Chaos Lord Productions Brings You.

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Converging Paths

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Written by Chaos Lord

Disclaimer: All entities and devices in this story belong to their respective owners.

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Chapter 2 – The End to a Very Long Day

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While the teaming masses of Tokyo 3 made their way out of the shelters and headed back to their lives, a certain couple was laying naked in a nearby park. If one were to look upon the pair the only thing that they might note was out of the norm, other than the fact that they were naked, would be the color of the woman's hair, which was an odd bluish-gray. What no one could know that these two were strangers to this strange land. But this did not matter to the couple, for they were too busy basking in the beam of warm sunlight that streamed through the thick trees and lit their world. To them it seemed as if God himself was giving his blessing for what had occurred here a short time ago.

As he lay beside and slightly underneath the naked body of his beloved, Makoto was quite content. While a park in some strange land was not where he had envisioned his first time to occur, something about the place that Ifurita had chosen made the experience that much more magical. What he had just experienced was indescribable. The whole act could not have taken more than ten minutes and though that may seem to be a short time to others, for Makoto that time was like a life age of the world. Just thinking about the whole thing sent shivers of pleasure down his spine and made a certain part of his body make itself known. When he had first touched Ifurita all those years ago he had thought that the link that they shared was one of minds and souls. He had never considered the possibility that they would be able to feel what the other was feeling. This certain skill made what they had just done more pleasurable than he possibly could have imagined. So while their time together was short, something that was Ifurita's fault, he had been able to ensure that she got the most out of it as possible.

But there was something that gnawed away in a dark corner of his mind. What worried him was something that plagued all men whose first time was with a woman who was more knowledgeable about such things. Though he was still linked to Ifurita, Makoto made sure that this fear was hidden from her thoughts. He could feel the bliss that she was currently feeling. And though it was great and the desire to submit to that complete ecstasy of emotion totally was almost unbearable he could not, because if he did then it could ruin her it completely.

Ifurita though was not fooled so easily and she soon detected that her beloved was withholding a part of himself from her. Such an event could not be tolerated, their relationship was one of total openness and it worked very, very, well. This was especially true with what they had just done. But the fact that he was holding back meant that there was something that he did not want her to know, something that caused him a measure of pain. There was only one way for that pain to be alleviated and their relationship made whole, and that was to bring the secret into the open. Propping herself up on her left arm she looked Makoto in the eyes, "Dearest Makoto, what troubles you?"

Makoto's eyes grew wide and fear spiked through his mind. She couldn't have felt anything; he had buried it to deeply. "What are you talking about? I'm fine."

His words did not alleviate Ifurita's concern. If anything they made it more urgent. "You're lying to me," it was not a question but a statement of fact. "Why?"

A sigh escaped Makoto's lips and he turned away from the accusing and hurt stare of his lover. "It's nothing really."

With the utmost gentleness Ifurita reached out and grasped Makoto's chin. Though he had turned away he did not resist when she turned his head to face her. "You are hurting. That is not "nothing." Please tell me what troubles you, I might be able to help."

Makoto knew that it was of no further use to keep withholding he truth. One way or another she would find out and he had already failed in his task of keeping his worries from spoiling her day. "Ifurita," he said slowly. "About what we just did. How was I? I mean compared with the others that you've been with."

Ifurita was quiet for several seconds as she processed what he was feeling. When she was finished she could not help but feel a measure of shock. What they had just gone through was the most exhilarating experience of her entire life and he was worried that he had not done a good job! For ten thousand years she had waited to see him again, knowing full well that when they did meet once more they would engage in sexual activities. During every day of that time she dreamed of what it would be like when she and her love joined together in that timeless dance. Yes, she had been with others in her lifetime but quite frankly it wasn't very satisfying. Unfortunately those experiences were what formed the framework for her dreams about this encounter. But never in all those cold, dark, seemingly endless millennia did her dreams even come close to what had just occurred. She and Makoto had become one, and not just in that singular instant of climax. The entire event was such that, even if she tried, it would take several life times to even begin to describe what had occurred in that short span of time.

With all that they had felt. The sensations, the emotions, everything. How could he even entertain the notion that he had been less than phenomenal? Though the thought seemed laughable to her it also worried her greatly. This was something that had to be dealt with, and quickly. Before this small doubt grew and consumed him utterly. She had seen firsthand what insecurities could do to a person, the evil that they committed to prove their worth. Such a path was not for her beloved and she do anything to keep him from walking it. "Makoto. My dearest Makoto. You have nothing to fear. Yes, in the past I have been with other men and even some women. But with each of them there was nothing. No joy. No love. Just the physical sensations of pleasure. And that was due to my programming. After all, how could my master feel truly powerful unless they were able to cause what they saw as a, "Lifeless doll," to cry out in pleasure? With you though, all that was different. During our time together I experienced something that I never knew existed. I wish I had the words to describe what we just did, but it seems that my time among the Ancients has failed me in this field." So please," she said softly as she caressed his cheek, "don't let these thoughts trouble you."

