Creation began on 11-17-19

Creation ended on 11-21-19

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Immortal Ikari: Gendo's Endless Loop

A/N: Even when in a state of complete helplessness, what does Gendo have to reflect upon when he can't do anything but think?

In the solitude of his mind, Gendo could do nothing but find himself reliving his worst moments of his entire life, curtesy of The Demoness, the woman that had become a major threat to his plans as his son had proven himself to be when he piloted the Eva for the first time.

"I think this memory of yours where you abandoned your son to these people that made his life a living Hell after you and your precious wife did is by far my least favorite," he heard The Demoness say to him as they both watched from a distance how his past self just left Shinji alone that awful day, the boy begging him not to leave. "A father that casts his child away like insignificant trash is no father at all…and will be unworthy of any remembrance."

"This is irrelevant," he told her.

"Irrelevant, irrelevant, irrelevant, is that your motto or something? Is everything and everyone that doesn't fit in your little world irrelevant to you? If he didn't mean anything to you, then why did you and Yui decide to have him? Oh, wait, that's right. According to your memories and the thoughts you had of those days, the very thought of a family…was your wife's idea; it was Yui that wanted to have a family, not you. In the end, you were just a necessity for her to reach that goal, a resource for her to obtain the dream she longed for…which was just another piece of her goals that didn't sync with your own."

"What are you talking about?" He asked, just as his memory of being in his office with Naoko Akagi was in play.

"My power to peer through the farthest recesses of the minds of others has afforded me more insight into people than they themselves could ever hope to achieve. You, your wife, Rei Ayanami, a garbage truck driver, a school teacher, even a bank robber, your minds are my books in a grandiose library, your memories, my audio tapes in a cassette player, your hopes and dreams, my everyday gossip to hear about. None of your secrets are secret from me, Gendo. I know everything about you, from the day your father left your mother down to very second you decided to get into bed with SEELE and help facilitate the Second Impact. Uhh! It's actually sick and pathetic, how you used a mother and her daughter to get ahead of others in a sick, twisted goal that was merely an outdated version of what my people had attempted eons ago. Even if you had succeeded, it wouldn't have lasted. You would've eventually had to return to the flesh and resume your miserable road of mortality. Ugh… Even when I can see it clear as day, I don't think I even want to understand what either Akagi woman saw in you. You're not exactly an adequate lover; your performance is dull!"

"Hey!" Gendo yelled at her; just because she was making him relive his past, over and over again, this didn't give her the right to criticize his actions, even if they were past actions.

"Please, I have every right to criticize you," she told him. "Even Shinji criticized you, and he saw you a lot, even when he wasn't seeing you. Of all the people that could've become his obstacles in life, those that threatened his safety and security in a world where everyone has a goal that endangers everyone else, the ones that oppose Shinji the most…were you two, your wife and you. Of all the people that could've hurt him…it was you two that caused him the most pain, metaphorically and literally, in excess and through your absence and intentions."

"I barely ever had anything to do with him! Okay, I shot him! I shot him, but that's all I ever did to hurt him!"

"Wrong, you exploited him. You used him to fight creatures you helped to unleash with your deceit, and when you weren't exploiting him, you rarely ever spoke to him, even when there were moments where he wanted to speak to you about something, anything that wasn't NERV-related, work-related, like some nonsense about a sports team or a film that was playing, you wanted absolutely nothing to do with him, focused more on your wretched needs than his."

"And what about you?! You're the one that intends to kill him later! Or you already killed him! Why taunt me with this bullshit?!"

"Because you need to learn and face the harsh reality…or I should say, realities…of your choice to treat Shinji as a pawn instead of a person, as a resource instead of a child. This…is your penance. This…is how you must suffer as you refuse to admit your cruelty. Are you familiar with the concept of alternate realities? Where each choice you make creates ripples in the river of existence, resulting in outcomes that were either unlikely or impossible? They do tend to exist, just outside our perception of reality, and they're often closer than we can imagine them to be. Realities where there are no unnatural disasters, where countries aren't divided, even where parents are saints instead of tyrants. I can see them, you know, realities born of choices that had different impacts than the ones chosen by other people."

"That's ridiculous."

