the moment this goes to shit we can pull her out before her brain starts getting minced."


Toji eyed Mari who was sitting side ways on her sofa chair turning a three dimensional hologram between her fingers which was coming out from a part of the chairs arm which could be twisted around to face you it had a black tablet like interface and full holograms could be brought up if you inserted a data card insert so pilots could put in this special high powered card which was like a mini computer and work on there personal projects.

All of the pilots had these interfaces attached to there sofa's though Shinji and Kaworu rarely ever used there's. They preferred paper or brought in their hobbies which were hands on, he used the interface and data cards along with Rei, Asuka and Mari. He watched as the very dark haired woman threw lines of code away from the cube which was meant to a coding puzzle and brain game they were all in casual clothing as the long day had ended. "So like what's the worst question you've ever been asked you?" Mari looked up at Toji. "How can you be a pilot when you don't have twenty, twenty vision?" She turned back to him. "Which in really insulting just because I have trouble seeing without my glasses it doesn't mean I can't be pilot." Toji felt a smile form. "Yeah well their clearly just jealous because they know that in the normal military to pilot tanks and planes, they have to be perfect, where as we can eat what we want and do what we want."

Mari raised her finger. "Apart from get in the unit drunk or have a hang over, because they say it really ruins your mental sync." Toji turned to Shinji who was working on a drawing on his pad while Rei was sitting opposite playing video games on her hand held. "What was your worst question?"

Shinji looked up lowering his pad and pencil. "It wasn't a question it was more a view point being that I only got put on to the program due to my father being in charge which wasn't true, he forced myself and Rei into this program we had no idea what we were doing in the beginning." Toji turned to Kaworu who was writing on a music sheet. "Okay your worst." Kaworu looked up his red eyes glinting as he pushed his thick short white hair back. "Like Shinji it was more a statement that I shouldn't pilot because of my history of being a rebel fighter and that I might turn in to a terrorist and use an Evangelion to my own ends to end the war in my own country." Toji slowly turned to Rei who had been very quite through out the conversation. "You?"

Rei carried on playing. "I really don't want to talk about it." Mari smirked as she looked up at the smaller woman. "She probably got asked if she fucked Asuka because rumour has it you turned her down once." Rei paused her game looking up. "Seriously were do you get off acting this way?" Mari narrowed her gaze as she closed down her hologram. "You know Asuka's an asshole all the time but I never ever hear you or your brother complaining about it."

Rei shook her head. "You just dig at her every chance you get, she's in the hospital wing because of what you did and she's really suffering." Mari felt a cold smile form. "Good maybe she'll finally get what it's like when your not top dog." Rei lowered her hand held blinking in shock. "How can you say that, that is just so cruel?" Shinji looked at his sister. "She's not worth it Rei, don't go down to her level she obviously has some real deep set issues."

Rei stood up looking at Asuka's large sofa chair which could fit two but only she ever sat on it, it was at the front of the room and opposite where she was sitting on the sofa she turned back to Mari. "No I'm not letting this go! This isn't right or even fair so let me tell you something Mari we care about Asuka she came on to the Evangelion program a year after we started and no she's not perfect she's moody and angry and she can be very difficult at times but she respects us, she isn't cruel to ether off us. You think you're a great pilot just because you get in that entry plug but you have yet to sacrifice yourself against an angel."

She put a hand in her jeans pocket. "Asuka has countess times and this is not her first near death experience, she's willing to wreck unit 02's every body part if it gives us a chance to win and out of all the units hers and Shinji's have had the most battle damage over the years." She looked at her hand. "She's not doing it for glory or to show off she just wants the war to end, we all do." She was about to say more only for the double doors to open as Kaji walked in a smile on his face. "Sorry to bother you all."

He eased up a note which was between his fingers. "These are orders from Gendo himself." He walked over to Mari. "They're for you." Mari stood up taking the note from his hand opening it. "For me why thank you." She began to read them over a wide smile appearing on her face. "I'm going to test pilot unit 02." Kaji nodded as he looked up. "It's a switch test just to be clear you will not be piloting it above ground." Mari looked at note. "Cool I've always wanted to see in side princess's entry plug." She watched as Kaji turned walking towards the door. "You're leaving, no congratulations?"

Kaji raised his hand not turning back as he walked away from her. "Good night Mari, just be at the test tomorrow." Rei watched he closed the doors behind him vanishing from sight. "You're unbelievable you hate Asuka yet you want to pilot her unit." Mari shrugged as she looked at her. "How often do you get to see in side your rival's entry plug?" Rei felt her body tense. "Believe me you don't want to enter that entry plug I've been inside someone else's entry plug, very bad things happen to you."

Mari raised her finger eyeing the smaller woman. "No I read about that thing with you in Kaworu's unit, I think you just weren't strong enough to handle it mentality." Shinji stood up sharply. "My sister can handle anything! What happened that day was nothing to do with her mental sync, it was the unit it rejected her and unit 02 will reject you just the same."

Rei stepped back. "The things a unit that's not yours will show you are just horrible." Mari looked at her. "Only for you maybe…" Rei turned picking motor bike jacket. "Excuse me everyone I'm going home I don't want to listen to this." Mari watched as she moved towards the double doors. "You know you having no stomach for real confrontation it's really saddening plus I heard that once up a time you used to apologise for everything like a good little Japanese's girl."

Rei turned looking at her for a long moment before speaking. "I only apologise to those who I feel I've truly offended, I've yet to offend you in that way, because you have not yet earned my respect." She left closing the doors behind her she was so glad that her sports bike was out of the garage because she could just go home and forget about how awful this day had turned out to be first with Asuka being so out of it and now this.

End of part 7


Chapter Text


Misato watched the lift move as Mari was brought up slowly to unit 02 entry plug she was practically dancing about she could see her from the lower testing bay window were unit 02 had been moved to. Its arms and chest had been restrained but not its hands and legs the idea was if the test went wrong, they could get the plug out quickly and open it before the Evangelion broke loose.

She pressed the console so she could hear her voice. "Okay Mari, get in." She heard Mari's voice come back over the speaker. "This is so exciting." Maya breathed in deeply. "Yeah so exciting like we don't know how this will turn out, I've said to Ritsuko before that this is dangerous and she always ignores me, plus I should be with Asuka now not here." Makoto looked at his console. "None of us want to be here, we've all ridden this horse before and it always ends with a painful kick to the nuts."

Shigeru turned the lights on below which flooded the bay revealing unit 02. "Yeah well no one cares about what we say, when the top heads are talking." He looked at unit 02's green eyes. "I just know its going be a lot worse this time I can feel it." Misato turned to Maya. "How is Asuka? I heard yesterday was very bad." She had gone to the hospital wing after Asuka's grandmother had left but Asuka had been sleeping so she had just left her alone. Maya breathed in painful. "Yes it was bad yesterday she was very out of it but today will be much worse."

She turned meeting the dark haired woman's concerned gaze. "Her left eye is ruined, it's never going to see again and if she does it will be nothing but a blur." She shook her head sadly. "She could have a robot replacement but I don't see her doing that, plus the technology still isn't perfect it's just too new and not tested well enough and you need medication just so the body doesn't reject the eye and it's not always successful even with the medication. Her other option is stem cell surgery but with eyeballs is still not very successful because it doesn't make a perfect iris pattern copy and it could cause her problems in the future as some of Nerv's doors are iris code locks and the match has to be perfect and a wrong iris code means she'll probably get locked out accidentally or set of alarms and again she'll have to take medication for the rest of her life and for some people it causes illness and it makes them sick."

Kaji looked up slightly from his holographic desk. "Asuka won't want the stem cell replacement because she won't want medication that might make her ill." Misato looked down sadly. "When I get a chance I'll talk with her maybe I can talk her in to robotic option."

She looked up watched as huge clamps were put on to the entry plug which had been attached to cables which led in to an inner bay the idea was that the workers could use these massive cables to pull the entry plug out and pull it in to a open bay above. Rei looked down from the window high above with Shinji the others weren't allowed to watch only them they could hear both Mari's voice and Maya's voice over the intercom in the room bellow them. "She's such a fool we all know how this will turn out."

Shinji looked up he could see his father and Ritsuko standing looking down from a higher level well out of the danger zone he felt his hand form a fist. "Our father doesn't care I mean I don't understand it, is he trying this because he wants to replace Asuka on the program with Mari?" Rei looked out through the thick glass. "We both know that he has always wanted interchangeable units but it has never worked and all of his experiments have been failures. I've heard Ritsuko also wants to create a duel piloting system but all of her trials and tests with fake pilot dummy plugs have been just as terrible." Shinji folded his arms. "He'll probably say that this experiment today was all for the good of the war."

Rei shook her head. "Everything he does is just to better him self its just we are the ones who suffer to see his twisted dreams for filled, I mean when I have been in the hospital wing he never visited me." She breathed in deeply. "He didn't visit you ether." She looked down sadly. "This test is going to be a mess just like the other one." Shinji eased up his hand. "I would have taken that test Rei I was happy to take it." Rei shook her head. "You can't always protect me Shinji but I know now that I did that test for all the wrong reasons." Shinji looked at her for a long moment before speaking. "In what way?" Rei breathed in painfully. "I just wanted to prove myself I thought father might take more notice of me but I never even got his attention." She pushed her short hair back. "I wanted to prove that I was brave like you and Asuka and not just a mark's woman." Shinji put his hand around her shoulder. "You have nothing to prove to anyone Rei least of all me or Asuka you're as just as brave as we are." Rei looked down sadly. "No I'm not Shinji and that's the problem, you two when it counts are always in the right place at the right time you have a controlled berserk mode and Asuka uses beast mode quite often, I have never even used the beast mode because it terrifies me so much."

She eyed unit 02 two whose green eyes were now glowing. "I also believe that they brought in Mari because her hit ratio is far better than mine and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. I think they want to replace Asuka as well, this is what this test is all about because they already feel that she's not going to recover from this incident."

Mari eased herself slowly in to the pilots seat she sat back feeling the seat slowly adjust to her legs as Asuka was slightly smaller than her so her legs were seated differently she looked up as the door was closed and locked and everything turned to pitch black. "Ready." Maya's voice came over the com. "Entry plug inserted, filling with LCL." Mari felt the liquid as it poured out filling the inside which was still dark. She opened her mouth letting it in shuffling uncomfortably as the weird sensation vanished as her lungs got used to the liquid which was helping her to breath. She couldn't see anything Maya's voice came again. "LCL filled Evangelion working normally, no anomalies, could the pilot please speak?" Mari looked up. "Testing…testing can you hear me out there?" Maya's voice came again. "Yes preparing you now for full activation, please stand by."

Mari looked up as every screen around her lit up as red code ran through them." It stopped as everything faded away and outside appeared. She looked around as a very familiar smell hit her nose. "Smell's like Asuka in here." Maya's voice came again filled with confusion. "Please clarify that comment." Mari breathed in deeply. "It smells like Asuka, Asuka always stinks of sunflowers, what's wrong with you people don't you ever smell it on her, it's really intense?" Misato's voice hit the air. "No we don't." Her voice came again. "Please begin the test and raise the left lower arm." Mari took hold of the controls. "You know if this test is successful maybe you can paint this ugly beast pink, it would look far better in pink than this crappy red colour."

Misato's voice hit the air though she could hear the anger in every word. "Please get on with the tests Mari this unit is not yours, its Asuka's and this is no more than a test." Mari began to shift the controls which were surprisingly stiff raising the lower left arm. "You know you guys really need to fix these controls their really fucking stiff." Maya's voice came again. "Unit 02's inner controls were tested two days ago the specialists said they were to loose from over use and from being pulled around violently so they corrected them." Mari started to move the huge fingers. "Yeah well for me it's really feels really stiff, you might want to send the specialists back in here when I'm done, to fix it."


Ara slowly unwrapped the thick bandage around Asuka's left eye which had now healed fully she already knew what the result was but it would be really heart breaking news for this young woman and she was not Maya. Maya knew how to handle Asuka she didn't and she wished she could be here right now to tell her because she was dreading the reaction. Though Asuka wasn't out of it like she had been yesterday she was very downhearted and depressed which had to be because of the pain and inability to really move her now healed legs with out incredible pain. She caught sight of the left eye which had a scar running through it, it had gone a cloudy while the pupil had gone white though it was clear that she could open and close it and move it around. Asuka looked up slightly. "I can't see anything." Ara took in a deep breath bracing her self. "I'm sorry Asuka but your eye took way to much retina damage." Asuka looked down feeling her insides twist up painful. "You're meant to be the doctors you're meant to fix this kind of thing."

Ara looked at her for a long moment. "We still might be able to save your eye Asuka." Asuka put her hands together not buying her words for a second. "No you can't that's the whole problem isn't it? Because we both know the next steps it's ether a robotic eye which might be rejected by my body or a stem cell one and from what I've heard stem cell surgery on eyes has been an utter failure and the medication makes most people ill." She looked around with her good eye. "Frankly I'd rather keep the worthless eye than go down ether of those paths." Ara breathed in personally she had expected more shouting, more anger but there was nothing just sadness. "The media will probably like it they'll call it a war wound."

Asuka picked up the mirror looking at her scared left eye which was deeply cloudy. "It's not even a war wound, it's a mark of someone else’s contempt and hatred for me." She put the mirror down. "Guess Mari finally got what she always wanted which was to see me broken and ruined on the outside as well as the inside." Ara folded her arms. "Your not ruined Asuka, you have a long life to lead as an Evangelion pilot, loosing an eye should not effect your ability's as you don't need perfect vision as the controls can compensate for any problems in vision you'll only have to work on getting around a left eye blind spot."

Asuka eyed her for a long moment before speaking not caring that her voice was thick with bitter sarcasm. "It may have escaped your notice but I can't even walk right now, I don't see myself walking over and sitting in an entry plug." Ara breathed in deeply. "Tomorrow you will start walking Maya has arranged that already for you and it will be hard for you Asuka but maybe you being you, you'll enjoy the challenge." Asuka looked down sadly. "I doubt that."

Ara moved over to her bed side pushing the desk over so she could see the walkman. "Your friends Rei and Shinji were here yesterday they left you their walkman they thought it might make you feel better." Asuka looked at the old walkman which was very old and very much a collectable now she looked down realizing that she had no real memory of them or yesterday it was all a horrible blur of images that didn't make any sense. "I don't remember them being here." Ara shook head sadly. "You were somewhat out of it Asuka, they were very kind to you and after they left your grandmother and Misato visited you but you were asleep." Asuka put a hand on her face. "No offence but can you please leave me I just want to be alone for a while."

Ara looked up slightly. "Of cause if you need anything just press your buzzer okay?" Asuka nodded watching as she left, she eyed the things in on her table she picked up the action figure of herself dressed in red in some strong stance with both eyes gleaming. She felt the rage before she could stop it, she knew even before she threw the packaged toy that it was the wrong action but it just reminded her off the fact that she didn't have two eyes or even that plug suite anymore. She watched as the action figure smashed in to the wall close by hitting the floor intact due to the boxing she couldn't really stop the tears as they came from both eyes, she should have known when this happened that it would be the outcome, she had tried so hard to mentally prepare for it but it made no difference what so ever.

She had no idea where Maya was but she wished she could confine in her unlike Misato she felt she could just talk to her. She was the first person in her life to call her out on her bad behaviour and she'd been the one person who had forced her to confront her sexuality when she just hadn't wanted to. She leaned forward putting her head on the table wishing that today she had not woken up to this.


Mari looked around her. "How is my sync ratio?" Maya's voice hit the air again. "Holding no problems, please raise the other arm." Mari smirked so much for Rei's opinion, she was doing perfectly okay she watched as the other arm moved as she closed the fingers. "I really don't get what you people are all so worried about I'm having no bad reaction from this." Clearly Rei was just weak and pathetic personally she had never understood her. Why Rei was on the program anyway? She was so stand off from the others even in battle and she was forever being protected by her brother. She was always behind the lines in simulations forever going by the rules and being a good polite well mannered woman.

It was just no way to fight your battles but she was there just like Shinji because she was the director's daughters there was no other reason for her to be here and unlike her Shinji at least had courage. Even if Asuka had come on to her years ago, she just didn't see why she would even bother Rei wasn't that much to look at either.

She eased up her hand looking at the monitor everything was working fine. She leaned back she would love to be able to use this unit in its beast mode form it would be something else and it wasn't like Asuka was ever going to pilot again anyway she was crippled. She knew that, that was why she was sitting in here now because the director saw that Asuka was now a wash out and they needed a better replacement which was her. She could do anything Asuka could do and she would prove today that she had what it took to pilot this animal. She lowered both hands and then raised them. "You know I really don't get what all the fuss is about, if you release the arm locks I can raise the arm fully."

Misato's voice hit the air. "That's not part of the test Mari and your not over the four minute danger zone, Rei began to experience things before this." Mari turned seeing the timer behind her which was counting up to three minutes. "Oh come on this is stupid I'm at three minutes, release the locks!" She breathed out feeling a strange sensation of tightness in her chest but ignored it as she moved her hand up adjusting her red glasses. "I can control Asuka's hunk of fucking junk so release the locks!"

"Die with me."

Mari felt her body tense in the seat as everything went cold and the hairs on the back off her neck stood up. "Hey who ever just said that? You know it's not funny to pull that ghostly voice kind of shit right now!" Misato's voice hit the air. "No one said anything Mari." Mari looked around her nervously. "I heard something, plus can you raise the temperature in here its freezing." Maya spoke the confusion in her voice. "The temperature is normal if we raise it we could hurt you."

Mari looked around as the voice came again. "Die with me!" She breathed suddenly feeling very nervous. "Who ever it is that's making that voice could you please cut it out, I feel like I'm in a horror movie or something!" Maya's spoke the concern in her voice. "Mari you need to calm down your heart rate is rising." Mari felt her whole body shiver as the voice came again but this time it was filled with pure hatred. "You're not my daughter, you're the other girl." Mari hands let go out of the controls on their own as what felt like an agonizing weight hit her chest she couldn't breathe it was like crushing sensation like a python had wrapped its coils around parts of her body.

She opened her mouth as a rush of LCL came out along with the full contents of her stomach. All of the screens around her suddenly went black as they filled with red waves of light and the pain became worse as her hand was suddenly twisted in the opposite direction like someone was trying to break it, her head was suddenly filled with images that she couldn't make any sense off.

White rooms blending in to one another and noises and voices screaming and so much pain she didn't hear self as she began to scream. Misato looked up as all at once as the sync broke and the room descended in chaos as Mari's heart rate soared through the roof followed by her scream of pure agony. "Eject her!" She watched as unit 02 suddenly moved violently struggling inside its restraints as it's mouth opened followed by an inhuman roar as the huge human teeth revealed themselves, she knew this shit was coming but seeing it play out still angered her.

Shigeru looked up typing faster. "The pilot won't eject! I'm running all the codes now and the entry plug just isn't coming free, it's stuck." Misato turned sharply. "Turn off its S² Engine!" Makoto typed feeling the frustration mount they had been able to eject Rei when this had happened the last time so why wasn't it working now with unit 02? He typed in the codes activating the shut down. "It will take four minutes to power down in this fully operational state it's not like the other tests we do above ground where the pilot's controls are shut down." Misato moved over to his desk. "Power it down now I don't care about the time!"

Rei looked down in horror as unit 02's arm began to bend one of the arm restraint as it fury and anger took over she could hear Mari's screaming from inside along with her begging for to them to get her out as the huge cables pulled taught as the workers on the other side of the bay tried desperately to yank out the entry plug with there machinery. There was a grinding sound as it began to come free but it was to late as unit 02's arm smashed fully free of the restraint as it grabbed the chest clamp wrenching it off in one go followed by its other arm coming free. Its huge feet walked forward as one of the red hands moved to its head as it roared again making its pain known.

The entry plug was suddenly thrown out full force causing it to smash into the wall behind as the LCL inside sprayed out everywhere. The cables started working instantly pulling it up in to the huge bay as the workers yanked open the door as they ran inside grabbing Mari pulling her free only for a red fist to collide with the side of the bay opening smashing the side of it apart as the workers tried to desperately get away. The huge hand found its way the bay opening as it tour up the bay's floor as the workers picked up the unconscious Mari running with her towards the exist door. The unit turned its head towards them as it started to walk forward towards their window. Maya's voice came filled with panic. "Get away from the window both of you!"

Rei felt Shinji's hand as he grabbed her arm pulling her back the units hand came close to the window but didn't break it instead it leaned in closer looking in more with keen interest its other hand came up as it pressed against the windows other side wall. The four huge green eyes looked in as it head leaned in even closer but it made no violent actions. The glowing in the eyes went black as the S² Engine shut down completely and its body slumped forward caused the bottom jaw to hit the glass cracking it.

Misato's voice hit the air filled with panic. "Rei, Shinji are you okay?" Shinji moved over to the table close by pressing the speaker com button. "We are both fine, it didn't attack us, it was acting more curious." A second voice from the inner bay spoke. "The pilot is alive but her heartbeat is very shallow, it looks like she was almost asphyxiated, it's like someone tried to strangle her." There was a long pause. "We are sending her to the lower medical wing level right now." Shinji looked up at the now turned of unit 02. "Why didn't it attack us?" Rei looked up in confusion. "I don't know, when I was in unit 03 it attacked anyone and everything in the bay I thought unit 02 would do the same." Shinji put his arm around her. "I'm just glad your okay."

Misato put a hand on her face pressing the com so she could speak to the team on the other side privately. "Please ensure that Mari is not put anywhere near Asuka in the hospital wing and no one tell Asuka that this just happened or that anyone was testing her unit, today is not a good day for her." She sat back in her chair.

"What a fucking waste of my time." Kaji looked up at the upper window where Ritsuko and Gendo were looking out the anger in both there faces at the test's failure. "Well at least they can't blame us for this, we all said it wasn't going to work, we were all against it from the start." Misato put her feet up on the desk folding her arms. "And now we have another pilot in the hospital wing." Kaji shrugged as he looked up. "Well at least she's not dead." Misato turned eyeing him. "You're not helping!" Maya eyed the now shut down unit as she started running the data. "I don't get this though, it attacked the bay but not where Rei and Shinji were standing, I mean it was leaning in to look at the window like it was really curious."

She carried on looking at the data. "It's creepy, for a minute it was acting like it was alive but it makes no sense their not alive." Shigeru put a hand on his beard. "Could it have been trying to correct the pilot sync you know because Mari is the wrong pilot so it was using Asuka's back up data in the entry plug software to correct itself?" Maya breathed in deeply. "Yeah but that would still mean it was relaying her emotions and its impossible they are not meant to relay the pilots emotions and feelings with out the pilot being plugged in, I'll have to have the specialist team run a full diagnostic on its central core and entry plug. It has to some weird feed back loop error from Asuka's last training run did she protect Rei or Shinji on the last run?" Makoto brought up the training video on his hologram screen he swiped it watching as it landed on Maya's screen. "No she was paired with Mari it was only them fighting and the training run wasn't that brilliant to be honest, too much shoving over who got to do what."

Maya watched the video seeing what he meant as both units got in the way of each other while trying to fight the holograms. "This has to have come from Asuka's mind then." Misato breathed in deeply right now she wished she could just get drunk. "You're talking about residual memory that's impossible they told us that can't happen." Maya flipped the video away going to another file opening it. "No Ritsuko told you it was impossible and since when does anyone believe her? She hides everything including important information and she's even worse now that she's married to Gendo."

Kaji sat down in his chair. "She has a point you know." Maya began typing bringing up a different file watching as something came up. "I don't believe this, there's an actual memory wave in the core and its one of Asuka's and it's really strong." She watched as everyone suddenly got up gathering around her she could see that Gendo and Ritsuko had moved away from the window above.

She eased out her tablet from lap coat pocket swiping a copy of the memory over so could access it on her personal files rather than on the central computer which she had turned off. She got up as everyone followed her she began typing watching as the conversion to picture started finishing in seconds. "Okay no one says what you see here, you understand?" She watched as they all nodded she pressed it watching as a black and white images started coming through they were difficult to make out as they were shadowy and grainy.

Makoto leaned closer. "Why is it black and white I thought memories were in colour?" Maya looked closer. "Because this isn't a memory, it's a dream." Misato blinked in confusion. "How does a dream get in to unit 02's core, its not like Asuka's ever fallen asleep inside the entry plug?" Maya watched as the images suddenly became very detailed with black and white sunflowers and a shadowy figure walking through them and almost childlike movement of someone followed them through the fields the figure stopped almost vanishing as the person looked around seeing nothing.

The images suddenly changed to colour but there no was no real detail, again just shadowy figures as Asuka's own voice hit the air but it was filled with this ravenous seducing edge. "We could have lots of fun together just you and me." Rei's voice suddenly hit the air though it was filled with fear and anxiety. "Go away Asuka." Asuka's voice came again though even more forceful. "Oh what so you don't want to try it you know just once with me? You're such a verfickte prude." Rei's voice came again but it sounded angry. "No I don't want to try anything with you Asuka because I know how your twisted mind works."

Misato blinked as she eyed the video. "Is this actual memory or a dream, because this sounds so much like Asuka and Rei when they were much younger?" Everyone eyed her in annoyance as Maya looked up pausing the video for a second. "Memory is easier to copy, dreams not so much, because they are a mix of both and they get messed up, the four magi computers are just making their best guess, it's not always accurate." She pressed again watching as the shadows shifted and Rei's voice came filled with fright. "Get off my hand Asuka!"

Asuka voice came but this time with incredible aggression. "You know you smell like fresh alpine forest I bet…" What ever words were about to come never came as the sudden violently slapping sound hit the air and Rei's voice came again but with just as much aggression back. "No means no get that through your thick skull Asuka, it still confuses me as to why they even put you on this program because you're such an awful person and I can't stand you, all you care about is yourself and your ego." The memory suddenly shifted to a different place it was lighter but still very difficult to make out people and this time Shinji's voice was the one that spoke but his tone was filled with sadness. "How do I feel Asuka, I feel tired and you make everything so difficult."

Asuka's voice came again but it was sad and dejected. "That why I have to end this, for both of us because the future doesn't hold bright things for us." Shinji's voice came again though filled with confusion. "I want to help you Asuka please help me understand." Asuka's voice came again but it sounded deeply depressed. "You can't make this right for me Shinji."

There was the sound a chair scuffing. "I can't explain this to you in a way that makes sense other than to say all I do is hurt you, I used you for my own personal gain, I'm a vile disgusting person and I realize that now and I don't deserve your respect or even your kindness as I've never been kind to you or your sister in all these years." There was a long sad pause. "I shouldn't destroy you or your happiness just to benefit myself, breaking you to make me feel better is just cruel. The truth is I don't know how to love or what love feels other than the love my Mama and Grandma gave me but I'm not in the right place or mind to give you the love you deserve you should be with some one who loves you."

The sound of a handle turning could be heard in the distance. "Know this though I'm sorry for all the times I put you down and for all the times I beat you and for every time I made you think that you were less when you aren't and for all of the times when I bullied your sister hurt her feelings, it will never happen again that I can promise." Maya watched as the imagery ended. "Now I'm just confused the last parts of this are what seem to be perfect memory recall but the start is a dream, how do these two get mixed up like that?"

Kaji breathed in deeply. "Talk about bringing up salted emotional wounds I mean okay we can't see through her eyes it's fuzzy but the voices were so clear." Misato put a hand on her face. "Still makes no sense though why these memories why that dream all wrapped up in one like this, its odd?" She eyed unit 02 which was now being dragged away from the glass though Rei and Shinji were no longer there. "Plus both memories of Shinji and Rei are really negative not positive yet the unit didn't attack."

Maya looked at the screen. "May be the part we are missing here is Asuka's emotions we get how she's acting and speaking but not how she feels subconsciously, maybe in these memories she cares even though in one of them she's being real nasty. If the Evangelion is picked up on this and there really strong it would explain what's going on. Also this brings the way we look at Evangelion's into a whole new light, up to now we had no idea that after so many years of use they could start to retain the pilot's memories and even dreams and use them to navigate people and surroundings in that they can distinguish between friend and foe."

She eyed unit 02 which was now being pulled in to upright position by the workers while another set of workers were checking inside the opened entry plug for damage. "Unit 02 has been running for nine years units 01 and 00 slightly longer but not by much, there's no telling what's going on inside them." She raised her hand. "You have to give me more time because I need to analyze this further." Misato looked up. "Yeah well we need to find out what this is all about it's clearly something new, I mean maybe this would explain the twitching we have been seeing in certain units."

End of part 8


Chapter Text


Rei walked the long corridor to the hospital wing, Shinji was on the training field with Kaworu, she would need to train later with Toji but it was mostly training with the rifles it would have been Mari but she was in the emergency room so it would be her instead. She walked up to the glass that led to Asuka's room she'd heard the news, they all had which was that she had lost all sight in her left eye for good which was sad to hear and she knew loosing sight and hearing could effect people.

She walked inside the room seeing that Asuka was half under the cover lying on her side with her eyes closed but she wasn't asleep she could tell as she had the walkmans head phones in and was rewinding track sixteen and going back to fifteen and she was very unaware of her presence. She stepped forward feeling her foot hit something. She looked down seeing Toji's action figure on the floor she leaned down picking it up looking at it before walking towards the red haired woman gently putting her hand on her shoulder to get her attention. "Asuka?"

Asuka pressed stop on the old walkman as she eased out one of the head phones. Rei eased up the action figure. "You dropped this." Asuka watched as she sat it down in front of her. "No I didn't, I have never cared about those kinds of toys anyway their stupid."

Rei looked over she could see the scar running through Asuka's left eye and the milky blue colour along with the pure white pupil she eased the toy up. "I disagree I think it's quite a good likeness to you, I mean they got the pose spot on its very powerful." Asuka breathed in deeply. "No offence Rei but I really I don't give a scheiss." Rei looked in to her good eye she wasn't being rude or even cruel she was just deeply depressed it was a clear as day, she eased up the action figure.

"Okay maybe you don't but you know there are thousands of people out there who really love these toys and there are hundreds of children out there who see these action figures and aspire to be like you." Asuka looked up slightly. "Who would ever want to be like me Rei, seriously?" Rei turned the action figure towards her. "The real question is who wouldn't want to be like you?" She placed the toy back on her bed side table. "I mean your one of the bravest people I know, you give so much to the Evangelion program."

Asuka looked up meeting her soft green eyes. "You're just trying to make me feel better." Rei shook her head. "No Asuka I'm not." She felt a smile form. "You know the younger you would have been all over this and loving every minute off the attention when did stop enjoying your own accomplishments?" Asuka narrowed her gaze. "When I realized that I was unworthy off them because all I do is hurt people in the process of obtaining them, your brother can tell you all about that." Rei shook her head sadly. "You know Shinji has forgiven you for what happened between you two relationship wise." Asuka looked up sadly. "Have you forgiven me?" Rei sat back in the chair. "Yes Asuka, we were all children we were going through hard things, we all made mistakes." Asuka looked down trying to ignore the feeling of anger which was below the surface. "My mistakes made others hate me."

Rei leaned forward realizing right now she was talking to Asuka for the first time in years without any barriers or walls. Maybe it was because Asuka just didn't have the mental strength to put them up right now due to how sad she felt. "I don't hate you Asuka, nether does Shinji or Kaworu." She took in a deep breath not wanting to bring up Mari's name at all as she knew that would just anger the other woman. "A lot of people care about you Asuka and we all just want you to get better and get back in the entry plug and pilot again, it's not the same with out you on the training field."

She put her hands on her knees. "I can also tell you that Toji worships you, you're his idol." Asuka looked up in surprise but the surprise left sharply being replaced only with annoyance. "Idiot had an interesting choice of words for that toy." Rei felt a wide smile form. "Oh come tell me you didn't at least get a small laugh out of that word play?" Asuka looked down sadly honestly she hadn't even seen the funny side at all. Even though deep down inside she knew it was funny, she just didn't know how to laugh anymore the emotion and feeling just weren't there. "Not really."

Rei looked at for a long moment seeing something in the other woman's only good eye it was an intense pain the next thing that went through her mind caught her completely so off guard. She had assumed that the misery and low mood was due to loosing an eye but it wasn't. It looked like some form of deep seated depression that was already there but no one including herself had noticed it maybe because Asuka remained so distant from everyone. "When was the last time you laughed Asuka?"

Asuka narrowed her gaze thinking about that for a long moment. "I don't remember." She raised her hand. "Look you don't have to stay here, just to make me feel better you probably have much better things to be doing with your time than being here with me." Rei sat back as she pulled out a book from her leather bag. "I'm here Asuka because I want to be and I really don't have anything to do, it's that space in the day where I relax you have those times right?"

Asuka laid her head back down on the pillow. "Yeah I normally go and get a caramel milkshake from the Arcade area in side Nerv where they have shops and restaurants, its one of the full dairy ones I can't stand synthetic ice cream. Synthetic meat is one thing but who ever came up with the idea for synthetic dairy should be shot, it tastes vile." Rei felt a smile form as she looked at her. "Well I don't eat red meat so I wouldn't know but I do agree with you on synthetic dairy I only ever drink my honeydew bubble tea with real milk and as you say synthetic really doesn't do much for the taste." Asuka breathed in deeply. "I'd kill for a caramel dairy milkshake right now." Rei opened her book. "You know I could read to you, my German isn't that good but I can read this Japanese book to you, if you'd like."

Asuka eyed her book which was thick and had a hard back cover to protect it. "What's your book about?" Rei eased it up. "History of the world, I was learning about how people lived before the second impact." Asuka raised an eyebrow. "Is it interesting or just depressing?" Rei flipped through the books pages. "Interesting the only depressing parts are all these wars we had, though I know we are still having minor wars but these wars were massive world wars and there were four of them in total. It seemed the angels coming at least gave humanity a central focus after the economy collapsed."

Asuka looked down sadly. "It surprises me that they were able to even get it back at all I mean you'd hardly even notice now or maybe it's because I just forget that Nerv is verfickte rich and they pay me well not to mention that Nerv employees are spoilt rotten down here they just have everything under the sun." Rei felt her smile widen. "Well let me read to you about how the world got back up on it feet then." She flipped through the pages again finding the right place. "You might find it interesting."


Blackness and darkness I'm floating I hate this sensation, I can feel a memory coming back to me from so long ago, I thought I'd forgotten it but it's crystal clear. "Play with me." Mari looked at the little red haired girl in annoyance who was much younger than her. "Go away I'm drawing." The red haired girl put her hands on her knees. "Can I see?" Mari eyed her. "Don't you have any patience?"

The red haired girl gave her a wide smile. "No, its just you're my big sister and I like you." Mari breathed in she wasn't much older than this girl there was only three years between them. "We are not genetically related you know, you know your dad is not the same as my dad right? You're basically adopted." She watched as sad look spread over the smaller face as the girl spoke in a hurt voice. "What's adopted?" Mari eyed her feeling a sly smile form. "It means you don't belong to anyone, not even my parents."

That wasn't true at all but right now she wasn't in the mood her younger step sister's stupidity. "It means your parents didn't want you." The memory faded as voices started talking in the distance. "She's coming back…" Mari opened her eyes slowly only to see nothing but blur she groaned putting a hand on her face. "My glasses…give me my glasses…"

Jiro's voice hit the air filled with concern. "You need to lay back and relax Mari, you almost died." Mari eased up her hand as she spoke unable to hold back the anger. "Give me my fucking glasses Jiro, I can't see with out them!" She felt someone put them in her hand as Jiro spoke again. "One of your lenses is cracked." Mari eased on her glasses slowly watching as everything came back into focus and she could make out the hospital room in detail.

She had been taken out of her plug suit and her interfacing head band and her tails were missing so all of her hair was loose. She was wearing a hospital shirt and trousers while thick covers had been pulled over her. "It happens all the time you idiot, it's why I keep lots of spares here and at my home." She turned as Jiro left and Maya and Shigeru entered the room. "Oh great not you people have you come her to fucking gloat."

Maya blinked, great she really didn't need this crap right now least of all from Mari. "You know you're only alive because we went out of our way to save you from dying, so show some damn respect!" Shigeru stepped closer to the hospital bed folding his arms. "We are here because we need to know just what you experienced in side unit 02's entry plug, it's very important because we need to compare your accident to Rei's."

Mari sat up folding her arms. "Great…" Shigeru sat down watching as Maya did the same. "So tell us what happened from the top." Mari breathed in deeply. "It was fine up until three minutes into the activation I got this real tight sensation near my chest it felt like some one was tightening my plug suit but it vanished." She looked down feeling her body tense. "Then it got really cold I felt like I was freezing it was literally like being a bath of ice cubes."

Maya slowly brought up Rei's incident reading it through as Shigeru wrote Mari's incident down on his tablet. "That's interesting because Rei said something similar about her suite but she said she felt like someone was crushing her stomach and it made her feel sick but unlike you she said she felt like her skin was being slowly cooked but like you the LCL temperature was normal at the time." Mari looked up not liking what she had to say next. "Someone spoke to me." Maya looked at her for a long moment. "I heard you say that in the test can you detail this further?"

Mari felt her eyes dart. "It was a female voice like an older woman but it didn't sound right, it sounded really sickly it said the words die with me and it repeated those words twice." She raised her hand. "Then it said you're not my daughter, you're the other girl that's when it all went to shit and my whole body felt like it was being crushed by a massive python and my right arm got yanked back so I couldn't press the self eject on the entry plug and get myself out."

Maya read over Rei's words she had not experienced any speaking only flashing images which were beyond awful and the sensation of her limbs being torn off and eaten. "It seems what you and Rei experienced was very different but she also said that so was so badly distracted that she couldn't self eject. Did you see any imagery, like faces, places?" Mari blinked watching as everything went out of focus and her head started to hurt. She lay back trying to ignore it clearly it was the concussion which had finally kicked in. "It's really fuzzy I just kept on see images of some hospital ward." Maya looked around her. "You mean like this?"

Mari raised her hand pointing at the glass. "Yes and no it had glass just like that and people were looking through but I couldn't see their faces because the images were flashing there was screaming so much screaming I think it was a mental ward, I saw someone come at me they were almost in shadow I just couldn't see their face." She put her hand up to her throat. "This is where it gets really difficult to remember, other than I felt one of their hands on my neck I don't remember much else after that I think I blacked out."

Maya lowered the pad. "You are very lucky Mari unit 02 refused the access codes to eject you it kept you in there for a whole minute longer than Rei experienced but for some reason it just ejected you on its own." She looked up. "After it ejected the entry plug, it still came after you even though it was being powered down. The workers got you to safety they all said you had passed out and the hospital team up here saved your life they said that you were in the danger zone because your brain had been staved to long of oxygen though they say you have no brain damage they still want to keep you in over night for observation and give you drugs to help with the concussion symptoms."

Mari looked up everything slowly came back in to focus. "Remind me to never ever touch Asuka's shit again." Shigeru finished typing. "I thought that one was obvious." Mari looked around her. "I do hope this room isn't near hers." Maya stood up. "No Mari your not even on the same floor, I personally made sure of that." She looked up as Toji appeared giving her a wave through the glass. "And you have a visitor so we'll be going." Shigeru stood up following her. "Yes have a lot of data to crunch and as usual the two heads are not going to like the outcome, they so badly wanted the test to be successful."

Toji ran in adjusting his black and yellow plug suite as he raised a fluffy cat toy. "Ah there she is, how was being put through the Evangelion meat grinder?" Mari raised an eyebrow. "You know if I didn't like you so much, I would hit you." Toji put the fluffy cat toy next to her turning serious he really liked Mari and he considered her his best friend. They could both relate to each other as they had gone through poverty and knew how if felt it was something the other pilots didn't understand and couldn't relate to yet and it had made them both very close as friends.

His close friendship with her though put him in a very difficult position because Shinji and Rei tended to side with Asuka and Kaworu had a habit of remaining completely neutral in any augment. In that he never picked a side and it made things really hard sometimes because he was also friendly them Mari on the other hand wasn't friendly with them.

She preferred instead to only hang out with him inside and outside work. "I'm so glad you are okay I was really worried about you, you know." Mari took the cat toy looking at it. "I'm fine apart from my head." She breathed in deeply. "I know I'm not going to hear the end of this though. Because I've heard that when the units go crazy they smash up the test area, so unit 02 has probably trashed everything down there." Toji raised a hand. "So you haven't heard then?"

Mari narrowed her gaze as she leaned forward. "Heard what? They just told me unit 02 tried to trash the entry plug bay I was thrown in to." Toji leaned closer to her. "Yeah it did but after that things got really weird, unit 02 kind of lost all of it rage and walked over to the bay window where Shinji and Rei were looking out. It didn't attack them at all it just watched them right up until it was powered down, Shinji was telling me about it and how creepy it was. Now everyone's throwing around rumours about ghosts in the machine and maybe Asuka has some how changed how it works, its crazy I've never seen so many confused people in my life."

Mari looked up meeting his dark brown eyes. "Do you like Asuka?" Toji looked up sharply. "I don't know her, I mean I confess to idolizing her it's why I'm on the program but I have no idea what she's like. She doesn't really talk to me I don't think she's talks to anyone she seems like a loner even though she has friends she doesn't seem to click that they are even her friends and that they care about her, it's kind of sad." He took in a breath. "If you're asking if I consider her more a friend than you, then no I don't, you're my best friend on this program and that's not going to change anytime soon." He raised his hand. "Why do you hate Asuka so much, yeah I get that she's cagey and angry but why try to crack her entry plug like that? I also get that you two don't get along but it's not like you Mari." Mari pulled her knees up wrapping her arms around them as she looked at him. "It's complicated Toji you just wouldn't understand."

Toji put a hand on his chest. "You always say this to me Mari but I'm the one person here who would listen to you and I would never ever tell others your secrets." He put his hands together. "You know you and Asuka are not that different." Mari looked up sharply. "I'm nothing like her she an egotistic know it all, I'll always be better than her."

Toji shook his head. "This rivalry is hurting you Mari you have to see that, it's also making others turn against you and you're putting me in a difficult position. Shinji and Rei are my friends as well and every time you take a chunk out of Asuka I feel more and more like I'm being forced between a rock and a hard place." He looked up giving her his best smile. "Look just think about this is all I'm asking because once you to sort out your differences it will be better for all of us." Mari breathed in painfully. "That's not true and you know it Rei and Shinji don't even like me and I doubt they ever will." Toji raised a finger. "That's where your wrong Mari they do like you they just don't like you trying to grind Asuka in to the dirt."

Mari narrowed her gaze. "I don't believe in that everyone wants to be your friend, shit, people out in the real world are motivated by selfish desires and when your up shit creak with out a paddle there just no where in sight."

She eased off glasses trying to ignore the pain as it twisted a knot in her stomach making her want to cry. "The only reason the British secret service captured me was because my so called best friend sold me out." She gritted her teeth putting her glasses back on. "Fucker basically traded me for reward money and they do really horrible things to you in interrogation things that mess with your mind and body."

Toji leaned forward. "You told me you kind of liked pain, like it sort of gives you an adrenaline rush." Mari wiped a tear away sharply. "Yes I do but I like pain where I'm in control but it wasn't like that in that room all those years ago, I felt like they were going to really kill me and that killed the thrill." She looked down at the floor sadly. "It was the moment that I realized that most people only care about themselves."


Asuka could feel herself floating in her dream she was under a red ocean looking up calmly at the surface which didn't scare her for some reason despite that she hated the sensation of normal ocean water. Her whole body stopped moving as a shadowy figure moved downwards towards her the red eyes gleaming as a black clawed hand stopped her from floating upwards as the dark voice hit the air.

"Not afraid of the bloody sea or LCL yet your afraid to drown in normal water explain that to me Asuka, I don't see the sense in it." Asuka eased her hand up realizing that she could no longer see through her left eye even in this dream she turned her body which was dressed in swimming gear which was a two piece. "It's the sensation it's different, bloody impact water feels warm to me so does LCL ocean water is freezing it feels like ice against my skin, I hate it."

Bardiel began to swim around her a circle he looked almost like a large crocodile because how his tail moved. "You don't seem angry about your eye I made you loose your sight even here with in your soul." Asuka moved trying to shift away from him but it felt like struggle under the red waves. "What difference does it make I can't see on the outside so why should I care in my dreams."

Bardiel moved closer so he was with in inches of her face. "Oh you are in a much better mood today and here I thought I'd be hurting you again to get a point across, clearly you get that I'm real and not just in your head." Asuka shifted back. "Yes." Bardiel swung his huge body around enveloping her so she couldn't swim away. "Then I picked the correct child, the others would not have been suitable, you on the other hand have the fight I desire."

Asuka looked at him for a long moment. "If you think I'm going to walk you down to Lilith in the lower bay of Nerv then you can think again I will kill my self before I let you down there. Because that's what you're here for right, to join with him?" Bardiel began to swim around her again. "You human's think in such short minded terms, you have to give things gender even when they have neither, my brothers and sisters think like you it's so irritating also Lilith is not a him more like a mix of both genders." Asuka blinked in confusion. "You don't like gendered terms yet you use brother and sister in reference to the other angels."

Bardiel's eyes moved there glowing red flashing as the dark pupil focused on her. "Believe me I'm only using terms you understand because your species thinks of everything in simple terms like womb and sperm and you yourself would know about that because your one of humanities lesser creations. Born not in a real womb but a manufactured one it is a surprise that human's class another human like you as human because your not. You're just a vessel to show off humanities nature to plays as gods and goddess when science is involved."

He raised a clawed hand. "Science showing off its mastery, it's the reason you were born a girl and have red hair and blue eyes, it's not even natural its engineered cherry picked would be the old human term." He swam around her. "Adam has been very giving to you in this cycle he holds us off far longer because he wants to see the differences that will come from time. He wants to see what its like if when you have more hope and more time if you'll still care when the final impact comes and takes you to places where red crosses form and the world bleeds blood red and you are no longer part of this world." Asuka looked at him feeling even more confused. "This cycle what does that verfickt mean?"

Bardiel swam in a loop coming back down so he was with inches of his face and his tail was nearly touching the surface. "The other versions of you were way smarter about this it's a pity you always forget at the breaking of time yet we remember the motions every time, we remember even though we don't want to." He stayed still. "Maybe the question you should ask yourself is why you repeat the dream on the beach so much even though your not fifteen anymore and your body and mind are that of a twenty three year old."

He swam down bellow her coiling over so he was looking up at her. "The body and mind forget but the soul doesn't no matter how many times it repeats." He flicked his tail upwards. "Also for your adult body you should be most gracious that the one above me changed a certain factor in his own blood just for you, you're still frozen in time from here on in but your not stuck a body of a child in this cycle you you've been able to have adult sexual pursuits."

His mouth formed a cruel smile. "Speaking of which, your pursuits of the green eyed girl Rei are most curious because it makes no sense to your gender." He swam up. "You can have sex but no children humour me why humans would have such a thing even though it serves no real purpose." Asuka felt her body tense. "I'm not explaining it you Bardiel, if you can read my mind you should already know."

The black tail suddenly swung around smacking in to her stomach throwing her backwards. She breathed in trying to take the pain as Bardiel swam back up his huge mouth of teeth grinding together as he spoke coldly. "Thoughts are like reading books, I could spend a life time reading every book you've ever read Asuka but books only tell part of the story we do not know the emotion that comes with them as they are were being written only the emotion we feel reading them, its two very different perspectives on the same thing." He raised a clawed hand. "Hearing the words from you directly is like the writer speaking from there own emotions not from the reader reading and I want to hear your soul hum every word you speak since I'm here for the long term."

Asuka breathed in putting her hand on her stomach trying to ignore the pain. "I can't explain my sexuality to you! Only that I know that's its natural to me and that when I've tried to repress it in the past it made me feel miserable beyond words, I only know that I love both genders and that feels right to me."

Bardiel laughed but it was cold laugh. "Yet you have never really loved, not that real love that your heart desires because you screwed up so badly in the past and that hurts you the most doesn't it?" Asuka eased out her arms going still as the water around her darkened from her own sadness and pain of the truth. "Yes it does." Bardiel swam up going very still in front of her as he wrapped his tail in a gentle manner around her waist. "Desire is only human Asuka but your desires don't have to be limited by flesh and blood, I can give you your desires though me you can be more than this body and will."

Asuka felt a sneer form. "I will never be a part of you." Bardiel mouth formed a sly smile. "One day you will want to be a part of me, you just don't realize it yet." His tail let go as he swim down in to the blackness below her. She swam up wards to the surface only cry out in pain as her head collided with the surface which was now solid ice.

Asuka felt her eyes snap open as her dream fade away and the dark of the room came in to the view she was still on her side and the chair where Rei had been was empty. She realized now that she had fallen asleep while she had been reading to her but she had no idea when. All that was clear was that Rei had kindly put the walkman aside on the table she grabbed the table heaving herself in to a sitting position as she looked down taking hold of it putting one of the headphones back in her ears rewinding back to track fifteen fully only to stop as an odd sensation hit her like she was being watched.

She looked up slowly catching sight of what looked a little school girl with short blue hair and red eyes looking back through the glass at her there was no emotion on her face. She leaned closer truth was she reminded her off Rei, hadn't she once gone through this phase of dying her hair blue and putting in red contacts? Just because she thought Gendo would take more notice of her because then she wouldn't look like her mother Yui.

She raised her hand seeing that the child had not moved or even flinched maybe she was one of the employee's children who had gotten lost or something but still the unwavering stare was really getting to her. Did this kid blink at all? She leaned forward knowing that the kid could hear her because the door to the hospital room was open. "Are you lost?" She breathed in deeply seeing the kid blink for the first time. She was rubbish with children and she knew it, she looked down picking up the half finished bar of chocolate easing it up. "Hey you want some…" She blinked in shock seeing that the kid was gone she slowly lowered her chocolate.

She couldn't hear footsteps going down the corridor away from her just silence she laid back on the bed what was happening to her? She felt so confused about everything right now she put the other head phone in her ear as she began to play the music as she looked up at the ceiling. The truth was nothing made sense anymore in her head and her dreams were the most troubling thing of all they felt so real now and every time the same monster. Maybe she was going crazy, maybe it was this hospital starting to get to her emotionally she just wanted to get out of here so badly the last thing she wanted was to end up going crazy like her mother had.

End of part 9


Chapter Text


"I did not expect this failure you know how much I hate failure."

Ritsuko folded her arm leaning against her desk as she lit a cigarette. "We should just face facts we are never going to have pilots who are able to swap between Evangelion's." Gendo put his hands behind his back. "Did the fourth child survive?" Ritsuko looked up slightly. "Yes she'll be discharged from the hospital wing today." She breathed in her cigarette before breathing out watching as the dark smoke floated through the air. "All the data will come back today and I'll be able to go through everything together."

She looked up. "Personally you should have known better, Kyoko Zeppelin was never going to let anyone sit in the seat of unit 02 other than her undeserving selfish daughter and this has now caused a huge problem for us. Because everyone saw unit 02 acting far too human for its own good after it ejected the fourth child." Gendo pushed up his glasses. "They can never know the truth this program is supported by all of the governments because they think the Evangelion's are just cybernetic hybrids and that they are run by a low level AI personality inside the core who's only job is to help the pilots move the limbs by reading there brain waves through the entry plug. If they ever knew that we purposely put people souls in to each of the cores they would see it as breach of human rights and they would try to shut us down."

Ritsuko sat down at the table in the office which looked out over Nerv centrals underground. "Yes well that was your doing if I remember right I mean you put your wife and your sister in law in both unit 00 and unit 01 one in each." She breathed in deeply. "Did Yui or her older sister Kiko know what they were in for that day during testing?"

Gendo looked up showing no emotion as he spoke evenly. "No but they sacrificed themselves for the greater good of the program and now Rei and Shinji can do the job they were meant to." A sneer formed on his lips. "My real concern has always been Asuka nothing has changed in that respect I don't like pieces I can't always control."

Ritsuko shrugged as she pushed her blonde hair back. "Her mother was no different but Asuka will probably no longer be a concern for you, she'll probably wash out of the program soon enough. Her sync ratio has been slowly dropping over the past three years. It's just no one has cared to notice or if they do they just don't want to tell her but this incident should end her career even if she gets back up on her feet I don't see it improving anytime soon. We don't need her we can replace her with Mari who is better at following rules also once we get rid of her and we have destroyed unit 02 we can close the German division down permanently they know far too much and it's always bothered me." Gendo put his gloved hands together. "Perhaps the fact that they know too much won't be an issue, any division that does know the truth about the Evangelion's core won't go public with it, they know that we can kill them if they talk."

Ritsuko sat back in her chair. "You know your son and daughter will fight you over Asuka, because she is a veteran and the public love her but mostly because she's a stupid angry force of nature. Its one of the reasons we've always hated her being on television because she hit one of the interviewers six years ago and it caused utter chaos. Plus her personal life has made her an utter embarrassment and a disgrace to Nerv. Need I not mention the event with the tourist woman named Hikari which caused a massive public uproar and tarnished Nerv's good reputation because it was so public? We had to pay out a massive amount of compensation money and all because she had a violent lapse in judgement. Also she won't go to live events like the others and in the last three years she has not been on television with the other pilots she has in very much vanished from public life, granted we've never had issues with selling her toys and merchandise but compared to the others she's just a waste of fucking space."

Gendo felt a sneer form as he turned to look at her. "I don't care for my children's opinions the fact is unless Asuka becomes useful to me in some manner I see no reason for her to be here. We are no longer fighting this battle with three pilots were now have six and loosing one will not hurt the program and I don't care for the outside world's opinions on that."

Ritsuko felt a coy smile form. "I have to ask you did you make an offside deal with Mari to make it that she crippled Asuka on purpose?" Gendo pushed up his glasses. "I don't make deals with pilots what happened was not my concern though it was inevitable having that amount of tension between two pilots who can't get along was going to end badly it was due to poor management from Misato." Ritsuko finished her cigarette stamping it out. "You know once Asuka gets back on her feet there will a press conference and she will have to attend it this time also the grand unveil of Toji's unit 05 is very close now it will be a matter of weeks."

Gendo put a hand on his thick beard. "None of that matters to me, that is Misato's arena and what happens is out of my hands." Ritsuko folded her arms. "Well Asuka will screw it up she always does its just one more nail in her coffin, she just doesn't know when to shut up when it actuality matters and when she does we can make her disappear and this time it will be for good." Gendo breathed in deeply. "Seele may want six pilots but I do not see there reasoning behind it and they have never opened up to us on the subject but I don't intend to fulfill their wish I've given so much to this program and I'm tired of their meddling."


Maya tightened the brace to the harness around Asuka's legs this was a very special bionic device that attached to the legs and pelvis and helped a person walk. It was normally used for paralyzed patients but she thought it might be helpful for Asuka she eased put her hand turning on the device while looking up at Asuka who was in the wheel chair dressed in a fresh set of hospital clothes with a new hospital shirt and trouser she was faced the walking bars.

She turned the device onto its highest setting as she had no intention of making this easy for her, she wanted Asuka to work the machine not the other around as it would help build her strength back up. She stood up going to the end of the walking bar where Geraldina was seated at the end looking uncertain. "Okay Asuka I know you can pull yourself up, because you got in to that wheel chair on your own." She raised her hands. "So pull yourself on to the walking bar."

Asuka breathed in deeply nothing about her was looking forward to this she had been dreading this all day. She took in a deep breath steering herself before pulling herself up hearing the bionic's shift as they helped her but only at the minimum. She couldn't help but cry out in pain as her legs started to burn just from being up right, she could only grit her teeth and bear it. Maya eased up her hand signalling her to come forward. "Walk to me Asuka just raise your foot slowly and easy."

Geraldina moved to end of the bar. "Come on little one come to me, you can do this." Asuka breathed in deeply trying to ignore the pain which was pure hell. She raised her foot slowly which only made it worse she could feel every muscle in her arms tensing as she held onto the bars. She eased up her foot bringing it forward only to feel her self stumble as her other foot refused to move the next moments turned to pain as she collided with the floor, painfully hitting it on her side. She sat up seeing that Maya was coming over to help her she raised her hand stopping her. "No don't help me up I can stand on my own!"

She grabbed the bar trying to pull herself up only for the intense pain to come again as she forced herself back on her feet hearing the bionics wind helping her to stand again. "I'm not going to beaten by this verfickte walking bar!" She tried to move her feet feeling her right leg move only for her left to once again freeze up. Maya watched as the left foot started to rise but it was talking so much effort. "Look Asuka you shouldn't force it, you have to take your time." Geraldina sat up the concern in her face. "She's right Asuka you can't force this, you need to be patient."

"I'm sorry is this a bad time?"

Maya turned around seeing that Rei had entered the room the concern in her green eyes. "No Rei please come on in we were just helping Asuka, you might want to give her some moral support." Rei adjusted her decorated short sleeve white shirt as she walked in only to watch as Asuka fell forward again the agony in her face as she pulled herself in to a sitting position the frustration in her face. She raised the milk shake in her hand. "Hey Asuka."

Asuka looked up speaking in a sharper tone that she meant to. "What?" Rei slowly leaned over the bar putting the milkshake near the red haired woman's face. "I got you something from down the Arcade , you said full dairy with caramel right?" Asuka turned sharply blinking in shock she slowly took it from her hands not thinking as she put her mouth to the straw feeling her taste buds explode. She'd missed this so much she closed her eyes enjoying the moment of pure bliss before opening them to give a Rei and a very silent thank you which she received giving her a wide smile in return.

Maya moved forward. "Hey! You're not meant to have that, give that to me Asuka." Asuka sneered at her not caring how cold her next words sounded. "You want this you can pry it from my dead fingers, because I'm not going to give it to you." Maya put a hand on her face groaning she turned to Rei who was leaning on the bar as Asuka carried on drinking oblivious to everyone. "She's not meant to have sugar right now." She looked at Geraldina who raised he hands as she spoke. "Don't look at me, her mother was never like this, I don't know where it comes from all I do know is you're not going to get that drink out of her hands now."

Rei stood up fully. "No offence Maya but if I'd been in here for as long as Asuka has I think the food and the room might send me stir crazy." She felt her eyes dart. "I think there's a phrase for that." Asuka didn't turn as she spoke calmly. "Yeah it's called cabin fever." Rei looked down at her. "Yes that's the phrase I was looking for." Maya raised her hand. "Please you don't have cabin fever Asuka."

Asuka took a sip from her milkshake. "How would you know you're not in side my head?" Maya moved over to her leaning against the bar. "Would you prefer that I brought Ritsuko down here, because for years she's wanted to get inside your head and not in a good way?" Asuka raised her hand. "Don't let that woman anywhere near me I can't stand her." Maya raised an eyebrow. "Yeah I thought you wouldn't be game for that, be happy it's me down here and not her because she really doesn't like you that much." Asuka lowered her gaze sadly. "Yeah well it's not like anyone really likes me that much around here anyway, so she can just take a number."

Rei put her hands in her trouser pockets. "Contrary to popular belief I like you." Asuka turned looking up at her for a long moment she was just being nice to make her feel better of that she was sure. She looked down realizing that she had just insulted her step mother. "Sorry that came out wrong with regards to Ritsuko." Rei pushed her short hair back. "Please don't apologise for that Asuka, she's not my mother Yui was my only real mother."

Geraldina watched the both of them careful as she spoke. "It must be hard having the director as your father." Rei looked up slightly. "No its not, he barely takes any notice of me." She put a hand on her chest. "You see I have the great misfortune of looking just like my mother so he can't bear to be around me let alone in the same room as me so we very rarely talk, he does talk to my brother Shinji but they never have great conversations." Asuka took a long sip from her milkshake before speaking. "Your father is an idiot since your mother was really beautiful and so are you."

Rei turned as she leaned over the bar getting somewhat in to Asuka's personal space. "Really you think I'm as beautiful as my mother?" Asuka breathed in feeling slightly uncomfortable at how close Rei was because it wasn't like she could crawl away at any great speed. She looked up as spoke very quietly. "Yes I do." Rei gave her a wide grin as she moved away. "You see this is why I like you Asuka unlike everyone else around here you always says just what you feel." She turned down as her watches alarm went off. "Damn it." She looked up. "I'm sorry to cut you all short but I have to go and practice out on the field." She leaned over putting a hand on Asuka's shoulder. "I'll come back and visit you later I'll bring a book with me okay?"

Asuka watched as she vanished from sight in truth she felt sad that she had, had to leave this was the first time in her whole time of being in the hospital wing that she'd felt the slightest bit happy. It wasn't just because the milkshake but the company. Geraldina eyed her granddaughter seeing the little lost kitten look in her good eye. "You should ask that girl out, she clearly likes you." Asuka rolled her eyes though her grandmothers had never had any issues with her sexuality ever since she had come out years ago she still found it difficult when she got involved in her relationships. "Seriously grandma, don't get involved in my love life."

Geraldina leaned forward. "But she likes you." Asuka narrowed gaze. "No she doesn't you're confusing her kindness as something which it isn't." Maya leaned on the walking bar again breathing in deeply. "No offence Asuka but sometimes you can be really dense towards other people's emotions and your grandmothers right Rei likes you, she's always liked you I see it in her face even though you two have not talked that much until recently." Asuka felt a sneer form. "Do not take my grandma's side Maya." Geraldina turned to the Japanese woman. "Have you been telling her this as well?"

Maya shook her head. "Trying to but she never listens to me." Asuka put her hand on the bar. "Look you're both missing the point she doesn't swing that way." Maya folded her arm. "Yet I bet you've never bothered to ask her what she does and doesn't like because you and I both know that sexuality can be fluid." Asuka sneered as she eyed her. "You sound like a pamphlet." Maya walked over to her. "Yes and wasn't it a pamphlet that made you come and see me ages ago because you were struggling deeply with your feelings in school?" Asuka folded her arms looked up at her. "I hate you so much right now."

Maya leaned over knowing that she didn't mean that at all it was just her not liking that she'd completely lost the argument and had not gotten in the last word. "Then how's about you drum up some of that anger and use it to get your feet moving." She tapped the bar. "Let's do this again Asuka on your feet lets see if you can get that left foot moving."

Asuka breathed in deeply as she once more struggled to her feet despite the pain it took, the only part that felt better was her stomach which was a least filled with something she enjoyed. She took a slow step forward trying to take the pain once more she didn't care how long it took she was going to force her left foot to move no matter how long it took. As for what the others were saying she didn't believe it one bit, they were just trying to give voice to something that didn't exist just to make her feel better because she couldn't walk. Rei didn't like her that way why would she ever like her that way?

The only real memory she had of pursuing Rei was in no sense a positive one she'd come onto her in a vile disgusting manner and been slapped for it. It was a slap she had rightly deserved and it was probably one of those memories that had stuck in Rei's mind because people always remembered you at your worst and never your best.


Misato looked at Shinji who was sitting at her table along with Rei she had invited them both over for lunch and general chat and to share a meal. She watched as Pen Pen eat his fish over in the corner. "So I need a favour from you guys." Shinji looked up instantly not liking where this was going. "What kind of favour?" Misato eased up a bunch of gold letter invitations. "I need you to give these to Toji, Kaworu, Mari and Asuka you're also invited as well." Rei took the event card opening it. "It's a beach barbeque." Misato felt a wide smile form. "There will be plenty of alcohol and food and you can all go swimming and diving, you know like you all used to when we were kids."

Shinji looked at his card. "You mean me Rei and Kaworu did, Asuka doesn't swim she doesn't like deep water she's really afraid of it. In school she had a panic attack when someone pushed her in the deep end as a joke, though they weren't laughing after she punched them and broke their nose." He looked up slightly. "She's never said that much only that her step parents really didn't take care of her when she lived there for two years and she nearly drowned in a lake she said her foot got tangled below and she couldn't surface she was six at time. She can swim on the surface in very shallow water but once it gets so deep that she can't touch the bottom she wants out." Misato leaned on her elbow. "She never tells me these things." She took a long drink from her beer can looking at the night sky outside her window. "I feel like even Maya knows more than me, when it comes to Asuka."

She looked up. "Have either of you seen her eye yet the damaged one?" Rei leaned forward taking some food from the central food bowl. "I saw her yesterday the eye isn't that good all cloudy and white in the pupil and she has a scar running down it as well and I saw her twice today she was trying to walk though not successfully. When I came back in the afternoon she was asleep and Maya said she still wasn't able to walk though it's not for a lack of trying, it's her left leg it's giving her real problems." Misato turned rummaging around in her bag. "Where is it? I know I put it in here some where." She pulled the item out "There you are?"

She eased up a packet which had a black patch which was made of velvet. "Since you've been going up there a lot Rei next time you go up there, you can give this to her." Rei took it from her hand turning it between her fingers. "Seriously an eye patch?" Misato leaned over the table. "Oh come on its cool, like a pirate or something and she won't want the scar showing." Rei breathed in deeply. "She's going to really hate this."

Misato took another long gulp of her beer can before turning to her. "Not from you she won't, you know I heard she accepted a food gift from you, she doesn't normally accept food gifts from anyone because she's far too proud about her own money." Rei tensed as her brother turned raising an eyebrow. "It wasn't a date, I wasn't buying her dinner…you get so hung up over small things that don't mean anything. She's been really ill she told me that she'd kill for an ice cream and caramel milkshake so I brought her one it was that simple and she's bored out of her mind up in the hospital wing." Misato felt her smile widen. "But you know it's the little things that go places."

Rei narrowed her gaze. "I'm not having this conversation with you Misato, not again." Misato leaned back. "Yeah but you know there was that one time in the past you when you two-" Rei slammed her hand down hard on the table causing them both to look at her more out of shock than anything else because it wasn't that often that she got angry. "Don't bring that up! You know it wasn't a good thing for me back then and Asuka had her own issues and she was going of the rails in terms of her sexuality. It was frightening and scary for me because I said no and she wasn't listening so I had to hit her really hard to get the point across."

She felt her body tense. "You don't know how scary it is to say no to someone who's that full of rage and confusion and how you have to wait for what feels like an eternity and pray that you don't hit you back and she could have very easily hit me back that day she just didn't." She sat back leaning on her elbow. "Have you ever looked in to Asuka's face when it's all rage and desire it's terrifying you get this feeling that she might just rip off your limbs and eat them."

Shinji looked at the floor sadly. "Rei is right on this one, it's scary because your not in control and you know it and she knows it and it can be very unpleasant granted with us its all consenting but I never felt like I knew Asuka, even in bed she never let her guard down when we were together. The relationship we had was so one sided and nether of us got better through it, we weren't right for one another I know that now but it took me years to see it." He looked at his drink. "She saw it though that was why she ended it." Misato leaned back as she spoke in a more serious tone. "People change, you've both changed she's changed." Rei put down her bowl. "It doesn't mean I don't still fear that side of her just because it's been resting for three years." Misato looked at her for a long moment. "Then why go visit her in the hospital, is it pity or guilt?"

Rei put the eye patch in her pocket. "It's neither, look I get it I'm probably setting myself up for a world of hurt but every time I look at her she just seems so lost in herself. Its like the world could be crumbling around her and she wouldn't ever notice and I think she very deeply depressed, it's just no ones bothered to notice and she just assumes that no one cares and it's not their problem to care."

She looked down sadly. "She literally assumes that almost everyone at Nerv hates her and she just accepts it, its so saddening." Shinji turned sharply. "She said that to you?" Rei met her brother's dark gaze. "Yes and the worst part is she's acted like she deserves it or something." She looked up at Misato whose face was unreadable. "We all know that her sync ratio has been down, it's dropping very slowly for three years, she's only just been with in with in tolerance maybe it's a weird twist of fate that she has this accident because we all know once she steps back into the entry plug that it's going to be even worse and its probably going to come up and she's not going to take it well. That is assuming she doesn't already know but hasn't said anything because she just doesn't care." Misato looked up slightly. "You're really worried about her aren't you?" Rei looked at her hands. "Yes."

Misato took a slow sip of beer. "You've always admired Asuka though maybe that's why you feel this way." Rei looked at her empty bowl of food. "Yes I always have, even when I didn't like her personally when we were at school, I respected her skills as a pilot and that's never changed to this day. There are days when I wish I could have that level of confidence and utter lack of fear. She also says just what she feels there's no smoke or mirrors what you see is what you get. She'll always tell you the truth and very few people at Nerv have ever been that honest with me other than you and Shinji."

She picked up a chopstick spinning it between her fingers. "I just wish I could have that sense of power and that I wasn't afraid to get angry some times I just want to let go and let the anger I'm feeling out but I don't know how and even if I did know how I think I'd be afraid of where it would take me." Misato leaned over watching as Shinji put his arm around his sister. "Do you want that anger so you can confront our father?"

Rei nodded but deep down she knew it was a half truth she wanted the anger so everyone would finally see that she didn't need protecting anymore, because they all did that. They protected her because she was the youngest. When she had been younger it had been fine but now it just annoyed her, it felt like constant hand holding.

Truth was even in the media she'd always been Shinji's little sister, never Rei Ayanami, which was the surname she had chosen to take, because she hated her father so she'd dropped his surname and taken on her mothers back. As it was a way to distance her self from him as he had refused to take notice of her. She wasn't even ranked high in terms of pilot favourites and the media loved to remind her of that everyday and every year at the annual press conference which was always streamed live to the world, she just felt like some lesser stage show which was behind the main event and it annoyed her no end.

She was just a good as the others she had worked just as hard and yet she never seemed to get the benefit and be recognised for her own accomplishments. Just once she wanted to get out of Shinji's shadow. Even when she'd caught Asuka's falling entry plug it had been ignored and all of the credit had gone to Shinji for punching Mari's unit in the mouth. She couldn't blame Asuka for disappearing from the limelight three years ago, the media had practically crucified her in the worst possible way and painted her as something truly demonic and unsavoury.

She looked down granted Asuka was very popular she was always in the top three next to Shinji and Kaworu but in the media never said nice things about her, even three years on. Maybe that was why she could relate to her on some level in that they were the same. In that they were both victims of the media and may be that was why she kept on visiting her, because she felt that they had that in common connection which she just didn't get with the others.

End of part 10


Chapter Text


Asuka eased up her left foot finally feeling it move for the first time, she forced it forward as she grabbed the bar tightly as she placed it down gritting her teeth due to the pain. She had to get out of the hospital wing she just couldn't stand the verfickte place anymore, it was starting to really get to her even though last night unlike the other nights she had dreamed off nothing.

She forced her other foot forward followed again by the other. She started what felt like the long march towards Maya who had a wide smile on her face as she moved towards her voice filled with happiness as she spoke. "Your doing it Asuka your nearly there, just keep going." Asuka carried on moving trying to ignore the sweat and the pure effort it took as she reached the end of the walking bar feeling Maya put her hands on her shoulders stopping her from falling forward. "I did it, I final did it..."

Maya smiled as she leaned down adjusting the bionic walkers devises settings. "Yes you did, now let's adjust the setting to make it easier for you." Asuka turned sharply looking down at her. "You mean you had it on the hardest setting this whole time!?" Maya stood up keeping her hand on Asuka's shoulder. "It was to help you build up your leg muscles Asuka and you're the one who is always saying that you hate things being easy." Asuka gave her a cold look. "If you weren't my friend I'd hit you right now, you know that?"

Maya helped her turn around so she could walk the other way. "Since that's from you I'll take it as a compliment." She raised her hand pointing towards Asuka's bed. "Now let's see if you can walk back to the start and your wheelchair." She looked up as Rei walked in, her leather bag in her hand as she gave her a wide smile as walking up to Asuka who looked tired. "Just wanted to see how you're doing Asuka."

Asuka eyed her as she started moving her feet which surprisingly easier this time around "Well I can walk." She turned gritting her teeth as she spoke. "I might have been able to walk a lot sooner, if Maya hadn't set the bionic legs to ultra hard." Maya sat down near by. "Look I'll make it up with a cocktail when you're discharged." Asuka carried on walking. "Please I don't even like cocktails, you know that." Maya eased up her tablet. "Okay how about lunch and a movie up in the Arcade of Nerv?" Asuka stopped turning slightly. "Wow now it just sounds like a really bad date, are you going to come out with a bunch of cheap pick up lines as well just to set the mood?"

Maya looked up giving her knowing smile. "Don't flatter yourself you're not my type." Asuka eyed her knowing this was all just in the spirit of fun between them. "No offence but the feelings mutual." Rei moved closer to Asuka as she came to a stop at the end of the bar and pulled herself in to the wheel chair opposite her bed. "Do you two always rib each other like this?" Asuka took the break off the wheel chair forcing it onto its back wheels keeping the front wheels in to the air as she balanced on it for a moment before forcing the front wheels forward again so they were on the floor. "Now and again, yes…"

Rei raised an eyebrow. "You never do this with Misato." Asuka put the break on as she looked up meeting her green eyes. "That's because Misato just makes everything about how often you screw a person or if you're going to date them, it's like some big game to her and I hate it, she has forever played me off against your brother growing up." She looked down at the floor sadly. "It was always we were going to date, we'd be together or we were a married couple and when we finally got together I just screwed it up so badly. I just thought that was where I was meant to be and what everyone always expected of me but I just wasn't happy there. It felt like some self fulfilled prophecy that I had no control over and it drove me crazy." Maya picked up her latte taking a sip. "You really need to let this go Asuka you've been carrying it around for years you're not that person any more."

Asuka pushed her red hair back. "Easy for you to say, you've never broken anyone to make yourself feel better because you were loosing it emotionally." She eyed her bandaged left hand. "Or forcing someone to try and understand you then punishing them viciously if they fail to do so."

