Boyfriend of Steel

A Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction site

Chapter Forty-Six: Rock Bottom

SEELE-2


Patrick woke up again in the cell, his body shaking from the cold as he sat up from the dingy mattress that had served as a bed. The lights in the cell never went out so he had no idea of the time or day. Knowing that he only had a few days to go until his body needed a new LCL Stabilizer injection he tried very hard not to think about how long he had actually been there.


After splashing water on his face he found himself pacing around the cell. Patrick was nervous about what would happen to him next to be sure but he was also trying to work up how to reach out to the girl that was in the adjoining cell, knowing it would be difficult for both of them but also knowing that he wanted to at least try once more.


From his dream on the previous night he at least had to admit he was very angry with Erin, and for good reason. Her part in SEELE’s plot to deal a crippling blow to NERV had resulted in the deaths of several people, including some people that he knew very well by now. By hijacking Unit 04 she had prevented him from coming to Shinji’s aid and now Shinji and EVA-01 were the prisoners of the same ungracious hosts that had put him in this cell.


He also worried about Mari, her ultimate fate unknown to him. He had hoped that she had somehow survived but after seeing how the blue monster of Unit 06 had slashed Kensuke’s EVA like a rag doll he couldn’t allow himself to have much hope, and he felt horrible for not being there for his partner when she needed him most.


On the other side of it Patrick also knew that Erin too had been a victim in all of this. Clearly she was misled and in that ignorance she was doing what she thought she needed to. If there was any consolation to it, the fact that she didn’t fully participate in SEELE’s killing spree had now landed her where she was now, cold and abandoned in the cell next to him. In hearing the soft sobs on the other side of the cell wall he knew she harbored her own deep regrets over what happened. At least she has a heart, no matter whatever hate that she had projected onto me. Despite everything he had to try to reach out to her even now and find some way to right the wrong.


Patrick went to the corner of his cell wall where he could see into the space next to his, and noticed that Erin was no longer crouched against the far wall nor was she in the small bed. He closed his eyes and listened for her and could hear troubled breathing and whimpers that were much closer to him than before: Erin was now sitting on the other side of the same wall that shared their cells. She's moved closer to me, he observed. So there's a start...


“Erin,” he called out. “Can you hear me?” She didn't respond at first, but Patrick could hear the whimpering sounds continue. She was close to where he was.

“Erin?”


After another long moment her strained voice blurted out “what do you want?”

“What's your favorite color?”

“What the hell kind of question is that?” she responded.

“Do you want me to guess?” Patrick asked her in an encouraging tone. “I guess it's...green!”

“Ha,” she scoffed out. “My eyes are green. That's so obvious.”

“But it also happens to be my favorite color too.”

“Liar, you're just saying that!”

“Okay, try this then. Your favorite number is...5!”

“Idiot!” Erin blurted, “Everyone's favorite is either 1, 5 or 10.”

“Not seven? Lots of people choose seven. So five it is, then? Let's try another one. Your favorite animal is a...Tiger!”

“You guessed that!”

“No, really. Do you know how I know?”

“How?”

“What are the colors of your plug suit?”

“Orange with black stripes!”

Theyrree Great!” Patrick said in a mock cartoon voice. Erin actually chuckled a little at his reply, which gave Patrick a great deal more hope that he was starting to break her walls down.

“What I wouldn't give for some Tony the Tiger now!” she said.

“OK, let's try something more complex...favorite toppings on pizza. I'll guess...pepperoni, sausage and...mushrooms!”

“Damn! Vance told you!”

“No, it's also my favorite except that I added in the mushrooms part. Somehow I figured you'd probably like those more than I do. Do you want me to go on?”

“Okay,” she said in a challenging tone. “I'll keep playing along if you can guess my favorite food ever.”

“Challenge accepted,” Patrick said, and then after a period of concentration came up with. “It's cheeseburgers!”

“Wrong!” she said in return. “See, you don't know me at all! You're making this up!”

