Story: The Daughters of Lilith (all chapters)

Authors: bleeding.blade

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Chapter 1

Title: Major Misato Katsuragi

[Author's notes:

PREFACE: I wrote this story simply because I wanted to see Misato and Ritsuko come together. It's probably the most difficult of the stories I've ever attempted to write so far because of the challenges involved, namely: (1) Misato's and Ritsuko's characters are unquestionably straight in the anime; (2) they're both already linked to male characters; and (3) they both have a tremendous amount of baggage to deal with from their past. Coming up with a plot that would allow them to be plausibly romantically involved with each other required a great deal of ingenuity. I can only hope the reader will be pleased with the result :0)

WARNINGS: This story takes place well after the events of the anime series, so spoilers of the ending do abound.

NOTES: The story takes its starting point from the conclusion of the anime series alone and doesn't factor in any plot developments coming from the movies. I have to admit though that the story does assume a very optimistic interpretation of the anime's conclusion. The only thing I can say in my defense is that given how utterly confusing that ending was, a whole range of interpretations of it can be reasonably defended.

DISCLAIMER: The characters of Neon Genesis Evangelion are the creations of Gainax and are therefore not my property.


I remember the day I woke up, days after the world had ended. I remember the animal relief, my body reveling in its inexplicable survival. It was only my mind that had revolted, panicked by a final memory of things having gone horribly wrong. And then my gaze had settled on her, and even before I could remember who she was, I'd smiled. And then I'd closed my eyes, and a name had floated in the descending darkness.



I recall the urgency of those days, our frantic eagerness to discover how much of the world had been given back to us. Every day new people were found. They say the Children were found. They also say the Seele took them. Strange that after yet another apocalypse, the old conspiracies endured. The Seele took the Children, and I haven't seen them since.


I remember the day Kaji returned. It was months after I'd woken up, and reconstruction efforts were well underway. I remember how the world had stopped—how it had shriveled and contracted to the shape of a single man. I hadn't realized until then how violent happiness could be. How it could bludgeon you senseless until you woke up only to find it gone.


For a month we were inseparable. For a month he kept my despair over the lost Children at bay. For a month I lived in an endless moment, impervious to the losses of the past and the anxieties of the future. Only Ritsuko had seen what was coming, though she didn't tell me until long after it had ceased to matter.


I remember the exact moment it happened. I'd woken up to find him staring at me. The sadness in his eyes broke my heart before he opened his mouth.

Don't go, Kaji, I whispered.

I can't stay, Misato. He hasn't stopped. He never will.

We're alive! I sobbed. The world ended and we're still alive. Isn't that enough?

He got up and dressed silently. Before he left, he turned to me and said:

I love you, Misato.

A year would pass before I would see him again.


It was Ritsuko who kept me sane during those long and difficult months. We were all that remained of each other's world. I'd lost the Children. She'd lost the Evas. For a while it felt as if we'd gone back to our university days. There was just her, just me; just her work, just my work.

At the end of every week we would go to the bar. She always ended up taking me home, though she never said a word of complaint. For countless weeks, hers was the last face I'd see before oblivion claimed me. And even when I couldn't remember who she was, I'd smile. Then I'd close my eyes and hear a whisper in the descending darkness.



If she was grieving for anything, she kept it from me. She seemed different from before, though perhaps the world ending can change people just a bit.

Still, she was kinder to me than I deserved. I was a fool and a drunk and no one saw it as clearly as she did. But she stayed by me until the insanity passed, and that was something no one else had ever done.


It happened on a Saturday evening, while we were drinking at her apartment.

She was sitting on the floor: legs stretched flat, head thrown back, the fingers of one hand curled elegantly around a wineglass. It struck me then how beautiful she was—how alcohol never dissipated anything about her, least of all her looks.

On an impulse, I'd leaned over and kissed her.

The softness of her lips had shocked me.

She'd only looked back at me with an eyebrow raised. Classic Ritsuko. Nothing ever surprised her.

What was that supposed to be? She'd asked me neutrally.

I shrugged through the haze of alcohol. A kiss.

That wasn't a kiss, she said. Then she'd leaned over and covered my mouth with hers and kissed me with such sensuous abandon that my alcoholic fog dissipated.

Then she'd broken it off and looked at me lazily. That's a kiss.

I narrowed my eyes. In the next moment I had her pinned to the floor. And while I deliberated on what to do with her, she slipped an arm around my neck and kissed me again.

I looked at her.


She gazed at me levelly. You started it. You finish it.

We looked at each other. After a long, long moment, my hand reached out and tugged her scarf free.

Her skin tasted as sweet as her lips.

Misato, she whispered. That was the last word spoken for the rest of that night.


It shocked me at first that we became lovers so easily—that desire could be so fluid and adaptable. But it was easy—so, so easy—to want her once I'd started, and there was a naturalness in our being together.

Kaji was a thoughtful and consummate lover, but Ritsuko's lovemaking was more exquisite by far. Perhaps it had to do with her being a woman and a scientist at the same time. She knew where to go and what to do and did it with a finesse and delicacy that left me trembling for hours.

Do you think it's pathetic?

I looked at her lying naked in my rumpled bed sheets. She had no idea how beautiful she was, with her emerald eyes and her delicate cheekbones. Men would die to possess her. But there was only one man she had ever wanted.

I turned away from her.

Yes. We\'re absolutely pathetic.


