"He needs a hero. Courageous, self-sacrificing people. Setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they'll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer. I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams." – May Parker – Spider-Man II
Chapter 11: John 15:13
"In your arms, you are holding up the heavens
Young boy, you'll live up to be a legend!
And though the clear blue wind blows
Right on the door of my heart for awhile
You're standing there, and calmly you stare
And without a care, I see you smile
Too deep in yearning, we need
Something to hold and something to keep
Innocent eyes could not realize
The meaning of destiny!
But someday I promise that you'll start to notice
What's there on your shoulders someday
Wings that are strong, they will guide you along
To the future that holds your fate!
Let me tell you a cruel angel's thesis
Flying high from the window, finding egress
There is something betraying all my memories
Burning pathos, emotion overwhelming!
In your arms, you are holding up the heavens
Young boy, you'll be shining like a legend!"
- Cruel Angel's Thesis – Jonathan Young
"GET DOWN!" Misato shouted, shoving Maya down, as UN soldiers opened fire on the NERV staff being loaded in trucks to escape.
"There's too many," Hyuga said, firing on the solders from his truck. "There's no way we're getting past."
Several of the soldiers suddenly fell down, before All Might appeared before them, several soldiers being close-lined in his arms. Before he tossed them across the parking garage.
"Is everyone ok?" All Might asked, glancing around the NERV staff.
"Yes, we're ok, what's…" Misato gasped when All Might went poof, and Shinji began coughing up blood. "Shinji!"
"I'm ok…" Shinji coughed, shaking his head, "I'm ok, Misato…"
"You went poof…" Misato blinked at him.
"Wha?" Shinji looked at her.
"Poof. You went poof…" Misato blinked.
"I may not be as recovered from the whole stabbing All for One gave me…" Shinji glanced away, "But I'm ok… promise…"
"Are any of those trucks armed?" Shinji asked looking at their escape vehicles.
"Not really… it's best we got. We didn't really expect a military attack…" Misato said.
"Question… can you drive a stick?" Shinji asked, making Misato blink.
"Yeah, why?" Misato asked, and Shinji grabbed her hand and ran back into the garage.
"Oh…" Misato blinked when he led her toward the All-Mobile.
"I have to go help Asuka then stop All for One. You get everyone as far away from here as possible," Shinji told her.
Shinji started to turn to leave but Misato grabbed his arm. He turned back and before he could respond Misato's lips were on his. She broke away letting her tongue drag along his lips before breaking contact. "After you're done and you come back, we'll do the rest." She smiled at him, before climbing into the All Mobile.
Shinji stood there dumbfounded for several moments, even after Misato roared away leading the others through the exit tunnel. He shook his head and transformed back into All Might. He'll take time to think about his messed-up love life later.
Unit 02 ruthlessly ripped into the white Mass Produced Evangelions. "No one actually piloting you guys?" she grinned as she ripped through the man-made monsters. "That means I can cut loose and show the world what Unit 02 and I are really made of!"
She managed to rip one in half, but one caught her from behind and destroyed her umbilical cable connection. The redhead saw the timer start. "Thirty seconds?" she hmphed, "more than enough time to end you pathetic pieces of crap!"
She fought as hard as she could but the timer kept going down and they kept getting back up.
As the timer neared zero one reared back with a its spear-like weapon and tossed it toward the red evangelion. She raised her AT field, but as it struck the shield it transformed into a Lance of Longinus. She gasped as it tore through the shield and flew straight toward the Evangelion's eyes. Just before it made contact All Might came out of nowhere and punched it away. "Asuka!" he cried out, but as the glowing eyes of the Evangelion went out, he knew the power supply had gone out.
He glanced up, and saw the Evangelions preparing to launch a barrage of Lances, and quickly moved around the shoulders of the giant, he kicked open the emergency plug lever, and pulled it quickly, bringing the plug to the surface. He ripped open the hatch and saw Asuka still frantically working the controls. "NO! I CAN STILL FIGHT! MAMA!" she cried desperately. But All Might grabbed her and leapt away, just as the red Evangelion was impelled repeatedly with spears.
"NO! I CAN FIGHT!" Asuka cried over All Might's shoulders, reaching for her falling Evangelion. "I CAN STILL FIGHT! I CAN STILL FIGHT!"
All Might landed on the nearest rooftop and sat Asuka down, and they both watched in horror as the Evangelions ripped Unit 02 apart. "NO!" Asuka screamed as All Might wrapped her in a hug. "Mama… Mama…"
"I'm sorry…" All Might wheezed as he shifted back to Shinji and almost collapsed on Asuka.