“I actually did lie just now,” said Patrick in a calm, confident tone. “But here's the real answer: It's Chinese food...Walnut Cream Shrimp if I'm not mistaken.”

Erin let out a loud gasp, her mood now changed by the sudden realization of his answer. “Oh my God, how did you know that? Someone must have told you!”

“I know it,” he said, “because I saw and heard you asking for it...over eight months ago. In the entry plug. Now do you believe me?”

“Vance couldn't have told you,” Erin said to him, “because...”

“...he hated Chinese food,” Patrick finished for her. In a more serious tone, he said to the girl on the other side of the wall. “Now do you believe me?”


Erin's voice started to choke up again. “To be honest...they told me that you had some way of linking with EVA using drugs, that's why I saw stuff in my head!”

“Do you still think that's true?”

“No, I...I guess not now,” she replied. “But...Oh, I'm just so confused!”

“Take it easy. I'm not going to bite!”

She took deep breaths, trying to get composure while feeling the weight of emotions racing in her heart. “Um...where do I start?”

“Just start at the beginning. What happened in that last EVA test?”

“I blacked out!”

“Before then.”

“I was..I was scared to death,” she remembered. “and there was this...cloudy thing that came out of the plug. It came right up to the throne and then...it was trying to tell me something.”

“What did it say?”

“it said...'Find the other!' And then I blacked out.”

“That was it? Do you remember anything else?”

“No! I mean, really no! I just remember waking up in the hospital later. It must have been a while because my hair was all long,” Erin said to him. “I'm sorry, they told me not to say stuff like that to anyone else!”


Patrick started to work out the puzzle in his head from the clues that Erin was now giving him. “When did you wake up?”

“It was two months ago,” she told him. “They kept me locked in my room and then one day this old guy in a wheelchair comes in.”

“Chairman Kiel, the same guy that locked you in here.”

“Yes, only he was a lot nicer that first time. Insisted that I call him 'grandfather.' Anyway, he then tells me all about what happened at Second Branch, and before in Tokyo-3,” she told him. “They said that you did all of it.”

Her brother sighed. “I guess I can't really blame you for being upset,” he said to her. “There wasn't any way you were going to get the whole story being in there.”

“Yeah, they took me here, to the mountain,” she continued, “and then they started coaching me, telling me this is how I could get my EVA back, by going to Tokyo-3 and stealing it.”

“So that whole thing when they brought you in, that was just an act!”

“Well,” Erin admitted, “actually that was pretty much how I reacted when the Chairman told me the first time.”

“I'm sorry,” Patrick said in a mournful tone. “I guess I never considered what you might be feeling after all that. I spent a lot of time pushing everyone else to find you and I had sort of hoped that you'd know who I was already.”

“I guess I'm the one who should be sorry,” she replied. “it's just that I was so angry when I found out! I just wanted to do anything I could.”

“Do you believe me about dad?” asked Patrick. “I mean, I know you're relationship with him was a bit different from mine. It must be hard to convince you of what he was doing.”


Erin let out a long sigh. “I...I don't know what to think. Dad was nice, you know. I mean, when he was around he always made you feel good, always had presents and treats and stuff. But there were some times that he kind of had another side, especially when he's on the computer as long as he was. A lot of times he didn't even come home at night and I was all by myself in the house. I kind of felt like I was an orphan sometimes.”


“I know the feeling,” commiserated the boy. “At least you had him there, for me it was months at a time when I'd even see him. Every time he came up to uncle's cabin he'd tell me 'I'm doing something important for the world but one day we can be together' and I got that for years and years. Then when I finally got to go to Second Branch he wasn't even interested in talking to me. It's almost like he wanted me to be pissed off. He never mentioned you at all and then when I did finally find out he told me to forget all about you!”

Why would he do that?”

“Something about Mom and what happened,” he said. “I know that he had serious issues with Shinji's dad over EVA, like he blamed him for Mom getting taken into the EVA. Anyway, I guess that would change anyone having something like that happen.” Patrick paused and there was a long silence between them. “I'm really sorry you had to go through this. I only wish they would have found you sooner.”