"No, that's belief, something you spit on in favor of a realized agenda. Why else do you think your son decided to spend his efforts stopping you from achieving your goal? He saw what would happen, too, and took steps to prevent it. He didn't want for either of you to cast out the world he knew and cherished because it was something you felt needed to be done, and then force him to make a choice he was uncomfortable with making because it wouldn't have left him any better off than he would've been if he'd been left alone with people that truly understood him. Your wife wanted to create a brighter future for all of mankind, something that wasn't meant to be with her choices and her decision to walk out on your son when he was just a toddler…and you just wanted to be a false god so you wouldn't have to live by your so-called enemy's rule where you lose everything you value, willing to sacrifice your son to achieve that ambition. In the end, you were both trying to play God with your son's life, and he made sure that you both, one way or another, paid the price for your arrogance, your neglect, your…failure."

"We only failed because he didn't do as he was told!"

Then, The Demoness played the memory of when Gendo tried to lie to Shinji in the aftermath of the Third Angel attack, only for Shinji to call him a liar and walk out of his office.

"You couldn't tell him the truth then, even if you had a gun raised to your head," she told him, seeing the boldness of Shinji confronting his old man. "The truth you go to great lengths to keep from him and anyone else, known only to the barest of people that didn't have the gall to stand in your way, was of how little you care for anything else in the world. But that didn't stop him from learning of the truth on his own and taking steps to ensure the world wouldn't end. At least the one he's come to know and accept, flaws and everything. Anyone else would be proud to consider Shinji a hero, but not you. No, you chose to view him as an obstacle, a villain out to get you so that you couldn't reshape the world to your liking. It's no wonder that in every situation he's in, no matter what the outcome was likely to be, you were never going to show him any love or respect. You're so cold, so cruel and pathetic that you don't know how to be a parent, even to save anyone."

"Yui was the only person I ever loved."

"Heh, and yet you took her for granted. She took you two for granted. One of her goals was to preserve mankind's historical existence…and that was by preserving herself within the Eva she was forced out of by your son to ensure that she would suffer the same road of mortality as the rest of you. What kind of mother does that to her child? I mean, to trade the grand gift of motherhood for something as miserable as immortality in order to serve as a stupid testament of a species' existence? Even if one-billion years did go by, nobody's going to care about a legion of Homo sapiens. We're not even in the center of the universe, just the outer rim of the universe! I mean, really, what kind of mother chooses such an ambition over her own child?!"

Gendo had no answer for her. Of course, even if he did, it would undoubtedly be just another opinion shot down by The Demoness.

"Just how much did Shinji know about everything?" He asked her.

"He knew enough to know that he wouldn't become a part of your grand design," she answered him. "He knew enough that he couldn't let anyone, not you, not his mother, not even himself, be the one to call the shots, to decide who would live and who would be sacrificed to achieve a goal that was as heartless as it was unreasonable. In his eyes, people weren't meant to become gods. We're all God's children, and we live in the world he made for us. We must live with the routes that God set for us to take, that his decisions are just and infallible. But nobody created by God is perfect in any sense of the world; we're all flawed in many ways, including when it comes to intelligence or arrogance. You despise the one you call God because you despise the way he decides everything, how he gives and takes so as to ensure people are not so boastful of their success in life. But God doesn't do the taking as he does the giving. No, the real enemy you should've saw as God…are other people with cruel ambitions. It is people that give and take, not an unseen and unheard force that could work through them. It is people that decide that. Your wife chose you for her own ambitions…and then left you for her own ambitions. Your son was abandoned by you because you chose to abandon him…and he chose to punish you both for abandoning him when the time came to set his own plan in motion. In a way, Shinji is a variation of the one you call God, giving and taking, but only to ensure that this world goes on instead of stops. He gave you back your wife…only to take away your goal for unity with her for eternity."

"You're wrong! God is the enemy! Everything is his fault! I wanted to undo him!"

"But you can't undo God. He is untouchable…and quite unreachable."

"And what of you?!"

The memory of Gendo at the restaurant with everyone where he first met The Demoness showed how he managed to keep from showing his fear of the woman.

"I consider myself to be like Shinji in many ways," she expressed, "but we're as different as can be. I got to grow up, he didn't. I'm tall, he's short. I'm a woman, he's a guy. I'm from the past that most people can only dream of seeing…and he's from the present where the order is destabilized due to the injustice that exists around him."

