Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ The Second Child / Promises To Keep ❯ Redemption/Take Me To Your Dream, I Will Walk With You ( Epilogue )
[ P - Pre-Teen ]
Neo Genesis Evangelion: Apocrypha
The Second Child / Promises To Keep
Part V Epilogue - Redemption/Take Me To Your Dream, I Will Walk With You
A light in the void. Kyoko Langley Soryu speaks.
"It is peaceful here, where the earth meets the sea. The fluid
line where the one defines itself in relation to the other. A
constant mutual creation..."
"Asuka met me here, under the trees, close to the shore, before the
Impact. Only the trees then were elms and oaks, not sakuras. She's
asked him now, the Third Child, to meet her here. She wants an
understanding with him."
"Dream, my children..."
The voice merges into the voice of the surf on the shore.
That night, as they sleep, Rei Ayanami comes to them again inside
"This dream smells like Soryu," whispers Rei in the void. "And
Ikari too... He's followed her into the same dream." Inside the
dream, Rei opens her eyes with an inaudible gasp. She looks around,
wonderment in her eyes, orienting herself to this new world.
In the dream Rei has blossomed into a mature young woman, in
jeans and a sweatshirt... and this somehow pleases her. She is
standing on a grassy rolling hill filled with trees, cherry
blossoms in full bloom, under a cloudless evening sky. She
hears the sounds of the shore and heads toward a promontory
The First Child stands there alone, gazing out on the clear
water that reflects the light of the full moon on her serene face.
She is Waiting.
The Second Child walks out of the shadows and faces her, asking,
"Am I still dreaming?"
The Third Child walks out of the shadows and faces her, asking,
"Am I still dreaming?"
"Yes," she replies simply. "This is not hell. This is not
purgatory. You're not dead. This is merely a world you create."
"Then... then is the world still dead after all?", asks the
boy in a breaking voice.
A reflected image of each of the two Children appears in Rei's eyes.
She blinks. "You create the world everytime you ask these questions.
Why do you live? Why do you die? What do you live for? What are you
here for? Who are you here for? ... Who is it you fear? Who do you
wish for? ... Who do you love? How do you love?"
"Misato told me to look for my own answers... but I've lost her
"Misato has found her own path, though her path lights yours. As I
have found mine. But Asuka shares your cross now, as you both wished."
"I... I understand," replies Asuka, and she turns around and walks
toward the shore. She pauses to glance over her shoulder, and her eyes
meet Shinji's. The boy looks away, shaking with fear, and hurt
flashes in the girl's eyes. Repressing a quiver in her voice,
Asuka locks glances with Rei for a second, then glances back in
his direction. "Shinji?" whispers Asuka, "Don't be too long. The
shore isn't so far that you can't reach it... I'll see you in the
morning." And she resumes her walk down to the shore.
"Asuka..." the boy whispers out. Takes a half-step towards the girl,
one arm outstretched, but he hesitates.
"This is your wish, Shinji?" Rei whispers to him.
"Yes, it is... but..."
"Yet you think yourself unworthy of this dream?" she asks with a trace
"But... but I betrayed her! I don't deserve her! ... How can I face her...
what can I be to her... knowing I destroyed the world?"
"She knows what you did. Yet she chose this dream. Think about it."
"She chose to...? But what if she hates me again..."
"You still fear her?"
"I... I do, on some level..."
"It's all right, Shinji. This is normal. This is the price of keeping the
barriers that you chose to bring back in order to bring her back.
And I believe she feels the same fears as you." She smiles. "If you
wish to know her, you have to talk to her yourself..."
"M... Mom? Wait..."
"Well... don't you think... a dead world is a strange place to
still... feel what I feel for her?"
"As strange as seeing rain in the desert perhaps. But it's not wrong
to wish for rain in the desert, and the rain is not always a mirage.
And where there's rain, there has to be life."
"Is there? I look around and see a dead world. And yet... But I
believe my feelings are real..."