"Shinji?" She gasped as he was barely holding on to consciousness. "Shinji, need you to wake up and go All Might again…" She said, seeing the Evas, soaked in Unit 02's blood turn toward them. "Shinji, c'mon…"
The monsters pounced toward them, and Asuka hugged Shinji, and turned her body to futilely shield him, and braced herself for the pain of death. Instead she felt a powerful wave of heat and cold.
Asuka looked up to see Hikari but now with silver-white hair sending waves of ice from her hands, freezing a group of Evas, while beside her was Toji in a blue and black suit, highlighted by his flames while he burnt several others to a crisp.
"You have a quirk, too?" Asuka asked, and Hikari turned back to her, her eyes now an icy blue.
"Yeah! Cool huh?" she said, and Toji groaned.
"She's been making ice puns since she woke up and found out she had powers," Toji said, "You two ok?"
"I'm ok… Shinji was stabbed and still trying to fight, and my Eva… my … they killed her…" Asuka tried to keep herself from crying in front of them.
"I'm just glad I showed up in time, and you weren't in it…" Shinji said, finally lifting himself up off her.
"I've got to go back and take care of All for One…" Shinji said, but Asuka grabbed him and kept him from going.
"You can barely stand up, how are you going to face… THAT?" Asuka asked.
"I have to try," Shinji argued.
"Toji and Hikari can go with you, they have powers too… they can help," Asuka suggested and the two in question nodded in agreement.
"No, All for One's quirk. She can take anyone's quirk with just physical contact. Too dangerous as is." Shinji shook his head, "She can't take mine because of the nature of One for All…" He gave her a little smile, "I know you know that."
"Toji, they're trying to move again!" Hikari called out, and Toji joined her in putting the heat and ice back on the monsters.
"You're hurt!" Asuka argued, "You… you'll die… I just lost my Eva… my mother… I don't want…"
"There's a good possibility…" Shinji pulled back his hand to show it and his side soaked in blood, "There may not be much that can stop it now… but I can stop you and everyone else from going with me by her…" he shook his head, "I can't let her end the world…"
"Screw the world!" Asuka exclaimed, "Stay with me!"
Shinji just sat there for a moment, staring at her flushed face as if he was trying to memorize every feature.
"Shinji?" Asuka asked.
"You are my world…" He said, touching her cheek.
"Stop it…" Asuka teared up, trying her best not to cry.
"No matter what happens, Asuka Langley Sohryu…" He said, moving in and capturing her lips in a kiss. "I'll always love you… Always." He said, standing up, transforming back into All Might, and gave her a confident smile. "Hikari, Endeavor," he said, gaining Toji and Hikari's attention. "Watch over Asuka for me…" he then gave Asuka one last smile, "Till I come back."
Asuka quickly moved toward the hero, but he turned and leaped back toward NERV HQ before she could reach him. "Don't… don't go…" She collapsed to her knees, and finally let the tears fall.
Rei gasped as All for One struck Unit 01 again. She was easily as powerful as All Might, if not more so, which concerned Rei. "I know what you want to do, and I know you need me," Rei narrowed her eyes, making Unit 01 throw another punch at Yui.
All for One caught the punch and laughed. "Gendo may have needed you, sweet child," she smiled in amusement, "But I don't. I just need you to get out of my way."
"You have to have Angelic material to merge with Lilith's body." Rei stated.
"I know," All for One stepped back in clear view of Unit 01, "But you're not the only one. Karowu WAS the final Angel. I took him far, far too easily…" She said, opening her chest armor to show an Angel-like core in the center of her chest. "I'm ready to make things as they have always should have been…"
"Now, I'm going to take what's mine," All for One said, "And you will get out of my way or else."
"I choose… or else…" Rei said, readying Unit 01 for the next round of battle.
Shinji exited the elevator and started down the path to Terminal Dogma. He let himself go into his Shinji-Form to conserve his strength. He knew this would be the greatest battle of his life and he would need all the strength he could get from himself and One for All.
He gasped when he saw the Entry Plug of Unit 01 wedged into the wall. He ran quickly to it and released the hatch. "REI!" He called out, as Rei fell out into his arms.
"She's too powerful…" Rei shook her head, "I couldn't…"
"You held her off while I saved Misato and Asuka…" Shinji smiled at her. "You did fine."
"Won't matter if she finishes the ritual and joins with Lilith…" Rei said, glancing down the massive hallway.
"It won't happen, why?" Shinji gave her a big smile, "Because I am here."
Rei smiled as he helped her up, and she moved in quickly to kiss the corner of his mouth. "Be careful and come home." She said.
"Can you walk?" Shinji asked, and Rei nodded, "Then run. This won't be a pretty fight."
Shinji walked toward the crucified Angel's body and saw All for One standing before it.
"You're too late, son," All for One said, "I'm about to make all things new."