"Sounds like you admire him."

"I admire his conviction. He was determined…to not stand by and watch the world he lived in get flushed down the drain because his parents were too arrogant to see another way to save it like he did. He became a hero in his own right…unclouded…by the despair you put him through in other lifetimes…or your delusions of would-be divinity."

Gendo then watched as his memories shifted to the aftermath of Shinji destroying the remaining Angels in Terminal Dogma, placing the human race in an evolutionary rut. And it infuriated him at how unaffected he seemed by his actions…and how his own father actually praised him for saving the world this way, even if he was condemning it.

"In many ways, people were right to have negative opinions and assumptions about you," he heard her say. "It doesn't matter what beneficial doubts Yui gave about you, you're just an uncaring man that refuses to build or expand upon his relationships with other people. You fear commitment, which is why you resent other people, casting your disgust over the seen and unseen bonds that people form. Take a look at your son and his success with the people that saved his life when he became immortal."

Turning away from his own memories, Gendo was forced to watch a recollection of Shinji's past during his immortal period, up to the here and now. He saw how his immortal grandmother, Akira, had comforted him during the aftermath of his first Quickening obtained from beheading an immortal child killer that had kidnapped him, reassuring him that he was safe now and how sorry she was that he had suffered because someone he used to live with had killed him, making it hard for him to trust other people older than him to a degree. A memory of a birthday spent with this woman and her current husband (he found it ridiculous that an immortal would commit to a mortal that was going to grow old and die, eventually, but had no say because it was Takuya's choice to marry Akira, accepting the cons that came with the pros of such a relationship), how Shinji smiled and laughed, feeling like a child without a care in the world. How his paternal step-grandfather had helped to build for him his bike so that he could travel around faster and the quality of the emotional time spent building it from the ground up. But what really broke the ice for Gendo…was the trio of friends that Shinji had made after that day the Fourth Angel had attacked, how these three teens discovered his immortality by accident…and kept his secret in order to protect him from being reduced to a lab rat or some sort of commodity, which earned them his respect and gratitude…and how he put their protection from others as a priority of his.

"And for him, the saddest part of being immortal…is knowing that those that matter to him will eventually leave him," The Demoness expressed, "but he still spends time with them, knowing there's a chance it'll be the last time he gets to be with them. He's willing to risk heartache and pain…to be with friends and family. You can't destroy his bonds with these people you could care less for, Gendo. They're the only part of his life that he himself chose…unlike you, whose choices included trying to make Shinji feel as miserable and hopeless as you do."

Flash! Gendo saw events that never did occur in his past or present. How could any of these images make any sense to him? Not a single one included a teenage boy that looked like Shinji! Always questioning things, always resisting, always trying to establish some kind of relationship with him, and then giving up when he loses everyone that ever mattered to him, leaving him alone…and broken.

"And there wasn't a deity he believed in that was responsible for his suffering," The Demoness told Gendo. "He knew then and there that it was people that were responsible for his suffering. He knew that it was you and your wife. Gods were blameless in his hurt. But it wasn't the fact that his parents were a pair of heartless fiends that destroyed every hope he tried to hold onto that broke Shinji in these cases. No, it the fact that he didn't have the arrogance to stand up to you two, to lay it out that you two were in the wrong, that you were not as smart and sensible as you may think you are. In the end, it wasn't the so-called Angels that destroyed his life and the world he lived in. It was his parents that accomplished all of that…and nothing he could say or do resolved any of it. In the end, nobody got what they needed…and your pathetic wife got what she wanted…which was to serve as an eternal testament of your stupid existence."

They both saw Shinji, the teenage boy that the child immortal could've been, standing alone in front of a beach-like setting, looking out at a red sea, no stretch of civilization could be seen anywhere, his face devoid of any semblance of hope or faith, looking as though he had witnessed the end of the world, many times over, and was destroyed by it.

Gendo made an attempt to approach the teen, but he disappeared, along with the rest of the world around him, leaving him and The Demoness in a replica of his office, down to the Tree of Life diagram on the floor and ceiling.