"Look at these sakura blossoms, Shinji. Back in the old days,
they reminded people of how things only stay with us for a
fleeting moment before they are gone, and how, after the cold, they
always come back. Even though the sakuras are just a dream now,
they still exist because they were real to me. Remember this, son.
Life will find a way, if you let it."
Rei, and the Yui within her, closes her eyes, leaving the two Children
to their Dream.
"Go. She awaits you..."
Shinji wakes up with a start, squinting his eyes against the light
of the sun rising from behind the hill. He's lying down in the sand, his
back to the sea, by the shore where he had collapsed crying the
He looks around him, and not finding her beside him he rises in panic,
his heart racing with fear at the thought of losing her again.
He sees her further down the shore, sitting down on the sand. The light
of the rising sun slowly reaching out to her pensive form. She is gazing
out, deep in thought it seems, at something across the sea.
He approaches her... diffidently, from behind, catching his breath,
and stands to her right behind her, his hands in his pockets. He
follows her gaze and holds his tongue. The object of their silent
thoughts lie far out on the horizon, an awesome question mark on their
present existence. The pale white head of Lillith-Rei, staring out
into the sky and the receding sunset stars with what could be a small
enigmatic smile on her lips.
The two surviving Children are not quite sure if the image
even exists. It seems to fade in and out of physical reality,
like a morphing dream at the edge of waking up, like a ghostly mirage
flickering on red desert sand dunes. Until its white visage melds with
the light of the ever-rising sun sweeping away the remnants of evening,
and disappears from the naked eye.
Gone like a dream, gone like the world he knew.
But to the Third Child's relief, the Second Child is still there
"Asuka... I'm... I'm glad you're okay."
"You can come closer, Shinji. I promise not to yell at you
this time around."
He silently moves closer, then hesitates, wondering how much
closer he should get, whether he should sit down, or remain
standing, whether he should keep his hands in his pockets,
whether he should speak up, and about what, or...
"You know, Shinji..." Her soft whisper interrupts his indecision.
From the corners of their eyes they lock glances, as she favors
him with a soft, diffident smile, and she herself is relieved
to still find him there.
"You should have seen me fight off the army and the EVA Series," she
says to him, life returning to her voice. "I was in top form, you'd
have been proud of me. We could have saved the world together, you
and I." At this he suddenly turns away in shame, and she sighs.
"But... you were late when I needed you, Shinji, you were such...
"I know, I was such a moron," he whispers, staring down guiltily
at his feet, but wondering at the conspicuous absence of the old
derogatory whip in her voice. "You were right. I was only thinking
He calmly takes off his shoes and wades a bit further out, letting
the red water lap at his bare ankles, and soak the edges of his pant
legs. Trying to wash away the weariness from his feet. "Everyone
around me was braver than I was, but your bravery came to nothing
because I was a self-absorbed fool..."
"No..." she says.
He turns around to see her staring at him. Not angrily, he notes,
as he gazes into the same eyes that held him the previous night...
"No? What do you mean...?"
"That's not all of it. I was late too, late getting to my senses.
I shouldn't have pushed you away in the first place... I
shouldn't have left you, alone to hold the fort. I was selfish.
We were team mates, partners, and I destroyed our team. I'm sorry.
I don't blame you for what happened. You tried your best."
"How did...? Was... was Ayanami with you during all this too?"
"Yes... I know what you went through. Not all the bloody details,
but I saw enough of it to understand," she shudders. "Poor Rei.
I think she tried her best to make up for our foolishness," she
continues, staring pensively again at the spot of the departed
apparition on the horizon. "I'm impressed... I never thought
our Wondergirl had it in her."
"She was still in my dream last night," he confesses, relaxing
a little, still facing her.
"She looked older, a grown woman exactly like your mother,
except for the color of her hair and those eyes. She was
standing on a hill, under some extinct sakura trees, only
those trees were alive and in full bloom. She was... so
pretty... looking out on a lake, in the moonlight, like
she was waiting for something. We asked her if we were
still dreaming, and she said yes..."
