RichardRahl—I be'd stuck with school. And junk. Pen-Pen is hiding such that he is not found by the unscrupulous Nekkid Wimmenfolk as current occupy the apartment.

Grey Wolf4—Danke.

legacyZero—I don't know if they're sticking around. I had a plot a while back, then Nodachi-Shinji slapped me upside the head and said: "No way in hell I'm doing that." There were three old fogeys, plus the Ancient One, and then their various student-slaves. Witch Hunter update should be fairly soon.

dogbertcarroll—Plot? No one needs plot. Don't be silly.

Carrot-Six—Oh come on. Brightly neon colors are the best way to go incognito. People just think you're another random punk. Shh, the Ancient One's booze is distilled penguin extract (okay, I was watching X2. Silence). Secretly, under their enmity, the clock-names are friends. Kinda. Well, they worked together. Certainly vague. My Knife of Clarity rusted. It's at -2 now.

Ocean Red
Chapter Twenty:
A Neo Genesis Evangelion Fanfiction
By CrimsonNoble

"Turn on the news."

Shuriken obeyed, somewhat meekly. After a moment of fiddling with the knobs of the set, she knelt and squirmed over to the person on the couch.

"Don't grovel," the person said, and Shuriken stiffened just a little. "Open the door."

She obeyed, finding that there was another teenager outside. Such: unsurprising.

Damn Nodachi, she reflected as she shuffled aside to allow the other teen to enter with a cry of, "Mother!" Damn him for getting to avoid this.

Yearrrrgh! Divider!

Shinji laughed.

Then he ducked and rolled aside, neatly avoiding the flying can of beer. And the twenty other cans that followed it. He stood up, and laughed more.

The next can of beer left a nicely circular welt on his forehead. It also sent him staggering right back out the door.

"That wasn't nice," he whined. "Good show."

"The fuck are you talking like a Brit for?"

He flicked the German off. "I'm going to hurt you," he said.

"Try it," she snapped.

This was a Bad Idea. Fact number one, Asuka wore only a towel. Fact number two, the door was still open. Fact number three, she did not have a key.

So it hardly surprised anyone as knew Nodachi when he grabbed her 'round the throat, slammed her against the rail, and skittered inside. Then he locked the door.

Shortly followed enraged screams.

"Loud cunt, isn't she?" Shinji asked the room. Then he shoved his hand into the frame of the door, tightened his fist, and watched curiously as the metal groaned and twisted. It would take perhaps a wrecking ball to get it open.

Then he wandered into the next room, and had someone else been there they might have been aghast at his discourtesy, wearing shoes inside the house, and stared violently at the Twister mats on the floor.

"Okay," he meandered. "Not going to think about that."

So he trotted out onto the rear balcony of the apartment, stared down, and tossed the key to the door over the edge. It vanished.

He wandered back into the kitchen slash living room slash whatever the hell they were calling it now. The uniroom.

Yearrrrgh! Divider!

"Let her in, Shinji."

Misato steeled herself. Shinji was going to look at her again. With his eyes.

Well. It would be quite scary if he'd left them behind somewhere.

"Da door be stuck," he said.

It was true. The frame was twisted such that she didn't see how it could be repaired without obtaining a whole new door. In fact, it was twisted rather like a large mouse had gnawed on it. A mouse with five teeth.

"Did you stick it?"

"You appear to have a rat problem," he said.

She titaniumed herself. "Open it," she ordered. Her voice wasn't really steady, shaking like she was drilling the road, in fact, but it was an order. And as such, Shinji responded as he sometimes did to orders from people he didn't much like (ie: everyone).

Misato watched curiously as the boy patted himself down. It was a slightly Awkward Moment, deserving of the capitals. Moments later, he pulled a battered coin from somewhere—please, Misato thought, tell me that wasn't his ass he just pulled that out of—and rolled it over his hand a moment, cleaning away some of the grime to see which side was which.

Then he flicked it into the air.

Then it hit the floor.

"Heads!" he squawked. For a moment, but only a moment, he hit exactly the wrong pitch. Precisely. Like he'd been aiming for it. He'd found the sound of rust.

So he barreled into the door, knocked it straight out of its track, into the German, and carried the whole tangled mass over the rail, taking part of it with him. About halfway through the descent, he observed that beneath was one rather uncomfortable looking girl in overlarge combat boots, some sort of peculiar jacket, and carrying a sword.

Despite the whole illegality of the action, Shinji squeed. A sword! In this day and age! How freakishly quaint! The irony overshot him by about three feet.