“Yeah, well, I'm lousy at picking friends.”

Patrick tried to still be encouraging. “You picked Vance, that wasn't so bad.”

“That's true,” Erin replied. “What did he say to you, about me?”

“Not much, really. That part he kept well hidden. But, for the three months that we knew each other he was the best friend I ever had. When I first came to NERV-2 I was really just pissed off. He came and sort of cheered me up, got me up to speed with EVA, and then we hung out all of the time. All of that stuff you take for granted you know? Fast food, movies, sneaking out of your dorm at night and doing stupid stuff? He taught me all of that.”


“Is it true what they said? That you shot him?” Erin's voice was no longer accusing, but now just soft. Patrick could see that she wanted to know the truth.


“It is so stupidly complicated that even I still don't know who was on who's side then,” he tried to explain, “but to make it simple Vance had a mission and Rei got in the way, and I had to make a choice.” Patrick sighed deeply, the memory of that one day on Tokyo-3's Runway One was still very painful. “The irony of it all was that if I had let him shoot Rei they would have just brought her back anyway. She wouldn't have really died and he might still be alive.”

“Bring her back?” Erin asked. “Is that because there was more than one of her?”

“Bodies, yes. Just her soul is unique. How did you know?”

Erin tried to recall what she had seen before. “Was there some sort of big fishtank where she was? You know, with LCL inside?”

“Yes!” Patrick exclaimed. “It's in the very bottom of the GeoFront. Only there's just body parts now, the other clones of her were all destroyed.”

“I remember seeing that,” she told him, “and I remember that same girl standing in front and talking to you.”

“You saw that?”
“Yeah, I don't remember what you were saying though.”

“One of my more stupid attempts to get her to go out with me,” Patrick told Erin. “Did you see anything else?”

“All different stuff,” she said. “You in the EVA, you and other other pilots. When you went out in the snow. Things like that.”

“So this link between us really does goes two-way!”
“Yeah, um, sometimes a little too much!” she said sheepishly.

“Like what?”

“Well...let's just say that I know how much you like your girlfriend.”

“How...” Patrick thought to ask Erin to explain what she meant by that but then suddenly realized why. Kissing. “Umm, oh my that's awkward! But wait! If you could see and feel all of that, then why weren't you convinced from before?”

“I told you I was so angry I didn't know what to think!” she protested. “I just wanted you gone! And then I get all of this stuff in my head from you and it just drove me crazy!”

“Did you tell anyone else?”

“Yeah, as part of the training to go into NERV they had me speak to this woman here. She wrote down all of these visions I got. When I asked her what they were she said they were just residual psychological experiences from EVA. I didn't realize until later it was all really going on!”

Patrick's heart sank as he heard that. “No,” he realized, “they were using the link between you and me to spy on NERV! Oh, shit.”





Alaska


The lights went out in Gendo’s cell two hours later. Lying in his bed he lie awake looking out of the small window at the top of his cell wall, watching as the moonlight began to shine over the white wasteland that surrounded them.

Katsuragi’s visit only confirmed for him what he had projected earlier, that NERV under the new Alliance management had come under chaotic conditions despite whatever Misato was saying. If Shinji really was captured by SEELE that would indicated that SEELE was either able to penetrate NERV’s failing security or that Unit 01 itself was captured and both of these were indications that their operation was having severe problems.

He owed nothing to NERV, as it’s commander he led the organization to victory against the Angels at what he considered a very low cost in lives. If anything NERV owed him what he set out to achieve ten years ago and as far as he was concerned it was a fair trade.

Gendo did have to admit that by now he hated the cell he was in, and he hated the isolation despite how it first allowed him to focus his mind. Here he was trapped with his memories and he was beginning to realize over time that the good memories were well outnumbered by the bad ones.