"So you had the same dream then..."
"I guess so. Though I don't remember waking up."
"And I don't remember falling asleep. This is all so strange..."
"How so like Rei... Was she the last Angel all this time?"
"No... I'm not sure. There was another one, the Fifth Child,
the pilot who replaced you... he turned out to be Tabris. He
betrayed us, so I killed him, or rather, he let me do so.
He was supposed to have been the last Angel."
"A Fifth Child replaced me? Hmph, no wonder you got into
trouble... Did he happen to have red eyes like Rei's?"
"Er, yeah... how did you know?"
"I saw them together during the Impact... they
were speaking to me about something... maybe they're
one and the same Angel somehow, like Israfel? But
they were people too, just like us..."
"... Misato did mention that Kaworu and Rei were both
partly cloned from Angel DNA... that my father and SEELE were
the puppet masters, that they exploited us as long as they
could use us... but Misato also mentioned that Humanity was
the last Angel, that we brought this on ourselves, that only
we could save ourselves..."
"More riddles, Third Child?"
"Don't be sorry. This is all so overwhelming, that's all.
Maybe there'll never be any complete answers..."
"Shinji... I'm sorry about your father..."
"No... it's okay. He was right, you know. I had to grow up,
get over him. But he was wrong too. He was the one running away,
and I refuse to be like him in that way... I just hope,
wherever he is, he finds what he's really looking for."
"So... how about me? What do you... think of me? Do you think
this place I've run away to is any better than what he wanted?
Is this any more real?"
"I think so, even if this may still be a dream. Maybe that part
of the dreaming where you've discovered something about yourself,
and you have a blank slate of a world from which you can move on.
A place with no secrets... just faith that you can move on...
You know what I'm talking about?"
"I guess. Maybe we're both here because it takes more than
one person to make things real again... but you must be mad at
me for the fact that we're alone... that everyone's gone..."
"I think they'll come back here, or we'll come back to them.
Stranger things have happened to us. It'll work out somehow.
We'll go insane, again, if we believe otherwise..."
"No, I don't want you to suffer for this. It's all my fault if
"Don't you start that again, Third Child!"
He stares in confusion as she giggles.
"At least you're behaving normally now. I guess that
really is the Ikari I know standing there!"
"Thanks, I guess... Well... How about you? Are you really
back? Are you real?"
"Funny you should ask, Third Child. I had been itching to ask
you that exact same question all morning."
"I... I thought they had killed you..." He turns around, his
back to her, to blink back the tears suddenly forming in his
"I did so too... but Rei got into the picture somehow. I told
her I wouldn't give up living...and, well... you... well,
you were bloody late!"
He hears her rise, hears her feet splashing in the waves.
He turns around worriedly.
She's suddenly standing in front of him now, facing him
with a questioning, almost mischievous look in her eyes. Her
hands clasped behind her back, her face leaning forward
towards him, making him gulp.
"You were screaming your lungs out, you know," she whispers
to his face.
"Uhm... I... did... did you..."
"Loud enough to wake up the dead. Hm?"
"Uhm... you..." he stammers, thinking to himself, she heard
that? How much more does she know of what went on...?
"Shinji... if this is really you, we have to talk," she
says with a frown, suddenly serious and hesitant.
"Uhm...." Blurt it out, he thinks to himself. Don't be
afraid. Not again. There should be no secrets in this
"Rei and I weren't on good terms. There was a reason why
she went out of her way to bring me back. Do you know
what it was?"
"We were both in our Evas when the Impact happened..."
"No, that's not it. Rei was Gendo's doll. Whatever it was
he was planning, she told me she refused to go along with
it. Instead it seems she went to you. That I can understand,
Shinji, seeing how much better you treated her, and how much
she likes you."
"Besides, I was dead! Or dying. I should have disappeared
into the LCL along with everyone else, even if my Eva
absorbed me like your Eva absorbed you once. Why did she
bring me back?"
"You... you didn't choose to come back?"
