Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ The Second Child / Promises To Keep ❯ Alienation, Catharsis / A House Divided ( Chapter 2 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Neo Genesis Evangelion: Apocrypha
The Second Child - Promises To Keep

Part 2 - Alienation, Catharsis / A House Divided

(... continued)

A voice in the void. Rei Ayanami speaks.

"The Dead Sea Scrolls foretold the appearance of the last two
children of the last generation of Earth. That the fatal
sacrifice of one child would drive the other child to despair,
and would trigger the end of existence."

"The Scrolls foretold that this would be witnessed by
the last Angel, to watch over the last shards of their
broken hearts, of which nothing would be left but for the
last Children's lonely tears by the empty waters of Babylon."

"The Scrolls foretold, in Job's prophecy, that the End
could be averted by the faith of that last man, and the
love of that last woman. That their promise to each other,
made through the presence of the last Angel, would reopen the
doors to the Room of the Guf."

"SEELE, in their grand blasphemy, and seeking to prevent
Redemption, saw to it that the fate of the world would hinge
on these tormented children, these three imperfect sinners...
on a boy with no faith, on a girl who would scorn love, in the
presence of a powerless Angel, a lifeless clone who embodied a
hollow shell of a promise, a broken man's perverted hope."


From the void, Kyoko's voice, sad and forlorn.

"Your father has left us, Asuka."

A hollow voice dripping with heartbreak.

Then Touji's voice, young and mocking.

"Eh? The newlyweds are at it again."

Asuka opens her eyes and finds herself standing alone on a familiar
train platform. Feeling disoriented, she places a cellphone in a
pocket of her school uniform, and looks around nonchalantly,
unmindful of the woman's voice on the PA system, and the metallic
clanking of a slowing train nearby. Suddenly her eyes go wide as
she spots two figures on the opposite platform, and her face
transforms into an angry scowl.

"Well, it looks like he survived after all. And look who he goes
to first."

On the opposite platform, the Third Child whispers something to
Rei, and he smiles.

Unaware of the Second Child's glare in the distance behind him.

A thought turns suddenly inside Asuka's mind, bringing with it a
shifting memory. Hikari's voice.

"Rei likes him, doesn't she?"

"Wonder Girl? No, she's even more dense than Shinji, I can
tell you that."

"What do you see in him?"

A thought turns in her head, and she tries to shake it off, her
cheeks burning with new heat.

She turns around to run away, and sees train doors opening in front
of her. She hurries in, then as the train starts moving away from
the platform, she reluctantly turns to look back out the window.

Only Rei, staring silently out into space, is left on the receding
platform. She turns her head in Asuka's direction, and their eyes
momentarily meet.

"Where is he?", she thinks. Ignoring the city lights whizzing by,
Asuka stares at her reflection in the clear glass window. The whirr
of the air conditioning and the mechanical clunks as the train moves
over the tracks are the only sounds reaching her ears.
Minutes pass. She is alone in the train car, yet as she stares at
her reflection, she suddenly notices his reflection sitting next to
hers. A stray thought brushes her mind, as if she has somehow
strayed into his private, solitary refuge. She brushes the thought

She turns to face him down, and frowns. Unsettled. Her mind flailing
about for answers, but unwilling to show her fear.

"Why are you here, Third Child?"

He sits there silently, head bowed, eyes hidden, slowly clenching
and unclenching his right hand. A memory flashes in her mind. He
was screaming her name, calling for her. She grows more unsettled.

"Why did you call for me? Look at me!"

The boy doesn't reply. He stares ahead, eyes blank. Almost
catatonic. Like one trapped in a dream. Or imprisoned in a
nightmare. A mind that sees nothing of the world beyond the
looking glass of his eyes. A chill runs down the girl's

"What do you want?"

The boy's lips silently form her name, but no sound comes out.

"Don't you want me to be here? Don't you want me..."


What did you just ask him, she thinks to herself, trembling.

A memory flashes in her mind. Back in the NERV staging area.
Of a red Eva being brought down with a useless dispensable pilot.
Of a purple Eva hurtling up the catapult to Rei's rescue.