"Why did you try to approach him?" She asked him, sitting on his desk with her legs crossed. "He was an alternate possibility from an existence where the world ended, cut off from this plane of existence. What, did you think he could tell you something you wanted to hear?"

Gendo turned to face her, his expression full of contempt.

"That version of your son…was as dead inside as an immortal woman that has lived a long time with a grudge against the one person that stole her hopes and dreams away with a vision that she had no say in becoming a part of. Even if you could cross the threshold into other realities, the multiverse is a labyrinth of order and chaos, a house of fractured mirrors one can easily get lost in. And where would you go? Who would you run to? What would you do? Hmm? Can you answer that, Gendo? Do you even know how to answer that?"

"Dead inside?" He questioned. "He seemed pretty alive to me."

"You can't fathom the grief and despair that plagues his mind, that weigh his soul down with unending agony. He's like the Titan from your Greek myths known as Prometheus, after he was damned for his transgressions, condemned to walk the lonely road of eternity, unable to embrace death…but unable to embrace life, either. He's such a damaged soul, probably the most damaged in any existence, losing all sense of humanity…by being stripped of everything he tried to hold dear…but in the end, everything…and everyone…abandoned him. How miserable it must be for him…to keep turning his pages for people who aren't there for him, for people who don't care about him, and how much it hurts him to see that no one's there for him. No friends, no family, not even a stranger willing to put up with him, triggering his darkest emotions that brought about his darkest of revelations."

They both saw it, the darkest of his revelations. They saw this version of Shinji, driven to the point of utter despair…and rage…respond to a girl's rejection of him…by killing her, strangling her neck until she couldn't resist any further; the girl had said something to him that he didn't take well with his damaged heart…and it pushed him the wrong way. And over time (Gendo wasn't sure how long, though), the boy had clearly gone through signs of premature aging as his hair turned gray and his facial features displayed minor wrinkles, even his eyes looking dark and worn, like he needed sleep for a long time. All around him, as if surrounded by a series of cracked, warped mirrors, there were several men, all versions of him, each one displaying similar signs of having the world and people cast them aside, leaving only the most bitter of emotions in their souls.

"It looks like they're looking for someone," The Demoness suspected.

"Who could they be looking for?" Gendo questioned. "Who could he be looking for?"

"Who knows? I certainly don't. I'm not going to waste my time asking him, either. Even if I could ask him, I doubt you'd appreciate the answer he could give. He's forgotten all about you; everyone that abandoned him are nothing more than faceless phantoms he can no longer recall appropriately. In his mind, people that he dared to call his friends are no better than pieces of silver, girls he had to work alongside with no better than shreds of gold, and a would-be guardian that sought oblivion in the arms of another fleshling. But I could ask you this question: Is he truly after someone…or is he after something? You're an example, you know, of how everyone wants something others don't want them to possess, for any number of reasons, and I mean people in general, not a bunch of divine beings you have never met."

But Gendo couldn't answer the question; he didn't know Shinji, in any incarnation, to know who or what he was likely after. There was no hint or sign of what was on the boy's mind, not even a mere whisper of desire that could be heard.

CRUSH! Everything seen was replaced by the sight of Evangelion Unit-01 crushing the Entry Plug of another Evangelion…and the sight of a teenage Shinji screaming his lungs out for the purple behemoth to cease, being ignored by his father, who watched the slaughter.

"I wonder how many times in how many lifetimes you made the choice to do this to your son?" The Demoness questioned. "You've certainly proven that out of everyone that exists, apart from your so-called God, you hate your son the most, willing to harm him as much as he could be harmed, physically, emotionally, until he couldn't take it any further and broke down from your uncaring heart."

"But I didn't do this!" Gendo responded, defending himself.

"Not in your life, perhaps, but this is a multiverse. Even if you didn't commit this atrocity in this life, you were bound to have caused this to happen in another life. I doubt there are only a handful of alternate universes where you're actually a concerned parent for Shinji if you hate him so much to want to cause him pain and what seems disturbing of your why to wanting to hurt him is how you despise him…and he's never done anything to you. Nothing physically or verbally was ever committed against you by this young man you despise. Did he ever hit you? Did he ever say awful things to you?"

"Why ask me such…"

"YES OR NO?!" She cut him off. "Did he ever do anything to you?"

