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A NEON GENESIS EVANGELION fanfic.
Rights belonging to GAINAX and AD Vision.
Used without permission.

HERZ
by E.L.Toh

Draws heavily on events in the End of Evangelion movie but with a
slight twist. Would still warrant a spoilers warning even though
if you read fanfics, you probably don't mind spoilers in the first
place.

Part X: THE BOOK OF LIFE/MEMORIES II

   "What!? Shinji's been kidnapped!?" shouted Asuka as she pounded her
fists onto the Commander's desk. Misato sat before her, Hyuuga at her
right hand and Aoba at her left. Asuka was flanked by Gessler and Maya
on her right and left respectively. Kurumi stood behind the latter 
trio.

   "I'm afraid so. Just under two hours ago. He left Headquarters and
was headed towards Tokyo-3's university for night classes when he was 
forcefully abducted. They killed the security personnel that usually 
tail him. I lost six of my best men," said Hyuuga angrily. "They must 
have observed all our procedures and precautions for a long time now."

   "I've ordered a lockdown of Tokyo-3 and the Geo-Front. Roadblocks
will be placed throughout the Kanagawa region. Akiko will be moved to
rooms within Headquarters itself," said Misato. Her words were quiet
but her eyes glinted dangerously. 

   "Word from GEHIRN at Tokyo-2 is that Ikari Gendou has been kidnapped
as well," reported Aoba.

   "We are in the final days. SEELE will attack soon," said Misato.
"We must get Shinji back. Col Gessler."

   "Hai."

   "You will finalize the deployment plans for Eva Units 05-Bravo and 
Charlie for the Middle East and Units 05-Delta and Echo for the Black
Sea Operation. I will not be able to block their use when the UN
Security Council and UNIPF so orders but I want to make sure that the
logistics are in place to get them back as soon as those operations
have been concluded."

   "Understood." The Deputy Commander and Chief of Operations saluted
and departed from the office.

   "Maj Aoba. You will coordinate with the police and local JSSDF for
house to house searches. I want no stone left unturned."

   "Hai, shirei."

   "Lt-Col Hyuuga. Intelligence and Security bureaus are authorized to
use any means necessary to extract information from suspects. Round up
all the people in the city with possible SEELE connections."

   "Hai!"

   "Cpt Kagero. If you have any strings you can pull at the UN, I'd
greatly appreciate it if you do so now."

   "I think I can do better than just the UN," said Kurumi who then
excused herself and left the Commander's office. 

   "Dr Ibuki. Second Project status?"

   "As promised, Rei has accelerated the regeneration of all vital 
tissue. Armour plating has been completed. S2 organ is in place. 
Physical reconstruction has been completed."

   "Excellent. Reactivate Eva Unit 02. I want you to make sure that 
synchronization, harmonics and S2 signatures are all within the 
required parameters. Cpt Ikari, will you resume your role as the 
designated pilot of Eva Unit 02?"

   "What about Shinji!?"

   "I have placed every resource at my disposal to recover him. But the
larger picture is that the situations in the Middle East and the Black 
Sea must be part of SEELE's machinations to weaken our forces here. I 
need Unit 02 to be secretly operational as soon as possible. We all 
need you to do this. I need you to do this. I'm sure that's what Shinji
would want as well. We can't fail now. Please, Asuka."

   Asuka was obviously upset but was trying admirably to keep her
turbulent emotions under control. Her first impulse was to run off and 
thrash wildly in an effort to find her husband. She didn't notice the
blood beginning to drip through the patch covering her left eye. She
took a deep breath.

   "I understand, Misato-san. I'll do it."

   "Thank you, Asuka. I know it must hard on you," said Misato sadly.
She rose from her seat. "Now I must make my way to Terminal Dogma to
consult with Rei."
   
***

   Every intake of breadth felt like fire rushing through his lungs.
His vision swam. Drugs. They had injected him with 'truth' drugs after
they had beaten him senseless. A few ribs had been broken along the way
and he had lost a tooth. And quite a bit of blood.