He just had to kill her.

Then she vanished, he realized that maybe he should stop eating old rye and barley and focus more on the molding chicken, and he crashed headfirst into the ground.

Snoring ensued.

Then the door hit him. Then the railing tried to impale him, missing, however, by about two inches. Asuka, as things turned out, had managed to snatch hold of the edge of the walkway of the complex, losing six fingernails in the process and flinging more than a little profanity down at Shinji, and swung herself onto the floor below.

Then the towel hit him.

He screamed in sheer agony and terror. It was a towel.

Not only that, but a clean towel. Now, Shinji liked towels, but a clean towel was clearly an aberration. He panicked, tried to tear the towel off his head, failed, and bolted, screeching like a wounded rhinoceros. Rhinoceros-brontosaurus. Thing.

Rhinotosaurus.

He ran into a car.

The car lost.

Yearrrrgh! Divider!

Kashi looked curiously at the cuffs binding his wrist. Three pairs—so they'd noticed. That was fine.

He pulled against the cuffs experimentally. No, no give. Interestingly, the officer had braided the polycarbonate links. Was that stronger? He wondered.

He turned to look out the window, and like a ghost he was there. There! Impossible! He wasn't in Nippon anymore!

No way Haine would stay in Nippon. No way in hell.

No, Haine wasn't there. Haine wasn't standing not ten feet from the patrol car. Haine was not raising one hand, was not holding a gun. Was not pulling the trigger.

The window did not break.

The braided links did.

Kashi looked at the separated manacles, the perfect windows, and the divider between where he sat and where the officer sat. How, easily the first question to come to his mind. How to get out? The second.

The officer had not locked the doors, but he didn't need to. The patrol car doors could not be opened from the inside. At least, not in the back seat. But sometimes, one could force the door open.

He pulled on the handle. The door opened. Panic ensued.

Kashi slipped from the patrol car, not exactly subtle in his white, pure cotton garb. The car stopped. The car vomited the officer, who charged after Kashi with the grace of a wounded bull and the speed of a motivated sloth.

Kashi was gone before the officer had a chance to pull his weapon.

Yearrrrgh! Divider!

Shinji tapped his fingers against the table somewhat awkwardly. He looked between his father and the commander. Both of whom had received the police summons. It was a mildly uneasy moment as all three sets of eyes connected.

Shinji fought the urge to jump onto the table, strip himself naked, and scar everyone watching for life. He was assisted by two factors, first that he was handcuffed to the chair, second that the Ancient One had already seen him naked, perhaps been scarred, but nevertheless thrown him through a wall. Following which, he'd been tossed into the survival room.

The Ancient One fought the urge to break the table, step through, and kill Ikari. He was assisted by two factors, first that Ikari was not, in fact, looking at him defiantly, and second that he knew the officer that would have to try to arrest him.

Ikari fought the urge to call in section four to kill the albino and incarcerate the boy. He was assisted by no factors, including but not limited to the peculiar gaze in the albino's eyes and the constant shifting of the boy's hands.

Arthur looked at the monitor and gave in to the urge to call for backup. Strange things were afoot in that room.

"What is the problem?"

It took Shinji a moment to decipher who had spoken. When he realized they both had, he shuddered. He'd hoped and expected them to commit mutual homicide. Synchronicity was not expected.

He grinned. Neither man was impressed. "Which one?"

The Ancient One reached across the table, wrapped his hand behind Nodachi's head, and slammed his face into the metal surface. The officer stepped toward him, reaching for the shorter man's shoulder and trying to not soil himself when the Ancient One turned his head to glare. He wisely retreated.

Ikari watched in a sudden fit of paternal joy. He approved. The pathetic disciplinary standards of the Tokyo Three school system ruined children.

Nodachi stood, his bindings snapping tight and dragging him back into his seat. His leather wristband tore, just a little. His jaw dropped, appearing to unhinge, and he let loose a saliva-laden hiss from the secret place that threatened to choke him every time he tugged on the Power.

The Ancient One rammed his hand into the gaping mouth, striking Nodachi's epiglottis. Nodachi gagged, jerked back away from the hand which snagged his teeth, and hacked.

"Don't." He said.

Nodachi snarled and strained against the handcuffs, his face twisting into something nothuman.

"Follow your orders," the Ancient One said. Then he backhanded the boy across the face and sat down, marble again. He blinked, and his blue eyes focused on Shinji's hands where they dented the table.