"No, but…"

"Then why, Gendo? Why hurt him? Why despise him?"

"Because my scenario required him to suffer at every opportunity there was for him to suffer."

"Your scenario? Your scenario… Your whole life is nothing but a scenario, a series of regulations that you feel have to go your way for your goals to be realized. But nothing has gone your way, has it, Gendo? Nothing has gone your way since the day you made Shinji come to Tokyo-3 to see you…and he usurped control from you, one Angel at a time, one day at a time. And he had what you didn't want because you didn't feel the need for such so-called constraints: Family and friends. He had Akira and her ninth husband, Takuya, even when their social life was questionable due to having to keep their immortality secret from the world, and there wasn't a day where Shinji would've traded his time with them for even one day with you or Yui, his parents that failed him. He had these three teens, Toji Suzuhara, Kensuke Aida and Hikari Horaki, the first friends he's ever had that were his age, and he treasures them like he treasures his grandparents. What of Yui and yourself? What about his mother and father? He most likely spends the two days targeted towards one's parents with the pair of people that aren't his parents…because he can't bring himself to want anything to do with the other pair that he can't relate to. And how could he relate to either of you? You both can't relate to him, either; parents that can't relate to their children have failed them in more ways than one. Where are your friends, Gendo? Where are Yui's friends? Oh, that's right, you don't have any and all of hers are either dead or not her friends, anymore. It's so sad…and so pathetic."

"And what about you?!" Gendo demanded of her, wanting to change the subject. "You're old! Where are your friends?! Where is your family?! Do you even have any?! You took Rei from me! You destroyed my life! What do you have left in your life?!"

The Demoness, no longer sitting on Gendo's desk, sitting on thin air, frowned at him.

"I still have a few friends from my past and a grandparent," she answered him. "I have people that believe in my grand design for the world. A new world order that removes the previous ones that didn't see the potential of everyone, the people in control preferring to cherry pick at who they believed had the most to offer to the world for personal gain and cast aside the rest. Even Rei believes in my vision, because unlike you, who would've cast her aside once he got what he was after, I would always have a need for someone like her. Everyone has a purpose in life, even those that have nothing to offer. People like you and the members of SEELE, however, don't fit anywhere in such an order. People like you…don't deserve to live. But I still have respect for your son, the Immortal Ikari, who tried to save your worthless life from me when I came to take back my choker you stole, so I won't kill you…yet. What little remains of your empty days…is borrowed time in the form of your son's very existence. Your fate…is in his hands, despite his own resentment of you for refusing to back down when you made things worse."

"Stupid! Stupid!" The memory of Shinji's anger over his defeated father's stubbornness and incapacitated state as he assaulted him in the aftermath. "Why'd you do that?! Why did you provoke her?!"

"As much as he hated you, he still tried to save you from the fate you were dealt with in the end. Maybe there are still some people that want to see you dead, but that's not my problem. If anything, it's the problem of the people that choose to protect you, like Yui, since your own son wants nothing more to do with either of you for the time being. So, in a way, you did get what you want out of all this insanity you helped to create. You got your wife all to yourself."

"It is probably intended that we never meet again," Gendo heard himself say to a teenage Shinji as they saw him in another imagery of what never happened, who was walking away from him in his office, presumably sometime after the Eva had crushed the Entry Plug.

"That is my intention," he heard the boy say back to him, coldly.

"You either crippled one of his friends or had them killed to further your own goals," The Demoness stated. "Either way, you made it so that your son would want nothing to do with you, no matter what he tried. No reconciliation, no redemption, nothing. You made any attempt at a relationship an unreachable goal…out of the spite you have towards him. Again, this all makes you very pathetic."

"I'm the not the brat that tries and fails to get the approval of someone that wants nothing to do with him!" Gendo retorted.

"No, you're the one that chose to reject your child the second your wife left you both to play false god in the shell of an abomination, and you both paid for your arrogance by casting him aside, not once, not twice, but over an infinite number of times. Heh, sometimes, I wonder if either of you were even deserving to be parents if this was how far you were going to fall."

"I never wanted kids! That was all Yui!"

"And yet, you never told her that a family wasn't in your life goals. You just went along with whatever she did."

"So long as he has the will to live, he can make a Heaven anywhere he is," they heard his memory of Yui say to him back when Shinji was a baby.