At first we kept it to the weekends—to those spaces where our identities were least intact. But soon it became a game to see how much we could permit at the base, in her lab, in my office. We both knew our reputations. We both knew what we risked. It only added to the excitement.

I would watch her through the security cameras—watch her audience's rapt and admiring faces. She was a genius like no other, except perhaps her mother before her. The untouchable Doctor Akagi. Untouchable, that is, to everyone but me.

Doctor Akagi, could you come to my office please? She never gave me anything except the curtest of nods.

Five minutes later she would be at my door. She would have barely shut it before I'd have slammed her against the wall, my mouth on her neck and my fingers in her hair. She would laugh quietly. Be careful, Misato... But I knew she wanted me as badly as I wanted her—knew it in how her hands trembled when they were so steady in all else.


There was someone else who loved her. Someone who loved her from afar. Her name was Maya and she had loved Ritsuko for a long, long time.

It doesn't bother you, how she looks at you?

She barely looked up from her keyboard.

As long as it doesn't distract her from her work.

I turned away from her and rested my head on the cool metal of her desk.

You're a cold woman, Ritsuko.

She put her arms around me then and breathed into my ear.

Do you really believe that?

Her lips were warm against my earlobe. I shivered.

Doesn't matter if I do, I said, pulling her down for a kiss. As long as you disprove it.


I teased her about her coldness—the clinical detachment that set her apart—but it was the fire in her that terrified me.  It showed in the greenness of her eyes—of a brilliance that not even her glasses could mute. The perfection of her beauty perpetually startled me. I'd known her for so long, but it had taken even longer for me to see her. Kaji had been beautiful too, but in a rough and offhand way. Ritsuko's loveliness pierced me, long after I thought I didn't have a heart left to stab.


There was a sacredness in being part of her world. Without her telling me, I knew I was the only one who'd ever invaded her spaces. I couldn't imagine her bringing Gendo to her flat. Whatever it was they'd shared would have been clinical and brutal, fit for a lab but not for a home.

Alone in her room, I would take in her crisp sheets, her ordered books, the austere expressiveness of the single vase on her shelf. All of it bore the mark of her sensitivity. It hurt me to see her soul on display—moved me that I was the only one besides her who'd ever seen it.

In those moments, it would me hit me that I couldn't live with her; that her ordered universe had room for everything else but me. Where could she fit me, with my alcohol-bordered sobriety? Where could she fit me, when I still carried all of my past and Kaji?


At bottom, beneath all of my fears, beneath all of the ghosts, I loved her. I loved her because I didn't have to be careful with her; didn't have to watch my own strength because I was confident of hers.

I never knew what she was thinking. She was as proud and inscrutable as her cats—which made her attentions all the more rewarding.

I often wondered what she was like in Gendo's bed.

I often hated the thought.


She was so self-contained, even when she slept—except for a single occasion, the memory of which haunts me to this day. Just once, while she slept, a dream stirred her and woke me. She smiled the slightest bit and said my name, the Misato rolling off her tongue like a caress. I froze beside her, frightened by what my name meant on her sleeping lips—and touched to my very core.

Neither of us were the other's first choice. Did that mean we were using each other?

Maybe so. But did it matter? In a world torn apart by madness, what did any of it matter?

Chapter 2

Title: Doctor Ritsuko Akagi

She was ferocious in bed the first time we made love. Just like Kaji had said. But she was generous too, and utterly playful. Being with her was as exhausting as it was exhilarating.

She was the first person I ever loved. She never knew it. For a long time, I didn't myself. But back when we were young, when all things seemed possible, when my mother was still alive, I fell in love with her. She was the only one who never seemed afraid of me. I was entranced by her charm, disarmed by her straightforwardness.

And then she fell in love with Kaji, and I knew when I saw her with him that she was lost to me and always would be.

Later on, when I fell in love with Gendo, it had been a relief. Gendo turned out to be a far greater mistake, but at least I had him in ways I couldn't have with Misato. Gendo twisted my soul, but it was Misato who broke my heart.


In the war we fought together, we were enemies just as much as friends.

She struck me twice and pointed a gun at me once. I loved her in those instances at the same time that I hated and pitied her. That was what life was like with the Angels. You loved those you hated; hated those you loved. Everything was complicated, for the adults as well as for the Children.

She was a genius at what she did. I can't count the number of times she saved the world. I created the science, but she was the one who used it, using her soul as the fuel to keep the long and detestable war going. I knew how much it devastated her to send the Children. She did it unfailingly.

And then the world ended. I found her but lost the Evas. She lost the Children but found Kaji. Then she lost Kaji as well and then there was just me.


I knew when I saw him with her that their reunion wouldn't last. A man's love can be trusted, but his loyalties are never guaranteed. Strange that after yet another apocalypse, some patterns still endured.

Just because you're chasing him doesn't mean you have to leave.

He'd paused at the doorway then and gave me an ironic smile.

I never thought you cared, Ritsuko. Did the fact of the world ending change you just a bit?

I shrugged. Maybe it did and maybe it didn't. But it certainly hasn't changed you and it certainly hasn't changed Gendo.

He'd smiled sadly then and shouldered his duffel bag.

Take care of her, Ritsuko. You're the only one who can.

Nearly a year would pass before I would see him again.


I'll never know why I stood by her in all the months that followed; never know how I bore witnessing her grief. Maybe in the end it was because grief was the tie that bound us—the terrible and familiar intimacy that never seemed to end.