   An aristocratic man with round horn-rimmed glasses and a large 
hooked nose stood before him. He struggled uselessly against the 
straps on the chair that restrained him. He recognized him as one of
the members of SEELE who had sat on the five member Committee of the
Human Instrumentality Project. 

   "Ikari Gendou," spat the SEELE member. "Now taste the bitter fruits
of your treachery."

   Gendou screamed an electric current coursed through his body.

   "Where is Adam?"

   Gendou remained sullenly silent. More electricity.

   "What happened that day in 2015?"

   "Where is the Lance?"

   "What are you planning?"

   More silence. More electricity, beatings and drugs. The cycle 
repeated itself relentlessly.

   The SEELE member looked in disdain at the quivering piece of 
humanity before him. "How the mighty have fallen. The Commander of
NERV. Once a powerful man before whom nations and peoples trembled.
Now reduced to this," he sneered noting that Gendou's right forearm
was missing. An old injury. 'Pity,' he thought, 'five less fingers to
break.'

   Gendou mumbled something. Leaning forward eagerly, the SEELE member
thought he heard "I am not your doll."

   Then Gendou's eyes closed and he remembered.

   
   "It is time. This is what you were born for," said Gendou to Rei 
who stood naked before him. They were at the edge of the LCL lake, 
underneath the crucified Lilith in the depths of Terminal Dogma. Dr 
Akagi floated in the LCL, seriously wounded. Gendou had shot her 
for daring to try and stop him. Rei's A.T. Field had already begun to
corrode badly. Her right forearm had just fallen off.

   Gendou reached forward with his hand. He had the power of Adam. 
The First Angel was implanted on the right. Reduced to its current 
embryonic form through the Second Impact, a disaster that had cost the
lives of half of humanity. A disaster Gendou believed had purged the 
world of the original sin, making it possible for man to storm the 
gates of Heaven and unite the fruit of knowledge with the fruit of 
eternal life within the unified body of humanity. Instrumentality. 
But now, his thoughts were about his wife. 'Yui, I will see you again 
soon.'

   He pressed his hand against Rei's breast and it passed into her
body like it was viscous. He gradually shifted his hand until it was
at the very centre of her being.

   "Now, take me into Lilith," he commanded. With Rei as his vessel,
he would control Adam and Lilith, thus determining the direction of
the Third Impact. But it was not to be.

   Rei looked up suddenly and declared in a soft but determined voice,
"I am not your doll."

   Gendou was too shocked at her defiance to react. 'No, I'm so close!
This can't be happeni...!' A surge of pain. Rei's body snapped off his
right forearm and absorbed it into herself. She had stolen Adam from
him. "Why!?" he gasped.

   "Because I am not yours." 

   Her right forearm immediately regenerated, a bubbling and gurgling
mass that formed new flesh as Gendou looked in horror and pain.

   "Rei!"   

   Ignoring him, Rei floated up towards the giant figure of Lilith.

   "No!" screamed Gendou as he gripped the stump of his right arm. 
"No! Rei! Don't leave me here!" All the best laid plans had fallen
into ruin on the whim of a child.

   "No. Ikari-kun is calling me," said Rei quietly. She floated up to
Lilith's chest and hovered there. Raising her left arm, her palm held
forth towards the giant white creature, she drew forth power - from
herself and from Adam, now a part of her. A glow surrounded her and
Lilith and it grew in intensity. Pure white light poured from her 
being and surrounded herself and Lilith.

   Gendou's vision was filled with blinding white light. 

***

   "Hello, big sis," said Kagero Kurumi.

   "K-chan," said Kagero Natsume. "What brings you to my humble abode?"

   "I need your help."

   "Oh, cutting straight to business, are we? No sisterly catching up?
All the years we haven't seen each other, there must be so much to
talk about?" said Natsume, smiling a crooked, mocking grin.

   "I need to get Shinji back."

   "Oh, your darling Shinji-kun! You know, I never really understood 
what you saw in him."

   "We had something special," said Kurumi through gritted teeth.