"See, here's the thing," Shinji said as he transformed slowly into All Might with every step, "I've got all this power, but I never really want to hurt anyone, even the Angels. I always just did enough that I only stopped THEM and didn't hurt anything or anyone else. But what we have here is a very unique and welcomed situation for me." All Might smiled brightly, "I can completely cut loose and see what One for All can do!"
With the sound of a sonic boom, All Might's fist collided with All for One's and the impact shook all of Tokyo 3. "You would strike your own mother?"
"My Mother…" All Might growled, "Was Nana Shimura!"
"Then I will allow you to die as she did…" All For One growled angrily. Launching an attack that All Might easily jumped away from. "I should have ended you when I ended the part of me that was your weakling of a mother!"
"Detroit SMASH!" All Might screamed launching his attack that caused All for One to shatter like glass. "Copy Quirk…" Lilith began to move breaking away from her restraints and taking on the form of Yui Ikari. "No…"
"Yes, All Might," the Lilith All for One hybrid smiled down at him. "It's too late! Instrumentality has begun!"
"I'm not finished yet!" he called out, but was quickly restrained on a on the same cross that Lilith was confined to until just moments earlier.
"You, a simple 'hero' trying to fight a goddess?" Lilith looked down, as she rose, tearing through NERV HQ and taking the restrained hero with her. "I will make you watch as your world is ended, and then you will see the beauty of what I will create."
"But first… make this a little easier…" She said, looking at him, and he changed back to Shinji against his will. He growled up at the monster with his mother's face.
"Behold, this world of chaos, it will all be remade, I will start it from the beginning. Those I allow to live will be made anew to serve me. And once this world is made as it should be, we will move on to the next populations of Adams and Lilith's, until we find the very source… and I destroy them, and make myself a throne in the center of the universe…" She said, motioning to the world as she began sending out the Instrumentality Wave across the planet, drawing souls to the sphere in her hands.
"You… forgot… one little detail…" Shinji said, fighting against the control she had over him, drawing deep into One for All, and One for All responded.
"And what is that, child?" She smirked.
"I AM HERE!" He said, transforming instantly into All Might and ripping away from his restraints.
"WHAT?" Lilith gasped, "How did you break free from my control?"
"Misato Katsuragi… Rei Ayanami… Asuka Sohryu… they are in this world…" All Might growled standing on the wreckage of his restraints. "If you want to end this world, it will be over my dead body…" He leapt toward her rearing back his fist. "AND I REFUSE TO DIE!"
He could see Ayanami beside him, touching his fist, pushing him on. "AYANAMI! SMASH!" He cried out, his fist colliding with Lilith's jaw, sending her into a spin. He kicked off a piece of rubble hovering around her and launched a second attack.
He could see Misato smiling at him, nodding as she touched his fist. "KATSURAGI! SMASH!" He yelled as he launched himself downward, hitting her again across the face.
He rebounded yet again, this time off her own knee that she was trying to stabilize herself. He saw Asuka's confident smirk, giving him a wink and slapping his fisted hand before he launched himself upward into an upper cut. "SOHRYU! SMASH!" He cried out as her jaw snapped upward with the hit. He landed on the black moon that contained what lifeforce and souls she had drawn and he stared up at the monster.
Suddenly he heard Nana's voice, as he could feel the power jumping from point to point toward him. "This power has been passed on from hero to hero, each praying that it will bring joy and peace to humanity!" She said, "That One for All will give the world hope!"
Lilith turned to the hero, gathered up the full power of Instrumentality, and turning it on him.
"And now, it is your turn!" Nana said, appearing before All Might, and placing the power into his hand, "Do your best, Shinji!" She smiled at him, "I am so proud of you!"
"Goodbye, Everyone…" All Might whispered as he launched himself toward the blast.
As Instrumentality collided with the full power of One for All, a massive explosion blinded Lilith.
Lilith's eyes widened in fear and shock as Shinji Ikari jumped through the flames, his right arm's muscles massively swollen with the full power of One for All. "UNITED…" He screamed, as he remembered the faces of each of his loved ones, those who he was fighting for… "STATES…" He saw his own reflection in the giant's eyes as he prepared to launch his ultimate attack. He thrusted his arm forward and felt his fist make contact. he felt the goddess give. "OF SMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASH!"
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.
To Be Concluded…
Preview of epilogue: Inko Midoriya walked into the home office, and her heart sank at only the light from the computer screen. She fought back tears as the chair rolled back and her young son looked up at her, his eyes swollen with tears. He pointed to the screen, showing a memorial in the center of the town that was being erected in honor of the hero who saved the world. "Mama… he's… he's not really gone… is he? Is he, mama?" Inko just wrapped him in a hug and cried.