It happened on a Saturday evening and we'd both been drunk when it happened.

She'd leaned over suddenly and kissed me.

I'd never been more surprised in my life.

I'll never know what possessed me to kiss her back. Maybe it was the sweetness of the alcohol. Maybe it was the softness of her lips. Maybe it was the fact that she was the one who'd broken the heart my mother said I didn't have.

Whatever it was that possessed me, I kissed her back. And when she hesitated, I kissed her again.

She never hesitated again after that.  


It startled me that we became lovers so easily; startled me that there was a naturalness in our being together. I knew the contours of her body—the scientist in me recognized them as abstract reflections of mine. But the woman in me reveled in the difference—reveled in the tangible revelations of skin against skin, flank against flank.

But it was the scientist and the woman in me both that realized the absurdity of our being together—that refused to acknowledge our newfound intimacy as anything beyond convenience.

Do you think it's pathetic? I asked her once.

She looked at me for a long moment then turned away.

Yes, she said. We're absolutely pathetic.


I didn't stop our later recklessness; didn't discourage her advances. We'd been through so much danger we needed to create our own risks. Or maybe I didn't need the risk. Maybe I just wanted her—wanted her badly enough to have her make love to me anywhere she wanted to, in the base, in my lab, in her office.

Doctor Akagi, could you come to my office please? She never gave me anything except the slightest of glances.

Five minutes later I'd be at her door. Five more minutes later I'd be on her desk, her hands on my breasts and her tongue in my ear. She would laugh quietly. Tell me, my untouchable Doctor, where do you want me to touch you now?

Nothing in my life had ever fazed me: not my mother's death; not Gendo's betrayal; not the world's destruction.  But a look from Misato could shake me to my core—set my soul trembling until it showed in my hands. They were never steady when they held her; never steady until she held them in hers.


She would tease me about Lieutenant Ibuki; question my aloofness to my assistant's devotion. I never knew what to make of her remarks. They were too casual to be spurred by jealousy—too deliberate to pass as mere banter. And she knew, perhaps more than anyone else, how I could never return my subordinate's affections. The only thing that had ever evaded the manipulation of my mind and the domination of my will was the heart I was reputed not to have. The mind would have chosen Maya; the will had already chosen Gendo. As for my non-existent heart: the only reason I didn't have it was because she'd taken it a long long time ago—taken it without knowing it and never returned it since.


She would tease me about my coldness, but she was the only one who ever saw through it. She understood the wildness in me—felt it when my love-making turned ferocious, took a violence that sometimes frightened even me.  

Why do you let me do it? I asked her once. The bruises on her skin were inkier than the shadows.

She'd smiled at me and said, Because I'm the only one who can.

My voice had trembled then. Misato...

Shut up, Ritsuko, she told me tenderly, shut up and fuck me again.         


There were times when I watched her sleeping, times when I was seized by a longing I refused to name. Then I would remember the days she lay unconscious, those days when my world had dwindled to the outline of a single bed.  I hadn't realized until then how simple happiness could be. How it could take the shape of the sound of one's name, the syllables the barest whisper on a resurrected beloved's lips.


I knew she liked staying in my flat; liked being in the space even in my absence. I caught her once, going through my room. She didn't know I was there. The tender reverence with which she touched my things felt like fingers around my throat. Her very presence in that room was a violation. With her careless black hair and her laughing eyes, she was a splash of vitality that didn't belong to my world.

But I would die without her in it.


I thought I knew where we were going. I thought I knew I was safe. Everything had come between us: life, death, work, men. There was nothing left to hope for; the certainty was my guarantee.

But it hurt more when we became lovers. Being with Gendo was degrading, but there was a trick to being with him. It was all about finding how much lower you could go, how much more desperate you could be. But Misato cared. It was her tenderness that hurt me.

Maybe it was the scientist in me that wanted to quibble—that wanted to analyze and classify and say her love wasn't enough because it wasn't the right kind. Or maybe it was the woman in me—the one that wanted more than the remains of her heart.

Maybe, even there, I was my mother's daughter until the end.


I was waiting for the moment of disillusionment—waiting for the moment that would rescue me. There was so much about her that would disappoint: the drinking, the waywardness, the obstinacy.

But I'd miscalculated. I'd known her most of my life. What was there left in her that could turn me away? What was there left in her that could force me away from the beauty of her soul, from the courage in her that resisted all brokenness, including mine?

I allowed my intimacy with Gendo, knowing he would leave me, knowing he would use me. The anticipation of betrayal was my shield.

I allowed my intimacy with Misato, thinking she would leave me, thinking she would look for Kaji. But this time, the thought of betrayal wounded me, pierced what had already been broken. Only Misato had ever done that.

Only Misato ever could.


Still, I could have withstood it. There was safety in non-reciprocity, regardless of how precarious. What frightened me was her happiness: how the drinking stopped; how she noticed Lieutenant Ibuki's feelings for me. We were the dead and the abandoned. What we had was not supposed to leave room for joy. But what we had made me hope—and hope was the one commodity I could not afford. In a world blown apart by madness, it was a commodity none of us could afford.

Chapter 3

Title: Lieutenant Maya Ibuki

I don’t know if they intended it to be a secret. It was obvious to anyone who cared to look.

I was one of those who looked, though I didn’t care anything for it.