"I did! Even after all the hell I lived through, yes,
I wanted to come back! But she gave me an early choice.
She made it very clear she was intervening to give me that
choice. She let me join you in this... this empty world
of yours. Why!?"
"... She knew..."
"What? Shinji, I want to know!"
"She knew I wanted you back..."
"... Wh-... Didn't you want everyone back?"
"Yes! I did! I do! But... there's something more...
Deep down, I especially wanted you back. Maybe that made
all the difference, what I feel for you... when I thought
I'd lost you forever, I had nothing left to live for..."
"I... I don't know why... I desperately wanted you around,
even if you called me a moron all the time... I needed you
to like me, even though you were unattainable, it
had to be you, out of all the women in the world...
I wanted us to be together, I wanted to
understand you... I wanted you, but... but..."
"But... what, you thought I hated you, didn't you?"
"Yes. What else could I think!? Didn't you? You said so
yourself! You threw me out of your life!"
"I know what I said, what I did. It wasn't what I really
meant, believe me. But I would have understood if you learned
to hate me because of it. I was afraid of needing you. Didn't
you learn to hate me, when I kept pushing you away?"
"No! ...I couldn't hate you... I just blamed myself... for
hurting everyone I touch, for letting you down so much...
I didn't deserve you..."
"Look, it wasn't your fault. I was so messed up. We both
were. We both gave up on ourselves."
"Why... did it have to be like that?"
"Shinji... at least you tried."
"I tried to understand you, I really did...
when I thought I lost you, I thought I might finally find
you in the Instrumentality, but I only made things worse,
becaused I couldn't find myself there, and I couldn't
find the real you there either... "
"Well, I'm here now..."
"Do you regret coming back?"
"Even though there's nothing left? Even if I have nothing to offer
you except this?" He gestures plaintively at the desolateness
surrounding them. "...Did you know this might happen?"
"Yes, Rei mentioned that possibility. She said I could wait for
the world to re-form, that I didn't have to join this world of
yours if I didn't want to..."
"But... but you still came back..."
"I didn't want you to be alone, okay?"
"Asuka... you really mean that?"
"Don't think I don't appreciate your reaching out, Shinji."
"Uhm... You... don't hate me?"
"No, of course I don't! I don't hate you. Don't be stupid...
oh, come here, moron... sit with me..." She sits down, with a
sigh, on the sand and leans her tired frame on a boulder...
He kneels in front of her, bowing his head. "... Do you... think
you can forgive me for all this?" he asks through the lump in
"Closer. Over here. I won't bite, you know."
He moves closer, cautiously sitting off to her side. The girl grunts
impatiently and sidles up next to him, closing the remaining
distance. And the boy barely suppresses a heart-palpitating gasp as
the girl suddenly lays her head on his shoulder. He gulps
as she sighs and nuzzles her cheek against his chest.
"Uhm... Asuka?" he manages through the racing of his heart.
"Shh. Don't shake so much. This is... comfortable."
And bracing himself to be pushed away, he slowly,
hesitantly drapes his arm over her shoulder, and presses his cheek
against her hair.
Eliciting another giggle from the girl.
"You're shaking like crazy, idiot."
"Am not." He chuckles nervously, feeling his face blush a deep
red, as he scratches his head with his other hand. And thinking,
he's shaking all right, but he can't help it...
"If you say so... moron..."
And he tries to force himself to relax, reflecting on the
intoxication of smelling her hair, feeling the softness of her
body leaning on him.
He must really be dreaming this. This spot of comfort in a
desolate world. Rain in the desert.
"... You, uhm... you look beautiful, you know..."
"With these bandages, huh? Right."
"But it's true."
"Well. Thank you."
But he dearly wants some of this to be real.
If only he could heal everything that went wrong.
"How are your injuries? Still hurt?"
"No, I don't feel them anymore. Dull throbbing ache now and
then, nothing more. Still a bit tired. But I bet you I can beat
you in the gym pretty soon."