Rei stepped closer to Asuka's wheel chair seeing the hurt in eyes which wasn't hidden at all. "You know Maya's right you should let this go." Asuka carried on staring into space her good eye not really focusing on anything. "Tell me that day when I forced you up against a wall in school before you slapped me, have you let that memory fade or does it grate at the back of your mind when ever time you look at me, like someone sharpening a knife?" Rei breathed in deeply she had not expected this conversation to go here and now it had she knew she had to answer it truthfully. "Sometimes yes, because it was very frightening for me but I don't see you as that person anymore Asuka."

Asuka looked down at the floor sadly. "Like I said before people always remember you at your worst, never your best." Rei looked up slightly. "No Asuka that's where you're wrong, I see all of the great things you've done and you've been a good friend to me and my brother." Asuka felt a sneer form. "Great things like what?" Rei folded her arms. "Well you are considered one of the most popular pilots by the press and media." Asuka looked at her for a long moment before speaking coldly. "I hate the press and the media most of the time they never have any thing nice to say about me so I don't watch the news feeds anymore."

Rei looked down sadly. "Personally I wish they would just notice me, to them I'm just Shinji's little sister I am always at the lower end of the polls." She raised her hand. "But it's not important and I'm going off topic." Asuka turned the wheel chair moving it closer to other woman. "No please tell me more, its just I didn't know that and Shinji always said that you were happy with how the media portrayed you." Rei rolled her eyes. "As much as I love my brother I hate when he acts like my mouth piece, no I'm not happy I hate being at the bottom of the ladder, even Mari is more popular than I am."

Asuka looked up in surprise. "Seriously, that verfickte four-eyed asshole is more popular than you?" Rei turned looking straight into her good eye. "Yeah depressing isn't it?" Asuka looked down for a moment before looking up. "That's worse than depressing it's just wrong on so many levels, since you've been on the program the longest along with Shinji and have had way more battles."

Rei leaned forward grabbing one of Asuka's wheel chairs handles. "I know." She raised her hand. "I tell the others this and it goes right over their heads, just once in my life I'd like someone to just notice me for me." Asuka looked up meeting her soft green eyes. "I personally don't see you as an extension to your brother, your two are very different people." She breathed in deeply. "Plus if it makes you feel better the polls don't mean anything, I learned a long time ago and you shouldn't put your self worth or value into them." Rei knelt down in front of her wheel chair. "That's a good point." Asuka gave her slight shrug. "It's just something I learned the hard way." She looked down sadly. "I know they paint me as an angry, stupid and violent German woman who has a low IQ but that's how its work for them, it's all about stereotypes."

Rei put a hand on her knee as she pulled out the patch from her pocket. "I never thought about it like that." She raised the patch so Asuka could see it. "You know I came to give you this it's from Misato and its waterproof." Asuka looked at the eye patch. "Seriously, she brought me this?" Rei looked at the dark patch. "Yeah she said that it should cover up the scar on your eye."

Maya carried on typing on her tablet. "You know Asuka people love war wounds and you'll have one of the best." She looked up slightly. "Plus it's a great talking point." Asuka took the patch from Rei's hand looking it over with her good eye as she spoke her voice thick with sarcasm. "Oh yeah great talking point, hey Asuka how did you go blind in your left eye? Well this four eyed British asshole stabbed me in the face while I had no control over the UN Alpha test unit." She gritted her teeth punctuating her next words. "She also pulled out part of my lower intestine just for the hell of it…it was really fun for me, I want to do it again sometime."

Rei looked up slightly. "Personally I think it will make you look heroic." Asuka turned to her feeling a wide smile form. "Well if you think that, then I'll try it out." She eased out the black leather and velvet patch putting it on finding that it was surprisingly comfortable and not to tight in the fitting she turned to Maya. "You think I look heroic to?" Maya looked up again. "No I think you look like a pirate." Asuka felt her smile fade as she folded her arms. "You're such a spoil sport." Rei slowly got to her feet easing out the gold invitation from her pocket. "Not to change the subject but this is also from Misato it's a few weeks from now."

Asuka opened the invitation reading it. "Please a beach barbecue…she knows I really hate swimming and I don't even own swimwear." Rei leaned against the walking bar. "I did mention that, she said you could come for the food and alcohol." Asuka turned the invitation between her fingers. "This is so stupid, plus they never ever cook the brisket how I like it." Rei took in a deep breath. "Well I can only get to eat the roasted vegetables with garlic noodles since I can't eat anything else they cook since it all red meat and I don't drink, well at least not to the levels that you and Mari do."

Asuka blinked looking up realizing that it had not even occurred to her that Rei might not like the food and she felt a little stupid for not noticing. "Maybe I could bring you something better, you know since you keep coming up here and giving me things." Rei raised her hand. "Its fine Asuka you don't have to bring me anything." Asuka looked up giving her best smile knowing that it looked more like a stupid toothy grin. "But I'd like to, if you tell me what you would really like."

Rei eyed her for a long moment she had not seen that smile before and it made her feel very on edge, because she knew full well that Asuka had another very dangerous version of that smile which she normally gave people right before she hit them, she breathed in steadying herself. "Teriyaki Tofu and vegetable dumplings would be great but don't trouble yourself." She stepped away from her seeing the red haired woman's smile fade. "I'll come and visit tomorrow if you're up."

Asuka watched as the younger woman vanished from she raised her hand in confusion. "What is it, I don't get it what did I say that was so wrong?" Maya shook her head. "Do I really have to tell you?" Asuka moved her wheel chair towards her. "Yes please tell me." Maya breathed in deeply before meeting her good eye. "Firstly whenever you say your going to do something for someone else you don't always do it and you have a terrible track record of getting distracted." She raised her tablet. "Secondly you only ever use that grin of yours when your being extremely condescending or if you are about to hit someone." Asuka raised her eyebrow. "How come you know this and you've never said anything about it until now?"

Maya looked at her for a long moment. "I'm your friend Asuka I just take you as you are despite your faults because you do the same for me." She raised her hand. "I've also spent enough time around you to see your better traits but sadly others haven't." Asuka looked down feeling all of her happiness fade away. "Yeah I get it people hate me, you don't have to remind me off that."

Maya looked up sharply. "No Asuka, people don't hate you, they just don't understand you and you don't let them in, you put up emotional walls just to keep them out. I only got past those walls myself because we have something very deep in common which is our sexualities but others can't get in because once they start getting through your layers you either attack them to keep them away or you withdraw because you're afraid that you're going to get hurt."

Asuka lowered her good eye to the floor she wanted to fight this but she knew Maya was right she was always right she just hated to admit it. She didn't hang around people because she knew she'd get hurt and it was just easier to be on the outside even though it made her lonely and miserable. She knew she'd already ruined this developing friendship with Rei even if she said she'd back tomorrow she already knew she wouldn't. Though they were nothing alike they did have one similarity in that they both with drew when they were afraid and she had no doubt really scared her.

Maybe it was just inevitable like a self fulfilled prophecy that always repeated in that she just ruined everything she touched it was just how things always worked out. The problem was she didn't know how to let people in and she was terrified of doing so just in case they took advantage of her or made her feel worthless.

Truth was other than her family she had never loved anyone in her whole life in that way, as much as she wanted to she just didn't know how. She didn't know how to just let that barrier down, she didn't know what it would cost if she did. She looked down feeling truly depressed maybe she'd spend the rest of her life this way and she'd watch others find there happiness. Though that was the one thing herself and Maya had in common in that they knew the sting of not getting what they desired though for Maya it was worse because someone she had truly loved which was Ritsuko had spat in her face and now like her, she was just in limbo.

She had never pursued Maya in that manner because she respected her and she knew they weren't right for each other and she was one of the few friends she had at Nerv and loosing that terrified her because she was the only person she could really talk to about certain things.


Toji eased up the heavy free weight with one arm, he had nothing to do and it would be a while before he could get home with his little sister Sakura he eyed the bag opposite which had a new school books in it, to help her with her studies. He looked up seeing the thick glass at the end of the exercise room which curving out wards forming a half circle.

There was a glass door which led out on to a balcony with some tables and chairs which overlooked the enormous lake-like swimming pool at the bottom which had diving boards and three winding water slides. They even had palm trees and two cocktail bars and wave machines. It also had high humidity and the whole place was like being in some tropical swimming paradise and it was unlike anything he'd ever seen before in his life.

On the other side was another glass level with jogging machines and it also had a balcony area with tables and chairs outside for drinking and eating and there were more glass levels above all with balconies and eating areas all had different sports going on in them on the highest floor was gymnastics and the middle floor was combat arts and training. The idea was that you could go out on to any balcony on any gym level sit and eat or drink something while looking down at the swimming pool below.

To his left was another glass area which was a small sauna and a large hot tub they had these areas on every level of the gym and the main spa itself was massive it made up a whole section as well, though it had been build between other sections and had parts on all of the levels, the idea being that you could walk in to the spa from any gym area.

Nerv was meant to be military yet being down here was like being in some wonderful paradise, with its massive Geo Front with the two glass pyramids where central dogma was located, above it were all these huge hanging downwards facing skyscraper sections like this one. he biggest being the Arcade shopping quarter which was massive and you didn't need to shop or eat in Tokyo three half the time because that section had everything your heart could ever desire. Nerv didn't fight angels though if an angel ever landed here, they could lower the training field if necessary and turn it over as on its underside were cannons and other weapons all ready to fire along with the Evangelion's proper guns which could be brought up fully loaded as the ones on the training field only fired hologram bullets.

Nerv also now had new equipment which was the attachable fold out wings they had come off some mass un-piloted Evangelion's project but the project had been an utter failure. Though they had been completely scrapped their wings attachments had been salvaged and could be put on to every Evangelion model so they could now fly out and meet the enemy. The only time they couldn't be used was out in space as that needed to be switched with the special rockets attachments and the Evangelion's had to locked away inside two shields which could be opened once you got out in to space.

Pilots were often sent out to do crazy things like deal with natural disasters and save sinking civilian's ships or even moving sunken ships to new places to create coral reefs habitats. Nerv had to remain neutral during warfare but pilots were often sent out to protect fleeing refuges and medical ships and help if there were problems with the Eos space station.

It was work that every pilot had to do regardless of whether they wanted to or not and it was great publicity but it got messy sometimes as there was a the law which was that no army anywhere in the world was allowed to fire on an Evangelion who was trying to do a rescue and if they did so they did it at there peril as pilots could turn around and kill them and sadly this happened quite often because there was two terrorists groups that really wanted the technology and who some how believed that they could shoot through twelve thousand plates worth of fortified armour just to see the internals underneath.

They had never been successful but it wasn't for a lack of trying this was one of the reasons Mari had been brought in because throughout the years Asuka had always been the protection who looked after other Evangelion pilot's which was normally either Shinji, Rei or Kaworu who was trying to deal with the disaster or civilians and couldn't fight while they were doing so. Asuka though had been seriously over stretched doing this and now Mari was acting as a guard just to take the strain away from her. So she didn't have to go out every single time and he had been told that he would be a guard unit as well. It was not something he was looking forward to in the slightest because unlike Asuka or Mari he didn't get that pleasure out violence towards other human beings.

They both enjoyed fighting and killing and they got a certain high from that level off power it gave them, for Asuka it was full on violence with no real off switch. While with Mari it was like some crazy adrenaline rush where she loved pushing her limits. In fact it kind of scared him how they both acted that way sometimes because neither of them cared if they killed people they showed no remorse and both of them always said the same thing: That if people were stupid enough to fire up on them then they were going to get what was coming to them and that they would kill them.

He felt differently because his parents had been made poor through war and he had seen people die in front of him they'd been shot and killed in the streets and it was horrifying and it was over nothing more than food. He shook his head pushing those images out of his mind as he didn't want to relive them, because despite how he felt personally he was one of the lucky few to ever make the Evangelion program and it meant that his little sister was now well taken care of and had good health care and always had food to eat and he could buy her nice things.

He turned seeing that Shinji and Kaworu were talking together in the hot tub behind the glass to his left. They did this three times a week they were best of friends and very close and cared very deeply about each other. He wasn't sure if it was romantic or sexual love and he wasn't very good with seeing that kind of thing anyway.

He also had no interest in pursuing relationships his little sister was all that mattered to him right now and her having a good life. He eyed his bag opposite which had her books in it, he always made sure that she was close and though she couldn't go in to the lower restricted levels she was schooled with the other employees children in one of the hanging skyscrapers lower sections and every night he took her home and he tried to spend as much time with her as possible, granted he was doing the job of both a mother and father but he really didn't care.

He raised the free weight again only to feel a hand on his shoulder he turned seeing that Mari was behind him a wide smile on her face. She was in her combat gear and had replaced her cracked glasses lens with a new one. "Hello Mari, nice to see they discharged you at long last." Mari sat opposite him on a stool. "Yeah well believe you and me it sucks in that place." She felt her whole body tense. "I swear I heard voices last night and the corridor was empty."

She raised her hand. "Also I saw this weird looking little blue haired girl with red eyes down there, she walked right past my room but she ignored me completely and she kind of looked like Rei but was much younger." Toji felt a smile form. "I think you were high on pain killers Mari, I've heard they do things to your head." Mari felt her smile fade. "This wasn't pain killers there was a fucking creepy little school kid in the hospital wing, I mean Kaworu has a medical condition that causes his white hair and red eyes but she wasn't like that, she seemed really unnatural somehow."

Toji put down the free weight. "You know it might have been a ghost, I mean they say that there are a lot of ghosts left over from the second impact that people sometimes see walking around." Mari put her hand through her dark brown hair in frustration. "She wasn't see-through or a shadow she looked really real." Toji looked up meeting her dark turquoise eyes. "I still think it might have been your drugs." Mari breathed in deeply. "Look I know what being really high on medical drugs is like, this wasn't like this, it wasn't even fun."

Toji felt a smile form as he pushed his short thick dark hair back. "Maybe you should tell Misato." Mari looked down as she adjusting her red framed glasses. "She wouldn't believe me anyway and I doubt she'll talk to me right now since I put Asuka in the hospital wing." She turned eyeing the hot tub through the glass where Shinji and Kaworu were talking. "Seriously are those two ever apart?" Toji stretched as he lay back against the weight machine. "No they are always together."

Mari folded her arms. "Are they dating?" Toji raised his hand. "I really don't know, I mean I heard a rumour that Kaworu has romantic feelings for Shinji but they are not together as far as I know." Mari turned pulling her rucksack over opened it. "I got you this I had it ordered in from home it's for your little sister." Toji smiled as she brought out a teddy bear which was dressed in red royal guardsman's gear complete with a black bearskin hat." Mari took hold of the teddy bears arm moving it. "People love these back home."

Toji took it from her hand. "This is great she'll really love this." Mari gave him a wide smile. "Yeah well since I visit you now and again I thought maybe this time I'd bring something worth while." Toji raised a hand. "You can come around when ever you want Mari you're always welcome in our home." He looked up slightly. "But I really don't get your whole deal with bringing forks and spoons whenever you come over." Mari raised both hands. "I suck at using chopsticks okay."

End of part 11


Chapter Text


Rei sat down on her seat on the three seat sofa in the pilots wreck room easing up her hand held once again she was alone here as it was that time of the day. She was bored she was always bored at this time of day and she had wanted to visit Asuka but that wide toothy grin had just put her at such much unease, it just reminded her all over again of her bad memories in school with Asuka.

The sad part was although she'd said to Asuka that it didn't get to her it did, it always had because it made her feel like she had no control. Yes Asuka had changed but maybe some memories just didn't die, Misato was right maybe it was just guilt or pity that drove her to that hospital room day after day. Maybe she was just going up there for all the wrong reasons it was just no one else was really visiting her and everyone was keeping there distance to a certain degree.

Yes they all visited but it was just drop by visits no one ever stayed over an hour with her, she was the only one. Maybe she just went up there was because the only thing she had in common with Asuka was loneliness in that she wasn't really part of the group at least not in the way she wanted to be. Mari was very good friends with Toji and Shinji and Kaworu were also very close and she just hung around the group but she didn't feel close with anyone other than her brother, though she got on well enough with all of them apart from Mari.

Also there interests and hers were very different, they had no interest in gymnastics and they didn't like motorbikes or even speed they even lived in an old fashioned way, where as she liked the to live in a more modern way even if her house was somewhat minimalist. She eased her bare feet out of her sandals folding her trouser legs over as she lay back on the sofa, Asuka was also honest the others even her brother tried to sugar coat everything so as to not hurting her feelings.

Sadly though Asuka was difficult and she was never quite sure what was going on in her head as her emotions could switch so sharply and that dangerous element scared her because she'd seen her brother get really badly hurt by it. She should just leave Asuka alone, she could walk now she'd probably just go back to her own solitary life and bounce back as she always did after injury it was what she was very good at. Maybe three months from now she wouldn't even care to remember that she was there or that they'd ever talked at all.

"I thought I might find you here."

Rei looked up seeing Maya quietly enter the room closing the double doors behind her. "Hello Maya." She paused her game. "Is everything okay with Asuka?" Maya moved forward carefully seating herself in Asuka's seat much to Rei's surprise. "Yes she's fine I thought you'd come up this afternoon." Rei looked at her game. "I was just tired." Maya felt a wide smile form. "Are they running you ragged on the training field?" Rei looked up. "A little yes, I think it's the training of Toji it's getting very serious now."

Maya breathed in seeing no point in playing down what was really on her mind. "You know Asuka really missed your afternoon visit today, I mean she was looking at the glass for a long time wondering if you'd show up and seemed kind of sad when you didn't." Rei looked up slightly. "Yeah well I'm sure she has many other friends around Nerv visiting her, other than me." Maya looked up. "No there aren't, yes Shinji and all the others except Mari have visited her but you're the only one to spend any real time with her since the accident and I think she really misses your company." Rei leaned on her elbow. "Look she's Asuka, she doesn't need company she makes it very clear that she doesn't want or need people in her life."

Maya felt a sad smile form. "People sometimes push others away because their afraid to mess things up and their scared of opening up." Rei looked up sharply. "Asuka isn't afraid of anything least of all loneliness, I've seen her house it screams that she likes her own personal space." Maya put her hands together. "You mean her home with the recliner chair and the sofa that no one sits in or sleeps on yet she still has it there even though it's empty as if hoping someone might sit there one day."

Rei felt her eyes dart in confusion. "You've been to her house?" Maya nodded calmly. "Yes many times but I've never told Misato because she would take offence as she's never been able to reach out to Asuka and she can't understand why Asuka keeps her at a distance and it's all to do with trust, she doesn't trust Misato with her secrets." She breathed in deeply. "I've known Asuka for years I've seen her at both her best and her worst and it pains me that people don't give her a chance because she has a unique and some times difficult personality."

She looked down sadly. "Because under there is someone who has a very warm heart and there just dying to get out." She leaned back in the chair. "She just doesn't know how and I just want her to be happy." Rei put her hand held console to one side. "I don't get it why are you two not together?" Maya shook her head as she looked up. "We are not right for each other, we never have been and we both know that and our friendship means more as we support each other." She raised her hand. "Look Rei all I'm asking is that you give Asuka a chance, because you know once you get past those walls you might really find that you like the person underneath and you might see someone worthy of your time."

She stood up slowly. "I'm the only real friend she's got and every day it worries me that when an angel attacks I might die and she will be all alone in the world without a single person that she can trust or count up on or turn to. She really needs someone other than me in her life." She put her hand in her lab coat pocket. "In fact that stupid toothy smile she gave you, I know why it scared you but believe me she very rarely tries to smile at anyone that way and ever since you started spending time with her, she's been trying with you in a way she doesn't with other people."

She moved towards the double doors. "Look I'm not telling you how to live your life or what to do and you're perfectly entitled to carry on as normal regardless of my opinion but I'm just saying that that you could be missing out and Asuka could be a great friend to you and she will always protect you fiercely from any one who means you harm." She opened the doors. "Asuka will be discharged tomorrow morning all being well though she'll have to wear the leg bionics under her clothing until her legs fully heal. All of her drugs are working and since she's not going to have stem cell therapy on her left eye or have a robotic replacement there's no need for her to stay any longer in the hospital wing. Though I think she'll be happy to leave the place it is driving her crazy and she keeps complaining about having strange dreams."

She turned meeting the younger woman's curious gaze. "Her grandmother is also leaving tonight as she has to return to the German division and it will be a while before she returns and you might want to say hello just to see how she's doing, I think she would like your company." Rei watched as she left she had not expected this conversation at all and now she felt out of sorts and very confused.

Asuka had always boasted about having friends and being adored by everyone in Nerv in her youth but now that she thought about it Asuka had not been to the annual Christmas party where all the employees met up and talked for the last three years. Was she really that lonely? She found it hard to wrap her head around that concept as Asuka had always been so outgoing and she was good at making conversation when they'd first met on the program. Maybe she no longer knew how to make conversation anymore or maybe her interests like her own just didn't reach people and she couldn't relate to anyone anymore on a personal level.

As sad as this was if she was honest with herself she probably knew why Asuka was alone, Asuka was alone because she'd burnt all of her bridges in the past and no longer knew how to repair them that wasn't for her to fix them despite what Maya was saying she couldn't fix Asuka only Asuka could do that herself. Her brother had gotten so badly hurt walking that road and she just didn't feel up to doing the same.

It was just too much work and effort and the danger was just too great because the red head had always had such a short fuse in the past and she just didn't want feel up to facing that kind of wraith. Maybe it was selfish to walk away and not pay any mind to Maya but she couldn't help it, it was just not a path she wanted to walk down even if they did become closer as friends it would always be onesided because Asuka was always so much about herself, it had always been that way and she doubted it would ever change any time soon.


Geraldina looked at her granddaughter who was sitting on the bed in her white hospital trousers and shirt with the bionics still locked to her legs she was walking now though she would have to carry on wearing this device up until her legs fully healed but she was going to be discharged later on tonight. She was staring at the glass with her good eye as if waiting for someone to come and she had a very good idea who. "Is your friend Rei not coming today?"

Asuka looked down sadly. "No she's not coming today." Geraldina put her hand on her granddaughters. "I'm sorry Asuka." Asuka shrugged. "It doesn't matter anyway." Geraldina looked down sadly she knew by the hurt tone that it did matter and because of this she felt bad for what she had to say next. "You know I have to be back in Germany by tonight, but believe me I don't want to, if I could stay longer I would you know that right?" Asuka pulled up her knees leaning her head against them as she wrapped her arms around them. "I know Grandma." Geraldina pulled up her bag easing something out. "I brought these for you from Germany ." She raised the data discs. "They belonged to your mother." Asuka took one from her hand looking at it. "What are they?"

Geraldina breathed in deeply. "They are your mother's videos of you being grown and born right up to your birth and there's some videos of when you lived with that other family there's also lots of videos of your mother working on 02. They're copies I have the originals back home and I know I should have given them to you years ago but I never felt that you were ready, I think now maybe you are." She looked down sadly. "I know your mother would have wanted you to have them, you can play them right, I mean disc format isn't too old, I know young people are now using data cards?"

Asuka turned the gleaming disc between her fingers. "No Grandma it's perfectly fine, I've always preferred discs anyway I only have four data cards and I only ever use them for home projects because it gives me the hologram screen which makes it easier to work on my bike, my real bike that is not the crappy one I use for work." Geraldina looked up as she laughed. "You call that bike crappy yet you built it from the ground up, it was your first real major project before the Trident before that you just built engines and sold them off."

Asuka looked up. "Its still sucks." Geraldina felt a smile form. "I saw that the Trident is almost finished have you ridden it yet?" Asuka felt a slight smile form. "Once or twice yes, engine still isn't right I need to fix the power core usage it keeps draining to fast." Geraldina put a hand on her arm. "I'm so proud of you building that I mean you built it from parts which you pulled in from all over the place." Asuka shook her head. "Yeah well I wasn't going to get on the waiting list it's far to long, it was just easier to buy in everything and build it from scratch, it also meant I could convert the engine to go faster and smoother while using less power from the cells among others things."

She looked at the discs. "Thank you Grandma, for the discs and everything you've done it means a lot." Geraldina gave her a wide smile. "Any thing for my granddaughter, I'm just so glad that they got you walking I feared you might not ever walk again." Asuka eased up a finger to her eye patch. "I told you before Maya is an incredible friend and doctor she can heal up almost anything."

Geraldina put her hands together. "I know that but have you had any second thoughts about your left eye? I mean a robotic one might be helpful." Asuka shook her head carefully piling up the data discs. "I don't want a robotic one and besides you could have a robotic replacement finger but you've always said you don't want one."

Geraldina eyed her hand looking at her four fingers. "That is true but you can live without fingers eyes are a different matter." Asuka shook her head. "I don't need perfect vision inside the entry plug Grandma, the Evangelion's systems can also compensate for the sight loss they just need re-calibrating." Geraldina nodded calmly. "So long as you're sure Asuka and you can always change your mind."

She looked up slightly. "On the topic of your friend Rei, I think you should maybe talk to her she seems so nice." Asuka looked down trying to hide her sadness. "Look we are not friends Grandma and she just brought up things maybe because she felt guilty that the others weren't visiting." Geraldina felt a coy smile form. "I don't know about that, I think maybe your seeing to much of the negative and not the positive." She folded her arms. "After all she brought you, your favourite drink." Asuka raised an eyebrow. "Please that doesn't mean she likes my company." She raised her hand. "Why are you pushing this on to me Grandma?" Geraldina stood up putting her hand on hers. "Because I really want you to be happy, I think you deserve that."

Asuka looked down knowing her next words were an outright lie as she spoke them. "I am happy." Geraldina looked at her she wasn't fooled by that remark in the slightest she leaned over putting her hand under her granddaughters chin turning her head to face her. "Don't lie to me Asuka, I know you better than that and you're a terrible liar, you always have been." She breathed in deeply. "You might be able to pull the wool over the whole of Nerv and even your best friend Maya but I can see right through you. I know you're not happy. You've not been happy for a long time and you're trying to do what you always do which is burying your feeling under bravado and hope that no one notices."

She moved her hand away. "It's not weak or cowardly to reach out to others and ask for help or to want company and I think we both know that you've been on your own too long." Asuka looked down unable to keep the anger out of her voice. "You don't understand I created this! Because I was an insurable egoistic know it all in my youth, I hurt a lot of people hurt a lot of feelings and I felt a trail of wreckage in my wake. I broke hearts and ruined friendships and these people have every right to hate me and to not want to be around me."

Her anger melted away turning to sadness as she felt the sting of her own tears. "I don't even know how to reach these people anymore and even if I did I know they'd just read out all my past misgivings to me and the worst thing is I know I deserve their every misgiving because when they needed me I wasn't there for them, I only cared about myself." Geraldina slowly wrapped her arms around her this was truly heartbreaking and confirmed her suspicions that her granddaughter had been both lonely and depressed for a while but was just too proud and afraid to admit it to anyone.

"You shouldn't give up hope Asuka, you changed other people have changed and it's a long time since you've been that person. These people here should give you a second chance you deserve that much and if they don't then they are truly cruel and you don't owe them anything." Asuka breathed in painfully ignoring the tears as they ran down her face, if only she could believe that she was worth that chance, the truth was that she wasn't, no one had ever been her savour and she didn't expect anyone here at Nerv to drop everything on her behalf.

When her life had been all about her being a pilot it had been easy to ignore her other emotions but years on she realized she nothing outside of being a pilot in fact she no longer cared if she was sitting in 02 seat or not, it didn't mean anything to her anymore because in the past six months she had just been going through the motions. Her only ability was to kill people when they were out on public missions and to be the lethal stick to beat the angels with last minute, outside that her value was nothing to the team.

Even her own hobbies didn't mean anything to her anymore, truth was the bike could have been finished weeks ago but she'd just had no energy for it, nothing made her happy money wise and nothing moved her emotionally she just felt dead inside. The loneliness was the worst though and she knew it. It was always in the back of her mind that she would never find anyone who loved her be they man or woman and that she would die alone and no one would care to mourn her passing and she'd just become a forgotten shadow.

The worst sensation of all though the one though that caused her so many problems was the anxiety and it was getting harder and harder to hide it and her dreams did not help at all in fact they made it worse. She kept seeing this monster over and over he seemed so real, he even called himself Bardiel and every part of her wanted to believe that he was just in her head but the things he came out with were so real. He felt real, his actions seemed real and the way he got into her feelings and mind terrified her every time.

She just wanted to run and hide from him but she never could, she was never in control in the dreams he was. She knew she couldn't talk about him to anyone because everyone would believe that she had gone crazy and her greatest fear of all was ending up like mother had been which was behind glass in a ward for people who had lost there minds. She'd rather die than go through that because she knew she'd never be able to handle it mentally.

Her mother had hung herself from a rope along with her stupid doll which she believed to be her, though she'd grown past her hated of dolls. The whole event still stuck in the back of her mind like a knife and she knew it was the one thing she was weak against as she knew people could use it against her out in the real world and that terrified her. Because no one liked her enough to defend her she knew that they'd all turn on her in a heartbeat because of her past actions.

End of part 12


Chapter Text


I'm home and yet I'm not even happy as I drive my motorbike into my own drive it feels like such a long time since I was here and it all looks the same only difference is my sunflowers are growing taller. I ease myself off my bike which is awkward because of the bionics under my motorbike leathers then I put the key lock in to my garage door watching as it opens allowing me to drag my bike inside. I put it next to my other motor bike the Trident and pull my helmet off putting it aside before walking out and closing the garage which locks the moment I take the key out. I turn seeing the train go by some distance away there in a station close by but I don't use it, never have I hated being packed in tight around people.

Asuka walked over to her door pushing in the key lock watching as the metal shutter went up. She unlocked the wooden door walking through in to nothing but darkness she closed the door behind her locking it, hearing the metal shutter come down on the other side to stop any one getting in.

She walked over putting her other key in the IDHS watching as her house came to life as it always did as the lights turned on and flat screen TV came down. She looked down as Erika ran up to her meowing as she rubbed against her leg she leaned down gently picking her up. "Hello Erika." She gently stroked the cats face. "Did you miss me?"

She carried the little animal over to kitchen seeing that her coffee machine had started to churn out fresh coffee. "I really missed you they don't allow pets in Nerv's hospital ward." She walked over to the cat food bowls which needed filling. "Let's get you fed okay?" She put down her cat opening the cupboard finding her wet and dry food refilling them along with the water as she stroked Erika's back as she started to tuck in.

She moved over taking her fresh coffee out of the machine taking a long sip, it was so nice to taste fresh coffee again, Nerv's coffee always tasted foul she hated manufactured coffee, it wasn't real coffee unless it was made from fresh beans in a coffee grinder. "You have no idea how much I've missed this." She looked up slightly. "Nerv's coffee is so disgusting it's like drinking tar."

"Do you humans always talk to your animals?"

Asuka snapped around seeing a huge black form lying on her sofa in a cat like manner she put down her coffee as her hand went straight for the Korth combat revolver which was hidden under the kitchen counter out of sight. She pulled it up pointed it in the black forms direction seeing the mouth filled with razor sharp teeth smile as the red eyes narrowed. "Get out of my house before I blow your verficktes brains out!" She slowly pulled the trigger back despite how much it hurt to even hold this gun due to her shoulder injury.

Bardiel laughed coldly. "You're going to try and blow me away with that? It's not even an automatic." Asuka felt a cold sneer form on her lips. "Oh really what makes you even think that it not being an automatic would lessen your chances of dying it I shoot you?" Bardiel eyed her disgust. "All you will do is blow holes in a perfectly nice leather two seat sofa." He tapped his clawed fingers on the leather. "Plus you can't even fire that gun due to your shoulder injury which still hasn't fully healed."

Asuka watched as her gun hand rattled. "You are not real…you can not be real, you're the medical drugs talking to me!" Bardiel swung his huge thin tail upwards. "You know it's only come to this because you keep denying that I exist outside of your dreams, so I felt it better to show myself in your every day life because you just can't wrap your small mind around the concept of my being real. It must be a real burden to have a high intelligence level yet for it to be so wasted on you, because of your high stupidity level."

He stretched out on the black sofa getting more comfortable. "I mean you're fighting my angelic brothers and sisters who come from space and yet you can't wrap your mind around the concept of me hiding out and infecting your brains cerebellum." He raised a clawed hand. "Oh don't worry I'm not altering anything in there, I don't care for changing your award winning personality or how you behave I just enjoy being inside you looking out at this human world." His red eyes narrowed. "Plus if they ever do find I'm hiding up here, well they won't get me out because to do so they'd have to literally crack open your skull and I will kill you before they ever succeed, because if I can't have you no one can." He paused. "Sound familiar wasn't that your favourite line to use on Shinji once during one of your many arguments?"

Asuka lowered her gun putting it on the counter she wanted to throw up, she could feel herself shivering as she laid her elbows on the table putting her head in her hands. "This is my bad karma coming back to haunt me."

Bardiel felt a wide smile form. "Karma I don't understand that concept please explain." He stopped hearing the whispering of her inner subconscious thoughts which he could now easily tap into. "No wait I've got it, its already rolling around in your mind, it refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect that being that your bad actions in the past are coming back to hunt you, in other words because you've been an utter asshole your being correcting spirituality in the present as a way of balancing the universes scales."

Asuka moved over to her fridge pulling out one of the strongest alcohol bottles she had before closing it hard. "You know what, screw this I'm going to get drunk." Bardiel tapped his claws on her sofa. "Ah yes because drinking will just make all your problems go away, it never helped you all those years ago it won't help you now." Asuka cracked open the cap of the bottle. "No I was more thinking along the lines that it might make you go away since alcohol affects brain function." She raised the bottle. "I do hope you enjoy." Bardiel flicked his tail around. "You think I fear liquid?" Asuka moved over to her bag pulling out her grandmothers discs. "You should because by the time I'm done you won't be here."

She turned to her flat screen picking up the first disc which she slotted it in to the player before sitting in her reclining sofa chair trying to ignore him. "Play!" Bardiel laid his head on his clawed hands. "You know you're going to fail Asuka and I know you, the one thing you can't stomach is being a failure, though you don't put your whole life into being a pilot anymore, you still can't stand the idea of being the most unless pilot of group."

Asuka ignored him as the first video started to play it was some old film of when she'd been with her step parents it was old footage of her running around their garden with the other girl she'd lived with. "Next!" She watched as another video began to play of her running around towards the huge lake by her step parent's house pointing at it. "Next!" The video changed again though this time the footage was completely different. It was in a hospital room but not the mental ward, it was a children's ward she could see teddies and kids drawings clearly her grandmother had these films out of order on the discs it was something she could fix though. Her mother's face suddenly appeared in front of the camera grabbing the lens gleefully as she spoke. "She's in here." Her grandmother's voice came from behind the camera. "Kyoko be careful you're going break the lens."

Her mother laughed as she walked toward a machine which was like a dice cube with soft edges though inside it had what looked to be a living womb where a small being was growing inside red liquid it was tiny in size and there was an umbilical cord attached to the living womb wall which was feeding it nutrients just like a real mothers womb would. Her mothers face was a picture of joy as she put her hand on the glass. "She's only ten weeks old she's going to be so beautiful."

Her grandmothers voice came again as she beamed the camera in much closer. "What are you going to call her?" Her mothers green eyes lit up and she pushed her long blonde hair back. "She's going to be called Asuka, which means to fly." Her grandmother spoke again. "Did you alter anything Kyoko?" Her mother adjusted her lab coat as she folded her arms. "I had them alter just a few things." Her grandmother's voice came again though it sounded less that impressed. "Kyoko…"

Her mother put her hand on the glass again. "Look I altered her hair colour it's going to be red and she'll have sky blue eyes just like you." Her grandmother's voice came again filled with uncertainty. "I thought you said you were going for all natural." Kyoko raised her hand. "Yes I know but I want her to stand out, I want the world to notice her and people think I'm a dumb blonde because of my hair colour despite that I'm anything but and I don't want her to go through that and no ones going to judge red hair."

Her grandmother's voice came again laced with thick sarcasm. "No not unless she goes to live in Britain then they'll just call her ginger as an insult." Her mother rolled her green eyes. "Why must you always ruin my moment?" She turned back to the case putting her hands on it. "To me it doesn't matter she's going to be my little girl and I'm going to love her forever, no matter where she is I'll always be there to protect her and I'll always be there for her."

Asuka felt the tears as they started to run down her face, she yanked the patch off feeling them stream down from her damaged eye. "Pause..." She carried on crying unable to hold it back. "Copy this to my VR helmet and place it under restricted personal files." Suddenly the beer she was drinking was welcoming but not to numb the emotions but just to get washed away in them.

She had not cried in so long and now it felt so welcoming she had always had horrible memories of her mother being cold and hateful towards her in the mental ward yet here she loved her, here she was showing her selfless love and devotion. She pulled the bottle up no longer caring that she was drowning herself in alcohol as the tears carried on running down her face.


Rei lay back in her chair crossing her legs as she read the book in her hands only to hear the phone go off near her computer she breathed in leaning over pressing it watching as a man dressed in a well pressed black suite appeared who was in his fifties. "Oh it is just you Shigeo, you know I have told you countless times not to call me here, Nerv probably has my phone tapped." Shigeo leaned forward. "Oh but then I wouldn't get through to my favourite Evangelion pilot and you need not worry Rei I'm having this line scrambled they'll think your ordering in a vegetarian pizza which I'm having sent to your home as we speak." Rei ignored him as she carried on reading her book. "Please your flattery isn't flattering, what do you want?"

Shigeo breathed in deeply. "We both know what I want, to bury your asshole father seven foot under like old Tokyo and make your brother head of Nerv, I would make you head but you say you don't like to lead." Rei looked at him for a long moment before speaking. "Yes well take a number half the world hates my father including myself and my big brother."

Shigeo raised a bushy eyebrow. "Well if you give me what I want this can be dealt with." Rei looked up slightly from her book. "You know I have no intention of giving you any internal information on Nerv because betraying my father means death." Shigeo blinked in shock. "You're his daughter." Rei turned the page. "It won't make any difference, plus since I remind him so much of my mother he just can't stand being around me so I doubt he'd miss me."

Shigeo's face turned to disgust. "Your mother was far too good for him and you are just as beautiful as she was, personally I'm surprised you're not married yet have you considered getting married at all?" Rei narrowed her gaze she deeply disliked this man because like most politicians he wasn't being genuine and he had an a genders and he loved to stroke and flatter ego and he saw her as a target since he'd given up on Shinji ages ago, personally she found him really creepy and she just wished that he'd just leave her alone. "Good night Shigeo…" She leaned over pressing the button turning him off before he could protest.

She sat back only for a strange thought to enter her mind she leaned over normally she wouldn't ask anyone for help but she was so sick of this man trying his luck with her and the one person who had real experience with this kind of crap was Asuka because her grandmother had taught her how to deal with it and she might give her some good advice. She had returned home tonight so she was bound to pick up she leaned on her elbow as she spoke. "Call Asuka..."

The hologram screen came up as it rang she looked at it as it carried on ringing only for the answer phone to go off which was Asuka voice recording. "I'm sorry this is Asuka Langley Soryu, I'm not in right now so please leave a message after the tone and I'll get back to you…unless you're a pervert or a jerk off."

Rei rolled her eyes as she spoke. "Hi it's Rei here, I'm guessing your properly asleep right now, could you give me a call back I need to talk to you about something." She breathed in deeply. "Or we can chat about it tomorrow." She felt her eyes dart as she remembering something she needed to pass on to Asuka from Kaji. "Your new plug suite is ready your getting the updated design like Mari and Toji, they say they've calibrated the fitting it will be in your glass locker tomorrow." She watched as the recording ended, clearly she was asleep.

She turned sharply as a harsh knock came she already knew who it was as she stood up putting her book to one side as she opened her door seeing the Pizza delivery woman smile at her as she raised a large pizza box. "Delivery for Rei Ayanami, no need to pay for this one it's already been paid for." Rei took the box from her eyeing it coldly. "Great." The woman gave her a wide smile. "You know you get a lot of deliveries you must have a secret admirer or something." Rei forced a smile as she looked up. "Thank you and goodnight." She slammed the door shut hearing her metal shutter come down completely on the other side.

She walked over to her kitchen counter throwing the box on it. She didn't even like pizza so yet again she'd be giving this to Shinji. She opened the box instantly catching sight of something hidden under the base she eased it out seeing that it was a brand new top of the range data card which was pure red in colour. There was a message written at the top in bold letters. "Sending you all my love, Shigeo."

Rei looked at it in disgust as she put the box to one side on her white kitchen counter. Great yet another data card gift from this man which she really didn't need she had six of these and she only needed three since they were the equivalent of having a desk top machine in an ultra thin card and mostly used when working on holographic simulation projects. She walked over to her computer tossing the card in the metal lock box with the others she needed to get rid of some of these sometime as she hated having more than she needed of anything as she liked everything to be practical.

She sat down on her sofa opening her book watching the pedal bikes go by from her small apartment's wide window as the rain pelted down soaking the street which had a little market near by and some restaurants which were lit up with neon lights and banners. She looked down sadly her father would probably never know or care that two years ago she had talked Shigeo out of attacking Nerv because he wanted to brand them traitors and get rid off them but she'd said it would do no good and the world needed the Evangelion project and if it ever ended the world would be over because the three major terrorists groups would move in for the kill. She had such mixed feelings about her father despite that she hated him, he was still her father and she found it so difficult sometimes to navigate her feelings.

Maybe because there were times, when she was in Tokyo Three shopping which she did on rare occasions when she saw fathers with there daughters who were who age talking and eating and she just didn't have that in her life and sometimes it made her feel really empty and slightly resentful that she couldn't be them even if it was just for a single day. The other problem was she just had no understanding of Nerv's politics and she just had no idea how to out maneuver her father to get what she wanted she had tried in the past but it had just led to failure and punishment.

Shinji had been constantly punished for trying and she hated her father for that as he had done nothing but harm her older brothers confidence and self-esteem which only in the past fours years had started to really recover. She looked at her book again, just one time in her life she wanted to be on an even playing field and have a hold over her father, just so he would get a taste of his own bitter medicine and know how it felt to have that lack of control.

She knew though that it was just wishful thinking and very much a pipe dream, it would never really happen because like her brother she had aspirations that she just couldn't fulfill. That was life though you never really got your dreams and desires just shadows and illusions that were never ever fully fulfilled, maybe when she accepted this she'd be a lot happier in her life.

End of part 13


Chapter Text


My head is pounding as I lean back in the train's seat drinking some water slowly just wanting the sensation to go away I have the worst verfickte handover ever. I woke up in my chair this morning I somehow managed to get through three bottles of German beer last night and my brain feels like someone shoved a spanner in it and decided to stir it around for good measure. My memories are really clear up to the point that I was crying over my mother's video of myself in a birthing case then it got so hazy and dark.

By the time I'd washed and changed my clothes I realized I was late for work and because of the hangover I just couldn't ride my motorbike in, now I've had to take the public train and I hate these trains so much because I always get bothered by people. The red hair stands out which is so ironic since that was what my mother wanted for me.

I'm just hoping since I have this patch on my left eye that they might not notice, I'm dressed real causal with a pair of dark blue jeans a white t shirt and a brown leather jacket with a long dark red bars on the sleeves which come down from the shoulders and folded collar, I wear mostly guys t-shirts and jackets because the fit is looser only the jeans are women's but there tailored to fit and have deep pockets while the skate shoes are guys because the fit is also better.

In one ear I have Shinji's walkman's head phones I really need to give this back to him and Rei they only gave it to me to see me through the hospital wing, it's not like I need it and hopefully this bionic that is hidden under my clothes will be off within the next few weeks. Only downside is it will have to go over the top of my new plug suite when I go in for sync testing but Maya told me that it won't cause any problems or interference when they test the entry plugs and sync.

I finish the water in my plastic water bottle putting it in to my bag as I lean back folding my legs feeling the gentle breeze from the open windows, I'm going to be so late I know it I just hope Maya forgives me for this. I have never been late for a sync test before this will be the first time and I won't lie I'm really not looking forward to it one bit I'd rather be somewhere else altogether. I just know I have to keep it together or I might get kicked off this program since Ritsuko hates my guts, which is also ironic since she's seen them hanging out of my body when I first got injured.

"Hey are you the second child?"

Asuka breathed in great she really didn't need this right now she turned seeing a little girl looking at her wide eyed in her hands was a fluffy toy bear she took a step closer staring into her good eye. "No I'm not the second child." The little girl face slowly formed a wide smile. "But you sure look like her." Asuka turned off the music leaning forward trying to be as none threatening as possible as in the past she had really scared children off with her temper and it wasn't something she was at all proud off. "If I was the second child do you think I'd be riding a train?"

The girl looked down. "No I guess you wouldn't." She looked up pointing to her face. "What happened to your left eye?" Asuka tapped the patch. "Not to go into any details but let's just say someone poked me in the face with something sharp, I didn't loose my eye but it's no good anymore." The child leaned closer. "Why wear the patch though?" Asuka felt a smile form. "A person I care about very deeply gave it me as a gift, it means a lot to me so I don't take it off plus she said it looked cool on me." The little girl laughed. "Is she like your girlfriend or something?" Asuka shook her head. "No she's not she's way too good for me." The child's face turned to confusion. "I don't understand, how is she too good for you?"

Asuka pulled her bag over getting out a soft drink can handing it to the little girl who took it. "One day when you're older you might understand, you know, when you start dating." The child smiled as she opened the can. "You know one day I'm going to be six and then I can know stuff." Asuka raised an eyebrow. "Well don't be to quick to want know stuff enjoy growing up first."

She looked up as the little girl's mother appeared speaking loudly. "Ah there you are." She turned as she picked up the little girl looking down at her. "I hope she's not bothering you." Asuka shook her head. "No not at all." She watched them go as she took in a deep breath as she stretched out in the seat she turned only to catch sight of a person who stood out like a sore thumb on this train. She was staring at her intensely and in a way that almost felt uncomfortable because she just didn't blink.

It was that school girl again the one with the short blue hair and red eyes the weird looking kid that reminded her of Rei but she knew it wasn't Rei and since she was on this train which stopped close to Nerv's top side buildings, she had to be one of the employees children.

It was scary how similar she looked though because Rei had looked like that in school, the uniform the way ward looks the quite, the shy demeanor the way she always looked down in deep thought. Maybe that was what had drawn her in so much though she didn't really know or understand why, only that she wanted to touch, hold and kiss her. She had gone about it so badly though she had tried to force her way in just like she had with everything at that time and the worst part was that at the time she had been so used to getting what she wanted that she had assumed it was true of everyone and everything.

She had spent so many years regretting that moment in the hall when she'd grabbed her really roughly trying to come on to her, one thing she had never expected was that slap which had been so painful and it was in that painful moment that she'd realized that Rei was actuality powerful and not to be toyed with and was way out her league and always would be.

She was also not like her older brother who at the time she'd seen as a weak pathetic push over even though that wasn't true. He had just been going through a lot of pain like her but he dealt with it very differently. There were many things she'd been able to let go off since school but her bitter regret of coming on to Rei that way never had as she had driven a wedge between them and it had never really gone away.

Rei may have been trying to help her recently but even she could tell that she was very wary of her as was Shinji they always walked on egg shells around her despite being polite and kind because neither of them liked her temper. Maybe in life some things you just could never fix no matter how hard you tried she looked up feeling the confusion take over seeing that the red eyed girl had completely vanished.

She looked left and then right seeing that she wasn't in either train cabin maybe there had been a stop and she'd gotten off or may be she was going crazy. "No sadly for you, you're not going crazy, though I must say I do like the idea of making you go crazy it would be most entertaining." Asuka felt her body tense as she turned seeing Bardiel spread out like cat close to her feet. She felt all the good feelings drain away instantly she knew she couldn't talk back not in this place full of people they'd think she was insane.

Bardiel eased up a clawed hand looking at his fingers. "Oh that's right you had this bright idea that alcohol was going to get rid of me…well it didn't work." He turned looking around him. "Oh I see you can't talk to me here, you're afraid of making a scene that's fine I can wait I have so much more patience than you do, I'll just wait for a better moment." Asuka closed her good eye feeling the anxiousness take over before she could stop it, she wanted this to stop, she knew now that Bardiel was real there was an angel polluting her mind and it was utterly terrifying.


Shinji sat back in the entry plugs seat they were all lined up ready for the sync test though Asuka's entry plug area was empty, he slowly brought up the screen to the control room where Ritsuko was looking at them as she tapped her foot in annoyance looking at her watch. She clearly didn't want to be here but since Maya and Misato were both down in the restricted zone checking over Toji's new unit which would now go through its painting stage and needed the correct insignia put on along with its countries logos so she had to be here.

"Shouldn't we wait for Asuka?" Mari's face suddenly appeared on his screen. "Please I'm not waiting for that fucking Princess I want this over with already I hate fake sync tests they're so damn boring." Toji's face appeared on the other side of his holographic screen. "I'm sure she has a perfectly good reason for being late, I mean she's never normally this late." Kaworu appeared opposite. "I agree she has a good reason I'm sure." Rei's face suddenly came up as she fiddled with her white plug suits collar. "I rang her last night she wasn't picking up her phone I left a message maybe she's not well, I mean she's been through a lot." Mari's face turned to scowl. "Please, her unit didn't try and strangle you!" Rei raised an eyebrow. "Are you serious? You put her in the hospital wing."

Mari folded her arms. "No you put her in the hospital wing because you were clearly that person who got picked last in sports because you can't catch flying objects, just like you're always picked last in unit 00 to do the crappy missions, which no one wants." Ritsuko looked at them all unable to hold back her anger as she spoke. "Shut up all of you!" She watched as all of their faces turned to her as everyone went quite she felt a sneer form on her lips. "It's like being a school yard."

She looked up as Asuka's entry plug was suddenly brought up as Hayden who was head of the dock team spoke over the com in his normal gruff annoyed tone. "Asuka Langley is coming down to you now, please note she keeps on complaining about her new plug suite being too tight." Ritsuko looked up as she spoke. "Thank you Hayden." She watched as Asuka's entry plug was put in place by the huge machine so she was in the middle of Rei's and Shinji's, all of the entry plugs bottom parts were submerged in red water and the room was closed off to stop outside interference.

She leaned over pressing the com as she watched Asuka's face appear on the big screen along with the others as the back wall shut completely and the machine went still. "You're late!" Asuka looked at her with her good eye as she moved the shoulders of or her new plug suite which were both white and red in colour with green sections on the shoulders, the suite though was awful the chest and stomach felt far too tight and it felt like her insides were being crushed. "Please I can explain."

Ritsuko folded her arms. "Spare me your pathetic excuses I'm not interested in hearing them, you know the rules, you've been here long enough to know them and you should know better." Rei watched as Asuka began to fidget nervously. "Oh come on she's never been late in years and you're grilling her for this?" Ritsuko looked up as Asuka fidgeted again clearly in discomfort, she eyed Rei. "Rei If I want your opinion then I'll give it to you!"

Rei felt a sneer form. "What ever you say, mother." Ritsuko turned eyeing her. "Don't you ever call me that I am not your mother!" Rei felt a cold smile form. "No truer words were ever spoken." Ritsuko pulled up her clip board. "Start the test!" She watched as they all went quite closing there eyes as they began to sync and there ratio bars came up on the large side screen.

Shigeru looked up as one sync test came up which clearly wasn't right. "Asuka's not syncing correctly." Ritsuko watched as Asuka carried on fidgeting she could see the bionics over the top of her new plug suit. "Turn off that stupid bionic walker Asuka it's interfering with your test!" Asuka eyed her through her hologram screen as she turned it off feeling her left leg turn to semi dead weight which really wasn't a nice feeling at all. "It's not stupid, its helping me walk."

Ritsuko eyed her in disgust. "Just turn it off!" Asuka eyed her feeling her teeth grind together as she spoke. "It is verfickt turned off!" Shigeru shook his head. "She's still not syncing and there is also a really weird wave pattern showing up in her brain activity." Ritsuko walked over shoving him aside. "I thought Maya had these tests calibrated she's clearly messed it up somehow."

She began to type watching as the odd wave started to pulse sharply. "It has to be that." Kaji folded his arms watching as Asuka's face changed as her good eye started to dart around and the colour drained completely from her face. "Look I don't want to the bringer of bad news but Asuka doesn't look so good." Ritsuko didn't look up as she carried on typing. "Please she always bellyaches and complains it's how she gets attention!"

Kaji put his hand on his beard seeing the concern on the other men and women's faces in the testing room. "No I'm serious you need to pull her out now some thing is very wrong." He looked up seeing that she was ignoring him and that Rei had lost all concentration and was now looking at Asuka on her screen the deep concern showing in her green eyes. "Look at her she's about to have a panic attack!"

Asuka could feel her hands shaking it felt like the world was closing in around her as Bardiel spoke from behind her in the entry plug. "Stop resisting me let me sync with you, I can make you stronger and better I can improve your mind and your body!" Asuka leaned forward. "Get out of my head!" His voice came again. "It will only hurt for a moment then it won't hurt at all you are strong enough for the pain!"

Asuka leaned forward burying her head in her knees as she put both hands up unable to stop the pain in her head which was so awful. She was screaming before she could stop herself as she grabbed the controls yanking them violently back and forth even though she knew it wouldn't do anything as she wasn't in 02. "I'll kill you! I'll kill you!" Bardiel's voice came again speaking more quietly. "You can't kill me and when you realize that our relationship will progress and be so much better!" Asuka felt her teeth grind together as she spoke. "We have no relationship you verfickter parasite!" Ritsuko raised her hand. "What is going on here, can any one tell me who the hell she is talking to?"

Shigeru shook his head. "I have no idea! There are no outside signals inferring with her entry plug and inside the plug I'm not getting any faulty signals from the software." Ritsuko turned watching as Asuka's brain waves went totality out of sync as the test started to flash red marking a clear failure. "What is this is she going crazy or something has she taken illegal drugs?" Makoto looked up. "I have got something." Ritsuko moved over to his desk. "What do you have?" Makoto pointed to Asuka's body read out. "I'm detecting alcohol in her blood it's very high." Ritsuko looked at him. "You're kidding me!" Makoto shook his head. "Wish I was its far too high for her to be doing this test she well over the moderate limit and it's throughout her whole blood stream."

Kaji stepped forward. "I've seen hangover that's no hangover, her minds trying to fight something off." Ritsuko ignored him as she looked at the holographic desks screen. "Turn her off and have her brought to me right now!" Rei leaned forward as Asuka was completely switched off and she went quite as whatever was attacking her stopped. "Can I go too?" Ritsuko looked up eyed her. "No." Kaji leaned forward. "Yes Rei we'll get you out in a moment, your sync was perfect as always." He could see now that all of the pilots had lost concentration and had there eyes on the control room which was now very quite.

He looked up as Asuka finally entered the control room after three long minutes through the side door, if anything she looked awful. She looked like someone who had been dragged through hell and back, she was also showing signs of intense nervousness and uncertainty. He'd seen her in her low times before but it was nothing like this there was something really wrong and he was sure it was in her mind and it had nothing to do with drinking yes she had a hang over of sorts but he had actuality seen her function fine even with a hangover in the past she was also breathing very fast.

Ritsuko watched as the red haired woman walked towards her she knew full well that the other could see this hence why she was going to enjoy every moment of this. "You turn up late to my test, you mock me with your attitude and on top of everything else you've been drinking, when you know very heavy drinking is prohibited before sync tests because it screws up the results!" Asuka looked down feeling all eyes up on her as she spoke through gritted teeth. "I tried to explain that to you but you cut me off!"

The next moments turned to blinding pain as the other woman's clip board smashed across her face with enough force to throw her completely off balance she hit the ground hard on her knees which hurt like hell despite the bionics she felt the blood as it started to run down her lip.

Ritsuko ignored the looks of utter shock from the room as she stepped closer to Asuka who stayed on her knees putting her fingers to her lips seeing the blood on them as her good eye slowly filled with rage. "I've put up with your shit for nine years and believe me I'm sick off it! You think your something special well your not special you are nothing but the stupid idiot muscle off this whole Evangelion team! You'll never be anything but that and you only got this position because your grandmother is head of the German Nerv division, your basically German's trophy item to show off to the world. Also no one cares about your degree in engineering or mechanics or how smart you think you are, I mean after nine years you still can't write Japanese's fluently, instead you write everything in German on your papers!" She paused watching as Asuka struggled back on to her feet. "This means we have to translate it, every time for the records!" She raised the clip board. "It's very annoying."

She felt a cruel smile form on her lips. "It time you wised up Asuka, because no one needs you and you can be replaced." Asuka narrowed her good eye, everything hurt and her plug suite left like it was crushing her chest and stomach she just wanted to get it off her face was also stinging along with her lip but she wasn't going to let Ritsuko get in the last word. She turned spitting the blood from her mouth right next to the other woman's shoes as she felt a cold smile form. "Yeah well at least I didn't ride the director's cock to get my position of power knowing full well he was married with two little kids."

She stood up fully seeing that a few people were trying not to laugh including Kaji, yeah it was low blow but only fair since she'd had the same. "Now you have to live with the fact that Yui was ten times the person you'll ever hope to be and everyone liked her way more than you there is even a statue of her in Nerv's Delphi gardens to monument her sacrifice and accomplishments as the founding mother and creator of the Evangelion program along with her sister Kiko and my mother." She felt her cold smile widen. "Oh yes and just between us, Yui was also way more beautiful than you are, it must kill you every time to look at Rei since she's the spitting image of her glorious mother and takes after her in so many ways."

She raised her hand. "Guess it must be your own karma evening the scales on you right?" Ritsuko was unable to keep her rage back as she screamed out her next words. "Get out of my sight you worthless excuse for a pilot, that's an order!"

Asuka stepped closer watching as she backed up a step suddenly looking very uncertain of her self clearly her bravado had faded away and she'd realized that she had bitten off more than she could actuality chew. "Yeah must be a very raw nerve I hit there well as they used to say in the ancient world an eye for an eye." She turned away despite the pain she was in she was going to leave with out showing it. She walked towards the door despite how much every step hurt she just wanted to get to the pilots wreck room away from everyone.

Mari folded her arms. "Wow that was like the best thing ever." Toji's face appeared on her screen. "As your friend please don't go where I think your going." Mari raised her hand. "I'm not going there I just thought that was the best pissing match I've seen in ages, I wish I could have recorded that for prosperity." Shinji looked up sharply. "Rei's right Mari you're unbelievable!"

Kaworu breathed in sadly. "Mari just can't drown her inner demons they've learned to swim." Mari sat up sharply. "What the hell does that even mean!?" Rei watched Asuka vanished from sight maybe it wasn't apparent to anyone else but she could clearly see the limp in her left leg which meant her bionic wasn't turned on which meant that she was clearly in a lot of pain. "Can I please leave now?" Kaji moved over to his holographic desk. "Yes Rei, we are getting you out now."

He watched as her entry plug was turned off before vanishing from sight as the machine took it out of the room. "Well I would say that this has been a completely failure maybe we should pick up again tomorrow when people are in a better moods." He walked over to Ritsuko pulling the clip board from her hand which had some of Asuka's blood on its pages. "And not hitting sickly pilots with clip boards."

He looked at the video camera at the far side of the room watching as her eyes followed his. "Maybe you should have hit Asuka outside of work hours not when the camera's were recording you as I really don't think any excuses you give will fly since you hit her first and she didn't lay a finger on you. You also just ensured that you'll probably never be allowed to run this test again but I'm sure Maya won't mind the extra work and the higher pay grade I have heard that she's been wanting to take this testing full time."

Ritsuko narrowed her gaze. "You smug bastard, how dare you." Kaji shrugged turning the clip board around so she could see the blood on it. "My dear you should pray that this footage doesn't ,you know find its why into Geraldina's hands over in the German division, I don't think the results for you would be good since Asuka only just got out of the hospital wing." Ritsuko stepped closer to him. "Are you threatening me?"

Kaji felt a smile form. "No now why would I do that? I mean you were the one who lied about me to Nerv because you told a story which was shall we say untrue. I'm just saying that actions have far reaching consequences maybe you being so high up in the Nerv food chain has made you forget that, I think maybe its time you remembered it though." He raised his hand. "All I can say is what happens next is somewhat out my control." He put a hand in his Nerv uniform's jacket pocket as he shrugged. "But that's life I guess." Ritsuko raised her hand as she looked at everyone. "This test is over!"


Asuka pushed open the double doors to the wreck room despite all of her pain she was running as her stomach started to knot painfully as she walked past the locker room and straight into the shower rooms and the toilets. She so wanted to make it to the nearest toilet but her body gave out before she could stop it and all she felt was pain as she threw up all over the white tiled floor.

Her head started to spin as she grabbed the side of the nearest wash basin leaning against it only to loose her balance as she felt the hard floor as she hit it hard on her side. She wanted to pass out everything hurt so much she grabbed her plug suits buttons pressing then waiting for it deflate and come free off her body but it wouldn't do it. She tried again desperately realizing to her horror that it was jammed she wanted out of this plug suite it was really suffocating her!

She pulled up her hand smashing it to the floor trying to force it to release which did nothing she felt the exhaustion really hit home as she lay still as everything drifting in and out of focus as Bardiel's form appeared by her side. "You know this could have all been avoided if you'd just let me sync with you, I can take away your sickness and your illness, I can make you better than any off them."

He paused as he sat looking over her like a cat. "You want that don't you?" Asuka looked up at him. "I'd rather die…" Bardiel stayed where he was. "Unlike your mother you just don't have the guts for it, I think we both know that, you may hate life but you savour it and cling to it anyway because you're waiting for change." He slowly walked away on all fours. "I can give you the change you desire so desperately what that woman said to you was wrong, she talks to another version of you a version she doesn't like, a younger you."

He raised a clawed hand. "You think that's all everyone sees is that younger version of you, who you hate so let me be part of you fully and I'll show them something beyond their imagination." He sat quietly in the corner. "If you're scared that I'm going to take you over don't be I do not want to take you over, I just want us to be one and the same I'm your window into power and you're my window into the human world and human understanding." Asuka closed her good eye painfully. "You've done nothing but torment me, how do I even trust you?" Bardiel looked up. "Doesn't your very name mean to fly so why don't you live up to your name and take a leap of faith?"


Asuka opened her good eye seeing Rei running towards her the smaller woman was down on her knees in an instant her hands on the side of her face. "Can you hear me?" Asuka raised her hand as she spoke weakly. "My suit….its crushing me…it won't open." Rei felt her eyes dart. "Where's your calibration key?" Asuka turned pointing. "Glass locker, my key is in my leather jacket." Rei moved her hand up easing the other woman's interface hair clips free causing all the red hair to spill free they couldn't be on as they could interfere with the key. "I'm going to get your calibration key, you have to trust me okay, I won't leave you I'll be right back."

The red haired woman nodded weakly, she got up running towards the lockers instantly catching sight of the brown leather jacket hanging up she put her hand in the right pocket finding nothing she moved to the other instantly pulling out Asuka's house keys she flipped through them quickly finding the special one that opened her glass locker. She ran over to it forcing it open then opened one of the lower draws instantly finding what she needed which was her calibration key.

All of pilots had them, they were for emergencies as they kept the record of the pilots last corrected fitting and it allowed the pilot to tamper all of the body areas to fit perfectly and it could unlock faulty buttons. Granted it would be from her old plug suit settings but she'd just have to corrected the others areas individually. She ran back sitting beside Asuka. "Okay I'm plugging your key in Asuka you need to stay perfectly still?"

The red haired woman gave her a weak nod she put the USB end directly in to her collar port watching as it ran the calculations into the monitor bringing up a comparison which were horrifying. "Asuka your suit hasn't been calibrated correctly, all your settings are wrong even your locking and unlocking buttons are not set up right." She looked down bringing up her old settings. "Okay I'm going to put in your old settings it might hurt but it's just the suite freeing itself from your body." She pressed the button hearing the whole suit pop as it reset itself which was followed by Asuka's cry of pain. "Is that any better?" Asuka took in a deep breath finally feeling the pressure remove itself from her chest and stomach. "Yes."

Rei eased up the monitor. "Okay I know you said that your old suite felt tight on the shoulders and back, is this one the same?" Asuka moved her shoulder. "Yes." Rei leaned over. "Okay just give me a moment and I'll fix this for you." She brought up the shoulders and back images slowly changing the setting to loosen them. "Is that better or worse?" Asuka felt the pressure go away from her shoulders. "Better." Rei looked down. "Okay I'm going to put this in as your few fit and then I'll sort out locking unlocking buttons and we'll get you out of this suite."

"What happened?"

Rei turned to Shinji who was now standing in the doorway the concern in his eyes. "She's really unwell she shouldn't have been in that sync test she should have been at home, getting better Ritsuko's little stunt just pushed her over the edge." Shinji walked over. "Can I help?" Rei looked up. "Yeah can you get me a hot soup something that really easy to swallow and some water and pull out my ginger tea from my locker it's just for if she gets sick again?" Shinji nodded. "I'll be right back." Rei watched him go which was followed by Toji appearing along with the others, he walked over the sadness in his eyes as he spoke. "Oh man…she looks terrible."

Rei eased up the monitor as she began to set the buttons so the suite could be opened and closed correctly. "Yeah you'd look the same if someone didn't bother to calibrate your plug suit right, it was pressing down on all of her injuries and crushing her inside makes you wonder how she was even able to back talk Ritsuko at all." She breathed in deeply. "It's probably the reason it was so easy for Ritsuko to knock her over, not to mention her left leg is still not fully healed." Mari stepped forward adjusting her glasses. "Yeah but you have got to love her comeback, right?" She started to laugh. "Riding the director's cock, I wish I could say something like that and get away with it."

She looked up slightly. "Only thing was when she spat the blood out, she really should have aimed it higher and ruined Ritsuko's pristine suite." She felt a coy smile spread across her lips. "Oh and the way she compared you to your mother I mean it almost sounds like she's in love with you or something." Rei ignored her as she turned to Kaworu. "Help me pick her up and get her over to the showers be careful of her left leg." Kaworu moved over carefully helping Rei to pick the other woman up as they brought her around to the frosted cubical showers placing her down carefully in a sitting position opposite one of them.

Rei kneeled down taking hold of Asuka wrist seeing that her only good eye looked glazed over now. "Okay Asuka I'm going to free you from your suite." She eased the calibration key out putting it aside as she pressed the wrist button watching as the other woman's suite inflated and then deflated becoming loose around her shoulders. "There it's fixed you won't have that problem again." Asuka spoke as best she could. "Thank you." Kaworu looked up. "Do you need anything else?" Rei shook her head. "No it'll be fine, you can all go I'll stay here with her once she's gotten a little strength back and I'll get her to have a cool shower."

End of part 14


Chapter Text


Asuka watched as Rei put a large bowl of soup in front of her along with a spoon and water, her hair was still damp from the shower and she had been able to pull out her spare set of fresh clothes which she always kept in her locker. She'd been able to turn the bionic on again so she could walk she eased up her hand pulling the patch off her face putting it on the counter she didn't really care right now if Rei saw her scared blind eye as she'd seen it before.

She watched the younger woman took a seat opposite her on the bar counter which had cushioned seats on both sides. They were the only ones there the others had all gone else where. "What is this?" Rei pushed the bowl closer to her watching as she adjusted her patterned shirt. "Miso soup, it will make you feel better." She looked up slightly. "When was the last time you eat?" Asuka looked at the bowl. "I ate the morning before they discharged me from the hospital wing."

Rei blinked as she sat up. "That long? No wonder you feel terrible." She felt a smile form. "I though the first place you'd go when you got back on your feet was to that chicken bar and grill on the Arcades ninth floor, I mean I see you up there quite a lot you like to sit alone near the glass so you can look down in to the Delphi gardens."

Asuka eyed her before slowly using the spoon to drink the soup which was really nice despite that it was vegetarian, Rei had actuality watched were she went that was a surprise. She didn't think any one ever bothered to take any notice of her, she felt that she was completely invisible as people didn't talk to her and instead kept there distance and she always sat alone where ever she went in Nerv.

She knew where Rei went as well as she was normally with Shinji and Kaworu in the Japanese's restaurant up on the floor above her as she could look up and see them but she wasn't going to say anything regarding that it would properly sound like she was being a creepy or just be taken the wrong way. "I can't stomach the thought of chicken right now I think I'd just paint the bathroom floor again with something less than savoury."

Rei breathed in deeply Asuka really wasn't right emotionally there was no denying it, it was so clear now, she just wasn't herself she was so much more distant than normal and not very talkative. "Tell me something Asuka, what made you knock back so much alcohol? I mean I know you've been a heavy drinker in the past but it's been years since I've seen you have had so much in your system that it's affected your sync."

Asuka carried on drinking her soup feeling herself tense what was she meant to even say to this, that there was an ugly demonic looking angel following her around and screwing up her life? That she'd got so wasted in the hopes that she could rid herself off it only for it to fail. That he was sitting on the sofa across from her which he took up fully because he was bigger than a full grown lion and that he was watching their conversation very closely.

She looked up knowing this was a half truth and in part a lie but it was all she could use. "My grandmother gave me some videos of my mother….I saw myself in a birthing chamber and my mother she was so happy." She felt a sad smile form. "It was like I was some gift of the gods." She looked in to soup. "I got over emotional and started downing alcohol like it was water…I guess she'd be real disappointed by how her little red haired child turned out." Rei leaned over putting a hand on hers squeezing gently. "Don't say that Asuka." Asuka pulled her hand away though not to sharply.

Her problems shouldn't be Rei's, she had her own problems. "Look you have your own problems and you don't need to be burdened with mine." She looked in to her soup again. "You and your brother have always been very good to me even when I didn't deserve it and was nothing but selfish and cruel in return."

She breathed in painfully. "Thank you for all of the times you came to the hospital wing and for fixing my plug suite and getting me back on my feet today but you really don't have to burden yourself further on my account." Rei stared at her for a long moment she could see that there was no shield no barrier right now she was talking to the real Asuka and she was afraid she could see it in her good eye and because of that fear she was trying her best to push her away but at the same time was being polite as possible.

What was she so afraid off was it getting close to people or was it screwing it up like she said she had done in the past? Clearly Maya was right Asuka was afraid she just couldn't see it or comprehend it until now because in battle she'd always been so full on and without fear, she looked up as she spoke calmly. "I never realized that you felt so much emotion regarding my mother, I mean you've never met her." Asuka looked down nervously this was probably going to sound all wrong. "I watched some old footage of her in the old Nerv archives it was just footage of her working on unit 01 and your unit 00 with her older sister Kiko, they weren't personal videos or anything."

She moved her spoon through her soup. "I don't know I guess I just felt some sort infinity since she gave her life for the program, just like my mother but your mother everyone spoke so highly off her, they loved her so much and I think it's a such a shame that she died along with your aunt." She put her elbow on the table. "You look so much like her you have her hair and her green eyes you're as beautiful as she was." Rei turned seeing that Asuka hadn't looked up she was just staring in to her soup.

She had heard that comment before in the hospital wing though at the time she'd made Asuka feel uncomfortable by teasing her because she'd assumed it was an off hand comment and that maybe Asuka was just doing that coy thing that she used to do when she had gone after women in the past which was to try and stroke their ego's but it was clear to her now that it was a genuine comment spoken from the heart.

She felt a smile form. "You know I wish I had a photo of Ritsuko's face when you said that to her I don't think she expected that kind of response from you, I think she thought that you were just going to limp away and say nothing." Asuka spoke in an even tone. "Yeah well maybe she shouldn't have smacked me around the face with her clip board."

Rei looked up. "You know what she said isn't true, you're not worthless and you're not just the muscle of the group." Asuka eyed her empty bowl pushing it to one side. "No what she said is spot on, I am the muscle of this group she was even right about the fact that I still can't write that well in Japanese. I only passed my school grades because my grandmother twisted their arm to allow me to write my test answers in German, if I'd had to have written my answers in Japanese I would have failed." She breathed in deeply. "I took the degree in mechanics and engineering after school though the Nerv branch because that was where my personal interest's are and I always wanted to have a job if Nerv ever cut me loose, it was never a token bragging item." Rei put her hands together. "You know in school you always bragged about knowing everything and me and Shinji believed you." Asuka looked down sadly. "That was me being egoistic because I didn't want to look like a failure at the time I thought to fail made you weak, I just never wanted to look weak."

Rei shook her head. "We were all failing on some level in school Asuka we would have understood, being a pilot and trying to juggle school was always hard it's one of the reasons I don't miss school it was so much better when we all got our separate degrees through Nerv because we were getting them based on our personal interests." Asuka looked up feeling her eyes dart. "Didn't you major in psychology?" Rei looked up. "No bio physiology and engineering just like my mother."

Asuka looked down idiot she should have known that it was obvious wasn't it? Rei was motivated to one day create Evangelion's just like her mother had and she was fascinated to know how they worked but Ritsuko just wouldn't allow her into the restricted section where they were built. Personally though she felt that Rei motivation was about more than building them she had feeling that she desperate to know what lay in side the cores, in a way they all were it was Nerv's biggest secret. "May be one day you'll see what's inside those cores." Rei felt her smile widen. "I would love to see that I mean there must be such wonders in there." Bardiel's dark voice hit the air. "No she wouldn't." Asuka turned eyed him wishing that she could just tell him to shut up.

Rei followed Asuka's good eye realizing that something had distracted her and that she was staring at the three seat sofa closest to the wall. "Are you okay?" Asuka turned back looking down. "It's nothing." Rei leaned closer. "I'm sorry that was insensitive of me the core did awful things to your mothers mind." Asuka took a long drink off water. "No really I'm fine I'm just tired, just not used to having my own plug suite try to kill me." Rei looked at her she did look tired there was no denying that. "Asuka who do think rigged your plug suite that way I mean that was clearly intentional, I mean it was done to make you suffer?"