Doctor Akagi: I’d loved her since I’d met her. She was beautiful and intelligent; absolutely perfect and utterly cold. Nothing ever touched her. Nothing ever fazed her. Even when she’d fallen in love with Commander Ikari, there had been something sterile about her passion—something heartless about her gaze.

But Major Katsuragi had always been something else. Doctor Akagi never went out with anyone else; never drank with anyone else; never really relaxed with anyone else. Only the Major ever brought out the warmth in Doctor Akagi’s eyes—not that Major Katsuragi ever even knew it.

I envied Major Katsuragi.


I remember the day we found the Major—and the barely suppressed urgency in Doctor Akagi. Doctor Akagi had stayed by her side for days. It was only after the Major had woken up, then fallen asleep again, that Doctor Akagi had gotten up—only to collapse against the wall from exhaustion. Even then, she’d refused to take my hand. She always refused to take anyone’s hand, though that hadn’t stopped her from holding Major Katsuragi’s.


I can’t remember when I first noticed it, only that things were suddenly different. They touched each other more frequently, shadowed each other more closely. There was the slightest hint of possessiveness in the way the Major put her hand on the Doctor’s shoulder.  

And then one day I caught them: in the Major’s office, through the sliver of the door’s opening. There was Doctor Akagi, her back against the wall, her arms around the Major’s neck. They were kissing passionately. It was the playfulness in the Doctor’s voice, however, that drove a splinter into my heart.

This is the third time you’ve called me into your office.

And this is the fourth time that you’ve come.

The second visit was purely official.

It wasn’t pure or official when it ended.

You refused to let me out of the room.

Only because you refused to let me into your pants.

You’ve got a dirty mouth, Major.

Which is exactly how you like it, Doctor.

That was as far as their conversation got—at least as far as my endurance could take.

I hated Major Katsuragi.


I remember the day they told me that I was being reassigned—that I was to be sent to the Arctic alone with Doctor Akagi. I remember how the world had stopped—how it had shriveled and contracted to the vision of a single dream. I hadn’t realized until then how vicious happiness could be. How it could make you walk out, uncaring, intent to wipe the smile off a rival’s lips.

I pitied Major Katsuragi.

Chapter 4

Title: Doctor Ritsuko Akagi

When they told me that they'd found an Eva and that I was being reassigned, all I could think of was how far away the Arctic was—how far away I would have to be.

Aren't you pleased, Doctor Akagi?

I turned to look at Maya and noted the gleaming satisfaction on her face. The Evas were not just my work; they were the children I never had. Now one of my "children" had just been found and I was discovering—just like my mother had before me—how bad a mother I could be.

We'll need to pack quickly, Lieutenant Ibuki. They tell us we're leaving at first light.

Yes, of course, Doctor Akagi.

It was only after Maya had gone that I noticed the trembling in my hands.


They told me that you were going.

She was standing at the doorway, an unreadable expression on her face.

It'll be a short-term reassignment, maybe six to eight months at most.

Did it ever occur to you to say no?

Would it have occurred to you to say no?

Just answer my question, Ritsuko.

You know as well as I do that I really don't have a choice.

And you know as well as I do that you're really not answering my question.

I stopped in the middle of packing and looked outside my window.

I don't want to go, Misato.

I felt her arms wrap around me.

That's all I needed to hear.

I leaned back into her embrace.

You're not going to stop me then?

You know as well as I do that you really don't have a choice.

Lieutenant Ibuki is coming with me.

I felt her arms stiffen. After a moment, she withdrew. At least there'll be someone to look after you. You tend to neglect yourself when you get lost in your work.

I called her back when she reached the doorway. And who's going to look after you, Misato?

She glanced back at me with a hooded smile. No one. Not at least until you get back.

Half a year would pass before I would see her again.


When I saw the figure waiting for me in my assigned room, things fell immediately into place. After the initial moment of shock, all that was left was surprise: surprise that he had taken so long and that I hadn't immediately guessed.

You look well, Ritsukowell enough despite the tedium of the work they've given you all these months.

Just because the world isn't ending doesn't mean I'm bored, Gendo. What do you want?

What I've always wanted, Ritsuko.

Just because the world isn't ending doesn't mean I have time for your games either. I'll ask again, Gendo: what do you want?

A new beginning, Ritsuko, and your help in creating it.

You expect me to help you after you betrayed me?

If I had succeededif we had succeededevery betrayal, every sacrifice, every death and every loss would have been redeemed. You know that as well as I do.

What makes you so sure you won't fail again?

Because we've already failed once, and that failure's taught us exactly what we need to avoid.

I looked at him closely then, this man I'd worshipped, feared and loved with an intensity bordering on insanity. Strange that after the world had ended, some delusions still survived.

Alright, Gendo. I'll help you revive the Evas. I'll help you restart Instrumentality.


I said yes because there was no one who could oppose him—no one who could refuse him in the face of his obsession. He had found supporters in the new government, supporters powerful enough to conceal his agenda and theirs.

And even if the world had already ended once, I still understood the lure of what he was trying to achieve. It was the lure of a world where the illusory boundaries that separated people were dispelled, where all human beings were one, where, as he had said, "every betrayal, every sacrifice, every death and every loss" could finally be redeemed. It was a vision that had called to me once—a vision that had proved every bit as compelling as the science it had demanded I create.