Ifurita's words were heartfelt and true but Makoto paid them little mind. Instead, he listened to the feelings that she had sent through their link and they spoke louder and truer than anything that she could say. Reaching up, he grasped her hand on his face and smiled. "Thanks Ifurita. Don't worry about me, you've made me feel much batter."

The smile that lit up Ifurita's face was luminous and it showed the joy that she felt for being able to help her love. With that bit of troubling thought dealt with another issue made itself known. Here she was, laying naked with her lover in the warm mid day sun and she was starting to feel ready for another go. "Oh Makoto dear," she whispered huskily as she pressed her body against his.

Makoto smiled sadly at Ifurita's actions. "I'm sorry dear, but I don't think we should."

"Why not," she asked with a pout and a wiggle.

That almost caused Makoto to give in to his mounting desires but he was able to keep a cool head. "Well for starters, we're in a park. And though this feels really good I don't want someone to find us here like this. We also have a giant robot to find."

His first reason did little to dampen the fires that raged in Ifurita. She really did not care where she and her love had sex. And with her powers back to full she could make it impossible for any passers by to see them. But Makoto's second reason did what the first did not. In the heat of her passions she had completely forgotten about the giant machine and the carnage that it had caused. Now though, the memory of that event was running clearly through her mind. Makoto was right, that machine was stranger to this world just as they were and they had to find it. Besides, with its power she needed to ensure that it posed no threat to her beloved Makoto. Sigh. "You are right Makoto. We really must find that creation."

He smiled at her complete 180. A minute ago he was almost overwhelmed by the need that was flowing into him through the link. Now though, that need had vanished like a candle in a stiff wind. In its place flowed the cool resolve to go forth and complete this newest mission. "Great!. You said that you'd be able to track that thing?"

"That is correct. My sensors are more than adequate enough to follow the dimensional anomaly left it the device's wake." Though she was now in mission mode, Ifurita allowed some seductiveness to creep into her motions as she stood up. While her fires were now cooled she knew that Makoto's were not and this would be a measure of payback for not allowing her a second go at it. Once she was upright, Ifurita focused her power and her outfit, which she had ripped off in her desire to mate with Makoto, reformed around her. Now though, instead of being disheveled and torn like it was when they first arrived on this world, her outfit was as it appeared when Makoto found her on the Forbidden Island. The ancients of El-Hazard were very intelligent and the science that they wielded like gods was unparalleled. Instead of garbing their weapon in simple cloth, the ancients crafted nano-machines which would create any outfit that she desired. As long as power coursed through her circuitry Ifurita would be able to recreate the clothes, no matter how damaged. Looking down at her love, Ifurita smile at the shocked expression. "There is more to me than you know, my dear Makoto. But that is for another time." With that she flew high into the sky.

A thousand feet above the lush green haven of the park Ifurita stopped her assent and looked out across the valley and the city which lay within it. At full power she was not a force to be trifled with and her powers where supreme over all on El-Hazard save the Eye of God, and even that held no concern for her, as she was now its mistress. It was with this power that she reached out and all of the city's secrets were laid bare before her. Much of what was made known to her was interesting, especially the powerful life form which was deep below the valley floor, but what concerned her the most was the positively massive warping of the space-time continuum emanating from a warehouse oat the city's edge. What was amazing was that the only sensors that could detect it were the ones from the Eye of God. Such a massive distortion should be visible to EVERYTHING and yet it wasn't. Now that her prey had been located, Ifurita descended back to the cover of the park. As she sat foot on the ground she found that Makoto had used her time away to get dressed once more.

Where as Ifurita was the picture of cleanliness and not a single fiber of her clothes were not out of place, Makoto was not. His hair was matted and his clothes looked as if he had been in some sort of fight. When Ifurita had brought him to this park she had been quite rough and very, very, needy. Nothing was broken, but his clothes had plenty of grass stains in them. This really did not register with Ifurita though, she was too into her search mode. "I detected a sizable distortion in the local space-time continuum originating in that direction," she stated as she pointed in the direction that the machine was at.

Makoto quirked an eyebrow at the vagueness she placed into the end of her sentence. "How far is it?"

At this her cool and detached expression transformed into a one which carried an air of mischievousness mixed with love. "Oh, not too far. But not close enough that our walk will feel too short." With that, she wrapped her arm around Makoto's and led him off in the direction that she had previously indicated. If one to look upon her at the moment they would see the content little smile that she was sporting, like she had just accomplished something and was most satisfied.