Nonetheless his plan was moving forward. Eventually NERV would collapse and the Alliance with it. The world’s remaining nations would need to make a choice between maintaining Evangelion or surrendering to SEELE and if they didn’t want to be part of SEELE’s master plan in the end he would be the savior that they would seek out. It was only a matter of time.

Time enough, and then I will have her back.

He remained on the bed as he heard noises down the corridor. There were often loud metal sounds in the night time as the guards slammed doors in security shutdown. Being as he was the only prisoner here he also knew it was just another act by his captors to rattle him.

Looking out the window again he could see the moon and how it was nearly full. Large and glowing white, it was beautiful and perhaps the only thing that was in this wilderness. Yui always liked the moon…

The moonlight shined into his cell, creating shadows against the wall that was facing him. He traced along the light until he saw a shadow that he was unfamiliar with.

His eyes adjusted the darkness, he looked carefully and saw a solitary figure standing against the wall. Not one of the guards, he knew, but a woman of small stature standing there and simply looking at him.

I’m seeing things, he realized. This place is getting to me after all.

He leaned back and tried to determine if the shadow was in fact real when it spoke to him, in a voice that he had not heard in what seemed like a lifetime.

“Gendo.”

What? Memories are causing feedback into my active thought pattern. I’m projecting this image because I was thinking of Yui just a moment ago.

The voice came again. “Gendo,” she called. Her voice was that soft whisper that he had come to love so well.

Gendo took a more carefully look and saw what stood against the wall was not just shadow. There was a face, illuminated in the moonlight that looked on him with caring eyes. “Gendo,” she said again.

I have to dispel this, if only to clear it out of my mind. Gendo got out of the bed and slowly walked towards the wall. Prisoners were not allowed out of bed at night but he didn’t care. “Who is this?”

“Gendo, don't you know me?”

He reached the other wall and saw the figure in front of him. She was no shadow he realized, but she was flesh and blood. The steam from her breath was visible in the light. He could see her in more detail now right next to her. The figure had short brown hair, a slender, petite figure, delicately small hands and feet, and a look of gentility but yet great confidence. “Who are you?” he asked the figure again.

“You know who I am,” the voice replied. Gendo gently put his right hand on her arm and touched the figure. The figure looked up at him and gave him a small smile, and when Gendo saw that his heart began to race.

A dream? Yet, I can touch her!

His hand went from her arm to her face and he touched it in the darkness. The figure did the same, taking her hand and caressing his face as well.

“It…it can’t be!”

“I’ve made my choice,” the voice said. “I’ve returned for you.”

Gendo looked into her eyes and saw their violet color. Has it been go long, he thought. So long without feeling her touch, so long without hearing her voice…

“Yui!” he said with a shaken voice. “Is it you?”

“It’s been long enough,” the woman said. “It’s done.”

Suddenly all of his emotions came raging to the front. It wasn’t just the image of her, but the sensations of Yui: her voice, her touch, her warmth, her gentle smile, all of them were here. He saw the face closer to him now and he put his arm around her. “Yui…please tell me you’re real!”

“Gendo,” the voice said to him, “Please come home.”

Home...with Yui. It was all I ever wanted. Unable to hold back any longer, Gendo squeezed the woman tightly in the dark. “Yui! Yui!” he said with tears finally coming out. He held her tightly against him, holding on afraid that she would escape him again. “Yui,” he said, “I’m so sorry for what I’ve done to let you escape from me...” The woman did nothing except remain in his arms.

“Yui, I…” At that moment as he held her against him Gendo remembered something, that Yui Ikari was tall enough for her head to come up to his chin. This ghostly figure was still below his shoulders. “Wait a minute,” he said out loud. “Yui was taller than you!” In pained rejection he pushed the figure against the wall, realizing how he was tricked, and knowing who had done it.

“Rei!” he said to the figure. “It’s you!”

“So,” she said in reply. “You can tell us apart.”