"Well, yeah, somewhere down there the Geofront and NERV facilities
might still be intact. You should try to be more optimistic
for me, you know."
"Maybe you're right... we can hole up there until we find other
survivors, over the radio or the net. The MAGI might still be running,
so power and life support might still be on. There might be enough
food there to keep us alive a little longer. We can start looking once
you're rested, or I can look while you rest. There should be tunnels
down to the Geofront all over-"
"Let's just stay here a bit longer, okay?"
They rest, letting the sun rise higher up its path through
the clear sky, bathing them in its warming glow.
"Hey," she finally whispers.
"You're pretty quiet. What're you thinking?"
"I'm... I'm wishing we were doing this somewhere else."
"I mean, beside a real lake, real water, green trees, white
clouds in a sunny blue sky, birds flying... back when the world
was still alive..."
"We should have done this sooner."
"Thanks for coming back."
"You're welcome, Shinji..."
"You know... we might as well discuss it... what if
we're the last ones left alive?"
"We still have each other... like you said, we can still
save the world, you and I..."
"Don't you dare get any premature ideas about my giving you
"Wha!? No!! I mean, no, I didn't mean it to be anything like
that, really, please don't be mad-"
"Sshh," she stops his panicking stammering with a hand on his
mouth and an amused smile. "Sorry, I just wanted to make sure
we were clear on that. Give us some time, okay?"
He nods. And with that she lays her head on his bosom, allowing
the two of them a closer embrace.
He sighs and relaxes. And allows himself a small relieved smile
as he concentrates on her again.
A minute later she speaks up again, still lying on his chest.
"Tell me though, what will happen when we hurt each other
again? And again after that?"
"I'll keep trying... if that's fine with you... I meant it
when I said I wanted to understand, that I wanted you... uh...
that I, well..." he stammers as he tries to form the nervous
"It's a start. If you can promise me that, I'll promise to
allow you to be stupid every now and then."
"Oh. That's nice of you... I guess. But it's a deal."
She raises her head and locks her eyes to his, and whispers,
"You're not hopeless, you know. We might actually get this
to work... but be patient with me, okay?"
"I will... I'm sorry I had messed it all up so badly..."
"Shh. You've saved my life, in more ways than one, Shinji...
I was yours before either of us knew it, and I still am."
"Asuka... I... I, uhm..."
Favoring him with a smile, she takes hold of his
hand. "I like you too..."
One night Rei Ayanami watches them again inside their dream.
In the dream she has blossomed into a mature young woman in
jeans and a university sweatshirt, and she is standing unnoticed
on a grassy rolling hill filled with trees, cherry blossons in
full bloom, under a clear blue early morning sky. She lets her
face bask in the warm glow of the sun.
The Three Children dream this together, of a place that exists
in the minds of dreamers, of a place some would claim does not
And in the dream there is a gravel pathway by the crystal clear
lake, and there walks a tall, slender young man, with black hair
and haunted, timid blue eyes, a necklace with a white crucifix
visible over his blue sweater. The young man is walking and
holding hands with a lithe, energetic young woman, a tall
long-haired redhead with intense blue eyes and wearing a bright
red dress. She frowns up at him, and leans over to whisper something
in his ear, eliciting a sparkle in his eyes as they smile together,
and then she playfully pinches his nose, and they both laugh.
And under the sakura blossoms the couple lingers, and he gently
pulls her in closer in a protective embrace; they face each other,
smiling, she laughs, tenderness in her eyes, and they slowly kiss.
And Rei stands watching them in the distance, and for the first
time since merging with Lillith, smiles happily, knowing this
is a dream the two are sharing tonight. And she keeps this
precious dream in her heart, in a corner where things are meant
to exist forever.
No matter what happens after this, she says to herself, they will
always have this moment, this young dream, together, an embodiment
of their promise, and the promise will always be real.
"God is in His heaven, all is right with the world, and this
dream is our eternal offering to Him, for the renewal of the
Covenant with Adam. For That which is dreamed can never be lost,
and can never be undreamed. Thank you, Shinji, Asuka."