("Why her? Am I so worthless to you, that you couldn't do
this for me?")

("You love this doll more than you do me, Momma?")

("No! I know better now! But this one isn't about her...")

Another memory assails her. A memory of a desperate battle
against the Eva series. Of a futile hope for help from a boy
she wasn't sure cared enough to go to her.

("Where is that moron Shinji!? I wait for him and he doesn't come!")

Of how he came too late.

She shakes her head, warding off the bitter memory. They are back in
the train, facing each other now. She rises and confronts him,
pushing her face inches away from his own, as her eyes blaze

"Why won't you help me? Do you hate me this much?"

Silence. A lavender scent wafts up from his collar. Misato's
perfume. The same perfume she had once smelled on Kaji.
Trembling, she closes her eyes, murmuring.

"Why? Do I mean nothing to you..."

Kaji's voice reverberates in her head: "Not now Asuka... You're
still a child." Misato's voice: "No, you shouldn't have it... it's
not for children." Asuka: "But I'm old enough! So look at me!"
Shinji: "Here I come!"

Another memory stirs through her mind, twisting and turning.
Sounds of cello music. Her applause. The kitchen in Misato's
apartment, their home. Asuka staring at him, her eyes distant
and pensive. Shinji approaching for their first kiss. Only it isn't
Asuka he kisses, but a saucy brunette in a red jacket. Misato,
holding his cheeks in her hands, kisses Shinji full on the mouth,
clutching him closer, holding their kiss for a long tender moment.

Asuka stares at them, mouth locked open in shock. Misato finally
releases the boy from her kiss, grabs him in a fervent embrace.
They're not in Misato's apartment anymore, but by Shinji's entry
plug, after the encounter with the Angel Reliel, when Misato had
arrived ahead of Asuka to his side. As she stares, Shinji's face
changes to Kaji's, then back again to Shinji's. And in a few moments
the man/boy and Misato are lying naked in bed, Misato's feet
rising lustily up into the air as the man/boy thrusts
passionately into her. Asuka averts her gaze, red with anger and
embarrassment, and stares dully at a solitary electric fan.
Shinji's voice comes to her, apologetic, "Asuka...?"

She turns to look back at him, only now to find him quiescent on
his back, with Rei naked and straddled against him, her hands
carressing his bare chest. "Won't you be one with me, Asuka?"
he whispers. "It would be nice..."

"Geez, the sight of you makes me sick!" she yells angrily at him.

"I'm sorry... I'll go away now." he whispers sadly back. "Farewell."
And he disappears.

"You don't know what I want... moron..." she whispers in a choking

A memory of her pained voice from her encounter with Arael, a
memory of herself kneeling behind a closed sliding door, shoots
through her mind: "What are you doing here? You won't help me...
You won't even hold me! I don't need you! Nobody!"

Then Asuka and Shinji are back on the train. Shivering, she opens
her eyes, just in time to see images of Rei and Misato, blue and
red shadows, fading into the air behind a pensive Shinji. She
glares, clenches her fist, growls.

"I see, so that's it... Idiot... you womanizing pervert!...
you just want to use me... I never should have kissed you...
go ahead, enjoy them... I'll just stand here and watch you..."

She leans closer to him, raises her foot on the seat by his side,
nearly straddling him, his eyes inches from her bosom, her body
this close arrogantly mocking his discomfiture, his body tensing
at the dizzying sight and smell and nearness of her. She glares,
cruel, eyes cold yet burning with anger, and she whispers hoarsely
into his face.

"If I can't have you all to myself, then I don't want you."

(Rei, watching from behind Asuka, gasps in shock as she hears
two AT fields snap, for just a brief instant. The First Child
senses her two co-pilots' ego boundaries cross into each other in
that instant, and their Instrumentality dreamworlds merge into one.
But it only lasts for a moment, as Asuka withdraws, unknowingly
forcing her AT field back shut.)

Asuka finds herself momentarily dazed, her ears buzzing, her
mind drowning in the boy's self-revulsion, her mind struggling
to catch a disturbing strand of thought, trying to put words
to it, as a new image stirs inside her mind...