Asuka narrowed her gaze. "Probably Hayden just like most people around here he hates me but I guess he has good reason to." Rei shook her head there was that comment about everyone hating her it was so sad and it just wasn't true. "Why what did you do?" Asuka looked up. "When I was nineteen and I wanted his season ticket to the Ceno dome. You know where they have car and bike races and monster trucks, so I cheated him out of them I rigged the game so only I could win." Rei leaned closer. "Yeah but how?" Asuka breathed in sadly. "I memorized the whole card deck making sure he got the awful cards and I got the good ones."

She shrugged. "It was so easy but he hated me so much after it those tickets are very expensive, with our wages their two days salary but for the workers its two months salary he has always accused me of cheating and because of me he couldn't go that year." She breathed in deeply. "Maybe it's ironic that it turned out that way because that whole season ticket was what got me interested in motorbikes and building engines and because I was considered a celebrity they let me see inside the workshops. I basically had a back stage pass that whole year and I just spent loads of time with the mechanics they even taught me how to ride my first motorbike through it was just loan I had to give it back after the season."

Rei looked up slightly. "Can you still memorize the deck?" Asuka nodded. "Yes." Rei pushed her hair back. "Then maybe you should try doing magic tricks instead, it might be more fun." Asuka raised an eyebrow in confusion. "Magic tricks?" Bardiel's voice hit the air filled with sarcasm. "She mean's illusions with playing cards you idiot for someone who's meant to be intelligent, you can be really stupid at times." Rei raised her hands. "You know like magicians do I bet you'd be really good at it."

Asuka put a hand on her face in frustration. "Oh you meant that I knew that I just forgot." Bardiel laughed coldly. "Sure you did." Asuka slowly looked up into Rei's eyes. "Do you like magic tricks?" Rei nodded feeling a smile form. "Yeah I used to watch the kids do them in school but I never had the courage to ask how they were done." Bardiel tapped his clawed fingers on the sofa. "You know this might be your moment to shine maybe you can win her over with some stupid magic trick then teach her how it's done and then you can screw her, just like you've always dreamed of doing."

Asuka tensed, this was awful she was being given dating advice by an ugly ass demon she didn't want to do that with Rei it wasn't some lustful fantasy not in the way he was thinking. She felt the inner sadness hit her hard it was so much more than that and it was something that she didn't deserve to have. Rei looked up realizing that Asuka had completely spaced out almost like she wasn't there mentality anymore "Asuka?"

Asuka snapped painfully back into reality as she turned to her picking up her patch putting it back on her left eye. "I'm sorry would you excuse me, I need to lie down, I really don't feel well." Rei watched as Asuka got up moving over to her chair where she sat down then curling up instantly burying herself in the cushions. "You know I can read to you if you want I have this new book it's really interesting." Asuka breathed in deeply closing her good eye. "I'm okay really I just really need to sleep."

Rei blinked in confusion, what had just happened? She'd been opening up and then she'd just stopped like something had scared her and she had pushed her away. Maybe she was afraid of looking weak in front of her or maybe she had opened up to much and was now running scared. All that was clear to her was that she needed a friend right now it was she just didn't realize it as she was in such a bad place emotionally.

She took hold of her book opposite then moved over to three seat sofa by the wall sitting on it so she could keep an eye on the red haired woman who was already asleep clearly she was really tired. She turned watching as the standing light opposite flickered for a moment, she ignored it, it was probably some faulty breaker in the area it happened from time to time.

Bardiel moved his tail off the lamp shade he had moved off the sofa and was now laying opposite Asuka's chair, the green eyed woman could neither see him nor hear him but it was clear that he could slightly effect things in her world, like the lights it wasn't what he wanted but it was a start he got up moving closer so he was within inches of her face.

What did Asuka see in her? She wasn't special she was just like all of the women he'd passed by in Nerv. That was the only odd thing about human's in that there genders looked very different it was one thing that made them easy to distinguish the downside of their connection was that he could only go where Asuka went and her human form was limiting her due to illness and body damage. He could fix it all once she synced with him, though beating her around to start with had been amusing it just wasn't breaking her and maybe it was time to try from a different angle one she understood which was gifts.

Maybe if she became more then she might start to see his point of view. It would be easy to wake Asuka right now or visit her dreams but he was going to leave her alone for now and let her really sleep. He hadn't realized until now that human's needed a certain type of sleep something called rem sleep to function right and he'd been getting in the way of her getting any.

Her voice hit the air but it was small almost child like. "Mama." He turned seeing that, that word didn't go unnoticed as the other woman looked up surprise Asuka's voice came again even weaker. "Why did you have to die?" He turned realizing that she had also started crying in her sleep, which caused the other woman to stand up and go up to her looking her over to make sure she was okay as she leaned over stroking her hair trying to sooth her in her sleep, before pulling out a blanket from one of the draws close putting it over her.

He didn't understand this right now he could see Asuka's dreams she was reliving a memory but why the emotional affects it was just a half repressed memory? He didn't understand human emotions yet he so badly wanted to, he had relived this loop over and over and he was bored of his role it was the same every time. Human's lives were short they burnt out like candles they never remembered because they got reset like a stop watch. He had immortality he remembered everything every time, even his brothers and sisters did hence why they altered their forms and changed the game and tried to even the odds and win it was all one massive chess game over and over.

Yes, he could mess with Asuka's mind even have her walk down to the other creator who the human's called Lilith even though Lilith was a mix of both genders and they could merge together and make themselves a god but he had zero interest in that, he had done it before it wasn't interesting it was just the means to an ends and another boring repeat.

No, he wanted to get an understanding of humanity he wanted to stay in a world for sometimes rather than watch it go by in a flicker of the light. No his brother and sisters wouldn't be happy with his choice but since when were they ever happy with him anyway? He was tired of them all getting there glorious battles and trying to appease there sacred creator and father who the human's called Adam though it wasn't his real name but even if human's knew his real name he doubted that they could speak it or write it and he only taken the name Bardiel because that was what he had always been called by them and like his father he doubted they'd ever know his true name ether.

Mari had only won the battle because he'd made it real easy for her if he'd have really been really trying she would be dead but that didn't suit his purposes either. He wanted to understand rivalry as well as all of the other human emotions and it was true his siblings could laugh at his chosen human all day long but to him she was perfect in every way, she was messy canvas that he could repaint to his every desire.


Rei looked up as the doors opened behind her as Misato burst in followed by Maya her voice hitting the air. "I just heard what happened where is Asuka I need to talk to her!" She stood up from her sofa raising her hands watching Asuka shuffle under the blanket. "Please you need to be quite she's sleeping in her chair." She stepped back as they came closer. "Don't wake her up, she's really tired and she's had the one of the worst days ever."

Misato walked over catching sight of Asuka who was sleeping soundly on her chair curled up with a blanket wrapped around her she almost looked childlike. Rei turned looking at Asuka. "It took her a while to go into a really deep sleep." She turned to Maya. "Did you know that she talks in her sleep?" Misato shook her head. "No." Maya looked down sadly. "Yes." She looked up ignoring Misato's surprise. "Was she talking about her mother, crying in her sleep asking why she died?" Rei nodded. "Yes." Misato straightened her leather jacket eyeing Maya. "Have you two dated or something?" Maya rolled her eyes in announce. "Why does everyone in Nerv always ask me this? It's like the bane of my existence." Misato shrugged. "Look I assumed you being well the way you are and her being the way she is that you might have had a fling once."

Maya put her hands in her labs coat pockets. "You know you really need to stop assuming it's really not good for your health, firstly I would never take advantage of Asuka in that manner I'm her superior second we respect each other on a professional level." She raised her hand. "And last don't assume I'm the only employee at Nerv who is gay and Asuka the only one who is bisexual, it's such old world thinking. You have thousands of employees working under you of all sexualities you'd know that if you spent more time talking to your staff and less time ordering them around." Misato breathed in deeply. "Okay I get it."

Maya folded her arms. "I know about her sleeping troubles because I saw them the last time she was in the hospital wing which was years ago after the battle with Shamshel. She knows that she does it but she doesn't ever want to talk about it and if you try to talk to her about it she locks you out completely." She shook her head sadly as she turned to Rei. "When your brother was in a relationship with her, he tried to talk about it to her but she put up barriers to keep him out." Rei blinked in shock. "He never told me any off this." Maya looked up slightly. "To be fair he probably kept it from you because it was Asuka's private business." Rei tensed painfully. "Yeah but I would have understood I mean her mother died so tragically."

Misato looked at Asuka again. "Yeah well Kaji was kind enough to pass me a recording of what happened today, I will say that Asuka's come back was most interesting." Maya looked down trying to hide her smirk. "That's one way of putting it." Misato felt a cold smile form. "Believe me I'm taking a personal copy of that recording just so I can watch Ritsuko's face when Asuka brought up the part about riding the director's unmentionables. I've heard that another copy has gone to Germany, I have no idea who sent it but it's out of my hands now and it was sent before I heard about the event so no one can point the finger at me or Kaji, clearly the person in Nerv who sent it is on Asuka's side so much so that they were willing to send it regardless of getting caught."

She shrugged. "It would have been sent anyway though as harassment and violence towards employees is strictly forbidden at Nerv and that includes the top brass picking on anyone underneath them." Rei breathed in deeply. "Yes but you put Mari up against a wall not long ago doesn't that count as the same?"

Maya folded her arms in annoyance. "Really you didn't tell me about that." Misato turned giving her a wide grin. "I can explain that." She raised her hands. "My point is Asuka's case is very different as she was attacked first and it was all about public humiliation." She breathed in deeply. "The bloody clip board is the killer, it's basically evidence and no one can dispute it along with the witness's even Gendo can't fight this one." Rei shook her head sadly. "There's more though, Asuka was sick all over the place when she got back to the wreck room bathroom and she nearly passed out on the floor. Her plug suit had not been calibrated at all it wouldn't even open, it was crushing her all of her injuries. I managed to fix it but it's clear that someone did it on purpose she thinks it was Hayden because they have bad history."

She folded her arms. "I got her out of the suit and I got her to have a shower and I gave her something to eat and drink. She's been very quite and emotionally distant and she seems to have lapses in concentration she's not herself at all." She turned to Maya as a knowing look passed between them. "You were right." Misato raised her hand. "Yeah well being hit by a clip board will do that to you."

"You people talk far too loudly."

Rei watched as Asuka got up rubbing the sleep out of her good eye. "You know the clip board didn't hurt that much it was the comments." Maya moved towards Asuka. "Sorry we didn't mean to wake you." Asuka moved over to chair opposite picking up brown leather jacket throwing it over her shoulders. "Its fine it's not like I was dreaming about anything interesting anyway." Rei watched as the light opposite started to flicker again. "You know I think the breakers faulty up here, its throwing off my reading lamp." Asuka turned watching as Bardiel tapped the light with his tail in an almost curious way which seemed more like it was about getting her attention. "Yeah clearly it's faulty."

Misato moved over to Asuka putting her hands on her shoulders causing her to turn to look at her. "You know no one is going to blame you for what happened Asuka Ritsuko's actions were very much out of order she doesn't have a leg to stand on and she knows she overstepped the mark." She looked up. "Your grandmother has already been sent the footage." Asuka pulled away from her sharply feeling the anger take over. "You sent that to my grandmother? Why would you do that she didn't need to know about this!"

She raised her hand. "No it was probably wasn't you it was Kaji, because he loves sticking his nose in where it's not needed no doubt he wants a bribe in return on my part." Maya moved towards her. "He defended you, in the full recording he gave Ritsuko a full dose of her own medicine and he tried to stop the test when he told her you weren't well not once but twice." Rei looked up. "That's true Asuka he did." Asuka put a hand on her face. "I really don't need this scheiss right now."

Rei moved over gently putting a hand on her leather jacket's arm seeing this as the right moment to speak since Asuka seemed to listen to her better than the others "Neither Kaji or Misato sent the footage Asuka someone else did you know how you are always saying that every one at Nerv hates you, well someone in that room today thought a great deal of you they sent it out because they thought what happened to you was unfair." Asuka looked down speaking in a bitter tone. "Yeah and on the same day someone tries to use my own plug suit to suffocate me and pop the stitches holding my guts in, clearly the Nerv staff must adore me so much." Rei breathed in deeply. "Please stop being this way Asuka people do care about you, I know it must be hard for you to see right now but they do."

Maya took a slow step forward she knew that those stitches hadn't been taken out as she had wanted that area to heal naturally and it was going to take a few more weeks for the wound to heal. "Are all of your stitches still intact?" Asuka looked up sharply. "There fine!" Rei moved to stand in front her, she eased her hand down putting it on Asuka's stomach being very careful not to put any pressure on her wound she'd seen it when she'd led her to one of the cubical showers as her plug suite being opened meant she could see some of her body.

It was a massive stitched up section and it took up a good part of her lower stomach and it was going to scar up much like the one Misato had higher up on her chest. "Are you absolutely sure Asuka?" Asuka took hold of her hand gently easing it of her stomach. "Yes." Misato moved closer putting her hand on her leather jacket sleeve. "Look you need to take it easy Asuka getting stressed out is not good for your health." Asuka stepped back forcing her arm free in a violent motion. "Get off me!" She put her hands in to her pockets. "I don't need a lecture from you off all people about my personal health."

Misato breathed in trying to keep it together. "Listen I know what your going though right now, I know what it's like to look like bloody pin cushion I also know what its like to spend days the hospital wing. It does things to your mind and I don't blame you for wanting to get wasted on alcohol because you don't want to remember the accident."

Asuka stepped closer to her grinding her teeth together as she spoke. "I didn't get wasted because I want to forget, I got wasted because I was forced to see something I wasn't ready to see it had nothing to do with the accident!" She tensed. "You think I'm a coward and I'm afraid of dying I'm not I've always been happy to lay down my life in the service of this program because it's my duty to my country. I know the accident wasn't my fault and I couldn't have changed anything I had no control over the UN Alpha test unit it was an angel." She took in a deep breath. "If you're interested though about what was inside that entry plug I'll tell you."

She narrowed her good eye as she gritted her teeth punctuating every word "I stared right into the abyss and it stared right back at me." She stepped away ignoring Maya's and Misato's confusion. "Now leave me alone, I'm going home…"

Misato turned feeling utterly deflated. "I can drive you home if you'd like." Asuka grabbed her bag as she moved towards the double doors. "I'd rather you not because one of your ancient hub caps might fly off half way down the road and cause an accident." Maya watched as the doors slammed shut as Asuka left. "That could have gone so much better really what compelled you to give the health speech you know perfectly well it doesn't work on her and never has it just makes her angry." Misato raised her finger. "Did she just insult my car by calling it old?!"

She raised her hand making a fist. "My car is not old, it just a classic outer shell the engine is all new its all power cores and it could win against your motorbike!" Maya shook her head. "You have such a great way with people it perplexes me every day as to how you became major of this grand organization." Misato straightened her jacket. "By ordering people like you around remember?"

Misato turned to Rei who looked saddened by the whole turn of events she moved closer to her. "She wasn't angry with you though I mean you even got to hang off her jacket arm and she let you touch her wound, if anyone else did that they'd get the reaction like what we got." She raised her finger. "She really likes you."

Rei breathed in deeply. "She's very sick it's not just her body it's her mind and emotions there all over the place and I've just been talking to her because she seems so alone right now." Misato shook her head. "What did she mean staring in to the abyss?" Rei looked up slightly. "It's a very old quote there are many meanings for it but most people say that it's about not becoming a monster because you don't play by a monsters terms, she probably meant it in reference to the angel which consumed the unit as it was probably prodding at her mind."

Misato turned slightly "You know that doesn't sound like a book she'd read, since I've only ever seen her read is comic books, graphic novels and magazines on engineering I've never seen her once with a book." Rei pushed her hair back in frustration. "You know she is intelligent why does everyone around here think that she's stupid just because she doesn't read books? My brother reads comic books and Mari reads…some interesting and strange things as well as comic books and graphic novels. My point is you can read anything in any format and it can still move you and you can still lean something from it." She picked up one of her books. "I just like to read books because it about having a link to the old world before the second impact."

Maya turned to Misato. "She has an excellent point." Misato turned looking at her. "Well we'll just see this as a stepping stone in Asuka's recovery she'll bounce back sooner or later I mean once she gets back in unit 02 she'll be fine, she's probably getting home sick from not being in it." Rei breathed in sadly Misato just didn't see it at all she was focused on Asuka's past behaviour she was completely ignoring the fact that mentality she wasn't there and other than herself and Maya no one else had cared to notice or if they had they just didn't care and that in itself was deeply saddening.

May be Asuka had a point about people's dislike of her because there was no denying that some cruel people got great pleasure out of setting fire to others like they were kindle and then they loved to sit back and watch them burn into the night while they drank in their fear and terror like some fine wine, she hated wine it reminded her of her father's lavish suppers up in his office. Maya turned sharply. "You're not seriously considering putting her in unit 02 after what happened today are you?"

Misato smirked as she raised her hand. "Oh come on today was Ritsuko's fault and the alcohol she just panicked that's all and we both know panic attacks can cause the sync to go out of alignment I'll let her relax tomorrow and let her do her own thing then I'll put her out onto the training field the day after." Maya stepped closer. "My self and the team have not fully analyzed that data from her failed test even Kaji said something wasn't right he talked about an odd brain wave in her sync. So please don't be reckless I do not want another berserker incident like with unit 01 back when the program started. We installed the beast mode for a reason so berserker could be controlled through the pilot and if an Evangelion goes out control it will be an endless rampage because the engine will just keep it going until it stops by itself because its want to, or its out of things to ruin."

Misato eyed her. "Asuka is a master at controlling beast mode, it won't be a problem." Rei put her hands together. "Please, don't put her in unit 02 she's not ready." Misato folded her arms. "You two are really getting too worked up over this we've been here before she'll be fine once she gets back in the saddle she always is." Maya breathed in feeling herself tense she just didn't get it at all or maybe she just didn't want to see that Asuka was mentality unwell and really suffering. "I don't condone this, its wrong." Misato folded her arms. "Yes well it's still my order and I outrank you."


I feel so weak and pathetic right now lying on my bed in the dark on my front my head buried in my pillow, I think they just want me pilot that is all they seem to care about. I don't want to get back inside that entry plug I just know it will happen all over again and I'll let people down and I will cause another incident. I can't even be bothered to put on my VR helmet and try that sexual simulation the energy isn't there and I know the girl and guy I switch between are not real their illusions its just a way of getting off just for the sensations theirs no feeling there its all empty. I just feel so lost and alone I don't know what to do or say anymore. Rei was so nice but I probably just came off as an idiot to her I didn't even know what magic tricks were I feel like I'm in a nightmare and there's no return from it and it's terrifying.

Asuka moved her hand over gently stroking her cat Erika who was lying next to her circled up in a ball. Bardiel was not in this room he was moving around her house. She could hear him and see him her cat didn't see him she'd walked under him four times obvious to the fact that he was even there, for the most part she'd just ignored him and he'd ignored her which meant she could at least focus and having something of a full meal and finally get things moving in her house like her washing and laundry.

She closed her eyes hearing her phone ring she grabbed the other pillow putting it over her head just wanting to phase it out as she had no intention of answering. She didn't care if it was Gendo no force on earth would bring her to pick up that phone dial. She listened are her answer phone message went off, which was her own recording and she really needed to change it she hated listening to her sixteen year old asshole self berate people by calling them perverts and jack offs.

She heard the slow beep as her grandmother's voice hit the air. "Asuka it's your grandma here, I know you've been through a lot today but you need to pick up the phone I saw the footage from Nerv someone sent it to me, you need to talk to me little one." She could hear her tapping her pen at the other end of the line before she spoke again. "No one blames you Asuka this wasn't your fault and believe me I will be talking to Ritsuko tomorrow personally over the com she will never ever lay a hand on you again." Her grandmother breathed in sharply before speaking again. "Also don't worry about your sync test your mother well lets just say before the accident she had some difficulty syncing a few times and suffered similar problems but she bounced right back and so will you."

Asuka listened as the message ended only for her phone to go off again only for a different deep male voice to hit the air this time. "Hi Asuka it's Kolby your favourite cousin I heard that mean ass bitch who is second in command at Nerv hit you in the face with a clip board today just to prove a point, Grandma is spitting nails over here like you wouldn't believe." He breathed in deeply. "You know if you pick up maybe we can talk and I can send you something to cheer you up. You know like more comics and graphic novels they have got this new series out on that massive reptile you like who attacks cities and blow shit up with his atomic breath what's he called again?"

Asuka felt a sneer form as she spoke through gritted teeth. "It's Godzilla you idiot." Kolby's voice came again. "Yeah well I can get you all the new issues and have them sent over because I know you like that or I can send you some more resin kits over, I know you love building and painting them." There was a long pause. "Come on Asuka pick up I know you're there."

She could hear him tapping his fingers on the other end of the line. "When you're feeling better please give me a call." Asuka felt the sting of her own tears before she could stop them, it was familiar painful feeling of loneliness and disconnection of not belonging not having that one really close person she share anything with. She knew her family loved her and she felt really guilty for not answering but she didn't want to end up crying over the phone to grandma like she had done in the hospital.

Everyone was telling her none of this was her fault but a part of what had happened was her fault because she just couldn't keep her stupid mouth shut when it actuality mattered. May be if she'd just gritted her teeth and taken the abuse none of this would have happened but she had just wanted her pound of flesh as usual. Everyone was laughing over her comeback almost worshiping it accept her, to her it felt like some hollow victory and she didn't make her feel any better.

"Why do you cry I mean you cried all last night as well? I fail to understand the use of tears they serve no purpose." Asuka turned seeing that Bardiel was next to the bed looking directly at her. "It's a way of releasing pain and I do it because I know the consequences of not doing so are much worse." Bardiel spoke as understand drew up on him. "Because you're worst pain manifests itself as violent anger and others feel the cruel sting."

Asuka pulled her head up sharply putting the pillow to one side. "Yes! Now why don't you get out my verficktes face and go sleep downstairs on the sofa or something because you're not welcome in my bedroom or on my bed!" Bardiel looked up. "I don't sleep, eat or dream." Asuka narrowed her gaze. "Guess you don't feel emotion either, hence why you're such an insurable bastard." Bardiel flicked his tail around. "What is a bastard?"

Asuka buried her head in her pillow. "It means you don't have a father, now verpiss dich!” Bardiel eyed her. "You do not have father either you're just a product of human manufacturing." Asuka didn't raise her head. "Yeah well at least I was created with my mother's egg and a sperm I doubt you can say the same." Bardiel eyed her confusion. "Sex and reproduction, this is something I do not understand fully that is not to say I don't understand how it's done I just don't understand the emotion behind it." Asuka pressed her head further in to her pillow wishing she could just block him out right now. "Yeah well I'm not going to tell you like you said before my liking of women makes me pointless to you because I can't produce children through the act."

Bardiel looked up slightly. "But you've had male partners as well and one long standing one called Shinji for a time, before you lost it because of your red sea vision which Shamshel showed you where's he was strangling you." He felt a sneer form. "I never liked Shamshel she has what you human's would say is a poor sense of humour when it comes to getting inside peoples heads."

Asuka pulled her head off the pillow. "You know compared to you having her in my head was horrible but I could tolerate it." Bardiel leaned closer. "Yet she placed doubt in such a way she changed your future and your thinking even how you act towards others, I would not do that it wouldn't be fair." Asuka eyed him in disgust. "No you're much worse you're the equivalent of a spanner being forced into my brain and then turned." Bardiel tapped his clawed fingers on the bed. "That's because you resist and fight back, it would be so much easier if you just accepted me and allowed me to merge with your mind and body, like I said before I can heal that sickly body of yours I can make you a wonder beyond your wildest dreams."

His mouth formed a cold smile. "Also be happy I'm not Arael, who you have yet to meet, because he is the true master of the mind, he is our creator's most worshipped son for his mental skill over others and he would mess up your mind in a way that might kill you." He raised a clawed finger. "He does so love screwing with your mind, he's done it before but he's bored now and we switched places." Asuka breathed in deeply. "You speak off things like they've already happened yet they haven't, you spoke of other versions of me, what do you mean by that I just don't understand." Bardiel stepped away from her bed. "Merge with me fully and I might just let you find the answers beyond your scope of limited human understanding."

Asuka looked at him for a long moment. "Tell me why do you keep showing me that blue haired red eyed school girl who looks like Rei. You know to keep reminding me how badly I messed things up with her in the past, is that like one of your twisted jokes?" Bardiel blinked in confusing what was she talking about, had he hit one of brains neurons by mistake? Though he wanted to alter her perception he had been trying very carefully not to tap certain sectors of her mind like memories, emotional desires and he was going to great lengths to repress her sexual drive as much as possible though she was very unaware of it.

He was doing this because he wanted her to keep her focus on him maybe he had touched some neuron by mistake clearly he would have to fix that. He knew he was effecting her emotions but that was very necessary despite that it was making her even more miserable than she'd been before he'd come along. She had something humans called depression and she had it for many months and he was taking every opportunity to tap in to her darker feelings because he wanted her to want him and need him.

He looked up. "Trust me I would not bother you with that kind of vision because I know you'll never act up on that desire deep inside your heart because your too afraid and she'd probably reject you anyway. After all you're just broken goods and very much out of her league and we both know that she sees you as an idiot." Asuka felt the tears come again only harder the worst part was she knew that he was right she leaned forward burying her head in her pillow.

End of part 15


Chapter Text


Geraldina looked up at the holographic screen from her seated position at the German head quarters sadly for Ritsuko this would not be on a private channel it would be pumped in directly to the main room where the rest of her head team worked which would be over a hundred people.

These same people had, to watch in horror as this woman had hit her granddaughter, the footage had been encrypted and they had all just assumed it was mission details which were normally just code for what unit 02 needed as all of its weapons and bullets and almost all of it's plating was made here as well as its green eye lenses which were shipped over to Japan regularly as they got cracked quite often though old ones were never wasted they were sent back and refurbished as was most of its plating.

Hence it had been awful for the video to be pulled up on screen, even if Asuka had gotten her own back it didn't change how disgusting this event was. Her granddaughter was very sick both physically and emotionally and Misato had sent her the extra piece of information which pointed to the fact that someone over in the Japanese branch had sabotaged her plug suit.

This in turn had caused her to be physically sick and it had hurt her already injured body though from what she had read Rei had been there along with her brother Shinji and the other pilots to help her after she'd almost passed out in the pilot's bath room floor.

For that she was so grateful but now she was even more concerned for Asuka as she had not picked up the phone when she'd called and her nephew Kolby had not gotten through either and that really worried her as Asuka had never cut herself off from her own family before, it was deeply concerning. Either way once she was done here she would have Misato transfer her over to the pilot's personal phone in the wreck room so she could speak to her personally.

She looked up as Ritsuko appeared on her screen she was in the central office but Gendo was nowhere in sight which would save her a whole lot of problems. It wasn't like she'd tell her husband what she had even done she would keep it from him because she knew just how much of a terrible scene it would cause even though Gendo was an asshole he did like everyone to play by the company's rules including those in high positions as he wanted them to set the example to the staff under them.

Ritsuko looked into Geraldina's emotionless face as it appeared, she had been dreading this all morning but there was little she could do to change it. Gendo was not here he was out on business and visiting a company in North America who were interested in joining Nerv to see if they had anything of value or worth which they probably didn't since they ran synthetic oil fields though petrol was no longer used oil was still required to make plastic and other items and they already had a huge oil distributor under them in Saudi Arabia.

Geraldina breathed in deeply feeling her teeth grind together as she spoke. "Well I don't need to bother with the pleasantries now do I?" She put her finger on a file on her chairs tablet flicking it on to huge hologram screen watching as it replayed the sync test events. "Someone in your company was nice enough to send me this last night." She felt her body tense. "I normally don't mind being woken up at three o'clock in the morning when it concerns issues regarding the central branch but I can honestly say I never expected to be woken up with this scheiss. It really ruined my day and the day of everyone here at the German branch that just happened to be watching the feed which was a lot of people."

She narrowed her gaze. "My granddaughter is not a trophy item she is not stupid or worthless and she is not the so called idiot muscle on your Evangelion team. She was picked not because of her link to me or her mother it was her mental ability to sync which was high and she was never given any special treatment during the two year training with the other eight child candidates. She was the final successful candidate because she worked the hardest and surpassed them all in her second year." She felt her hand form a fist. "Clearly you've never had children you've never watched them grow, fail succeed and been there to wipe their tears and hug them in their hours of desperation." She leaned forward in her chair. "You've never seen how damaging words can be to them even when they finally become adults and Asuka is no different from any other child even now as an adult."

She raised an eyebrow. "I think deep down you knew that when you sized up to her and tried to make her feel small and helpless through humiliation. Clearly growing up you never learnt that lesson which is pushing around easy targets is not an act of strength but an act of cowardice."

Ritsuko folded her arms. "It was a misunderstanding." Geraldina looked down. "Please spare me your excuses you made it very clear that you've disliked my granddaughter for the whole nine years she's been on this program. Why if you were having issues with her you never contacted me about it, I'll never know." She breathed in deeply. "Not that it really matters anymore as the damage has now been done." She put her hands together. "So all I will say is this."

She turned looking directly at her not missing a beat as her next words came out filled with venom. "You ever touch my granddaughter again in that way, I will personally make my way up to your head office and I'll break both your verfickten legs followed by your arms!" She looked up. "Is that understood?!" She pushed up her glasses it wasn't even a joke they both knew it, she was military trained and though she might be elderly she could still just about hold her own against younger men and women during military training. Ritsuko's face turned to contempt as she spoke. "I understand perfectly."

Geraldina narrowed her gaze. "Oh and by the way this channel isn't perfect in terms of encryption as we've been having technical difficulties over here due to testing one my granddaughters new AT field weapons. You know how that stuff can scramble the electrics at times, though the press and media won't pick this up the other divisions might and you know how the British, Chinese and Ukraine division's all feel about harassment towards pilots so I do hope you don't get any wayward phone calls, I mean if you did that would be most unfortunate." She watched as Ritsuko sneered as she vanished from the screen.

She sat back in her chair which overlooked the factory area where new huge red plates were being built by the workers they weren't having any technical difficulties that was very much a lie but Ritsuko didn't need to know that at all. She breathed in pressing her tablet hearing the phone ring only to be picked up by a young male voice. "Nerv central headquarters this is a secured channel, how may I help you?" She looked down breathing in sadly knowing that her next phone call couldn't wait any longer. "This is Geraldina Zeppelin head of the German division please put me through to Misato Katsuragi's personal channel through code encryption five, nine, eight." The male voice came again. "We are putting you through right now please stand by."


Rei looked up slightly catching sight of Asuka who was sitting in her chair side ways in the wreck room staring off aimlessly into space with her good eye. She had a graphic novel in her hands but she wasn't really reading it, it was clearly just there for show. It was so unsettling how quite she was, since she had come in she hadn't spoken at all and she had been told that she could do what ever she wanted today yet she wasn't in the gym or shooting bullets on the range it was so saddening. She was already regretting not phoning her last night but she'd felt that maybe she needed sleep she had inwardly hoped that maybe today she would be better but she wasn't, she was much worse emotionally.

The others were all seated around her talking while Mari was staring at her from her sofa chair opposite though it was more of a wayward glance as she was busy writing code on her hologram screen. The flat screen was playing as the others watched and talking obvious to her silence. Mari eyed Asuka feeling a coy smile form as she eyed the news feed. "Hey Princess!" She blinked seeing that Asuka wasn't even registering her presence in any manner which was odd she pulled out one of her scuttle bots which was hidden behind the sofa chair typing something into it then putting it on the floor watching as it moved over to Asuka's sofa chair. It eased up its air horn which went off instantly causing Asuka to shoot up right almost in panic and caused the others to jump slightly.

She watched as the red head turned to her the anger in her face which caused her to laugh as her scuttle bot ran away as fast as possible going up the wall so it was out of range. "You're on the news! There talking about the fact that you're a cripple since you broke half your body." Asuka looked down taking in deep and slow breathes trying to slow her heartbeat down as she sat back in her chair speaking in a cold tone realizing that everyone's attention was now on her. "I don't care, verpiss dich and leave me alone." Mari turned to Toji. "Did she just tell me to fuck off?" Shinji eyed her in annoyance. "Yes she did."

Mari stood up eyeing Asuka whose good eye was staring at her coldly. "Wow you're really moody today what's your problem didn't you get laid last night or something?" She felt her coy smile turn to a wide grin. "Or is everything below the waist not working right now hence why you're all pent up and frustrated?" Rei turned eyeing Mari in disgust. "Leave her alone, you're not funny." Mari smirked as she looked at her. "No I'm hilarious." Shinji eyed the taller woman as he pressed the central remote on the table changing the channel. "There's nothing hilarious about picking on people."

Asuka tensed she didn't need this right now she just wanted silence, clearly it was a mistake to even come up here, everything just felt too noisy both in her mind and all around her. Why couldn't she get any peace? She so desperately wanted her mind to just go silent because it was hard to concentrate on anything it just felt like even the smallest things took so much effort. She hadn't slept well last night as Bardiel's words about Rei were still ringing her mind. She desperately wanted to just dream like she used to and have the dream she had most often of trying to find her mother in a field of sunflowers but she didn't dream anymore her dreams were just a black void.

She lowered her head she felt like she was being stretched like an elastic band emotionally and she had no strength to stop the constant pressure she felt weak, tired and truly drained. She desperately wanted to remember what happiness felt like even though she had not had any before this event had happened but now she so wanted to feel it so badly but the emotion just seemed so far out of her reach. She felt like she was drifting away nothing felt real anymore not taste not touch or smell and she wanted to cry so much more but she knew she couldn't and even if she did she knew no one would care it would just be seen as her acting out or trying to get attention.

She knew she was so close to going too crazy she could feel it, it was like someone was burning at the edge of her soul with red hot flames. Was this how her mother had felt at the end before she had hung herself? Had she slipped in to the darkness like this was she aware of it, had she known that she had tried to strangle her the real her and not the doll? Had it been like some waking nightmare where her subconscious could see but her real mind couldn't? She'd probably never know so what was the point to her questions as she would never have the answers.

Mari eyed Shinji. "Look I get it, your sticking up for her because she used to ride your dick once upon a time but you don't have to, I heard she wasn't all that nice to you in that she treated you like some sex toy." Shinji looked up as he picked up his sketch pad and pencil. "What happened between me and Asuka is none of your concern." Kaworu shook his head. "Your being incredibly unreasonable Mari you're taking pieces of the full story and they're out of context Shinji and Asuka had good times as well I know he told me." Rei turned seeing that Asuka wasn't paying any attention she was spaced out again, it was like the world could crash and burn around her at this very second and she wouldn't even notice let alone care.

More disturbing she just had no fight even the Asuka she was used to who was withdrawn would fight or have some part in this argument since it was a sore point in her history but there was nothing just cold silence. She moved about to get up and go over to her only to stop as Misato came running in through the doors the walk around phone receiver in her hand which caused everyone to go quite.

Misato turned instantly spotting Asuka who was seated forward on her chair. "Asuka you have a call from Germany , you can plug this phone into the receiver in here." She blinked seeing that the red haired woman wasn't taking any notice of her. "Asuka you have a phone call!" Asuka turned finally registering her presence she moved the receiver close to her face. "It's your grandmother she wants to talk to you." She looked up slightly. "She says you didn't pick up last night."

Asuka breathed in deeply she didn't want this ether, she spoke even though her own voice sounded distant even to her. "Please I don't want to talk to her right now." Misato rolled her eyes. "Asuka she's taking the time out of her very busy day to check up on you now show some respect and take the damn phone, I've got her on hold right now!" Asuka took the phone from her hand walking over to the bar she plugged it into the point in the wall as she sat on one of the chairs seeing Bardiel's red gaze follow her from where he was seated opposite her sofa chair. "What's the button to take her off hold?"

Misato blinked seriously had she forgotten since when did Asuka forget this? "It's the blue side button you're the one who set it up remember?" She turned to the others remembering why she was here which was to update them on up coming things they had to do. "Okay I have some oncoming tasks for you all as some companies have been asking for Nerv's help, so Shinji you'll be going with your Evangelion out to Russia in a few days, your going to do a pick up there and Mari will shadow you as they have some really important software military packages and then your both going to fly them to Australia on the same day and drop them off. Toji you'll still be training and I want you to train with Kaworu." She looked up. "Mari you'll also be going to the oil fields with Rei again in Saudi Arabia acting as her guard as they want Rei to fix their faculty oil machine, like last time that will be the day after you shadowed Shinji."

Rei breathed in deeply great oil work again she hated oil work and she loathed climbing down that stupid underground contraption that created synthetic oil, it was always the same jammed section and she had to kick it back in to place using 00's foot.

Plus she never saw anything but desert why couldn't she get something interesting? Like the Oculus project which was about conservation and where you got to help with the replenishment of wild life you got to see forest jungles and animals of every kind. You also got to visit the machines which were out in the red oceans and were slowly turning them back to blue while replenishing the vast sea life. Why couldn't she do the space program where you got to go out into space and visit the Eos international space station where the astronauts were and delver there packages and do maintenance?

Instead she always got sent to remote areas with nothing interesting going on and it was because her Evangelion was seen as some boring and uninteresting thing even though it had all new systems just like the others yet she never got to do interesting things like her brother or Kaworu. On top of that, she really hated synthetic oil it was awful stuff and it took hours to wash off and she just ended having to stand 00 in the huge wash bay for ages until her unit was fully cleaned.

Misato looked up. "Also will someone tell Asuka that she'll be put out on the training field tomorrow with all of you and once she's better she's going to go out to Singapore again where she will shadow the UN fleet."

Rei breathed in deeply her work might be awful and boring but Asuka was literally treated as a dog of war all she ever did was shadow armies from terrorist groups and kill anyone who tried to attack them. Her Evangelion always came back covered in thick black dirt, sand or dried salt from the ocean which she hated because she didn't like deep water or the sea and sometimes she ended up going swimming just break terrorist submarines.

If it wasn't people it was protecting other Evangelion's when they were in war zones, she did no interesting work other than being a walking gun to blow up and kill people. She wondered if that got to her at all, did she feel anything when those people died did it make her sad or was just numb to it now? Either way she just felt sorry her because they were both in the same boat in that they never got to do any interesting things.

Misato turned seeing a scuttle bot hanging off the wall she turned to Mari unable to keep the annoyance out of her tone as she spoke. "Get rid of that scuttle bot I've told you not once I've told you a thousand times your annoying little robotic toys are not allowed in the wreck room!" Mari folded her arms. "Oh come its not bothering anyone." Misato eyed the scuttle bot which had a miniature air horn on it. "Your robots bother everyone, including me get rid off it or go put it with your others which are currently hanging out in a little group in the visitor centre lobby ceiling not bothering anyone."

Mari eased up her hand. "Oh so that's where they went." Misato breathed in deeply. "You're kidding me right, you misplaced them?" Mari put a hand on her chest. "Look I program them with low end slave AI in that they can only do as I say then I let them loose to make their own way around and its part of fun is finding out where they end up and what they do." She looked up at the robot on the wall. "Apart from this one it's a task bot, it programmed to do as I say it's not AI driven its command driven and it calls the others back when ever I tell it to."

Asuka pressed the blue button as she spoke in native language. "Hello." Her grandmothers voice came back filled with concern as she replied in German. "I'm so happy to hear your voice Asuka you didn't pick up last night." Asuka breathed in deeply. "I didn't feel well grandma my stomach was really hurting me." It was a half truth but she hoped it would be good enough to fly since this was an older model speaker phone and not a hologram phone her grandmother couldn't see her face and wouldn't know that she was lying. Her grandmother's voice came again though it sounded more upbeat. "I've straightened out the problem with Ritsuko it won't happen again I told her that if she ever touches you again I'll break both her arms and legs." Asuka felt her whole body tense nervously. "You really said that?"

Her grandmother's voice hit the air filled with enjoyment. "Word for word..." There was a long pause before she spoke again. "You sound tired Asuka are you sleeping?" Asuka breathed in deeply trying to keep the pain out of her voice as she quickly changed the subject. "Before my mother committed suicide you told me that she had very rare lucid moments when she was herself when she had those did she ever speak of being haunted by demons?" Her grandmothers voice came back filled with confusion. "No Asuka when she was lucid which was very rare she would look at the glass where you used to stand but you were never there at the time."

Asuka felt her body tense painfully. "I figured as much." Her grandmother's voice came again though now it sounded really concerned. "Do you want to talk to me Asuka, I mean is there something on your mind?" Asuka looked down sadly. "No I'm fine" Her grandmother's spoke again in a sad tone "Trust me no one in this family has ever been haunted by demons and when you were a child I never believed in scaring you with that Krampus tradition near Christmas as I felt it would be unfair as you'd been through too much."

Asuka shook her head sadly. "That wasn't what I was thinking off grandma..." She breathed in painfully. "Grandma, am I a good person?" Her grandmother's voice hit the air but it was filled with uncertainty. "Are you sure you're alright? I can come a visit you again I don't mind." Asuka put her hand through her hair in frustration. "No I don't need that I know your busy I don't want to take you or the team away from your work."

Her grandmother spoke again though this time very calmly. "Look Asuka I know you're going through a lot right now but I'll tell you this you are a good person and you have a good heart and you should never ever doubt your worth regardless of what others say." Asuka looked down trying again to hide the pain in her voice, she could see Misato leaving and the others were now looking in her direction. Properly because they weren't really used to hearing her native voice as she only ever used it to swear and she knew that they couldn't understand what she was saying. "I just wonder if this accident happened because it was the universe's way of getting back at me for being so evil in my teenager years and hurting a lot of other people."

Her grandmother took in a deep breath before speaking. "Never say that or believe that Asuka, your fate was completely out of your hands and as teenager you weren't evil you just made mistakes we all do it, its just part of growing up." Asuka looked down sadly as she ran her finger over the bar's wooden engraved imagery which showed carved flying cranes and trees. "I just wish sometimes I could turn back the clock, you know." Her grandmother spoke again in a soft voice. "We all have regrets Asuka its part of being human, what matters is what you do in the present and all anyone can ever ask of you is that you try your best, even if it doesn't work out." She breathed in deeply. "Look little one I have to go now, just promise me that you'll ring Kolby when you get a chance."

Asuka put her hands together. "I will grandmother." Her grandmother's voice hit the air again but it sounded happier. "Be seeing you again all my love." Asuka looked up. "Love you Grandma." She listened as the phone cut off. She breathed in deeply as she stood up as she walked towards the double doors only for Rei's voice to break through her thoughts. "Hey Asuka you left your graphic novel here." She turned to see that Rei was holding it up she put a hand in her leather jacket giving her a weak smile. "You can have it to keep I wasn't reading it anyway…"

Mari watched as Asuka vanished from sight she turned eyeing Rei. "What the hell? She just gave you a graphic novel to keep and read she doesn't give anyone anything." She moved closer. "It's a fucking collector's edition to." Rei pulled the thick graphic novel away from her before she could grab it. "She gave it to me remember, not you." Mari smirked as she started to circle her. "Yeah but you don't read comics, you read long winded books."

Rei narrowed her gaze. "I like art so I can appreciate the imagery and the story." Mari eyed the smaller woman. "You wouldn't enjoy it the violence might get lost on you." Rei eyed her in disgust "Since you don't know me personally and we are not the best of friends you don't get to dictate what I like and don't like." Mari folded her arms. "Since when are you ever Asuka's friend and since when is she yours? You two don't even have the same circle of friends plus you're only being nice to her because she's feeling unwell if she was walking around being her normal asshole self you wouldn't care." She laughed coldly. "She's probably just being nice to you because she feels guilty in some way." Rei looked up slightly. "You know you're an awful judge of character Mari, I don't know what happened in your life that made you believe that everyone is awful or manipulative but it's really sad."

Mari felt a sneer form as she spoke holding back none of her anger. "Please you know I'm right! When this is all over you two won't connect any longer you'll go back to your separate lives." She raised her hand "So save yourself the bother of pretending that Asuka matters to you or that you share common interests and give me her graphic novel." Rei put the graphic novel behind her back well out of her reach as she stepped back. "I'm not giving you anything of hers because to you this is some petty jealous rivalry it's just about you forever getting one over on her, because you hate her for some reason that none of us can wrap our heads around."

She moved towards the doors. "I'm tired of your petty mind games and I'm not going to play along with you." Mari watched as she left closing the doors behind her. "She knows I'm right." Kaworu shook his head. "Right is a matter of opinion and perspective." Shinji gave her a cold look. "Stop trying to make my little sister feel bad, just because you feel bad about yourself in some way." Mari eyed him in disgust as she sat back down on her chair he was wrong he just didn't want to admit it because he just always had to right as did his sister, it really pissed her off. Toji sat up raising his hands. "Can everyone stop arguing around here, it's doing my head in?!" Shinji looked down as he started to draw in his A4 sketch book. "Welcome to life at Nerv."


Asuka raised the pistol slowly towards the target range she pressed the trigger feeling the pressure as it fired only to completely miss the target. She tried again only to miss it a second time much to her frustration. Her shoulder still hurt which was making it hard to fire and all of the other employees around her were at least hitting the targets but she was missing completely and hitting the white part outside the red rings. She watched as an older man in his forties with a whiting beard and hair came up to her he had the same outfit as the general staff but the colours were black and the shoulder bands were orange and red to show that he was special ops division.

His name was Kyo and he was second in command over of the whole division itself and taught weapons training to all the staff, his younger brother Yuki was in charge of the whole division and did the hand to hand combat training on the floor above them. She pulled off her ear protection looking at him as he spoke calmly. "Asuka I think that shoulder injury you've got is throwing off your aim, maybe you should stop now you have not hit a thing and you've been trying for over an hour." Asuka put the gun down stepping away from the booth feeling her anger start to boil up "Leave me alone!" Kyo shook his head she was such a stubborn woman at times. "You carry on firing you're going to make that shoulder worse."

He moved his army up boot tapping it against her left leg very gently. "Not to mention I know your having to wear a bionic under those jeans which is compensating for a very bad limp you have in your left leg which isn't helping matters and you need to get used to depth perception again since you've lost an eye." Asuka pulled her leg away. "Don't touch me!" Kyo folded his arms. "Okay fine I'll stop touching you but you need to stop your only making things worse for yourself."

Asuka folded her arms. "You don't get it do you Kyo! If I can't at least aim down here how am I going fire unit 02's automatic guns or even the big gun? I need to fire a gun again that is my job I go out and shadow the UN half the time and when I'm not getting punched up by angels the rest of the time my job is to kill the three terrorist groups who are always attacking innocent people."

Kyo shook his head. "No you need go away and relax and heal fully." He raised his hands. "You're not well enough and no one is expecting you to fire a single weapon out on the training field they just want you to walk your Evangelion around and get used to it again." Asuka felt her whole body tense. "What, theyre putting me out of the field, when?"

Kyo raised an eyebrow. "What no one's told you? Misato's putting you out on the training field tomorrow morning with all the other pilots she thinks it will good for you and I agreed with her." Asuka felt the feeling of panic as it started to set in. "But I screwed up my sync test…why would they possibly want to risk putting me out there now?" Kyo shrugged. "Look I don't think you have anything to worry about everyone knows that Ritsuko got to during the sync test and you panicked. Plus they said that your plug suit wasn't fitted right, its okay no one blames you and getting hit with a clip board wasn't what anyone would call fair."

Asuka leaned against the wall right now she hated that everyone seemed to know about that event when she had wanted to bury it and just move on. "Great so I guess the whole of Nerv knows about it." Kyo's brown eyes narrowed. "Yeah you see someone, I have no idea who, sent around a phone message which has a rather interesting clip of Ritsuko hitting you and trying to tell you that you're shit then it had you spitting blood at her and saying those lovely chosen words back." He laughed. "It's the best thing ever myself and the rest of the special ops were laughing about it all night."

He turned seeing that Asuka wasn't laughing or even smiling she just looked down at the floor miserably which both surprised and confused him as that wasn't like her. "Trust me Asuka none of us were laughing over your misery we were all laughing at Ritsuko she's such a horrible human being and she's normally untouchable because she's Gendo's partner." Asuka breathed in painfully none of his words changed anything.

She knew that they're plenty of people who hated her enough that they'd be laughing at that video drinking in the utter joy of her misery and the fact that she'd failed the sync test. "I need to go." Kyo watched as she pulled out her other ear plug putting it away as she grabbed the gun off the booth putting it's safety on before putting it through the slot where the woman behind the glass screen behind her unloaded its safety and then put it back on the rack with the others.

Kyo blinked in surprise watching as the red haired woman carried on walking not looking back what was going on? That was so out of character for Asuka she would normally at least seen the funny side of this on some level.

Asuka walked slowly out of the gyms lower section as she made her way towards one of the Arcades lifts watching as one opened she slowly got inside waiting for it to close as she pressed the button to the lowest level that she was allowed to which was a hanging level below the Arcade itself which was for maintenance. She wanted to just get away from everyone now and she knew her next actions were wrong but she didn't care.

She waited for the lift to reach the bottom level before walking over to the control panel forcing it open violently then pulled out the breaker killing the power before it could reach the final level causing everything to freeze. She turned not thinking as she leapt up grabbing the security camera forcing it down with enough force to shatter its brackets. She knew the automatic system above would just read this lift as out of commission and the workmen and -women wouldn't be down here for hours.

She could stay here for some time completely unnoticed then just turn the lift back on when she needed to. She sat on the floor pulling up her knees putting her head on them feeling the cold weight of the world on her shoulders. "You're so strange you have so much going on in your mind but you don't say it, why is that?" Asuka looked up as the lifts lights started to flicker all around her, she could see Bardiel sitting in his cat like position his face was very close to hers and his tail was wrapped around her as he towered over her like some black shadow. "Go away."

Bardiel stayed still his lycanthrope body tensing as he pulled out his long tongue. "Was the other brown haired woman right do you need sex to get rid of the tension?" Asuka felt his tongue run down the side of her face it was wet and disgusting on every level. She turned desperately crawling to the corner of the lift trying to get away from him. "Get away from me!" Bardiel pulled his tongue back in as his red eyes blinked. "Funny when male and female humans do that to you in a certain place, you don't react that way."

Asuka eyed him feeling herself start to loose it before she could stop herself as the tears came out of her pure desperation of no longer feeling in control of anything in her life. "Please stop this, I can't take it anymore your violating my soul!" Bardiel moved closer watching as she curled up in fear putting her hands over her head. "You don't seem to get it do you? I won't leave and if your people try to get me out of your brain I will kill you." Asuka ignored him as she spoke to any god or goddess that could hear her. "Please if you're listening I'm so sorry for everything I've done in the past please free me this torment and I'll do anything you want!"

Bardiel narrowed his gaze in confusion she was praying? Why would she pray he was a child of a god he was proof that gods existed, so why pray to another? It made no sense at all. A strange voice hit the air echoing in both male and female tone which he could hear perfectly but he knew Asuka couldn't as she carried on crying "You're no better than Arael, childish wicked games."

Bardiel sneered as spoke back to Lilith who was deep in the underground void far beneath him "You're oversensitive you've been watching your little human creations too long, even to the point that you let them imprison you in that black void."

The double gendered voice came again but the tone sounded unimpressed. "You are so naive Bardiel, you want to understand humanity yet just like Arael and Shamshel, you punish in a way that is deeply cruel." There was a very long pause. "Also I can leave the void at my choosing but I've come a point of understanding that I want to go when merged with another of us or a human so I can begin recreation a new. Because through it I learn so much that you have yet to understand or contemplate you still see existence as material bound by flesh and blood."

Bardiel flicked his tale around sharply. "They are just things why do you care so much? I mean there not like us there fragile, weak short lived I fail to understand why you made them when we are our creators better creations." Lilith's voice came again though in an even tone. "I created them so I could understand what it is to be flawed and fragile because though we are many we lack that understanding."

Bardiel eyed the crying woman in front of him. "I could kill this one here and now it would be easy yes I'd die with her but it would just be one less human it would have no impact and you can't stop me."

Lilith spoke again the annoyance now in the two toned gender voice. "This is where you fail to understand anything at all, humans affect others they leave ripples in their wake it's fascinating beautiful while at other times brutal and horrible but it is existence none the less and you'd do better to be nice to that little fragile female who you're tormenting because you will not get the answers you need. You can only push so hard before the human mind snaps and you're pushing way too hard right now and your father only praises those of you who are able to look beyond the veil of flesh and blood."

Lilith spoke again though the two gendered voice sounded annoyed. "You did this only because you wanted the creators favour over Arael and you want to be noticed and now you're confused because your cruel tactics are not drawing the results you desire."

Bardiel snarled as he looked up. "I just want her to merge fully with me if she would just allow me in it would be easier for the both of us."

Lilith's flowing multi-gendered voice came again but softer. "Then you need to work on trust and boundaries and be much more fair you have to let the emotion be natural not forced because your pushing buttons and repressing others. You know you can vanish you don't always have to be seen or heard and you can allow this little being sleep, real sleep and you can give your gifts without desire for return and try to understand the painful emotions as well as the good ones."

Bardiel felt his body tense. "Is that your only advice?" Lilith's voice came again but in an unreadable tone. "Yes and I will not be giving you anymore, until you start to learn as you have no intention of merging with me down in the void we are at an impasse and I can only teach you so much the rest you have to work out yourself." Bardiel grinded his huge teeth together in thought. "Okay then I'll try and play it your way for all the good it will do."

Asuka breathed in as the lights around her stopped flicking and everything went still she looked up seeing that Bardiel had vanished, yet she didn't dare move from her spot in the corner she was just too afraid that if she did that he would appear again and it would be part of a twisted game. She had never believed in gods or goddess or even the one god yet right now she was so confused because some had seemingly answered her prayer.

She put both hands on her face everything was so messed up right now in her mind it was hard to even think straight and she was so tired. She felt her body slip onto its side as she half curled up on the carpeted floor before she could stop herself, it was pure mental and physical exhaustion setting in before she could stop it and she just couldn't fight it anymore. She watched the world fade out as she slipped into the darkness of her dreams which felt so welcoming as it had been so out of her reach for such a long time.

End of part 16

Chapter Text


Rei eased up Asuka's graphic novel which she'd just started reading yesterday and was now only a third of the way through thus far and it was a surprisingly enjoyable reading. So far she was the only ones to come in none of others were here yet including her brother. It would be an interesting day as they would all be out on the training field for the first time since Asuka had, had the accident and she was really looking forward to it.

It would give her a sense of normality she looked up as Toji came in through the double doors closely followed by Mari he waked up to her the concern showing in his eyes. "Hey Rei did you hear about Asuka?" Rei looked up sharply feeling something in the pit of her stomach turn she had been wondering yesterday where Asuka was as she had not seen her once. It was like she had completely vanished from sight yet when she'd been about to make her way home she'd seen her work motorbike still in the garage parked some way from hers which seemed so odd at the time she had assumed that she might have been feeling unwell and had taken the train home instead. "No what about Asuka." Mari pushed up her glasses as she smirked. "Princess fell asleep in one of the lifts yesterday."

She raised her hand. "The work man and women were telling us all about it apparently she took the Arcade's lift to the lowest level possible tripped the power breaker so it couldn't go back up and then smashed up the video camera. She had been sleeping down there for six hours solid before the workers pulled up the lift, safe to say they were really surprised to pry open the lift doors and find her there all curled up in the corner. Apparently no matter how much they shook her she didn't wake up and in the end they literally had to bang a spanner against the wall to get her to come around and even then she was really slow after she came back to her senses they sent her home."

She folded her arms. "She wouldn't tell them why she was there hence why they asked us because they were so confused about the whole thing because it's such strange behaviour, I mean okay she's a weirdo anyway but this is weird even for her." Rei looked up slightly. "You know it takes one to know one." Mari eyed her feeling her teeth grind together as she spoke. "Please we are nothing alike!" Rei turned another page of the graphic novel reconsidered her statement. "No I guess your not I mean I always know where I stand with Asuka but never with you."

Mari raised her finger. "You know I'm getting really tired of your sassy bullshit! Why can't you go back to being the quite little nobody who doesn't talk that much you know like you were before Asuka got her body broken?" Toji put a hand on his face. "Not this again it's too early for this crap!" He shook his head. "Why must you all fight can't we all just get along for once for the sake of the team?" He rolled his eyes. "My little sisters twelve and even she doesn't act this way." He turned watched as Shinji came in closely followed by Kaworu. "Oh there you both are, your sister and Mari are fighting again."

Shinji breathed in deeply great not this again he knew it wasn't Rei it was Mari she just never knew when to quit and saw just about everyone other than Toji as a rival in some manner. "Okay can we all just take a moment to calm down it's going to be Asuka's first day back on the training field? She needs moral support from all of us because believe me it's much harder when you have not been in the Evangelion for a while because stepping back in can be very daunting." Kaworu leaned over putting his arm around Shinji's shoulder. "Shinji's right this is a big moment for Asuka." Mari felt a cold smile form. "That's assuming that she even turns up today who knows she might fall asleep in the lift shaft again." Shinji turned in looking at her in confusion. "What are you talking about?!"

Rei put her graphic novel away as she stood up. "Asuka fell asleep in the Arcade lift shaft yesterday she knocked its power breaker out and broke the camera and slept down there for six hours solid the workmen and -women found her later on and woke her up." She looked up meeting her brothers shocked gaze. "I'm getting really worried about her Shinji she just hasn't been right for days it's not just in her injuries she seems deeply depressed I've never seen her like this before and when I look into her eyes I know that somethings just not right but she just won't open up about it."

Mari adjusted her white shirt collar. "Don't you mean eye since she only has one?" Rei turned sharply feeling her teeth grind together as she spoke coldly. "I don't recall you being part of this conversation now get lost!" She was about to speak only for her next word to be cut off as Asuka came running in through the double doors not even stopping as she ran in to bathroom out of sight only for the sound of one of the toilet doors being slammed shut to echo through the air. She ignored Mari's cold gaze as she walked in to the bathroom hearing the awful sounds as Asuka threw up there was a long pause before the flush was heard. She moved over to her cubical knocking gently on the door. "Asuka, can I come in?"

She waited hearing the bolt unlock as Asuka came out walking slowly over to the sink which she leaned her head over as she ran the cold water splashing it all over her face while drinking some which she spat out clearly trying to get the awful taste out of her mouth. She looked at her sadly as she leaned over putting a hand on her back rubbing gently. "Are you okay?" Asuka eased herself up taking in a deep breath knowing her next words were partly a lie because what had made her feel ill was the thought of getting back in to unit 02 because she was so nervous. "Bad quark and eggs..."

Rei raised an eyebrow. "Maybe you should just stick to muesli or natural yogurt rather than curd cheese for breakfast." Asuka leaned her head against the glass. "I'll remember that in future." Rei kept her hand on her back. "I heard you had an interesting day yesterday." Asuka looked up meeting her green eyes as she pulled her patch off putting it in her pocket. "Yeah I couldn't get in a single shot out on the range my aim was awful." Rei breathed in deeply. "I was actuality refereeing to the lift which you slept in for six hours."

Asuka tensed as she felt her hand form a fist she wasn't mad that Rei knew this but more annoyed that the workmen and -women had clearly told other people which probably meant that everyone at Nerv knew by now. "I just wanted to get away from everyone."

Rei looked at her for a long moment. "You could have to come to me, there are quite places at Nerv I know about that don't involve breaking cameras and turning of power breakers where you could have slept." Asuka breathed in slowly and deeply Bardiel had not appeared to her since she'd fallen asleep in the lift shaft and once she'd gone home she'd fed and played with her cat and then had fallen straight back to sleep. She knew he wasn't gone she could feel it in her heart clearly he was just giving her some kind of emotional rest bite, before he came back and tormented her again.

Like he'd said he was in her brain itself that was where he was hiding. It was the reason the scanners in the Orion decontamination tank had never found him as it scanned blood and bone not the brain's grey matter. Despite her uncertain feelings she was just grateful to have some real sleep and though she didn't feel as drained as yesterday and did feel better physically, mentality her mind was still in a dark place where it was very hard to reach certain emotions.

She put her hand on her left eye rubbing it. "My emotional scheiss is not your problem." Rei looked at her for a long moment watching as she stood up fully stretching her back. "It's not wrong to want to have someone to talk to Asuka to share the burden with you know I've been worried about you. You've not been yourself at all I've seen it in how you talk speak and act you're so distant and you are not talking like you used to."

Asuka eased her patch on again somehow she knew that this would happen clearly for all the emotions she'd been trying to hide and hope that no one would notice or even care had clearly been slipping though much to her discomfort. "I just don't feel well Rei I'm having problems sleeping." She mentality kicked herself yeah that was pathetic like Rei would really believe that? Rei inched a little closer putting her hand on her leather jackets arm looking straight into Asuka's good eye as the taller woman turned to face her.

"No Asuka I've seen you when your sick, this is something else I know it I see it every time I look into your eye I see that something is getting to you and you can't talk to anyone about it." She eased up her hands straightening the other woman's leather jackets collar. "I just want to help you so please stop trying to shut me out." Asuka felt herself start to shiver as the anxiety came hard and fast, she wanted to tell her the truth but if she did she'd put her at risk there were security cameras everywhere at Nerv they'd see and they'd know.

If it ever got out that she was contaminated she'd be locked up and experimented on she'd die like a lab rat. They'd probably cut her up in chunks and stick her parts in jars or they'd pump her full of drugs like her mother and she'd end up in a mental ward and would never see the sun again as long as she lived and no one would be able to save her not even her grandmother.

Rei could feel her shaking it was subtle but she could feel it. "Asuka you're shaking." Asuka knew her next action were so wrong everything about it was wrong but she just wanted contact so badly because she couldn't voice her fears openly and deep down she just felt so painfully lonely right now. For once she wanted that feeling of belonging so much that it hurt.

She knew Rei would probably push her away or reject her whenever they'd gotten this close in the past the other woman had made it known that she didn't like or even want her around. Not that she could blame her as she'd just been an awful person to be around and she'd always hated rejection it hurt more than anything. It was probably one of the things that she never handled well due to her mother rejecting her during her insanity when she was a child. It was why in school she'd wanted everyone to like her so much even if her actions were cruel or negative because for her any attention had been fine so long as all eyes were upon her.

She leaned her head into the other woman's shoulder feeling the fresh cotton of her embroiled shirt which smelt so much like fresh alpine forest which brought back so many school memories all at once some so strangely distant now in the back of her mind. Rei breathed in deeply as she moved her hand up running it gently through the other woman's red hair as she wrapped her arm around Asuka's back. Clearly she wasn't going to get answers but it didn't matter to her right now maybe because this was the first time Asuka hadn't pushed her away or tried to run away and she clearly just wanted to be held.

Asuka arms weren't moving she was so hesitant and clearly afraid even though this was an open invitation she moved her hand away from her back taking hold of her arms moving them so they were around her waist near her jeans, before moving her arms back in place around her back as she spoke in a quite and gentle voice. "It's okay if you don't want to tell me right now Asuka just know that if you do I'm always here if you change your mind." She felt the other woman's arms wrap fully around her it was a very gentle embrace on Asuka's part she kept still it was so surreal being here now.

Asuka had once tried to do this to her at school but in a much more dominating and aggressive way and she'd literally shoved her off making it clear she didn't want her near her and she couldn't stand the sight of her. The reply had been a barrage of swearing in German none of which she had understood at the time but looking back though on that memory there was something she had seen but not cared to see which was the pain in Asuka's eyes staring back at her before she walked back and sat her wooden school desk where she'd sat down and started to scratch into it with a pen knife. They were both such different people back then but things were so different now they were both different and they had both grown up and had changed in so many ways.

She felt Asuka move as she slowly freed herself from the embrace much to her sadness as deep down she had wanted it to last longer because there was something about it that was so nice it's that she really couldn't put her finger on it other than that it was so different to when other people hugged her there was a sense of warmth.

Asuka looked down sadly as she spoke she had held Rei far to long and she knew it was inappropriate on her part. Though a part of her had just wanted to hold her forever but she knew better and she knew the smaller woman would have just gotten angry with her and shoved her off like she had done in school if she'd held on any longer. "I have to get ready."

She looked at her new plug suite which Rei had fixed which was now hanging behind the glass next to the lockers outside the bathroom. "Everyone's expecting me to perform today…I should at least give them a show even if it's an awful one." Rei moved a little closer to her. "You'll be fine." Asuka looked at her for a long moment. "Tell me something Rei because I need to know the truth."

She spoke knowing that the pain was in her voice. "When you talk to me are you doing it out of guilt or pity for my illness or is this genuine?" She felt her body tense painfully. "Because if its first one you don't have do it anymore because it's not fair on either of us and I won't hold anything against you for walking away. You have your own friends and your own life and you don't need me to messing it up for you because I have a habit of ruining everything I touch."

Rei shook her head okay so she wouldn't deny that she had come to Asuka at the start because she'd felt a sense of sadness and guilt because none of the others were spending that much time with her, now though it was different now she was being here because she wanted to be her friend and she cared about her "At the beginning it was guilt yes."

Asuka felt the twist of pain turn in her stomach like a knife she was unable to keep the intense pain out of her voice as she spoke. "I suspected that so please stop doing this it hurts too much." Rei moved forward taking hold of her arm as she raised her other hand. "No just hear me out Asuka I said at the beginning, I don't feel that way anymore I care about you and I just want us to be friends, real friends." She breathed in deeply. "I think deep down you want that too."

She was about to say more only for Toji to poke his head around the corner fully dressed in his plug suite. "You guys need to get ready they want us all on the field in ten minutes." Rei watched as Asuka turned away. "Look I promise we'll talk about this once the training is over." Asuka looked down sadly. "I won't hold you to that promise if you choose otherwise."


Misato looked over both huge fields where all of the Evangelion's were slowly being brought up she eyed Kaji and Maya, Shigeru and Makoto who were in the training room all at there separate holographic desks. "Okay tell all of the pilots to activate minus Asuka we'll do her last." She looked up as huge holographic training screen came on, she could see both training fields and a large number of press helicopters flying around at some distance.

Though Nerv's military vertical take off fighters were floating at a threatening distance to keep them at bay sometimes she really hated the whole freedom of the press bullshit. Because it meant that they were nothing but a pain on days like this and of cause the media team who did the whole crappy social media side up in the media centre and who gave guided tours to sponsor's and delegates loved this stuff.

To them it was one big candy bar and just another way to sell more products and merchandise and trend shitty speeches all over media sites to make Nerv look good. Also every six months they did the pilots photos shoots which they sold to the news papers and magazines world wide at the highest price then there were the seated one to one interviews and the press interview every year and she hated it. The media loved to stick the knife in a twist and make out that Nerv was screwing up in some way and they loved trying to put the blame on her shoulders or the pilots in some way.

The only control they had over them was that they were strictly forbidden from going near any of the pilots homes and they were not allowed to take photos of them near there homes and they also weren't allowed to harass them when they were out enjoying themselves in Tokyo Three. The price for doing so was a loss of all the good photos and interviews and footage of the training grounds which they were gagging for and nobody had overstepped the line yet.

She looked up again at the press helicopters it wasn't surprising that the press were here as they were awaiting Asuka's return to the field and they all wanted to record her activation and broad cast it to the world no doubt even Asuka's grandmother would be watching this feed over in Germany. She watched as unit 00 and 01 started there slow march as they were freed from the shoulder restraint. She looked up as 04 on the training fields other side plugged in the cable to the Omega unit so it could move around better while on the other side unit 03 activated as it marched out.

Maya eyed her holographic desk looking at the feeds. "All pilots within high perimeters, all of the mental syncs seem fine and healthy." She eyed Rei's bar. "Apart from Rei's she's a little lower than normal though." Misato leaned over typed in her personal panel. "Rei are you okay? Your sync seems a little lower than normal." Rei's face appeared on central screen. "I'm fine, look you should be telling Asuka to activate she's under a lot of pressure and the waiting is just going to make it worse." Mari's face suddenly appeared on screen along side Rei's. "Yeah wake her up I've always wanted to see what happens when unit 02 falls flat on its face."

Kaji eyed her in disgust. "Get off this channel Mari." Shigeru typed in to the holographic desk watching as Mari's image vanished. "Another day in paradise…." Makoto didn't look as he carried on typing. "I don't get paid enough for this shit." Maya rolled her eyes as she looked at him. "Shut up I need to concentrate." She watched as they all went quite as she beamed the screen in close on unit 02 which was looking sorry for itself in the corner. "Did they get the new software installed in the 02 entry plug?" Kaji looked up. "I installed it personally last night."

Misato leaned over his chair. "What new software?" Kaji turned to her. "You know how you're always saying that sometimes the pilot's holographic screens get messy and you're sick of Mari pissing off Asuka and you wish the pilots had more control over their screens?" Misato gave him a wide grin. "Yes I did so what did you make me Oh great one?"

Kaji eased up a special top of the range red data card watching as she took it. "This will give the pilots full control of there inner floating hologram screens but it also allows them to literally swipe off some one's face they don't want to see or hear. Also they can turn on video, music and play little 2d games between units and even play games together. You know during those boring quite times when they have nothing to do and they just have to stand around and look menacing for worldwide public events, they can even write and draw with there fingers there's an art program installed." He raised his hand. "Also don't worry about Mari she's getting a version that's a little harder to put her claws into because we both know that her hacking is an issue."

He felt a smile form. "For Asuka this will add a special surround to her head which will help calculate and compensate for the missing eye if it works we can install the software across all of the pilots entry plugs." Misato looked up. "This is brilliant how long have you been working on this?" Kaji folded his arms. "Six months with the guys here along with Maya's input concerning the old software." He leaned back in his chair. "Never realized all that coding shit I used for spying could come in handy for making useful software."

He eyed unit 02 "Asuka is the perfect test subject for the holographic head surround plus she might enjoy playing mini computer games while she's healing. It might cheer her up as I've heard she's been acting really miserable and out of character lately." Shigeru shook his head. "Yeah who knew that she liked to pull out the power breaker in a lift and then break its camera and sleep in there for six hours straight?"

Misato blinked in surprise "What the hell she slept in a lift shaft, why did no one mention this to me?" Maya turned to look at her. "It happened yesterday and I told everyone not to mention it to you because you might have stopped her from doing the test and she really needs this right now, pulling her will only make her emotional state worse. It's becoming clear to a lot of the staff that she just isn't right she's out of sorts lacks appetite, can be very distant and sort of walks around in her own world and doesn't seem to fight back much and is very tired, it's really disturbing."

She looked up as she carried on typing. "There are lot of people on the staff who are getting a lot amusement out of the lift incident and I have not had chance yet to put them in place it's the next thing on my job list after this. Not to mention I'm doing everything in my power to keep this event secret from Ritsuko because she might use it to really hurt Asuka's career as she hates her with such a passion and she might pull out her whole crappy card about Asuka turning in to her mother and use it to justify her actions and punish her." She watched the screen as the other pilots began there drills. "So let's start this because so long as she moves she'll be okay that's all the world needs to see while I work on fixing her mental state."

Misato moved over to her desk. "Next time you tell me about this okay I knew none of this I thought she was just ill." Maya looked up. "You're meant to be her commander why don't you take the time out of your busy day to actuality talk with her and I don't mean small talk or order talk, because if you had you'd have seen this?" She turned back to her holographic screen. "The reason this has gotten so bad is because people just accept that she's a wayward loner or made of iron but in truth she's not, she's a scared young woman who's lonely and afraid and who struggles to talk to people." She watched as unit 00 stopped training on screen as Rei's image came up again filled with uncertainty. "Would you please get Asuka moving?" Misato looked up sharply. "Okay Rei we are on that now, stand by."

Asuka breathed in feeling her self getting more and more tense why was no one activating her she was literally staring into the darkness with nothing going on? She turned as the com came on as Maya's voice hit the air filled with concern. "Okay Asuka sorry to keep you waiting please activate 02." Asuka let out the breath she'd been holding, finally she couldn't take the waiting anymore.

She moved over taking the controls closing her eyes feeling the LCL as it started to spill up filling up the entry plug. She took in a deep breath letting it enter her lungs taking in slow deep breathes feeling a moment of utter bliss as that familiar feeling of warmth surrounded her. She could smell sunflowers beautiful sunflower she watched as the red code ran up on the screens before they turned to white and the outside world came in to view she felt herself freeze as an unfamiliar smell hit her nose. "Whose been in my verfickten unit I can smell rosemary?!"

Misato's voice came over the com though it sounded nervous. "When you get out I'll explain everything to you." Asuka felt a sneer form. "You put Mari in here didn't you?" Maya's voice came again though it sounded happier this time. "Asuka you have some new software I'm going to boot it up for you don't be alarmed by the head hologram when it appears."

Asuka watched as the screens went black again this time lighting up with blue code before the outside screens reappeared and a yellow surround appeared around her head she turned her head seeing it move with her. "What is this thing?" Maya's face appeared on her holographic screen. "We've updated your entry plug software give thanks to Kaji and the others as they worked for six months on this it's really good. We are testing it on you as you lost your eye and the yellow surround allows you move better in tune with your unit and it will help compensate for the left side blind spot." Asuka moved back getting used the surround. "I'm confused why not test this on four eyes since she's blind?"

Mari's face suddenly appeared on her screen filled with rage "Fuck off princess!" Maya breathed in deeply. "Oh yes and as a new feature you can swipe people who are annoying off your screen and silence them." Asuka eased up her hand throwing Mari image of screen. "Oh I like that." Maya looked up. "The software compensates for blind spots only not for a lack of sight so it wouldn't really help Mari plus her glasses fix the problems with her eyes."