Gendo took a step back from the wall and saw what Rei had done. Looking in the moonlight, he could see that Rei had dressed the part: she was wearing a light blue turtleneck blouse and dark blue skirt, worn with a white lab coat, heels and white stockings – exactly what Yui would have normally worn to the lab when she worked. Her hair was now died the same color as both Yui’s and Shinji’s, in a medium brown, and even her eye color was changed. She looked like Yui at about 75% scale, and somehow her voice had seemed exactly the same. It was enough to make his blood boil.

“Rei!” he demanded, “what is the meaning of this?”

“I needed to show you,” she said to him, her voice returning to her own monotone.

“Show me what?”

“You need not seek out Yui Ikari any more,” she said. “She is already here.”
“No!”

“She is here…as part of me,” Rei told him. “And she has been with you the entire time. You just did not have eyes to see it.”

“No,” Gendo shouted, “it’s not true! You are not her.”

“So many times,” Rei began to confess to him, “so many times I wanted you to touch me the way you did just now. So many times I wanted to feel that you loved me, that I was not just an object to you. If I had the choice back then,” she said to him, her voice increasingly showing more emotion as she spoke, “There was a time when I would have become her for you.”

“You would have not been her,” he replied, “you are just a shell.”

“Was that all I was to you?” Rei asked him. “Was I nothing more? Just a means to an end?”

“You were the bridge to bring me back to her,” he said. “Surely you figured that out yourself.”

“But did you think that your Yui would forget you?” Rei countered. “When you and Futsuyuki-sensei set out to get her back from inside Unit 01, did you think that she would leave you alone without her?”

“What happened to her wasn’t her choice. We were trying to save her.”

“A mother’s choice is always to protect their children,” said Rei. “But she knew you would be lonely, so she created me.”

What?

“I am the child of Yui Ikari,” she declared. “I am as much of a child of hers as Shinji is, and she sent me so that you would have her because she knew you could not bear the separation from her. But you were blinded by your anger. You could not see me for who I was, you could only see her.”

“How could you ever be her?” Gendo argued. “Do you have her soul? Do you have our memories?”

“Within the EVA I have shared both, and at this point I feel like I know her like I know myself. I know that I am her, and I know that I am also not her.” Rei took a step closer to Gendo. “Why did you name me Rei, if you did not know yourself. Why not simply name me Yui?”

“I gave you the name because I needed to keep my true intentions secret. Rei was the name for Shinji had he been a girl, Ayanami was Yui’s grandmother’s maiden name. Her family was mostly dead after Second Impact, there was no one else who would have known.”

“But you could have picked any other name, yet you named me as your child. Am I not that to you as well?”

“No,” Gendo said, his anger coming up and out of his own control. “You say that you would have become Yui if I wanted it, yet when the time came you betrayed me! Why did you do that?”

“Because I wanted to be me!” Rei cried out. “I didn’t want to be a bridge! I wanted to be your child! Yet you….put yourself inside of me!”

Gendo stepped back as Rei’s emotions came pouring out. “Do you know how I felt when you did that? When you put Adam inside of me? When you put it there, in that place?” her hands moved towards her lower abdomen. “I trusted you. I trusted you like you were my own father.”

“I never wanted to be your father.”

“Then you run away from everything just like Shinji!”

“NO! I wanted Yui! That’s all I ever wanted was her, yet you took her away from me!”

Rei was now shouting at him. “I didn’t take her away! She was always here, you just couldn’t see it!”

“NO! YOU ARE NOT HER!” Gendo shouted back.

Suddenly Gendo rushed towards Rei and grabbed her, throwing her against the wall. “I WANT MY YUI! GIVE ME BACK MY YUI!” He took his hands and grabbed her neck, and then in a rage lifted her off the ground.


Outside of the cell both Misato and Wellington were watching as Rei spoke with Gendo, ready to burst in at any sign of trouble. At several times during their encounter Misato had thought to go in and intervene yet she had held herself back, wanting to give Rei every chance to reach Gendo despite the great personal danger she put herself in. Now she worried that it was too late. “Go, Now!” she ordered Wellington and then both burst through the cell door.