And under the cherry blossoms, the First Child turns around and
starts to walk down the hill, back among the growing holiday
crowds enjoying the weekend, their family picnics and their
dates, and the arrival of spring in a new world.
"It is done Yui; what will we do now?" she whispers in
her mind. And Yui of the Evangelion answers.
"This is the mission of the Evangelion. You and I are faith, hope,
the sentry to the Eden in their heart, to bear witness to their
promise to each other. As long as we remember, their dream
will not die, and humanity will continue to exist, even when
the sun, moon and stars are gone. For reality is at the end
of a dream, and dreams are at the end of a reality.
In the meantime, the world we knew is ready to renew. These
Children, the representatives of humanity, are free. They
have affirmed themselves and their world."
She is met on the hill shortly thereafter by Nagisa, smiling,
hands in his pockets. He takes in a deep breath, closing his
eyes, head thrown back, relishing the fresh air. "I guess
we're all back home now," he says to her with a satisfied grin.
The soft breeze brings with it a faint echo of far-away voices.
"Can you find them, Maya?" asks an old man's anxious voice.
"Sir, I may have radio contact... Shinji? Shinji, where are
Silence. Darkness. A light in the void, expanding. A coalescing
of memories, a consciousness awakening, igniting others around it.
And warmth, that grows with a newborn memory carrying Shinji's
voice, awe-struck and excited, replying to a question.
"She's fine. She's alive... we both are."
Asuka hears her name whispered. A gentle, nervous kiss on her
lips, a breath of warm air on her cheek. A breath of Life.
The Second Child wakes up, drifting into consciousness.
She hears the empty static buzz of a NERV military radio being
This is real.
She feels fingers stroke a lock of her hair on her forehead,
and she opens her eyes, slowly, letting the world shift into
focus. The warmth from a campfire crackles outside, an old
ricepot nestled beside it, the fire light reaching in against
the dark and illuminating the inside of a small tent, where
she lies on some blankets. She turns and gazes up at a smiling
boy sitting on the ground next to her, haunted yet grateful
blue eyes looking down on her.
"You're awake." He smiles, affection clearly showing on his face.
He rubs his eyes, not sure how long he's been awake, sitting
and watching her and secretly reveling in his dream of kissing her.
He turns aside briefly to pick up a small coffee pot filled with
clear water, which he offers to her with shaking hands.
She doesn't reply, at first. She sits up slowly, taking the pot.
She drinks the water in a few short gulps, quenching the thirst
in her dry throat. She notes, in passing, the early gray light of
sunrise outside the tent.
And what sounds, in the distance, like birds and seagulls. And
the smell of fresh rain on the earth from the previous evening's
She looks back to him, and returns the pot. Their fingertips brush
briefly against each other. He seems about to say something,
swallows hard instead, and just gazes at her.
"Thank you." She smiles at him nervously. And leaning forward,
steals a short kiss from him.
They both blush.
His hand shyly reaches out, fingers meeting hers, and clasps
her hand longingly. He kisses her back and smiles at her. She
leans in closer as they embrace, tightly, cradled in each other's
"Asuka. I'm here. You came back. I'm... I'm so glad."
Well, that's it for now. The first four chapters of
this story can stand on their own, and I had originally
intended to stop with the final scene of EoE. But this
epilogue tries to create a more optimistic ending beyond
that famous final scene, softening Eva's nihilistic tones,
while retaining the existentialist tint of the TV and
In particular, Asuka's awakening and co-redemption with
Shinji in this Epilogue completes the circle started in
Chapter 1 and in the opening scene of "Air", and rounds out
the rebirth and redemption theme of this story and, I like
to think, of EoE as well.
C&C is welcome, you can post one now (feel free to skip
the "Writer's Notes" chapter that follows this one) if you're
reading this at fanfiction.net. You can also mail me at
Thanks for reading!
James Lee, April 2001