   "Ohohoho! Of course, how careless of me! The mutual exchange of 
viriginity! Pity you were taking advantage of him while he was drunk
and an even greater pity that he thought you were someone else, all
through the whole thing! Hmmmm... I wonder whoooo?"

   "Are you going to help me or not?" Kurumi was shaking as she forced
the words out one by one.

   "I hope you can show a little gratitude and get off my back about 
my own choice," smirked Natsume.

   "I don't like the idea of you making use of her to play your crazy
power games. I couldn't care less who you're fucking otherwise," 
growled Kurumi in response.

   "You never have understood, have you? My love or my work?" sighed
Natsume.

   "You had never understood mine. So you'll help me?"

   "Yes."

   "Thank you. Goodbye."   

   Natsume sighed again as her sister left the apartment. 'Well, to
work. To work,' she thought as she used activated the communication
device. She wished that Kaji was still here to guide her but he had
left the fold, fulfilling his promises to GEIST. The others in turn
fulfilled their promise to him. Now she had to carry on. She had her
place among the circle of eleven monoliths that appeared.

   "Ptah reporting. Ikari Shinji has been kidnapped by SEELE. Gendou
as well."

   "Things are coming full circle. SEELE had abducted Fuyutsuki and
Akagi the last time," said Ammon.

   "The important difference is that SEELE may kill them both instead 
of releasing them like the last time," mused Thoth.

   "We must intervene," said Ptah (Natsume).

   "We have the necessary contingency plans to locate them. All senior
HERZ and GEHIRN personnel have been secretly injected by our medical
contracts arm with a latent nano-device that can act as a tracer. I 
will get the activation signal transmitted at once," said Osiris.

   "I will create the uplinks for our super-computer YGGDRASIL to
process the inputs," said Horus. "We will get an fix on their current
location soon."

   "A strike team will be assembled. There is no chance of negotiation
with SEELE. We will use all necessary force to get the two Ikaris
back?"

   "AYE" was the unanimous response and the members of GEIST closed 
their communication links and proceeded with their work.

***

   "Thanks. I appreciate your help. Bye." Kurumi put down the phone
and slumped in her chair. She was alone in her office.

   "We did have something special together," whispered Kurumi. Her
sister's words always had a way of getting to her. And that was because
she was usually right. Being with Shinji that night was a mistake. 
Shinji started to avoid her after that. 

   "Was being with me such a terrible thing?" she pleaded with him.
His silence was deafening. He couldn't even look at her. She knew that
she had lost to Asuka even if it seemed the girl hated Shinji's guts. 
Asuka had almost killed him at that night in 2020. Indirectly. How they 
had ever gotten married was a mystery to Kurumi. But she had a mystery
of her own.

   That night in 2020. There was a high school party. She hoped Shinji
would be there. She hoped that they could talk about what had happened.
She wanted to apologize, she wanted to tell him that she was willing
to wait. She had so much to say to him. Things she had barely touched
on in her stealthy, if persistent, courtship of him. She looked around
the room. It seemed that he wouldn't be showing afterall. She sighed 
despondently. Then something caught her eye. 

   She saw someone standing outside the window. It was a young girl in
her early teens. She was wearing a plain school uniform. Unusually, her
right eye was bandaged. Her right arm was in a cast and a sling.
Her left arm was raised and poised over the glass of the window as if
knocking on it to attract Kurumi's attention. Even stranger, the girl
was as pale as death and had blue hair. But it was her eyes that held
Kurumi. Piercing red eyes that looked into her soul. Communicating a
warning. Danger. Death.

   "Shinji!" Kurumi started. Something terrible had happened to Shinji.
She couldn't explain how the thought had arose. The only explanation 
was that the strange girl had sent the thought to her. She blinked and
the girl vanished. But the heavy sense of dread remained.

   There was no response when she called the Katsuragi apartment.
Misato was probably in Tokyo-2 on business. Kurumi got a cab to 
Shinji's home. Banging on the door, she got no response either. 
Something drove her on. Her eidetic memory had captured the numeric
code to the lock on a previous visit. She only hesitated briefly before
using it. She needed to know that he was alright.