Shinji breathed slowly, carefully. It was not peace of mind that made him do so, it was self-preservation. He pulled his arms away from the chair, for all appearances gently, and broke the cuffs.

"Your will be done," he said.

The Ancient One stood and walked out of the room.

"Are you going to work with Soryu?"

"Is that an order?" Shinji's voice trembled.

"Yes."

"His will be done," Shinji repeated. Then he left.

"His will be done," Ikari repeated, chewing the words thoroughly.

Yearrrrgh! Divider!

Kashi closed his eyes and touched the wall of the alley. He ran his fingers over the plaster surface, and… yes, the city was still the same.

First thing first, change of clothes. That would be easy enough.

He started off at a loose lope, sticking to the alleys. Alleys were easier, they didn't get remade often. Certainly not in three years. But he was off a little. His steps were not shorter, but they took him not as far as they had. He didn't cant properly anymore. It wasn't much, but it was enough that he turned just a little too early and clipped the corner with his shoulder.

Not ten minutes later, discounting the time he spent on his ass because he ran into several walls, he slowed to a stop in front of the bar. It was a bar, and only a bar. A place sad people went to get smashed. He smiled at the bartender, who smiled back blandly.

"I'm a little tight, Jake." Fucking Hemmingway.

He sidled toward the seat in the back, next to the bathrooms. It had two uses for most people, either a place to pass out in or a place to make out. Only someone heavily drunk could think it a good place to try either. For Kashi, it had a third purpose. Many years ago, he had hidden a locker key there, and paid quite well so that it would not be removed by the janitorial staff. He found it, still sealed in the awkward corner behind the seat. It was covered in grime and dust and filth, but that was okay. It was still there.

Only it wasn't okay. It was dirty and filthy and he could feel the unclean crawling up his arm and burrowing into his flesh and he needed tweezers or a knife or a razor because he had to get it out and off or the tight feeling in his chest would twist and pull him inside out.

He dropped the packet on the table, and gripped his elbow, twisting the flesh to crush out anything, seeing the larvae as they burrowed into his skin, legs digging into his flesh for traction so their mandibles could shift more and more of his self aside so they could get deeper and deeper and their round ringed mouths could consume more and more of his arm and his blood and his self. Feeling the larvae. Moving. Digging. Squirming. Biting.

Kashi squeezed his arm to his side, still kneading the flesh. He curled over in two, breathing hard, counting the lines, tracing each from the far left of his field of vision to the far right, calculating where the knot was but already knowing because he'd sat there before and looked at the table. He knew, and so he tapped his head against the tabletop, over and over and over again.

Half an hour later, when he'd recovered, he ordered three pints, breaking his six year long abstinence. He stared at the table six inches from the packet as he ordered and waited and drank and paid. Paid with someone else's money, given his status as an escaped convict. Not that he killed the person whose money he paid with, just found him drunk and rifled his pockets. With the assistance of the napkins, he tore open the envelope, was pleased to find the plastic seal on the key was still intact, and removed that to find his wonderfully, blissfully clean key.

He left the bar, unfazed by the alcohol. He went next door to the defunct gym, broke in through a boarded up window, and moved to the appropriate locker, which he unlocked, opened, pulled out the plastic-covered bag (once again using his napkins, he had gloves in the bag), broke out of the gym, opened the bag, pulled out his outfit, dressed, and disposed of it. He was very careful to get rid of the prison clothes in a garbage bin ten blocks from the bin where he trashed his bag. Even then he was careful to tear the polyester into unrecognizable strips, and kept those strips with his identification number on them. His best friend once called him paranoid. But then, his friend was drunk at the time and dead not two days later.

Yearrrrgh! Divider!

Asuka glared at the Third.

Shinji stared back.

Nodachi hissed.

Asuka turned to look at Misato. "I'm really supposed to work with this idiot?" she whined.

"Yes, Asuka."

"Fine," she said, and turned to the Third. "But you better not try anything!"

Shinji's face twisted into an avatar of confusion. "I've been ordered to not harm you," he said, absently noting that while Asuka managed to have an entirely new wardrobe already, Purplie was in a dress he'd evidently missed (possibly because it was at the dry cleaners).

"Not that! Don't try anything perverted!"

Perverted was one of those Words. The sort Shinji didn't think about because he didn't know what it meant, and it was really too long to care about. "Right," he said, and then dropped his voice to a sibilant hiss again, "then don't fuck with me," and for added emphasis with regards to his utterly carnivorous nature, he stroked his lips briefly with his tongue. It worked better than he could have hoped, Asuka jumped away as if shot, and Misato leaned away from the table she had maneuvered between herself and the boy. She leaned away so far, her chair slipped and she toppled to the tile with a crash, made slightly more uncomfortable for the beer can she landed on.