"And you only agreed with her opinion because it was what she believed in," she told him, "but you didn't really believe it. How could you believe it? Second Impact reduced the world to a dying state where there was very little to nothing left to inherit. Most of the coastal areas underwater, dozens of plants and animals gone forever, and so few children left to lead. But leaving a legacy wasn't on your list of things to do, was it? No, you had other things in mind that didn't include a future for anyone that wasn't you or your wife. Again, that's very pathetic."

"There was no point in living in a Hell on Earth!"

"Except that it's a Hell that you helped to unleash on Earth! And worse, a Hell you chose not to inform your mother and sister, which led to their deaths."

Gendo's eyes widened.

"That's the one thing about you I refrained from letting the world know about you because I felt it would be much for you if everyone, including your father and son, found out about what you did to your own family."

"Stop," he told her, trying to walk away from her, as well as the repeating memory of himself walking away from his son when he was a toddler.

"You can't walk away from what you did long ago," she reminded him. "You chose to make sure Second Impact happened…and you chose to sacrifice your family to remove what you considered to be loose ends."

"Stop talking, please!"

"Don't leave me, please!" His memory of little Shinji begged as he left him alone with Yui's relatives. "Please!"

"Why, because you can't stand to hear me tell you what you already know, about why you decided that they needed to go away with half the whole world that day? You decided it was because of your sister."

"Please, stop!"

But The Demoness, floating in front of him now, looked at him with scorn, stopping him in his tracks and in his memory of Central Dogma the day the Third Angel attacked.

"You remember what she told you only two months before you went to Antarctica," she continued. "She told you about her plans to marry her boyfriend after she found…"

"I don't want to remember that day!"

"…That she was pregnant and he proposed to her after she told him. The guy wanted to do right by her, no matter how difficult it was likely to be for him…because he loved her as much as she loved him. But you destroyed their future. You sent them all back to their maker and his kingdom, way before their time."

Gendo fell to his knees…in front of his immortal son…and what had to be a regular-sized incarnation of his son that was not immortal.

"That was my decision to save them from the end," he told her.

"Save them? You didn't save your family, you pathetic excuse of a man. You murdered them. You never told Yui, you never told your father or your son…and I only spare you the indignity of telling them myself because as much as I would enjoy reopening old wounds you would be held responsible for, I prefer Shinji to be at his strongest for when I face him. A broken or distracted immortal isn't on my list of combat preferences. The stronger and more determined my opponent is when facing moi, the more satisfactory the fight becomes. But for someone like you, a wretched man that despises the people of the world enough to want to be better than they are when you're undeserving of anything you didn't earn, a broken child is just as good as no child at all."

"Anyone will do!" Gendo heard some girl's voice yell out. "You don't care who it is!"

"But I can see through you, Gendo, and all I see…is a bitter and weak, little boy that is so full of spite towards others that he feels he has to hurt everyone in order to feel some pleasure. You're many cruel things, all at once. An arrogant student, a lousy teacher, a decrepit child, a narcissistic manipulator, a sex fiend, a dictator, a wannabe master of the universe, each of whom have fallen you from the grace of the almighty and make it so that you refuse to even admit that you were wrong to do what you did to everyone. And now…you're just an invalid. Now…you're the worthless one that only a fool would consider spending time with in the hopes that you recover. Not even Shinji will come to see you, as his focus is on what he can protect now that someone like you is out of the way."

"If it were up to me, I'd never want to see my old man, ever again," they both heard Shinji say to someone in at least one other lifetime.

"I wouldn't want to see him, either," Gendo retorted.