But somewhere along the way, the attraction of that vision had faded; faded to be replaced by a vision of a world where people were free to dispel the illusion of separateness in their own flawed and fumbling ways—a world where love was a choice rather than a given, a world where the risks were ridiculously high only because the rewards were ridiculously higher, a world where happiness could assume the sound of one's name on a resurrected beloved's lips.

There was only one way such a world could survive—and that way meant stopping Gendo.


It took me three months to create a way to communicate with the outside world that wouldn't raise any suspicion. Every two weeks we were allowed to leave headquarters to spend time on any of the neighboring leisure bases. I quickly established a pattern of frequenting a particular bar—and of having one-night stands with different men.

As soon as I felt that my routine had become predictable, I sent an untraceable and encrypted message to the one man in the world who was capable of ruining my remaining happiness.

Then I waited.


I didn't know they sent beauties to the Arctic.

And I didn't know they sent idiots.

You're not very friendly, are you?

It's not my job to be friendly.

Mine is. Care to leave this joint?

Thought you'd never ask.

It was only when the motel door closed behind him that he chose to speak again.

Never thought you cared for these kinds of places, Ritsuko.

I sat down on the only chair in the room, crossed my legs and shrugged.

If you've done your homework, Kaji, you'll know that It's one of the very few establishments in the area that's guaranteed to be bug-proof.

Do you actually sleep with all the men that you bring here?

I can't see how that question's relevant to your investigation.

So tell me, since you're the one who asked me to be here, what questions are actually relevant to my investigation.

Start by asking me what I'm doing and who I'm working for.

I already know the answers to those questionsthe official answers at least. I know you're resurrecting the Evas and I know you're working for the government.

Surface answers to surface questions. I'm reviving Instrumentality and I'm doing it with Gendo.

The sardonic smile on his face vanished. I've spent the last year hunting Gendo, Ritsuko, and I haven't come up with a single trace. And you're telling me that he's been here all along, behind the scenes of the single most prominent project being undertaken on the planet?

I looked at him coolly. How else do you think he's evaded you all this time? He has backers in the highest levels. He's always had them and he always will.

The look of angry despair that flashed across his face almost made me pity him.

Why did you ask me to come here?

Because we're the only ones who can stop him.


I gather evidence from the inside; you find support from the outside. Not everyone shares Gendo's obsession for world annihilationyou're the only one I know who can figure out who doesn't.

Why do you even want to stop him? Didn't you use to be on his side?

Maybe the fact of the world ending can change people just a bit.

He looked at me for a long and thoughtful moment before finally nodding his head.

Does Misato know anything about this?

Would it help matters if she did?

He shook his head and gave me an ironic smile.

If the day ever comes that she finds out, we'll both have hell to pay.

I smiled back at him without humor. I can only entertain one thought of hell at a time.

On his way out, I called him back.

What'll you do when this is all over?

He didn't look back as he replied. What I've always wanted to do: go home to wherever Misato is.

I spent the rest of that night the same way I'd spent all my previous nights in that motel: alone in a chair, wishing I were a thousand miles away.


It was a few weeks later, and I was just about to enter the room with my companion for the night when a heavy thud behind me caused me to whirl around in alarm.

The intruder had me in the room and pinned against the wall in seconds, while my companion crumpled to a heap in the hallway.

Is this why you never wrote me, never messaged, never called?

The hood slipped away from her face; the coldness in her eyes made me involuntarily shudder.

No one's touched me in the last six months, Misato. I looked down at her hands around my throat. At least not until tonight.

She stared at me for a long, uncertain moment until I couldn't take it anymore and kissed her—kissed her with all the lust and longing that had been building up over several wretched weeks. She responded by shoving me into the bed and tearing off my clothes, ravaging every expanse of flesh she managed to bare. She spent the next hour fucking me senseless on every available surface, using her fingers, her mouth and her tongue.

And when she was done, I flipped her over and fucked her until her moans finally subsided into whispers and she lay spent and quiet in my arms.

Why didn't you write or call me? The look of anguish on her face caused a lancing pain in my chest.

I kissed the palm of her hand before answering. Hearing anything from you would have made me come straight home.

What did you end up doing with all the gigolos you hired?

I shrugged. Had them wank off in front of me, do a striptease on the bedwhatever would have them think that I was a rich and harmless pervert.


Because it got people to leave me alone.

Did it make Maya leave you alone?

Lieutenant Ibuki's not a concern. How did you know where to find me?

There was a brief moment of silence before she spoke.

Kaji told me. He told me he ran into you here during one of his assignments.

You saw Kaji? I marveled at how neutral my voice sounded.

We...chatted briefly two weeks ago. It was the first time I saw him since he left.

Any particular reason for the visit?

He said he could see the end of his search coming...He said that he'd be able to come home to me soon.

I waited for her to say more—waited for her to say that it didn't matter anymore whether Kaji came home or not. I couldn't bring myself to ask, and as the silence stretched, couldn't bear the uncertainty either.

So I made a decision then: a decision that broke the heart I was reputed not to have. As Misato drifted off to sleep, I stared at her profile in the semi-darkness, memorizing every single detail. Then when I could feel the sun beginning to rise, I kissed her tenderly on the lips, slipped out from underneath the covers, and left without a single word.

The world was not going to end again—not if it had Misato in it. My mother had made the ultimate sacrifice; I was about to make mine. Both of us had been scientists through and through, but we were women, above all, in the end.