She decided the floor was safer for the moment and stayed there, ignoring Asuka's screams and only moving when Nodachi dropped to all fours to scurry around. At which point she decided that her room would be even safer, and so retreated there, wishing and hoping and dreaming and praying that the Demented One, her new nickname for the one with the eyes, would ignore her presence, and ruing and hating and fearing the suddenly incredibly stupid custom of not having locks on the doors because she really didn't think the Demented One had an ounce of Japanese respect in him.

Shinji sat in the middle of the living room (or whatever it was today) area. He smiled, giggling and wrapping himself up in his arms. His eyes fell on the mats with the flashing spots and he tilted his head curiously. He fell forward and crawled toward the mat to his left, sliding his head back and forth, twisting it to point one of his eyes at it at a time. He blinked rapidly. He picked up one of the headsets, tilting his head to look at it from underneath. Slowly, perched on his toes and one hand, he lowered the set onto his head.

Immediately he was assaulted by the strains of some peculiar, melodic composition. He yelped as the notes drew baseball bats and began to hit him with their pencils. Metaphorically speaking, anyway.

Shinji yelped, tore the headphones from his head, and ran, swatting at the notes. He crashed through the paper door to Asuka's room, fled across her bed (planting one or two footprints on her in the process) and into her closet, where he bunkered down and prepared to fight the good fight against the musical notes. Asuka looked at him, one eye peering out of her closet, very briefly considered trying to boot him out of her room (mindful all the time of the fact that she couldn't breathe), and left the room. At a run. She crashed through the door to Misato's room, tried to dive under the lady's bed, squealed as she ran into the mattress, having forgotten that Misato didn't have a bed proper, flipped onto her back on top of Misato, and chaos ensued.

Pen Pen opened the door of his fridge, waddled on out to the other fridge, opened it with a fin, pulled out a can of beer, and waddled back to his fridge. In true penguin nature, he squawked and went back to planning his world domination.

He was right about the point of figuring out who his loyal penguin-pirate-ninja crew would be.

Yearrrrgh! Divider!

Gendo Ikari sat, his hands folded as he stared at the five council members.

"This is not according to schedule."

"This is highly unusual."

"This is not within acceptable parameters."

"The Second and Third are supposed to be working together."

"Gentlemen, rest assured that they are working together."

"Reports from my officer in the field disagree."

"Indeed, my reports indicate that your son and the Soryu girl are at each others throats."

"Trying to kill each other, one might say."

"I have most disturbing reports myself, Ikari. I'm told that your son has executed someone."

"Unfounded suspicions. There is no proof of his involvement whatsoever."

"We all know how much proof counts for here."

"After all, concealing information is your specialty."

"Indeed."

"Ikari. The Human Instrumentality Project is all that matters. If your son is causing deviations from the scenario, terminate him."

"How interesting, I have been receiving reports that your son is consorting with a ranking officer of the JSSDF."

"And that your son himself is a JSSDF employee."

"Serving under one of the strike units."

"From the second World War."

"That your son is a member of the unit."

"Don't be absurd, he's far too young to be a conscript."

"Not a conscript, a volunteer."

"The JSSDF would never have accepted him."

"The JSSDF has no standards."

"A fourteen year old could get in if he lied about his age."

"And evidently he did."

"We are not as stupid or ignorant as you would like to believe, Ikari. Your son's psychiatric evaluation is highly classified by the JSSDF. Not even he has seen it."

"Not that he would have understood what it meant. His grades are not classified."

"His transcript is identical to another child apparently registered with the JSSDF at the same time by the same person."

"Interesting, is it not?"

"Meaningless conjecture. No factual basis."

"But you do not deny it."

"I just did."

"We gave you this life Ikari. We can take it away."

"Gentlemen, the deviation from the scenario is not yet too extreme. With a few minor adjustments it will proceed."

"But it will not be smooth."

"Are you trying to tell me that the plan will be destroyed by one hitch? The scenario was made to be more flexible than that."

"You have already deviated more than was allocated to you. Count yourself lucky that others have not fared so badly."

"The scenario will proceed."

"If it does not, Ikari, your life is forfeit."

End Chapter

Kashi has no real effect on the plot. He exists for another point of view, as it were.
Sonofabitch. FFN, why the fuck are you killing my space dividers?
Except living towels, of course. They got dead too fast.