Story: The Daughters of Lilith (chapter 5)

Authors: bleeding.blade

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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.

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