Misato leaned over Maya's chair. "Yeah I can see why you and Kaji went with the whole software thing now, good distraction." Maya turned looking up at Asuka's sync which was just above borderline but still much lower than all of the others. "Yeah well I'm not telling her about Mari getting in her unit that's your job after she gets better mentality." She breathed in deeply. "She's still dangerously low but she is syncing unlike in the other test." She looked down at her desk. "Freeing unit 02's shoulder restraints..." She pressed the buttons watching as 02's restraints came free on the big screen. "Okay Asuka please walk forward."

Misato looked up seeing that nothing was happening. "Come on Asuka move your damn foot." Maya raised her hand. "Just give her time." She breathed in sharply seeing that Asuka still wasn't moving. "Come on Asuka." Kaji turned the concern in his eyes. "If she doesn't move do you want me to cancel the test?" Maya folded her arms. "No she will do this! I know her she will move."

She watched as unit 02's head started to move as the right foot lifted very slowly before coming down hard as it began to move forward the left foot followed which wasn't so steady as it came down hard and with a lot of effort. "That's it keep moving." She watched as the red unit slowly carried on walking though the limp in the left leg was showing though.

Misato folded her arms. "She has that bionic on right?" Maya nodded. "Yes and it's turned on." Misato blinked in confusion. "Why is 02 limping then?" Maya carried on typing. "The bionic only fools her body it doesn't fool her brain and 02 is reading her brain waves." Misato put a hand through her hair in frustration. "Can you compensate for it I'm mean the press are going to mock this no end?" Maya shook her head. "No I can't." She looked at 02's image knowing that Misato was right the press would find this all very amusing. "Okay Asuka I need you to stop and raise your hands and move your fingers very slowly."

She watched as the red unit with its high red spiked demon like crest stopped raising its hands then began to slowly move its fingers Shinji, Rei and Kaworu had now all stopped to watch. "That's good Asuka." She brought up Rei's image. "Rei would you pass Asuka one of the two ended spears?" She watched as unit 00 ran over to the weapons area pulling a massive two ended spear free then ran over to Asuka carefully handing it to her unit before stepping away. "Okay Asuka you remember your training give the press something good." Misato watched as Asuka began to spin the weapon looping it around her units head in precise but slow manner. "There we go she's going to be fine."

Asuka carried on the looping the two ended spear only for her screen to suddenly go black on one side as a close up of Bardiel appeared his red eyes glowing as he spoke calmly. "Ah there you are, now shall you begin again?" Asuka felt the fear hit her causing her to drop her spear which slammed into the ground she felt her good eye dart in panic as her heart started to pound in her chest.

Bardiel's face formed a wide smile. "Like I've said so many times, if you let me in it will be easy and the pain won't last long are you not tired of feeling weak being sick and everyone thinking you're all washed up?" Asuka shouted her next words. "Leave me alone!" Bardiel shook his head. "These people think you're nothing they are laughing at you right now wouldn't you like to stifle there laughter?" Asuka felt her hands go to her head. "Get out of my head!"

She watched as the whole screen went black and outside world faded in to darkness as Bardiel spoke again. "You're broken in a beautiful way no other can claim so much. If you merge with me they'll never be able to use your mental feelings against you ever again, you'll never be your mother because I'll always protect you." Asuka looked up "You're lying!" Bardiel shook his head. "No I'm not that's what you've always wanted isn't it deep down you don't want to end up like your mother, I'll be your father your protector I'll will the world to your dreams and desires." Asuka looked up screaming her next words, "Mama!"

Bardiel eyes became softer. "Let me in, release your fear of me."

Misato watched as unit 02 hands stayed on its head as it huge jaws opened as it began to roar in pain as 00 came closer. "What the fuck is going on!?" Maya watching as Asuka's whole panel went crazy. "She's going out of sync again, heart rates going crazy and her brain waves are all over the place." She carried on typing. "I can't get through to her unit she's shut me out completely, I have no video or audio I can't even get into her systems!"

Kaji looked up from his holographic desk "It looks like she's having another panic attack just like she did in the test I can flood her LCL with sedative!" Maya turned shaking her head. "No don't do that you could hurt Asuka mentality if you break her sync in a way that's harmful!" She watching as unit 02's head rose skyward it's mouth opening fully as it carried on roaring in pain as its legs opened wider and its whole back started to tense up.

Its fists clenched as the sync waves suddenly started to come back together this time joining in a perfect union. She heard Asuka's strangled desperate voice hit the air over the loud speaker which was normally private so the press couldn't hear the pilot conversations. "Mama, save me!"

End of part 17



Chapter Text


Rei moved closer to unit 02 which was still roaring in agony she typed trying to get through to Asuka's com she'd heard her cry out in desperation for her mother everyone had heard it somehow her outward commutation had turned on which wasn't meant to happen. "Asuka can you hear me?"

Misato face appeared on her screen. "Don't get any closer to unit 02." Shinji's face came up opposite. "Shut her down she's suffering!" Misato looked at him. "We are trying she's shut us all out we don't know how she's even doing it!" Rei inched closer. "Yeah well if you're not going to, I will! Tell me what I have to pull off or destroy to shut her down?"

She watched as unit 02's head suddenly lowered violently as it sagged forward and the whole body stopped tensing going limp she inched closer as it remained completely still "Asuka?" The next moment caught her completely off guard as the head suddenly lifted its mouth opening as a massive bellowing roar came out she watched in utter shock as the face started to bend and creak as the metal started to buckle on both jaws as parts flew off as the lower jaw lengthen massively.

All of the eight cylindrical green cores that made up part's of the back suddenly flew up they were burning red hot as they tried to expel the internal heat in a mass of red hot steam which meant that the unit 02's core was seriously overheating and the cylinder cores were doing everything possible to keep it under control.

The head shook violently as a long human like tongue suddenly came out of the mouth as the two lower canine teeth on the bottom jaw started growing upwards turning into huge upward facing sabres as all the other teeth turned long and razor sharp and the top canines grew downwards becoming very prominent while the neck lengthened slightly getting thicker as the whole throat widened. Two sets of huge strange black horns smashed violently through the crest two on each side though the lesser one was curved. 

The whole body was next as the sails on both shoulders started to lower themselves going further back as red plating flew off all over the place as the green eyes glowed brighter as the whole body hunched over becoming less human as more plating shot off. This wasn't Asuka's normal beast mode it looked nothing like this her normal form didn't change that much other than getting more muscled and normally the lower jaw got slightly longer and the unit's teeth becoming much more proximate and razor sharp while her speed became faster and she lost her shoulder sails.

The huge red hands started to shake as they grew downwards becoming half human with long thick curved claws and a longer palm with much longer fingers. The feet followed growing large claws becoming sub human as they grew upwards becoming almost lycanthrope like changing in size and length. The knees bent downwards to compensate for the upper body weight which increased as the top half became more muscular. A massive tail grew downwards from the end it was huge being almost as long as the body there was a massive crack as it split directly down the centre becoming two tails which seemed to move independently of the other lashing around violently she watched the cylinders go back in to the units back only to come out again as they expelled even more heat.

The huge jaws widened further as a bright blue ball with red light started to form inside it looked almost like a blue cross pattern she pressed on her com looked up seeing that the two vertical wings had now moved over unit 02 and Shinji was moving in unit 01 to intervene. "Asuka, if you can hear me please stop this you're loosing control!" She listened as Asuka's voice spoke it was distant small and weak. "Rei…"

The huge jaws suddenly snapped shut causing the blue light to be blown apart it blasted outwards in a massive blue and red shock wave which hit all the units including her causing her screen to flicker like crazy as a blue cross appeared staying there for a long moment before vanishing. The next moments shocked her as every Evangelion unit other than herself fell over there power cutting out completely.

She had barely any time to think as she saw the two vertical wings falling towards the earth she grabbed her controls running with all her might towards them then leapt up grabbing them both by the rudders before they could hit the ground. She pulled them up with all of her might they weren't the smallest planes in the world they were damn heavy. She carefully lowered them to the ground turning on her outside com so she could speak to them. "Are you okay, what happened?" She watched as both pilots appeared the first talking over his load speaker so she could hear them. "Our electrics cut out!"

Rei raised her unit's huge blue hand. "Excuse me I have to stop 02." She turned seeing unit 02's core cylinders go back down locking back in to place as the tongue drooped outside of its mouth, its legs buckled as it hit the ground hard on its front as the two massive tails went limp and the green eyes slowly turned dark as it shut down fully.

"Is anyone out there can anyone hear us?!"

Rei turned hearing Misato's voice as she came up on her screen with sound only. "I can hear you." Kaji's voice came filled with confusion. "You're still standing?" Rei looked around her at the other Evangelion's who had literally fallen over and were lying in awkward positions probably the worst was Mari who was literally sprawled on top of Toji. "Yeah don't ask me why the wave hit me but none of my systems went down."

Kaji spoke again in deeply concerned tone. "We had a massive power outage here it cut off half of Nerv we are getting reports that in Tokyo three that one of there transformers went dead which has knocked out six blocks. We have only just got the emergency back up power on and it will take us a minute to get back full screen but it will take them half an hour to get power up below, is Asuka still alive? We tried to shut her down but we lost power before we were able to complete." Rei looked at Asuka's unit. "Once she bit down on that ball of light, her unit shut down she's gone silent, I don't know if she's alive." Misato's voice cut in sharply. "What about the others?"

Rei turned as her brother unit eyes suddenly began to glow white and it started to move closely followed by Kaworu who moved from his position which was over Shinji unit's chest as he'd tried to protect him during the blast. "I think everyone's reactivating."

She watched as Mari got up slowly on the other side of the wall her voice coming through filled with rage. "What the hell just happened what did fucking princess do to us?" Toji's voice hit the air filled with anxiety. "Can someone get me out of here I've lost all power I can't even get my entry plug to release!" Mari moved over to him pulling out his cable. "Okay easy now I'll get you the Beta unit's cable, just give me one second..." She pulled the other cable out slowly pushing it to the training units back. "You got any power?"

Toji's voice came again though this time even more sharp and anxious. "No!" Mari breathed in watching as the four medical vans appeared on the surface driving full speed towards the training field there sirens going. "The medical staff are coming they will release you from the other side" she watched as they ran past her units feet stopping next to Toji training unit. She turned to Rei as the central wall that split both training grounds lowered as the other medical vans sped past her unit's feet as the stopped next to unit 02 as the emergency crew and medical crew got out. "Fucking pathetic her crying out for her mom, like that."

Rei eyed her in disgust. "How can you be so damn insensitive, she was in real pain?" Mari folded her unit's arms across its chest. "She's twenty three she should have gotten over her issues with her mother by now!" Shinji moved placed himself in between them. "Stop it both of you this is not helping anyone!" Kaworu eased up his units white hand. "Shinji's right we need to be calm and focused right now so the medical and emergency crews can do their work." Rei watched as Misato's image appeared on her screen. "Okay we now have full power again we have reads out from unit 02, she's alive but unconscious the medical staff are going in to pull her out they should be with you now." Her eyes shifted looking elsewhere. "What the hell did she do to unit 02 it looks like some kind of Oni on steroids?!"

Rei looked up seeing that the press helicopters were returning they had practically high tailed it the moment the blue and red ball of light had appeared in 02's mouth because they clearly though there was going to be an explosion. Worst part was they had no doubt recorded the footage of Asuka crying out for her mother, now they were just here to soak in all the turmoil and there were no virtual wings to stop them and it would probably take a moment for the tanks to come out and point their guns at them just to keep them out of the training grounds which they could literally fly over at will right now if they wanted to.

She typed in to her screen watching as their direct new feed came up she watched as Asuka's entry plug was ejected half way and the door was opened slowly by the crews who went inside as the news camera beamed in closer as the news man spoke. "Very tense moment here people please stand by we are only just getting this if we move any closer Nerv will not be happy."

Rei breathed in deeply she sat up as she caught sight of Asuka as they brought her out on a stretcher while putting a breathing apparatus on her. The news casters voice came again. "It appears that the German pilot Asuka Langley Soryu is alive just unconscious, though I think this brings up far more questions than answers, was Nerv's new test software faulty or was this caused by pilot's mental instability? Because we've all seen what a taste of that can do with unit 01 and the pilot Shinji Ikari some years back." His voice turned to disgust. "Either way unit 02 now truly does looks really demented and twisted, I mean look at its tongue you could stretch it over a yard arm." Rei tapped the volume silencing it so it was picture only as she eased up her legs and folding her arms watching in silence.


Maya breathed in deeply looking at Asuka who was lying in the hospital wing she had been out for five hours and had yet to regain consciousness. She could see Shinji, Rei and Kaworu who were all waiting for her to wake up and seated next to her bed. Yet again she'd had to be dressed in hospital shirt and trousers with the bionic over the top and she wasn't going to like being back here, she could feel it.

She watched as Misato walked up the hall towards her the concern in her face as she spoke. "How is she?" Maya shook her head. "Nothing's wrong with her I checked everything, her hearts fine, brain waves are all normal she's just not coming around and I have no idea as to why." She put her hand on her face. "This is whole event has been awful, I never wanted it to be this way I wanted her to get better."

Misato leaned against the wall easing up her black trousers leg as she put her black army boot against the wall. "Well we know Ritsuko's going to kick off big time and try to blame it all on us and the press are going to have a field day and I have no idea what were are even meant to do with unit 02 now. The specialists said it will take them a few days to fix the armour and they'll have to work nonstop, because it's a massive refit job as they have to take the spare plating out of storage and modify it."

Maya looked up sadly. "I spoke to the technicians and specialists what ever she did it's permanent they checked the units code over twice because they thought it was stuck in some kind of beast mode but its not. In fact the code for activating beast mode has completely vanished its like it was purposely erased from the entry plug's software and they did try to put it back in but it got instantly rejected which really confused them as the units entry plugs don't normally reject new code."

She eased up a hand. "They made one thing very clear though that it's a physical change in appearance to match its pilot's mental state granted years ago when 01 went berserk it went through minor physical changes in that the crest horn now has opening sections and its hands are clawed and it became even stronger. This on the other hand is a complete metamorphosis in that Evangelion's real body has also changed drastically under the armour and it's unlike anything we've ever witnessed before." Misato looked up. "You're telling me this thing looking like it came out of the pits of some Oni hell is the result of Asuka's mental breakdown?"

Maya nodded. "Yes but what none of us can wrap our heads around is that normally depression in pilots means they don't sync well and they can't perform well either. Their own Evangelion rejects them it happened to Rei once when she was younger and going through hard times and kept dying her hair blue and putting in red contacts because she so badly wanted her fathers attention and we couldn't get her to sync right for over two weeks."

She raised her hand "Asuka though has somehow broken the rule she's twisted the form and still has the Evangelion working for her. I mean all of the read outs suggest that she wanted to do this that she willed it somehow but hearing her crying out for mother is just utterly heartbreaking and the worst part is everyone heard her, as the feed was being pumped across the world in real time." She breathed in painfully. "Some people in the media will use this to crucify her because they love to kick others when there at their lowest and some of them hate Asuka because of her past actions on their networks and now they finally going to get their pound of flesh and they know the issue with her mother is like some gaping emotional wound."

She looked down sadly. "The media team upstairs are also saying that Asuka's ratings are now at an all time low in fact they've had to do nothing but damage control for her since the UN Alpha unit accident and to a lot of people out there she's no longer a god, she's a washout and this incident today has just made it ten times worse because now her mental stability is being seriously questioned. You know that Gendo tried to pull Shinji from the program after he went berserk in 01 but he had to keep him because he found dummy plugs just don't work the Evangelion rejects them every time."

Misato felt a cold sneer form on her lips. "I don't give a shit about what the media outside are saying or our media team here, I mean we can just say this happened due to coding error in cores partial AI, I mean they always buy that bullshit right? They know the Evangelion's series are forever a work in progress since they are the most sophisticated weapons on earth."

Maya eased up her hand. "Yes and that would work had Asuka not turned unit 02 in to some crazy demented looking lycanthrope like creature. They're not even going to even believe this now for second and if we lie and say it's stuck in beast mode they'll still have one over on us because her unit looks nothing like its normal beast mode form, our best option is to stay quite until we know just what's going on."

Misato looked up as Kaji made his way towards them the concern in his eyes as he spoke. "I wanted to come down here to see how she's doing." Maya looked through the glass. "She hasn't woken up we are all still waiting." Kaji pushed his long tail back. "This whole thing is terrible and I still don't understand how she locked us out, I mean she's not Mari she doesn't have hacking skills her specialty is mechanics and engineering."

Maya put a hand through her hair in frustration. "Panic attacks cause all sorts of emotional problems what I can't figure out is what is triggering her, both times it's been so sudden like someone flicking a switch in her brain and this time she was perfectly fine for a while." She folded her arms. "Is Toji okay, I know it took them a while to pull him out of Omega's entry plug and he was really shook up?" Kaji put his hands in his pockets. "Young man's fine, the reason he was having such a hard time is he doesn't like pitch black places, it's all to do with his street living where him and sister had to hide in some really awful dark places to get away from people with guns. His new unit is being fitted with a device so it always has a red glow even when it's turned off just to keep the entry plug lit, we did put extra light in Omega's entry plug but the shock wave shorted it out."

Shinji looked behind him through the glass seeing the others talking. "What do you suppose they're talking about?" Rei kept her arms folded not looking behind her. "I don't care what they're talking about." Kaworu turned to her. "Is what happened with Mari still getting to you, I mean what she said about Asuka?" Rei felt her body tense. "No but it's something else related to it." She turned to Shinji. "You never told me Asuka cried out for her mother in her sleep." Shinji raised his hand "Look at the time it was between us and I did try to talk to her about it but she got angry and shut me out."

Rei eyed him "Yet I never knew, I'm your sister not a stranger." Shinji put his hands together. "Look I didn't tell you because I was trying to protect you, you and I both know how Asuka used to be and how she loved the sympathy vote and liked to manipulate people so she could get her own way." Rei felt her teeth grind together. "Please walking in on your mother when she hung herself and crying about her in your sleep is a sympathy vote?"

She sat up fully "You know our mother loved us to her last breath and even after she was gone and father ditched us we at least had each other to depend on and our family did care about us and tried to help, Asuka wasn't so lucky her stepparents didn't care about her." Kaworu turned to Shinji as he spoke hearing the pain in his words which he knew his best friend would understand "Messy childhoods lead to messy feelings that are unfathomable and for some of us they are much more difficult to navigate than others."

Shinji looked up meeting his sister's gaze "I'm sorry Rei I was just trying to protect you I know Asuka scared you in school but at the same time I know she liked you though not in good way it was more about wanting you and having ownership." Rei adjusted her shirts embroiled collar. "I'm starting to think that school was tragic waste of time because we were all so messed up in ourselves and never knew who we really were or who we really wanted to be and now all I feel is sadness that we all couldn't have, had happier lives." Her next words were cut off as she saw Asuka's fingers start to twitch she moved over to bed followed by the others. "I think she's coming around."

She watched as both of her eyes opened though her blinded left eye now looked very different it had weird glowing blue patterns in it and it was no longer milky though the pupil was still white it seemed a much brighter white she spoke softly and quietly. "Asuka you're in the hospital wing." Asuka eased up her hand putting it on her left eye groaning painfully. "Where's my patch?" Rei leaned over passing it to her as she sat up in bed. "It's here."

Asuka eased on her patch as she turned to the others. "I've verschissen es up again…" Rei looked at her for a long moment. "No Asuka you didn't." Asuka felt her teeth grind together as she spoke. "Please you do not have to make me feel better I remember what happened I lost control of my verfickte Unit and caused some kind of accident!" She put a hand through her hair in frustration. "I know because I remember unit 02's jaws shutting and something being forced outward and it gets really hazy after that." Shinji moved closer. "Asuka all you did was knock out the power in our units and part of Nerv along with a part of Tokyo Three but no one died, they got the power switched back on."

Asuka put her face in her hands. "Ritsuko's going to bury me for this." Shinji looked at her for a long moment before speaking. "What because you threw off the power and she couldn't make her overly priced expensive tea for half an hour." Asuka looked up at him. "No because she verfickt hates me and wants me off the program!" She lowered her gaze to the floor. "Just like she hated my mother…." She felt her self tense as the sudden memory flooded back and she found herself pulling up her legs just to hide her face in them. "Oh please no…I was crying out for my mother on the live speaker."

Rei moved a little closer. "Asuka it's okay." Asuka buried her head deeper. "This is not okay…the media are going to destroy me over this there going to make me out as incompetent and mentality unstable." Rei breathed in deeply. "There just the media Asuka what they say means nothing." She looked up as Misato came in followed by Maya and Kaji. "Asuka, Misato's here she wants to speak to you Maya's here to and so is Kaji." Asuka lowered her legs seeing them all come into view as her anger melted away turning in to pure sadness. "You're here about my suspension right, because I caused a serious incident on the training field?" She looked at her hands. "Where people could have died because I wasn't in control."

Misato blinked in shock she could see the overwhelming sadness in the red haired woman's face it was there clear as day. "No Asuka that's not why I'm here." She raised a large photo which showed unit 02 new look. "All of us just need to know how you did this." Asuka eyed the red unit which looked nothing like hers but more like some kind of demented demon. "Is this some kind of joke because if it is, it's not verfickt funny?" Misato looked at the image. "No Asuka this is your unit you did this to it, what we need to know is how we've never seen anything like it before?"

"I changed it for you when we merged fully, you'll thank me later."

Asuka turned realizing that Bardiel was sitting opposite the hospital bed but no one could even see him other than her, she felt herself fidget nervously feeling her good eye dart. She didn't want to be here anymore she wanted to run away and leave. "I don't know how I did it, I don't remember." Misato eyed her closely she could now see clearly Asuka just wasn't right her emotional state had changed very quickly and that distant behaviour Maya had spoken about was showing because she wasn't focusing on her at all and she seemed deeply distracted. "Asuka we all have to go up to head office in an hour we need to explain this, if you can tell me anything to explain this."

She leaned forward speaking very gently. "Just tell me what your emotional state was inside unit 02 when this happened it's really important." Asuka felt her whole body tense as the words came out before she could really stop them. "I wanted oblivion so I couldn't feel the pain anymore." Misato looked around seeing concern and sadness as it appeared on everyone faces she tried to choose her words as carefully as possible as she spoke again. "Asuka are you talking about suicide?"

Asuka looked down maybe she was, right now she wanted everything to stop and she didn't really care how. She was trapped in one endless nightmare where nothing went right and nothing she seemed to do could made it better to her it felt like her life was just turning in to an utter train wreck. Every emotion felt ten times worse and even now she was holding back the tears because she just didn't feel like there was any light at the end of this tunnel.

Misato breathed in deeply trying again seeing that the red haired woman was staring off into the distance lost in her own world. "Asuka please are you talking about suicide, you need to tell us it's very important?" Asuka looked up knowing her next words were such an utter lie but she just wanted to be left alone. "Don't compare me to my mother, just because she took her own life doesn't mean I'm like her!"

Maya didn't think as she moved in front of Misato easing up her hands because she knew just how bad this might get "We weren't comparing you to your mother Asuka, we are just worried." Asuka eyed her. "Well I don't want your worry or your pity so leave me alone!" She pulled herself off the bed ignoring the fact that her body was really aching all over. "I assume my clothes are still in the changing room up in the wreck room because I just want to go home?"

Rei stepped in front of her raising her hands causing her to stop "Asuka, why don't you come home with me tonight? I mean I live much closer to Nerv, you can bring your cat Erika up on the train and she can stay with us, I also promised you this morning that we would both talk." Asuka breathed in deeply she really wishing that this wasn't happening right now because somewhere deep down in her heart a voice was crying out a desperate yes, while her mind was just screaming no.

Rei moved closer taking hold of her arm. "I can order in something for you since you're more of a carnivore than I am, wasn't your favourite junk food in school meat feast pizza?" Asuka stared at her for a long moment this was like torture because it was something she wanted so badly that it hurt why couldn't Rei just stop? Even if it was for real and it wasn't about guilt or pity why was wasting her time on her? She deserved so much better than her even as a friend she eased up her hand very gently easing hers off. "Thank you Rei but I'll be fine."

She hated herself for those words even as they came out because again that wanting and longing hurt so badly but it was better for Rei. She couldn't let her walk this path she was infected by an angel and she'd always be at risk she stepped away looking at the floor as she walked out watching as everyone moved aside to let her through.

Misato watched as she vanished from sight this was so sad, she was used to dealing with pilots problems but this was just shocking it was pure depression and it was crippling Asuka. She eyed Rei who now just looked sad she moved forward putting her hand on her shoulder. "You tried Rei." Rei shook her head. "She just won't let me in no matter what I say or do I know she's depressed but I just wish I could reach her."

Maya moved forward. "Believe me she wanted to I saw it in her face." Kaji looked down sadly. "What people say and what they feel are very different things and I think Asuka wants your friendship its just fear holding her back." Misato turned to Maya and Kaji. "We can not tell Ritsuko about what she said regarding oblivion because Ritsuko will use her mother's suicide against her we have to make up something else." Shinji stepped forward. "Say it was anxiety and fear, like you did with me when I sent my unit 01 berserk during the first battle which caused the crest horn to change and the fingers to grow claws."

Misato looked at him for a long moment. "That just might work Shinji." raised her hand. "Everyone has to back me up on this is that clear?" She watched as they all nodded as she turned to Maya. "Also when Asuka comes in tomorrow, just tell her she can do what ever she wants, hell throw sweets in lap just anything to perk her up I just need to keep Ritsuko's and Gendo's gaze off her while I fix this." She breathed in deeply. "Now I must give her grandmother a call because she's been trying to get through for hours I'll tell her that Asuka's stable and has discharged herself and has gone home and then I'll somehow have to explain to her how 02 ended up like this."


Ritsuko slammed her hand down hard on the desk. "This is a fucking disaster do you know how much rubbish I'm going to have to go through just to get this cleaned up? I'm meant to be flying out to Jordan tomorrow to speak to the king and queen there and now I can't do it because of the utter mess you've all made!" She eyed her husband who was sitting watching quietly on the other side of there joint desk.

She turned eyeing Misato Maya and Kaji along with Tadao who had come down from the market and media building above he was dressed in his jeans and Nerv logo t shirt. "We've had hundreds of complaints from Tokyo three about Asuka some how blowing out their power, not to mention I got stuck in a lift shaft for half an hour because she somehow managed to short out half of Nerv!"

She grabbed her remote device bringing up the holographic video screen which showed unit 02 being looked over in the lower bay where the specialist's were trying to fit new red plating on to the dark brown exposed flesh. "Also why does 02 now look's like some kind of hideous ugly Oni that crawled its way out of some hell pit?" Tadao pushed his short dark hair back grinning. "I thought it looked really cool actuality, I mean stick a knife on one tail and put a rifle or turret gun on the other it will be even cooler."

Misato sneered gods she hated the marketing department. "That's a stupid idea, it's not a child's toy it's a war machine!" Tadao eased up his hand pointing at image. "No that's got new toy line written all over it, I can't wait to see that thing in action I mean its capabilities will be so different from the other Evangelion's now." He looked at the others. "But could someone please tell me how Rei's unit didn't get shorted out from the blast? I mean we saw the whole thing from our building since we are close to the training grounds all the other Evangelion's fell flat on there backs but not her."

He felt a smirk form. "The whole thing with Kaworu diving to save Shinji is going to be great media press though because people love that kind of heroic stuff." Kaji breathed in deeply putting his hands in his pockets as he eyed the younger man. "Why are you down here again?" Tadao folded his arms. "Because it's my job and Eshima's to clean up your mess, you know make you look good to the world." He felt a cold sneer form. "We talk to the papers basically we do all of the things you really don't want or don't like doing because you're military."

He raised his hand. "Before you hired us you were doing that whole dark ages blackout media bullshit and it wasn't working for you, the world hated you and you weren't very popular." He looked up smiling smugly "So yeah I'm just here to make Asuka look good today despite that she knocked out the power." Ritsuko eyed them all. "Stop arguing and give me some answers!" Maya stepped forward. "Asuka had a panic attack we believe the anxiety and stress caused the transformation just like in the 01 Berserker incident which changed its crest horn and caused its fingers to grow claws as well as enhancing its strength." Ritsuko shook her head. "Please you must think I was born yesterday I helped create these Evangelion's with Yui and her sister Kiko I was there when they first turned on the Beta and Omega unit and had them running my mother founded the Magi system before she had a heart attack and passed away. So don't play down what this is, this is some form of mental state gone wrong."

She eyed the ugly red unit. "I'm still trying to wrap my head around that and I've been hearing all manner of disturbing rumours regarding Asuka's mental state like shorting out the one of the lifts breakers and breaking the camera and then sleeping in there for six hours along with being very distant moody and really out of sorts."

Maya put her hands behind her back great she'd already heard about this despite that she had done so much to silence everyone. "She's unwell what do you expect? The UN Alpha test accident has been very difficult for her in many ways she broke most of her body her recovery is going to be slow and difficult." Misato put her hands in her leather jackets pockets. "We are doing everything in our power to make her better believe me." Tadao looked up slightly. "Well her cry for her mother will get a lot of public sympathy upstairs we can use that in her favour and we can use it against the press who will go out of their way to try and take out chunks of her." Ritsuko leaned forward. "Asuka's mother Kyoko was an insurable bitch and Asuka needs to learn to grow up."

Kaji looked up eyeing her disgust. "Yet like Kiko and Yui, Kyoko's work was critical for making the Evangelion's function as they do now she gave her life like Yui and Kiko to further the program." Gendo looked up. "This is nonsense and I have no interest in it, do you believe that the German can pilot this new Evangelion or should she be removed from the program?"

Kaji turned to meet his gaze. "We all believe she can still pilot regardless of her mental state before she passed out and even during the transformation she was in perfect sync." He raised his hand to the holographic screen. "I mean she somehow created that new form, we still don't know how or why but it's unlike anything we've ever seen before it needs research and study. Not to mention that if she could create that ball of light again but somehow learn how to direct it, well we could recreate it in the others Evangelions. It could be a brilliant weapon against the three major terrorist groups who keep attacking the Evangelions when there trying to do help people, it might even please Seele."

Tadao looked up in confusion. "Who are Seele are they a new sponsor?" Misato felt a sly smile form. "That's well above your pay grade and classified." Gendo raised a white gloved hand. "Then make it happen." He turned looking at his papers. "Also I am most perplexed as to how unit 00 wasn't knocked out as well, as it was the closest."

Misato breathed in deeply. "Your daughter was really heroic she saved both of the vertical wing fighters lives when they were shorted out and she stopping them crash landing she also stood by unit 02 until the teams had finished and Asuka was out. Then she helped drag 02 back to the cage so we could get it back below to do the repairs and she even went around and picked up all of its plating which had popped off because she wanted to save the clean up crew time, you should be very proud of her she did all of this with out even being ordered."

Gendo's face remained emotionless. "She was doing what was expected of her but if you want to throw childish praise her way go ahead." Misato tensed in anger gods this man was such a bastard, he always ignored Rei's truly great moments. He did this to Shinji as well but he was older and could ignore it she was the youngest of all the pilots and the one who deserved to be noticed. She knew why he ignored her everyone did, it was her hair and those eyes she was a mirror of a Yui. She reminded him of his sins and his cheating when he'd gone behind his loving wife's back and he couldn't bear to be in the same room as her. Ritsuko raised her hand as she eyed them all. "This meeting is over leave now all of you, you all know what you have to do so get on with it!"

End of part 18


Chapter Text


Maya sent me a large confectionery box filled with Belgium chocolates it was it in the wreck room sitting on my sofa chair when I got in this morning. Normally I would feel great about that I mean it has all the chocolates I really like but I just have no appetite for anything and it just reminds me that I screwed up.

I've just spent part of my day trying to stay away from everyone and walking aimlessly around, though that aimless walking has led me to the gym where I'm now sitting on a lifting stool where they do free weights. I don't do weights but there are large hand held free weights at my feet I know Toji spends some of his free time here and down in the swimming pool below with Mari and his younger sister Sakura who I've never spoken to. I can see Rei though the Spa rooms glass to the right she's talking with Shinji and Kaworu who are both in their swimwear and relaxing in the hot tub together.

She is dressed in those body hugging jeans with another one of those embroiled tops that have short sleeves which are always so pretty and delicate. I could never wear things like that they just don't suit me and I feel uncomfortable in clothes if there to tight hence why my clothing is always slightly baggy and my leather jacket very rarely leaves my back, since it's custom made. The only item of clothing we have in common is skate shoes but hers are all light and white while mine are darker and both our shoes have very different designs.

I shouldn't be looking I should know better, I'm nowhere near as beautiful as she is I knew that from the first day of school hence why I was so jealous of her. I never realized till a lot later it was that inability to navigate my own sexuality that was causing the problems. Because I hated myself for liking women as much as men and I was deeply attracted to her so much so that it hurt but instead of being grown up about it I just went out of my way to act like a jacked up asshole and assumed that I could have her.

Because that was always how my mind worked back then, if I wanted something therefore I should have it and no one should tell me different and if I didn't get it I'd throw a tantrum and try to focus the blame on others. It was easy and cruel and it worked half the time and I really hurt Shinji and Rei, I'm still confused as to why they are both still friendly towards me. I know if I met my younger self I wouldn't be friends with her, I'd want punch her senseless and tell her to treat people better.

I'm still attracted to Rei even now nothings changed maybe that's why I'm always running away because I know it will never go beyond friendship and after the way I treated her in my early teens why would she ever give me that chance? I don't even know if she even likes men or woman because I never see her with anyone.

"Your shoes are cheap shit, kind of like you princess."

Asuka looked up watching as Mari came into view she was standing over her dressed in her green military gear a smirk on her lips why was she here, why couldn't she just verfickte leave her alone? She turned the page of her comic as she spoke evenly "Your glasses are cheap scheisse four eyes." The next moments caught her completely off guard as Mari grabbed her violently by the collar dragging her to her feet her height making it that she could tower over her a little.

Mari looked at the other woman as she spoke in a cold voice ignoring the fact that all of the Nerv staff who had been training had now stopped to watch them. "Yeah well at least I'm not a total monumental fuck up like you! You know next time you decide to have a panic attack and blow out the power, why don't you go home and use that pistol you've got lying around to blow your brains out, it would be better for everyone!" Asuka looked down feeling the sadness take over that thought had entered her mind last night.

She'd sat staring at her gun for half an hour before unloading it completely then putting the barrel between her teeth before pressing the trigger more than once just to hear the hollow click, before giving up and throwing the gun on the coffee table before going to bed with Erika who had been going out of her way to distract her by rubbing her leg.

Bardiel hadn't spoken or made any comment's he'd just watched with curiosity just like he was watching her now from his position close to the stool. Mari eyed Asuka who was no longer paying attention and in her own world, she could see it in her face her good eye was staring off into the distance. "What is wrong with you? Man you are such a fucking spaced out loser!" She narrowed her gaze. "You put my best friend Toji in the dark for an hour yesterday it was very frightening for him I had to stay with him all of last night because of what you did." Asuka looked down sadly. "Everyone's afraid of the dark in some manner or form it's the demons that lurk there."

The next moments turned to blinding pain as Mari's fist made contact with her face she hit the floor hard on her side. The pain came again as the other woman boot made contact with her stomach throwing her sideways as Mari's voice came again filled with rage. "Do you think your being funny or even poetic with that statement?!"

Asuka breathed in painfully. "Neither…it's the truth." Mari walked up to her slamming her foot in to her stomach again hearing her cry out in pain. "You're so fucking pathetic Asuka!" She turned kicking her hard in the leg as she walked towards the glass that led to the outside table's balcony that over looked the tropical swimming pool. To her right she could see the others inside the spa they were unaware of what she was doing as Rei wasn't looking in her direction and Shinji and his friend Kaworu were all focused on their conversation despite that the glass was only semi sound proof on this spa level unlike the levels above.

She felt an evil smile form as she watched Asuka stumble painfully to get to her feet. "It’s probably the reason mommy never loved you and maybe she went crazy because she couldn't stomach or even stand you." Asuka felt her whole body freeze in utter pain as those words slowly burnt into her soul as Bardiel's voice entered her head. "You're going to let her say that to you Asuka? She's nothing compared to you you're a goddess of fire and rage put her back in her place!"

Mari pushed up her glasses seeing the shock and pain in Asuka's good eye she spoke her next words in a dark tone. "Maybe that's why she tried to strangle you." Asuka looked down eyed her fallen comic seeing that Mari had purposely shoved her army boot on it leaving a dirty print when she yanked her up onto her feet. She felt the rage building up before she could stop it, it was a hot blinding rage the kind she hadn't felt in such a long time it terrifying and welcoming all at once.

It wasn't just the cruel statement it was the burning anger at being sick at being helpless and alone as well as feeling like a joke and having no control over her life anymore. She felt her body start to shake as fire began to ignite and her teeth grinded together. Suddenly she no longer cared she just wanted to let the fire out and watch every thing burn. She knew she'd get in to trouble her rages and tantrums always led to punishments but what did it matter anymore? She was so sick of feeling crushed under foot by the world. She was screaming before she could even stop her self as her hand went for one of the hand free weights not caring how heavy it was or that it might do in her shoulder as she threw it in Mari's directions with all her might.

Rei heard the intense scream of rage it was Asuka's she'd know it anywhere but it was so long since she'd heard it, she turned just in time to see Mari duck as a hand held free weight flew past her colliding with the balconies glass behind her smashing a whole section of it apart causing all those sitting and talking in the chairs close to the tables to get up in shock and terror.

She turned watching as Shinji and Kaworu leapt out of the hot tub their faces turning to shock. Asuka eased up her hand realizing what she had just done it didn't seem real to her she was human she didn't have this kind of power Bardiel's voice came again but much softer. "I meant what I said about what I can give you in terms of gifts, perhaps now we can come to some form of understanding." She turned seeing him flick his tail as he spoke again. "That is when you're done beating that awful little piece of flesh into the dirt, after all she insulted your mother."

Asuka felt her legs tense as her knuckles cracked on her right hand as she spoke to Mari who was still staring at her in shock. "You know something I've put up with so much scheisse from you and I don't care about your name calling or your inflated verfickte ego but you will never ever insult my mother again to my face, mark my words!" Her feet were moving before she could stop them even with the bionic they're moving on their own and with force there was no pain maybe it was adrenaline either way she didn't care it was un-restrained glorious freedom in all its wonder.

She could see Mari was moving to stand up fully but it was too late for her to get clear and she knew it. The horror was in her turquoise eyes as she collided with her sending them both flying through the broken glass smashing into the tables and chairs as the staff around them ran in side wanting to get away as fast as they could. She was going to enjoy every verfickte moment of this she was going to drink in the feeling off unhinged violence which she'd missed for so long and she was going enjoy watching Mari realize her stupid mistake and make her aware of why she had such a reputation as an angry crazy asshole!


Misato chewed on her coffee's plastic stirring stick as she looking up at Kaji and Maya who were seated with her in one of the Arcades café's. "You know you could put a turret gun or a rifle on one of unit 02's tails and a knife on the other." Maya lowered her arts and crafts magazine blinking in surprise. "Yesterday you said that was an awful idea." Kaji lowered his tablet. "Yeah you said it's not a kid's toy but a war machine."

Misato looked up. "Yeah I know but I was thinking about it last night I mean the specialists are saying that the unit 02 hands won't hold the guns anymore because the palm is too long and all of Asuka's guns apart from the big gun need the trigger and grip to be changed so they can be held correctly we've had to ship them all back to Germany just so they can do the refit, so the two tails being used as weapons for a temporary amount of time might work."

Maya looked up. "Yeah but the tails are meant for balance because they think it can now run on four legs as well as two that's why the palms are so long they're already calculating that it might have some real speed and might even be able to keep pace with unit 01 and 00."

She took a sip of her latte. "That is if Asuka can even handle it they looked inside the entry plug and they've said the control have gone really stiff and that it took real effort just to move them and they're not even sure that Asuka will even be able to move them in her weakened state." Kaji eased up his hand. "Yeah but I still don't get the two tails? You only need one tail for balance just watch cats and dogs when they run around and they said that the ends on both look really strange like there's a hollow area in side them but they don't know what it's for or even what it does."

Misato shrugged. "Maybe we'll find out soon enough once she's well enough to step back inside I mean the delegate display is coming up very soon and we have no choice but to put Asuka back in 02 even if she can do no more than walk around and show off the new look for a few minutes." She looked down as her phone rang she breathed in easing it up as she put it on speaker. "Yes what it is it I'm in the middle of my lunch here?" A female voice hit the air filled with panic. "Major you need to get up to the gym level now a fight has broken out!"

Misato eyed her phone. "You have security for fights, why are bothering me?!" The voice came again filled with anxiousness and fear. "No you don't understand, two of your pilots are fighting over here and there wrecking the place!" Misato blinked in surprise. "Which two pilots are you talking about?" The voice was filled with panic as it spoke once more. "I'm talking about Asuka and Mari!" Misato leaned closer this had to be a joke or something. "No I'm sorry that's just not possible Asuka's very sick she's not well enough to cause fights she's been under the weather for days."

The voice came again but filled with anger and frustration. "Well somehow she got better and she is ruining the place on the weight training level and it's really violent. Security doesn't dare step in because she's in her crazy asshole mode and it might have been a while but you remember what her insane rages are like, she breaks things that are not her property!" Misato eased herself out of her chair watching as the others did the same. "Okay we are coming down to you right now!"


Asuka grabbed the nearest wooden chair throwing it in Mari's direction watching as it hit the banister only to fly over she heard the screams of panic in the swimming pool section as it smashed to earth below, she eased her tongue out running it over one of her canine teeth. "Come here four eyes, I want see what your lower intestine looks like!" She threw the table out of the way ignoring the crowds who were gathering on the banister across from them and the ones above on both sides. "I want to rip it out of your body you know like you did to me when I was piloting that stupid UN verfickte Alpha test unit and I could feel everything you were doing to me but was powerless to stop you!"

Mari eyed the red haired woman she'd only just been able to scramble free when Asuka had slammed into her, which had hurt like hell. She knew she was in trouble if Asuka got hold off her she had no idea what illegal steroids she was on but she was insanely strong so much so it wasn't normal. She looked down realizing that she had only one card to play which was below her. Asuka was utterly terrified of deep water the fall would be long but they'd both survive it well she would Asuka wouldn't she'd panic and drown. If she could get her to run a second time maybe she could use her anger against her. "You're a fucking coward Asuka you always have been you always will be!"

She watched as the one good eye narrowed as the other woman came at her she moved as her foot came up smashing the railing literally sending part of the section flying through the air. More screams were heard as it landed below with a massive crash. She grabbed her around the neck forcing her feet out seeing the panic in Asuka's good eye as it dawned on her that she'd just made a huge error in judgment. "Fancy a swim princess! Oh that's right you don't swim do you?"

Asuka couldn't do anything she was powerless as Mari used her whole weight to throw them both through the gap in the railing as Rei's scream of panic hit the air behind her. Mari felt herself falling she watched in surprise as Asuka hands shot out grabbing the middle level diving board as they sped past it throwing her into a violent loop as the other woman righted her body as they came to a sudden stop. She looked up in anger seeing that Asuka was now holding onto the diving board with both hands and was refusing to let go.

She wrapped her legs around her smaller body as she pulled her hands up trying to force Asuka's free with the only advantage she had over her which was her height. She tightened her grip on her hands trying harder to force them loose as she eased up her knees forcing all of weight on to the reds heads shoulders. "Let go!"

She pushed down harder. "What's wrong princess don't you want to swim in the tropical water!?" Asuka held on feeling the panic set in as Mari's knees pushed down on her shoulders causing intense pain. She could feel her heart racing she looked up watching as Bardiel leaped onto the higher diving board above looking down at her. "Let go Asuka, don't worry I won't let you drown."

Asuka could feel her fingers on both hands start to go as the pain on her shoulders got worse as Mari pushed down with her entire body weight. "Let go Asuka." Mari blinked in surprise as Asuka suddenly let go causing them both to fall everything turned pure blue as she went under together and she was able to free herself from Asuka's body. She watched as Asuka tried desperately to swim upwards she swam up wrapping arms around her neck before she could get away she felt her violently struggle as she forced her down keeping her under.

She'd had been trained she could stay under the water Asuka hadn't, Yuki Kyo's younger brother had told her that she had refused to do the combat training water exercises. Asuka struggled harder seeing Bardiel dive in above her, he swam down towards her his red eyes gleaming as he spoke. "Feel my power in your body, embrace the sacred light."

Asuka went still feeling it hit her like a shard of light in the darkness as her left eye become warmer it felt like some kind of heat was emanating out from it as her whole mouth started to feel funny like her teeth were changing, the sensation was so surreal and it moved through her entire body like a lightening bolt. Rei ran down the stairs not waiting a second she knew Asuka couldn't swim in deep water. She had to go in there and get her out she ran in to the water only to stop in confusion as the area where Asuka and Mari had fallen started to boil and bubble she watched as Shinji and Kaworu appeared behind her only to feel the shock wave as it knocked her clean off her feet as the whole swimming pool's water was blown outward.

Water showered down everywhere as hundreds of Nerv employees tried to get away from the chaos as the water came down again going still. She watched as Mari appeared dragging herself out someway from her clearly in a lot of pain as she lay on her knees pulling her glasses off taking in slow deep breathes. She turned finally catching sight of Asuka as she dragged herself out very close to where Mari was there was blood though she was leaving a thin trail on the white tiles. Mari breathed in everything hurt it felt like she'd just been hit by a brick wall she crawled up to the cocktail bar grabbing someone's half finished cocktail glass not caring what type of cocktail it was as she took a long drink hoping it would ease the pain somewhat as she pushed her glasses back on seeing that one of the lenses had cracked.

She could see Asuka close by still on her stomach breathing in slowly and deeply, there was a piece of smashed wood from the chair she had thrown earlier lying close by. She put the empty glass down as moved over grabbing it putting it behind her back watching as Asuka dragged herself onto her knees then struggled to her feet. She could see the intense rage in her good eye as her mouth formed a cold snarl she clutched the wood tighter as the red haired woman came closer. "Well your leather jackets ruined I've heard water kills expensive shit like that."

Asuka stepped closer. "Yeah but this is custom made so it doesn't soak up water, its made from the same materials they use on motorbike leathers which are now fully water resistant but then you wouldn't know that now would you because you don't ride motorbikes." Mari looked up at her catching sight of the red blood which was staining her t-shirt near her stomach, clearly some of her stitches had ruptured but she hadn't noticed it yet. "I prefer sports cars." Asuka felt a cold smile form. "Personally I always envisioned your car to be a pink Cadillac with Hello Kitty charms and fluffy dice." Mari eyed her in disgust. "My car is a purple Lamborghini!"

Asuka raised an eyebrow getting closer as she eased up her hand getting ready to grab her. "Wow you must be really compensating for something then, what's wrong you can't pull the boys and girls with your geeky glasses so you use your car like a dick extension?" Mari felt a sneer form. "Your one to talk with your shitty patched eye!" Asuka smirked as she leaned closer speaking in a salty sedative tone. "Yeah but the rest of me is just so good." The next moments turned to blinding pain which was enough to throw her clean off her feet she hit the floor on her side feeling the blood as it ran down her forehead as everything span.

Rei ran not stopping as she moved to stand in front of Mari who had pulled herself to her feet the plank of wood in her hand. "Stop this!" She watched Asuka rose to her feet behind her seeing the blood which was now coming down the right side of her face. Mari eyed her. "Get out of my way Rei or I will hit you!" Rei raised her hands seeing that Shinji was running towards her along with Kaworu. "No I'm not going anywhere!"

Asuka saw the wood flying towards Rei she moved grabbing her hand as fast as possible as she forced herself in front of her so her whole body was shielding hers she raised her hand protecting her head feeling the wood as it smashed against her back causing intense pain.

Rei could hear Asuka's pained breathing as she was struck a second time but remained over her protecting her she heard her voice as she spoke softy and quietly near her ear. "Its okay I've got you." Asuka turned as Mari swung again she grabbing her arm before it could strike allowing Rei to get free and safe as she gently released her with the other. "It's not noble to attack unarmed people, didn't your parents ever teach that?!" She began to squeeze hearing Mari cry out in agony as she dropped the wood she brought up her other hand smashing it straight in to her nose as she let go off her arm as she thrown to the floor where she held her now bleeding nose.

She stepped forward only to feel dizziness take over she moved over to wall putting her hand on it. "What did I ever do to you that you hate me so much?!" Mari groaned in pain unable to get up due to the intense pain her head was spinning and her ears were stinging. "You were born!" Asuka looked down seeing the red which was now soaked her white t shirt she was bleeding and she hadn't even realized it she watched as the world went out of focus for a second. "Scheisse and I was having such a fun day." She tried to stand up straight only to fall over hitting the floor on her side as the intense pain set in and everything started to hurt she was fighting so hard to stay awake she had no energy left she felt completely spent.

Rei was on her knees as she turned Asuka over onto her back as she straddled her putting her hand on her face. "Stay with me Asuka!" She pulled up her t shirt seeing the section of the stomach wound which had ruptured and was bleeding out very badly. "Medical box I need a medical box!" With in seconds her brother was standing over her holding one she grabbed it in panic yanking it open spilling it contents out.

She grabbed the bandages and the medical gun filled with painkillers she wasn't Maya she only knew basic first aid she put the bandage over the bleeding area using her weight to force down just to try and stop the bleeding as she grabbed the gun with her other hand. "I'm sorry Asuka I know you hate this but I have no choice you can shout at me later." She pressed it against the other woman's neck clicking the trigger watching as it went off. It would probably do nothing but take off the edge, Asuka needed something much stronger she moved her other hand back putting pressure on the bleeding area."

She looked down meeting her good eye which didn't break away it stared into her own softy, the other woman's hand came up finding her face as she ran her fingers down it in a slow and gentle caress. She felt the emotion hit her though it was from a distant place deep down but it was like being hit by a tidal wave and it was hard to keep her mind focused as Asuka's hand pulled away but her blue eye remained on her. She didn't normally feel deep emotion when other people touched her other than her brother it was why she struggled with sexual relationships so much because when the people touched her she didn't feel connected to them and they'd gotten annoyed because she had no real emotional response to them.

They also always wanted the physical which she didn't want she wanted the emotional side much more than the physical, which they were never willing to give so they left her every time calling her frigid or cold when she was neither. Now she was paralyzed by emotion and she was so confused that it took her a moment to realize that Maya was standing over her asking her to move. She looked up snapping out of her haze getting of Asuka so she could work though she remained kneeling beside her.

She turned seeing that Kaworu was trying to get Mari back onto her feet and he had given her something to try and stop her nosebleed which was now staining her green army shirt red Toji had appeared and was running towards his best friend the concern in his eyes, there was so much blood she looked at her hands which were stained in Asuka's. She could see her brother trying to explain everything to Misato and Kaji who both looked so confused and horrified. She turned looking at Asuka who had now passed out completely Maya was working and completely focused on fixing her stomach stitching she was putting in much stronger stitches in the ruptured section.

This event had been brewing for over a year every one knew it was coming but even she had not expected it to be this violent and extreme she also highly doubted that Mari would try to fight Asuka again after this. A part of it though strangely made her happy maybe it was just seeing Asuka return with such force. She had not seen that Asuka in over three years and it was so good to see her back, because it was who she was anger was part of her nature and it helped her to pilot better.


"So has she taken something illegal?"

Maya looked at Asuka who was laying on the scanning table she'd been dressed in her in a hospital trousers and shirt yet again though she still had her patch on. Though they'd had to take the bionic off completely Rei was sitting close by she hadn't left her side since she'd been brought up to the hospital wing. "Please be patient, I'm working here!"

Rei looked up at Misato who was standing close by. "I still don't get why you are running this test? I mean Asuka hates steroids she told me once that they're really unhealthy and that they can harm your heart function." Maya eased up the syringe filled with Asuka's blood putting a drop on the scanner close by watching as it started to run the scan.

Misato breathed in deeply. "Yeah well we still need to check it Rei it's not everyday someone in her condition is able to throw a thirty kilogram free weight one handed at a plain of glass and break it." Kaji looked up slightly. "Its going to take them three days to fix that mess apparently the wave machine went nuts it blew up and caused a shock wave before shorting out somehow which they can't make sense off. They think Mari might have shorted it out because she was really close to the under water controls when she dragged Asuka down and she was going to great lengths to keep her under and she was struggling because of how violently Asuka was trashing around and she might have kicked the controls." He breathed in deeply. "Every single person though on the weights floor said the same thing, Asuka didn't start it she was minding her own business reading this."

He raised a comic book which had a dirty boot print on it. "Mari really started picking on her I mean in the most cruel way possible, to quote her word for word she said, next time you decide to have a panic attack and blow out the power, why don't you go home and use that pistol you've got lying around to blow your brains out it would be better for everyone." Maya's head shot up. "Who in their right mind says that to someone who is depressed? That is so insanely cruel."

Kaji put the comic down on the table opposite. "Then she just started hitting her but Asuka didn't fight back at all, it wasn't until the comments about her mother not loving her that all hell broke loose, then it all just descended into utter chaos." He turned looking at Rei. "She protected you I saw that in the footage, Mari tried to attack you and she shielded you."

Maya watched as the scan finished and results flew up. "All of her tests are negative there are no steroids or illegal drugs in her system." She looked at the scan again. "Her endorphin levels are really high though but that maybe just from all the fighting." She brought up the brain scan seeing an area which was very bright and firing. "Hang on I saw this before when she first came into the hospital days ago, her brain was super active but last time it was sending out pain signals when she wasn't conscious." Misato leaned over. "Is it dreams?"

Maya shook her head. "Wrong part it's focused massively in the cerebellum area of her brain but what I don't get is if it was damaged or not working her speech and motor control would be effected yet she's perfectly fine its like she better than fine when you consider what she did today." She typed bringing up an older brain scan putting them side by side. "There something else that doesn't make sense." She spun the old brain then the new one. "Look at the stem, in the new scan its thicker okay it's by a tiny amount but it's not normal, it's like her brain has changed at the base level."

Kaji stepped forward. "Could the incident in unit 02 have caused this? I mean the unit changed could the sync also have affected her like a loop back." Maya eyed the test tubes next to her which had hair skin and nails. "I've taken lots of samples from Asuka I'm going to work this out as the loop back is a real possibility. I mean it could have caused this along with her now strengthened body, it would be the first time we've ever witnessed a change to a pilots mind and body."

She turned to Rei. "Plus I still can't figure out how you were still standing during the blast I've run the simulation five times, it should have knocked you out its was a type of AT field and it powerful enough to knock out anything electrical including the Evangelion's systems." She moved over to bionic raising it up so they could all see it. "Oh yes and during the fight this turned itself off completely, it only does this when the areas are completely healed but it was a total and sudden shut down. Asuka probably never even noticed it because she was so deep in her rage and so hell bent on taking out Mari." Rei sat up. "But she wasn't it was very different this time normally she doesn't care who is in the way she went out of her way to protect me."

Kaji breathed in he knew why but he couldn't say anything he turned seeing the knowing look on Maya's face. The footage had shown one thing as clear as day Asuka had not been reading that comic she'd been pretending to read it before Mari had come in, her good eye had actuality been focused on Rei and it had not wavered the whole time. He wasn't stupid he knew that look and those actions from a mile off it was infatuation and longing and it was the look of something you could never have. Though he had only been at Nerv for eight years he knew that look because he had it so many times when glancing over at Misato though she never really noticed it.

They'd been friends in university and he had tried to ask her out a few times back then but she had said no and it had never gone any further. Also since he'd returned to Nerv she had been very guarded due to bad relationships in the past hence they'd always remained friends and nothing more and he had just accepted that it would always be that way.

He could sympathise with Asuka because he'd heard the stories about how she'd tried to pursue Rei in school only to get cold rejection. That was why he defended her so often to others because he saw that as something they had in common also her hostility towards him was all just for show inside of work. Outside of work they did meet up at times and talked in his vegetable garden where they traded items, though they hadn't met up at all since the UN test unit accident but it was clear that she was going through to much right now and she just wasn't coping well.

Maya turned slightly. "I need to run these tests but I want to send Asuka home I need her to vanish from Ritsuko's sight for the whole of tomorrow because the gym incident will get out. Far too many people saw if unfold but if Asuka's not here she can't do anything about it." She looked around her. "So who wants to take her home and look after her? She is just sedated now and I've gave her a drug to stop any concussion also her head wound wasn't as bad as it looked and it didn't need stitches but I'm not taking any chances, hopefully she'll wake up in a couple of hours."

Rei stood up. "I'll take her to her home I'll stay over night, I promised her I was going to talk to her I want to keep my word." Misato turned to her. "I'll drive you there I can put your motorbike on my trailer." Maya looked up. "Also make Mari disappear tomorrow."

Misato folded her arms. "That's not hard I'll just suspended her tonight after they fix her broken nose and discharge her and then I'll lie and say that I did the same to Asuka, because no one will bat an eyelid because Asuka's been suspended more than once in the past for bad behaviour and causing a danger to peoples lives. So her missing a day won't surprise anyone and them both missing on the same day will go unnoticed. Plus this fight has been brewing for over a year everyone knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of time before the lid was going to pop off."

Rei breathed in deeply. "Misato could you please do me a favour and not drive too fast, like don't push on the pedal too hard my motorbike has only just been fixed and I really don't want it flying off your trailer." Misato turned eyeing her in annoyance. "What is it with you and Asuka and my car?" Rei looked down she drove it like a crazy person and it was scary and that she had one not so found school memory of Asuka almost loosing her lunch all over her once back when she'd been fifteen, because the back seat was like being inside some demented roller coaster and front seat was no better.

End of part 19


Chapter Text


Misato watched as Rei pushed open the refurbished farm houses door as she carried Asuka inside she still hadn't come around yet and she was still dressed in hospital clothes. Rei had held her in the back seat on the way up here, she'd gotten her motorbike of the trailer and had put it outside the garage once she got Asuka into bed she'd leave and let Rei put it away.

She'd brought up Asuka's bloody wet clothes along with her leather jacket. She looked around her. "Where's her bedroom?" Rei turned slightly. "Upstairs you won't miss it, it's opposite the bathroom." She watched Misato made her way up there taking Asuka with her. She moved forward being very careful not to trip on anything one thing was very clear Asuka's house was not like it had been the last time she had been here with Shinji.

There was this sense of chaos going on where things were half finished, thrown around the most shocking and disturbing was her Korth combat revolver sitting on the coffee table next to a half finished lager bottle it had been emptied of bullets which were all lined up next to it. It wasn't being cleaned that was for sure and the barrel was strangely facing towards the recliner nothing about it felt right in the pit of her stomach. She looked up as Misato came down stairs looking around her. "I've put her to bed you know it's really messy here I really thought it would be much cleaner."

Rei sighed inwardly that was the pot calling the kettle black since she rarely cleaned and herself and Shinji had, had to take turns cleaning up her mess growing up. She walked over to the gun slowly picking up. "Last time I was here, it wasn't like this the place was really ordered and nothing was slung over the floor." Misato walked over to her seeing the weapon. "Hey I've seen that gun in the Nerv archives there's an image of her Grandmother dressed in her Special Forces uniform and it's in her belt, it's considered a family air loom. She's standing next to her mother in the photo and Asuka's in it but she's really young probably only four years old." Rei slowly picked up the bullets loading them back in to the gun, before clicking on the safety. "What did Asuka's mother look like? Its just I've never really asked her about how she looked."

Misato folded her arms. "She doesn't look anything like Asuka her hair was all long and blonde and she had green eyes, she didn't suffer fools gladly and was known to be a little clumsy at times but she was deeply loving but from what I was told the accident turned her into the opposite abusive, violent, cruel and distant." She raised her hand. "Most people say though that Asuka acts more like her grandmother."

She looked up. "I personally think that's just because she lived with her for so many years but I think deep down she might have a loving heart like her mother Kyoko but she just doesn't want accept it because she doesn't like the association of being anything like her mother in any way even if its positive ." She looked up. "Her cousin Kolby is meant to be a barrel of laughs, he gets all her comics shipped in among other things he's more like a big brother to her than a cousin." She breathed in deeply. "There is something though that's really bothering me about today's incident."

Rei looked up. "What is that?" Misato turned to her. "Mari said something about Asuka's mother trying to strangle her did Asuka ever tell any of you about that because I never heard anything about that?" Rei shook her head. "No she didn't I'm as surprised to hear that as everyone else was, Asuka only ever said to us that she went crazy and shut her out and wouldn't even recognize her as her own daughter." Misato moved towards the door. "Well I'm going to get to the bottom of that because Mari has either hacked something she shouldn't have over in the German division or there's something else is going on here and while I'm at I'm going to find out who messed with her plug suite." Rei looked up putting her night bag down. "I hope you find what you're looking for."

Misato turned slightly. "So do I, I'm so sick of things not making any sense around here." Rei breathed in deeply. "I'll see you in a day or so." Misato felt a smile form. "Oh I forgot your cover story is that you're sick, just in case anyone asks." Rei looked up. "Okay." She watched as she left closing the door behind her, she would clearly have to sort out Asuka's house because it was such a mess right now and maybe it would help her focus if she wasn't in control for once. She looked up as the back door cat flap went up as Erika came running towards her meowing. "Hello Erika." She kneeled down stroking the cats head. "How have you been?"

Bardiel watched quietly as the short haired woman stroked the cat, so Asuka was starting to get what he could give her, her stitches splitting had been most unfortunate. Though he could fix bone, muscle and flesh to an existent the whole human digestive system was a struggle he knew how it worked in principal but seeing it working was quite disgusting and scary and her stomach was one organ he wanted to stay well away from since it could cause his true form real damage.

Either way he had no desire to tamper with her guts he'd rather they just heal naturally. He didn't get why Lilith had put it in there and why human's had to drink and eat it seemed pointless and it was also a huge weakness as they had to eat to survive and if they didn't they would die.

He understood even less about the strange organ below yes he knew it was a womb again he got the basics but he was staying well away from touching it though he could fly though her memories he wanted to see things work in real time it was much more interesting. One thing that was clear to him now which was that she loved this woman who was now playing with her cat, he had thought that it was lust at first or the desire for sex but it went further than that.

When she'd protected this woman there had been so many thoughts going through her head that were centred around caring and deep feelings of devotion, he was now going to let this play out maybe he could further her desires by helping her. He wanted to get a grasp of the thing human beings called love and he was doing it with someone who had spent her whole life thus far trying to gain it in the wrong way so the results would be interesting and deeply fascinating.

He wouldn't bother the other woman again, or play with her reading light he'd just let her do what she wanted. In her own way she was kind of fascinating as she was everything Asuka wasn't peaceful, calm and soft in tone of voice but she was clearly going through a form of transition herself in that she was slowly becoming more confident and her shyness was slowly fading away.

Asuka in her head always saw Rei as beautiful delicate and sweet, though he couldn't relate to that either as human beauty standards were all over the place it seemed it was all in the eye of the beholder. Asuka had deep seated negative issues with regards to beauty in that she didn't see herself as beautiful at all and she deeply loathed her own physical image and didn't really like looking at herself in mirror.

Yet she'd strangely played it completely the opposite in the fight with Mari in that she had used sensuality and sexuality to try and throw the other woman completely off guard. He didn't really understand her comment about cars being an extension of dick size either. Mari wasn't male it was such a weird comment to make, maybe there were just some things about humanity he would never get or understand.

He followed the smaller woman watching as she opened the garage from the inside then brought in her motorbike putting it opposite Asuka's huge one which was still incomplete before closing it up again. He swung his tail around as he leaped onto the two seat sofa knowing he'd be ignored by the cat as the weird little carnivorous pet very much preferred to sleep on the bed or on the recliner in Asuka's lap while she was watching the flat screen.

Though he knew he might have to move if Rei came to sleep here he could not let her know that he was here, he had done so much just to throw everyone's attention elsewhere and he wanted it to remain that way for as long possible. He wasn't stupid though he knew they'd find out in the end but he was now very much prepared for that event come what may.


Asuka opened her good eye blinking slowly, where was she? She eased herself up in to a sitting position realizing that she was in her own bedroom and it was night the stars were out. She looked down seeing that she was dressed in the hospital clothing she was starting to really hate these clothes. She eased herself out of bed as she pulled up the shirt seeing that bandage had been wrapped around her stomach as she stretched digging her toes in to carpet.

She had expected to be in the hospital and not here maybe Misato had just dropped her off here or something, they properly wanted her out of the way because she caused an incident at Nerv yet again. She breathed in deeply she wanted coffee so badly right now her brain was just crying out for it, she moved to the stairs making her way down realizing for the first time that her flat screen was on and whoever was in her home was sitting in her recliner watching the nature channel.

She breathed in deeply if Misato was in her verfickte chair drinking her beer she was going to loose her temper big time, because no one sat in her recliner but her! She edged closer realizing something else some one had cleaned down stair up even her gun had been placed neatly back on the kitchen counter.

She moved around only to feel her whole body freeze as Rei came into view she was seated on her recliner dressed in white and blue pyjamas she was eating a bag of crisps. Her face turned to wide smile as sat up in the recliner she could see Erika perched on the arm rest next to her. "Asuka I'm so glad your up I thought you'd sleep forever." Asuka blinked nothing moved she was frozen in place staring at the younger woman who stood up, was this an illusion was this one off Bardiel's vile jokes?

She watched as Bardiel raised his head looking in her direction from where he seated on the two seat sofa. "She's real you idiot, she's been cleaning your house it's not like I can do laundry housework and clean your floor." Asuka tried to find the words which just wouldn't come out much to her utter frustration. Rei eyed Asuka she was literally frozen there in shock mouth open. "Would you like some coffee?" Asuka put a hand on her face as she finally spoke in a quite voice. "Yes…"

Rei moved over to her coffee maker turning it on watching as Asuka walked over to her kitchen counter leaning against it putting her face in her hands. She moved her cup over to her watching as she looked up taking it and drinking it. She put her hands together. "I cleaned your house for you, you know it was looking kind of a mess I also did your laundry and washed your bloody clothes I had to wash mine to, you know because when your stitches ruptured when you were protecting me the back of my shirt got stained."

Asuka looked up finally finding her voice as her head started to clear. "What are you doing here?" She eased up her finger. "No wait I know why you're here Misato sent you here didn't she?" Rei looked up. "No I asked to come here I wasn't ordered to you know because when someone saves me from being beaten with a plank of wood I feel it's only right to return the favour." She looked around her. "The only order she gave me was that you're not going in to work tomorrow, I said I'd stay with you." Asuka lowered her gaze to the floor. "So she's suspended me, great I didn't start that fight I just ended it!"

Rei eased up her hand. "No she suspended Mari for real tomorrow and she doing some cover story that she suspended you as well but its not the truth she just wants you heal up fully and not rupture your stitches again." Asuka felt a sneer form. "I'm so sick of being ill, I just feel like everyone is forever covering up for my mistakes." Rei adjusted one of her long sleeves. "It's not wrong for people to care about you Asuka." Asuka turned meeting her green eyes. "You don't need to be here Rei I'm not your problem!" She stopped realizing that, that had come out harsher than intended and sounded rude. She moved away from the counter seating her self on the sofa watching as Bardiel leaped off seating himself opposite on the floor. "I'm sorry, that came out wrong I don't mean to sound insincere."

She looked down. "I just feel like I've been under so much pressure and I just can't stand it anymore." She looked at her hand. "Today just felt like crazy release from it all." Rei walked up to her putting her half finished coffee next to her. "Its okay Asuka I understand." She slowly seated herself next to her. "I have to ask was it fun because it's been ages since I've seen you let go like that?" Asuka picked up her coffee lying back on the sofa. "What letting out the anger or kicking Mari's face in?" Rei felt a smile form. "Both?"

Asuka breathed in deeply. "The anger felt different from the times before, I felt more in control and kicking in four eyes face was a bonus." Rei lay back getting more comfortable. "You broke her nose you know, they had to reset it." Asuka felt a cold smile form. "I've heard that procedure hurts an awful lot." She took another sip off her coffee. "Maybe she'll get a taste of how I felt when they reset my legs and right arm."

She stopped as something hit her she slowly raised her left leg. "Where's my bionic?" Rei looked at her. "They took it off it seems your legs have healed along with a lot of your body they think the increase in strength might be due to 02 sync feeding back to you during the accident when it changed." Asuka turned to her. "I'm sorry I know I knocked your unit out that day." Rei blinked in surprise seriously did no one tell Asuka anything? "No you didn't, didn't anyone tell you?" Asuka raised an eyebrow. "Tell me what?"

Rei looked at her for a long moment. "You knocked out all the units apart from mine Asuka I was still standing, even after you shut down no one can really work out why it happened but it did." She looked up slightly. "It was really awful watching your unit that day I just wanted them to pull your power somehow just to stop the pain you were in." Asuka looked down. "It felt worse inside the entry plug believe me, my head just felt like it was about to explode I was in so much pain and I just wanted it to end." Rei moved over putting a hand on her shoulder. "Is that why you cried out for your mother?"

Asuka tensed leaning forward. "I don't know…I know she's dead I know she's not coming back ever but I guess I just thought." She put a hand on her face feeling the pain strike her like hammer she wanted to cry and it was taking everything to hold it back. Rei leaned forward Asuka was going to cry she could see it in her face yet in all these years she'd never seen it and she looked so different like this.

It was like looking at someone completely different to who she was used to seeing as she looked so much softer. "What did you think Asuka?" Asuka put her hands together she couldn't hold it in anymore what was the point? She was just so tired of the pain and it hurt too much every time she repressed it. She was also so tired of pretending to be strong when she wasn't and she just didn't want to pretend anymore. "I thought I was going to die so I thought I'd see her again."

She felt the tears as they ran down her face as she pulled her patch off putting it on the table. "I thought maybe we'd be together again in a field of sunflowers because in my recurring dream she's never there no matter how hard I try to find her." She felt Rei's arms wrap around her pulling her close as the tears came harder and faster as all the pain and heartache came out she just had no power or even will to push her away. She didn't want to be alone right now she'd spent so these past six months feeling so miserable and with out hope that anything was ever going to change and now she would take anything different just to feel something new.

Rei looked down sadly as Asuka carried on crying into her shoulder throughout their childhood she'd always assumed that Asuka felt nothing and that she just didn't care yet this showed otherwise she did hurt and she did feel real emotional pain on the same level as everyone else. Shinji had said not so long back that she had a good heart so had Maya but she had never quite believed it but they were all right and she could see it now as clear as day. She had protected her today even though it meant getting beaten up with a wooden plank across the back by Mari.

She wasn't that horrible self centred cruel school girl anymore she'd changed so much emotionally it was just she'd had never really tried to see it up until now. Because the past image had haunted her so much and from this moment on she was not going to use that image to dictate how she viewed her as a person anymore Asuka deserved better than that. She could see her gun from where she was holding her and now finding it in the way she had it all made a horrible sort of sense.

If Asuka had felt this low when she'd returned home she had probably considered shooting herself with it but had just not gone through with it, she clearly had deep depression and that she was falling apart because nothing had gone right for her since the UN Alpha unit test accident. This was why she had kept repeatedly pushing her away because she just didn't want to burden her with her emotional problems but she did need someone to care and she wanted to be that person come what may. She carried on stroking her long hair which was soft to the touch as the crying began to finally subside. "Would you like something to eat Asuka?"

She watched as she pulled away wiping away her tears away as she nodded silently she could now see that the patterns in her left eye were so much brighter there were glowing circles and they were lighting up parts of her iris in pure vibrant blue but not others, even in this low light it really stood out. She wasn't going to point it out to her right now it could wait and it was probably just part of the loop back just like her strength, not that it mattered it didn't change her beauty she was still a wonder.

Strange she was saying that to herself now because all those years ago she'd been so envious of her growing up because she had always been this pillar of strength and fight and she had never seemed afraid of anything or anyone. She'd so much wanted to be that way because she had been scared of everything and she just wanted to be noticed not just by her father but by the world for her contributions on the Evangelion program.

She slowly stood up putting her hand on Asuka's shoulder squeezing gently. "What would you like to eat?" Asuka eyed her fridge it was all junk food and she didn't want any off it plus she had no vegetarian food which was no doubt the reason Rei was eating her crisps. "Can we just order something in? I mean then you can get something you want that's vegetarian I'll pay for it, it's not like I'm broke."

Rei felt a smile form. "How's about we go half." She looked over to where she'd hung up Asuka's leather jacket after she'd gotten the small blood stain out she'd put her keys on the coffee table along with her phone. "Your keys and wallet were fine as there water proof, but your phone didn't survive the fall in to the pool it cracked up all of the glass and it just won't turn on at all I think the wave machine blowing up fried the battery and memory card. You can buy a new one once you get back to work there's a shop for phones inside the Arcade at Nerv and Misato can port over your numbers as she has all of our phones backed up."

Asuka walked over picking up her old cracked phone looking at it. "It was a tacky phone anyway I should have replaced it ages ago." She turned to her flat screen. "Pause program." She watched as the documentary stopped. "Save." She looked up as the save circle flew around. "Bring up restaurants and take always." She watched as loads of images flew up as Rei came to stand by her side. "What would you like?"

Rei blinked eyeing the screen. "Wait you order in though you're flat screen?" Asuka looked at her. "My home phone is for private and personal calls only I set this up for when I order in food plus the systems set up so it gives them the wrong name and they never ever question it because you know why would Asuka Langley live out in rural farmland she's way to much of an ego maniac to live near tractors? I always pay in cash I never use my card and since it's brought in on a drone and there not allowed to record you putting the money in because of privacy and all that." She raised her hand. "You see the media they still think that I live up on the fiftieth floor of the Dorodome skyscraper, you know where those really expensive apartments are where you live if you want to boast about how rich you are."