Strange that after the world had ended, some legacies still endured.

Chapter 5

Title: Major Misato Katsuragi

I remember the day Lieutenant Ibuki told me that she was leaving with Ritsuko. I remember the look of triumph on her face. I remember, most of all, the satisfaction in her voice when she glanced back from the doorway and said: You don’t need to worry about the doctor, Major Katsuragi. I’ll be taking care of her now.

Strange that after the world had ended, some obsessions remained unchanged.


I don’t know how I did it—don’t know how I survived the months that followed without returning to the drink. It wasn’t Ritsuko’s distance that made me suffer (though her daily absence haunted my dreams); it wasn’t Lieutenant Ibuki’s proximity that caused me pain (though her parting words tortured my thoughts). It was the silence that was agonizing: the passage of day after day without a single word.

And then four months after Ritsuko left, Kaji came back. I hadn’t realized until then how confusing happiness could be. How it could leave you and find you and find you and leave you in ways that you could never expect.

It’s been a long time, Misato.

What brings you here, Kaji?

He paused. My search is almost over. Just a few more months, and then I can come home.

And where is your home?

He walked over to where I was and hugged me from behind.

Home is wherever you are, Misato. I know I hurt you when I left. I promise I’ll make it up to you—once Gendo’s out of the way.

I leaned back into his embrace and felt a twinge of the old, familiar love and longing. I’d waited months for him to say those words. Why didn’t they evoke anything for me now apart from affection and nostalgia?

Ritsuko looks fine, by the way.

I whirled around so fast I almost lost my balance.

You saw Ritsuko?

He looked amused. Yes, I did, while I was passing through the Arctic on assignment. I saw her…in a bar and we chatted for a bit. He chuckled and shook his head. I never thought she’d be the type.

What type?

The kind to indulge in the physical varieties of comfort. The bartender told me she always left with a different man. He looked at me then and the amusement in his face quickly switched to concern. Misato? Are you alright? You look even paler than Rei ever did.

I took a deep breath and nodded carefully. It’s just…fatigue. As for Ritsuko, you know how it is. Maybe the fact of the world ending can change people just a bit.

He hesitated. If you’re tired, maybe you should rest. The way he said it told me he was waiting for an invitation—an invitation I briefly considered extending until I realized its sole motivation was jealousy and not desire. I looked at Kaji and nodded. Yes, I think I’ll rest early tonight.

He gave me a look that was approving and disappointed all at the same time. Alright then. I need to leave in a few hours, so I guess it’s goodbye for now.

I hugged him briefly, then stepped back and turned away. All the way to the door, I could feel his puzzled eyes boring into my back.


It took me a few weeks to make the necessary arrangements, but I finally got a few days off to visit the Arctic. A few discreet inquiries confirmed what Kaji had said, and only hours after my arrival, I found myself lying in wait in the darkened corner of a motel hallway.

When she finally passed by, the faint whiff of her perfume caused me to stagger momentarily. Then the sight of the man next to her brought me to my senses and weeks of suppressed anger combined with months of desperate agony and years of military training to result in one very unconscious gigolo.

It was good the adrenaline was still flooding my system, otherwise the sight of her face—that beautiful, exquisite face that had haunted my dreams for months—would have deflated my rage and my resolve. Is this why you never wrote me, never messaged, never called?

She replied with quiet dignity. No one’s touched me in the last six months, Misato. She glanced briefly at my hands around her throat and added. At least not until tonight.

I stared at her uncertainly, anguish, doubt and fury battling with desire, longing and one more thing I didn’t dare name. I don’t know how long I would have stood there, on the brink of strangling her, if she hadn’t leaned forward and kissed me—kissed me with all the abandon and desperation I’d felt the last several months. I knew the moment her lips touched mine that she hadn’t lied. The elation that I felt expressed itself in the hour that followed in the language of pure desire.

I fucked her. Again and again and again. And then she fucked me. And when I finally lay spent and quiet in her arms, we talked.

How did you know where to find me? She asked.

Kaji told me. He told me he ran into you here during one of his assignments.

You saw Kaji? I couldn’t read the expression on her face.

We...chatted briefly two weeks ago. It was the first time I saw him since he left.

Any particular reason for the visit?

He said he could see the end of his search coming...He said that he’d be able to come home to me soon.

I waited for her to say something—waited for her to say that I’d be a fool to take Kaji back, that I had no…need to take Kaji back. I couldn’t bring myself to say anything, and as the silence stretched, found that I couldn’t resist the fatigue from my travels and the torpor from our love-making. I fell asleep in her arms and when I woke up, she was gone.

It was the last restful night I would have in a very long time.


I remember the moment they told me Ritsuko had been arrested. It was months after I’d last seen her—months after we’d last made love. I remember how the world had stopped—how it had telescoped and contracted to the memory of a single night. I hadn’t realized until then how cruel happiness could be. How it could slip into your heart unnoticed only to leave when you finally realize it’s actually there.


What happened, Kaji?

The remorse in his eyes confirmed my suspicions. I’m sorry, Misato. Ritsuko was clear she she didn’t want you involved. Shortly after she arrived in the Arctic, she discovered that Gendo was behind the entire operation. He wanted to resurrect Instrumentality with the Eva that had been found. Ritsuko played along with an intention to expose Gendo and his backers.

You didn’t see her by accident in the Arctic, did you?