"Except didn't you say that once to your mother about your own father?" The Demoness reminded him, showing him a memory of his childhood from a year after his father had left. "You did say that, and just like with some incarnation of Shinji, who resents your mistreatment of him and his loved ones, you meant every word of it. Takeru Nagisa, the man that became immortal against his will after going to the grocery store for his family and getting shot at. Takeru Nagisa, the immortal father of Gendo Rokubungi-Ikari, who left his family not because he hated them…but because he didn't want to risk endangering his wife and two children to other immortals that might come for him with the intent to behead him. You're not immortal, not a participant of the Game, so you have no true understanding of how hard it is for any man or woman to have to sacrifice their present to ensure those they cherish more than their own lives still have their future. Some just walk out on their loved ones, others give a variation of why they feel they have to leave, and some, despite the risks involved, come out to their loved ones and reveal what happened to them, hoping that they'll be understanding and accepting that they can't give their all to them, anymore. Sometimes, they're fortunate. Other times, they encourage the people they love to be with other people that can give them their all. The ones that don't want to be without them…end up being with them until they succumb to the frailties of life and cross the veil between life and death. Immortals that still long for the embrace of the people they love, the people they lost, having to outlive them for decades or centuries, even millennia, having to live so many lives and in many different places to avoid suspicion from other people, you can't fathom the toll it takes on any of them, trying to make it to the end of the Game when the time of the Gathering begins and draws those that remain. And now, it's just… Now, it's just Shinji and I, representing our personal beliefs above all others. The past versus the future in the present over the light against the darkness, who will be the last of the immortals and claim the Prize."

"And you think you'll win?"

"I don't think anything beyond the next day right now. Nobody can see the future, only the possibilities…and the possibilities are endless. Your possibilities, however, are as limited as your future is in a world that knows how cruel you are. Maybe there's light at the end of your damned tunnel, but only time will tell. The thing about an attack on the nervous system that puts the victim into a state where they can't move or speak…is that it can be temporary…or permanent, depending on the circumstances. Your case is permanent because I needed to punish you for stealing from me. But if by some miracle, Shinji were to defeat me…he could undo your current state and give you back your freedom…but that's only if he were to defeat me, so your fate is in the hands of the boy you hate more than anything. Until then, you'll be here, forced to relive your worst moments, your sad and depressing days, your failures and the disappointments of others around you until you can't tell if you're dead or dreaming. It'll be like a purgatory for you, a reinforced purgatory…after your latest retribution, Gendo. I think she's the best sentinel to serve as the enforcer of your suffering."

She? Gendo thought, now seeing that they were in a memory of his time in Terminal Dogma, and he was in the presence of Evangelion Unit-01, but the purple behemoth was more reddish due to missing much of its armor and having exposed muscle tissue, looking more menacing than it ever could've looked under human control.

"You did have the Eva modeled after the oni, anyway," The Demoness expressed. "Since you despise God so much, get acquainted with your grotesque mockery of the Devil here as you relive each and every one of your worst experiences until you go crazy here."

He saw her walk away, followed by his perception of who he believed to be Rei, who looked at him with the same disinterest that he once gave Shinji.

"Rei!" He yelled.

"This is your plight, sir," he heard her say to him. "I cannot stay with you. A new destiny calls me towards a new future, one where I am not replaceable."

"Rei!"

He was then grabbed by the deformed Eva, alone in his own Hell.

-x-

Opening her eyes, Rei Ayanami awoke from the small nap she had taken.

"How do you feel?" She heard The Demoness ask her, accompanied by her massive chimera pet.

"I've never experienced the joy of a nap without having a reason for it," she answered her. "It felt good. I saw that man again. He was suffering from his faults."

"That's the fate I dealt him each time he slumbers. No matter how hard he tries, he can't force his body to obey his will. He never had any respect for those around him, violating the sanctity of their right to live and have a future by projecting his own needs over theirs. So, as his punishment, he must remain in this state until either I decide he can return to that pathetic excuse of a life he lived…or Shinji defeats me and restores him himself."

"Would you really allow the immortal child to do that?"

"Only if he can defeat me and claim the Prize, Rei Ayanami. It's a win-or-lose scenario; if he wins, he can free his father, but if he loses, Gendo will suffer in silence. But in the end, his past is his own fault. If he can't accept the hurt he inflicted upon all of those people, he doesn't deserve to live for even one day."

Rei nodded her head in acceptance of The Demoness' choice. All she could do was wait and see what would happen.

Would The Demoness win the Game…or would Shinji Ikari win?

Nobody knew the answer…and nobody would know the answer.

To be continued…

A/N: Well, we now have some insight to Gendo's current state. I kinda wanted it to feel like Hellraiser: Inferno, even though I never saw the film, but how many bad guys get to relive their worst experiences in a state of immobility and suffering? What did any of you think?