Rei shook her head. "No Mari lives in the Dorodome on the hundredth floor Toji told me, its right at the very top where you have an outdoor swimming pool built in as standard I know that because I've seen her house keys they have the logo on them and the room number."

Asuka turned to her. "Yeah well it seems that people think we are that alike but we are nothing alike, personally I hate places like that I don't want or care about room service." Rei looked at Asuka house for a long moment as a question entered her mind. "Why do you live out here Asuka I'm curious because we all thought you moved here to get away from everyone?" Asuka turned meeting her curious gaze. "When I was a child I used to live out in a rural farm land in Germany with my mother and she had this beautiful house and it was next to these vast fields of sunflowers and we used to have picnics together." She looked around her. "It was the happiest I ever felt, so when I brought this house I did everything in my power to recreate it yeah it not rustic it doesn't have a log fire, but it's as close as I could ever get and I like it here, its very peaceful I feel like I can be myself here."

Rei moved putting a hand on her arm. "That's why you have the sunflowers out front isn't it's because you love that memory?" Asuka nodded calmly. "Yes there my pride and joy they always remind me of better times and they honour my mother's memory before the accident the part that I like to think loved me."


Mari breathed in deeply looking over the mass of lit sky scrapers that panned out for miles and made up Tokyo three you could see the vast world from here up on the Dorodome. She could see out as far as the farmlands outside the city. That was why she lived here because she loved a sense of perspective and from here she could stare at the stars and galaxies and contemplate the universe.

She eased out her hand taking hold of her cocktail taking a long sip as she walked inside away from her large oval out door swimming pool which was lit up with green light and had a diving board. She had hated been fucking poor that was why she lived here because she never wanted to live that way again it brought back really awful memories, like crying her eyes out when the police had told her that her mother was dead and who ever had done it had decapitated her head from body and that she had been conscious enough to know what was going on before her death.

She could remember the station and having to confirm it was her mother's dead body along with the tears the pain and the realization that she was truly alone. Because her dad didn't give a fuck and had run off with all of the money and didn't care about her despite that she was his own flesh and blood. She remembered the long hard days afterwards sleeping in youth hostels having to live of food stamps and scrounging to build a decent lap top.

It wasn't much of wonder that she'd fallen in with the hackers and the black market they could give her better lap tops and equipment and a place to bunk up and call home even if it wasn't fantastic. So long as she got the information they desired they didn't care and she had gone ahead, looking back now she couldn't stomach the thought of living like that again, hence why she had brought this place so she could forget.

Yes it was extravagant but she didn't care money was no longer the object she could buy what ever she wanted and do as she pleased for the first time ever in her life. The moment she'd entered Tokyo Three, over a year ago she knew she wanted to live here she'd seen it in pictures ironically it had been in one of Rei's life style magazines which she'd read when she hadn't been around. She turned seeing her Lamborghini which was safety in side a garage area opposite the swimming pool its tires locked in place.

All of these rooms had there own garages and all you had to do was press a button and it would take your car down to ground level. While most of the apartment had plane glass so she could see everything all of the time, even the Evangelion training fields which at night was always lit up with massive white strobe lights because the public loved the spectacle and show and it helped moral.

She pushed her long dark hair back as she pulled out her tails letting it go loose as she walked in side sitting down on her favourite black recliner which was hers and she never let other people sit in it. She stretching her legs out putting them on the leather foot rest she was in nothing but her long t-shirt which she slept in opposite her was another three seat sofa for guests and a huge glass and wood coffee table. There was a large walk in kitchen to her left with black marble surfacing and all modern furnishings. Opposite was a large dinning table with six chairs there were stairs which led to the second floor where the four poster king size bed was seated and the bathroom that came with its own hot tub and shower. Also there was a spare room where she had her robotic equipment and her parachuting gear which was her favourite hobby.

There was another room which was where her computer systems were, complete with her VR helmet and two computers one for gaming and one for hacking and coding and she had the most updated software out there on both machines. There were shelves filled with comic books on the lower level, though it always pissed her off that Asuka somehow had the collectors versions of everything where did she even get them from?

She had terrible trouble getting hold of them because comics and books had become far more expensive since second impact since paper was at a premium and they had only just really started to recover most of the wildlife forests and jungles. Cutting down wild life forests wasn't allowed world wide so trees for paper and furniture had to be grown in vast farms underground and it meant that wood was sought after and house hold wooden furniture was expensive. She looked at her white interface head clips which normally went on her blue head band her gaze drifted to her phone which was completely broken.

How the wave machine had gone off like that she had no idea but it had destroyed the battery, memory and shattered the glass which meant she needed a new one and would have to get Misato to port over her contacts, which was a pain in the ass as the phone was quite new. She put a finger on her nose feeling the sting of pain, even with the pain killers it hurt like hell. She eased off her glasses pulling out the cracked lenses throwing it a box which now had about three cracked ones in total as she pulled open the draw opposite easing out a fresh lens pushing it in hearing the click before putting them back on before turning on the large flat screen which was hanging down from the wall near by. She eyed it. "Play favourite music track list 9."

She put a finger on her nose again as the music started playing, fuck Asuka she wasn't a geek she really hated being called that. It was like being back in secondary school all over again where she'd been beaten up countless times for not fitting in! She was the girl no one liked always picked last for sports always on the outside never having relationships with anyone because she was considered ugly and being mocked by the much more attractive and popular girls.

There was nothing more depressing than a British winter with the rain pouring down getting beaten up by a bunch of assholes outside school and being bloody and beaten while crying on the cold stone floor. Only to come home to her mother who was drinking herself in to oblivion, while she tried desperately to keep her grades up and barely passed because of the stress, not to mention that her mother didn't care about her social problems. She had loved her once but towards the end before the murder she had become so distant that they barely ever talked to each other and when they did they just argued.

The Evangelion program had been her ticket to freedom hence why she had done everything to stay on it but if she was honest with herself though money had not brought her the happiness she thought it would and despite Toji and his little sisters Sakura's visit's she felt empty because she had no family they were all gone.

She was truly alone in the world, Rei, Shinji and Kaworu and Misato were like a family unit and Toji had his sister Asuka was just a selfish self centred asshole who no one liked including her, yet she still had some family left in Germany it wasn't fucking fair! Also why had she protected Rei what was her game there, what did she think she was actuality being noble or was it just her manipulating because she wanted to get in to her underwear? They did have history after all and it was no secret that Rei had rejected her in school.

There was going to be a massive Eva display on the training field very soon it was the annual display where a lot of super rich fuckers from all over the world came to Nerv and had there annual tour. The display was to show them what they were paying for and sponsoring. All of the units had to display there skills and impress on every level and it was the one and only day the press were allowed to do fly bys so long as they kept above and at a safe distance and they still had to be watched by the vertical wings who flew above the delegate platform. Asuka would have to perform no matter what and hopefully this would be her last ever dance if she messed up in front of the delegates it would reflect badly on Nerv and she'd probably be kicked from the program because her recent performance had been so bad and good fucking riddance to maybe with her gone she might make some real connections.

She looked down feeling the sting of her own tears as she pulled her glasses off she hated crying but it happened at times she didn't know why it wasn't the suspension she didn't care about that she could survive a day from work. It was just the loneliness of not having family and not having anyone to talk to or anyone who would listen or care and she could only talk about so much with Toji because as nice as he was there were just some things he just didn't understand and would just never understand.

When she piloted she put on a show always being super happy like nothing bothered her and making out that she didn't care and that it was all a big joke but it wasn't the real her. She knew she wasn't depressed just sad and out of sorts she wanted to be noticed and appreciated. She hated playing second fiddle to Asuka as her marks woman because she couldn't shoot an Evangelion rifle for shit and had the lowest score of any of the other pilots, even Rei could hit better than her with a rifle.

She closed her eyes wiping her face trying to block out her internal pain, she hated looking or feeling weak and she could never look weak in front of others because they'd just take advantage of her.

End of part 20




Chapter Text


Asuka opened both her eyes realizing that it was early morning the sun was not out yet she put a hand on her face realizing for the first time that she'd fallen asleep on the sofa there was a lot of empty take out food dishes on her coffee table but then she had eaten so much last night.

Once she had taken her first bite her stomach had just screamed out for food and she had started eating and just hadn't stopped as she hadn't eaten right in days and it had just come to a head and she was ravenously hungry and everything tasted good even things she didn't normally care for.

Rei had found it kind of amusing they'd just sat and talked while watching nature documentaries and talking about Nerv it was mostly small talk but she didn't care it was just nice to have her around and not be alone. She sat up seeing that Rei was lying opposite sleeping in her pyjamas she stood up slowly turning to face her.

She was so beautiful everything about her was small and delicate she had soft features even small hands with delicate fingers and pale skin. She breathed in deeply it wasn't fair for her to sleep on the sofa she moved over trying to be really careful because the last thing she wanted to do was to wake her as she slid her arms under her raising her slowly trying to be as gentle as possible. She wasn't heavy but right now she couldn't rely on her own body because it had become so strong.

She walked up the stairs going in to her bedroom then very carefully put the younger woman down on her bed watching as she turned over remaining asleep she carried on staring at her for the longest time. Gods she loved her so much that it hurt she had loved her for years but this was the first time she'd ever admitted it openly even to herself. She felt her hand rise as she moved it towards her face only to stop herself at the last second.

"Why do you hesitate, you want to kiss her why don't you just do it?" Asuka turned seeing that Bardiel was poking his head into the door way but he wasn't crossing the threshold she stood up fully moving away from Rei speaking quietly. "It's because of this little thing human beings call consent and boundaries." Bardiel followed her as she went downstairs. "I fail to understand."

Asuka watched as Erika jumped on to kitchen counter she moving over to her stroking her as the cat rubbed against her face with its head. "When you breach boundaries you loose peoples trust." Bardiel watched as the glowing patterns in her left eye brightened. "You're trying not to repeat a past pattern because you love her, because before you touched her when she didn't want it and held her when she didn't want to be held." Asuka looked up. "Yes."

Bardiel's red eyes blinked. "Those memories haunt you so do you ever wish you could turn back the hands of time?" Asuka lowered her gaze sadly to the floor. "Yes, because I ruined every chance we ever had of being together, she will never accept me even now and I don't even know what she sees or want in a partner because I never see her with anyone."

Bardiel clawed fingers tapped her floor he'd seen everything by the swimming pool it had been most fascinating to watch as it was not what he thought would happen. "Have you considered that maybe for her it's about emotional connection not necessarily about the gender?" Asuka stood up folding her arms. "She doesn't have any emotional connection with me beyond friendship and I won't ruin this friendship just because I have feelings that are emotional towards her she deserves someone better far better than me and like you said it's like wanting something that you can never be." Bardiel sat up in a cat like manner. "Perhaps I was rather rash with my words, I was just trying to stop you rejecting me and pushing me away because I needed us to merge mentality, on a deeper level."

Asuka felt a sneer form he sounded like some controlling asshole partner the kind she normally wouldn't touch with a ten foot barge pole because she'd been that person in her youth. "So nice to hear that you screwing around with my brain and emotions was all because you hate rejection welcome to the human race. Your clearly grasping what everyone hates because everyone wants to be loved, admired and praised on some level and it hurts when you don't get it."

Bardiel looked up. "Like your mothers love which is the one thing you truly desire." Asuka narrowed her gaze. "Leave my mother out of this!" Bardiel looked up. "Your mothers not gone you know she lives on and is very much still with you."

Asuka tensed as she walked towards him coming to stand in front of him. "I'm not in the mood for your emotional twisting today Bardiel, she's dead she hung herself she's now buried under the ancient oak tree next to my Grandmother's home." She looked up meeting his gaze head on. "Death is death there's nothing that comes after."

Bardiel's jaws formed a smile as he watched her left eye glow even brighter. "No death is rebirth over and over in endless cycles of wonder, it's seeing beyond the veil of flesh of blood but you just don't see you're not ready yet." Asuka stepped away from him. "I'm done talking to you Bardiel so leave me alone I have things to do today." She raised her hand pointing to the upstairs. "Also don't you ever verfickt touch her or piss around with her using me if you do I'll grab that long tongue of yours and rip it out of your mouth and strangle you with it." Bardiel looked at her left eye which was now fully aglow with piecing blue and white light she wasn't bluffing she never ever bluffed. "Is that a ground rule, like the one about me keeping out of your bedroom?"

Asuka felt her teeth grind together as she spoke. "Yes." Bardiel looked at her for a long moment. "I only want to bear witness to your capabilities I have no interest in interfering in your interpersonal relationships though I do enjoy watching." Asuka breathed in deeply. "Tell me something why did you pick me? Why not Shinji, Toji, Kaworu or even Rei or Mari, I mean I'm guessing you could have picked any Evangelion you wanted, was the UN's Alpha test unit just easiest?" Bardiel eased up a clawed hand. "Yes your right I could have but you see it's harder because I'm not the only one there inside those great cores and they fight back to protect those they treasure."

Asuka narrowed her gaze. "What do you mean only one? All that's in there is a partial AI that helps the pilot move the Evangelion there's nothing else inside it it's a machine part and its job is to imitate a heart." Bardiel flicked his tail speaking as if she hadn't spoken. "You had to accept me willingly, because then and only then would your great red demon Evangelion be happy and allow my changes." He looked up. "I picked you because you're more interesting than the others, your special." Asuka felt her body tense, he sounded like her mother and that made her uneasy she always used to call her special.

Now years on she hated it because it had caused so much turmoil in the past because she'd felt that she had needed to live up to that expectation. "I'm not special." Bardiel moved slowly towards the sofa. "Spoken like a true none believer anyone can be special given the right circumstances and in this cycle it's going to be your turn once again." Asuka felt her eyes dart in confusion. "My turn…for what?" Bardiel's smile widened further as his long tongue came out. "To be the red flaming star, that fires its light up on humanity lighting it up in the darkness in the night."

Asuka breathed in the tone of his sentence made her feel deeply uncomfortable and she had no idea why plus it was another stupid off hand remark that didn't make any sense. "Like I said, I have things to do."


Ritsuko eyed her screen as she put on her glasses it had been a while since she'd done this but something was really bothering her, she knew she was being lied to and she hated that sensation. She had noticed that camera's weren't recording voice when Maya, Misato and Kaji were talking and she knew Kaji's specialty was cutting out the camera's sound feed though she couldn't prove anything as despite that everything was always recorded and backed up in the Magi's back up buffer the sound still wasn't there in the back up reordering either which only made her even more suspicious.

This bullshit with Asuka had been bothering her for a while now nothing about it made sense no one with a low sync like that changed an Evangelion that way and neither did it change a person or make them physically stronger. She eyed her hologram screen. "Bring up footage recording of the gym, play the gym footage of the fall in to the swimming pool again." She watched as the event played out and Asuka some how managed to grab the middle board in mid air despite that Mari was clinging onto her. She'd seen enough of Asuka's past footage to know that even on adrenaline this just wasn't right Mari had even hit her with a wooden plank more than once and that still it hadn't stopped her, only her stitches rupturing had.

She breathed in eyeing the feed. "Stop, switch camera show me the underwater footage during Mari and Asuka's struggle." She'd been told that Mari's kicking had somehow knocked out the wave machine but she didn't believe it for a second. She watched the camera view change showing both women struggling violently under the water side ways on she could see red blood coming out under Asuka's t-shirt as her shoes scrapped the bottom of the pool desperately. She looked up as she suddenly stopped struggling as bubbles started to come out near her face. "Switch camera, so it's face on."

The camera panned around slowly causing her to blink in shock as the image hit her. "Freeze!" She looked at Asuka seeing that the patch on her left eye was lit up something was glowing like crazy underneath with white and blue light. It wasn't just that though, her teeth were like razor blades all of her back molars on her upper and lower jaw had gone razor sharp and both sets of canines had extended as well. "Save footage and pan back and play." She watched as the camera backed up as it started to play just in time to see blue light fly out of Asuka's body before the camera went black as it was cut out.

She stood up. "I want all of Asuka's footage every single slice since the accident, everywhere she's gone everywhere she been including both her failed sync tests!" She watched as the screen began downloading. "Show me the lift footage first." She watched as it popped up she could see Asuka go inside she didn't look well the footage did nothing to hide it as she forced out the emergency breaker before leaping up and grabbing the camera which she tour down causing it to be turned sideways against the wall so it only showed the lights near by but not her.

She looked closer though the camera was pointed away but the lights had started flickering like crazy and the sound was still on as Asuka spoke coldly. "Go away." there was a very long pause before her voice came again filled with panic. "Get away from me!" She blinked hearing another long pause before her voice came again though this time it sounded desperate. "Please stop this, I can't take it anymore your violating my soul!" She looked up slightly who was she talking to?

The sounds of her crying hit the air as she spoke through her tears. "Please if you're listening I'm so sorry for everything I've done in the past please free me from this torment and I'll do anything you want." The desperate crying continued long and hard, if she had not seen the first footage along with the lights flickering she would have assumed this was a mental breakdown and that Asuka had gone completely crazy.

She breathed in deeply hearing the crying stop as heavy exhausted breathing took over and the sounds of her clothes scuffing the wall as she finally passed out going to sleep. The last line was her praying. Asuka never prayed she didn't even believe in the existence of gods which meant whatever was doing this really had her mentality wrapped around its finger.

It wasn't Seele though they could appear to people they wouldn't go out of there way to effect any of the pilots and they were always saying that they should always be healthy, fit and their needs met. She sat back in her chair. "Bring up sync tests waves for both tests, replay slower." She watched as both syncs separated though the second began to come back together she breathed in deeply. "Isolate any odd waves that don't match normal parameters."

She watched as two waves separated away from the others she eyed the first. "Re-image first wave to memory or closest though pattern with best guess." She watched as a colour image started to appear, she felt the anger hit home instantly as Rei's face appeared she wasn't doing much she smiling and talking to someone she rolled her eyes.

Why was it always Shinji and Asuka who had this? None of the others had it, it was them every time and she really hated getting repressed sexual desire in the sync feed because it always came up as unusual brain waves because the Magi always had trouble reading it because of how these waves behaved.

They were erratic and tended to spike sharply she eyed Rei's image again as she spoke coldly. "You just can't keep your fucking mind where it should be even when you pilot can you Asuka? No you're always pining after Yui's little shit of a daughter who doesn't even like you." She threw the image of screen. "Okay second wave." She narrowed her gaze as the screen went black and fuzzy she leaned closer seeing something moving in the darkness was this dream footage?

No it was in colour, dreams were never in colour which meant that it was memory. She breathed in sharply as two red eyes opened in the blackness the rest was near impossible to make out. What was this? She tensed as answer hit her but it seemed so far fetched the angel in the UN Alpha test unit but they had seen the bastard die there had even been a rainbow after its death, Mari had torn that unit apart she had even broken the entry plug. She needed more proof this just wasn't enough Maya would fight her over this and call it something else which it wasn't because she'd try to protect Asuka as they were friends.

She needed one of Asuka's brain scans a real one not a digital version that only showed brain activity she wanted a version she could peal back layer by layer and imitated living organs, she'd have to get one of the lesser staff to steal one from Maya's office, the woman had always been to soft and way to trusting off people. It had always been her downfall and the reason she didn't like her and the idea that she'd ever been in love with her disgusted on every level.

Women weren't real women when they slept with other women and the same went for men call it whatever you wanted the truth was it was unnatural. Saying that though nothing was rational or even logical when it came to relationships regardless of there gender and sexuality but with Gendo she found him very easy to navigate and he always supported her projects no questions asked and she knew she could put her trust in him.

She had never been able to put her truth in Kiko or Yui but she'd always hated Kyoko the most because that stupid bitch had gone out of her way to tell Yui that she was cheating with her husband. After which all hell had broken loose and she hated knowing that she was still hanging around in 02's core being an unpleasant shit and still causing problems. She would be so happy when the day came that 02 got dismantled and its core got shattered ending her existence.


Rei opened her eyes seeing the sun as it penetrated the room, she remembered last night Asuka had ordered in a whole lot of food and they'd just sat on the sofa talking. It was more small talk but it was nice because Asuka had just been so open there was no pretence or shield and she was so charming but by the gods was she ever hungry. She had never seen her down her food so fast granted she'd always been a heavy eater but she had been eating like it was her last meal on earth.

It was clear she hadn't eaten right in days and it was seriously catching up with her, the most interesting thing she'd found watching her was her left eye the patterns seems to shift and change. It was so fascinating and mesmerizing because when she spoke about certain things they lit up not brightly but enough to show that they were matching her emotions it was really beautiful in a strange way.

She took in a deep breath realizing something about Asuka she was very charming when she was calm and relaxed maybe she'd never seen it before because she'd always had that shield up and tended to scowl or be deeply conflicted but when it was down she was so different. Was this what her brother had seen in those fleeting moments but had never been able to get through because she locked off her emotions to him?

She seemed to have a very gentle and kind personality she clearly missed her mother and had very conflicting emotions in that she was very sad but at the same time trying to see something good in all the horror. She sat up realizing for the first time that she wasn't on the sofa but on top of Asuka's bed she sat up seeing that her day bag had been brought up as well and placed by the bedside had Asuka carried her up here? She had to have done that, she stretched as she pulled herself off the sheets looking around seeing that the other woman's old red school tie was hanging off the long dressing mirror and at the edge were a number of photos.

She moved closer seeing that the first which was Asuka with Grandmother she was so young only eight or nine and she was on her shoulders laughing it was strange to see her as a child she'd clearly been very cute. They were by her grandmother's house which was very similar to her mother's home but not quite the same as there were no sun flower fields instead there were huge oak trees and farm land.

The second though was of her mother, she was clearly making some joke while holding up test tubes. Misato was right Asuka didn't really look like her but none the less there was something very similar about them maybe it was the sly smile. Her eyes drifted to the last photo which was a school one from years ago with her and Shinji at the front and Asuka at the back though she looked slightly sad.

She leaned closer realizing that it had been written on each person had an arrow off them and writing which wasn't in Japanese it was in German. Frankly she didn't remember the photo even being taken but then the days of schools seemed like a very long time ago now. She moved over to her bag taking out her phone as she brought it up to the photo taking a snap shot, she knew this was probably private but she wanted to know what the writing said she slowly brought up the translator app swiping the screen shot through it watching as it changed the writing to Japanese. She felt her world stop at once as the Japanese's stared back her, Shinji writing didn't read idiot or moron it read the words Heroic Son.

She slowly looked at her own which was the last thing she'd ever expected Asuka to write about her the words she had fully expected to read were wonder girl or doll, yet the words written were Divine Goddess and they were in bold and underlined. Her eyes shifted finally to what Asuka had said about herself and that in itself was sad because she had expected it to read something egotistic like goddess, yet it read the complete opposite instead the words Insurable Bitch were scribbled out in anger.

Had she hated herself this long even back in school is this who she thought she was even now? She took in a deep breath as her eyes travelled back to her own image, Asuka really saw her as a divine goddess? It seemed strange to ask her self this but did Asuka have genuine feelings of love for her even after all these years?

In school she'd always assumed it was about ownership, dominance and lust but she wasn't that Asuka anymore their time together had shown that maybe she did long for love just like everyone else. She turned her phone off maybe it was something for a later time as she just wanted to get a shower and get dressed now and get some breakfast.


Asuka looked up slightly as Rei walked down stairs fully dressed she leaned over stroked Erika's head then moved her fingers under chin as she spoke. "Look who is up Erika." Rei walked forward watching as Asuka gave her small smile she's wearing a new set of dark jeans and a t-shirt but no eye patch it was sitting on the coffee table which had been cleaned. "Did you carry me upstairs to your bed?" Asuka stood up fully. "Yes." She shrugged. "Didn't think it was fair for you to sleep on the sofa that's all, you're a guest." She eyed the sofa. "I'm used to sleeping there now and again."

Rei looked up feeling that this was the right moment to mention her left eye. "Why are you not wearing your eye patch?" Asuka eyed her patch opposite on the kitchen surface. "You've seen me without so what's the point." Rei moved closer pushing her fringe back. "I'm sorry I feel I should have mentioned this last night but you were in a lot of pain and I just didn't want to burden you further it would seem that your left eye changed it looks really different now." Asuka moved towards her. "What are you talking about?" Rei looked around her. "Do you have a hand mirror?" Asuka pointed feeling slightly confused. "Top draw of the coffee table…"

She watched as the other woman leaned over pulling it out then handed it to her she raised it slowly instantly seeing what Rei was talking about. Her left eye still had its scar which cut through but the eye had changed it was no longer milky in fact the centre where her pupil had been was a blazing white and there were burning light blue patterns and rings all around the iris and they were moving around slowly. She threw the mirror onto the kitchen counter closing both eyes as she put a hand on her face feeling her teeth grind together as she spoke in annoyance. "That's great just great I look like a verfickte neon light show!"

Rei eased her hand over putting it on her arm. "You know I think it's really beautiful to be honest and when you talk the patterns change its amazing." Asuka turned looking at her for a long moment. "You like it that much?" Rei gave her, her best smile. "Yeah I do." Asuka eased up her hand moving it in front of her eye. "Still can't see out of it though, it's all black." Rei moved to stand in front of her. "You know maybe the way you see just hadn't been revealed yet, have you considered that?" Asuka breathed in wanting to change the subject. "I saw your motorbike in the garage this morning, I fixed it for you." Rei blinked in surprise. "What do mean you fixed it?"

Asuka eyed her for a long moment before putting her hands in her pockets as she leaned against the kitchen counter putting her foot against it. "Next time bring your motorbike to me if you cripple the front wheel, whoever repaired it did a really bad job." She breathed in deeply. "I mean they didn't put the power coil back in correctly so your bike wasn't even gaining the power from the cores like it should and the wheels were awful. I replaced them along with the front suspension they'd just done a bodge job which would have caused you a serious accident." She raised her hand. "Go take a look and feel free to drive it around and test it, out here you can open up full speed the farmers don't mind so long as you don't run through the rice fields." She looked up slightly. "I have a spare helmet feel free to put it on I'm guessing you brought your leathers and boots with you."

Rei looked at her for a long moment. "Wait when did you do all of this?" Asuka breathed in deeply. "I've had problems sleeping recently I end up waking up early most mornings. I woke up this morning and I just had nothing to do and I found your motorbike. I just can't stand bad repair jobs and I have lots of top of the range spare parts lying around from my work cruiser bike and the old Titan sports bike I once had because they were both custom builds and I had parts that I never used and since it's all interchangeable I knew it would work on your Olympia sports bike."

Rei leaned closer. "I though you bought all of your motorbikes?" Asuka shook her head. "No I make them from scratch I buy in the parts I don't want what everyone else has I want to build my own." Rei raised her hand. "Wait that Trident you've got sitting in there is a custom as well?" Asuka nodded calmly. "Yes it was built from the ground up and it's almost complete." Rei blinked in shock. "I thought your grandmother got that for you, or it was a gift from the German division."

Asuka shook her head. "Please I would never ask my grandmother to buy me something like that, it would be really selfish, she's not made of money and I never ever ask for gifts from the German division for good behaviour. They make most of unit 02's armour and all of its weapons they have enough on their plate and without them I would really be in trouble. I know they work endless days and nights just so my weapons get tested and they even repair my units eye lenses because I'm always breaking them because I fall on my face quite often."

She moved her hand to stroke her cats head again as she rubbed against her arm. "If I want something I'll buy it myself and that includes anything for my hobbies. The only thing I ask for help with is getting collectors editions comics and graphic novels in, which my cousin Kolby gets for me because he knows people and I always pay him he needs the money and his girlfriend has a child along the way. I've been trying to get them both a pass into Nerv because there both desperate to see the Evangelion's up close but Ritsuko always blocks it, because they're not military."

Rei folded her arms. "Why does Ritsuko hate you so much Asuka? I mean she's always been out there trying to make you feel awful and I know its not just because of your behaviour in the past I mean that day when your unit changed you mentioned her hating your mother." Asuka looked down sadly. "She hates me because my mother was the one who told your mother that Gendo was cheating on her, my mother really admired Yui and your aunt Kiko's work."

She breathed in painfully. "It caused a huge amount of issues at Nerv because once your mother knew she hated your father for betraying her as well as you and Shinji. I heard they were going to divorce but then the joint accident happened with 00 and 01 and both your mother and aunt were presumed dead and not long after it my mother lost her mind during unit 02's test."

Rei slowly moved taking her hand which was warm to the touch. "Did you ever tell Shinji this?" Asuka shook her head. "No, I hurt him so much when I was with him I made his life a living hell by being controlling and cruel towards him and I thought if I told him this I'd only add to his suffering. I just didn't want to bring him any more pain because he was going through a very deep depression at the time."

She looked down sadly. "I never deserved your brother, he was always better than me and he still is and I'm not stupid I've seen how he looks at Kaworu. I know he's in love with him he has been for a while now and I want them to be together because Kaworu makes him happy I mean his eyes light up when ever he enters the room." Rei stared at her she was truly stunned now, gods she gotten everything so wrong about Asuka for years she had based her judgements on her on her past behaviour yet she was so much the opposite now.

There wasn't any selfishness there at all in how she viewed people she cared about and no jealously either over her brother wanting to be with Kaworu. She'd known about this for a while as well and she had been trying to get Shinji to ask him out but he was afraid and kept denying that he loved him. She looked up meeting Asuka's gaze. "I'm sorry I owe you an apology Asuka." Asuka raised an eyebrow in confusion. "What for?" Rei kept hold of her hand. "I've really misjudged you, for years I though you were just a self centred selfish person who didn't care about anyone but herself. I never really gave you a second chance I just got so hung up with what happened with Shinji and what happened between us in school for so long and that was really unfair on you."

Asuka eased her hand gently free. "You don't owe me any apology Rei I made your life a living hell at school, like I said before people hate me and they have every right to and trust me I hate myself just as much and possibly more than they ever could. I know I'll never be a good person like you or Shinji and I've leant to live with that because people like me don't deserve second chances." She looked down sadly. "I'm alone because no man or woman would ever have me, because emotionally I have way too much baggage." She breathed in painfully. "I only made those comments to Mari during the fight to throw her off and make her think the opposite because she loves to mock my sex life even though it's none existent and I can't remember the last time I slept with a real person."

She moved away from the counter. "I have to use a VR helmet just to get off and even then I don't feel anything emotionally its like being inside a dark void." She breathed in deeply feeling the need to change the subject. "But none of this matter's and it's not your problem its mine." She moved over to the garage door opening it watching as Rei's sports bike came in to view which now had much better wheels for better grip and a better suspension that could take being knocked around at high speeds.

"You should take you bike out for a run the suspension is so much better now, it can take you thrashing it around at full speed and wheels will grip much better so you won't have an accident."

End of part 21


Chapter Text


Rei smoothed over her white plug suite then checked the collar she was waiting in the hanger bay as the delegate display would start soon the special platform had been set up which overlooked the training grounds whose central divide had come down completely to allow for more space.

The huge screen had also risen on the other side of the training ground which allowed them to see inside the entry plug through direct feed and there were special banners that were unfolded showing the unit counter names used by the public and media. All the off the units had been cleaned at first light including 02 which had now had new plating fitted to match its match its new form.

Now all of the units were all lined up in the lower bay because that was how it worked they got shot up one by one and had to perform before moving back to the shoulder restraints and making up a neat line. Her units new head crest had also been fitted she'd been requesting one for ages but she had been told that it had been completed and had been put on at long last. All the other units had crests in some form but hers never had one but that had now changed it had now been fitted with two large three sectioned side horns on either side which flayed outwards from the base of the single red eye which could swivel at any angle.

Last years display had been so annoying and devastating the delegates I had basically said they weren't interested in seeing her unit because it was outdated as they saw it as not being as superior as the others even though it was just the same and full upgraded and she'd spent so long trying to put together a display to win them over only for them to never even give her the chance.

She wasn't the only one who had, had trouble Shinji had been bored stiff and Asuka just hadn't even been trying and it had showed in her performance which had been really lackluster. The only ones who had been enjoying it had been Mari, Toji and Kaworu in fact Kaworu loved it more than anyone. He was an expert with the wings attachments and he flew them better than anyone on the team and his sky display was a huge hit every year.

After the display was over the delegates would go down to her father and Ritsuko's office and finalize their contracts for the coming year. After which they were given the grand tour of Nerv and shown anything new, though they weren't allowed in the lower levels where Toji's Evangelion was now having its logos put on and its upper head crest fitted along with its eye lenses.

She had left Asuka's house late last night because she seemed better but she couldn't get out of her head the things she said she had noticed that when she'd said sad things it caused the light patterns in her left eye to dim and spin more slowly. She really hated herself and she was so causal about it and that made her feel so sad. Not to mention that she'd said that she had to much emotional baggage and she was completely resound to the fact that people would always leave her and that she'd always be alone and that she deserved it.

The other thing that surprised her being there was how soft and gentle she was with her cat Erika, like Misato she had such infinity and love for living things. She had said that Erika was a former stray who she'd saved from being put down because she couldn't be re-homed, hence why she had the tatty ear because she'd been in so many fights with other cats and people didn't want her because she was scruffy looking and beaten up and she wasn't a kitten so her adoption changes had been so much less.

She was Asuka's favourite thing in the whole world though she was always petting her and stroking her or playing with her, which was so much the opposite to how she had been growing with Pen Pen who she had treated with annoyed indifference. Because of this she'd grown up assuming that she hated animals or didn't care about them.

She loved Erika though and she spoiled her rotten, there was a high cat tree for her in the living room and she had a whole box of toys and Asuka liked giving her treats and talk to her in a real soft and gentle voice. She tried countless times that night to try and ask her if she wanted money for the repairs she'd made on her bike which she'd flat out refused. She felt sad in a way because when Asuka had fixed Shinji's motorbike some time back and told him that she didn't want anything in return she had assumed there was a alter motive there somewhere but there had been none at all.

She looked up as the speaker came on and Maya's voice hit the air. "Would all Evangelion pilots please report to hanger bay, thank you." She looked up as Toji came in with Misato he was being followed by his younger sister Sakura who was in her school uniform she was twelve and looked like she was having the time of her life. She looked just like him she had his brown eyes and long dark brown hair she had a drinks bottle in her hand and was clinging to her brother's arm. She turned suddenly running towards her the joy in her voice as she spoke. "You're Rei Ayanami."

Rei eased up her hand taking hold of her hand. "And you must be Sakura welcome to the underground are you looking forward to the show?" Toji smiled putting his arm around her. "She's been looking forward to this for months." Sakura turned seeing all of the Evangelion's lined up. "They're so awesome!" She turned eyeing him. "When are you going to get yours?" Misato leaned over somehow having Sakura here brought back so many fond memories of the others when they were children and it was a nice feeling. "Very soon, it's almost complete I've seen it its all black and yellow and really furious." She turned as Shinji appeared closely followed by Kaworu which caused Sakura's eyes to gleam even more.

Misato turned to them. "Sakura this is Shinji and Kaworu." Shinji moved over taking the girls hand. "Hi there." Sakura felt a smile form. "Wow you were the one who took out Shamshel!" Shinji felt his smile widen. "Well not on my own I had Rei and Asuka by my side, I couldn't have done it alone." Sakura moved to Kaworu. "You do those awesome flying displays are you going to do one today?" Kaworu felt his smile widen as he pushed his white hair back. "Of cause I aim to please." Misato watched as Mari came running in almost slipping on the floor as she ran stopping in front of them. "Ah yes and this is…"

Mari pushed past her. "Hello trouble!" Sakura ran over giving the taller woman a hug. "Mari!" Misato blinked in surprise. "You two know each other?" Mari felt a sly smile form. "Yeah of cause we do, she visits my apartment regularly along with Toji." She leaned over the younger girl. "Your going to see some real cool stuff today Sakura, you get the best seats in the house in the training room building." Misato eyed her. "How is your nose?" Mari gave her a cold look as she spoke evenly. "It's healed."

Sakura looked around. "Where is Asuka, she is so cool?" She put her hands together. "I've always wanted to meet her." Mari folded her arms rolling her eyes. Misato turned looking around her. "Wait, where is Asuka? She's normally always here by now." She grabbed her ear piece. "Kaji did Asuka come in today?" Kaji's voice came back filled with concern. "Yes she came in to day she was last seen on the Arcade level buying a new phone she knows she can't miss this event. She has to perform even if that means just walking unit 02 around because that's all the delegates say they expect from her as its changed and is completely untested." He spoke again his voice filled with concern. "Is she not with you?" Misato breathed in deeply. "No she isn't."

Rei moved forward. "She's missing?" Misato pushed her hair back in frustration. "Yes." Sakura looked up in confusion. "I heard she was sick but I thought she was all better now." She looked around her seeing the concern on everyones faces though Mari had a coy smile forming on her lips. "I mean that's what the media said." Rei breathed in deeply as she stepped forward. "I'll find her." Misato looked up sharply. "She could be anywhere Rei! You know she has a really good knack for disappearing recently when it suits her." Rei raised her hand. "I'll find her, just delay her coming up as long as possible." Misato eased out her hand. "But you're meant to go up first after Toji!"

Rei turned bursting in to a run she had a feeling deep down in the pit of her stomach where Asuka might be. "Stall them and when I get her back here put us up together!" Misato watched her go she eased her ear piece back on. "Hello Eshima there's going to be a change to the display roaster after the Beta, Omega unit 01 will go up followed by 03 and 04 then 02 and 00 will be coming up together." A young woman's voice came back filled with anger. "You're telling me this now? You do realize that the delegates have just seated themselves!"

Misato sneered. "You're media and all that bullshit, make it work for you!" Eshima spoke coldly. "There not interested in 00, they've already said that." Misato breathed in deeply. "There coming up together regardless Eshima and it's my decision to make not yours 00 has just been refitted with new face the world needs to see it." Eshima's voice came again filled with disgust. "This is because the fucking German pilots got cold feet right? So she needs her hand holding, gods that so pathetic talk about a fall from grace, she does nothing now but a fuck up." Misato narrowed her gaze hating that Eshima was right about the hand holding but she wasn't going to tell her that. "No it's because Rei and Asuka are good friends and have been for a while!"

She felt her teeth grind together as she spoke her next words. "Also show some respect! Asuka has been put through the grinder in a way that would have broken other people and she's doing her best, despite that the outside world has run nothing but mocking jokes in their news feeds about her for weeks." Eshima's voice came again filled with sarcasm. "Regardless putting 00 with 02 is a joke, 00 will get its ass whipped by Nekomata, assuming that is that Asuka can even pilot it without having yet another incident, which we have clean up!"


Eshima turned off her ear piece eyeing Tadao who was dressed in a black suit for a change he was looking over the roaster change as it appeared on his tablet's screen. She could see men and women of every skin colour seated on the special seating which over looked the training grounds some even had there kids with them who looked so excited.

Beneath her Misato and the others were in the training room control room the delegates weren't allowed anywhere near central dogma's control room, it was for angel attacks and when the Evangelion's were out on missions she turned to her friend. "Okay we are ready to go!" Tadao eyed the main screen before turning to the woman in her thirties who was dressed in the proper Nerv uniform with trousers she had plaited brown hair and dark green eyes. "They put 00 with 02 together why would you even do that, it's a joke?"

Eshima eased up her wireless miniature microphone getting ready to turn it on as she looking at him. "There afraid the German pilots going to fuck up again, clearly they want someone to hold her hand." Tadao blinked in confusion. "Yeah but why Rei…talk about chalk and cheese?" Eshima shrugged slightly. "I heard Asuka screwed her in school once, maybe they just want to throw a pretty thing under her nose to keep her calm you know appeal to her sexual appetite since she's a predatory letch."

She checked her microphone setting again as she locked in to her collar. "Personally I think it's more like throwing a little baby lamb to a hungry lion, Rei won't last a second against Asuka. That's assuming Asuka can get even it together I heard that she's not doing so well mentality, so we shouldn't expect anything worth while from her." Eshima turned on the microphone as moved over the crowds watching as the two vertical wings rose up above them on ether side as the press helicopters moved in.

They could get closer to the field today and could do fly bys just not when 03 was performing she slowly breathed in as she forced her fake happy smile for her audience. "Welcome ladies and gentle man to the great sceptical that is Nerv!" She watched as the screen changed as the first Evangelion surfaced which was the Beta unit which stood solemnly by itself. "As you know Nerv was founded after the second impact which happened when the angels attacked us for the first time by sending a angel winged weapon of death and destruction to earth which almost wiped us out."

She watched as the photo appeared on the huge screen with the four angel's wings rising up above the red sky showing the second impact in Antarctica. "Since then it has become the master and leader of weapons technology worldwide. Its founder Gendo Ikari brought together the worlds brightest to save our world and thus the Evangelion was born!"

She began to walk across the platform as the screen changed to a blue print sketch projection of an Evangelion's real head being armoured up in real time. "The most sophisticated weapon ever bio synthetic skin muscles and internal organs over an organic and metal skeleton overlaid with twelve thousand plates of pure fortified armour." She turned raising her hand towards the screen. "Thus the Evangelion program began but they needed pilots, only the best are picked to be pilots and it takes incredible mental discipline to sync with these children of the gods."

She turned as the screen brought up Toji's image as the Omega unit surfaced its three blue eyes flashing as the huge faded yellow body walked off the stand as he grabbed a machine gun as it came up from bellow. "Thus I give your our newest pilot in training, Toji Suzuhara born in China and now part of our China division and the current user of the Omega unit." She watched as the holograms started to appear as Toji started shooting at them. "The first prototypes were clumsy and needed cables, Nerv realized this solution just wouldn't work long term plus the angels can land anywhere on our planet and the risk was too great so a new technology had to be put into practice. Also they feared that rival factions would just blow the cable up and it would leave the pilot in serious trouble with only minutes to spare."

She watched as Toji finished blowing up the hologram tanks and trucks before spinning the gun around before throwing it up in the air before catching it again before as he stepped slowly back as the shoulder restraints came down locked him in to place opposite the Beta unit. "Then the most incredible feat of engineering took place the S² Engine was created and in its wake the new Evangelion's were born." She watched as unit 01 rose up from the ground its huge purple and green body coming in to view with it's outer crest white eyes and tall crest horn which slowly opened revealing the two large grooved side horns on ether side which helped it build up power for its special attack where it could blast out a massive wave of power which could rip through AT fields.

"Thus the new generation was born leaner meaner and powered internally with a source of safe endless power." She watched as Shinji's face appeared on screen as the first banner went down revealing a huge Japanese dragon with eight heads and eight tails. "Thus I give you the third child and prodigal son Shinji Ikari and the owner of unit 01 or Yamata no Orochi as we like to call it here!" She looked up as the unit moved forward as it huge jaws opened as a bellowing roar came out and its clawed hands moved outwards as the two mini guns came up it grabbed them as it fired holographic bullets at the target hologram opposite.

"Designed by Yui Ikari and Kiko Ayanami this is the final product a beautiful feat of engineering fully operational with limitless power can be taken anywhere around the world dropped from a great heights and with stand deep water depth and high temperature even lava. They are ultra responsive the pilots need only think and his or her actions are brought to life through the controllers!" She watched as the guns were dropped as the unit started to do back flips. "Thus was the first step to beating the angels!"


I'm a verfickte coward, Mari was right the moment they announced that they needed all pilots I just lost my nerve, I started shaking and I started to feel physically sick and I ran away like a child. Every time I've stepped in an Evangelion I mess it up or something goes wrong. I just couldn't walk down there to the bay it felt like a death march to my own grave I know I'm meant to perform I don't even know if unit 02 will even turn on, my sync has been only just above border line and it will probably reject me and not even bother to move an inch.

So here I am sitting alone in the Delphi gardens which are completely empty as everyone is in the Arcade watching the display on the big screens cheering the units they love but I hear nothing in this place. It's so quite even Bardiel is completely silent as he sits opposite watching me. So much for Asuka Langley Soryu the so called great pilot maybe this is just inevitable and truly my last dance, Ritsuko will let me go if I fail one more time the writing is on the wall.

Maybe it will be a saving grace maybe I'll finally find peace in solitude and loneliness maybe I can return to Germany and spend the remainder of my life in my grandmothers home because I'm just not cut out for this anymore, the stress is killing me it hurts when I breath these days and I know my cracked ribs are fine.

Asuka looked down at her reflection in the large round pond which she was sitting next to she wasn't in her plug suite just her normal casual clothing. She eased her fingers out running them though the water watching her image was shattered by the ripples. She looked around what even was peace?

She'd never felt it in her whole life and even here in this stunning pilgrimage to the Greek gods and goddess with it great white pillars and columns and vast forest of green trees she didn't feel calm just anxious and unhappy, did peace even exist or was it just a made up word? She had never felt it in her whole life, just rage, anger, heartbreak and despair and above all else loneliness despite her grandmothers love. For just one moment in her life she just wanted to know what real love felt like and not the kind from family but the kind they talked about in books where the person felt so much emotion that they could burst and could move mountains, or set the world ablaze.

"There you are."

Asuka turned sharply seeing Rei come into view the younger woman was standing over her dressed in her plug suite, she turned back to the water. "No offence but please go away and leave me alone." Rei slowly sat down next to her. "You know it took me a long time to find you so I'm really not leaving you'll just have to listen to me talk for a while." Asuka felt herself tense as she tried to hold back her anger. "You do not have to be here Rei! You are not obligated to be here you don't owe me anything and I won't think any less of you if you get up right now and walk out."

Rei looked at her sadly. "You know when we were kids I said I would only work with you if they ordered me to and they had to order me." She looked up. "Now I don't think like that at all, I'm sitting here because I want to spend time with you because I enjoy your company." Asuka felt herself laugh but it was a cold laugh even to her own ears. "Please you must be kidding right you want to spend time with me? I'm a verfickte screw up Rei I destroy everything I touch, I hurt people's feelings I'm rotten inside and out and people just put up with me because the one and only thing I'm good at is bringing insane rage and violence to the fight and that is it!" She looked at her hands feeling the sadness take over. "And I don't even want to do that anymore, it just feels like to much effort and it's too painful."

Rei shook her head. "There is good in you Asuka you just don't want to see it or believe it but I see it in you and its very kind and noble." She watched as Asuka got up she didn't think as she grabbed her arm stopping her. "No you're not going to walk away from me this time or push me away because I'm so sick you doing that to me!"

Asuka turned sharply she wanted to yank her arm away and it was taking everything she had not to. "Leave me alone!" Rei kept hold of her leather jackets arm refusing to let go. "You want me to leave you'll have to make me Asuka and I don't think you want to do that and we both know it." Asuka breathed in feeling herself stop trying to pull away she would never hurt the other woman, the thought alone made her sick to the stomach.

Rei moved to stand in front of the red haired woman. "Tell me something why did you protect me from Mari, why take the blows?" Asuka looked down sadly she wasn't going to say the truth here that she loved her. "I did it because people shouldn't pick on others who are unarmed." Rei raised her finger. "You're lying Asuka, you've never been that great a liar every one knows it."

Asuka put a hand through her hair in frustration. "I did it because I care about you and because I don't like watching other people hurt you, I never have!" It wasn't love but it was as close as she could get without exposing the truth. Rei moved a little closer putting her hands on her leather collar straightening it. "It's not weak to care about other's Asuka I know you might be thinking that because you've spent most of your life putting up walls and barriers to protect yourself but its not it makes you a good person."

She watched as the other woman's good eye looked down, she eased up her hands putting them gently on both sides of her face. "I really enjoyed staying with you the other day because I got to see the real you and I really liked her, she was warm and giving and I don't want loose her now just when I've gotten to know her." She stared in to her good eye. "So please come with me now, because I would like the rest of the world to see what I saw yesterday because there clearly not seeing the best of you and they are still basing your image on who you used to be and it needs to change."

Asuka breathed in feeling the tears come before she could stop them. "I can't do this on my own…" Rei eased a finger up wiping some of her tears away. "You won't be alone Asuka, we'll go up together I promise you." Asuka looked down as her next words came out before she could stop them. "I'm afraid."

Rei looked up sharply she had never once heard Asuka say these words openly. "Its okay to be afraid Asuka, it makes you human." She wrapped her arms around her feeling Asuka do the same to her. "You don't have to keep on putting up the shields and barriers all to protect yourself all off the time and you don't have to do with me I won't hurt you because I care about you, please believe that." She ran a hand through her long red hair. "Maybe I should have told you this a long time ago but I spent my whole childhood admiring your bravery, you're the bravest person I know and I wished I could just let loose like you."

She took in a deep breath feeling Asuka's arms tighten around her. "Everyone always seems to tell you that your fire's a negative in some way but I disagree your fire completes you and I adore watching it." She pulled away putting her hands on her face again. "So please come with me now Asuka." She watched as the taller woman nodded but didn't speak. "We won't have time to get you in to your plug suit do you have your interface hair clips?" Asuka nodded as she spoke quietly. "Yes there in this jacket I always keep spares, just like Shinji does." Rei stepped back. "Then come on lets go."


Eshima watched as unit 01 stepped away going to stand next to Omega the shoulder restraints coming down locking it in to place. "Nerv prides its self on multicultural excellence and pilots come to us from all over the world." She watched as the huge pink and white unit 04 appeared with its three upward facing horns and eight green eyes as Mari's image appeared on the screen as the second banner was unfolded showing an image of a massive demon ball with hundreds of eyes and lots of teeth. "Thus I give you the forth child Mari Makinami from Great Britain, in unit 04 or Dodomeki as we call it here!"

She watched as unit 04 eased up both hands creating a massive AT field. "AT fields, the weapon of choice for every Evangelion pilot created through intense mental refinement the stronger the pilots will and mind the stronger the field." She smiled as the massive pink unit grabbed a two ended spear and started to spin it graceful. "As well as gun's and knifes Evangelion's can spin spears and throw them as far as the moon given enough force it is a tactic that has been most useful in the past because every time the angels enter space we can volley them."

She breathed in as unit 04 put the spear down as it pulled itself into a hand stand which slowly became one handed. "What the pilot does with his or her body outside the Evangelion, they can imitate inside it with enough training hence a lot of our pilots train endlessly in side Nerv's facilities in weapons and hand to hand combat, so they can be a complete war machines in and out of the entry plug." She watched as Mari got up again as a rifle was brought up and the spear was lowered as a hologram target appeared. "Some have also become exceptional with rifles and never miss."

She watched as Mari fired hitting the holographic target spot on before lowering her rifle which vanished bellow as she stepped back to stand near 01 as the shoulder restraints came down locking her in place. "There was an idea that mass Evangelion's could be produced, though this was not Nerv's idea and another company tried but dummy entry plugs cannot be imitated. The Evangelion rejects the dummy plug every time they need real brain waves to function not fake ones their failure gave us some new technology that was very useful."

She watched as a huge white unit rose up with red bands of colour and a mouth much like unit 01's there was a huge horn on the nose and the eyes were red it also had a wide crest which had seven small lesser horns coming out which curved outwards. The unit walked slowly in to the centre as the banner came down showing of a huge skeleton towering over some people as Kaworu appeared on screen.

"Thus I give you Kaworu Nagisa the fifth child of the Ukraine in unit 03 named after the demon Gashadokuro!" She watched as the massive white wings unfolded from the back compartment. "The mass Evangelion's were scrapped and there spear parts given to us thus now all the Eva's have a wing device like this that can be put on to any unit, they allow flight world wide granted they can't go in to space though we have special rocket equipment for that but the results of these wings are most impressive as Kaworu will now demonstrate."

Misato watched as Kaworu left the ground spinning in loops she eyed the dock where unit 00 and unit 02 were sitting she couldn't tell Kaworu to prolong this as her face would appear on the screen and the delegates would see she pressed a button her holographic panel. "Are Rei and Asuka here yet?" Hayden's voice came back. "Yes I see them coming!"

Misato took in a deep breath. "Get them both in and send them up together!" Hayden's voice back filled with deep concern. "Asuka's not in her plug suit she's only wearing the interface hair clips!" Misato watched as both pilots ran to their entry plugs. "It doesn't matter they don't need the whole suite to pilot the interface hair clips can work just as well." She turned to Kaji. "Cut off all feed to Asuka's entry plug other than Rei's I don't want any back chatter from anyone. Rei is the only one who gets to speak to her period and tell those assholes above her not being suited up is part of the demonstration also split the screen and bring down both banners together and like the others make it so the delegates can only see them but not hear them."

Eshima watched as unit 03 spun again before coming crashing down to earth as the huge white wings folded back into the compartment. "As you can see it's most impressive." She watched as the unit 03 went to stand next 04 as it was locked into place all of them were waiting now. "And for our final event…." She watched as Tadao raised his tablet pointing out a change. "Okay very slight change to this event." She turned as both 00 and 02 came up together she watched as spit screen came on showing Asuka and Rei side by side though both were in partial darkness as neither had activated yet.

She looked up. "I give you Rei Ayanami younger sister of Shinji Ikari and the first child in the newly out fitted 00, which is now fully upgraded for better use and sporting a brand new horned crest!" She watched as the banner unfolded showing of a massive shark slicing people apart with its razor tail as the blue and white unit with its single red swivel eye remained still. "Over here we call it Isonade." She turned as the banner unfolded at the far side showing a huge cat with two tails biting into a person she looked at the ugly red and white unit with its four green eyes and strange body which reminded her of a werewolf due to the long palms and hind clawed legs.

"Also from the long standing German division I give you Asuka Langley Soryu the second child also in her updated unit 02! Or Nekomata which has undergone a rather drastic transformation as of late unlike the others I cannot read out the new capacities as this is unknown all we do know for sure is that it's similar to beast mode but it appears to be controlled."

She eyed Asuka seeing the eye patch and casual clothes. "Asuka is also going to demonstrate the use of the interface hair clips set but no plug suite, please note this takes great mental discipline the only other pilot's who can do this well are Shinji Ikari and Rei Ayanami. When she starts up fully a part surround will appear around her head don't be alarmed it purely just to compensate for her left eye which was blinded during the UN Alpha test unit accident." She smiled coldly turning off her microphone this was the biggest joke ever, unit 02 wasn't even going to start and even if it could start it would probably limp around pathetically like it had done last time this was a disaster waiting to happen.

Misato breathed in deeply looking at Rei and Asuka who both seemed calm. "You can start whenever." She turned to Maya. "Is Asuka's heart rate okay?" Maya eyed the monitor. "You know what its surprising okay, holding very steady I don't know what Rei said or did but she's really calm it's the calmest she's been in weeks." Misato eyed the screen watching as Asuka slowly reached for her controls closing her good eye as she took in slow deep breathes as Rei calmly reached for her own watching her intensely as they could see each others screens.

Maya breathed in. "She psyching herself up." Kaji breathed in deeply. "You wouldn't?" Maya watched as Asuka opened her good eye as she suddenly grabbed the controls violently as she screamed with all her might. Misato watched as the unit sprung to life as all of the sensors came on as the huge jaws opened as a bellowing roar hit the air and the tongue came out as it started to walk slowly out on its hind legs its two huge long tails trashing around violently. "What's her sync like?" Maya eyed the screen. "Above border line holding steady..." Misato watched as Rei calmly brought herself on line as she walked towards the centre of the training field. "Send up Rei's favourite spear the two ended one, Asuka won't care about the pain she likes a challenge."

Rei eased out the Evangelion's hand taking hold of the two ended spear. "Shall we begin?" Asuka's mouth slowly formed a toothy grin. "With pleasure." She slammed down the controls feeling everything move as her whole unit started running she forced the arms down feeling the clawed hands as they hit the floor as it turned into an all fours run at Rei's unit holding nothing back.

The next moments turned to pain as the spear swung around last second smashing straight into her units face sending her flying though the air and slamming down on her back hard as her whole unit tumbled. She could taste blood in her mouth but it was a weirdly nice sensation which gave her a buzz she yanked her unit back on to all fours as she ran at her again feeling the whole thing leave the floor as she tried to come down only for 00 to move clean out of her way as she came down hard.

She blinked in surprise only to feel the spear as it took both of her feet out from under her causing her to crash down again hard, though this time the feeling of pain made her heart start to race as something hit her in an instant Rei was a challenge, oh how she loved challenges!

Misato watched as unit 02 rose again but something had changed it was in Asuka she had the look of a child that had suddenly gotten hold of a new toy to play with Maya looked up. "Asuka's adrenaline is rising that means she's happy." She eyed Rei's read outs. "Actuality so is Rei's, would you believe?" Misato put her hand on her chin. "Who does Rei normally get paired up with in training?" Kaji looked up. "Rei it's always Shinji but recently she's become very unresponsive, like she's just going through the motions and she's bored and frustrated, we've never paired her up with Asuka because we thought that Asuka might be way to much for her to handle, clearly we were deeply mistaken I mean she's giving her a run for her money here."

Rei moved slowly back watching as Asuka came at her again though this time staying on her units hind legs as she tried to grab her. She used her other hand as she grabbed unit 02's stomach area throwing it full force over her head watching as Asuka's unit smashed down on its side again only to front flip itself back up as her unit started to stalk her on all fours but much slower and with much more thought.

She breathed in as Asuka's unit suddenly made a running jump though this time much higher she felt the pain as the clawed feet landed squarely on her shoulders. One of the tails started to lash out violently as it tried to wrap around her arm holding the spear trying to get it out of her hand as one of the clawed hands grabbed her units face. Rei looked up grabbing 02's lower jaw as she forced her whole weight downwards watching as Asuka was thrown forward with enough force to send her tumbling.

Though this time she dug her claws into the floor stopping her unit and flipping it right side up again she slowly raised her hand throwing out the AT field just as Asuka slammed into it before flying off again as she raised a clawed one producing her own field watching as the two collided violently pushing and pressing against each other. Asuka blinked in confusion feeling her AT field drop she wasn't getting through at all, she felt floor again as Rei took her units feet out from under before she could even respond she flipped right side up seeing Rei give her a rather coy smile. "You think that's funny do you?" She heard her unit's jaws snap shut above her. Rei smirked. "It's hilarious actually, should've seen your face at this end."

She waved the spear enjoying the playful jest. "Here kitty, kitty." Asuka licked one of her canine teeth lowering her tone so it sounded seductive. "I'll give you kitty, kitty." She forced her unit into a run snapping out the tails at the last minute trying to use them to knock her over only for 00 to jump and spin in mid air completely out of her reach before landing at the other end of the training ground away from her. Where the hell had Rei learnt that, she couldn't do that at all, even when her unit had looked normal?

Rei eased up her spear twirling it watching as Asuka paused her unit looking around clearly trying to see an opening before leaping again this time 02's jaws came down clamping on the spear as she tried to get it out of her unit's hands this was really fun. It wasn't like training with her brother at all he held back all of the time and it wasn't challenging it was really boring. She pulled one hand free of the spear slamming in to Asuka's units face as she pushed back not allowing her get the traction as her massive clawed feet scuffed the ground as she blocked her units eyes off causing the mouth to open allowing her to get her spear loose. "Look who is all fired up, hot and bothered go take a cold swim!"

She brought her foot up kicking unit 02 in the chest sending it flying backwards. Asuka felt the floor again as she hit it she breathed in flipping herself right side up. "Only if you join me I've heard you look good in swimwear!" Rei swung the spear laughing as she spoke. "Oh like you've ever seen me in my swimwear." Asuka felt her smile widen. "I might have don't you have a really nice looking black one piece it fits your curves all so well?" Maya blinked in surprise. "Is this for real or are we in the twilight zone?"

Misato looked up she wasn't even surprised by this in the least this was so Asuka as she had always loved to flirt but Rei responding to it was a huge surprise. "Yes this is real." She turned hearing Kaji laugh behind her. Mari's face suddenly popped up. "I know no one cares about my option but this is creepy and Asuka's grossing me out right now." Kaworu's face popped up as he sat back calmly. "The delegates can't hear them they're not on speaker the conversation it's all private." Shinji's face appeared as he smiled. "There just having fun its nice, I mean Asuka's units finally up and running and she looks happy."

Mari leaned back putting her hands behind her head. "Yeah I think the whole sexual flirtation thing is really lost on you Shinji." Shinji breathed in deeply. "Asuka is not flirting with my sister." Toji's face suddenly popped up. "Yeah hate to break it to you but she's flirting big time, it's not even subtle and your sisters enjoying it." Misato breathed in deeply. "I think we should stop this now before Asuka starts being really inappropriate since down in Nerv the sound feed isn't shut off and they can hear the pilots." She pressed her holographic speaking calmly. "You two can finish now."

She watched as both Rei and Asuka's faces popped up filled with annoyance as both units went into their relaxed modes. "Okay move yourselves to the shoulder restraints we are bringing everyone back down now." Asuka sneered moved over to the shoulder restraints along with Rei watching as the shoulder restraints came down locking them both down in to place. "Damn it and I was having so much fun!" Rei's face came up on her screen as she spoke in a soft voice giving her a wide smile as they were lowered down slowly along with the others. "I'm sure there'll be a next time."

End of part 22




Chapter Text


Asuka watched as the last of the LCL dripped off her leather jacket it would dry off her clothes it always did it only took a few minutes she'd seen Shinji and Rei's clothes do the same. She took in a deep breath closing her good eye she hadn't felt this good in so long. It felt like a massive weight had been lifted off her shoulders, her unit was finally working right.

She opened her good eye looking in to unit 02's four eyes as it towered over her from its position in the docking bay where it was now half submerged in red water. She raised her arm up towards its massive face opening her hand and spreading her fingers. "Thank you for activating and letting me in." She lowered her hand she hadn't felt this way in such a long time and it was so nice, she slowly made her way up the stairs to the upper bay catching sight of Rei who was making her way over to her still in her plug suit though she'd taken her interface hair clips off.

Rei moved towards Asuka who looked very calm and happy and it was the first time in ages that she'd seen her smile this way. "One of the dock workers was telling me that they loved our show on the networks." Asuka put her hands in her pockets moving a step closer to the younger woman. "I really don't care about what they thought it was just nice being up there with you." She felt her smile widen. "You're a real challenge." Rei looked up in surprise realizing that this could be a compliment and she very rarely ever heard Asuka compliment others. "Is that a compliment Asuka?"

Asuka looked at her for a long moment. "Yes it is." She raised an eyebrow. "Believe me I love real challenges and I want to do that again sometime." She eased up her hand pulling her patch off putting it in her pocket as she moved closer to the other woman gently taking hold of her free hand. "I also wanted to say thank you for this morning in the Delphi gardens, you didn't have to do that but I'm so grateful that you did."

Rei gave her a smile she could see the patterns pulsing and spinning in her left eye setting it on fire. "Sometimes Asuka you just need someone to believe in you when you can't." Asuka moved forward gently wrapping her arms around her pulling her close as she spoke in quite and soft voice. "I'm sorry for all the times I questioned your friendship and your reasons for being around me, I won't ever question you again I promise." She knew her next action might be wrong but she just wanted to express her feelings in anyway possible with the first person who she had come to trust in a very long time, she gently kissing the top of her head. "You're always welcome in my home, come around whenever you please."

"Look who stole the show!"

Asuka breathed as she pulled away from Rei sharply turning to see that Misato, Shinji and Toji who were standing behind them smiling there was a young twelve ear old school girl who looked like she was about to burst with excitement. She adjusted her leather jacket. "We were just having fun." Misato moved closer catching sight of Asuka's left eye which filled with bright patterns which were moving and pulsing with pure striking blue light. "Asuka your looks." Asuka looked up speaking calmly. "Yeah I know it looks like a neon light it's been that way since unit 02 shut down after it transformed."

Misato moved closer. "You should get Maya to look at that, it looks really weird, does it hurt?" Asuka breathed in deeply. "You know I kind of like it and it's different it doesn't hurt at all but I still can't see out of it." Rei gave her smile. "Honestly I like it." Asuka poked her head around looking at the young school girl. "Who might this be?" Rei turned raising her hand. "Asuka this is Sakura, Toji's younger sister she's a big fan of yours."

Asuka moved over to the young girl who looked nervous and she knew why she remembered back when she'd been fifteen feeling that way the day before she'd left Germany knowing that she was going to meet Rei and Shinji and she'd not been able to sleep all night.

She lowered herself very slightly so as not to seem threatening as she spoke softy. "So you're Sakura you know I've heard all about you from Shinji, I've heard that you like Evangelion's and the program." Sakura felt a smile form as she put her hands together. "Yeah I would love to be a pilot someday and I've always loved unit 02 it's always been my favourite and it looks even cooler now." Asuka slowly eased up her hands pulling out her red interface clips letting her hair fall loose. "You know I was only a few years older than you when I first came to Japan and you know what I was really nervous but once I got in to that entry plug my whole world changed."

She gently took hold of her hand opening it as she placed her hair clips in her palm. "You can be anything you want if you believe hard enough Sakura." Sakura stared at the clips. "You're giving these to me?" Asuka nodded calmly. "Yes, take good care of them they served me well for many years and if you make the program keep them to remind you of today." Sakura looked at her glowing patterned eye. "Are you sure your eye doesn't hurt?" Asuka gave her a wide smile. "No not at all, like I said I kind of like it, makes me stand out." She moved closer. "Would you like to see unit 02 up close? I can walk you along the bay down there you'll get to look right in to its green eyes."

Sakura leaped up. "Yes please!" Asuka stood up fully putting her hand on her shoulder. "Come on follow me I'll take you down there." She turned looking back at Toji. "Don't worry, I'll take care off her and I'll bring her right back." Rei breathed in trying not to laugh the looks on everyone's faces it was just out right hilarious they were looking at Asuka as if she from some other planet as she led the young girl down in to the hanger walking along the long lower bay where unit 02 was half submerged as she raised her hands going in to boasting mode about its capacities though it was clearly just for Sakura's benefit.

Misato breathed in deeply looking at Shinji who looked just as confused. "What's going on, can someone please tell me I'm really confused right now like has someone switched Asuka for someone we don't know?" She turned to Rei who was smiling. "What did you say to her, she's never normally like this?"

Rei looked down watching as Asuka started to mess around causing Sakura to laugh. "I just told her a few things she needed to hear that's all." Misato moved closer to her. "No you've got to tell me, just what you said because I've been trying for years to move that mountain." Rei folded her arms. "It's private." Misato raised her hand in frustration. "Oh come on!" Rei raised an eyebrow. "Have you ever considered that maybe trying to force a mountain to move won't work and instead you need to scale it slowly until it allows you to reach the summit?"

Misato leaned against the railings. "I'm going to get it out of you, you know that right?" Rei leaned on the rails. "And I'm not going to tell you just so you know." Shinji leaned on the railing watching Asuka. "It is really nice to see her this way though." Rei looked down before meeting his gaze. "When you said she was goodhearted was this how she was with you?" Shinji nodded calmly. "Yeah it was but I only saw it in fleeting moments when we were together but I just couldn't reach her, I tried and tried and it just caused us both more pain." He breathed in deeply. "You know she was flirting with you when you fighting together right?"

Rei looked up. "Yeah but it was just fun and games." Shinji shook his head. "She always liked you in school have you considered that even now she might feel the same even after all these years?" Rei looked up slightly. "I've considered it yes." Misato poked her head around. "Yeah plus she was kissing your head when we arrived and hugging you." Rei eyed her. "She was just being friendly."

Misato felt a coy smile form on her lips. "Sure whatever, I mean I greet all my so called friends that way." Rei put her hands together. "Did you have any luck finding out who meddled with Asuka's plug suit?" Misato breathed in deeply. "No, the science division said it wasn't them and the general staff said the same as did the specialists I need to speak to the head dockworker Hayden, I left him till last and only because we had the display today. Rei breathed in deeply. "I hope you find out at least something." Misato eyed her. "Same here..."


Shinji slowly walked up the corridor to the vending machines seeing that Asuka was sitting there quietly looking at a gold mini disc which had a demon image engraved on the label she was flipping it between her fingers. There was slightly melancholy look on her face even with her patch on it was very plain to see and it confused him she'd been so happy this morning what had changed? She very rarely came here anymore though they had sat here together often as children, back to back listening to his walkman.

He slowly sat down opposite her. "Are you okay Asuka? We didn't see you at breakfast." Asuka looked down slightly. "I wasn't hungry." She felt a sad smile form. "Trust me I eat a lot when Rei visited the other day and I feel like I'm still digesting it." Shinji looked at her for a long moment. "You were really nice to Sakura today I think she really liked your company." Asuka looked down sadly. "If she is anywhere near as good at syncing as her brother, she'll make a great pilot one day just like Rei."

Shinji looked at her seeing that she hadn't turned around. "You like my sister a lot don't you?" Asuka breathed in deeply feeling the pain as it crushed her heart like a vice. "More than you'll ever know." She looked up slightly. "Throughout this whole ordeal she's been there for me, even when I pushed her away." Shinji felt a smile form. "Thank you, you know for that day when you protected her from Mari even though she struck you with the wooden plank."

Asuka shrugged her shoulders. "I'm used to getting hit by things Shinji I don't mind the pain." She paused for a long moment before speaking. "I'm sorry you know for all the times when I mocked your depression and made fun of you, I never realized what it was like to go through that till now." Shinji blinked in confusion why was Asuka saying this now?

It didn't feel right at all it was like trying to desperately make everything right as if she wasn't coming back. "Asuka do you have to go back to Germany, I mean has something happened over there that you can't talk about?" Asuka shook her head. "No Shinji." Shinji looked at her for a long moment. "Then what? I don't understand." Asuka turned looking him straight in the eyes for the first time. "I know you love Kaworu." Shinji breathed in sharply. "What, no I don't!" Asuka felt a sad smile form. "Gods you're such a moron that you would let such a handsome catch like that pass you by." Shinji put a hand on his shirt it had been years since she'd called him that. "Look I don't feel that way and I'm not that way and don't call me a moron."

Asuka stood up putting her leg on the chair leaning towards him. "What way, you mean your not like me?" She spoke calmly. "Love doesn't know gender Shinji it never has and it never will, Kaji told me that years ago I just didn't want to hear it so I shrugged him off and called him a creep." She stayed still. "I get it some people in the world still like to tell it's one way and make you feel bad about your desires. I know I've been there Shinji believe me I have and when you repress it, it just messes you up on the inside."

She lowered her gaze to the floor. "Half of my being an insufferable bitch in school was because, I couldn't get over those feelings and I hated myself even more for having them and when I did finally get them out I never did it right. I just wanted to screw anything I could get my hands on and I didn't care about the consequences." She breathed in sadly removing her foot from the seat. "Don't be a verfickter idiot like me Shinji, don't let this chance pass you by they never come around again, believe me I know I broke enough hearts and destroyed enough bridges and you can never turn the clock back instead you'll just feel the sting of regret forever."

She looked up slightly. "You could die tomorrow and you'll die knowing you never told him and that he never knew, he loves you Shinji take it from me. You think I haven't seen you two playing the Grand piano together, I've sat and I've watched you together countless times I've seen you blush when he touches you or puts his hand in yours." She eased up a hand putting it on his face. "Please I'm not jealous I won't tear you to ribbons for being with him, I just want you to be happy so please don't deny yourself something because you think I won't approve." She eased her hand away. "You and Rei are both so much better than me you deserve so much and you should both have it."

She eased up the disc in her other hand putting it carefully in his. "Please when you see Rei give her this." Shinji eyed the disc. "What is it?" Asuka looked at the disc not meaning to shout her next words out desperately. "Please just give it to her Shinji!" She felt her good eye dart. "Don't let it fall into anyone else's hands I'm begging you." Shinji breathed in deeply as he put the disc away she was scaring him now he could see pure desperation in her good eye and it was so unlike her to show fear so openly.

He stood up slowly. "Asuka you're scaring me." Asuka stepped away from him. "I should scare you I have something inside of me and its so terrifying at times that I can't breathe and I know its going to start hurting people it's just a matter of time." Shinji looked at her for a long moment was she talking about her anger?

No it couldn't be that and what she was saying just didn't make any sense. "Look whatever this is Rei and I can help you." Asuka didn't think as she shoved him back regretting it instantly as he was thrown back harshly because it brought back such bitter memories of there time together which had been filled with abuse and most of it from her side. "Neither of you can fix this believe me you just can't, no one can!" Shinji breathed in deeply. "Is it Rei?"

He looked into her good eye. "Is it because you love her? I know you Asuka I know that you wanted her so badly in school and you got so angry when she rejected you at every turn." Asuka looked up sadly. "Regardless of how I feel about Rei I would never be any good for her, she deserves someone ten times better than me!" Shinji folded his arms. "Now who's the moron in denial?" Asuka felt her hand form a fist. "I'm not in denial, I'm being verfickt realistic!"

Shinji turned seeing that some of the general staff were now poking there heads out of the doors to see what was going on. "No you lie to yourself every day when it comes to Rei, you always have!" He raised his hand. "The problem is it's been all over your face recently, when we were alone she told me about what happened in the Delphi gardens this morning. She still can't wrap her head around how you hate yourself so much when your actuality a good person underneath who has a lot to offer."

Asuka put a hand through her hair in frustration she could feel herself starting to loose her temper. "Stop trying to make me feel better and stop telling me that I'm something I'm not!" She looked down. "Rei is very kindhearted and she thinks far too much of me, more than I even deserve." Shinji shook his head. "No you just think too little of yourself and I wish you would wake up for once in your life and see it!" Asuka turned unable to control her rage as she smashed her foot into the vending machine opposite watching as the glass shattered she pulled her foot out watching as snacks and drinks spilled everywhere. Shinji eyed her. "Feel better now?" Asuka put her hands in her pockets. "No!" She stepped away from him. "Just give her the disk!"

She didn't look back as she turned walking away from him feeling the anger turn to sadness she'd made that disc last night it was the truth about everything. The truth she could never openly tell Rei about Bardiel she should have given it to her earlier but she'd just got so caught up in the moment of happiness and there had just been too many people around.