   "Shinji? SHINJI?" she called as she entered the apartment, her heart
pounded frantically. Then she saw two pieces of neatly folded paper on 
the dining table. They were addressed to 'Katsuragi Misato' and 'Sohryu
Asuka Langley'. Kurumi frowned. 'Asuka Asuka Asuka. Why the hell is he
so stuck on her?'

   She began to read. 'Dear Asuka, I'm sorry. I can't ask you to 
remember me when I'm gone but one day I hope that you will forgive me 
for what I've done. I'm sorry. I l...' Kurumi stared at the note in 
horror. Throwing the letter onto the table as if it had turned into a 
poisonous snake, she searched the apartment and found him in the 
bathtub. He had slit his wrists. There was so much blood.

   Later, they told her that she had reached him and got help just in
a nick of time. Everyone who knew her knew how she felt about him and
simply assumed it was luck. Sheer coincidence. A good thing that she 
had come to check on him. The devil they knew.


   Kurumi put aside those dark memories and resumed her efforts to
locate her first love.

***

   Shinji sat in a chair, his arms cuffed behind his back. His head
slumped downwards. They had not begun to question him yet but had
prepared the way with infusions of drugs into his body. Shinji's
mind drifted into the past.

   He found love when he came to Tokyo-3. Even if he didn't realize it.

   Misato-san. Welcoming him into her home. She quickly grew to see
him as a person rather than a tool. He let her see a side of her that
she showed to no one else. She considered him family. She had her own
failings - which were many and there were times she did not know how
to deal with him, but she tried. He remembered how she had nearly
made the ultimate sacrifice that day in 2015 when the JSSDF attacked
NERV Headquarters. As they entered the lift bunker to Eva Unit 01's 
cage, bullets sprayed all around them. She had shielded him with her
body and had been hit in the back. She had been dying. She gave him
words, her cross and the second kiss of his life. He could still 
remember the taste of the blood that welled up from her innards and 
into his mouth.

   Ayanami. Rei. He could remember her smile. After they had defeated
the Fifth Angel. The smile awakened memories buried deep inside him.
It was the smile of his mother. She had been waiting at his bedside,
waiting for him to awaken after the destruction of the Twelfth Angel.
Again she had smiled. Later he heard that she had questioned Misato's
order to retreat after the angel had trapped him. She had confronted
Asuka when the latter made light of Shinji's plight. He remembered the
tragedy of the Sixteenth Angel. She had sacrificed herself to save him.
He remembered the horror upon learning the secret of her origins.
Ritsuko had destroyed the other clones. Now, from that chamber of Guf,
the third Rei was the only one left. 

   He remembered his despair as he descended into Unit 01's cage. The 
JSSDF had gotten there already and had 'neutralized' the Eva. The entry
plug was blocked by a mountain of solidified bakelite. He was forced 
to listen in misery as Asuka fought above and was overwhelmed, her 
screams of pain and Maya's anguished, almost hysterical voice 
resounding through the cage. Then Rei had appeared, clothed in nothing
but the white raiment of power that surrounded and permeated her entire
being. With a gesture of her hand, she had shattered the bakelite. She
guided him to the entry plug. She stood on one of Unit 01's hands as 
they had arrived on the battlefield to find the remains of Unit 02. But
five of the Eva-05 series stood silent, frozen in place. As if some 
great hand had reached out and stole the life from them. With tools 
like these waiting for her, Rei had reached out and bent them to her 
will. With five of the Eva 05-series and Unit 01 on his side, he won 
the day against SEELE. He was filled with joy when he heard the news 
that Asuka was still alive and had been saved by the doctors.

   Sohryu Asuka Langley. The times after 2015 held many bittersweet
memories for Shinji. She eventually recovered. But besides the nine
stigmata scarring her body, that day had scarred her soul as well. He
had gone to visit her everyday. She finally woke from her coma, but
her reaction to seeing him was to scream curses and physically attack
him. She eventually had to be sedated. Her mother's spirit within Eva 
was incomplete. She had helped to heal Asuka's soul for a while but was
been cruelly torn away not long after. And she had been filled with
anger and violence at the moment her heart had stopped momentarily.