As the entered the cell, Gendo turned to see who it was and both women rushed him. He was holding Rei by the neck a foot off the ground. Before he could do anything, Wellington pushed him down and towards the cell floor as she put a pistol to his head, while Misato immediately caught Rei in her arms.

“Rei? Rei! Are you alright?” Misato shouted. Rei wasn’t moving however, and Misato could see dark bruise marks around her neck. “REI!” she screamed in a panic.

Misato shook Rei, hoping for some sign of life. “Oh, no,” she cried. “We’re too late!” At that moment Rei shook her head and began to cough, and both of the women were greatly relieved.

“That bloody well took guts,” Wellington commented on the girl as Misato smiled and held Rei tightly. “Yeah, she’s pretty special,” Misato said as Rei recovered herself, finally giving Misato a broken smile to show that she was in fact alright.

“As for you, you bastard,” Wellie told Gendo, “we’re going to add that to your list of charges that we’ll string you up on!”

Pinned on the floor, Gendo’s eyes searched for and found Rei. Still being held tightly by Misato, Rei looked at him. It wasn’t a look of pity or of anger, he discovered, but one of deep regret. Seeing that look on her face, on Yui’s face , was too much for him to bear. It had all come to nothing in the end for him.

Wellington got up off the floor, still with her pistol in her hand. “Alright, get up you!” she said to Gendo below.

“Do you mind assisting,” he told her coldly, “I only have one arm at the moment.”

“Fine. I hate to see such a pathetic cripple.” Wellington bent over to help Gendo get up. In the moment that she did so he suddenly threw all of his body weight towards her, knocking her off her feet. In the sudden attack Wellie lost the grip on her pistol and it spilled onto the cell floor. Gendo then quickly rolled over and grabbed the pistol.

“Look out!” shouted Misato as Gendo pushed himself into the corner of the cell, the pistol now aimed at her and Rei. Instinctively Misato turned around and shielded Rei with her body as she pulled up her own gun, while Wellington went for the knife that she kept tucked in the back of her waistbelt.

His eyes bulging with emotion, his forehead dripping with sweat, Gendo trembled as he aimed the pistol at Rei and Misato. Wellington made a motion to go forward and he quickly swung the pistol towards her next.

“Put it down, Ikari,” Misato said. “Don’t do anything worse than you’ve already done.”

“It’s all for nothing,” he declared in a trembling voice. “The old men might as well just burn the world down.”

“You can’t say that you believe in that?” countered Misato. “Not after everything that’s happened.”

“If I can’t have her…I don’t want to go on. Rei is right…I’m just running away after all.” He took the pistol and aimed it at Misato and Rei again, and then he brought it towards himself.


“NO!” shouted Misato. Before she could do anything, Rei burst out of her own arms and flew towards Gendo.

Wellington tried to catch Rei by the legs but was unable to. The girl flung herself in front of Gendo, using her hands to try and grab the pistol. A single shot rang out, followed by the sound of the gun dropping to the ground.

“REI!” Misato screamed.

Gendo looked up and saw his hand, with blood dripping over it. He looked at Rei and saw her on top of him, motionless. Seeing her there next to his body, looking so much like a little Yui: so beautiful to him, the fragrance of her hair and the softness of her skin. “Oh, no…” he cried as he started to tremble. “What…what I have I done?”

Rei’s head slowly looked up at him, and she touched her left arm with her right hand. Scraping some of the blood from the arm she showed him. “It’s just a graze,” she said. “Nothing more.”

Gendo looked into her eyes, as he was now shaking uncontrollably. “What…what I have I done?”

“It will be okay now,” she said to him softly. She then smiled and he tried to smile but couldn’t and instead completely broke down in Rei’s arms.

The two woman officers just looked on in disbelief as Gendo Ikari sobbed while Rei comforted him. As she caressed Gendo’s hair like she would a small child’s, Rei just turned to Misato and said to her “He was not ready before…but he is ready now.”


Go on to Chapter Forty-Seven