That happiness had faded away once she was alone because she knew that she was now very much on borrowed time she could feel it deep down in the pit of her stomach. She couldn't keep up the pretence forever there were just too many cameras on her and too many eyes. Like all things in her life she knew happiness was always fleeting it never lasted despite that she wanted it to more than anything. She knew why she'd said those things to Sakura and given her, her interface hair clips.

Because she knew that there was a real possibility that Nerv could kill her and she had no legacy, no children and no one to carry on her name she was one of the last in her family line. Oddly enough now she just felt the deep sting of regret, for hating children for so long she'd only hated them because she'd been so desperate to grow up and she had hated a good part of her childhood. Even if she did love Rei she couldn't bring her in to her world in the way she wanted, she turned going in to one of the general staff's bathrooms which was empty watching as Bardiel appeared in the corner of her eye. "Oh there you are and I did wonder when you were going to show up again since you vanished during the display."

Bardiel looked up as he flicked his tail causing the bathrooms automatic lock to snap shut so no one else could enter. "I didn't want to show up again, after all I'm in your brain I can see out through your good eye and I don't wish to interrupt your piloting anymore, I have what I want we are fully connected to take us apart they'd kill us both." He looked at her for a long moment before speaking. "You're afraid I understand you sending the disc but if it came to that I would protect this body and mind you're just too valuable to me now."

Asuka put hands behind her head in frustration. "Why, am I cursed to be with you?" Bardiel looked up. "Don't you mean blessed, I have given you gifts that you could only dream off having." Asuka walked towards him. "Yeah explain something to me please because I'm not good with subtlety, why the neon glowing eye?" Bardiel's mouth formed a smile. "You'll find out soon enough wouldn't want to spoil the surprise." Asuka leaned against the nearest sink. "Being with you is like being with the asshole partner from hell." Bardiel eyed her. "So it's like being with your younger self then since you want to make a comparison."

Asuka felt her teeth grind together. "I hate you so much right now that I would love to rip you apart!" Bardiel looked up feeling his cold smile widen. "I never knew that human beings were so interesting so many emotions so many thoughts and feelings so much turmoil, fear and hardship." Asuka put a hand on her face. "You know I really wish that you had an off switch." Bardiel flicked his tail around. "You know maybe you'd be much better off if you just accepted that I'm in your life and there's nothing you can do to change it, unless that is you want stick that gun back between your teeth and load the trigger for real this time."

He smiled seeing her anger turn to sadness as she looked down trying to hide the pain and hurt. "No I thought not." He leaped onto the bathroom counter moving towards her as he balanced himself on the sinks. "Too much like Mama's death right?" Asuka didn't answer she carried on staring downwards. "I'm not mocking you by the way I don't know many people who would have the guts to put a gun between there teeth that way even just to try it out so they can hear the empty barrel click, I mean it would be a horrible way to die if you did go through with it."

Asuka looked up she moved so she was with in inches of his face. "Would you like to know what's worse? Imagine them cutting me open piece by piece, they will decapitate me yank my insides out and when they get around to my brain…well lets just say that you'll finally get a deep understanding as to why people fear circular saws." Bardiel smirked as he raised a clawed hand. "Trust me they'll never get that far." Asuka folded her arms. "Why because I'll be dead and all of my parts will be stacked up in jars down in Nerv's deep freezer?"

Bardiel laughed coldly. "No because they'll be dead, I did not come to this world to be thrown out by lesser human beings. I worked very hard to get here and I'm not going to be shoved out that easy so you should quit your over glorified and pretentious worrying and maybe go tell that woman that you love her. Because watching you mull over in your head as to why you can't be with her is just annoying because all you ever do is make excuses as to why you can't and shouldn't be together its like your just sticking up internal barriers just so you will never try or take a chance it's insane human thinking."

Asuka turned around putting her head against the mirror. "I'm not interested in dating advice from you!" She looked up staring at her reflection in the glass. "You're not even human what do even know about love?"


Misato slowly walked in to the bay watching as a large man came into view he was looking at his tablet while checking over all the Evangelion's in the bay. He was dressed in the all white version of the Nerv uniform with blue shoulder stripes. "Well, well, you must be Hayden." The man turned slowly towards her, he was built like a brick wall and had a brown goatee beard and short brown hair he was also in his early forties.

His blue eyes narrowed as he looked at her. "Oh great let me guess the fuckers upstairs want to complain about the display right?" He breathed in deeply. "You know I did everything you people wanted my team of men and women worked three days and nights solid not to mention we had to work around the specialists who were working on unit 02's refit and it was fucking mess!"

Misato eyed him. "Yeah I'm not here about that but I am here with regards to Asuka, so I'll just cut to the chase did you tamper with her plug suite her new one it did pass through your hands and several others before it got to the wreck room?" Hayden looked at her for a long moment. "You seriously think I would tamper with that egoistic little shits plug suite?" Misato eyed him. "You have history didn't she cheat you out of season ticket some years ago?"

Hayden put his hand in his pocket. "Yes she did and it was a very pricey ticket!" He felt a sneer form. "I know that little shit memorized all the cards I know she cheated me by making it so she only got the best cards." Misato raised her hand. "Don't call her little shit again because I really don't like it." Hayden eyed her. "Just saying it how it is."

Misato looked up. "You have no idea how it is, I spend time with all of the pilots I see things you people don't. You just catch them on there bad days which they have a lot of since along with the angels they have to deal with humanitarian issues and need I not remind you off the three major terrorist groups Cerberus, Ouroboros and Ankh. Cerberus thinks the Evangelion's are sin against the gods and shouldn't exist and wants them destroyed. Ankh wants to pillage the technology and will try anything to get what they want because rumour has it they desperately want to build there own Evangelion's so they can use them to terrorize people. While Ouroboros well what can I say, they are beyond insane and we still have no idea what they want, only that they would rather die than surrender."

She breathed in deeply. "So when the pilots get off time, they can be cagey, stressed and difficult they have to kill people and sometimes they see horrible things like innocent people dying it can really get to them not to mention all of them had have rotten childhoods on some level or another."

Hayden eyed her. "For any other pilot that might be true but you're defending Asuka and she likes killing people she probably gets off on it. She's Nerv's dog of war all she ever does is kill people it's the only things she's good at because she can't be trusted with work the other units do because she has a history of being reckless and stupid and getting the other pilots hurt because of her ego. Hell even her unit now looks like a demon on steroids whose tongue is hands down creepy and we really don't enjoy shoving it back in place since the jaws are so open now that you can look down that things throat and cleaning its exposed razor sharp teeth is a whole other ordeal for the team. Since it's a twitchier, because you think it might close its mouth and literally crunch on you." Misato eyed him. "I really don't care for your complaints regarding unit 02 it's your job."

Hayden breathed in deeply. "Well regardless of my complaints, I didn't touch her suite, yeah I hate her guts but I wouldn't go out of the way to try and crush her wounded body when she's fresh out of the hospital wing." He shook his head. "Maybe you should talk to Leiko she's one of low grade general staff up in visitor centre."

Misato looked at him for a long moment before speaking. "Why?" Hayden raised his hand. "Because her and her best friend Shoji, they just know stuff don't ask me how they know they just do I mean if there's a rumour they always know about it weird videos, pilots there like a powerhouse of information and everyone goes to them when they want to know stuff that's outside there pay grade, oh and they are forever talking about the ghost school girl." Misato blinked in confusion. "What ghost school girl?"

Hayden turned sharply looking at her. "What you don't know?" Misato folded her arms. "If I knew I wouldn't be asking you, would I?" Hayden breathed in deeply. "There is this creepy looking school girl that never blinks and has blue hair everyone says she looks really similar to Rei. You know when she was much younger but she's been appearing in weird places in Nerv for decades, she appears mostly in the hospital wing and she's got the same condition Kaworu has you know where your eyes loose colour and turn red."

He raised a ringed finger. "Shoji is really interested in her because he says she even wears the same school uniform as Rei but Rei's school have stated that no girl like that exists in there records living or dead, no one can wrap there head around it. The reason she's such a hot topic is say five people walk in to a room only one will see her. It's like she's really selective and only shows her presence to certain people and not others. I know people who have worked here for years and never seen her yet others who have seen her maybe once if there really lucky."

He eased up his tablet typing in to it bringing up a sketched image of the school girl before passing it to her. "I didn't draw this Leiko did and here's were the shit gets really weird this little red eyed blue haired girl first started appearing here when they first built the Beta and Omega unit's. That's how ancient she is and you know how normally people talk about catching ghosts on camera and film, well no one has ever been able to take her picture successfully they have tried believe me but she never appears in it and she is never seen on video camera footage ether."

Misato looked at the drawing he was right it was very similar to Rei. "I've never heard about this before." Hayden leaned against the rails. "Yeah well you're not the only one, I didn't know anything myself for years until one of the women who was doing a maintenance check on unit 01 nearly had an accident. Because she appeared right beside her on the railing nearly giving her a heart attack, she only just got saved from plummeting to her death because her colleague managed to grab her hand before she fell off the railing." He looked up slightly. "She still works here but she won't go anywhere near 01 she now works on 00 because in her words she'd rather work on a semi twitchier, than be anywhere near 01's haunted purple face."

He raised his hand. "Like I say our job is really hard down here and what people don't get is sometimes the Evangelion units are really creepy to be around. The ghost girl is just one element, I've heard of people talk about the units eyes going on for a second then turning off even when there not powered up and their jaws opening even when we have made sure they're shut the night before and its mostly in the older units 00, 01 and 02 it never happens in the newer ones or the training units there all really well behaved."

He breathed in deeply. "02 really concerns us the most through I means its always been a difficult bastard to work on right from the very beginning but last night when it wasn't in use after the specialists had finished repairing it's plating, we came in the morning to find that its whole arm had moved. I mean it had literally put its whole arm out and I'm not lying when I say that it was reaching for 00 because it was facing it directly and its hand was frozen above 00's upper banister near its face its claws were within inches of touching it."

He eased out a cigarette lighting it. "Yeah we all know that story about Asuka really liking Rei and that she has been infatuated with her for years but has never asked her out for whatever reason, it's no big secret but there was no entry plug inside 02 when this happened. It had been taken out for final maintenance checks to make absolutely sure Asuka wouldn't have any problems during the display because she's been in such bad shape since the Alpha unit incident. This thing had none of her leftover brain waves to screw with its core and it took me and my team ages to get that arm back in place and we had to put up with 00's team getting really pissed off at us because they were trying to do the final checks on it's new face plating but 02's clawed hand was in their way." He looked up slightly. "They even accused us of putting it there, because they didn't see how it could get there on its own."

He breathed out black smoke. "We tell the specialists about this shit all the time in our reports but it's the same answer every time, its just code error caused by the partial AI in the core no need to worry we'll fix it, their harmless and safe. Its been nine years and its still not fixed and I'm beginning to wonder if its going to get to the point where we have a serious accident and someone dies because one of them is going to get up and walk out unpiloted."

He eyed her for a long moment. "I'm also starting to think that these Evangelion's are alive somehow this shit just can't be coding error in the cores partial AI because from what I've heard is very basic and its only job is to read the pilots brain waves and make the Evangelion move its not a learning AI. Also the Evangelion's don't move randomly all their actions always seem like they have a purpose like the twitches seems to twitch when we are cleaning or fixing certain area's its like how a person reacts when you touch them somewhere they don't want to be touched and they want you to let go or stop so they jerk away or fidget its creepily human."

Misato sat down on the floor near the rails this was hugely disturbing why had no one ever told her about this before? She slowly passed him back his tablet she needed to speak to Kaji and Maya about this. "Well I'm going to find out about this Hayden then maybe we'll both get some answers."

End of part 23




Chapter Text


Maya opened the door to her office as she eyed her tablet she'd being trying yet again to figure out why 00 had not been touched by Asuka AT shock wave. Also all of the younger woman's samples had all come up clean and she was no closer to finding an answer and it annoyed her.

She turned only to freeze as she caught sight of Ritsuko who was seated in her chair wearing her typical trouser suit with her long blonde hair over her shoulders. "Get out of my office, you are not welcome here!" Ritsuko felt a cold smile form. "Your office oh but it used to be mine." Maya put the tablet to one side eyeing her. "Yeah and you gave it up when you decided to crawl up the social ladder so get out!"

Ritsuko folded her legs lying back in the chair. "We used to have such fun times here I remember you pining over me pathetically and me being so completely unaware of it." Maya narrowed her gaze. "Yeah maybe if I'd known what you were really like to start with I wouldn't have bothered." Ritsuko stood up putting her hands behind her back. "Now you're protecting Asuka you Misato and that creep Kaji, did you all think I wouldn't find out the truth!?"

Maya eyed her in confusion. "Are you drunk or something?" She raised her hand to the door. "Because if you are I'm not interested in your spiteful alcoholic rage and it has no place in my office, so leave!"

Ritsuko moved closer to her. "It has nothing to do with drinking you kept the fact that there's an angel attaching itself to her inner brain!" Maya looked at for a long moment. "Please the angel's dead we all saw the rainbow and Asuka's scans, she is clean." She raised her hand. "This is about Kyoko again isn't it? You just can't stand that her and Kiko sided with Yui and not you when it all blew up, gods you're so petty!"

Ritsuko moved over to Maya's hologram panel pushing a data card in to the slot watching as hundreds of images appeared she moved the one forward with Asuka showing off her razor sharp teeth under water which started playing. "Tell me this is normal? Because this is not normal and the wave machine blowing out was her she sent out physical shock wave, just like the one that came out of her Evangelion after it turned in to a demented oni!" She threw the video back bringing up others. "She even talks to herself there is even footage of her as recent as this morning talking to someone!" She stepped closer. "Whoever this thing is they're pushing a lot of her emotional buttons and driving her crazy, granted she's always been a moody hormonal little shit but now her anger is very much out of control first the gym and not two hours ago a vending machine."

Maya felt a cold sneer form. "Oh please we all knew the fight between Mari and Asuka was going to happen the writing has been on the wall for over a year! Asuka wasn't even the aggressor Mari started on her first and Asuka didn't fight back she let herself be kicked around, she also went to great lengths to protect Rei from being smacked with a wooden plank!" She folded her arms. "Plus who gives a damn about a single vending machine they are easy enough to fix?"

Ritsuko brought up the wave photo with red glowing eyes turning it slowly as she brought up the footage showing Asuka glowing eye and razor teeth once more as she froze it. "This image on the right with red eyes, that was in her brain waves sync pattern."

She brought up a brain scan but one that looked real she moved her finger slicing off the top so it showed a working brain in real time. "Clearly when you took my job and got your degree in sciences you didn't learn anything." She eyed the brain half which was covered with glowing blue pulsing veins. "The whole of Asuka's cerebellum is filled with these glowing neon veins, it's that angel! Its been hiding out in her for days it's probably taken over her mind by now, you may have not even speaking to the real Asuka I mean this things wired her motor control and speech completely."

She leaned over seeing Maya's shock. "Yes take a good long look Maya because this is probably the last time you're ever going to see Asuka again. I've already sent out a call for the special ops to detain her alive and her units going in to quarantine! We are going to take her to the Obrax coffin and we are going to drive this thing out of her mind for good because your decontaminator Orion clearly didn't cut it!" Maya looked at her in shock. "Obrax doesn't work, you've had nothing but countless failures when testing it, it's the reason I created Orion in the first place its much more stable and it doesn't cause harm to the pilots body because the tank water acts as a cushion so the waves can do their job!" She looked up. "Obrax is like a microwave it will kill her and if it doesn't kill her it will send her crazy because you'll be forcing this thing out through her nose or mouth, you could destroy her whole personality if it passes anywhere near her frontal lobe!"

Ritsuko felt a cold sneer form. "Well then she'll wind up like her bitch of a mother in a mental ward where she belongs!" She turned watching as Misato walked in followed by Kaji. "Oh well look whose here, well isn't that nice you can both get a front seat to this show as well!"


Asuka slowly walked the long corridor which would lead out on to the Arcade level with its many levels of shops and restaurants. She wasn't that hungry but she wanted something sweet like a milk shake she breathed in deeply something just didn't feel right, why was there no one around here going up and down?

There was always people around here she stopped as she eased up her hands adjusting her leather jacket sleeves and collar only to feel something hard as it pressed against shoulders as Kyo's calm voice hit the air. "Hello Asuka." Asuka breathed in deeply she already knew why they were here.

The thing she had feared most in all the world had finally come to pass she closed her good eye for a long moment before opening it. It didn't matter anymore nothing did all that mattered was that she'd die knowing at least that Rei would finally have the truth, she deserved that above all else.

She breathed in feeling the anger start to burn true she could just give up but she just didn't want that she wanted to go out of this world fighting if this was going to be her last day on earth. She spoke feeling her teeth grind together as she punctuated every word "Why hello Kyo…you verfickter sell out."

She turned seeing him and the rest of his men and women in full black military gear standing behind her they all had lightning rods which were similar to an old world teaser guns but they were much more precise as they hurt you in certain areas and could be extremely painful. Kyo breathed as he eased the pistol away from her shoulders he had no intention of using it and he hated that he had been ordered to do this because he had the up most respect for the red haired woman.

He had also always defended her when others spoke ill of her and this included his younger brother Yuki who hated her with a passion as he always preferred Mari over her. "Its orders from Ritsuko and Gendo you know I don't make the rules Asuka, I have to obey them though." He breathed in deeply. "If you come quietly this will be a whole lot easier." Asuka eased up her hands looking at them. "What makes you even think for five seconds that I'm going to come quietly Kyo?" Kyo slowly put his gun away as he eased up his lightning rod turning it on. "Don't do this Asuka I don't want to see you hurt." Asuka felt a wide toothy grin form she turned making sure he could see it. "What even makes you think you even stand any chance against me?"

Kyo looked around. "Because there's way more of us and one of you and there are many more teams waiting you can't take us all out, you know that, I taught you that." Asuka breathed in deeply as her hand slowly formed a fist. "Yeah but you know me Kyo I really love a challenge more than anything."

She spun around grabbing the nearest mans hand before he could react shoving his lightning rod straight in to his stomach as she brought up her foot smashing it straight into the woman's face opposite causing her to hit the ground. She went for the third man grabbing his helmet forcing his head down smashing it directly in to her knee with enough force to draw blood as she grabbed his lightning rod putting straight in to the woman's shoulder opposite turning it on full power watching as the lighting cracked outwards before she kicked her with all of her might sending her flying across the ground ignoring the cry of pain. She turned eyeing Kyo who didn't move as he eyed his now fallen team.

He slowly lowered his lightning rod as he switched his radio off. "I'm not going to fight you Asuka I'll give you a head start though, you know my younger brother will be onto you I can't stop him." Asuka threw the lighting rod in her hand down as she vaulted into a full blown run towards the Arcade not looking back for a second. She knew her being there would make it hard for them and if she could get to the Delphi gardens she could take the sky train to the surface it was a three minute trip and no one would be able to stop her.

She looked up sharply watching as a woman come flying around the corner with her lightning rod held high she leaped up grabbing the door frame above her forcing her knee forward watching as it collided with the woman's face causing her lightning rod to get thrown through the air as she fell back hitting the floor hard. She came down landing hard on her feet she knew the corridor to the Arcade was long and winding and they wouldn't stop coming but she going to fight every last verfickten one of them to the bitter end!


Shinji eased up his coffee taking a slow sip as he looked out over the vast Arcade level from where he was seated with Rei at the restaurant she was calmly eating Miso soup while reading a life style magazine. He could see Mari and Toji a level down talking about something as they looked out over the different levels. "Have you seen Kaworu?" Rei looked up slightly. "He's on his way here but he said that the route on the opposite end of the Arcade zone has been blocked off for some reason he can't get through and the special ops won't tell him why." Shinji breathed in deeply. "It's probably another annoying training exercise."

He eyed his half empty bowl of food. "I just saw Asuka an hour ago." Rei looked up sharply. "How was she? I mean she just vanished I thought she was going to stay with us and have breakfast I just turned around and she was gone I don't know how she vanishes like that." Shinji tensed as he looked down. "She was acting really strange." He eased his hand in to his shirt pocket easing out the gold disc with had an engraved demon on it. "She was really adamant that you should have this." Rei took the disc eyeing it. "What is it?" Shinji raised his hand. "I have no idea and she looked really scared about something but she just wouldn't go into what it was and she was being really cryptic and not making any real sense. She spoke about some kind of darkness in side of her that she couldn't control."

He pushed his bowl aside. "I tried to get her to tell me what it was but she got really angry and smashed up a vending machine I'm really worried about her." He looked up as he heard a sudden commotion bellow he looked around seeing that every one was getting up all over the place even on the levels above him to look down. "What is going on down there?" Rei got up looking at him as she put the disc away. "I have no idea."

They both moved towards the edge looking over just in time to watch as a special ops man was literally thrown out of the corridor on the far side. He slammed into the railing going still as Asuka ran out not even looking back as she sprinted for all she was worth as three more special ops flew out of the corridor opposite going after her and more pouring out of the corridor behind her all of them were dressed in full military gear with lightning rods in their hands as they carried on pursuing with no intention of stopping. He watched as Nerv staff everywhere got up trying to get out of the way of the commotion and away from them.

Asuka turned on her heels as one man tried to grab her she grabbed his arm yanking it sideways as she threw him head first into a bunch of café chairs sending food and drink flying everywhere as she punched the woman coming at her in the face then grabbed her rod hitting her a second time sending her crashing sideways she turned knocking the other man clean off his feet before slamming the rod down squarely on to his stomach causing him to cry out in agony before tossing it away.

She could see the Delphi gardens across from her on the lower level but there was a drop, a long drop with no stairs onto a restaurant platform below. She could see Kyo again following with his men and women, she couldn't make the jump the fall would kill her it would be like jumping from down from a high room onto another and if she missed she would fall onto an even lower platform which would kill her for sure. "Jump." Asuka breathed in seeing that Bardiel was close by. "I won't make it, the fall will kill me!" Bardiel felt a wide smile form. "Yes you will believe in my gifts."

She turned seeing that Kyo had stopped his men and women some way back from her as he spoke his voice filled with panic. "Don't even think about it Asuka I'm begging you!" Asuka slowly lowered herself getting ready she knew she needed a massive run up. "You give me no choice Kyo!" Kyo breathed in shaking his head seeing his men and women blink in shock and confusion. "You can't make the leap we both know that, if you miss the platform below the one lower down will kill you!" Asuka turned eyed him. "Do you know what my name means Kyo? It means to fly!"

Kyo looked up in horror as she burst into a run not stopping or hesitating. She was going to die by falling to her death and there was nothing he could do to stop it! He turned seeing four men and women appear on a higher level with long rifles which he knew were filled with special human sedative needles which had special flights tips they were normally used to take out difficult people who were problematic and only as a last resort there sedative was also very short lasting. He grabbed his radio. "For the love of all that's sacred Aliya do not let your team fire upon her she's going to jump the level!" He heard the woman's voice come back filled with shock. "You can't be serious?!"

Asuka felt every moment as the world slowed as her feet hit the floor with every step she could see Bardiel by her side running on all fours his huge feet coming down in perfect time with hers. There was nothing no sound just her and him running towards the end section which wasn't railed. It never had been it was there so employees who were brave enough could stand on the long un-railed balcony and look skyward at all of the levels above, below it was a restaurant with metal tables and chairs.

She closed her good eye feeling her left one start to go warm, if she survived this she'd never question her bodies abilities ever again and she would never doubt what she was capable off. She would never have attempted something like this before the accident she would have been to afraid of failing though she'd never admit it openly. She opened her good eye as she let out a scream as her feet left the floor at the last second and she flew through the air raising her hands, feeling the wind as it rushed past her as she looked downwards bending her legs.

She watched as Bardiel landed first, he came down on one of the restaurants tables then leaped off she breathed in preparing for the pain as she hit the table opposite him before crashing straight through it. It fall side ways as its chairs were thrown over as she slammed painfully into the floor and a metal chair fell on top of her.

She couldn't move all she could do was take in slow deep breathes it wasn't so much the pain she could handle that but the adrenaline. Her heart beat was pounding like crazy in her ears as she lay still on the floor unmoving waiting for it to pass which felt like it was taking forever. Kyo ran to the edge looking over to where Asuka was now lying on her front unmoving she had really smashed up the chairs and the metal table on her landing and it was so quite now no one was talking it was dead silent because no one knew if she was alive or dead.

He looked up seeing that Rei was running down the levels the panic and horror in her face along with her brother his radio went off as Aliya spoke. "Is she dead, I repeat is she dead we can't tell from here? That chair is blocking our view of her chest and that long damn red hair of hers is in front of her face." Asuka breathed in as she grabbed the chair which had fallen sideways on top of her throwing it off violently. She pulled herself on to her knees before easing up first leg followed by the other as she slowly rose to her feet looking up seeing that Bardiel was smiling at her as he flicked his tail. Her gaze travelled past him to the Delphi garden which was so close now she literally only had to run up the marble white stairs to get to it.

Kyo stared in utter shock he wasn't the only one there were hundreds of people all around him looking just as shocked the most shocked being Rei and Shinji who were very close to Asuka's platform bellow him. Yuki's younger voice came over the radio filled with anger. "That's not fucking possible the fall should have killed her and if not that her legs should have been shattered from the landing! I'm finishing this clearly your not cut out for this big brother your emotions are getting in the way of your better judgement!"

His fist hitting something was heard over the radio. "That little smart ass made that crazy jump on purpose! She wanted to land on that level because she's going to the Delphi gardens so she can catch the sky train! If she gets on that thing it's a three minute trip to freedom she can go into the visitor centre building and be out of the central doors before we can't stop her she can also open the iris code lock. It's not like they'll stop her either because they'll think she's visiting and since she very rarely goes up to the visitor centre they won't question it they'll just think it's a special visit. Even if the security realize different and tries to stop her they don't stand a chance she taken out three units as it is."

His voice came again filled with annoyance. "The other pilots Rei and Shinji are also getting to close stop them inferring I'm going to enter the garden via the other entrance!" Kyo breathed in deeply as he watched Asuka break in to a run heading up the white stairs, Rei and Shinji were so close to her now. He could see Mari and Toji and Kaworu who were also coming down his radio came on again as the Aliya spoke. "My brother Leon has a clean shot would you like him to take it?" Kyo breathed in painfully. "No don't take the shot the other pilots are to close and if she falls, she could crack her head open on the stone stairs." He put a hand on his face everything about this was wrong Asuka wasn't a criminal and he didn't want to be part of this vile unfair game anymore.

He believed in stopping threats to Nerv, she wasn't a threat she was just a person who had, had bad things happen to her and she deserved better than this from everyone. Ritsuko was using her now inhuman strength caused by the feedback loop when her Evangelion had transformed to justify this utterly spiteful bullshit. She was making up some shit about her being infected by an angel she was Asuka nothing had changed and if an angel had infected her why was Nerv still standing?

He turned on his radio it was in his brother's hands now and he didn't see him being able to stop her though he would watch none the less. "Step down and retrieve the wounded and pull back Yuki is taking it from here."

Asuka ran through the huge open stone frame which was decorated the entrance and was filled with Greek carvings she was so close she just had to run to the end of the garden where the sky train was. She looked up only to see lighting rod heading towards her face everything turned to blinding pain as she smashed in to the floor sideways feeling the cold blood as it started to run down her chin.

Her head was spinning and for one painful moment as everything went in and out of focus as a young voice hit the air. "You know your actuality much smarter than I give you credit for Asuka." Asuka slowly got to her knees seeing Yuki close by in his full gear with two lightning rods one in each hand. He had short black hair and light brown eyes and there was almost twelve years between him and his older brother he was also slimmer in his build.

She'd always hated Yuki he was an arrogant bastard who thought he was better than everyone else and she'd always made a big deal out of doing her hand to hand combat training with Kyo rather than him because she couldn't stand to be around him. She knew Mari hero worshipped him and that they were friends. "Oh look who is it, it's the verfickte lesser brother." She turned spiting the blood in her mouth in his direction as she stood up fully. "The one who's cheap and nasty…"

Yuki eased up his lightning rod turning it on. "Oh that's funny coming from the German bisexual bitch that went out of her way to beat up a woman in glasses!" Asuka laughed not caring that it sounded cold even to her own ears. "Oh please tell me you're not seriously talking about Mari are you? Because she verfickt had it coming!" Yuki turned on the other lightning rod. "No you're the one who has it coming, you have no idea how long I've wanted to fight you!" Asuka eased her hands out. "I don't know what planet you're on Yuki but in my world you don't beat up really beautiful women who are unarmed with planks of wood which was what she tried to do!"

Yuki smirked. "Always thinking with your lowers you're so predicable Asuka that it's just sad, everyone knows you only took that beating because you want to get into Rei's panties, what's wrong Shinji didn't cut it so your aiming lower?" Asuka felt her teeth grind together as her hand formed a fist. "You are such a piece of scheisse, you make judgments on me based on how I acted in my teens you and everyone else you're always doing that to me and I am so sick and tired of it!" She breathed in painfully. "I get it I'm the asshole no one wants to be around but I have been trying so hard to change over the last five years and no one's even noticed and no one cares!"

She looked up seeing thousands of people all looking down through the glass above which was only in this section of the garden and not the rest so they could hear this conversation as it wasn't sound proofed. "I get it you'd all be happier if Mari had killed me in the UN Alpha test unit and believe me there were days afterwards in the hospital where I wished she had!" She looked up slightly. "Because I hated the loneliness so much that it hurt!" She narrowed her gaze. "But I wouldn't expect you to understand the whole concept of loneliness since you have a nice girlfriend waiting for you every night when you get home."

She looked down sadly. "I bet its nice when she puts her arms around you hugs you and kisses away your pain on long nights and she's always there to talk to you when you're feeling down." She felt her teeth grind together as she spoke. "You're such a lucky bastard and you take it all for granted, if I had half of what you have I would be eternally grateful." She raised her hands. "But its fine go ahead beat the hell out of me I won't stop you, I really don't care anymore my whole life has been one painful step after another what's one more beating to add to my utter verfickte misery? I just don't want to cry or feel the pain anymore it just hurts so much and it's all of time almost every day."

She watched as Yuki got closer only for the pain to hit her as he smashed the rod in to her side causing her to step back painfully. She felt the intense pain as she was struck again causing her to fall to her knees as Yuki's voice hit the air filled with rage. "Fight me!" The rod smashed against her shoulders throwing her forward. "I said fight me!"

Asuka eyed him remaining still she eased up her hand pulling her patch off putting it in her pocket as she turned looking him straight in the eyes ignoring his shock which was clearly over how her left eye looked as she spoke softly. "You know it's not the same is it when people don't fight back or won't or even can't suddenly it's not fun anymore is it? It just makes you feel dirty on the inside because your being a bully and a coward."

Yuki brought the rod up smashing it across her face watching as she hit the floor on her side showing deep pain. "This is a trick we both know what your really are Ritsuko told us!" Asuka slowly got to her knees feeling her head spin painfully it was so painful that she had to put her hand on her head as she spoke. "Ritsuko hated my mother…it's the reason she hates me and she has always wanted to put me through the grinder!" She looked up. "Are you just not smart enough to see that?" She looked down sadly. "Or do you just follow orders blindly?"

Kyo breathed in painfully as he loaded the rifle with a sedative dart from his spot which was further inside the gardens. He couldn't watch this any more it was just to painful, he could see Rei and Shinji who were both being held back by Yuki's men and women but they were fighting to get through and they weren't not more than ten feet from Asuka though through out this fight her attention had been on Yuki and not them and he doubted that she knew that they both been there throughout this whole conversation he wouldn't let his stupid dishonourable little brother hurt her anymore.

She wasn't even fighting back she was just letting herself take the beating and what she saying was really heartbreaking. He eased up the rifle watching as Asuka staggered getting onto her feet once more she was in so much pain both physically and emotionally, he took a deep breath hating himself for having to do this. "I'm so sorry Asuka." Yuki raised the lightning rod only to hear the cracking echo as a gun was fired he turned watching as thin small dart hit Asuka squarely in her neck.

She seemed to stumble clearly feeling the pain as she looked up for a long moment at the geo fronts white sunlit sky above as the light showered down up on her the sadness seemed to fade from her face. It was replaced with the look of a person who had accepted and surrendered themselves to there fate with out question. He watched as her left eye span its circles and patterns igniting in a blaze of pure piercing white and blue light for a single moment before dimming almost to nothing as she fell side ways hitting the floor on her side as both of her eyes closed and she went completely still.

Rei shoved past the special ops team seeing her brother finally break through she ran up to Asuka only for one of another woman to grab her before she could touch her friend she was yanking back as another man also pulled Shinji back. "Leave her alone you can't do this she's done nothing wrong!" Shinji pulled trying to get himself free of the man behind him. "Why are doing this?!"

Yuki turned eyeing Gendo's son and daughter as a man and woman came over picking up Asuka by the shoulders and began to drag her away. "We are doing this because it's your stepmother and father's orders!" He felt a sneer form. "It also doesn't concern you or your little sister so stand down!" He felt a cold smile form on his lips. "She's being arrested for treason so take a good long look at her because this maybe the last time you will ever see her alive!"

End of part 24




Chapter Text


Kaworu looked up sharply. "Treason? That does not make any sense." Shinji eyed him. "It doesn't make any sense Asuka would never betray Nerv she's put her whole life into the program her family has always been a huge part of it." Toji breathed in painfully from his spot in the wreck room. "This chicken shit is fucked up! Where is Misato, where are Maya and Kaji why are they not stopping this?" Rei eyed them both from her position near by as she leaned against the bar counter. "They're just trying to use the feedback loop against her I know it, because it's increased her strength and stamina and changed her left eye but she is human she's still Asuka."

Toji breathed in deeply. "Did you see that jump though I mean how the hell did she even walk away from that? I thought she was dead I mean it's not like she nailed the landing well she broke the table and threw the chairs around before hitting the ground." Rei breathed in deeply. "It's because she's Asuka and she is brave there's no one else I know who would do that and they pushed her to it." Shinji folded his arms. "Yeah but what she said when Yuki was beating her was outright sad, why did she just give up? She could have taken him down I would have taken him down if those idiots hadn't been trying to stop us both."

Rei turned to him. "Shinji she's really depressed she just doesn't want to fight anymore, you know what that's like and you've been through it yourself we both have it hard." She looked down sadly. "Gods did you see her face when she looked up at the skyline its like she was so accepting of her fate like she knew this was going to happen." She looked up as something hit her. "Wait didn't you say this morning after the display that she was acting really out of sorts, like she wasn't making sense and being cryptic?"

Shinji eyed her. "Yes I did, wait do you have that disc the one I gave you?" Rei pulled it out eyeing it as she moved over to her half of the sofa pulling up the tablet panel as the others gathered around. She slowly opened the case then pushed the golden disc in which the tablet could read it as well as data cards. She breathed in deeply seeing an animated orange demon head icon come up with two sets of curved horns wolf ears and a wolf like snout and mouth filled with curved teeth. "Why the pause, these things normally start right away?" Toji leaned over. "I know why she's encrypted it, I mean its not coding as such she's just made it that it will only play in certain places and will shut down in others and won't play."

Shinji turned to his sister. "She probably learned that from her grandmother." The demons green eyes suddenly lit up bright red as it spoke. "Voice recognition required." Rei blinked in confusion as she pulled the tablet free of the sofa arm. "Specify voice needed to open?" The demons whole colour suddenly turned white as its eyes changed to blue. "Voice accepted please proceed Rei Ayanami." Toji leaned over. "She put in your voice?"

The image faded out as Asuka's face appeared she was looking solemnly downward and was sitting at her computer desk with her leather jacket on there was no patch on her eye so she could see its colours. The other woman looked up speaking quietly at the camera. "I hope this gets to you Rei I really hope it does wherever you are now." She leaned forward putting her hands through her red hair clearly struggling to compose herself. "You asked me once what was wrong and I just couldn't tell you, I want to tell you now because I owe you that as you've been really nice to me through out everything."

Her eyes looked down as she put her hands together. "I know the delegates display is happening tomorrow and I'm dreading it, I just know I'm going to get in 02 and screw it up and I'm terrified and I believe it's only because the failure might show them all the truth." She looked at the camera as the circles and patterns in her left eye started to spin. "You know the accident in UN Alpha test unit you know how I told Misato about the abyss and how when you stare into it long enough its stares back? Well that's what happened to me I saw the angel in there and when I got my guts ripped open he entered my body."

She moved her hand wiping away a stray tear. "He calls himself Bardiel and he avoided the decontamination tank because he hid directly inside my brain. He has fused himself with my cerebellum and he's been with me ever since the accident…I see him all the time he's like this weird lycanthrope creature that follows me around." She folded her arms. "He's such a verfickter asshole, half the time I can't think straight because he talks to me." She breathed in deeply. "He made me so verfickt ill, you know those days when I didn't eat it was because of him he just made me feel like scheisse he's like being with a younger version of myself."

She looked up as the glowing patterns dimmed in her left eye. "Those videos of my mother they weren't the only reason I got drunk that day I was trying to get rid of him. You know because I was stupid enough to think I could somehow kick him out of my mind if I got really drunk the panic attacks I had in both the sync test and when my unit transformed that was all him."

Her gaze shifted. "I pushed you away because I knew the closer you got to me the more danger you would be in." She laughed but it was a sad laugh. "You know I even threatened him and told him that I'd break him if he ever touched you." Her face turned to sadness. "I'm telling you this now because it's just a matter of time, Nerv will find out and I just can't keep up the pretence it's just too hard and I'm so unhappy half the time and it's not just him. I've felt this way for six months and it's been awful I hate the loneliness I hate no one being around and I just find it so hard to be happy I know I'm depressed but I just don't know how to deal with it and you and Shinji you're the only ones I can talk to."

She put her face in her hands for a moment as she started to cry. "I got so low at one point during all this that I shoved my own gun between my teeth, it didn't have bullets in it but you know it was more for the sensation of hearing the barrel turn, the only thing that stopped me loading it was that I just couldn't stomach ending my life like my Mama did."

Her gaze shifted up as the tears ran down her face as her left eye dimmed even more. "I'm going to die Rei when they find out the truth they kill me they will hack me apart to get this angel out of my mind I'm on borrowed time and there's nothing I can do to stop it." She wiped away some of her tears. "Don't come looking for me don't get involved and don't let Shinji get involved either it's better for all of you if you stay away because they'll assume that I have no control and that I'm not even really Asuka."

There was a long drawn pause as her face turned melancholy. "If I die tomorrow please know one thing I really care about you, I always have and I always will it was pleasure being around you and Shinji all these years and I enjoyed it a lot though I didn't always show it when I should have."

Her gaze shifted sadly to the floor. "Also in the drawer in the bedroom you'll find a piece of paper, it's my last will and testament please take care of my cat Erika, I know she really likes you." Her eyes drifted upwards the left one going truly dark to the point that its colours barely spun. "Shinji can have my work bike I know he's always liked it, it's a thank you for putting up with all of my crap all those years ago which he didn't deserve." She turned looking directly in to the camera. "All my books, video games and computer are yours and you can have the Trident I finished it last night, see it as my parting gift to you, because you of all people should have the best of everything and I know your asshole father never gives you anything."

She eased up her hand. "One last request and the only thing I'll ever ask off you is that if any part of me survives please take my remains back to Germany and have them buried opposite my mothers grave and surround me with sunflowers, make it so many that they light my grave for centuries to come." Her face suddenly turned to a forced toothy grin. "I mean they say deaths only a passing right? You know and we might meet again in another time and place under better circumstances and if that's so I would love to meet you a second time and get everything right this time."

Rei watched as the video switched off going completely black she put a hand on her mouth feeling the pain wrench at her stomach as she lowered the tablet, everything made sense now. Shinji leaned over putting a hand on her shoulder. "Are you okay Rei?" He could see the sadness in everyone faces, in all the time he'd known Asuka he'd never seen her cry and seeing it now was so heartbreaking.

That was why she hadn't fought back because she had already foreseen something that she couldn't change and she had given up hope and just let the inevitable happen. Kaworu looked up speaking softly. "She knew she couldn't change her fate so she gave into the inevitable." Toji shook his head sadly. "She put her gun in her mouth? Man that is so depressing she must have been so desperate." Rei stood up as she walked over to centre of the room. "I came over the day after that, I suspected she had tried it I just didn't know for sure and she was a real mess emotionally she cried in my arms and spoke a lot about her mother."

She felt the burning anger take over which was a very new feeling to her. "I'm not going to let my father and Ritsuko get their way, not this time and I won't see her die." Shinji stood up. "They will have taken her down to the quarantine level along with her unit but our cards won't get us past that barrier, you know that Rei." Rei turned slightly. "Don't we have a certain person among us who specializes in hacking?"

She turned just as Mari walked in sipping a fast food drink she walked right past them sitting herself down in Asuka's chair leaning back as she stretched. "Well it's been an interesting day with Asuka being arrested and all." Rei moved slowly towards her. "Get out of Asuka's chair!" Mari looked up sharply seeing Rei's anger which was a surprise. "Okay like your going to make me!" Rei moved forward not caring as she smashed the drink clean out of the taller woman's hand sending it flying against the bar where it spilled over the place. Mari turned sharply. "I was fucking drinking that!" Rei eyed her in disgust. "Not anymore your not you're going to help us Mari." Mari sat up slightly adjusting her glasses. "Help you do what?"

Shinji folded his arms. "You're going to help us get into the quarantine level." Mari looked at him for a long moment. "I'm sorry but you can't actually be serious?" She sat up putting her hands together. "So you want me to hack the doors down there so you can get Asuka back?" Rei looked at her as she spoke evenly. "Yes." Mari eyed her in disgust. "No fucking way, am I going to do that for any off you." She felt a sneer form. "Plus I'm not helping Asuka she's an asshole."

Rei breathed in deeply as she stepped away from her grabbing her leather bag. "You know what that is just what I thought you'd say and it just so happens that today just happens to be your lucky day." She pulled out two data cards easing them up making sure that Mari could see the red one. "I was going to sell these because I have far too many." She eyed the red one. "These are both top of the range, the red ones very special it's the newly manufactured type you know more memory higher specs all the stuff I don't give a damn about." She felt a cold smile form. "But you do because you're shallow and you care more about things than people."

Mari stood up. "I am not shallow!" She eyed Toji who was standing close by. "Aren't you going to say anything in my defense to that?!" Toji breathed in deeply. "Asuka's going to die Mari, I know you hate her for whatever reason but can you really just stand there and let that happen in good conscience could you sleep at night knowing that you did nothing?" Mari folded her arms. "Why does everyone suddenly care about Asuka?" Shinji turned to face her. "Because she has an angel in side her brain and she got so damn desperate that she shoved her gun in her mouth and contemplated suicide!"

Mari blinked in surprise. "An angel, no wait that's not possible I destroyed the UN Alpha test unit I tore that unit to fucking ribbons I even saw a rainbow. They always send up a rainbow when they die." Rei breathed in deeply. "It tricked you and it got inside Asuka's head, that's why she's had so many problems, it's why her unit changed and it's why if you don't help us here and now she's going to die." Mari moved towards her. "I just have one question how do you even know it's the real Asuka? I mean if it's affected her mind that much isn't there a chance that it might not be her."

Rei lowered her gaze to the floor. "I know its Asuka because she still cares about me very deeply she's always had these feelings for me." Mari moved a step closer to her feeling a coy smile form on her lips. "You mean she loves you, lets not mince words now shall we Rei because I might be this so called shallow person to you but I've see her longing gaze from a mile off a lot of the time. I mean that day in the in the gym she wasn't even reading her comic she was looking over at you through the glass before we started the fight." Rei looked up sharply. "She was?"

Mari walked over to the bar pulling out a bottle of alcoholic cooler from behind the counter she pulled off the cap with a cat shaped bottle opener. "Oh yes kind of makes me sick personally I mean I don't get why she just doesn't come over and just say it to you." She took a long drink. "Maybe because you'd probably say no right? I mean she has far too much emotional baggage not to mention she's not the catch of the day anymore with that shitty eye patch and messed up left eye which looks like someone shoved a neon light in to it." Rei walked up to her. "Are you going to help us or not?" She raised the cards. "This offer expires in the next few minutes you help us and you get these top of the range data cards, you don't then this offer walks away for good and it won't ever come around again."


Misato folded her arms. "This is wrong, you can't do this you'll kill her!" Ritsuko turned eyeing Misato, Kaji and Maya who were all standing with her next to the massive glass room where the thick black plated de-contaminator Obrax was sitting. It was made from huge thick steal and looked more like a coffin it was the only thing in side the large room. A number of the medical staff could be seen checking it over. "You all wouldn't be here if you weren't so incompetent!"

Kaji felt a sneer form on his lips. "I don't care about your so called scans I mean has it even occurred to you that even if she is infected why has she not strolled down in to the void where Lilith is? She's had days to do it she could have ended the whole world by now!" He eyed her. "To me that says one thing that Asuka's been fighting this thing and has somehow been stopping it you even said yourself that she's talking to it. Has it even occurred to you that maybe she's been doing everything possible to keep it away from Lilith?"

Maya raised her hand. "Obrax doesn't work! You tried it on Shinji after the battle with Shamshel and you nearly scrambled his brain, he wasn't right for days. I had to give him medication because he started to have awful hallucinations and emotionally he was a real mess he couldn't even recognize Rei who is his own flesh and blood. I had them create Orion based on your failed design so that would never happen again, I asked you to decommission and destroy this awful machine year's ago and you ignored me and kept it."

Ritsuko eyed her in disgust. "It's called preparing for every eventuality Maya." She leaned against the control panel. "Plus Orion didn't work if it had we wouldn't all be standing here now would we?" Maya breathed in sharply. "Please you're putting that on my design? We have never once known of an angel effecting a persons mind let alone one entering the human brain and making a cozy home there, we didn't think they had any interest in people's minds! Because in your words you believe that they see themselves as superior to us as they are different forms of humanity and we are the mistake that they don't like hence why they want us all dead."

Ritsuko turned pressing the holographic panel. "Do you idiots have Asuka yet? Because my husband will be here soon and I don't want him entering this room when she's not here!" Yuki's voice hit the air. "We handed her over your medical staff five minutes ago they've redressed her in hospital clothes and as I speak they've just given her a really large dose of anti psychotic. She took out three units and it was a pain in the ass to take her out and she was even able to jump one of the Arcade levels and not break her legs." Ritsuko breathed in deeply. "How did you take her out?"

Yuki's voice came again filled with annoyance. "I didn't, she gave up and she let me beat the shit out of her, it was my brother Kyo who ended it he fired a sedative dart at her. I just don't get it I mean she was in the Delphi gardens she could have escaped, she's clearly really strong now it just makes no sense the bisexual bitch doesn't normally just give up." Ritsuko breathed in deeply. "Thank you Yuki I'll see you well rewarded for your troubles."

Misato watched in disgust as Ritsuko turned back to them. "You've given her an anti psychotic?" Ritsuko looked up. "It's to suppress the angel!" Kaji narrowed his gaze. "No that has nothing to do with the angel, your giving her that to spite her and make this hell she's already in even worse. We know that Kyoko never responded well to anti psychotics in fact in the German divisions records it clearly shows that she became even more violent and unpredictable when she was on them." Ritsuko folded her arms. "None of this matters because she is going in Obrax regardless!"

A voice came over the speaker causing her to look up. "Asuka is prepped and ready we are bringing her in now." Misato stepped forward. "And to think I once called you friend you're cold heartless and fucking petty you're not even asking Asuka about what's been going on, you're not even trying to find reason in all this. This it is just about you getting your revenge on her because you hated Kyoko."

Ritsuko stepped away from her. "You know nothing of Kyoko you don't know what she's even like!" Misato breathed in deeply. "No I don't know I just read reports and everyone always try to make out that she put more into her work than loving her daughter and I know it's a lie. I've seen the videos from the archives she brought Asuka into work all the time just like Yui did with Shinji and Rei. She used to keep cuddly toys on her desk for her to play with and there are lots of photos of them together."

She looked up slightly. "I think Asuka meant more to her in the end than 02's creation maybe that's why she went crazy because when that thing tried to suck her in she fought it maybe refusing to accept death like both Yui and Kiko did and in doing so it took the part that loved away out of spite because it couldn't take the lot." Ritsuko turned watching as Asuka was dragged in she was wearing a hospital shirt and trousers she was conscious but staring out blankly in to space as the huge black up right coffin was opened and she was pushed violently in side and strapped down. The medical staff slowly closed Obrax's door turning the handle so the huge locks came across as one of them looked up. "Patient secured the high drug dose should keep her from fighting."

Ritsuko pressed the panel turning on Obrax watching as Asuka's face appeared in hologram screen still staring forward her left eye was completely dark its neon bright blue colour was barely spinning and the white light in the central pupil was now completely dim and grey. Kaji felt his hand form a fist. "See reason and stop this if you piss off this angel and Asuka has no control anymore because of your machine it will kill us all, she's clearly repressed it all this time and tried to keep us safe!"

Maya stepped forward. "Please I'm begging you don't do this, she's been through so much she doesn't deserve this she's really hurting on the inside right now. Its what makes her sad and angry but believe me under those barrier's she puts up there's so much good in her, she's noble and kindhearted and she loves Rei very deeply. Don't cut her life short over this don't take away her one chance to become happy and learn what it is to love because for the first time in her whole life she's so close to being in that place the accident in the UN Alpha test unit though it has horrible has brought out the best in her recently and people are seeing it for the first time."

Ritsuko ignored her as pressed the panel buttons. "All employees leave the room." She turned as Gendo entered the room he put a hand on his beard as he looked at her. "Is it ready?" Ritsuko turned to him feeling a smile form. "Why yes dear, it's all set up, shall we begin?"

End of part 25


Chapter Text


Ritsuko smiled as she met Gendo's gaze. "I'm turning on the main power now." She pressed the buttons hearing the sound come on as Obrax began to power itself up slowly. It sounded like a thundering drum in how it pulsed sharply clearly Asuka could hear it because she looked up very slowly with unseeing eyes. Ritsuko pulled up the hologram screen slowly turning up the power half way watching carefully for any change. "Come on you bastard…leave."

She eased the power bar higher just in time to watch as several hologram screens came up showing brain and heart scans as Asuka's face suddenly changed showing pain as she started to struggle violently her eyes going wide as the left one's pattern started to spin and pulse going crazy.

Gendo looked up watching as Asuka struggled. "I assume this is normal?" Ritsuko turned to him. "Yes it's perfectly normal, don't worry she'll go through a lot of pain but it will force it out of her she'll either puke it out or it will find its way out via her nose." She raised the bar higher eyeing the brain scan noticing that it was active through and through but nothing was changing.

Maya looked up. "Shut it down can't you see it's not working!?" Ritsuko turned eyeing her. "Be quite!" She turned pushing the bar up as high as it could go which was followed by Asuka's intense screaming as she struggled even harder forcing both of her hands straps completely loose as her hands went to her head the light in her left eye getting brighter and spinning harder as she carried on screaming in agony.

The heart monitor suddenly started flashing red Ritsuko turned eyeing it. "That's not possible? This machine shouldn't affect her heart!" Misato moved forward. "She's going to die she's going into cardiac arrest can't you see that?!" Kaji turned to Gendo. "I know you don't like or approve of me director but end this now she's dying in there!" He watched as Asuka's face changed as her teeth started becoming longer at the back and at the front as her eyes went from being unaware to very much alive as she began to snarl and struggle an inhuman roar suddenly came out of her mouth which sounded like some kind of monster's it was long, loud and terrifying.

Her struggling became even more violent and unhinged as her left eyes neon blue iris patterns slowly turned to bright red followed by the other normal eye turning glowing red as she violently pulled her lower limbs free.

Her hand rose towards the inner camera as a voice came out which wasn't Asuka's it was almost male but not quite as it was speaking over her real voice which was weak and distant. "You think you can burn me out who the fuck do you think you are?!" The fingers tensed as a cold frightening smile formed which was only made creepier by the mouth which was now filled with inhuman jagged teeth. "This is body is mine it's not yours! She said you would try this I just didn't believe you would actuality be stupid enough! Now suffer for your fucking stupidity and for daring to challenge me!"

Gendo turned sharply the panic in his voice. "Turn it off now!" Ritsuko moved over typing desperately seeing that suddenly nothing was working. "I'm trying!" Both glowing red eyes narrowed. "Her keeper has already heard her screams of pain and agony and in her mind she was crying out for the one whose love she never feels she got, to save her. Now the one who I fully awakened when I transformed her unit permanently will bring rage and thunder because she just saw what you just tried to do to her."

Misato turned as everything started to flash red. "What's he talking about!?" Maya moved over pushing Ritsuko aside typing trying to bring the power down. Asuka's other hand rose as the smile widened. "Now bathe in the glory of agonizing wonder!"

Kaji looked up just in time to see the red shock wave fly outwards from the Obrax he grabbed Misato pushing her downwards. "Get down!" He watched as the others ducked down as everything turned to chaos as the room behind them exploded in a blast of flames as Obrax was torn to pieces. Every light in the room went out plummeting everything into pitch black darkness as the huge coffin door flew through the air smashing against the glass causing massive cracks before it came down landing hard against the floor inside the room.

The control panel exploded as the door behind them was thrown off as the wave finally dissipated. The inhuman roar came again as the Angel slowly walked up to the glass its red eyes glowing. "Do you think your prison can hold me?!" A fist came up smashing against a section of glass with enough force to crack it down the centre. "I changed this body for a reason!"

The fist came up again smashing the glass a second time causing the knuckles to bleed leaving a bloody print as another section cracked. "It was so I could make it that I could escape and human bodies are so limited in their abilities even ones like this which are fit and strong." The angel pulled Asuka's fist away looking at the wound as blood ran down the knuckles. "You're so limited by your flesh and blood it's so pathetic at times!"


Rei eased her card up swiping it only to get the typical red beeping. "Well this is as far as we always get." Mari snatched the card from her hand. "Give it here!" She put the card in her mouth as she spoke through glittered teeth. "Anyone would think you idiots had never hacked an ATM machine before it's the same fucking principle just the codes much harder." Rei looked at her and then at Toji, Shinji and Kaworu. "No I can't say as I've ever gone out of my way to hack ATM machines I mean who does that?" She watched as Mari gave her a cold look. "Oh right you have…."

Mari slowly pulled out a small machine from her pocket eyeing them as she eased out two cables attaching it to the card as she eased it out of her mouth. "Trust me when you're piss poor like I used to be it comes in real handy you just trick the machine into believing you're the rightful owner, since no one types pins anymore there all internal code and it gives you easy money from anyone's account. Yeah I used to spend it on alcohol and treats but so what I was so hungry and food stamps suck over in Britain." Toji leaned over her shoulder. "I would have loved to have you with me back in China I mean I just stole what I could to give Sakura a good meal."

Kaworu looked up. "I don't quite see the appeal as I preferred to grow my own food as best I could." Shinji breathed in deeply. "I get it but I don't agree stealing is wrong didn't you ever feel guilty for doing that?" Mari eased the card up sticking it back in the slot but only half way as she watched the code flash up. "Please don't fucking bring up ethics with me Shinji myself and Toji get what it's like when you have nothing you get desperate and it takes you places where you throw away the moral compass." She breathed in deeply adjusting her glasses. "I had nothing my mother was dead I was left penniless and without a home, so I made the best of a bad situation with the only thing I was ever good at which is hacking."

Rei looked at her seeing a similar pain in her eyes which she was used to seeing in Asuka's. "Why did you not use your skills to work for your government, I'm just curious?" Mari's eyes darted as she carried staring at the code reader. "I'm not interested in being some office junkie working for the secret service, not after the way they fucking treated me!" Rei looked up. "How did they treat you Mari?" Mari eyed her. "Lets just say when they found out I was trying to hack the government for secrets they tortured me for three days straight asking who my leader was and which hacker ring I was part off."

She breathed in painfully. "You really get a taste for pain and misery when those assholes work you over they punched me kicked me, bent my limbs in ways they were not meant to go they threw constant abuse at me trying to make me feel worthless. I have never wanted to pass out so badly in my whole life and they didn't just beat me once it was repeatedly. They water boarded me and gave me sleep depredation as well as starving me and they stamped on my glasses so I couldn't see shit, I was blind the whole time and it was terrifying."

She tensed painfully. "You asked me once why I don't like or trust people that's why! My so called asshole friend sold me out in the group and I took the fall and I thought those man and woman who were torturing me were going to kill me!" She felt a cold sneer form. "I think they would have had Marcus not stepped in, he was so impressed that I'd held on so long being a civilian with no military training and tested me for the Evangelion program because he believed if I could withstand that kind of mental and physical torture then I clearly would have a very high sync rate and he was right."

She breathed in deeply wiping a tear away. "So that's why I have issues with trusting openly because trusting openly gets you hurt every time!" Toji moved forward putting his arm around her shoulder hugging her. "You can trust me Mari I would never do anything like that to you, you're my best friend and I think the world of you and so does Sakura you should have told me the whole story, I would have understood."

Mari eyed him before turning back to the code reader which had brought up some code as she spoke painfully. "Yeah well I didn't want to burden you Toji plus it's not your problem." Toji looked at her for a long moment before speaking. "I would never see anything you tell me as a burden ever and I don't mind listening to your problems we've both been though some awful shit and seen some awful things and we both know what its like to be fucking poor." He breathed in deeply. "So don't ever think that I wouldn't want to listen to you okay?" Mari looked up giving him a halfhearted nod as she stepped away from him her gaze shifted to Rei as she started to type quickly recomposing herself. "So since we are all about truth right now and I just coughed up it's now your turn Rei."

She felt a sly smile form. "So are you in love with Asuka or something?" Rei eyed her. "It's none of your business." Mari looked up sharply. "Don't give me that shit you owe me the truth since she's always pining after you like a little lost kitten!" Rei folded her arms. "It's complicated!" Mari pulled up the card swiping it watching as the door instantly opened she put her device away. "Bullshit its not complicated at all you're either in love with her or your not!" She was about to say more only to feel the whole room shake nearly causing them both to almost fall over. "What the hell?"

Shinji looked down. "I know where that came from!" He looked up sharply. "That came from the quarantine zone where they hold Evangelion's in the freezer if they think there dangerous!" Toji turned meeting his gaze. "I saw them this afternoon they moved 02 out of the bay." Rei looked down. "But it has no pilot Asuka's not in it, its impossible for 02 to spring to life on its own!" Mari breathed in looking around her. "You know as fun as this is I'd like to get to where Asuka is right now because I don't want to standing right here if 02's trying to get out it will tear the whole zone to pieces!"


Hayden tried to pull himself to his feet he could see everyone running trying to get away through any exist possible as the roar that was as loud as thunder shook the whole bay for a second time. Inside the frozen huge cylinder beneath him which had a massive top he could hear cracking as shards of ice smashed apart as the unit inside started to slowly move the solid ice not stopping it.

This wasn't fucking possible! It was his worst fear coming true an awful scratching sound hit the air as one of the clawed hands started to claw at the lid which was holding it in. He watched in horror as the huge claws burst through slicing it open like it was nothing but a tin can, its other clawed hand came up smashing it open. He was frozen in terror he knew he was going to die he hadn't been able to get to the exit ladder in time. He watched as the huge crested demon head rose up followed by the shoulders and massive clawed hands one of which came down landing with in inches of him.

The four huge glowing green eyes lit up in the darkness as its huge mouth opened letting out another roar as the tongue came out. The Evangelion turned catching sight of him its huge face leaned forward he felt himself curl up into a ball in terror as the huge jaws came with inches of his body as the four glowing eyes looked down on him he raised his hands. "Please don't eat me!"

The tongue pulled back inside the mouth as it suddenly lost interest in him moving its huge head up as it looked at where it really wanted to go. Its huge body started to move as it grabbed the walls as it started to the accent upwards as it pulled its huge clawed feet free of the ice followed by the two massive tails. He watched it go, where was it going it had no pilot how had it even activated in the first place? Asuka's entry plug wasn't in it that was in a different area above he looked up as one of its huge clawed hand pulled back before flying forward smashing the wall apart three levels up.

He blinked in shock as it pulled out Asuka's entry plug remaining still as brought it up to its shoulder section which slowly opened. It eased up the entry plug being incredibly gentle as it placed it in the opening right side up then tensed sucking it inside as its shoulder area closed up. It then carried on climbing upwards not looking back it clearly knew where it was going and there was no way of stopping it. He turned only to feel himself freeze as he caught sight of a small figure standing high above him on the rafters looking down watching the massive red demon closely. He blinked seeing the blue hair and red eyes and school girl's clothes it was that ghost girl! What was she doing here? He couldn't believe this was happening it was like some kind of nightmare.


Gendo eyed the angel standing behind the glass watching as the red eyes looked up focusing on him as he stood up. "What do you want?" The angel eyed its bloody hand again. "I don't answer questions from foolish small minded human beings who think they carry some form of hammer belonging to the gods." It slowly eased out its tongue licking one of its long canine teeth imitating one of Asuka's well known traits. "You and Seele are fools you know nothing beyond your scenarios you repeat over and over it's tiresome and extremely boring!"

Gendo eyed the red haired woman who was being possessed. "What scenarios do you speak off?" The red head shrugged her shoulders forward as the red eyes flashed. "Now that would spoil the surprise wouldn't it?" Misato looked at Kaji he'd just saved her life she stood up slowly walking over to the glass. "Who are you do you have a name?" The red eyes narrowed. "It's nothing personal but I'm not interested in you either." The angel put its hands in the pockets of the hospital wear. "It's not that you're not interesting you just don't push my buttons in a way that matters." Ritsuko stood up turning sharply. "Oh and Asuka off all people does?"

The red eyes flashed as a wide smile formed. "Now you I really don't like." Its mouth formed a cold scowl. "You think just because something's not perfect that it's less than you, which is rather pathetic considering that long ago in this country your people had a practice called Kintsugi where you used to pour gold into the cracks of jars to fix them because you valued something with history rather than something new and embraced the idea of imperfections and flaws. To me broken things are far more interesting they have more substance they're special."

Kaji came to stand close to Misato as he spoke calmly. "So you find Asuka special is that the reason you didn't walk her down in to the void and merge with Lilith?" The angel walked sideways as it sat down looking at them bending its knee as it put an arm on it once again imitating Asuka's behaviour. "I have no fucking interest in Lilith if I did you wouldn't be alive right now!" It narrowed its gaze. "Lets just say I'm tired of my role and I'm tired of those around me call them my brothers and sisters if you will getting all the fun, so I changed the rules this time around." It looked up. "I'm not the only one others have been tweaking the game as well, you're very lucky in this world Seele does not hold master and spender over you, your roles are reversed but then they made a mistake."

The red eyes darted. "Their downfall came when you gave your lesser false gods the engines of infinite power they started to loose sway over you." Its eyes closed before opening again. "But as always the scale will just tip in someone else's favour it's always the same remove one force another takes it's place and I will say that myself and my brothers and sisters might be the least of your problems and Seele may become your saviour rather than your aggressor for a change." Kaji breathed in deeply. "Does Asuka know about this? I mean about all this."

The angel turned. "Parts here and there but I'm not here to stress out her mind with things like this her mind already has its own issues. I mean this pained little human being was willing to shove a gun between her teeth and kill herself just to get rid off me, granted she didn't go through with it but she thought about it she even shoved the gun in unloaded you know just to try it out." Maya moved up to the glass. "Is Asuka dead?" The angel eyed her. "I know you you're kind of like Asuka but you're both not the same in your sexuality."

It looked up slightly. "To answer your question no she isn't dead, you see when you tried to shatter her brain I forced her personality down to save her life and very existence it's in the back on my unconsciousness sleeping very soundly right now." It raised its bloody hand. "Your machine would have brain damaged her it really disappoints me how cruel you human's are to one another. I don't like my brothers or sisters much I tolerate them with utter distain at times but I have no desire to hurt or even kill them yet you people do not hesitate in your cruelty and you would show cruelty to those who are at their lowest and most vulnerable."

Ritsuko felt a sneer form. "Asuka is not vulnerable she's an emotionless, uncaring, selfish little bitch!" The angel raised a hand. "Since your not hanging out in this mind you don't get to comment! I've seen pain, vulnerability and tears all shed through these eyes, I've seen depression, suicidal thoughts and thoughts of not being good enough or measuring up as well as self hated and loathing and a few things I didn't count on." It looked up slightly. "Love, longing and desire for one out of her reach, it really perplexed me deeply that these emotions could even exist when the others are so much the opposite."

Maya kneeled down. "You're talking about Rei aren't you?" Ritsuko raised her hand in disgust. "Oh gods seriously you find Asuka's hormonal sex drive that interesting that's beyond pathetic?" The angel eyed her in disgust. "I did not say sex drive nor was I referring to her carnal desires, which have not been as active as she might have been led you to believe in fact they're none existent but then you humans seem to hold that kind thing in an unhealthy regard so you lie about sex in the hope that others don't notice that you aren't getting any."

It looked up slightly. "I made the mistake at first of thinking that love and sex were the same. They are not and loves comes from a different place emotionally with very different drives and I just find her emotions regarding that one person fascinating because of how she acts and behaves is so different in that one person's presence it's the place where her true self becomes truly open." It looked at its bloody hand. "Love and sex don't exist where we come from it's a very Lilin ideal."

Maya breathed in deeply. "Is that why you're here, to learn?" The red eyes narrowed. "Yes, I want to know everything about you, how you work at the base level if you will but I'm not here to stop the war. To put it bluntly I have another brother who is very good at screwing up minds and breaking them and he's always loved tormenting the body I'm in. We made a deal if you will and we switched places he even faked my death with a rainbow it was what you all needed to see as I say he is a master of the mind."

Its smile widened. "It's a wager if you will, to see who is better at causing chaos and your stupidity has now put me right at the top." It eased a hand up looking at the still bloody knuckles. "Now bring me what I actuality want which is Rei Ayanami and put her inside the room because I want to talk to her."

The room was suddenly shaken violently as a bellowing roar was heard on the far side some levels bellow. "As for Asuka's keeper, I don't speak for her, her actions are her own and you pissing her off was completely your own doing and when she gets up here she might eat at least one of you alive." It's raised its hand pointing to Ritsuko. "You're the one she'll probably eat it should very be amusing to watch since false gods unlike us have an appetite for flesh and blood. It comes from your pilots desire to eat, since in this world everything seems to eat everything else."

End of part 26


Chapter Text


Rei turned the corner feeling everything shake violently as she caught sight of the room where Obrax was held she had never forgotten it due to what had happened to her brother in that it had driven him crazy and he had forgotten who she was for a while which had been heartbreaking because she had feared that he might never remember her again but he had and it was thanks to Maya's medication and care.

She turned seeing the room's entrance only to see shattered glass and the door which was also lying on its side. She could see the others following her as she ran into the room seeing everyone turn to look at her. She blinked in shock seeing that the huge glass screen was cracked in numerous places there was even blood from where a fist had been smashed into it. The whole room behind the glass was in darkness she turned as Ritsuko caught sight of her followed by everyone else including her father who remained emotionless as he raised his hand. "Well it appears for once my daughter has revealed herself at the right time required."

Rei looked up as the others came in she ignored her father as she walked forward. "What's going on?" Ritsuko eyed the other pilots. "What are you all doing here? You shouldn't even be here!" Misato moved over taking hold of Rei's arm gently guiding her forward so she could see Asuka better. "Ritsuko tried to destroy Asuka's mind using Obrax Rei because there's an angel hiding inside her brain and she was trying to force it out."

She breathed deeply. "It took over Asuka's mind and blew up the machine and now it wants to talk to you and you only it's not interested in anyone else." She watched Rei's eyes drifted as they saw Asuka for the first time shock appeared in them as she caught sight of the in human features. "I don't want to ask this off you Rei but you have to go inside that room it wants to speak to you." She looked down slightly. "I know it's going to be terrifying but we have faith in you." Shinji moved forward. "I'm going in with her!" Kaji moved forward pulling him back gently. "No Shinji not this time this angel is not messing around it only wants Rei."

Rei watched as the angel stood up its red eyeing glowing as it smiled showing off its mouth full of jagged sharp teeth as it raised its finger causing the lock on the door to unlock at the far end and slowly open. Mari turned eyeing Asuka. "Man that is so fucking creepy look at her eyes and those shark like teeth they look like they could tear the flesh of your bones, it's like a horror movie." Toji turned sharply. "You're not helping Mari!"

Kaworu put his hands in his pockets looking up with uncertainty. "It's fascinating and frightening all at the same time." Misato breathed in deeply keeping hold of Rei's shoulder. "I know I'm asking a lot of you Rei but we are running out of time he's somehow unleashed unit 02 from the quarantine zone and it's on its way up here as we speak." Rei took in a breath steadying herself. "I can do this, I'm not afraid."

Misato moved with her closer to the open door. "Go on." Rei slowly walked inside breathing in deeply as she caught sight of the red eyes which lit up as Asuka stepped closer to her a cold sadistic smile forming, she knew it wasn't Asuka though Asuka never smiled in that horrible manner. She turned as the door slammed shut behind her locking itself she turned back steadying herself as she did the best she could to ignore her fear as she spoke evenly. "Bardiel I presume?"

Bardiel raised his finger clicking it watching as both inner speakers which had allowed him to talk through the glass were shut down instantly along with the last surviving video camera. "So you know me by name, ah yes Asuka's video I told her there was no point in sending it but she was so focused on it." He looked up. "You shouldn't be afraid of me I'm not going to eat you or anything the teeth are merely for show and she also said that if I ever laid a finger on you it wouldn't go well for me."

He moved closer so he was standing over the younger woman. "You know what she's like she never ever bluff's and even I'm not stupid enough to overstep the mark with the things she really likes." Rei looked up meeting the Bardiel's eyes one of which was glowing pure red while the left eyes blue patterns were burning light red while the white pupil had turned dark red his voice was so unnerving it was dark and male sounding but it was talking over Asuka's which was meek sounding. "Is she dead?"

Bardiel raised his bloody hand seeing that the others behind the glass who were trying desperately to get the sound back by trying to override one of the undamaged side panels. "No she's fine, just very much asleep I had to do it to save her that awful machine would have probably brain damaged her for life but she'll be fine. Though she might wake up again in a seriously bad mood and have a lot of issues with anger and confusion but I'm sure it'll pass you see she had completely resounded herself to the fact that she would not return and when she does return she probably won't take it well because now her softer underbelly has been exposed for all to see."

He looked in to her eyes. "You know she gave up willingly because she saw no way out she was happy to go to her death and she had accepted it unconditionally but here's the thing that might really break your heart when she looked up at skyline, in all its glory your face was the last thing she saw in her minds eye, that was the image she wanted to die with." He watched as Rei's green eyes lowered sadly to the floor. "She loves you so much you know you're the one person in this horrible vile human world who actuality touches her, you're the one she always thinks about."

He turned slightly. "But she never tells you this because she doesn't think she deserves you and that she can never take back the bitter school memories where she harassed you and overstepped boundaries and she has always wished that she could turn back the clock." He raised his hand towards her face touching it slightly with his finger tips. "It's so sad." Rei stepped back hating the tingling sensation from his finger which made her skin crawl. "Don't touch me."

Bardiel raised an eyebrow. "Why because the truth is what she's always thought that you don't like her in that way and even in her wildest dreams you'll never be more than friends?" Rei looked up. "No don't touch me because you're not her, I enjoy her touch I don't like or approve of yours." Bardiel felt a cold sneer form. "If you hadn't noticed I'm in this body it's the same one!" Rei folded her arms she could see what Asuka was talking about now Bardiel was awful it was the sensation of him, he was so dark and foreboding, which meant that to her this past week or so must have been like torture.

It made sense now sleeping in lift shafts and spacing out this must have driven her crazy half of the time and she must have struggled so hard just to keep it together. "You're not the same though you may look like Asuka even sound like her but you're not her." Bardiel snarled inhumanly as he got closer. "Explain that concept to me I fail to understand the meaning!"

Rei breathed in. "It's your eyes your presence you're awful, she's warm, loving and gentle you are not." Bardiel roared in anger as he eyed her. "You're talking about the soul aren't you?!" Rei looked up feeling the anger take over. "Yes I am! Why did you do this to her, I mean who gave you the right?"

Bardiel's red eyes narrowed. "I don't need to talk rights with you, you're human I did it because I could plus she fascinates me because she's so broken inside and out. She's desperately sad and lonely forever wanting and needing but never taking the first steps because she is so afraid, yet in others things she does not hesitate. I told her she could jump the level she never questioned if I was lying I could have let her fall to her death but she put her trust in me unconditionally despite how cruel I've been to her. So much trust for one who doesn't always trust so much love never given and so much regret and misery."

He raised his hand. "She'll never make the first move and kiss you even though she wants it more than she can breathe and it kills her every time you're close." He looked up as the whole room shook. "So answer me the one question I really want to know will you ever return her love?" His mouth formed a cold sneer. "Or am I wasting my time talking to you?" He looked up as the room shook again. "Hurry now her keeper is getting very angry."

Rei turned to him she realized now that she should have admitted it to herself a lot sooner but everything had changed that day in the gym the way Asuka had touched her she wanted to feel like that everyday since. She'd seen the best in her that day and she carried on seeing it and she found her very beautiful both inside and out and it had drawn her in so deeply. She just hadn't wanted to admit it as she had been deeply confused by her own feelings, because she very rarely felt much when others touched her but when Asuka did it she felt alive every time and her touch was always so gentle and caring. "Yes I love her."

Bardiel raised an eyebrow. "I do hope you're not lying to me just to save your own skin." Rei looked up meeting his cold gaze. "If you know me from her memories you'll know I don't like lies or lying to others." Bardiel mouth formed a cold smile. "No I guess you don't I mean you were always brutality honest when you rejected her advances in school if you can be brutality honest about rejection then clearly you can be honest about love."