He sighed. No. She called me because she needed my help to enlist outside support. She said she’d gather the evidence and send them to me. Once we had enough, we’d expose Gendo. Which is exactly what we ended up doing.

So tell me, I replied, my voice unsteady, why Ritsuko is behind bars along with the rest of them.

Kaji shook his head. She implicated herself, Misato. My guess is that there was too much information she couldn’t access and couldn’t capture if she didn’t fully involve herself, and there just…wasn’t enough time or support to set her up as an insider instead of an accessory. She was doing this all alone from the inside, and I could never initiate any contact with her. The entire operation depended on her initiative and she called all the shots.

I shook my head in denial. You can testify on her behalf, Kaji. You can tell them that she was the one responsible for exposing Gendo—

I’ve tried, Misato. He looked so haggard, suddenly. I found out about this at least a week before you and the public did, and trust me, I’ve tried. But Ritsuko’s…planned everything— He broke off suddenly and the look on his face began to frighten me.

What did she plan, Kaji?

He wouldn’t look at me. She doctored the source signature of all the evidence she sent me so that everything looks like it came from one person—the person whom the world will credit from now on as its savior.

Lieutenant Maya Ibuki. I whispered.

He shrugged helplessly. It was the first time I’d ever seen him so frustrated. I can’t help her, Misato. She’s covered all the bases. I have no solid evidence to prove that she was the one behind the exposure and not Maya.

I clenched and unclenched my fists. Lieutenant Ibuki won’t stand by and watch Ritsuko take the fall—you know that as well as I do.

Kaji smiled mirthlessly. Ritsuko knows it too—which is why she’s allowed Maya to express her affections so blatantly the last few months. Every witness NERV has interrogated has testified to Lieutenant Ibuki’s “fanatical” devotion to her superior. Every time Maya’s told the authorities that it was Ritsuko who sent the evidence and not her, it’s simply dismissed as proof of her loyalty.

I closed my eyes in despair. Classic Ritsuko. Nothing ever surprised her, nothing ever fazed her.

What will they do to her, Kaji?

He looked at me quietly. I don’t know, Misato. I really don’t know.


Despite all my efforts—despite all the strings I pulled and all the favors I recalled, I couldn’t find a way to see her. Public interest in the case was enormous; public outrage equally immense. There were fears that vigilante groups would take matters into their own hands.

They’ll start her trial tomorrow, Kaji told me, shortly after Gendo’s trial is completed. I remained silent, my mind already playing out the various scenarios.

He walked up behind me and embraced me from behind. Look, I know we’re the farthest thing from your mind right now, but we can do this together. He turned me around gently until I was facing him. I’m back, Misato. In less than ideal circumstances, I know. But we can finally be together, and if the first thing we need to do as a couple is to rescue Ritsuko, then that’s what we’ll do—for the rest of our lives, if we have to. Our being together is what she wants too.

I looked at him then, his last words echoing strangely in my head. How do you know Ritsuko wants us to be together?

He looked away into the distance. Over a year ago, when I was about to…leave, she told me that I didn’t need to go. That Gendo didn’t have to be in the way.

I froze. A massive suspicion was beginning to form in my mind: one that I didn’t want to entertain—but one that addressed all the questions I’d had about Ritsuko’s situation from the very start.

First, Ritsuko could have exposed Gendo without implicating herself. It would have been far more difficult, yes, but not impossible—at least certainly not impossible for Ritsuko.

Second, she could have contacted me for support. It would have been far easier for her if she’d done so. Instead she’d kept me at arm’s length for nearly an entire year—even if she’d missed me as badly as I’d missed her.

Third, she’d involved Kaji: Kaji whose only obstacle to settling down and marrying me was the man whom Ritsuko had just delivered straight to the authorities—the man whom Ritsuko herself had loved at one point in the past.

I put my hand to mouth. The urge to retch was overwhelming. The full extent of what Ritsuko had done for me was becoming clear.

Ritsuko, I whispered to myself. You fool.

Chapter 6

Title: Inspector Ryoji Kaji

I should have seen it coming—should have guessed it after I saw Misato again all those months ago.

Misato and Ritsuko: everything had come between those two: life, death, work, men. Yet nothing had also managed to keep them apart—not even the fact of the world ending.

Still, I hadn’t seen it coming—hadn’t guessed it until my proposal to Misato caused a reaction I’d never anticipated.

Strange that after the world had ended, some expectations still remained.


I remember hugging her from behind, trying to comfort her in her worry for Ritsuko.

Look, I told her, I know we’re the farthest thing from your mind right now, but we can do this together…we can finally be together, and if the first thing we need to do as a couple is to rescue Ritsuko, then that’s what we’ll do—for the rest of our lives, if we have to. Our being together is what she wants too.

She looked at me then, an unreadable expression on her face. How do you know Ritsuko wants us to be together?

Her question puzzled me, but I gave her an answer anyway. Over a year ago, when I was about to…leave, she told me that I didn’t need to go. That Gendo didn’t have to be in the way.

She froze at that moment, a look of dawning horror on her face. Then she whispered something to herself that I couldn’t hear—then turned abruptly on her heel and ran away.


Misato wait! I sprinted after her and was gratified to see her slow down.

You left me there all of a sudden, I told her quietly after I’d caught up. What’s going on, Misato?

She looked away for several long moments before looking at me again. Her voice was gentle as she spoke.