"So what? You're nothing to me, just a thing to feed my
adolescent fantasies." A hollow male voice, the Third Child
staring down at her as she lies in a coma in her hospital bed.
A strange, urgent look in his eyes, of inward self-hate and
outward, raging lust... and she feels Shinji's mind
desperately yank the memory away from hers, pushing her
consciousness back inside the train, where she still
stands in front of him.

Her face freezes in pained disbelief until she finally hears a
whimpering whisper from the boy.

"I'm... I'm sorry. I'm the lowest of the low..."

Her composure finally breaks, and she yells at him furiously,

"Idiot! You're pathetic! A coward! Wimp! How could you!
How could you! I never needed you! I would rather die than
be with you! I hate you! I hate you!!"

He's shaking madly, head bowed, words rushing out, rising.

"I'm scum. I know. This is all I'm good for! I'm worthless!
I'm not even good enough to take Kaji's place
as a toy, for you or for Misato. You only want me because no
other guy can stand you, because I let you push me around,
because you hate Rei, because Misato beat you to Kaji!"

"Why, you-"

"It's true, isn't it!? I was just a toy you threw away when you found
out we couldn't kiss right! Well, why don't you just go back to Kaji,
feed your big swelling gaijin ego, at least he won't spoil your dance,
won't ever beat your damn useless sync ratio, won't apologize, won't
choke on you, won't disgust you- "

"I hate you!!"

She slaps him. Hard. Her hands lash out, tightening around his
throat, shaking him like a doll. They crash to the floor.

And the next thing she knows she is in a murderous frenzy, breaking
the neck, not of Shinji, but of a limp, fragmenting effigy of him. Blood
splatters on the train windows.

"... help me... don't ... kill me... "

And Asuka wakens from her rage with a convulsive, heart-rending

Shinji's disembodied voice whispers in her mind, "... but I was
just like you... even though this was what I turned into, when
you left and I... and I betrayed you... and became hollow shell of
a human being... but I was hollow to your eyes even before then,
wasn't I..."

Asuka collapses, kneeling on the floor, hands shaking. Eyes wide
open, distant, pained, unbelieving. She cringes at the shredded
cloth and wet bloodied stuffing on the floor. She stares at the
palms of her hands, stained red, and she closes her eyes, and
shivers, unable to stop herself from shedding tears.

"Mein Gott... I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."

She feels his presence in her mind shrinking away in anger.

"Liar! Why... do you have to be so ambiguous!" he yells.

"Where... you're... Go to hell, Ikari..."

"I will... I have to..."

"No... wait..."

The image of the doll fades, disappears. The train lights blink
out and die. The passing city lights outside barely illuminate
the scene inside the impassively moving train.

In the semi-darkness, only the sound of the train rolling
through breaks in the tracks, and the girl's soft muffled
sobbing, can be heard.

"Damn you Ikari... what happened to you, what the hell did
they do to you... I'm... I'm sorry... so sorry..."

For a long time, it seems, the train moves on, unmindful
of its lone passenger's existence.

Asuka hears footsteps. Rei's voice quietly cuts through
the silent shadows.

"Did you really try to understand him?"

"... I don't care."

"Do you really?"

"He's too stupid to understand me anyway..."

"Are you disappointed in him?"

"The moron hates himself too much for my opinion to matter..."

"You kept pushing him away."

"I... I won't let someone like him hurt me... like my
parents did..."

"Yet he still hurt you? Even when he was doing nothing?"

"It's too easy to die in the Eva. I couldn't depend on him, the
weakling. I mean, he didn't even want to be in it!"

"And this mattered to you?"

"It shouldn't!... We're Eva pilots! He and Hikari cared for Touji,
and look what pain it got them..."

"Didn't Kaji matter more to you in that way?"

"Yes, but he was different. He was Misato's. He was unreachable,
so he was safe. Not like... not like this idiot..."

"You denied that anyone could matter to you... Is this why you
wouldn't even let Shinji know, that time you checked on him
in the hospital after Leliel?"

"I shouldn't have to care... especially him..."