Rei turned as a massive crash was heard she watched as unit 02's face appeared in one of the side windows. "How do I stop 02!?" Bardiel breathed in deeply. "That I will help you with since you've been honest with me. Once I dive back into Asuka's mind her keeper will feel her presence again you just need to show her to the unit and it will shut down and once I release my hold the door will open and the sound will come back on." He looked up. "Tell the unit you mean her no harm and that she's safe it will understand, it came here to rescue her after all it heard her cries of deep pain in the void when the machine was turned on and it felt her going into cardiac arrest, it has a very strong connection with her." Rei felt her eyes dart. "Who is her keeper?!"

Huge claws suddenly tore through the ceiling close by Bardiel breathed in as he closed his eyes. "I'm sorry but your time is up, have fun with her keeper." Rei watched as the red eyes faded away as the normal one went back to blue and the pupil dilated while the red circles and patterns turned to back to neon blue as Asuka whole body began to slump. She grabbed her lowering her down to the floor carefully as the whole roof came away as unit 02 massive clawed hand tore it clean off causing everyone to duck down it terror as it roared its long tongue coming out.

She pulled Asuka up in to a sitting position so it could see her directly. "She's here!" The unit mouth opened as it roared again looking in her direction. "You're her keeper right?" She looked up watching as the jaws slowly closed. "She's okay now she's safe, I came to save her please believe that!" The unit eased up a clawed finger moving it forward stopping within inches of her. "She's not dead she's just sick she needs to rest." The clawed hand pulled away as the unit became still. "I would never do this to her I care about her to much!"

Unit 02's whole head turned as it looked in Ritsuko's direction letting out a massive roar which ended as is huge mouth formed a cold scowl. It stopped as it seemed to contemplating its next actions as the tongue moved up licking one of the huge upper canine teeth as it turned back to look at her much to her surprise. Its body leaned back as it relaxed its huge green eyes dimming as its clawed hands became loose and it fell away from the wall.

She tensed holding Asuka tighter against her as she heard the massive crash as it hit the earth below somewhere at the bottom of the quarantine zone. Granted Evangelion's could take that kind of fall but she'd never seen it from the outside only from the inside. She turned as everyone came rushing in she watched as her father came to stand over her a rather dark smile spreading across his lips as he spoke evenly. "It would appear that I've misjudged your value, you are useful after all just like your brother."

Rei looked up eyeing him. "I didn't do this to earn your respect or gain your approval I did this because you were going to kill Asuka!" Her father smirked. "You've always been soft just like your mother her love for others was her weakness too." Rei felt a sneer form as she looked up eyeing him. "Yeah well you know I'd rather be like mother than share a single once of your unfeeling soul." She narrowed her gaze. "I'm happy I look like her to because she was a far better person that you could ever hope to be." She turned to Shinji who was getting closer. "Can you give me a hand? I need to get Asuka on to her feet."

Shinji moved over helping his sister stand up Asuka who still had her eyes wide open and was staring blankly into space and completely unresponsive he eyed his father in disgust. "You could have avoided this whole scenario but as usual you listened to Ritsuko, Asuka did not need to go through this she's suffered enough as it is! Putting her through this was beyond cruel I mean you knew how much that machine messed me up when you tried it on me all those years ago!"

Ritsuko folded her arms. "Your father and I were trying to get rid of an angel!" Rei eyed her in disgust. "No you were both trying to get rid of Asuka there's a big difference, yeah I get it to a lot of people she's not the greatest and most out going person in the world but she deserves so much better than to be treated this way she's a kind person with a good heart and she's not expendable."

Kaji moved forward seeing his chance to speak. "Come on all of you, let's leave, this doesn't need to continue." Misato turned feeling a cold smile form. "Yeah Kaji's right I mean since Ritsuko's idea failed miserably and caused unit 02 to go crazy and try to kill us all, I guess we have to try Maya's ideas when it comes to removing the angel for the foreseeable future." She met Ritsuko's cold gaze. "Like we should have done when you found out about this, as it is we are lucky that the angel could be reasoned with!" Rei turned to her. "His name is Bardiel."

Misato eyed her before turning back. "But as it is Bardiel might never speak to us again and you better pray that Asuka isn't brain damaged because if she is her grandmother will probably come down here and kill you personally because her patience with you is at its very limits from what I've heard and I won't stop her. I mean who in there right mind does this to young woman her age and thinks it's right or even fucking acceptable!"

Maya moved towards the fallen door. "Can you all argue about this later? I need Asuka brought to the hospital wing right now!" Kaji moved over to Misato putting his hand on her arm. "Come on Misato you can finish this later, now just isn't the time." Misato took in a deep breath knowing he was right she eyed Toji, Mari and Kaworu who were all looked completely out of there depth as they were clearly not used to being in the middle of these kinds of fights. "Come on all of you we are leaving!"


Maya breathed in painfully as she looked at Asuka who had been put in the hospital bed and was staring upwards aimlessly into space, there was nothing happening she was completely unresponsive even her good eyes pupil wouldn't dilate and her left eye had gone dark there were no glowing iris patterns in it and the pupil had turned a very dark grey.

She looked at the brain scan which was barely firing her brain wasn't damaged but it just wasn't active it had become a dead zone, nothing was going on it and it had nothing to do with the anti physiologic that had long left her system. She put a hand on her face it was like some form of coma but she was wide awake and she'd used the same medication she'd used on Shinji many years ago but she was getting no response at all.

Whatever was going on in Asuka's brain she just couldn't fix it and she could feel the frustration mounting as she couldn't bring herself to call her grandmother and tell her this. She'd just break an old woman's heart because saying she was in a coma was like saying she was dead. She just wanted to break Gendo and Ritsuko's neck, if they'd just given her a chance to do her job this wouldn't have happened. She looked up seeing that Rei was sitting opposite Asuka's bed she hadn't left and she'd said she had no intention of leaving. The others had stayed including Mari for as long as they could until they'd had to go home Shinji had gone to Asuka's home though to feed her cat and then Pen Pen before going back to his own home.

Rei had said that Bardiel would bring her back so why the delay was it him or Asuka? She had checked the living brain scan he was still there in the same position he hadn't moved inside her brain, even if he was an evil sounding bastard he clearly didn't want to ruin her mind because it didn't benefit him. She looked up her gut was telling her the worst in that this wasn't him it was in fact Asuka, in that she just didn't want to come back. Like Rei had said she had resounded herself to the fact that she was going to die and she'd accepted it with out question, she had seen her death as noble and the only way to end it, because she couldn't commit suicide so she'd opted for a the warriors death instead hence why she'd put up such a hard fight against the special ops.

Gods watching the video she'd sent Rei had been outright sad yet so surprising. She had wanted to leave Rei so much after her death and she had given her all the things she cared about most in her will her cat Erika who she loved and adored, her books her games even her Trident motorbike she'd seen that bike when she'd been building it was her pride and joy and one of the few things she was proud off.

She turned as Misato entered the room with Kaji the sadness in her face as she spoke. "Anything?" Maya put her hand on her face looking at Rei who was still sitting quietly in the room opposite Asuka. "I don't get this, I've tried everything I know to knock her brain back into gear." She folded her arms. "Nothing I've tried has worked!" She breathed in deeply. "I just don't know what's going on in her mind it's not damaged." Kaji sat opposite her. "Is it Bardiel?"

Maya shook her head as she turned to him. "No it's not him you know personally I think it's her I think she's somehow hiding in her own mind away from everyone and I know the reason why we all do. She was trying to die like a warrior because she couldn't go through with the other option I think she might believe in her mind that she's already dead and there's nothing to drag her back to this world I mean she probably felt her own heart start stop beating." Misato looked up. "Why not get Rei to talk to her, I mean normally in a coma isn't it good for people to hear the voices of others? She might realize that she's not dead."

Maya looked up sharply. "You know that just might work." She stood up. "I'll give anything I try right now." She walked towards the room opposite watching as they followed her as she entered it seeing that Asuka was lying still her open eyes unchanged the only thing that had changed was her teeth which had taken back there normal form some hours ago.

Kaji watched as Rei stood up the concern in her face as she spoke. "Has something happened?" Kaji raised his hand. "No we just want to try something Rei, we want you to talk to Asuka we think the reason she's not coming back is because in the back of her mind she thinks she's dead it might help her realize she's not." Misato looked at her. "I know it's a long shot but would you try it? I mean she cares about you it might make her realize that she's still alive."

Rei moved over slowly to Asuka's bed. "I'll try anything I can't stand seeing her this way." She took hold of the other woman's right hand raising it very gently. "Hey Asuka can you hear me? We know that you're somewhere in there do you think your dead? Because you're not, you're alive, you survived and we all want you to come back." She looked in to the other woman's eyes which were staring lifelessly upward. "You can't hide out in there forever you know, I mean gods when do you ever run away from anything? You always face it head on and I've always-" She breathed in deeply and painfully before speaking again. "I've always loved that and we have so much to talk about. There's so much that's unspoken between us and I want to make it right because you deserve that." She gently kissed the other woman's bandaged palm. "Wherever you are please come back me, if not for anyone else then just for me."


So this is death? This verfickt sucks where are the pearly gates where are the bright lights where are the angels the real ones not the ones I've spent half my life fighting? Oh that's right assholes like me don't get heaven how ironic I should have known better this is probably purgatory. It would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic I felt my heart stop I saw the blackness now I'm here and its outright annoying.

I guess I should be happy I mean I got to see her face one last time I saw her when Yuki was beating me up and she was as beautiful as ever and in my last moments I carried her face before they knocked me out and when they put me in the machine it was the image I concentrated on despite the pain right down to my last and final heartbeat.

Asuka lay still watching as the snow fell around her where she was seated on an ice plane which had jagged plated ice rocks which looked like those from Antarctic. She was dressed in her plug suit her new one with its darker purple legs and white and green shoulders though her interface hair clips were missing. She raised her knees leaning her head against them as she wrapped her arms around them looking at the red and dark blue sky above as white lightning came out hitting the red bloody sea close by.

She watched as a dark shadow moved close by she turned feeling the anger burn as Bardiel walked towards her his claws crunching the snow as his red eyes narrowed as he spoke. "You do make it such hard fucking work don't you Asuka? I don't take kindly to having to spend hours shifting through your layers of subconscious to find you I put you in a nice safe little place and what do you do? Oh that's right you go and move yourself elsewhere!"

Asuka watched as he sat down next to her so he was looming over her. "You've got to be verfickt kidding me!?" She felt a sneer form. "You know I thought in death you'd be gone what is this did they send me to hell or something?" Bardiel breathed in deeply. "Your alive you stupid idiot, you're lying in a hospital bed with your eyes wide open staring at the ceiling!" Asuka lowered her legs folded her arms. "I don't believe you, you abusive scumbag!"

Bardiel stood up moving to her left remaining on all fours. "You are so fucking irritating do you know that?" Asuka smirked as she met his gaze. "Oh look the asshole angel is regretting his life decisions already? How pathetic..." She felt a sly smile form. "I see you've also learned how to swear what's wrong did the human world get to you, was it not what you hoped for, did it make you miserable?"

She eased up her hands making sure that her next words were filled with sarcasm. "Bet you really wish you'd never decided to leap into me of all people now." Bardiel narrowed his gaze. "Be quite!" He dug his claws in to the ground raising his tail. "You're coming back with me and you're going to wake up!" Asuka narrowed her gaze as she ripped off her patch throwing it to one side as she stood up. "You know I'm sick of listening to your orders and demands and your condescending little comments about my self worth. I'm not doing anything you want anymore so you can take your ugly verficktes carcass elsewhere, I'm done being walked over by you, I'm also dead so I don't answer to anyone anymore!"

She watched as the tail came at her she dodged sharply stepping sideways. "When I was alive you made me feel so much like scheisse! You're not powerful and you're not smart you're nothing but a bully and a coward!" She felt her hand form a tight fist. "I personally despise bullies, since I know how their mindset works since I used to be one."

His tail flicked out again trying to hit her she moved fast on in the snow feeling her suits heals grip they were after all made to handle snow. She turned grabbing his tail this time as it came at her again she started to squeeze the end slowly. "I may not ever get you out of my mind but I'm going to make sure that you never ever have the upper hand over me again!"

She squeezed harder only to blink in surprise as he roared in agony she felt a wide toothy grin slowly form. "Oh well look at that, I can actuality hurt you!" The tail was yanked free of her gloved hand in a lightning fast motion. "I wonder if you bleed as well because I'd like to see what colour your blood is." Bardiel turned as he started to circle her on all fours showing off his teeth. "You don't stand a chance? You're human!"

Asuka stepped forward feeling her back molars extend on both sides of her mouth along with her upper and lower canines as her left eye ignited. "You made me this way, remember? Right now I'm a copy of you, just a better one!" Bardiel looked up sharply. "You cannot become the better form of humanity like me!" Asuka breathed in deeply. "No not in the outside world I can't but this is the after life so it's my choosing!"

Bardiel breathed in watching as she tensed as she let out a long and loud scream as the blue and white light came bursting out from her eye consuming her whole form surrounding her it slowly dissipated as a huge form appeared it like his yet so unlike his at the same time. There were stripes of black and orange fur along with huge hind clawed feet and long palmed hands. There were two body length long twisting tails all covered in black and orange stripes along with a huge long mane of blazing red fur which was going down from the head which looked like a tigers but with longer ears. The right eye was blazing blue while the other was now pure blazing white and blue light he watched as a bellowing roar came out from the mouth now filled with long sharp cutting teeth just like a tigers only much bigger and sharper.

Asuka leaned forward feeling her claws hands and feet push in to the snow okay so she was a lycanthrope version of Nekomata but it was the first thing that popped in to her head and now it just felt so right on every level. "Come and try me you verfickt piece of scheisse!" Bardiel growled running at her with all his might only to feel the intense pain as they both collided and her massive claws sliced across his face he felt the cold feeling of his own blood as it ran down his inhuman snout.

He dragged his claws down her back watching as red blood started to run down the thick fur though Asuka showed no pain as kept pushing against him as their red and blue blood dripped all over the snow. Asuka brought her teeth down straight in to his shoulder enjoying the taste of his blue blood as it spilled out, she loved pain she'd never admit it openly but the worse the pain the higher the adrenaline and it made her feel so alive!

She loved challenges the harder the better and she liked tasting blood between her teeth. Maybe that was why this felt so good now as she bit down even harder feeling him as he struggled for all he was worth trying to get free and that just made her want to bring him even more pain but there was another sensation that was very dark and new to her it was carnal urge from a completely new place, she wanted to eat him alive!

Was this how Shinji felt that time when he had gone berserk in 01 and eaten part of Sachiel, was this what it felt like to leave your humanity behind? Either way it was liberating and she would enjoy every moment of it on these eternal ice planes!

End of part 27




Chapter Text


Asuka felt the force as she was thrown off she came off slamming in to the snow she flipped herself right side up on to her hind legs tasted the flesh in her mouth as she brought out her long tongue licking one of her massive bloody canine teeth. "You taste like brisket, burnt brisket." She felt a sadistic smile form. "So I guess this would make you my last meal right?"

Bardiel sneered as he stamped his clawed foot down hard watching as the red sea around them turned to blue ice cold flesh waters the kind that Asuka hated and feared. She just couldn't let go she really believed she was dead and in her mind she just couldn't wrap her head around still being alive because she'd been so accepting of death she just didn't want to wake up and grasp reality.

She'd used her own imagination to change her form just to get an equal footing and that scared him because she was very powerful and he didn't want her to over power him as she could win and he could truly die. Why was she hanging on to this subconscious illusion? Was it all too much for her did she think waking up would bring no happiness after everything that had happened, had she finally let go off all her hope? Was this the human concept that illusion and escape were sometimes better than reality? He eyed his bloody torn shoulder before looking up. "You're not dead, stop holding onto this illusion and let go I saved your body in the outside world the machine didn't kill you!"

Asuka stalked closer. "I don't verfickte care and even if this is an illusion I have nothing worth going back for! I'd rather live a lie than spend another moment out in the real world!" She pressed her thick black curved claws into the snow. "I've tried to escape so many times and I never fully escape because I wake up! I don't want the pain anymore." She breathed in painfully. "I didn't want you to save me either, I was happy to end it all!"

Bardiel took a slow step forward. "No you just don't want to go back because now everyone knows the truth that you've been depressed and suicidal and you might have to finally talk about all the pain that's been holding you back which is making you so miserable and you don't know if finally releasing it will even make you happy!"

Asuka breathed in grinding her huge teeth together. "It won't make any difference, it never does it's always been that way through out my whole life the things I love leave me and people don't stay with me because I'm not good enough and I never get a second chance. I just get thrown aside because I'm worthless and broken and no one's going to love me the way I want or dream about and I'm going to die alone!"

She side stepped. "So yes reality sucks and I don't want to be part of it anymore!" Bardiel shook his head. "I get it the depression is clouding your mind Asuka you're not seeing or thinking straight, I spoke to people who knew you through your body, they were coming to your rescue, they wanted to save you they didn't care for me." He looked up slightly. "But maybe what should matter to you is the one you love risked everything to save you."

Asuka flicked her two huge tails. "Yes well she would do that she's noble and kind but it doesn't mean that she loves me!" Bardiel shook his head. "You're blind as fuck and stupid!" He felt his teeth grind together as he spoke coldly. "Tell me why would you be so open to leaping of a level in that thing you humans call the Arcade yet you're so afraid to leap in the same way with your feelings?" Asuka narrowed her gaze. "Broken legs are easier to repair that broken hearts and I don't mind physical pain I can handle it, I even enjoy it on some twisted mental level, I just can't stomach the emotional!"

Bardiel looked at her for a long moment. "This is your last chance Asuka, ether you return or I will force you back kicking and screaming whether you like it or not!" He moved his clawed hand through the snow. "I really don't get you, you've fought me all this time and now you're just giving up, just like that?"

Asuka shook her mane. "Yes!" Bardiel moved slowly forward. "Your mother would be so unhappy with you right now every time you fight she smiles. Every time you try even if you don't succeed she's happy she has always wanting to kiss away your sorrows even though she can't always reach you." Asuka eyed him in disgust. "Stop bringing up my mother she's dead!"

Bardiel looked up. "You've always wanted to meet her again so you can feel that childhood wonder, yet you're not asking yourself why she's not here if you're truly dead then she'd be here but she's not." Bardiel watched as her good eye darted while the other blazed brighter. "If there is existence and proof that you are not dead then her not being here right now should be all you need to wake up from this illusion because she would want to be here believe me I know I've felt her presence and she only tolerates me because you allow it."

Asuka felt a cold sneer form. "She's not here because she never loved me!" Bardiel shook his head. "No she's not here because she’s somewhere you might not expect yet it is the most obvious place of all but the last place you'd think to look."

He felt a sly smile form. "It's not just her there are two more who are fully awakened and three others that are starting to awaken it's just a matter of time." He looked up. "You think humanity exists on one plane of existence there are others far beyond flesh and blood Nerv's been lying to you Asuka Ritsuko's and Gendo have been keeping secrets from everyone."

He stepped forward getting closer to her moving his tail in position seeing that she clearly very distracted now. "You have never asked yourself why Ritsuko hates you so much, you know she hated your mother but why is she trying so hard to get you off the program why she tried to mince your brain I mean it's so extreme like she knows that you might just find out something you really shouldn't. In previous cycles it's been Shinji and Rei always apart yet in the here and now they are natural brother and sister. It's just not their turn this time around it's yours and you deserve to find the answers through my method not my rivals because there is no joy in finding out everything at the end of existence when it’s fleeting and your not in control. So much has changed in this world so much is different and you have so much yet to face."

He could see that she was thinking his words over very deeply and her attention was no longer on him or fighting he didn't think as he wrapped his tail around her thick furry neck in a lightning fast motion before she could stop him as he used his whole weight to shove her violently of the edge of the ice and in to the deep ice cold water.

He held her down as she violently thrashed under the water biting at his tail trying desperately to surface as the terror of drowning took over. "It's time to wake up Asuka your far from done and I won't see everything I've worked for come to nothing because you just want to give up and fade away! You won't like waking up its going to be very hard and very unpleasant for you at first but then rebirth always is, it's fought with difficulty and strain because it brings about such drastic change."

He turned seeing the jagged ice sheets vibrate and crack as they rose upwards breaching the surface all around him as the lightning crashed down harder as her control over her own world of illusion and imagination started to waver it wouldn't be much longer just a few more seconds, he could see the sky above turning white as the lightning stopped.


Asuka felt her eyes snap open as she felt her whole body force itself up right in bed as let out a painful cry she could feel her heart pounding in her ears as everything went in and out of focus as the pain hit her causing her to put her hands on both sides of her head. She leaned over sideways only to feel herself fall straight out of the bed onto a solid cold floor everything hurt so much and she could feel cords pulling on her body along with hearing everything beeping around her, it was like some form of hell and she couldn't stand the sound.

She looked down as her good eye slowly came back into focus she was lying on the hospital room floor on her front and there were cables all over her chest and arms. She grabbed the cables forcing them free despite that ripping them free felt like she was ripping her skin off she then pulled the drip needle out which stung so much as it came free. It was all still beeping it just wouldn't shut up she couldn't stand it she just wanted it to shut up!

She could feel the intense rage coming as she looked at her hands, the bastard had brought her back! She didn't want to be here she hated it here so much and the past week or so had just felt like torture. She put a hand on her face she was so stupid she should've just torn him apart and eaten him and not listened to his manipulations, she would not be able to get back to that ice plane again and she knew it.

She looked up she verfickte hated this hospital room she was sick of forever ending up in this place for whatever reason wearing the stupid white shirt and trousers she hated the smell the sounds even the taste of very air bothered her. She put her hands through her hair in frustration as she eyed the beeping machines feeling her teeth grind together she couldn't stand this anymore, she just wanted to let loose and let go completely she didn't care if it expensive or it wasn't hers, she just wanted to make it disappear and be quite so she could think straight!

She'd held onto this burning rage for so long and now she just wanted to let it out just to feel some form of real release which she couldn't get because she just hadn't been well enough or hadn't been piloting or doing anything meaningful, even when she'd fought the special ops and Mari it just hadn't felt like full release. She felt both hands form fists as her knuckles cracked on one side if she did nothing else today she was going to tear this room apart because it just felt like one bad memory after another being in here!

Kaji took a drink of his coffee as he walked towards Asuka's hospital room only to hear the beeping of the machines inside signalling that something was going on. He moved forward seeing that the hospital staff were running towards the room. He found himself backing up a step as he heard her intense scream of insane rage hit the air, the glass of the room she was in was suddenly smashed completely as the hospital bed was lunched through it with enough force to hit the wall on the other side sending the terrified hospital staff running in all directions as crashing in side was heard.

Talk about coming back into the world kicking and screaming he'd not ten minutes ago sent the others away to get something to eat because they'd been here all morning and now Asuka had picked this very moment to come out of her coma and start trashing everything. He looked up only to see one of the metal bedside cupboards as it was lunched through the smashed glass only to smash into the wall on the other side.

He had seen this young woman angry he was used to that but this was like someone else this was blinding unhinged rage, there've been echoes of it over the weeks since the accident but they were always more controlled. Clearly in her coma Bardiel had pissed her off on a whole new level and she was not happy and she just wanted to take it out on anything and the hospital room was her first choice.

Or maybe this was about so much like not having full control off her own body and her knowing that Bardiel had taken over it and she felt violated and no longer in control of her own life. Because she was in such a low and depressed frame of mind and had truly hit her lowest point now in that she'd been trying to escape reality hence her refusal to come back.

He grabbed his phone calling as fast as he could hoping that Misato hadn't turned her phone off he watched as it rang only to be picked up as Misato's voice hit the air. "Hello Kaji." Kaji stepped back as the drip holder was lunched through the glass on the rooms other side. "You have to get down here now! Are Maya and the others with you?" Misato's voice hit the air though it filled with uncertainty. "Yes everyone accept Rei, why what's going on?" Kaji breathed in deeply. "Asuka just woke up." Misato voice came again filled with shock. "She has?"

He looked up sharply hearing another crash. "Yes she has and she is beyond pissed and I'm not talking about angry you remember those really awful rages she had in her teens you know the selfish ones where she used to break other people things to spite them because she couldn't get her own way. You know before she changed and improved herself well she having the mother of all rages right now and she tearing her own hospital room apart!" He tensed slightly. "I think Bardiel somehow forced her back into the land of the living when she didn't want to go and she's just not handling it well."


Misato breathed in deeply she had never run so fast in her life and Shinji along with the others were hot on her heels she turned the corner where Kaji was standing just time to see another metal cupboard go straight through the already smashed hospital room's window where the bed and other things were already lying. She eyed Maya who looked beyond shocked as they heard something else crash although it was from the inside. "Holy shit…" Kaji eyed her. "Like I said she's utterly lost it in there and she is just not stopping and with the strength she has she can just trash anything she wants and nobody can stop her." Misato turned to Maya. "Can you stop her?"

Maya shook her head. "I'm not sending the staff in there, I'm just not I've seen this before when she's this way she can't recognise friend from foe. She was like it after the battle of Shamshel she attacked the staff trying to sedate her and she wasn't half as powerful then and she still caused massive problems because her mind was so unhinged and she was full of blinding savage rage. I mean she broke one man's arm but with this kind of power she has now she could outright kill someone. Also the hospital staff spent a long time fixing the broken limbs and noses of the special ops teams she took out because she wasted them so badly and they're still really sore over the fact a twenty three year old carrying no armour or weapons got one over on them so badly."

Kaji breathed in sharply. "You have to do something she has very high stamina now once she's done she'll just keep moving rooms she'll probably tear half the ward apart before she tires herself out maybe we can get Kyo up here again to sedate her with a rifle." He turned seeing Rei who was walking towards Asuka's room from the other end of the corridor. "Don't go in there Rei, she could kill you!"

Rei looked up seeing the fear in everyone's faces accept her brother's as she got closer to the room she'd been at one of the vending machines when she'd heard the crash and the screaming it had been loud enough to hear a floor above. She breathed in deeply seeing the horror in Maya's eyes as she moved closer to the room's door, she wasn't afraid and it saddened her that they were.

Asuka was in pain that was why she was throwing this fit of rage this wasn't about hurting others she was afraid and scared Bardiel had clearly brought her back in to this world somehow and she wasn't handling it well because she hadn't wanted to come back she'd just wanted to hide away in her mind because she'd hit her lowest point. She closed her eyes taking in another deep breath before opening them again as she walked past the shattered glass putting her hand on the door handle as she went inside ignoring Misato's order to stop.

She watched as Asuka grabbed the coffee maker full of boiling water throwing it at the wall opposite with enough force to smash it to pieces. She'd trashed everything she could get her hands on the whole room was a war zone she'd broken all the equipment and she'd put a lot of things through the window. "Asuka?" She watched as the older woman turned around her left eye was a spinning ignited blaze of colour that was letting out blue and white light.

While her teeth were on full display the back molars on the upper and lower jaw had all turned to razor sharp points on both sides along with the upper and lower canines which had extended slightly while her upper and lower front teeth looked completely normal. The pointed teeth weren't half as extreme as Bardiel's version and none of them were jagged. She breathed in deeply moving a step closer. "It's Rei." She looked up speaking quietly. "Do you remember me, I'm your friend?"

Asuka eyed Rei for a long moment, why was she here? She didn't need to even be here. "Yes I remember you, now get out and leave me alone!" Rei took another slow step forward ignoring the comment Asuka was doing what she was used to doing she was pushing her away because she didn't want her feelings to be exposed or the pain she'd been going through. "It was Bardiel wasn't it? He pushed you back here but you didn't want to go."

Asuka moved towards her. "I was happy in oblivion but he couldn't even verfickte let me have that the vile bastard, he tricked me into coming back here!" She stepped closer to her hoping to the gods that her threatening look would be enough to make the younger woman run away like any sane person. "I didn't want to come back here, I was happy to give up my whole life just to see him die and he even took that away from me!"

Rei looked straight into her eyes as she spoke calmly. "I wouldn't have been happy to see you die Asuka." Asuka narrowed her gaze as she spoke coldly. "Please, no one would mourn the death of Asuka Langley Soryu! They'd probably celebrate I mean one less asshole in the world right?" Rei looked at her sadly. "I went out of my way to save you Asuka, I mean I saw your video, you were going to give me so much that mattered to you because you care so much about me."

Asuka breathed in painfully it was getting harder and harder to hold onto the rage because the pain was starting to spike at her heart. "I was not worth saving!" Rei stepped closer she was now right inside the other woman's personal space. "To me you were worth saving, I know you didn't want to come back here Asuka I know it was hard for you, you probably fought Bardiel to stay there but I'm just so happy to see your face again."

She looked up seeing the bright light dim in her left eye as it turned dark, even her face was changing as the pain was starting to come through. "You're so brave I mean you fought this all on your own for so long and you couldn't tell any of us and despite it all you weren't cruel or unkind. Instead you went out of your way to show kindness and compassion even though you must have felt awful inside at times." She raised her hand putting it gently on the other woman's face. "You have a really good heart Asuka its noble, kind and honest."

She looked up meeting the other woman's gaze which was filled with intense pain. "You're nothing like Bardiel, he might possess you on some level but you're ten times better than him, believe me I met him I saw what he's like and if he ever made you feel like you were like him he was lying."

Asuka felt the strangled sob come out before she could stop it, it was all of the pain and suffering from inside and it was so out of her control and she couldn't stop her tears as they came. She wasn't angry anymore just deeply sad and all of the pain of the past painful week or so was finally surfacing in one massive wave.

Rei slowly wrapped her arms around her feeling her bury her head in to her shoulder as she really started to cry it wasn't like the time before it was incredibly strangled as she releasing so much built up agony and pain that she hadn't been able to release before now. She held her tighter. "I'm so happy you came back to us I mean feeling the way you did it must have been so difficult for you, because you probably felt that it was hopeless and that nobody cared and that if you vanished no one would notice because you just feel so bad inside right now."

She breathed in deeply. "Believe me though you're wrong and I care about you so much, I want to help you get better and get this awful thing out of you." She turned noticing that the others had made their way around and were staring in at her in utter shock apart from her brother who was giving her a knowing smile she turned away. She didn't really care for the others shock they just didn't know Asuka the way herself and Shinji did, Asuka was not a monster.

Yes this thing had changed her but inside she was so much herself and right now she needed to be shown compassion, kindness and love because she was so low emotionally.

End of part 28


Chapter Text


Misato eyed Asuka through the glass of one of the general employees wreck rooms she was sitting on a sofa chair dressed in her spare clothes from her locker which consisted of a t-shirt and dark blue trousers as well as black skate shoes and a brown leather belt they'd gotten her patch back some time ago which she was now wearing. Maya had also found her leather jacket along with her phone and wallet as they had been left in another room away from her other clothes which had been destroyed by the explosion which had gone through the other door on the far side of the room and not just their door.

Her teeth had returned to normal and now she was looking very sadly into space while Rei was with her sitting on the other chair opposite just talking with her. She'd never seen Asuka cry not in all years she'd known her yet she had cried for a very long time in Rei's arms. Emotionally she was such a mess yet Rei had just led her out of the room and she'd just followed, Bardiel wasn't kidding Rei changed how she behaved she just seemed to glide past the walls others couldn't get through and Asuka just let her clearly because she loved her though she'd never said it openly.

She breathed in deeply. "Should we tell her about what happened with 02?" Maya looked up. "No it's just too much stress for her she won't handle it well and they've already moved it back to the bay with the others as we don't want a repeat incident I mean they said that 02 even found Asuka's entry plug and put it in its entry plug port on its back before it made the accent."

She shook her head. "This isn't some coding error that thing was alive it was moving with a purpose it clearly wanted to save her, Bardiel said it wasn't him but regardless it makes no sense." Misato looked up as a sad question entered her mind. "Have you ever seen her cry, other than in her sleep?" Maya breathed in sadly. "No this is the first time, this whole thing must have really messed her up so badly. I mean hearing her say to Rei that she didn't want to come back was awful, she must feel like she has no control right now in her life and its just all fallen apart. She can't even make emotional decisions without Bardiel forcing her in another direction and to him it's clearly a sick twisted little game and she's just his play thing."

Kaji looked up at them. "The guy reminds me of one of those predatory creeper's the kind I used to beat up back in university he made my skin crawl having that in your head twenty four seven must be hell. She's always had issues with her self-worth and he must be having a field day yanking her back and forth." Misato raised her hand. "I don't get it though, what's the end game? Why go to these lengths what does he want from her and why the obsession over Rei?"

Kaji looked up. "Asuka loves her very deeply and he's clearly very curious though it's a morbid curiosity over something he just doesn't understand, I would have loved to have known what he spoke to Rei about." Misato breathed in deeply folding her arms. "Wouldn't we all, but he didn't just cut out the sound feed he blew the camera's out as well, he didn't want anyone to know what they both talked about." Maya leaned against the wall. "Rei was brave to even go in there, whatever she said stopped him."

She looked up slightly. "She didn't hesitate when facing Asuka either but then I was checking those feeds again you know the ones Ritsuko missed because she was too focused on Bardiel rather than Asuka. During the delegate display she went to find Asuka and talked to her, she was able to get around her bad mood back then as well." Misato looked up sharply. "Please tell me you copied that disc like my life won't be complete until I see that because Rei wouldn't tell me anything and neither would Shinji." Maya breathed in pulling a disk out of her pocket. "Yeah I knew you were going to say that, so here you go I also added lots of other moments you might find really interesting." Misato took it from her hand giving her a wide grin. "Thank you so much friend you've made my day."

Maya put her hands back in her lab coat pockets. "It's worth noting something else as well Asuka is very gentle towards her, even at her worst she will never cause her harm and she listens to her hell there was even an incident in the pilots wreck room where she gave Rei her graphic novel to keep and of cause she shielded her from a beating. She's changed so damn much in these past five years but this side of her is so new, it's like a whole other person trying to come out it's similar to what Shinji went through and Rei is also still going through." Kaji looked up slightly. "I found the special ops footage the most surprising she just gave up and let that asshole Yuki beat her full on with lightning rods. All I can say is she's got a really high pain threshold most people don't take that kind of beating and remain conscious. It was Kyo who took pity on her and used the rifle to sedate her, he stated openly in his report that he couldn't bear to see someone who he deeply respects in so much pain and agony emotionally and physically."

Misato eyed Asuka. "She's always had a high pain threshold and I've always believed that she likes and even enjoys pain on some level. Mari's kind of similar but she likes it in massive busts to her its more of an adrenaline rush, Asuka though just comes back for more over and over and she loves anything challenging. Maybe that's why it took so long for Bardiel to finally break her emotionally because she just kept fighting back but mentally unlike physically there was only so much she could take before it just got too much and she wanted to bow out."

Kaji eyed her. "Where do we go from here though? I mean Bardiel will be watching our every move now, he's clearly a clever slimy bastard and he's using her eyes like a camera lens so he can see into our world." Maya looked up. "Let's just get her to tell us everything from the start, right back to the UN alpha unit test accident, maybe if she gives us all the details we can somehow find something that will get rid of him."

Misato breathed in deeply. "Yeah but there in lies the biggest problem Asuka never opens up when she's being mentality prodded she gets really cagey and aggressive. I know its because of the trainers back over in Germany when she was young, they were real heavy handed with her in that they just pushed her to make her succeed during the pilot training but they didn't care so much about the mental side and that's why she was so messed up after her mothers death. Not to mention that they fed her with ideas that she was some sort of god hence why she had such issues with massive ego when she first came to Japan years ago. I did try to get her to go to therapy when she was eighteen but it back fired massively and the therapist just got no where with her because she turned aggressive and violent. The only good that came out of it was even though Asuka dropped out Shinji stayed on and we made so much progress with him and he's miles better for it and they were able to help him in such a positive way."

Maya eased up her hand. "I have an idea." Misato looked at her. "You do?" Maya felt a smile form. "Yeah and it just might work." She eased up her hand. "I'll be right back in two seconds then we can all go in there together."


Asuka looked up as Misato entered the room followed by the others she looked down at the floor feeling no desire to speak, it just wasn't in her, she felt tired inside and out and her mind just felt so painfully stretched it wasn't like they were going to tell her anything good anyway. Misato looked up meeting her Asuka's good eye as she raised an A4 notepad with paper on it. "Asuka we were just talking and we were wondering if you could help us, you know maybe you could write everything down that's happened to you down from the beginning." Asuka eyed the thick note pad. "Oh please spare me everyone around here knows my written Japanese is crap and you people have to translate my German!"

Kaji stepped forward. "Look we don't mind even if you put it in German, we just want the story from the top." Misato breathed in deeply. "We don't mind doing the translations despite what Ritsuko told you that day when she hit you with the clip board all we do is feed your papers through one of the computer scanners and it retranslates it takes less than a minute then we just reprint copies for the files it's not an annoyance and the staff don't mind."

Asuka eyed her. "Don't you get it? I'm not a writer! I'm not like Toji he can write stories like its going out of fashion I can't I've tried I just stare at the paper and nothing comes out!" Rei stood up slowly she carefully took the pad and pen from Misato's hands. "Can you draw Asuka?" She looked into her good eye. "I mean didn't you draw a lot in school?" Asuka looked at her for a long moment before speaking. "Yeah I did and I still do I use my computer to create digital stuff with a digital pen and tablet but my works are not that good, hence why I don't flash it around I'm not a creative artistic genius like Shinji and I can't make beautiful stunning pottery like you."

Rei moved the pad and pen over to her watching as she took it. "Please draw Bardiel for us." Asuka breathed in deeply as she eyed the black ball point pen as she started to sketch. Kaji eyed her. "Don't you want a pencil?" Asuka looked up slightly. "I don't use pencil." She looked down slowly completing the rough sketch it was more of Bardiel's face she turned it around slowly. "It's just a rough but he looks like this."

She watched as there faces turned to surprise including Rei's. "Yeah I get it he's an ugly bastard trust me its worse when he's following me around I can hear his teeth grinding I think he does it on purpose just to annoy me." Misato moved closer eyeing the image which was an intensely detailed illustrative sketch she slowly took it from Asuka's hands. "You never told me you could draw Asuka or that you were this good."

Asuka eyed her feeling the confusion take over. "What are you talking about? I mean it's just a rough sketch." Kaji eyed her. "This is a rough sketch you've got to be kidding right? I normally see this kind of thing on book cover illustrations the German division never talked about you being creative." Asuka eyed him as she spoke evenly. "The German division didn't like my art when I was a child they hated it, they said it was violent and unsettling."

Maya eyed the sketch. "Asuka do you think you could draw the whole story for us digitally? I mean we can get you one of those top of the range digital scrolls with a holder from the Arcade in either A4 or A3. You know the ones that you can use like a drawing tablet but come with really high spec digital pens and art programs then everything you draw can be uploaded to Nerv's digital cloud database and we can make it so you can even send images from home or on the move."

Asuka eyed them in confusion. "Yes I can but you know you're making way to bigger a deal out of this, no one wants to see my crappy sketches." Rei turned slowly to her. "There not crappy Asuka and I would love to see them." Asuka breathed in deeply feeling slightly out of sorts she didn't really get what they were seeing, she looked up slightly. "Sure I mean I can draw it all out for you and I don't mind buying the digital scroll, pen and holder, I'm not broke it's not like I can't afford it."

Kaji raised his hand. "No we'll buy this for you Asuka, see it as something of a gift from all of us to cheer you up considering what you've had to go through recently." Asuka looked up suddenly feeling pain but it was more from being unused to shows of kindness and it made her feel guilty for loosing it like an utter idiot and trashing property that wasn't hers since she had gone to great lengths to not behave that way anymore. "I'm sorry that I destroyed the ward room today and the gym a few days ago and please tell the owner of the restaurant whose chairs and table I trashed when I leapt the level that I'm really sorry."

She felt the sudden sting of her own tears. "I was just frustrated and angry and I didn't feel like I was in control of things and when I jumped the level I was just so desperate to get away from special ops teams I used to train with those men and women I know what their capable off." Rei moved towards her putting her hand on hers. "It's okay Asuka we know you were feeling angry, I know it's been really hard for you to go through this all on your own."

Misato looked at Asuka she was so open right now with her emotions there were just no walls or barriers. "Rei's right we don't blame you you've been going through hell, we all saw Bardiel we know what he's like." She looked at her for a long moment before speaking. "Tell me something Asuka when Yuki took you down, why didn't you fight him? I know you hate that guy and that you two have both never gotten on as you loyalty lies with his older brother Kyo but you could have beaten him up so badly."

Asuka looked up slightly. "Because I didn't want to loose control of my anger and kill him this thing Bardiel gave me it's really scares me, he made me inhuman I mean when I get angry my teeth change and my left eye gets brighter I know I'm really powerful I can do things normal people can't."

She lowered her gaze to the floor. "I know younger bratty me would be loving this right now, because it would be like some ego and power trip and about being better than everyone else and thinking that I'm superior because I'd have something other people don't." She looked up. "I'm not superior though and I don't want to be and I hate that Bardiel uses that to stroke my ego like I should be happy about it or even appreciative. I have to be so careful with everything I touch now even my cat Erika when I pick her up and stroke her because I worry if I hold to hard I could hurt her and I have to be so mindful because I don't want to hurt others by mistake."

She looked at her bandaged right hand. "To me this is not a gift it's a curse because I know my anger had always been a problem and I think he wants me to let go though, I think he wants me to become a monster like him." She put her hands together. "That day in the gym I was angry at Mari for her comments regarding my mother but he egged me on and I just lost it. What troubles me now was I that I shouldn't have gone for Mari regardless of her comments and one of the reasons she hit me was because I caused Toji to go through his phobia in side the Omega unit because the lights went out Mari said that she had to stay with him all night afterwards because it really messed him up."

Kaji looked up. "He told me he was fine." Asuka shook her head sadly. "He wasn't he was just being brave and trying not to show it." She looked down sadly. "I'm afraid of deep water and drowning I know how scary that is and I should have apologised to him and tried to talk sense to Mari. I know she hates me and we don't get on but I'm starting to think that maybe she's just like the younger version of me and she hurting deep down inside like I was and she just trying to find someone to take it out on. You know like I did with Shinji because I was so jealous and resentful and I thought that he just had it so easy because Gendo is the director."

Rei looked at her easing her hand up as she ran it gently through her long red hair. "Did you feel the same way about me Asuka?" Asuka turned to look at her. "Yes and no I thought like Shinji you had a free meal ticket because of your father but I just wanted you to like me and notice me, even though I was out right awful. It's really pathetic when I think about it and when I couldn't get what I wanted I had raging fits because then you'd still be noticing me even if it was negative and you disliked me."

She looked at her hands. "I don't blame you for slapping me that day when I acted like such a leering predatory creep it wasn't like I cared to ask you if you even liked being with girls. I just assumed that even if some one didn't like something I could make them like it and they wouldn't refuse me as I was an Evangelion pilot because that was how my twisted selfish mind worked at the time." Rei looked at her for a long moment. "Your not that person anymore Asuka believe me."

Maya moved a step closer. "She's right Asuka your not that person anymore, you need to let that part of your past go." Asuka looked up slightly. "I know that but you know when he took over me… I couldn't hear what he was saying but I could still see everything he was doing, it was like being in a horror movie where you have no control over your own body and you're just a puppet."

She turned meeting Rei's concerned gaze. "I saw how he was trying to touch you in the same way I did when I was younger and I wanted to rip his guts out and I was trying so hard to take back control but he just wouldn't let me. Then just before the end he shoved me down in to this darkness but instead I managed to shift elsewhere I just didn't know if I was alive or dead and I assumed I was dead because when it all went dark I felt my heart stop for good. Hence why I stayed there for so long and I just didn't want to come back everything just felt so awful and so hopeless and I just wanted to give up."

Kaji raised his hand. "How did he get you back here Asuka?" Asuka looked up. "We were fighting and I was winning I had torn part of his shoulder to ribbons but then he used this vile little manipulation to throw me off I got really distracted he then used my fear of deep water to bring me kicking and screaming back into the world by trying to drown me because he knew I'd rather wake up than drown."

Maya looked up surprise. "You can hurt him?" Asuka breathed in deeply "Yes he's not untouchable at least not in the place where we were both fighting, there he could feel pain it would seem but I guess in some strange way that makes sense since he's just another form of humanity and he can bleed." She felt a cold sneer form. "His blood tastes vile it's also blue in colour and it tastes nothing like human blood it was really acrid."

Misato eyed her for a long moment. "You know from the way your speaking it almost sounds like you were trying to eat him." Asuka looked up feeling the uncertainty take over as she spoke. "I kind of was trying to eat him….look believe me it will make so much more sense when I sketch it out when I say it like this it just makes me sound like some kind of demented cannibal."

Kaji smirked ignoring Misato's side ways glance. "Well you have always been something of a carnivore." Asuka looked up raising her hands. "Look it's just not how you think okay I didn't do it to him because I literally saw him as a plate of medium rare steak. I did it because I was just so tired of him verfickte yanking on my chain and I wanted him to hurt. I wanted him to feel real pain for once because I literally cannot touch him when he'd projecting his image outwards he's like shadow tearing off part of his shoulder was just a consequence of me getting my own back."

She breathed in deeply before looking up. "I mean the first day he appeared when it wasn't in my dreams he was sitting on my sideways sofa and I pulled my gun on him and he made real clear that if I fired I'd just make holes in my nice sofa, we can't seem to touch each other but he can affect the electrics." She slowly turned to Rei. "That day when your reading light was going crazy in the wreck room that was him he was using his really long tail to smack it, he can also lock doors but it's more when he wants our conversations to be private." Maya breathed in deeply knowing that her next question might cause annoyance. "Does he affect your body other than your teeth and right eye I mean does he affect your sex drive?"

Asuka leaned back on the sofa. "Sort of it's complicated." She breathed in slowly and deeply. "Before this I could at least get off in dating sexual VR simulations now I can't the energies just not there anymore. I think he does it as a sick twisted joke because he probably looks back at my past memories and sees that I used to screw anyone I could get my hands on because I liked using sex as a form of power trip to make myself feel better and didn't really care about the person's feelings I was sleeping with, I just wanted it to be all about me."

She looked up slightly. "He doesn't affect my emotional feelings for people though there real and there all mine and right from the start he's never been able to change them, other than to make me feel bad for having them." She looked up slightly. "Also he can pick and choose when he appears and disappears sometimes he can vanish for hours on end then just show up out of nowhere. He no longer goes in to my dreams anymore instead he's always on the outside and in 02, I mostly hear him but he can appear on my screen as hologram projection. The most painful thing was when he tried to sync with me in the test then succeeded when I got into 02. It literally felt like he was driving wooden stakes into my brain and I just started panicking because I felt like I was dying I would take any form of physically pain just to not have to go through that again."

Rei eyed her Asuka seeing the sadness as it appeared in her good eye she moved her hand putting it on the other woman's shoulder. "Believe me it was horrible watching that from the outside both times." She looked at the others as open as Asuka was being she could tell that was still really stressful for her, her good eye was giving it away. "Hey Asuka would you like to get something to eat? I mean we can go to the Arcade there we can get your digital scroll and pens and just charge it to Nerv's account." Asuka eyed her she was hungry and she hated feeling this tired she turned around as something occurred to her. "Where's my leather jacket, it's got everything in it my wallet, keys, new phone tell me those bastards who ripped my clothes off in the quarantine zone didn't damage it?"

Misato eased up her bag pulling out the dark brown jacket with its dark red shoulder and arm stripes which was Asuka's most favourite thing to wear and she could relate as she'd always had her red and black one on. "Its here Asuka but that and your patch were the only things to survive your others clothes got torn to bits in the explosion." Asuka slowly stood up taking it from her hand. "The other stuff I don't really care about I can replace it." She eased her jacket back on. "This would be harder it's a custom I had to pay a lot to have it tailor made and I had to get on the waiting list and the couple who make these don't care even if you're some kind of celebrity, you only get it when it's finished, no exceptions."

Rei moved over putting her hand on her arm. "I've always liked that jacket its suits you." Asuka felt a slight smile form. "Thank you." Kaji felt a smile form. "You two should get something to eat and then go home." Maya moved forward putting a hand on Asuka's shoulder. "I will have to ask you to come back Asuka, its just so once you start uploading your drawings to the Nerv's data base we can start going through them with you I promise we won't push you. This won't be like when we tried to do this in your teens, you make the rules you say when you've had enough or you're not happy." Rei kept hold of her arm. "I can come up with you if you want? I mean if it makes it easier and I want to see your drawings anyway."

Asuka turned to her speaking quietly and softly. "Its okay really, you've done so much for me, you don't have to do this." Maya gave her a smile. "You know we can do it with the both of you I mean when Shinji has problems and he needs to talk to me Kaworu sometimes comes with him. So you having Rei with you is not a problem Asuka sometimes it nice to have someone else with you." Asuka looked at her feeling slightly nervous and it wasn't helped by Rei's smile. "Sure I mean we can do it that way." Misato grabbed them both by the shoulders. "So you two should go now and get some lunch we can fix up here, go have fun or something." Asuka raised her hand. "Its fine we are leaving."

Misato watched as they both left the room closing the door behind them she turned to Maya. "You are so fucking sly, that's not even true about Shinji and Kaworu granted they do spend all there time together but Shinji stopped doing therapy some years ago and he's been healing emotionally in vast leaps since then." Maya folded her arms. "It called working the problem Asuka responds better with her around she's just calmer and less agitated." Kaji put his hands in his pocket. "Oh so it's not about getting them to maybe date then?"

Maya rolled her eyes. "Please I'm not trying to play matchmaker if that happens it will happen on its own and without me as Asuka loves her, she'll have to tell her sometime after everything that's happened to her. After all this stress and heartache she might gain a different perspective on her life she came so close to death this time and you're never quite the same after that, you look at the world differently Shinji would be the first one to tell you that."

She raised her hand. "I just don't know if Rei love's her though I mean I know things might be pointing that way as it was Rei who came to her rescue I heard that she even bribed Mari in to hacking the panels down there and we all saw her kissing Asuka's hand when she was in a coma. I just hope that she does and I hope that if she doesn't Asuka can take it and see friendship as being enough, I mean you can't force others to love you it has to be a two way thing."

Kaji raised an eyebrow. "I agree, I mean at least if nothing else they both know where they stand and that they see each other as friends." He folded his arms. "Now would any of you like to go up to the Caribbean bar up on the Arcade's second level? It's just been a really long day and I want an alcoholic drink and some comfort food." Maya looked at her paper work. "Sadly I have a lot of papers to push thanks to Ritsuko's massive screw up but I might join you later on."

Misato moved towards him. "I'll go I haven't been up there yet." Kaji looked up slightly. "Just don't be surprised if you come across Mari getting wasted up there and singing and Toji having to take her home." Misato shook her head sadly. "So we have a pilot who has a drinking problem then?" Kaji breathed in deeply. "I think its drinking to forget in Mari's case and it's quite often, I think her mothers death gets to her badly but she plays it like she's really happy when she isn't." Misato looked up meeting his gaze. "You know I think its time we started working on her as well she's clearly got problems and if she starts working though her issues Toji might follow." Kaji stroked his beard. "Works for me."

End of part 29


Chapter Text


I'm so happy she came back I thought she might not and we'd never talk again, she was quite calm even when they threw difficult questions at her and it must have been hard, she was trying though despite how hard it was. It's hard when you have to expose that side of yourself to any one we all have faces we show to others and faces we hide but I find the closer I get the more I see Asuka's hidden face and it is very gentle and kind.

We brought the A3 scroll paper holder and digital pens and now we are sitting in an American restaurant which is overlooking the Delphi gardens, granted Nerv has so many bars and restaurants here and you can try anything from any corner of the world and I've never really tried this kind of food before but I was curious to give it a go. I think what has surprised me is how people are staring at her, I don't think they though she'd be back literality everyone in Nerv heard that she'd been taken but weren't told why. They also knew that she'd gone into a coma because Obrax messed up her brain, granted they don't know the whole truth but it doesn't matter and again she's really hungry and eating slightly too fast.

Rei slowly looked up taking a long drink from her coke leaning forward. "Asuka you should slow down, it's not your last meal."

Asuka eyed her steak before looking up Rei was right she needed to slow down she took in a slow and deep breath before speaking. "Sorry." Rei felt a wide smile form. "It's fine really I just didn't want you to regret it later." Asuka looked up slightly eyeing Rei's plate. "I thought you didn't eat meat?" Rei eyed her fish cakes. "No I just don't eat red meat I don't have anything against fish, seafood, eggs or dairy it's called being pescetarian." Asuka raised an eyebrow. "I didn't know that, I thought it meant you could only eat vegetables."

She turned watching as the male bar tender walked up carrying a bottle of lager which he put down next to her then cracked open. "These are compliments of table seven." Asuka eyed him for a long moment. "What?" The bar tender looked at her. "They said it was a gift, you know because they felt your treatment was unfair, I would agree with them watching you be beaten when you were surrendering was very unfair." Asuka eyed him before turning to the table opposite watching the five general staff seated there gave her wave she turned back feeling a sneer form. "This is so stupid, I get my ass kicked by Yuki and people are taking pity on me."

Rei put her hands together leaning forward. "Its not pity its respect Asuka." The bar tender eyed her. "Correct." Asuka watched as he left she looked down. "Why would I get respect for that?" Rei took a slip of her coke. "Because we all know you could have beaten him up so badly yet you took the higher moral path and despite this he still beat you." She looked up watching as the bar tender left. "Plus no one likes Yuki, he's an idiot, I personally hate hand to hand training with him because he see me as weaker than the others pilots and has mocked me over it, he even said that there was no point to me being on the Evangelion program because I was just a useless pilot with unless Evangelion."

Asuka looked at her for a long moment. "I'm so sorry that happened that's not right." She breathed in deeply. "You could redo that training I mean I could get it so you're set up with Kyo he's so much nicer." Rei looked at her. "I thought you might be mad at Kyo because his men and women took you down." Asuka looked at her food. "No I'm not I was just angry on the day and I regret that I called him a sell out, I knew he didn't want to do what he did and he was the one who shot me and knocked me out because he wanted to show me mercy and in a way I was grateful because everything was hurting so much."

Rei looked up slightly. "Was it Kyo who taught you about strength and compassion?" Asuka took a long drink from the beer bottle. "Yes, you know I hated him so much at first I thought he was such a loser but after Shamshel I just felt so bad, I just lost confidence in everything because she turned my Evangelion in to a walking wreck and it took months for them to fix it, I mean I got through her AT field in beast mode and then she just took my arms and head clean off and it was a really awful sensation. Kyo he was there to pick me up afterwards and I didn't get his training at first but over time I got it, I just wish when I joined Nerv I had trained with him and not Yuki because Yuki really messes with your head because he tells you strength lies in power and there shouldn't be any weakness, the gods only know how much he's messing up Mari's head, if you have any emotional problems he's just someone you don't want to be around."

Rei eyed her. "You just referred to Shamshel as a she, how do you know she was female?" Asuka looked up slightly. "Bardiel told me, though they don't have genders quite like us, it's more that they gravitate towards a gender, I don't know if it applies to Lilith though because he said that it's a mix of both."

Rei pushed her empty plate aside. "Why in the past did you never cry Asuka? I mean there were times when I saw you in so much pain emotionally." Asuka looked up meeting her curious gaze. "I just had a bad association, I told myself as a child after my mother died I wouldn't cry because it was something only children do and I wanted to see myself as an adult."

She pushed her empty plate aside. "But believe me these past six months, before this happened I started crying most nights because I felt so lonely and depressed I just didn't know how to tell anyone and this whole thing has just made it all come out and I think after today I don't see those tears as childish anymore because every time I've cried in your arms I just felt better and it felt okay to cry I didn't care about what others thought."

She looked up as a waitress came over with a large bowl of ice cream of all flavours as well as wafers and chocolate bits it was placed directly in front of her as the woman spoke. "This is compliments of table twenty seven it's our avalanche special." Asuka raised an eyebrow. "Seriously what is this, did I wake up in the twilight zone or something?" She eyed the ice cream bowl. "Plus that's not ice cream that's a heart attack I can't eat this all by myself."

The waitress gave her a sly smile. "Would you prefer to share?" Asuka eyed Rei. "You want to share this with me?" The other woman gave her nod. "Yes we'd like to share." She watched as two spoons were placed down as the waitress left taking there empty plates away she slowly passed the other spoon to Rei. "From the way people are acting you'd think this is my first brush with death or something."

Rei looked at her for a long moment. "Asuka they all know Ritsuko put you in Obrax they all saw what that thing did to Shinji years ago and unlike him Ritsuko turned it up to its highest level on you and it sent you into cardiac arrest and afterwards you went into coma. They know enough to know that they see that you were being really unfairly treated. Obrax was supposed to be decommissioned, everyone thought it had been so, to hear that it was used again to such extremes horrified them."

Asuka eyed her ice cream. "Yeah well she won't be using it anymore I mean I saw it get blown up though it looked weirder being on the inside." Rei pulled over her leather bag easing out the graphic novel. "That reminds me I finished reading this, I wanted to give it you back and I wanted to ask, does it have a sequel?" Asuka eyed in surprise. "Please you can keep it, it was a gift for you and you can have the whole series there's four more volumes there at my home I can bring them in tomorrow if you'd like." Rei gave her wide smile as she put the graphic novel away. "Or I could come over and stay the night, if you would like?"

Asuka felt herself fidget what was going on? She hadn't been out of the hospital three hours and nothing made sense to her anymore she looked up. "Look really you don't have to come around, I mean don't you normally have your meet up with Shinji and Kaworu at Misato's place tonight?" Rei looked at her seeing the uncertainty in her good eye. "Yes but frankly I'd rather be around your house than there's you're much better company." Asuka laughed although her laugher sounded terrible as it was filled with nervousness and anxiety. "That's funny Rei, real funny you know you shouldn't make jokes like that."

Rei turned looking straight into her good eye as she spoke calmly. "I wasn't making a joke Asuka." She watched as Asuka went completely still staring at her in utter shock. "I do enjoy spending time with you, I should have told you this some time ago but I really enjoyed that night we spent together, just us talking no barriers, when I'm at Misato's house the others are always connecting and Shinji and Kaworu are always talking yet I just feel like I'm on the outside sometimes. I don't feel that way in your company because you care about what I have to say and you listen to me."

She put her hands together. "You know I've been really unfair to you, I knew you had changed in these past years but I never tried to see who the new you was because deep down I just couldn't get that bratty school girl version of you out of mind and I never gave you that second chance you deserved and I'm really sorry." She breathed in sadly. "The worst part was that you just accepted it without question that you didn't deserve that second chance and that must have been so horrible for you. Because you believed that no one was going to come to your rescue or help you and you didn't know how to ask anyone for help so rather than asking you just kept pushing me away."

She looked up. "When I saw you in that video I was so heartbroken because you weren't thinking of yourself you were thinking of saving everyone by ending your own life and you were thinking of me I mean you left me your most precious and loved things in your will." Asuka looked down sadly. "Yeah well as I said in the video I care about you I always have and I always will, nothing will ever change that."

Rei looked at her for a long moment she couldn't say the words she truly felt Bardiel was right she just didn't see herself as worthy of her even now even after everything that had happened. Maybe she just needed time or maybe she needed to do something she'd never done before in her life which was make the first move when Asuka was more settled as she clearly having issues readjusting to everything right now it was written all over her face.

"Hey lets just pay up and go back to your house okay? I'm sure you're very tired and it's been a very long day for you." Asuka eased out her debit card. "Yes it feels like it's been the longest day of my life." She pushed her card in to the card machine slot hearing it speak. "We thank you for your service Asuka Langley Soryu your bill though is on the house compliments of the restaurant please dine here again anytime." Asuka eyed the machine for a long moment. "Oh come on!" She eyed the bar tender opposite. "This table's card machine is broken!" The bar tender eyed her. "No it's not its working perfectly fine miss Langley Soryu."

Asuka sneered pulling her card out as she picked up her things watching Rei did the same. "Yeah I know now what happened, that machine sent me to a parallel dimension where everyone suddenly likes me and doesn't hate my guts and it's making me feel really uncomfortable!" Rei took hold of her arm moving her forward giving the bar tender a smile. "Excuse my best friend she's just a little stressed out after everything that's happened her, we both loved the food and your hospitality and I'm sure we'll be back soon."

She took hold of Asuka's hand leading her towards to the restaurants doors clearly she'd have to tell her some other time that the computer store she'd gotten her digital scroll holder and pen's from had also knocked the price down by a third though at the time she hadn't noticed it as she'd had her attention elsewhere since it was being charged from Nerv's funds rather than her card. "Come on Asuka, we can catch the train back if you like if you're not up to riding your motorbike home."


Asuka watched as her house sprung to life as Rei followed her inside they'd taken the train as she just wasn't up for riding her motorbike right now as her whole life felt like nothing made any sense anymore. She closed the door locking it watching as Erika appeared running up to her meowing she leaned down gently picking her up holding her in her arms. "I see you missed me then?" She stroked the little cats head. "Missed you to, thought I might never see you again." She looked up. "Let's get you something to eat okay? I got you some of your favourite treats."

Rei hung up her coat putting her night bag down, watching as Asuka went through to the kitchen putting Erika on the kitchen top while she pulled her cat food out refilling her bowls before taking of her jacket tossing it on to the recliner while pulling her patch off before opening the cupboards her calm voice hitting the air. "Would you like a drink, I think I have green tea in here somewhere, you still drink that right?" Rei moved slowly over to her. "Yes I still drink it but you don't have a kettle." Asuka opened her lower cupboard easing out the attachment that could turn her coffee maker in to a tea maker. "It's not a problem I just need to switch the top attachments around one grind's coffee beans the other grinds dried leaves then soaks and strains them."

She looked up. "If you're bored you can go play on my games machine for a while and I can bring the tea up to you the password is Freyja, it should recognise your voice it's the same orange devil as on the video he's called Anneberg and he's an AI learning program that protects the whole computer system as it's separated from the house system I created his animations two years ago."

Rei looked at her for a long moment watching as she switched the attachments putting in the dried green tea. "Asuka tell me how did you get my voice in the first place?" Asuka breathed in deeply. "I stole one of your Nerv feed discs years ago it wasn't much just footage of you in your plug suite inside the Evangelion talking. I was being pathetic and creepy and I swiped it off Maya when she wasn't looking and I did it when she was trying to help me which just makes it ten times worse because I betrayed her trust in me and she's my friend. She's always looked out for me even protected me when other people didn't like me and even now she still protects me."

She turned to her. "I'm not proud of taking it believe me, I just never wanted to give back because I knew I'd get in to trouble because stealing disc feed is strictly prohibited as its Nerv property. The disc though slipped out of mind for years and I found it recently and just used it I thought it was better to use it noble intentions rather than the original reason which I stole it for back when I were still in school."

Rei felt a wide smile form. "And what were those reasons?" Asuka slowly passed her the tea as she switched the attachments back starting off her coffee. "Look maybe its better you don't know, like I said it really twisted." Rei eyed her for a long moment before speaking. "Did you want that disc to fulfill a desire you couldn't fulfill in school between us?" Asuka took a sip of her coffee. "Look no offence I really don't want to talk about this." Rei looked up. "I'm not going to judge you Asuka I think we are both past that now."

Asuka breathed in slowly and deeply before speaking. "I took it so I could port it and digitize it so if I ever got a VR helmet I could run it in the dating sexual simulation but by the time I moved out I had no heart to do it. I'd already seen how awful I was as a person and it never happened. You can even check the helmet believe me its never run that simulation and my AI leaning personality Anneberg has a complete history of everything I've ever done since I moved in he can bring up my complete records if your concerned, he never lies because I taught him the value of honesty."

Rei moved forward putting a hand on her shoulder. "Its okay Asuka I believe you." Asuka looked down sadly. "I should return that disc tomorrow come what may the only thing I copied off it was your voice recording and that was only so my computer system would recognise you and I have no intention of taking it off now as I said before you're always welcome here and you can always play on the system I mean I know you like computer games I see you with that hand held a lot in the wreck room." Rei eyed her for a long moment as she sat down on the sofa watching as Asuka sat opposite.

"You know you really pay close attention to everything don't you?" Asuka laid her head back on the sofa. "Its one of those things that comes with being kind of invisible, since people assume that I don't care about others they think I'm not looking at them but I see everything." She looked up slightly. "I even know your hand held is six years old I just could never figure out why you didn't buy a new one."

Rei leaned back. "I don't know I just don't like replacing things that aren't broken, it's a habit I picked up from Shinji." Asuka slowly turned to her feeling a wide grin form. "Ah yes that habit I remember that from our time together, it used drive me nuts I got it years later though, there are some things that no matter how beaten up and battered they get its there sentimental value that matter's more." Rei sat up slightly. "Did you love my brother Asuka?"

Asuka breathed in sadly. "No but then I didn't know how to love people back then and we should never have gotten together in the first place. We just had to many issues to many things wrong and too much hurt inside, I wasn't good for him and he wasn't good for me and all we did in those awful four months was argue over and over I couldn't fix his problems and he couldn't fix mine and it was just a mess and it was so unhealthy."

She put a hand through her hair in frustration. "I got with him for the wrong reasons to start with everyone just pushed at us to become a couple they'd told us that since school and I just assumed it had to be and so did he and it wasn't fair on either of us we weren't right for each other. I had physical attraction to him he's always been charming, kind and very good looking but nothing beyond that and as I said to you once before he needs to get his act sorted out and ask Kaworu out and I told him that after the delegate display. It was really awful because we argued like we used to I was just so desperate for him to be happy and I know what he's going through with his sexuality I've been there. I know how hard it is because it changes your life and nothings quite the same ever again." Rei looked down, before looking up watching as the neon blue colours span in her left eye. "I heard you broke a vending machine."

Asuka raised her hand. "Yeah I did it was bad I know I was just that frustrated and I really hate fighting with Shinji despite what's happened between us I'd always consider him my friend." Rei watched as she stretched suddenly she just looked really worn out. "Do you want to go to sleep Asuka, you look really tired?" Asuka looked at her she was so tired there was no denying that. "Yes I do, I'm sorry if I had more energy I'd put on a movie for you, or something."

She looked up slightly. "You can sleep up in my bedroom, I'll take the sofa." Rei looked at her for a long moment. "No its fine I don't mind sharing your bed with you." Asuka looked at her she wanted to argue that but she was just tired and the energy just wasn't there. "Sure…I guess but could I please just use the shower before you I badly need to wash my hair you're welcome to use anything you want in the bathroom after I'm done."

Rei looked up slightly. "Thank you Asuka." Asuka moved over to the kitchen counter pulling her gun free from its hiding place under the counter as she walked up to Rei looking her straight in the eyes as she placed it in her hands seeing her confusion. "I haven't seen Bardiel all day I don't know if he's sleeping or recuperating or what but I don't trust the slimy bastard and if he takes over me while I'm sleeping and starts harassing you do not hesitate for a second to point this gun at my head and threaten him with pulling the trigger and if you have to hit me to protect yourself don't hesitate just do it I can take the pain and that means shooting me as well in the knee caps if you have to."

She breathed in sharply clicking off the safety. "You should sleep on my side of the bed, because I keep the spear bullets box's in the second draw." Rei looked at her. "Asuka I'm not good with pistols I have a very low score on and off the field." Asuka met her concerned gaze. "Trust me this will be point blank range Rei, you won't miss if it comes to that." She looked down slightly. "Also If it makes you feel better I can't shoot a rifle my score is really bad on and off the field, I've never hit the centre point once I only hit the outer rings, Mari mocks me over it to no end since she's a crack shot like you with a rifle."

Rei looked up slightly. "Why does she hate you so much Asuka?" Asuka breathed in deeply. "I really don't know, I get that she has similar problems to bratty younger me but beyond that I have no idea, I mean it was instant dislike after the first couple of weeks." She looked at her bandaged hand. "Maybe it's just me I just have a knack for rubbing people the wrong way, it's the story of my life." Rei slowly stood up putting her hand on the other woman's arm. "No Asuka I don't think that true in this case, I mean she wanted you to drown in the sub tropical swimming pool and she said she wished you had never born, even at your worst you never went out of your way to do that or say things like that to people."

She moved her hand down taking hold of the other woman's. "I mean when I got her to hack the doors to the quarantine level she did come clean that the British secret service had tortured her and she thought they would kill her and that she had to steal to get by just like Toji but I've also heard that she has a drinking problem which is much more extreme than the one you had some years ago. I mean there are some nights where she apparently goes up to the Caribbean bar up on level two and just gets wasted."

Asuka looked up slightly. "I hate that bar with a passion its like being in side a Casino its all noise, loud music and karaoke, I prefer the one on the twelfth it's quieter and more relaxed and its got some really decent retro Arcade games in its back room and I like the owners cat who likes to hang around there and likes to greet everyone." Rei felt a smile form. "You know I prefer that one as well at least you can read in peace." Asuka looked at her for a long moment. "I forgot to ask, how did you get Mari to hack the doors? You know because that confuses me since she hates me."

Rei breathed in deeply before meeting her curious gaze. "I bribed her with two spare data cards which I didn't need anymore as I have plenty she made me real angry though she came in all happy and decided to park her backside on your chair I got so mad that her knocked her drink out of her hand and told her to get out of your chair. Granted she hadn't seen your video like the others did but I just couldn't believe the nerve." Asuka felt a wide toothy grin form. "Oh I just wish I'd been there to see that just to see her face when you knocked her drink out of her hands because she's totality under the impression that you're harmless, sweet and polite."

She looked up slightly. "Myself on the other hand I have had so many years around you to know that when you're angry you're not to be toyed with in any manner." Rei felt a smile form. "Now you're just trying to flatter me." Asuka look at her for a long moment. "No because if there one thing I know about anger it's that because I'm angry a lot of the time, when the moments over I can stop and reign it in because I'm used to it, its just a part of me its in my nature if you will. I think if one day you really lost your temper the way I do you could shake the foundations of the world and have angels running away in utter terror. Because you'd be a divine goddess destroying everything in your wake and no one could stop you or get in your way and even I'd have to bow down in respect."

She put her hand gently on the other woman's shoulder. "It's those who are calm who burn the brightest of all when the world is falling down and everyone else falls by the wayside." She took her hand away stepping back. "Never ever let any one tell you any different Rei or make you think that you're less because there the ones that have self doubt and they just think that there better than you when in truth there not." She breathed in deeply. "I know how that mindset works I used to think like that way a long time ago."


She thinks I'm a divine goddess, just like she wrote on the school photo nothing's changed all of her feelings are the same I should be asleep but I'm still awake wearing my pyjamas lying under the thin sheet, she's in a very long guys-shirt with her back to me on the other side of the bed curled up slightly. She was so tired the moment her head hit the pillow she was fast asleep. We never slept anywhere near each other as children when we lived at Misato's.

I mean we all had rooms and I never let her pass beyond the threshold of my door ever, I used to put a lock on my door just to keep her out, because myself and Shinji both knew that if she could get in she'd just go through our stuff. She didn't care about boundaries but fully expected us to not do the same for her it was a do as I say but not as do complex and we both hated it.

So much has changed it's like a total reverse in attitude on every level and the desire to make things right. I'm not angry about the stolen feed I believe that she never used it for the purposes intended but I think her never using it was about more than just a change of attitude. I think her feelings towards me changed I think at first in school it was about lust, desire and possession now its reversed completely in that it's all about pure unconditional love and never wanting anything in return. I just noticed that the toy I brought her in the hospital the fluffy toy cat version of 02 with two tails is sitting on the opposite bed side table. It's nice that she likes it that much I saw the other gifts they have been placed in the games room, so she clearly sees mine as special.

Rei breathed in closing her eyes only for Asuka's voice to hit the air half muffled. "Please don't kill me." She turned sharply watching as Asuka's body suddenly started to move as her hands jerked out violently in her sleep as she spoke again but with more desperation. "I don't want to die!" Her voice came again sharper. "Please show me mercy it hurts so much please someone, anyone, please save me I don't want to die alone!" Rei leaned over it was clearly the throws of a nightmare and she was breathing faster and heaver now she leaned over shaking her. "Asuka."

She shook her harder. "Asuka!" She watched Asuka bolted violently awake turning to look her, her eyes taking a moment to adjust as she realized where she was before her face turned to pain and sadness as the light in her left eye dimmed down to nothing as its circles and patterns spun slowly. "You were having a nightmare Asuka I'm sorry I had to wake you up, you were trashing out in your sleep I was worried you might hurt yourself." Asuka eased up her hands putting them on her face unable to hold the pain back as she spoke. "Verfickte Machine!" Rei moved her hand up slowly removing Asuka's very gently seeing the pain in her eyes. "You were dreaming about Obrax?"

Asuka nodded unable to keep the pain out of her voice as she spoke. "I know they pumped me full of anti psychotics but I could see it all happening I just couldn't fight back the drugs made me so weak." She felt the tears as they started to run down her face. "They just wanted me to feel like my mother like I was insane and out of my verfickten mind!"

Rei leaned closer moving her hand to stroke her hair gently. "You're not your mother Asuka, what Ritsuko did to you was cruel and vile and we all know it." Asuka looked down sadly. "What if I'm just destined to end up like her though what if it's just fate what if nothing matters at all?" She felt her tears come harder. "All I've done in these past few weeks is end up hospital wards, its scaring me so much." Rei slowly wrapped her arm around her hearing her cry harder. "Is that the real reason why you smashed up the hospital room? I mean we thought you did it because of how Bardiel forced you back in to the world."