I’m glad your search is over Kaji. Few people deserve to rest as much as you do. But…something in me broke the day you left. And someone else put the pieces back together.

I stared at her until realization dawned. You’re in love with Ritsuko, aren’t you? Her aloofness when I’d come back all those months ago, her agitation at Ritsuko’s situation—suddenly everything made sense.

She nodded bleakly and whispered. I should have known. Then she shook her head and spoke more firmly. No, I’ve known all along. I was just too afraid.

I struggled for several moments before asking: Do I still have a chance?

The sadness in her eyes broke my heart before she opened her mouth. That morning when I asked you not to go and you did—that was your chance, Kaji. There was a moment in your life when you had a choice between me and your cause, and you chose your cause. Ritsuko had a choice between her life and my happiness—or what she believed my happiness looked like anyway—and she chose my happiness.

I laughed bleakly. When you put it that way, it really isn’t a contest, is it?

She hugged me impulsively. I’m sorry, Kaji. I truly am.

I hugged her back for a long fierce moment, before finally letting her go. I’m the one who’s sorry, Misato. For many things, including what’s happened to Ritsuko—

A beep from my phone cut me off. I was going to put it away when I saw the caller ID and decided to answer the call instead.

Yes? I replied tersely. After a moment, I could feel myself turning pale. I see. I’ll be there in half an hour.

I flipped my phone off and spoke without looking at Misato. There’s been an assassination attempt at the NERV prison. Gendo was shot. Ritsuko…Ritsuko was also shot, Misato. They’re taking them to the hospital now.

Strange that after the world had ended, some curses still endured.

Chapter 7

Title: Major Misato Katsuragi

I remember the day she woke up, nearly a week after she’d been shot. I remember the animal relief, my soul reveling in her inexplicable survival. I remember how the world had stopped—how it had dwindled and shrunk to the outline of a single bed. I hadn’t realized until then how simple happiness could be. How it could take the shape of the sound of one’s name, the syllables the barest whisper on a resurrected beloved’s lips.



I remember sitting by her side for hours, thinking: there are so many ways the world can end—so many ways that don’t involve the world’s destruction. She was still in critical condition, and every labored breath that passed between her lips meant my world could survive for one moment longer. All the fears I’d had about naming what I felt for her—and what I was sure she also felt for me—paled in comparison to my fear of losing her. With her brilliant green eyes and her unruffled hair, she was a bedrock of stability that didn’t belong to my world.

But I would die without her in it.


When she finally spoke after endless days had passed, her voice was weak but reproving. How long have you been sitting there without taking a break?

My chuckle muffled my sob of relief. Not as long as you did when you first found me.

She smiled and shook her head. It’s not a contest, Misato. After a moment, she asked. Where’s Kaji?

I shrugged. Off to find Gendo’s assassins. You were the only defendant who survived the attack.

A frown crossed her face. He’s off again? I thought he said he’d settle down with you once Gendo was caught.

He did. I replied simply. It’s just that I turned him down.

She looked at me, startled. It was the first time I’d ever seen her surprised. Why did you do that?

Because…I hesitated for a moment, the old, familiar fears rearing their ugly heads. Because I’m in love with you, Ritsuko. I’ve been in love with you all these months. And I hated every single moment that you were away.

She was about to interrupt, so I kissed her—kissed her with all the love and tenderness I’d masked as lust and desire over a year ago. It was only when I pulled back that I saw the fear in her eyes—for the very first time.

What are you so afraid of, Ritsuko?

She shook her head and whispered. Everything that’s ever mattered to me has always been taken away: my parent, my lover, the Children, the Evas. She looked up at me then and the desolation in her gaze caused a wrenching pain in my heart. I’ve loved you from the moment I met you. Nothing ever changed that: not Instrumentality, not Kaji, not even Gendo. But if having you means losing you…I can’t—

I leaned close to her until our foreheads touched and gently took her hands. I could say the exact same thing, Ritsuko. I’ve lost my parent, my lover, the Children and the Evas too. But do you realize that, even with the world ending, the one thing we’ve never managed to lose is each other?

She paused and digested what I’d said. You’re actually right. She gave me a small smile then that caused a twinge in my chest. I was about to kiss her again when a frown crossed her face. But it’s too…easy, somehow.

Easy? I stood up indignantly. We barely saw each other for an entire year, you incriminated yourself thoroughly in a crime that you didn’t perpetrate, you’ve just survived an assassination attempt, and your defense still has to figure out how to get you off the hook! I sat down again and sighed. Seriously, Ritsuko, couldn’t you have tried to get yourself out of the way of my supposed happiness just a little less…dramatically?

She gave me a half-smile. I’m my mother’s daughter until the end.

I was about to protest when she reached up and kissed me. When she pulled back and saw the worry in my eyes, she smiled. Don’t worry, Misato. A flair for drama isn’t the only gift I got from my mother—I got her brilliance too. We’ll figure something out.

It was only then that I realized how resilient happiness could be. How it could survive death, destruction, uncertainty and fear and flourish in the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected places.

Strange that after the world had ended, some gifts could still endure. But then again, it’s because such gifts endure that the world can go on: end after countless end.

[End notes: It took me a lot longer than expected to complete this story, and I thank all my readers for their endless patience. I have another story in mind for the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise—this time involving Asuka and Rei—but it might be a while before I get around to that one. As usual, comments, reviews and ratings on this story would be greatly appreciated :0)]

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