   Asuka blamed him for her defeat, for her disfigurement, for not
saving her. She knew about his sins, his stains. She grew cold towards
him as she stoked the old familiar fires of anger. She kept him at bay
and rebuffed his efforts to talk, to share and eventually drove him to
despair. In 2020, she reached the age of majority and moved out. She
was planning to return to Germany. When he called her to try and change
her mind, she lashed out at him with all the fury and malice at her
disposal. She only succeeded too well.

   Things started to change from that day on. He had asked her before
what had changed her mind. She never went into any specifics but it had
something to do with encounters with Rei and Kurumi. 

   Asuka. He imagined her standing at the end of a long polished
corridor. She was in her HERZ uniform with her usual eye patch and
arm harness. She held Akiko in her arms and smiled at him. It was a
smile that could break his heart.

   Then the darkness lifted as a crack of light appeared from behind
him, throwing his shadow against far against the other end of the room.
He felt his restraints being released. There was the sound of gunfire
in the background and the smell of smoke and blood. There were armed 
men sweeping and securing the room that had held him.

   "Shinji? Are you alright?" asked a familiar voice urgently. He 
turned to see a woman's face. Tanned, dark hair with tints of green
and green-hazel eyes. He felt disorientated but he managed to slur
out a response.

   "K..Ku..Kurumi?" 

   "Shinji," said Kurumi pensively. "Please. You must come with me.
It's your father..."

   "Father..."

  
   "Is...Is this my father's work?" he asked Ritsuko, looking at the
Evangelion. "Correct," rang his father's voice from above. He stood
there, confident and powerful, looming over his son. Shinji remembered 
the mix of terror and hope when he looked up at his father. So great
was his fear and so great was his hope.

*** 

   "Where is the Lance!?"

   Then Gendou's vision filled with blinding white light. The door to
his prison was charged down and gunfire erupted throughout the room.
The SEELE member who had been interrogating him swore and drew a small
pistol. He saw that his goons were being quickly overwhelmed. In a 
rage, he turned his weapon on Gendou. 

   "I'll see in Hell before I let you share in the Instrumentality of
mankind!" he shrieked, putting two rounds into Gendou's chest before
his own torso erupted in a dozen fountains of blood.

   "Then take the express flight," said Natsume as she lowered her
rifle. "Compliments of GEIST."

***

   Kurumi led Shinji to wear Gendou had been held. Shinji saw the 
wounds his father had sustained. He turned to Kurumi and before he
could ask, she answered his question by shaking her head.

   "He's not going to make it."

   Shinji crossed the distance and cradled his father in his arms.

   "Father? It's me, Shinji."

   "Shi..Shinji?" asked Gendou weakly. The light in his eyes was 
already fading.

   "Yes, Father. It's me."

   "Shin...ji. Fo..rgive...me. I..I'm so sorry, my son...My son."

   "I forgive you."

   Gendou looked like he was going to say more. Instead he smiled,
a genuine smile that spoke of love and how proud he was of the fine 
young man his son had grown up to be. 

   "Thank you, Father," whispered Shinji.

   Then Gendou's eyes closed and he was still, his expression tranquil
and peaceful.

   Shinji held his father's head to his chest and wept silently.


   "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment;
   and I will not blot out his name in the book of life, but I will 
   confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."

                                              Revelations 3:5

END OF PART X

Notes:

Many thanks to Joyce Wakabayashi, Alain Gravel and John Cope for
careful and constructive c&c. Thank you as well to all the rest
who took time to email!


Ver 1.1 - 28 Apr 1999 
Ver 1.2 - 1 May 1999
Ver 1.3 - 6 May 1999

contact: toheel@singnet.com.sg or teloong@cwcom.net
archive: http://www.teloong.mcmail.com/HERZ.htm