Asuka felt her teeth grind together as she spoke through her tears. "I didn't like how he forced me back but I couldn't stomach that hospital room the most I hate the smell I hate the sounds every time it just reminds me of looking through the glass of my mother's mental ward and her ignoring me and favouring her stupid doll over me. I used to cry and pound the glass, just anything hoping that she'd notice my verfickte existence it never made a difference though I was always the other girl."

She laughed but it was a painful heartbroken laugh even to her own ears. "I once even managed to get inside and begged her to notice me next thing I know I'm on my back being strangled and I was terrified I thought she would kill me. It was only by chance that the medical staff came to my rescue and dragged her off me and still like an idiot I didn't quit, because I was that desperate." She felt the bitter heartache as she spoke her next words. "When I made the Evangelion program I ran to see her I thought since I'd one day be piloting 02 which was her creation that she'd be happy that she'd notice me finally…but I just walked in there to find her dead body hanging off the rafters."

She tensed painfully. "It just felt like every dream I ever had shattered that day and I just buried my feelings and tried to get on with my step parents and their daughter as best I could but my step parents just didn't care about me. I was just this annoying burden and they nearly let me drown in their lake outside the house hence why I can't and don't swim in deep water anymore."

She breathed in deeply. "My grandmother then took custody of me and it was so much better but my insides were so rattled back then I couldn't speak to her about anything I still felt angry and hurt and I repressed it all but it just twisted me up in later life and turned in to arrogance, selfishness, unkindness and hated. I thought since the world hated me and had hurt me that I should just hate it back and everyone in it. Because I didn't see why other people should have happiness when I couldn't and when ever they were happy I made sure they didn't smile for long."

She looked down sadly. "I also resented my step parents even more for causing me to repress my sexuality because it just made it so much worse so I lashed out at you and a number of other girls in school because I had those feelings and I hated myself for having them and when I finally came to terms with them I just acted predatory and disgusting because my head was so screwed up."

Rei looked at her for a long moment even in the dark of the room her left eye was bright as ever despite her painful tears. She realized that she was probably the first person she'd ever opened her heart to in this manner she tightened her grip around her stroking her hair softly. "Your past shouldn't define you Asuka, what matters most is how you act in the here and now and you're a good person with a kind loving heart and I think the world of you. I don't care about who you were in the past all I care about is the person I see in front of me right now because she is the best person I know and someone I can trust."

She felt Asuka's arms wrap around her as the other woman pulled her closer refusing to let go as she held her in a gentle embrace as she became very quite. She moved her hand through her long hair again speaking quietly and softy. "Get some rest Asuka you'll feel so much better come morning."

End of part 30


Chapter Text


Misato eyed the training field her gaze on Asuka's hologram image as she eyed Maya. "Is she okay I mean she's been really quite today?" Maya looked at the screen seeing 02 which had activated with out issue. Asuka was also well over the borderline in fact she was starting to rise by a few bars for the first time in three years which was a huge surprise and now she was doing drills with the others for the first time since the UN accident.

"She's just a little out of sorts I'm sure it will pass." Misato eyed her. "Is her art starting to come through?" Kaji leaned over. "Oh yes thick and fast, we got over ten images just this morning she's drawing with very much wild abandon. Some of them were really disturbing but Rei said she did nothing but draw on the train on their way up here and she didn't mind as she was just happy to watch." Misato turned sharply. "Oh so that's where she went last night, I thought she had gone to Asuka's but I didn't want to call because I thought maybe they both needed some quite time."

Kaji breathed in deeply eyeing Asuka who was waiting her turn to fire her guns as they had only just come back from Germany with the refit for her new hand length and they had also built a turret gun and rifle as well as a clip on retracting knife for her units two tails they'd also sent new slicing blades for the compartment in the curved shoulder sails so she could still use the sails as a firing weapon if necessary. "Yeah well whatever quite time they had it really helped but I get what you're saying I mean her focus is a little off. What's she looking at anyway on her hologram screen I mean she's lowered the virtual image so we can't see it?" Misato breathed in deeply. "I'll give you three guesses."

Kaji laughed. "Oh yeah should have known you know she's kind of sweet when she's smitten she just looks softer in the face." Misato eyed Asuka's image. "Yeah shame I have to break it." She pressed her console button. "Could one of you please get Asuka off cloud nine her turn is coming up?" Mari turned eyeing the red unit feeling a cold smile form as she grabbed a spear from close by before anyone could stop her. "Hey Asuka go Long!" She threw it with all her might ignoring Misato's rage filled shouting telling her to stop.

Asuka looked up sharply catching sight of the spear in the corner of her eye she raised her unit's clawed hand feeling her AT field come up as she stopped the spear dead on watching as it remained floating in the air. She held it there for a long moment as some thing crossed her mind there was a weird feeling of déjà vu going through her body right now.

Like she'd done this before even though she never really had, she breathed in deeply looking at Rei's face on the hologram screen before turning off the image. Whatever the reasons for these feelings she didn't really care she slowly closed her unit's clawed hand causing her AT field to pulse which sent the spear flying back in the opposite direction where Mari had to leap sideways to get out of the way as it struck the barrier embedding itself. She slowly walked her unit out on its hind legs. "I'm sorry you said it was my turn, I was paying attention."

Mari's face appeared on her holographic screen. "You nearly fucking killed me!" Asuka breathed in swiping her off screen. "My weapons can you bring them up so I can test the grip?" She watched as her two double guns came up she eased out her units hands taking hold of them rising them slowly hearing Maya's voice hit the air. "Go ahead any time Asuka we have set them up to fire holographic bullets once they're tested we'll load them with the real thing." Asuka raised both guns enjoying the sound as they fired at the moving targets she felt a toothy smile form oh how she'd missed the sound of bullets even holographic bullets, she lowered them clicking them back in the floor. "They are fine can you bring up my pistol."

She watched as her special one handed pistol was brought up she slowly raised it taking aim at the targets enjoying the feel of the trigger as Misato's voice hit the air. "Any time Asuka." Asuka breathed in taking aim. "Please don't interrupt me." She fired enjoy ever second as the virtual bullet sped up hitting the moving target in its face she felt a sly smile form. "Wunderbar."

She slowly put it back watching as it lowered itself down as the new tail turret gun and knife came up as Kaji spoke. "Okay you'll need to train with the rifle attachment so we can't bring it up to you but you can put on both the knife and the turret gun. They're for when you go down on all fours with your unit so just place them on see how you get on. Oh and your grandmother said if you really like the turret gun she'll send you a machine gun attachment, she has the division over in Germany designing one as we speak they just need your word on going ahead."

Asuka eased up the three barrelled turret gun locking it on the right tail's end. "Could this fire of mines if need be not N2 ones I was thinking much smaller?" Kaji's voice came again filled with curiosity. "No but we could outfit it here to do that, why what's your thinking?" Asuka looked up slightly. "I don't know I'm just verfickte sick of the angel landing all over the world and crawling on solid ground I'd like to blow a hole under there feet, you know maybe create a pit. Then Shinji, Rei and the others can go in there and stab them to death, I mean my rifle aim is crap but with rockets and mines it won't matter. Because I'd only be taking out the floor and once we are done they can just turn the hole in a nature reserve like they did years ago back in the South America when I accidentally made a massive hole there because I didn't land on my feet and ended up six foot under with my legs sticking out one time when fighting Ankh."

She lowered her unit down slowly raising the right tail. "I think that got onto the wall of failure worldwide but it was really funny looking back because I was being such a reckless idiot, Asuka takes out three terrorist planes and then messes up by falling off the edge of a cliff." Rei's face suddenly appeared on her hologram screen. "Didn't they literality have to drag you out using two vertical wings, because your arms were stuck?"

Asuka laughed enjoying the sound as for the first time in a long time it felt genuine. "Yeah and they had this funny tag line Asuka the biggest embarrassment to Nerv." Shinji's face appeared next to Rei's. "Yeah but it was hardly fair since I did the same thing two months later I think Rei is the only one between us who lands on her feet every time." Asuka gave Rei her best smile. "Yes she does Shinji we are just here to blow scheisse up, as I'll now demonstrate." She breathed watching the rockets fire so what if they weren't real seeing them blow up things just made her grin she eased her unit back up on to its hind legs watching as both of their faces vanished. "Misato give my grandmother a call I want the machine gun attachment and give my thanks to the division."

Mari's face appeared on her screen filled with rage. "You know I don't know what's worse you fucking up or seeing you in a good mood, what happened last night did you ride Rei like a stallion or something? We all know she visited you last night." Asuka looked at her for a long moment. "Why do you assume that just because she visited me I'd be ungrateful enough as to take advantage of her like that?" Mari pushed up her glasses as she spoke her voice laced with sarcasm. "Oh I don't know your reputation for screwing anything you can get your hands on."

Asuka slowly moved her unit back in to position as she attached the huge retracting lacerated knife to her left tail she swung it around watching as the knife flew out she tensed causing it to instantly retract again and then lock closed. "Please I would never treat Rei that way, I value her friendship and I respect her." Mari smirked. "Stop pretending to be noble Asuka it really doesn't suit you." Rei's face appeared on her holographic screen. "No I think it suites her really well, in my opinion." Mari turned feeling her teeth grind together. "What is this defend princess day?" Asuka eyed her for a long moment. "You know Mari maybe you should stop trying to take chunks out of my verfickte hide for once and maybe focus on fixing your own life for a change, you might start to feel better."

Mari leaned closer. "Fuck you Asuka since when do you get to give out life advice? Your own life is a fucking train wreck, you have an angel inside your brain and you're a complete asshole!" Asuka watched as she vanished she folded her legs knowing she could still hear her. "True four eyes but at least I'm trying to get the train back on the track, you are not." Rei's face came up again on her hologram screen. "Would you like to go up to the bar on the twelfth the one we talked about last night this afternoon at lunch?" Asuka felt a smile form. "I'd love to." Misato blinked eyeing the screen. "You're up next Mari." She turned the speaker off. "Well that went far better than expected." Kaji looked up. "What the test going so well or Asuka just being in a really good mood?" Misato felt a smile form. "Both."

Maya breathed in deeply. "I recommend you start sending her out but change the roaster, I mean have Mari shadow the fleet from Singapore she's always wanted to be the big gun and weapon so give her the responsibility. I mean that's why she was brought in along with Toji to take the weight of Asuka's shoulder's because she was getting so overloaded that she couldn't cope always being the weapon all of the time and she was becoming bored and miserable."

She eyed the roaster. "Send her with Rei to Saudi Arabia and the oil fields she can act as her guard while she fixes the machine." Misato folded her arms. "I took Asuka away from work like that in the past because she was reckless stupid and just couldn't be trusted and she made Nerv look bad and press and media have a field day with her every damn time." Maya breathed in deeply. "I think we can both say that she's past that stage now and she might enjoy doing new things and if they work well as a team you can send them anywhere. Plus you know that Rei doesn't like shadowing Shinji she's desperate to get out his shadow and Shinji always works best when he's with Kaworu and you might not have noticed but we have two possible romances blooming here on both sides here."

Misato raised her hand. "Shinji and Kaworu oh come on they're just friends." Kaji pressed the holographic buttons sending up Mari's weapons. "Clearly you've never watched them play the grand piano on the lowest floor of Nerv together." Misato eyed him. "Why does everyone else know everything about who likes who around here but I don't, even though they visit my house regularly?" Maya picked up her latte. "Maybe because you tease these young men and women far too much about their love lives and they get concerned about being open with you and revealing their feelings because you might tease them over something that's really important to them." Misato folded her arms. "That's ridiculous, who said that!?"

Maya look a sip of her latte. "Asuka to me many times, it's why she grew distant from you and doesn't visit you at all and she has a point you forever teased her and Shinji that they would grow up and get married and be a couple but we all saw how that romance worked out in the end, it was abusive violent and awful on both sides. They should never have been together full stop they were both damaged stunted children who needed to grow up and heal emotionally and Shinji is almost there and now finally Asuka is starting to make headway."

Misato eyed Maya. "Tell me something you protected Asuka from an early age I mean even when she was outright awful, egotistic and obnoxious, why did you do it? I mean the rest of us gave up on her." Maya breathed in, in annoyance. "It's because you and everyone here at Nerv gave up on her so I stepped in! It wasn't just about her finding the root to her sexuality, she needed someone to trust and she found it in me and underneath all the hatred and hurt I saw very faint glimpses of someone who is actuality good but who like Shinji had been given some real awful cards in life and had become very bitter and twisted inside."

She looked up pointing at Asuka's image on the main screen. "I saw the person you're finally seeing on that screen today, that's the real Asuka it's always been there its just been hidden out of sight, the gentle behaviour towards Rei is also very telling of her true nature." She breathed in sharply. "It pains me that the battle with Shamshel nearly ruined her and hardly anyone helped her back then either. She lost all confidence and later ended her relationship with Shinji then you just tried to shove her and Shinji into therapy but it never worked because she wasn't ready." Misato eyed her in annoyance. "I was doing what was best for her!"

Maya breathed in deeply shaking her head. "No you were doing what was easiest and most convenient for you I get it Shinji and Rei were both much easer to deal with they didn't lash out angrily when they were hurting. Shinji just used to play passive aggressive and Rei just locked up in silence and tried to disappear into the background but every time Asuka ran into trouble she just got passed onto other people and that's the root of all of her problems. She's always been passed around and ignored and now you're seriously asking yourself why you're the one being ignored by her and why she doesn't visit you? I know for a fact she hasn't invited you to her home since she moved in and it's been three years and I've been to her home more than once to visit over these past three years."

She folded her arms. "I told you were colleagues before but it's not the truth she's my friend I didn't tell you because I knew you'd take it badly because she grew up with you and you were meant to her guardian and don't get me wrong you were great in some ways but not so great in others, that's why I became that person she could speak to on a personal level." Misato felt her teeth grind together. "I knew there was more to this than you were telling me Maya, you should have told me about this!"

Maya raised her hand. "Please if I had told you, you would have acted jealous and petty like it was a competition between us and I didn't want that I already get that kind of crap from Ritsuko I'm not going to deal with it on two fronts!" Kaji stood up slowly seeing that Shigeru and Makoto had both turned in their direction. "No offence but can you two not do this right now? You should be paying attention to training field." Misato turned eyeing him and Maya as she turned off her personal holographic screen and panel. "You know what screw this you can both take care of this!"

Kaji watched as she walked out slamming the door behind her, he eyed Maya who didn't turn around. "Well that could've gone better I told you telling her wouldn't go down well and you know how stubborn she is." Maya breathed in deeply. "Yeah well she needed to know regardless and I'm so sick of having to hide the truth all this time." She looked up. "Maybe you should take her out to get a drink or something later to cheer her up I mean she really likes you." Kaji raised his hands. "I think you're reading too much into that we were friends in university but she never liked me that way, trust me I asked her out more than once but it never worked and she always rejects my advances."

Maya raised an eyebrow. "You know with everything that's been going on around here I'm starting to feel that maybe second chances are not completely out of reach maybe that goes for you as well." Makoto looked up slightly as he spoke in a cold tone. "Or you could just quit while you're ahead, I mean you're really not her type anyway." Maya eyed him seeing Shigeru turn eyeing their former friend coldly. "Are you really going to start this crap again Makoto?" Kaji eyed the Makoto as he spoke evenly. "Oh really and what is her type?" Makoto smirked leaning back in his chair. "Her types not a washed up loser of an ex-spy like you who have history of sexual harassment."

Shigeru eyed him in disgust. "What is wrong with you? Everyone knows Kaji was cleared off that." Makoto breathed in as he folded his arms. "Yeah but like I said he's an ex-spy so he could have just wiped Nerv's backup feed to make himself look innocent." He raised his hand casually. "But you guys believe what you want." Shigeru turned sharply. "Yeah well I believe he is innocent and so do the rest of us regardless of how you feel." Maya turned seeing the slight sadness in Kaji's face his eyes did nothing to hide it. She eyed her holographic screen switching something around hoping he wouldn't notice her quick change to the official work diary. "Seems you're needed up in head office Makoto please say hi to Ritsuko for me won't you?"

Makoto eyed his screen. "That's not for two hours!" Maya eyed the main screen watching as Mari stepped back as she finished her drills. "No I'm reading that it's in the next twenty minutes you should really get moving." Makoto stood up giving her a cold look as he grabbed his papers from the holographic desk before switching it off. Maya watched as he left closing the door behind him she folded her arms speaking coldly. "He's such a jackass." She turned to Kaji. "Ignore what he said you know what he's like." Kaji eyed her. "You changed the official work diary didn't you so he'd end up going to office instead of me?"

Maya nodded calmly. "Yes." Shigeru turned slightly. "I don't know what the asshole's problem is he never used to be this way, I mean me and Maya used to go drinking with him all the time then something happened between him and Misato and he went really dark and cold after that. Now all he cares about is brown nosing Ritsuko, money and power and he's desperate to get to management level so he can lead one of the divisions in another county." Kaji breathed in deeply shaking his head. "Yeah well I've been up there close to management level and believe me he won't like it at the very top it's cold, dark and it keeps you awake at night." Maya looked at him for a long moment. "I thought you would miss your old job." Kaji eyed his holographic screen. "So did I but believe me I don't."


Misato walked through the massive visitor centre, she hadn't been up here in over a month as all Nerv employees entered via the secondary exit which was completely hidden from the public. She had to go up here because that was where Shoji and Leiko were located though she had no idea what floor. There were tourists from every corner of the world buying things from the vast gift shop and taking photos of the human size statues of the Evangelion's in battle poses which had flashing eyes and moving limbs and were being surrounded by children who were in awe.

Surprisingly Asuka's new look version had already been rolled out and the old one replaced. It had two moving tails as well as opening jaws and flashing eyes and it had been put in-between 00 which had also been updated to show off the new armoured crest and 01. Then there was the museum which recounted the whole history of the program and a separate room purely dedicated to the pilots along with toy and merchandise room which had every toy and item ever created which she'd had set up years ago although it had now doubled in size.

There was another room dedicated to her Kaji, Maya and all the others who made everything work. She breathed in deeply walking in to the pilot's room looking at all of the huge material banner photos of them and their old plug suites which they had grown out of which were now all behind glass. There were family history panels and their love lives though it was all watered down for the public and shaped so that everything would look heroic. There issues with depression and personal difficulty never mentioned as well of running videos of there best battles and training simulations.

All six were here including Toji and Mari, she turned seeing that each of them also had a dedicated area for talents she could see Shinji's acrylic on canvas painting's on the wall all framed and lots of his base sketches drawn on drawing pad in pencil in a display case. Kaworu's musical symphonies could be seen they were all on music sheets behind glass but you could also press a button and you could listen to a number of his music recordings. Toji's writings were all in books in a glass and you could put on the headphones and listen to a Nerv employee reading them as he liked to write fantasy novels and some of his writing notes were in a smaller display case.

Rei's pottery and sculptures were close by encased behind glass there were pots vases and human like figures all in delicate and precise detail and in some case they were painted with ultra fine brush details along with her rough base sketches on paper which were just pottery ideas which were wall mounted in small frames. Then there was Mari's robotics which included two of scuttle bots in a glass display case though one was for display only all you had to do was press the case button and the one behind glass would perform an action. There was also a smaller glass area which showed her lesser robotic ideas and the robots internals as well as a small dark pink screen which was running white programming code used in all her scuttle bots.

She turned seeing that Asuka had a glass case with large machine gun which had been painted red in it she moved over staring at it seeing that someone had written on its barrel the words Angry Gun in big bold letters. She looked up just in time to see the head of the visitor centre coming towards the woman smiled as she raised his hand. "Major, it's been a while since you've been here." Misato looked at the older woman who was dressed in Nerv t shirt and grey trousers and black boots.

"Hello Kimi, I see you've changed the place a lot since my last visit." Kimi raised an eyebrow her blue eyes flashing with glee as she pushed her long tailed brown hair back. "Well we had to there's so much new stuff going on, I mean you keep us busy down there in head quarters. Plus we are forever having to liaison with the media guys in the other building as there always working with the merchandising people regarding toys and other new items. Not to mention here we ship so much merchandise worldwide it's beyond crazy we had to create a whole shipping floor on the tenth just to cope."

She looked up slightly. "Do you like our room dedicated to the pilots?" Misato looked around her. "Yes it's amazing I love coming to see it." She turned back to the Asuka's case. "But I have to ask is this a joke?" Kimi smirked eyeing her. "No its pretty accurate, I mean we all agreed up here and with the media people that Asuka has no talent beyond killing and taking life, I mean look at her Evangelion now. Okay I don't know what she did to it but that thing is a beast mode on steroids I mean it's a machine of death and destruction and its new look is permanent from what I hear." She raised her hand. "I mean you could probably send her and Shinji to kill all of the terrorists groups now and let him go berserk while having her wail on them, I mean the carnage would be insane." She smirked. "I bet Asuka would just loose herself and chew them up in her jaws, it would be hilarious."

Misato breathed in, in annoyance this was one thing she'd never liked, to people on the outside the Evangelion's were cool things that caused destruction. People liked seeing explosions they liked watching war but they didn't see the after effects it had on soldiers and civilians. Toji had seen people shot at point blank range and had, had to take his sister and hide in some really dark horrible places in the hope that neither of them would get killed. He was a young man who now had a terrible fear of the dark.

Kaworu had held a gun in his county when he had been forced in to becoming a child army rebel after his parents had been gunned down right down in front of him. He'd had to shoot people because if he didn't do as he was told his insane commander would have killed him. Now that he was free from all of this he hated war and weapons and he saw his Evangelion as a tool for justice not a thing to bring pain or punishment.

Shinji and Rei both hated killing people but they knew it was something they had to do regardless of there feelings while Mari on the other hand got pleasure out of it. Though she felt her deep rooted emotional problems were responsible for this as she didn't like the cards she been handed out in life and saw her Evangelion as a way to force out her frustration. Asuka had been the same but somewhere down the line things had changed and she had become bored and miserable as her only job was to protect others Evangelion's and shadow the UN fleet and kill terrorist groups. She never saw anything interesting or did anything interesting but she didn't complain she just went with it regardless and just lived with the fact that her screw ups in the past meant that her being a weapon was her only use.

Regardless of how angry she felt over Maya's words this morning she did agree that it was time to change the roaster she eyed the red machine gun again turning to Kimi tapping on the glass display case. "I want this changed." Kimi felt a sly smile form. "What to a bigger gun?" Misato eyed her in disgust. "No! She can draw you know, she's a very good illustrator." Kimi smirked as she folded her arms. "You're joking right? You're telling me the angry, crazy German can draw you're talking about stick figures right?"

Misato eyed her in annoyance. "No I'm talking about really impressive art work much like Shinji's but in a completely different art style when we get some decent pieces we'll send it up to you so you can put it behind glass or on the wall." Kimi breathed in deeply. "Yeah well I won't hold my breath." Misato eyed her for a long moment before speaking. "Where can I find Shoji and Leiko that's why I'm here?" Kimi breathed in deeply rolling her eyes. "Take the employees lift to the fourth floor it's the first door to the left, I'm guessing you're here to sack those two losers they are nothing but trouble with their shitty Evangelion conspiracy theories."

Misato put her hand in her jacket pocket. "That remains to be seen." She turned tapping Asuka's glass case. "Remove this today put a marker in it like upcoming exhibit and send it down to the special ops and tell them to have it destroyed, do not pawn it off on any website auctions and if Asuka ever comes up here you do not tell her that it ever existed." Kimi blinked in surprise. "What is this crap since when did Asuka suddenly become a priority? I mean gods she's a mean spirited, cruel young woman who has the same emotional range as a tea spoon you even said that once in an interview, or do you not remember that?" Misato turned sharply raising her hand. "Firstly I remember that interview and the media misquoted me I said that she had deep rooted emotional problems and that meant that her behaviour could some times be erratic!"

Kimi eyed her. "Yet you did not say the same for Shinji or Rei and we know they had behavioural problems as well which makes me think that Asuka has always been a massive thorn in your side one you'd rather just ignore and sweep under the rug." She shrugged casually. "Not that I blame you I would do the same, I mean she must a nightmare to work with even now." She turned pointing to Asuka's huge wall banner which showed her face and hung above her area. "I mean waking up to that every morning must be such hard work."

Misato eyed the banner which only showed the face and shoulders and was a portrait close up in plug suite as something suddenly occurred to her all of the other banners had smiling faces but Asuka's wasn't smiling she was looking down sadly almost staring of into space. "When was this photo taken?" Kimi eyed her. "All these photos are recent hers was taken three months ago back when she had both eyes and the red plug suite, you'd think she'd at least smile for the camera and not look so miserable I mean she has the best job in the world. Yet she's so ungrateful I heard she tried everything in power to get out of the photography studio in the media building when they took this to the point of trying to say that she didn't feel well and when they told her to stop bellyaching and to behave she just turned really hostile."

Misato eyed her. "Do you have a book chronicling all of the pilot's photos shoots up to the present?" Kimi turned to her. "Yeah I can get one for you from the gift shop all items are free for anyone who works below." Misato breathed in deeply. "No I'll get one myself since the employees lift are that way." She moved slowly away from her not looking back as she walked through the gift shop grabbing the thick photo book holding it up to the cashiers who were serving very long lines of people as always. "I want this!"

The cashier closest raised his hand. "No problem Major, take it, free for central Nerv staff remember." She nodded putting it in her bag as she moved on finding the lift. She'd never felt as bad as she did right now. Asuka had clearly been depressed for a long time and she hadn't noticed and she had no excuse she had walked through this visitor centre more than once. She'd looked at the other pilots things but she had just ignored Asuka's and she'd even looked at those photos which made up the banners as she approved them.

She had assumed that Asuka was just being difficult for the shoot because she didn't like photo shoots. In the past she had always been the first to point out Asuka's faults rather than what she was good at and as a result was everyone just saw the worst in her now, to them she was nothing beyond a killing machine no wonder she believed everyone hated her. Unlike the other pilots she had no one saying other wise and she was hardly ever complimented for acts of talent on or off the field and it had clearly led up to her deep depression and misery.

Gods she needed to talk to Rei as soon as she found time because she was the one who had seen something that no one else had and video footage of them together didn't paint the whole story and she wanted to hear about what Asuka was really like underneath.

She stepped out of lift seeing the first door which had a big poster of 01's face with open jaws saying enter at your own risk, she rolled her eyes opening the door watching as a man looked up from his desks in shock and the woman opposite him almost dropping her can of coke. The burly man was of African decent he had a short back beard and short hair while the small woman was of Indian decent with long plaited black hair. From what she had read in their files they both had parents who had married into Japanese's family hence there Japanese's names and both were in their early thirties she eyed the small box room which was mail room made out to look like the cave of wonders.

There were Evangelion toys on desk masses of paperwork which clearly had nothing to do with their job at all, wall scrolls of the units hanging off the back walls. Both of them weren't in uniform they were both wearing Evangelion t-shirts, dark jeans and trainers she eyed them. "So you must be Shoji and Leiko, your job is to send out mail am I right?" Shoji stood up the fear appearing on his face as his hazel coloured eyes darted. "I can explain everything."

He tried to shove the papers side ways. "We have nothing to do half the day, I mean once we've sent out the letters and e-mails we just do this little hobby." Leiko stood up her green eyes filling with uncertainty. "Nothing we find is illegal it's all through our contacts and rumours and we don't hack any private channels." Misato turned eyeing their drinks machine as she put her bag down. "Does your drinks machine work, I want a coffee?" Shoji eyed her in confusion. "Yeah its works fine…"

Misato moved over pressing the button watching as it filled a fresh cup of coffee. "So rumour has it you're the people who know everything about everything that even the employees where I work don't know." She pulled up the spare computer chair sitting backwards on it so her head and arms were on the back rest. "Including the strange ghost girl, that looks like Rei whose being appearing and disappearing over the years."

Leiko moved over pulling a large folder out from the cabinet opposite passing it to her. "Oh yes I know all about her, she's my favourite subject, I have everything on her here do you know she's appeared over a hundred times since the program was founded oh make that hundred and one because she was seen some days ago in the quarantine zone, which is weird because she never normally appears there." She looked up nervously. "A rumour was there was an incident in the quarantine zone but like I said we don't hack private channels and the only reason we knew was because a lot of the workers down there got very scared and we heard they took days off everyone knew that even up here."

Misato eyed her desks toys seeing she had 02 and 00 as she looked through the file which was incredibly detailed it had sketches and everything along with personal accounts from employees. "You guys really don't miss a thing do you how long have you been running your hobby?"

Shoji looked up slightly. "Four years…look this came about because we both got demoted I got shoved up here by Kimi because she said it was all I was good for because I wasn't a good tour guide and Leiko used to be from the media building and worked in the designs and ideas department until Eshima fired her."

Leiko picked up the 00 toy playing with the arms. "She didn't approve of my whole idea of making the pilots more human, really pissed me off, I spent three months working that pitch and she kicked me to the curb. I mean hers and Tadao's warrior concept isn't working they're making them to much like gods and it means when they have accidents the media circle's them like vultures. I saw the recent photo shoot I've never seen Asuka look more miserable and unhappy it really annoys me that they still put that banner up downstairs poor women no wonder she never ever visits this place it must make her feel like she's nothing but a screw up." Shoji looked up. "Not to mention that for the last year both her and Rei have been going off the clock to do things while out on mission." Misato turned sharply. "What?" Shoji typed in to his holographic desk bringing up his holographic screen blinking in confusion. "You didn't know Major?"

Misato looked up. "No show me." Shoji paused before pulling up a number of videos which had been shot by civilians on their mobile phones. "Asuka's been diverting and so has Rei on their flight paths when coming home. This stuff never makes the news or social media and the people rescued remain quite because they don't want to get either of them in trouble as Evangelion's are not meant to divert from their flight paths ever. It's against Nerv policy but the pilots know full well that the flying camera hover drone and flying wing carrying their weapons leaves once their mission is complete neither of them follows them home, instead they both come straight back here to have their internal cores recharged."

Misato breathed in deeply as he started playing the videos one of which was Rei helping people to move wreckage in 00 so they could build housing, while Asuka was bringing in a large battered refugee ship which had been sinking using 02. "Rei we kind of expected this from, she's her mother's daughter through and through in that she has a very open heart but Asuka that was a complete surprise at first but then it kind of dawned on us that in truth it's not that much of surprise. Because her anger is clearly just a mask and there is a good person underneath who cares about people it's just the press and media would rather paint her as dangerous, aggressive and untrustworthy and only good for killing."

He tapped the screen. "Rei and Asuka both seem unaware of the others actions and we think they're both doing this kind of work of the clock because unlike the others they don't get to do civilian crisis missions. Also there have literally been three occasions where they've landed in real close locations but not close enough to see or hear each other but they've been trying to help the same groups of people." Misato looked at them for a long moment talk about impressive she had a team down stairs who had missed this stuff yet these two low level employees where seeing and hearing everything and she had no idea that Rei and Asuka had been diverting no one did.

"You know I came here because I was told that you two might be able to help me find out who messed with Asuka's plug suite some time ago, but now I feel like I've stumbled up on something much bigger." Shoji looked down sadly. "But let me guess we broke the rules and you're firing us both?" Misato put down the file down as she finished her coffee. "No quite the opposite I want to hire you both and promote you and make you part of the intelligence division I mean how would you both feel about working in Nerv central near my office? I'll give you the resources you need and you can turn this little hobby of yours into a full time thing. You'll get better pay and healthcare, free stuff because the gift shop is free to central employee's and you'll get to see the pilots since they have lunch quite often in the Arcade and you'll get to see the Evangelion's up close now again and you'll both get the official uniforms." Leiko put a hand on his chest. "You're seriously hiring us?"

Misato eased up the thick file. "I have people who are meant to be telling me things like this, it's my job to know everything about Nerv, yet I know nothing and you two have told me more in ten minutes than the people who are meant to be giving me info in the last month. So yeah I want to hire you because there's some twisted crap going on in Nerv's under belly and I want to know who's behind it." Shoji put his hands together. "We'll really get to see the Arcade zone and the tropical swimming pool, spa and gym as well as the Delphi gardens I mean I've heard there like wonderland?" Misato nodded. "Yes and everything you've brought here toys and collectors items can be forwarded back to your credit and debit cards and you can bring all your stuff with you, we don't have any rules against employees decorating there offices with Nerv mechanise its good for moral."

She raised her finger. "Only thing that's conditional is you must practice gun training weekly and hand to hand combat, this is so you can defend yourself if Nerv is ever taken over and all offices have a special locking box containing guns and ammunitions." So felt a wide smile form. "Interested?" Shoji turned giving her a smile. "I never liked the coffee up here any way it tastes like shit I want to try it down stairs." Leiko raised her hand. "Yes plus I want to taste real food down in the Arcade."

End of part 31


Chapter Text


Maya looked up as Asuka entered her office closing the door behind her. "I'm so glad you're here did you enjoy training this morning?" She raised her hand. "I mean you seem a little happier." Asuka breathed in deeply as she calmly sat herself on the chair opposite Maya's desk she'd sat here so much over the years that it now just felt common place. "I feel better…but nothing makes sense anymore." Maya turned meeting her good eye. "In what way Asuka?" Asuka leaned forward. "Everyone's being so nice to me, its just making me really uncomfortable." Maya raised an eyebrow. "Ah yes I heard they dropped the price of your art equipment and that your lunch was free and some of the employees brought you food and drink."

Asuka folded her arms. "Its annoying, I don't want their gifts regardless of the reason." Maya felt a sly smile form. "I heard you and Rei had a nice lunch though." Asuka raised her hand. "Believe me we had a great time, I really enjoy her company." She looked down slightly. "It was nice being together I mean Bardiel still hasn't shown up, I know he's still around and the delay really bothers me." She eased her hand in her pocket pulling out the disc which contained Rei's feed. "I owe you an apology when I sixteen I stole this from you, I knew it was against the rules I took it when you were trying to make me see sense with my sexuality and I kept it for years, I wanted to return it." Maya raised an eyebrow slowly taking it from her hand. "I was wondering when this would finally show up again."

Asuka looked up sharply. "What, you knew I took it?!" Maya eyed her for a long moment. "Asuka I may be older than you but I'm not blind or stupid I saw you swipe it and then stroll off in your school uniform with it straight out of my office door." She turned the disc between her fingers. "I knew one day you'd return it, so I never reported it and I know that's how you got Rei's voice activation for your video."

She looked up slightly meeting the younger woman's good eye. "I knew the day you returned this to me would mark the day that you'd really changed for the better and I'm really proud of you Asuka." She paused for a moment before speaking. "I have to ask though did you ever use it for the original purposes intended which I'm guessing might have something to do with those sexual dating VR simulations where you have to win over the AI man or woman before they sleep with you." Asuka shook her head. "No I never used it in that way though that was what I stole it for and I told Rei this as well as she had a right to know." Maya looked up slightly. "How did she take that?" Asuka breathed in deeply. "She was more understanding than I thought she'd be I fully expected her to get angry and I wouldn't have blamed her I mean what I doing was a breach of her privacy."

She paused feeling uncertain of her next words. "She's nicer to me than I deserve." Maya leaned closer. "What's really bothering you Asuka?" Asuka eased up her hands looking at them. "Does depression ever go away, does it get better? I mean I still feel sad on the inside despite feeling slightly happier on the outside. I just worry that the good feelings I get will vanish that it will all fall down and I'll just go back to being invisible." She took in a painful breath. She breathed in painfully. "I also wonder if the only reason people even care is because Bardiel is in my head, I mean what if once I get him out no one cares any more?"

Maya put her hands together. "It does get better Asuka, you have to believe me when I say that but it is slow and you will have difficult moments where you do despair and you question but it gets less over time." Asuka slowly pulled her patch off looking her in the face right now she'd rather she see her true face not her hidden one. "I feel really awful I remember when Shinji was so going through this and I just kept calling him a weak loser but it's awful it's like have such difficulty feeling your own emotions and sometimes there nothing beyond the pain and agony." Maya typed her panel bringing up the hologram screen pulling up a section of the training. "You know I saw what you did on the training field with that spear, you stopped it and sent it back." Asuka eyed the freeze frame. "What's so big a deal about that?"

Maya eyed the frozen image. "You do know only Rei and Shinji can do that right, the others can't?" She pointed at the screen. "Perhaps you shouldn't underestimate your potential Asuka." Asuka leaned against the table. "Maya I'm just a weapon that's all I've ever been, how is this going to impress anyone its not like Misato even cares, she never has she just sees me as a burden and a huge waste of time." Maya shook her head. "I know you don't trust her Asuka but maybe she might give you a second chance to shine."

Asuka felt a cold smile form. "Please she just sends me out to kill people it's mind numbing and painful." Maya looked up slightly. "You don't like killing people?" Asuka put her hands together. "I know its part of the job, at first I enjoyed it, I revealed in it but now I just have to close my ears to the screaming." She looked down sadly. "I get it they're the enemy, I get that we have to do it, it comes with the job but it just doesn't make it easier maybe because I know that every body is someone's son or daughter but maybe I'm just weak for thinking that way."

Maya eased her hand up putting it on her shoulder seeing the colours dim in her left eye. "It's not weak to have compassion Asuka, it makes you human no ones expects you to be made of stone, Rei hates it to so does Shinji, it just means your thinking like them. They've both gone through what you've been through and it's much easier to kill angels because they don't look human but it's an awful business killing our own. Nerv has a whole branch set up above me for male and female soldiers and special ops suffering from post traumatic stress, because they killed too many times and they have issues pulling the trigger, so its okay for you to feel this way, just don't bottle it up you have to come here and talk to me okay? I'm not your therapist I'm your friend."

She squeezed gently. "Plus we'll start your sessions tomorrow I mean I saw that your arts came in." Asuka looked down. "Yeah well like I said before I'm not that good." Maya leaned back pulling up one of her images which was a sketch of her under the bloody sea with Bardiel swimming around her in a circle. "I beg to differ I found this one curious since you don't swim in deep water."

Asuka eyed the image. "I'm not afraid of the bloody water, I never have been I mean it tastes sweet to me I've even swam under it into the deep waters, it's the blue water I can stand it's the smell the taste the feel red water doesn't feel like its compressing me. I, just don't tell people about the red water thing because they think I'm really strange and they say that it tastes of blood to them and it makes them sick." She leaned on her elbow. "In red water I feel like I've been there before I've felt it all my life, it's like déjà vu and as a child I used to have these dreams that I surfaced from it and crawled out on to a sandy beach and there were white statues breaching the surface miles away and every time I would role onto my back and look up in to this dark galaxy of stars with a bloody halo around the moon as if I was waiting for something like a new beginning like I was destined to restart some kind of clock."

She shook her head. "But its stupid they're just dreams and dreams never make sense and maybe it was just a delusion of grander that I think that I was ever that important, I mean people don't reset time it's impossible." Maya looked up slightly. "I think if it was me I'd be sad that it got to that place to start with, I mean what sorrow and pain could drive a person to want to reset time and start over?" Asuka looked up slightly. "I have no clue and that's why it unnerves me."


Misato took a bite of her out of her Mochi ice-cream she was seated up in the deliquescent cafe up on the twentieth floor as the Arcade she slowly turned the pages of the pilot's official photo book with her other hand which had every photo from the start of the program right up to the present day. Each pilot had a separate part and at the back were the group photos and at start of every section was a photo with there golden printed signature on it.

She turned finding Asuka's section seeing the childhood photos some which were very angry and others that were filled with ego and smirks they were happy and the entry plug interface clips were on even in school uniform photos. She turned the pages slowly seeing the years start to go by as Asuka's whole look changed her face becoming full of rage and anguish as the eighteen year mark drew to a close after the battle of Shamshel. The interface hair clips disappeared completely no longer showing themselves in her casual clothing which suddenly changed very drastically.

Where there had been flowing dresses jeans and t-shirts with logo designs on them were starting to appear and her pose had changed in that she wasn't looking so much at the camera but more offside in deep thought. She turned the page seeing the brown  leather jacket with its red stripes appear on her twentieth year photo and the pose had changed even more it wasn't exaggerated and her face was completely unreadable and it was the same in all of the photos including the plug suite ones.

She breathed in turning to the twenty first year though the photos showed more of a scowl of utter disinterest like she was clearly just going through the motions and just wasn't really trying. Though that year the photographer had clearly used it to make her look edgy by sitting her in most well known sitting pose with her arm on her knee and tried to get in really close on a couple of the facial portraits. She turned the final section which counted as three different photo shoots the first one there was a real change but the emotion reflected was anger but it wasn't like the other pictured it looked painful almost bitter and her eyes were hiding nothing.

She moved to the next ones which was just plain awful there was nothing there not in her face or eyes it was like someone had sucked the emotion out of her and she looked so tired like she was really struggling. This was clearly the on set before her depression had really started to kick in which meant that she'd been depressed for six months possibly more. She turned to the last set which were beyond awful she looked really sad and miserable in them and really spaced out it was all so obvious now yet she had missed it all.

Asuka had been depressed yet she'd still been able to get her Evangelion to move but then Shinji had been able to do this as well and they'd always been very similar in some respects. They could both clearly somehow force the more painful feelings down enough that it didn't effect the sync but it did explain why Asuka's had been getting lower over the last three years.

She flipped to the back eyeing the group photos noticing as well that through the years that Asuka's position was moving away from being central and more to the corner but there was something else more perplexing in the all off the last three years of photos no matter how miserable or sad she looked her eyes were always fixed on Rei it was always a distant longing gaze. She flipped back to the school ones seeing the one where Rei and Asuka had been pictured together though Rei didn't look happy she looked uncomfortable and Asuka had this leering smile on her face as she was bent over her. She flipped back to the recent photo's so much had changed Asuka was a different person now the images showed a transition of change and none of it which she'd ever really taken any notice of even when Asuka had been under her roof.

She had clearly become sad and unhappy over time and now she could see her moving out day all over again in her head when she'd hit twenty as she had literally stopped spending her money and saved it all for six months just so she could buy that house outright. Granted she'd already had savings as they had started paying all of the pilots once they hit sixteen but she had saved because she also wanted to refit the home she was going to live in so she'd saved more. She had taken no part in helping her look around houses like she had done for Shinji, Rei and even Kaworu hell she'd even gone with Mari and Toji to their homes just to check them over and give an opinion before they brought them.

She put a hand on her face realizing something horrible, she had never given Asuka a go away party she'd just taken it that she didn't want one as she hated social gatherings and at the time she'd just assumed she was being cold when in truth she was probably just thinking that no one gave a damn about her. It was properly were her idea that everyone hated her at Nerv had come from because even those closest didn't seem to care and Maya had to pick up the pieces. She flipped the pages finding the group photos again as Rei and Asuka had more photos together but more recent as they'd always been photographed side by side in some manner. She leaned closer to the last three which were plug suited ones seeing that Asuka was distant and very sad again but Rei was noticing as she was looking in her direction in both confusion and concern.

Kimi had said she'd tried to say she was ill and her emotions must have been really raw that day hence why she didn't want to be photographed yet she had always told the photographer that Asuka's attitude was naturally cagey and no concern. Yet this was a concern the photo shoot should never have happened and Asuka should have been allowed to leave and she should have been there that day she needed to get it so her photo's could be somehow be re-shot and the banner up in the visitor centre changed.

She flipped to the one off section at the back which showed relationship photos seeing the ones of Asuka and Shinji the so called golden couple as they'd been crowned at the time by the media and though the first one and the kiss photos looked happy the last ones didn't on any level they both looked miserable and distant a clear indicator that their relationship later down the line just wasn't happy. She had to do everything in her power to fix this and whatever it took. She had literally left Asuka to vultures in some respects the media thought she was joke and she felt she had hardly any friends and in her head she was probably just thinking right now that possibly the only reason anyone cared was because of Bardiel who had firmly seated himself in her brain it showed as to why she was clinging to Rei so desperately.

Because other than Maya she was her only link back to a world she was no longer part of and even then she didn't believe she deserved her as a girlfriend or lover. Because in her head she probably thought once she took the step she'd be rejected anyway because that was what always happened in her life so instead of following her heart she was playing it safe and accepting that friendship was enough despite that Rei was the one person who she loved very deeply and always had.

The feeling clearly went both ways though she couldn't speak fully for Rei her gut told her that she did love Asuka because she allowed her to touch her in a way she didn't others. The only person who she let hug her like that was Shinji but with Asuka she allowed so much more there was moment in the feed when Asuka had laid her head against her shoulder but had not hugged her and she had put her arms in place. There had been another moment where she'd literally frozen during the fight with Mari where Asuka had put a hand on her face it was just a gentle caress but it had been enough for Rei to be so overthrown that she lost focus and been deeply distracted.

She flipped the book finding the recent photos of Shinji and Kaworu catching that look of longing again through it was Shinji making the face this time and Kaworu seemed a little unaware. Though she wasn't quite sure as the most recent photo he was looking at him and the photo was framed with them hugging. Clearly he was in the same boat as Asuka in that he wasn't acting on his feelings and she knew why like Asuka he'd been spoon fed some awful homophobia growing up but unlike Asuka who had broken away from those restraints and come out he never had.

Also when she thought about it there had been a number of times in the past when he asked her questions about men being together but she'd flippantly shrugged off his questions telling him to ask Asuka about it, which he would have never done anyway because of the history between them and would have been afraid of starting a fight.

Rei on the other hand she had spoken to about sex but the younger woman had always seemed really uncomfortable about the topic and had tried any excuse to leave the room whenever it was brought up though she'd never let her leave until the conversation was over as she'd felt that they should all know about sex, consent and sexual protection be it birth control or using condoms.

There was something going on there but she's never been able to dig deeper because like Asuka Rei tended to but a barrier up when it came to her love life and relationships. She normally only spoke about them when she had split up with someone but again she never talked about why they left her only that she was disappointed, while Kaworu never really spoke any relationships he'd had at all and he never dated.

She put her hands together maybe she could help Asuka and Shinji now by pushing them both closer to the people they loved and cared about on and off field not just on missions. The last thing she wanted to do was make it look like she was openly interfering because Asuka would loose it outright if she thought for one second that she was being manipulated, Shinji was just the same and he always knew when he was being played as did Rei who could spot bullshit from a mile off. Where as Kaworu never seemed to mind as he was always so relaxed about everything and tended to go with things and didn't mind change.

It had to look accidental maybe she could get Kaji to type out some faulty fake report that it was some orders from above because Rei and Shinji never ever questioned reports from higher up. The only problem she'd have with that though again would be Asuka she was notorious for being very suspicious due of her nature of not trusting people.


Asuka calmly took a sip of her ice cold coke as she sat quietly inside the bar on twelfth at one of the small tables which had comfy chairs with her digital scroll propped up as she finished the image on it. There was quite music playing and people talking and eating the meals here which were mostly comfort foods, though it had a large bar inside and she could see the owner's pure white cat Pippin sleeping on the cat walk rafter high above as he'd made a tunnel for him along with a walkway so he could go anywhere in the bar.

Her gaze drifted up as she caught sight of Yuki as he entered the bar she looked at him for a moment in disgust before going back to her drawing. She wasn't going to make a scene even though a part of her just wanted to smash his verficktes face in but she wasn't here for him she was waiting for Rei to come down from the gym and that was more important to her. She carried on only to hear a hand hit her table she looked up slowly seeing that Yuki was standing over her smugly, he looked down eyeing her digital scroll as he spoke his voice thick with sarcasm. "Well if it's not the great Asuka Langley Soryu I heard this shitty rumour from above that you could actuality draw, just wanted to see for myself." Asuka eyed him speaking evenly. "Go away Yuki you're wasting precious oxygen that more decent people could use."

Yuki leaned closer speaking loudly so everyone could hear him. "Oh look the sassy disgusting bisexual bitch is trying to be funny." Asuka slowly closed her scroll locking it as she put her feet on the small square wooden table. "You're such a homophobic piece of scheisse, why don't you crawl back under that old world rock where you belong?" She felt a cold sneer form. "I mean you're part of a dying breed anyway."

Yuki slowly took hold of the tables other chair seating him self opposite. "You know it was really funny seeing you fall apart, clearly underneath all that so called metal you're really weak and pathetic." Asuka looked up as she spoke coldly. "Don't sit in that chair…it's not for you." Yuki smirked patting the padded chair. "Oh you mean this chair, oh I'm sorry is this for your little girlfriend Rei?"

Asuka felt one leg start to move back though Yuki was more focused on himself to notice. "Its Rei's chair yes though we are just friends." Yuki laughed as he raised his hand. "Personally I don't see the appeal she's such a worthless pilot they should kick her off the Evangelion program along with you." He felt a wide smile form as he leaned towards her. "I bet though she's a screamer in bed, I mean her cute body and ass and her childish looks is all she's got going for her." Asuka didn't think the action was automatic as she brought her foot forward smashing it full force in to his face causing him go flying backwards along with the chair.

She slowly got up walking over to him watching as he fell out of the chair which she calmly picked up carefully putting it back in place as she eyed Yuki who was bleeding out of the nose she'd clearly broken it. She leaned down grabbing him by his black collar yanking him up then slammed him back first into the bar holding him there ignoring his sudden panic. "It's extremely rude to make comments like that about a woman who is both clever, intelligent and deserves respect and who you clearly know nothing about, or to make inappropriate comments on her appearance and sex life."

She leaned closer showing off all her teeth as she snarled at him. "I'm going to let you go now Yuki but let me make this very clear to you, just so we understand each other. If you ever bad mouth Rei Ayanami to my face again I will break every verfickten bone in your body and I'll start from the top and I'll work my way down." She felt a sadistic grin form. "Believe me when I say having bones broken is very painful but it's an even more unpleasant experience having them reset." She let go of him violently watching as he fell to the floor on his knees. "Now get out." She watched as the owner Rufus walked over leaning over the counter. "You heard her leave, before I kick you out myself!"

Asuka watched as Yuki struggled to his feet leaving via the double doors she turned to Rufus who was a large man with heavy set features in his late fifties with short black hair. "Thanks." Rufus eased up a beer mug as he started to clean it. "No problem Asuka." Asuka slowly sat back down opening her digital scroll again as she carried on drawing ignoring the surprised looks she was getting from the Nerv staff.

She looked up as the doors opened as Rei appeared catching sight of her a look of confusion appearing on her face as she spoke calmly. "Asuka did you just break Yuki's nose because I just saw him leaving here and he did not look happy?" Asuka fidgeted slightly. "He was being rude I corrected him."

Rufus felt a smile form as he looked at Rei. "I think Asuka is being far too modest in her retelling of the story, Yuki was saying some really offensive thing about you Rei to which Asuka defended your honour and broke his face." His smile widened. "She also called you clever, intelligent and deserving of his respect." Asuka suddenly felt very uncomfortable she could feel herself fidgeting as she tried to hide behind her digital scroll as Rei's face turned to a wide smile as she dropped her gym bag next to the chair opposite looking down at her.

Rei eyed Asuka who suddenly looked like a little kid who'd been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. "Really Asuka, you said that?" Asuka spoke meekly as she turned away trying not to make eye contact. "Yes." Rei leaned over easing up her hand putting it under Asuka's chin turning her face around so she could see her good eye. "That was very sweet off you Asuka." She leaned forward giving her a gentle kiss on the cheek. "Thank you."

She slowly sat down easing her hand away watching as Asuka dropped her pen because she was no longer paying attention she just staring at her good eye which was open wide it was a look of pure innocence without any barriers. She suddenly snapped out of her haze looking around her in a confused manner as she spoke very quietly. "My pen…I dropped my pen." Rei smiled leaning down picking up slowly handing it to her. "Here you go." She turned noticing that everyone was staring she knew why Asuka always had that thing about her that she was never phased by anything but she'd just shown everyone otherwise.

She watched as the other woman took the pen from her hand clicking it to its holder as she closed her digital scroll locking it trying her best to regain her composer she took hold of the menu handing her the spare one. "What would you like to eat Asuka, I'm happy to pay this time?" Asuka pulled on her leather collar wishing that it wasn't so hot all of a sudden before eyeing the menu. "Technically I didn't pay the last time they made our meals free." Rei looked at her. "Well I would still like to pay since this was the first time I've had someone other than my brother defend my honour."

Asuka looked down leaning on her elbow, was this for real? Did she just kiss her or was she still in coma was she going to wake up and find that none of this was real and all in her head? She pulled her leather jacket off in annoyance she couldn't stand the heat anymore. "Why isn't the air conditioning on in this place?" Rei eyed her watching this was by far the sweetest thing she'd ever seen in her life, she really thrown Asuka through a loop and she looked so charming trying to desperately recompose herself as she took a drink of cold coke trying to focus only on the menu. She watched as Rufus walked over looked up as he spoke calmly in her direction. "Can I get you a drink?"

End of part 32


Chapter Text


Misato eyed all the pilots she'd brought them up to the planning room they had all had there lunch so those who were going out would be ready. She eyed Asuka who wasn't really paying any attention she was drawing on her digital scroll while Rei was seated opposite watching her though she was unaware of it. Mari had her feet on the table and was playing an app on her new phone she was seated opposite Toji. Shinji and Kaworu were seated next to each other ironically Shinji was sketching as well but in his sketchpad with a pencil as he always did, though he was curiously glancing over at Asuka trying to see what she was drawing.

When he had visited with Kaworu she'd told them that Asuka could draw but that her style was very different to his and almost a complete reverse to his art which was very soft and warm in its colours and he very much preferred old mediums like pencils and acrylic paints. Where as hers was all digital and very dark and vibrant in its colours with really elaborate illustrative details.

They were all ready to get out on mission again and most of them would spend this whole afternoon out as they really needed to start working again before people got annoyed. They had, had to play on Asuka's recovery for the delay because she was used so often and people up to now had brought this. She really hoping that her plan was going to work and she would have to give Kaji her thanks because he'd pulled off her request in less than an hour.

She eased up the fake official document. "Okay sorry that I had to rush some of you in to plug suites but you all knew today would be the day that you had to go out. All of your weapons have been loaded with real bullets and a flying wing will shadow you along with the airborne camera drone." She breathed in deeply. "There have been some changes to the roaster which I'm going to read out now."

She looked up. "Mari you're going to shadow the UN fleet to Singapore, as per usual you'll be provided breakfast once you land because it's a very long trip and slow going because the fleet can only go so fast. I should warn you though that Admiral Constantine is a rather hard nosed woman who like her predecessor Reinhold or old walrus face as we used to call him hated the Evangelion program and views them as expensive children's toys. She's also desperate for a chunk of Nerv's profit so they can outfit the battle fleet, which we will give her after Toji's Evangelion surfaces because the UN fleet brought the plating parts over from the China division but up until then they get nothing." Mari sat up. "Wait you're sending me in Asuka's place?" She turned eyeing Asuka who still wasn't paying attention. "Hey princess, hear that shit there demoting you!"

She breathed in annoyance seeing that Asuka still wasn't paying attention. "What is her fucking problem lately? All she does now is space out and draw on that shitty digital scroll, its not like she can draw anyway." Shinji turned to her. "Back off Mari she used to draw in school I remember, i'ts just we all thought she'd given it up but she never did." Rei turned eyeing Mari. "She's really good, so stop being so petty."

Misato eyed them as she moved to Asuka's table slamming her hand down on it hard causing her to look up sharply. "Asuka!" Asuka eyed her cracking her digital scroll shut in a lightning fast motion. "What!?" Misato ignored her scowl as she eyed the document. "You're going with Rei to Saudi Arabia and the synthetic oil fields you'll be her guard while she fixes their machine." Asuka looked at her for a long moment her good eye suddenly filling with confusion. "Since when do I get sent as a guard others than when it concerns killing people?" Misato eyed the document. "Since today, the orders are from above." Asuka eyed her. "This is a joke right? I mean Ritsuko hates my guts and she thinks I'm verfickte incompetent it's why I never get anything interesting to do other than soak the streets in people's blood." Misato pulled the document around. "It's an official document Asuka check it yourself."

Asuka snatched it from her hand she eyed it for a long moment before handing it back. "This is so stupid I bet you got Kaji to make this." Misato turned hating that Asuka had just figured her out, she leaned against her desk knowing she had only one other card to play here. "Forging Nerv documents is illegal Asuka we both know that and I think you and I both know I wouldn't break that rule for a roaster I mean that would be plain stupid right?" She felt a wide smile form. "Plus I'm sure Rei would love your company."

Rei put her hands together meeting Asuka's good eye watching as it softened. "Yes I would enjoy your company Asuka." Asuka felt a slight smile form. "Well then I'll be happy to go." Mari put her phone down as she folded her arms. "You know watching you two make eyes at each other, is really fucking nauseating." Misato turned to Shinji and Kaworu. "You're both going to Russia to pick up the military packages then you're going to drop them off in Australia but this will be the day after tomorrow you can pick between you who will shadow as you're both good with rifles." She watched as Shinji's face turned to a full on smile as he looked at Kaworu who smiled back.

She turned to Toji who was in his plug suite. "It would also appear that your day has finally come." Toji blinked in confusion. "What do you mean?" Misato felt a wide smile form. "You are about to join the elite ranks, your Evangelion is now complete it will be revealed to the world in two days. Maya is going to take down to the restricted zone granted it's not the building bay but it's as close as you'll ever get to it. They want to run tests with you seated in your entry plug inside it's the normal things move the arms the legs the jaw bend down. Just make sure its all running and you'll do this everyday up to the grand reveal as the Magnus Pillar will be brought up to the surface, you'll be alone it will be completely your own show and the flying wings will show off your weapons."

Toji put his hands together. "The Magnus Pillar I've seen that it's so cool, doesn't it rotate?" Misato looked at him. "Yes it can rotate you a hundred and sixty degrees above the crowds and it's always brought up close to Tokyo Three and there were fire works going off behind you. That's why you're going through the tests downstairs they simulate the pillar and the specialists can iron out the kinks and this morning we installed all of the new software in the entry plugs including yours so you'll be fully up to date and you will need to test your wing attachment below as well because the crowds will want to see it."

Toji stood up. "This is so awesome!" She put her hand on his shoulder. "Go on now you don't want you to be late." She eyed Mari. "You to." She eyed Asuka and Rei. "You as well you do not want to keep them waiting out on the oil field." She smirked as Rei got up grabbing Asuka's hand pulling her towards the door with utter glee as the others ran in opposite directions to them. She turned eyeing Shinji who was finding this very amusing she put a hand on his shoulder. "I don't think I've seen your sister look happy that she going out on a mission."

Shinji eyeing Asuka's digital scroll which she'd left behind because Rei had pulled her up so fast. "Em…Misato should we, its just I'm really curious?" Misato leaned over picking it up. "I'm sure she won't mind." Kaworu leaned over. "I wouldn't normally partake in this kind of thing, but I am rather curious to, I mean I did ask her once when she lived with us if she had a creative talent but she said no."

Misato slowly opened the scroll hoping that Asuka hadn't password protected it. She watched as it turned on revealing a half finished picture of a strange tiger face which had a blazing white left eye and stripes only the left side was finished not the right. She flicked her fingers going backwards seeing a really close up of Bardiel moving towards the viewer on a snowy jagged ice plane with the red sea in the distance. "He's ugly as sin and don't know how she puts up with him."

Kaworu moved his finger to the image. "He looks somewhat like an Evangelion without armour accept for the longer jaws and teeth which are more like a shark's and that long lashing tail and his strange lycanthrope body with its hands and feet." Misato eyed the image. "Yeah it does you're right even the eyes are in the same place as unit 01's when it's got no armoured face plate on accept their glowing red." She flicked back through the others only to suddenly to stop dead in her tracks.

All of Asuka's images were normally very dark and edgy but this one though was the complete reverse and it was a portrait not a landscape, it was Rei's face there was no mistaking it she was painted looking downwards smiling all in light colour's it was like a goddess painting showing shoulders and head and really fine details even the weaving of her bodice top it was so gentle and the green eyes were painted in soft pastel tones with soft flowing lines.

Kaworu eyed the digital painting. "Well her mouth might not utter the words of love but this drawing speaks those words in volumes." Shinji eyed the image as something hit him it was a memory from long ago when they were in school. "I swear I saw her drawing Rei once from her desk at school it was an image of her staring out the window but at the time I never thought anything of it and she got kind of nasty when I confronted her over it." He eyed the image. "She really loves her." Misato leaned closer. "This is absolutely beautiful."

She picked up her phone. "I've got to copy this Maya and Kaji have just got to see it." Shinji eyed her. "You know I don't think that's a good idea." Misato eyed him. "What you don't agree that they should see this?" She tried to do a swipe copy only for the image to suddenly vanish as an animated orange demon wolf head with two sets of horns and wolf ears appeared flaring its curved teeth as it spoke its green eyes blinking. "You are not authorized to copy this file and what your doing is referred to in the dictionary as stealing."

The digital scroll turned off forcing itself it to lock mode at lightning speed. Shinji looked up. "Because Anneberg her AI demon will kick you out." Misato rolled her eyes. "I hate her damn demon!" She folded her arms. "Tried to hack him a year ago when she went to visit her grandmother for a holiday ,got nowhere." Shinji eyed her. "Why were you trying to hack him?" Misato breathed in deeply. "Look it's not what you think I wasn't interested in her private files, I just wanted to know how she created him in the first place because she's not a coder like Mari and he's really sharp."

Shinji felt a smile form. "He's an AI learning personality, he's like a pet but with high intelligence like Pen Pen she basically brought him up like as if he was a small child, she's never altered his code and she just taught him right from wrong. The animations are how he wanted to look not how she made him and he picked his own voice even his own gender."

He raised his hand. "I've seen him call her phone and talk to her it's like she's having a conversation with a real person. There's basically a hard drive area on her games machine where he can do what ever he wants it's like his virtual reality play pen and computer is never switched off fully so he just spends hours a day learning, all she asks of him is that he keep people out of her personal items and blocks any one trying to get in." Misato breathed in deeply. "The woman feels like she has no real friends around so she makes one…" Shinji looked up. "I don't think it's quite like that." Misato eyed him. "No I think it is."

She looked down sadly. "I recently saw her banner image up in the visitor centre she looked so damn depressed I need to somehow talk her back into getting that re-shot the current one just shouldn't be there and it's my fault that it ended up there I never checked her images and these images ended up in the books as well." Shinji looked up sharply. "They said they weren't going to use any of those images in the books they stated that to her openly that other than the group photos which weren't so bad her main images wouldn't make any of the books. I mean she was not right that day at all Rei was starting to get really worried about her towards the end and she also starting to get really hostile and she's not normally like that during photo shoots and we knew she wasn't sick and we did try to talk to her but she just shut us out."

Misato felt the anger start to burn as she pulled out the photo book putting it in front of him. "Yeah well it seems they lied they're all in here." She looked up slightly. "I swear to the gods that someone in Nerv is trying to screw her over, first her plug suite now this shit." Kaworu opened the book looking at it for long moment. "I have a valid thought that this could be a deconstruction exercise?" Misato eyed him. "What do you mean by that?"

Kaworu eyed the photos. "Well if you want to destroy someone first you destroy their image, which with Asuka has already been done to a degree, then when they're at their most weakest you start to shall we say punish them when its harder for them to fight back, so they loose all faith in themselves your end game can be one of two things. They commit suicide which she almost did which would have shaken the foundation of the program itself, because a death like that can't be swept under the rug. Too many questions come up and the divisions question the programs solidarity and how it treats pilots and the sponsors pull out and its hurts Nerv reputation."

He turned slightly. "Or whoever is doing this, desperately wants her to defect and they want to make her feel that she has no value here and that there is no light at the end of the tunnel and Asuka being depressed as she has been just makes it easier for them. Because maybe they feel that she might cave in. Even now there are probably still thinking this because she only connects with Rei and they could twist that against her if they become a couple because Asuka lacks confidence in her own value."

Misato eyed him. "I'll keep that in mind Kaworu." She breathed in deeply. "Now I need to get down to central dogma to watch Mari, Rei and Asuka on the screens." She eyed them both. "Can you put Mari's phone and Asuka's digital scroll back in the wreck room?" She eyed the photo book. "Don't let Asuka find that book, it might end up being thrown out of a window from a high point or burnt she might be slightly better mood wise but I think given the chance her temper will surface." Shinji eyed the book. "We will both do that and don't worry she won't find it." Misato eyed Asuka's digital scroll again. "I swear I'm going to get Maya to get Asuka to release that image even if it kills me. Because it's not appeared so far in any of the images sets she's sent and that should be put up in the visitors centre for everyone to see including Rei she would be blown away by it."


Asuka felt the impact as her unit's huge clawed feet hit the yellow desert floor causing sand to be blown upwards around her. She looked up seeing Rei hit the floor opposite in 00 which slowly refolded its huge blue wings back inside the wing case. She slowly refolded her own watching as Rei moved forward she followed her walking her unit forward on all fours as she eyed the huge machine which was like a massive cylinder with hundreds of outer firing rods that hit the bottom section created oil.

There were huge bucket sections that came out higher above which dropped mineral deposits and it was one of these which kept getting stuck. The machine was so big that two Evangelion's could crawl down it no problem and there would still be room for them to move around each other the whole thing through had been completely shut down.

She watched as an Arabic man in modern clothes came running out of the huge white building opposite he had on a builder's hard hat and a radio he looked up waving at them. "You're finally here!" Rei looked down. "Hello Hashim, I hope you're doing well." The older man smiled at her. "Hello Rei it's so good to see you again I hope your brother's doing well." Rei felt a smile form as she spoke over the com. "He sends his regards and thanks for the wonderful meal you cooked for him last time he was here you are a most gifted cook." Hashim looked up at the huge red unit opposite which was on all fours. "You brought Asuka Langley with you!"

Rei turned her unit to look at Asuka's. "Say hello Asuka this is Hashim." Asuka felt herself fidget nervously. "Hi." Hashim looked up. "If we get time you'll have to give us a photo for our wall here, we have photos of all the other pilots well accept Toji but we'll get him sooner or later." Rei walked her unit over to the huge cylinder looking down wards. "I assume it's the same part again becoming stuck?" Hashim nodded as he looked up. "Does it every time and it's impossible for our equipment to pull it back out."

Asuka watched as Rei lowered herself down climbing the cylinder with her unit she clearly done this countless times because she did it with a sense of ease. "She pulled the big gun free from her units back holder pulling her unit up onto its hind legs as she took up point close to machine she paused eyeing the contraption again as she leaned over watching as Rei started to use her units full weight to try and kick the huge moving bucket back into place. She slowly brought up her panel typing. "Can someone give me a three dimensional layout for this design?" Misato's voice came filled with confusion. "Why do you need one?" Asuka breathed in deeply. "Look can you just give it me I just want to look it over."

Misato breathed in as she looked at three huge floating hologram screens which were currently showing the three Evangelion all in there separate locations including the test bay bellow. Everyone was at there panels, Maya, Kaji, Shigeru and Makoto. Gendo and Ritsuko weren't here but then they were never present unless they were fighting angels this kind of thing they viewed as trivial and not important enough to warrant their attention.

She turned watching as Ritsuko burst in through one of the doors the anger in her eyes as she looked at Asuka and Rei's screen. "You sent Asuka out on a mission?!" Misato ignored her as she turned to Maya. "Send Asuka what she wants." Maya nodded as she turned back to her holographic panel. "I'm sending the designs to you now Asuka." Ritsuko sneered as she eyed Misato. "We don't send her places because she's screws up, or have you forgotten that?!"

Misato kept her arms folded eyeing her coldly. "You know I'm very busy right now I have to keep my eye on three Evangelion's and I don't burst in on you when you're trying to work!" Ritsuko eyed her raising her hand pointing it at the screen. "Have you forgotten that the trigger happy German moron blew up billions at an iron works once? We spent three weeks cleaning up her mess and that's not to mention the compensation!"

She eyed the first screen ignoring the other two screens. "Now you're sending her to the oil fields of all places all she has to do is set fire to the huge building offside and she'll burn away trillions in synthetic oil and our investors pay us very highly to ensure that, that place is always running!" Kaji turned slightly. "To be fair she destroyed the iron works back when she was sixteen she's twenty three now and far more experienced." Ritsuko felt a cold sneer form. "I didn't ask for your opinion Kaji!"

Misato eyed Asuka who was now edging her unit to look over with the machine with a more keen interest. "I felt she deserved a second chance, you've been running her and treating her as a weapon for far too long it may have also been a factor in her depression." Maya turned eyeing Ritsuko. "She doesn't enjoy it anymore she stated it openly to me this morning and I don't know what you're complaining about we have Mari shadowing the UN fleet right now Asuka trained her that's was the last year was all about taking pressure of Asuka's shoulders." Ritsuko folded her arms. "This is pathetic." Maya turned looking her straight in the eyes. "Before Asuka was put inside your stupid machine she had been contemplating suicide Bardiel told us that! Granted he was driving her crazy but before he entered her mind she already been depressed for over six months and none of us even saw it, not even me."

She breathed in painful. "She hid it from all of us because she assumed no one cared and no one would help her!" Misato eyed Ritsuko feeling a cold sneer form on her lips. "Not to mention that her plug suite was sabotaged and somehow all her bad images from the recent photos shoots made it into the books." She stepped closer to the blonde haired woman. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that now would you Ritsuko? I mean you know since you seemed to get such a kick out of smashing her with a clip board and trying to microwave her brain."

Ritsuko eyed her in disgust. "Please I had nothing to do with what you're implying!" Misato moved even closer not caring that she was now inside her personal space. "For once I really hope you're being honest with me, because if she had blown her own brains out with her family heirloom all this money and power you talk about would have meant very little. Because it would have brought the whole program into question pilots dying in war is one thing, them ending there own lives in that way is quite another and the first priority of the Evangelion program is the pilots well being and mental health because they're so limited and the mental discipline is so hard."

Ritsuko laughed coldly as she eyed her. "Says the woman who tried to play her cool mum for some years but as soon as she moved out never visited her once and did nothing but complain during her teens and adulthood about how much an annoying, egotistic asshole she was to everyone including the press and media."

She eyed Maya. "It's little wonder she became close to you, she probably needed the pity sex just to keep going." Maya smashed her fist down on her panel. "I have never slept with her! She's my friend and we respect each other." Ritsuko turned back eyeing Misato. "Think what you will of me but I wouldn't go out of my way to ruin Asuka in that way because I don't have to I mean you did a bang up job of that all by yourself." She raised her ringed finger. "Now you're just doing what you always do which is when things get hard and you have to face the truth that you made mistakes or didn't measure up, you're trying to pass on the blame. Because unlike Shinji, Rei and Kaworu, Asuka's the one you failed with and who you tried to shove onto other people when it got too hard for you."

She eyed her. "Kyoko was an insurable bitch but she had standards and a high moral compass and if she was alive right now she would have buried you and she had a foul fucking temper to. Though unlike her daughter it only surfaced in moments of true anger and rage when she felt that others were being treated unfairly, hence why she sided with Yui and Kiko against me." She folded her arms. "You should sit and contemplate on that for a while before you try to blame me for your screw ups!"


Asuka leaned over the cylinder again. "Rei, can I take a look at that?" Rei moved her unit up slightly. "You think you know what's wrong?" Asuka watched as she got out she turned throwing her, her big gun watching as she caught it. "Yeah I think I might." She slowly moved her unit downwards using her oddly clawed feet and hands to grip it. "Just be careful with the knock back on my big gun and the hand position is a little funny."

She slowly twisted herself around keeping her hold solid as she wrapped her tails around for extra grip. "The problems not the moving bucket there's something wrong inside, I think it's getting wedged because some part is broken." She slowly took hold of the huge metal screws as she started to turn them opening the inside cylinder so she could look inside. "Who built this piece of scheisse?" Hashim voice suddenly came over the speaker. "It was manufactured in five countries it's meant to be top of the range and it was specially built so that your Evangelion's could monitor it and repair it."

Asuka pulled out her unit's long tongue circling around the faulty part which was a massively bent power coil she yanked it out keeping it in her units mouth. "Yeah well whoever gave you the power coils gave you a faulty one its not that your moving bucket is stuck its loosing power and locking, do you have another coil?" Hashim voice came again filled with curiosity. "No not currently and it'll take them three weeks to ship in a new one as they are such a massive size."

Asuka looked up. "Do you have any ultra high powered cable?" She eyed the open section. "It's just I can use it to draw power from your two other coils I just need a converter piece, it will be a temporary fix and then I can come back and do the full fix once your coil gets here" Hashim voice came again filled with interest. "I have all those parts you can do this though I mean they didn't tell us that you understood this kind of thing over at Nerv?" Asuka eased the faulty coil out of her unit's mouth throwing it up watching as it landed opposite Rei who was still holding up her gun she watched as the parts were lowered down to her by the workers using the huge automated lift which could go up and down opposite the cylinder.

Rei's voice hit the air. "Asuka has a degree in engineering and mechanics Hashim, she creates motorbikes from scratch in her garage, you know the Trident well she's got one and it's all built from the ground up." Hashim's voice came again filled with surprise. "Really you have a hand built Trident?" Asuka slowly used her unit's clawed fingers to pull the power cable and lock it on both coils on either side as she wired them to the power converter using its locks to hold the wire solid as the lift went back up behind her. "Yes I do but it's all the same really no matter what the size cars, motorbikes it's just the parts get bigger and bigger." She pushed the huge converter down locking it into a special grove which had clearly been made for it.

She forced the special wire covers over so the cables would be protected from heat from the other power coils then carefully locked it all shut. Rei's voice came again though it sounded very happy. "I feel Asuka's being far too modest Hashim." Asuka slowly pulled herself out of the cylinder looking down before leaping off. "Try it now your software should compensate for the power flow, I mean it looks like your machine was made so it could have this fix if necessary." Hashim's voice came again as he signalled to the building oppos