"Yet you kept minding him so. Is this why you lost so easily
to Bardiel and Zeruel, losing your focus, worrying over him?"

"Stop it, Rei..."

"You couldn't even make up your mind about wanting to
kiss him..."

"Stop it..."

"This feeling you hold back frightens you... why?"

"I'm not frightened!" yells the Second Child, and looks up at
Rei, only she isn't there. There is barely enough light with
which to see the face of the shadow standing over her a few feet
away, but she can see that the shadow has long red hair. And
angry blue eyes. And the shadow replies to Asuka in Asuka's
own voice.

"Not frightened, little child? Stupid, maybe. You don't want
to feel vulnerable, little fraulein, you don't want to let
someone else get inside and mess you up. You build up all these
defenses. You build up your own little AT field, for years, so
nothing more can hurt you, then one stupid person wanders into
your stupid life. He doesn't ask for anything. But he does
something dumb one day like rescue you, or kiss you, or just plain
tolerate you for what you are, and suddenly
your life isn't your own anymore. He becomes your weakness. You
hate him for it, and he never knew, that he took away your
armor, your invulnerability, and got inside you, long before
Arael did..."

"Shut up..."

"This boy was the last face you saw before you lost your mind
inside Arael! You lost your mind to run away from Shinji,
didn't you?"

"Shut up! Please..."

"... And now that the boy you knew is gone, leaving just this
pathetic shell you claimed him to be all along, now that you've
made it so that he can't ever be yours, now you have the nerve
to feel so sorry for yourself! You're like Kyoko, forcing him away
while you wallowed in your self-pity. You're more pathetic than
any of them..."

"... Who are you?"

"I am Asuka. I am you as you see yourself, idiot!"

The long-haired shadow approaches closer, then is briefly
illuminated by the light of a passing train, revealing the near-
emotionless face of a girl with short blue hair and scarlet eyes
betraying a hint of surprise.

Rei speaks to Asuka once more.

"He tried. He said he did. You never gave him a chance.
Were you afraid of what he would find?"

"He would find someone worthless! It's why I just had to be
better than him, be better than you and that weakling, always...
Without the Eva, without being the best pilot, I was worthless,
useless... Until I found out about Momma... and faced my fear...
to accept my self... but... but then it was too late..."

"You and he are the same then. Opposite movements of the same
dance. You two have been dancing the same dance all along, even
without Israfel, even up till now. Yet you both cling to your

"... How would you know, Rei? How do you know so much about

Asuka looks up at Rei, who seems to change as the passing city
lights outside alternately enter and leave the train. Her
schoool uniform is gone, replaced by a lab coat that reminds her
of Ritsuko's. Rei's hair turns a shade brown. The eyes lose their red
tint, grow older, more tired.

"I know. I felt it whenever he was in the entry plug. I felt it
when the Eva tried to absorb him."

"Rei? You're not Rei..."

Asuka hears Kyoko whisper to her ear.

"This is his mother. She was in his Eva too."

"His mother!? Rei!?"

"Lillith has absorbed the Eva," answers
Yui. "We don't have much time, child."

From out of nowhere, Shinji's scream, prolonged and hoarse, suddenly
interrupts them. The train car is bathed in gloomy red luminiscent
fog, and the train walls, floor, and ceiling shimmer and disappear.

(To be continued...)

Writer's Notes:
This chapter is dominated by a mad moving kaleidoscope of dream scenes
and flashbacks, where settings and context shift and change violently,
mirroring the Intrumentality experience of Shinji as depicted in
the EoE movie. In order to understand the narrative here, it
is necessary for the reader to be familiar with EoE and certain
events in the TV series, including some "Director's Cut" scenes
in the enhanced Japanese home-video version of Episode 22; in
particular, the additional footage of Asuka's encounter with Arael
is referred to several times in this story, especially in light of
the resemblance to Shinji's Instrumentality experience in EoE.

Part of Asuka's dialogue regarding vulnerability and armor is
adapted from similar words spoken by Rose Walker to Desire of
the Endless in Neil Gaiman's "Sandman: The Kindly Ones".