For his part, Makoto did not put up any real resistance. During the last few years, when he hadn't been working he had been dreaming, this had been something that he always wanted to do. Seeing as that wonderful dream was finally coming true he allowed his love to lead him to wherever she wanted to go.

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Meanwhile, as the happy couple were making there way through the labyrinth-like streets of Tokyo 3, a scene of carnage was playing itself out above a table somewhere in the depths of NERV. The small hologram portrayed the events that had occurred over the fortress-city a short time ago. As the mechanical monstrosity roared all in the room shuddered, a feat that was impressive seeing as the seven men who were viewing the recording were the most powerful in the world. When the tape reached its conclusion the room was plunged into silence. It stayed like that for several minutes as each man took in what they had just witnessed. Finally one of the men, one with a large beak-like nose, spoke and not that eloquent either, "What the hell was that?"

That started a huge discussion by the four men on either side of the table. The focus of their talks was the Dead Sea Scrolls and the absence of any information concerning that monstrosity. As the representatives of various countries argued over various points of scripture Lorenz Keel and Gendo Ikari sat at the ends of the table and watched the others. Both were watchers and shapers, they knew how to read people, and the actions of the others gave them plenty to read. Keel was a very shrewd man and he knew that of all the men in the room Gendo was the one that was most dangerous. While the others plotted and planed they lacked one thing that he did not, the Evangelions. With these in his hands Gendo had the capability to formulate and execute plans to combat the others on the council. Unfortunately, Gendo was good at hiding what he was thinking and nothing that was said caused him to even blink in an odd way. Therefore he would have to put an end to these discussions. The others were saying too much. "That's enough! What this thing is is of little consequence to the plan. I doubt seriously that it will interfere."

Gendo smirked behind his gloved hands. Like Keel had thought, the other's reactions were quite telling. In their wild speculation they gave him more than enough information to start formulating new plans. "Indeed. Whatever that was, it only attacked when the Angel provoked it. For now, I do not see any reason to alter the scenario."

Gendo's quick agreement with his statements put Keel off for a moment, after all Gendo was not one to offer such comments readily, but one did not live as long as he did and not know how to deal with the unexpected. "Agreed," he looked at the others sitting at the table. His cold, mechanical glare ensured that no one would say a word of opposition. With the cowards in their place, Keel turned his gaze to Gendo once more, "For the time being the issue is tabled. Your presence here is no longer required." With that he and the others vanished, leaving Gendo and his second, Fuyutski alone.

Before the elderly gentleman could do anything Gendo spoke, "They're scared," his voice was tinged with a hint of amazement.

"Rightly so. That thing is a monster." And he was right, it was a monster. Nothing had the right to kill an Angel as easily as it did. What was worse was that it vanished from all sight and it could now be lurking somewhere near by. And here Gendo was, sitting and plotting.

"Indeed it is Professor." Gendo then stood and looked to the elderly man. "And as I said before, it is of no consequence right now. The others were right, there is nothing in the scrolls about this. So, for the time being we will do nothing." As far as he was concerned, that was the end of the conversation. And with the subject tabled for the time being he walked off

Fuyutski knew his student well though to know that Gendo had not truly put the matter out of his mind. "You're planning something, aren't you?" The only answer that he received was the bespectacled man walking off into the darkness. "Of course you are," he whispered. "Oh Yui, I fear that all of our work will soon be undone."

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"Makoto, this is where the trail ends," stated Ifurita simply. When the young couple had reached the place where the dimensional anomaly ended up she had seen a small trail leading away. It took some time, seeing as the trail was very faint, but they had finally come to the end of their road.

"Really," he asked in relief. While he was physically fit, Mr. Fujisawa had ensure that his students maintained their education even in their new home, walking across this city on such a hot day after having made passionate love to his loving girlfriend made him a little tired. This was something that said girlfriend would have to take into account the next time they did a search through a major metropolis. For now though he was just happy to stop walking.

"Yes, it is." The fact that her boyfriend was tired was something that passed her attention completely, just as Makoto had thought. "What do you want me to do?"

If there was one thing that Makoto had learned about Ifurita from her memories was that she was anything but subtle. There was no telling what she would do to get to her target while in battle mode. "Lets just ring the doorbell."

The cold, blank look that had occupied Ifurita's face the last few moments vanished and was replaced by the warm, friendly expression that Makoto loved so much. "Well of course we should ring the bell," she said with a musical laugh. "What did you think I would do," she asked in mock suspicion

Unfortunately, Makoto misunderstood her act for the real thing and he began laughing awkwardly, "Ah. Heh heh. Um, you know. Knock. Yeah. . . knock. I really hate that." He then pointed at the round button, "Oh look! The doorbell."

Ifurita smiled slyly at her boyfriend's attempt to misdirect her false ire. It was odd how quickly they had taken up the roles that other couples spent years cultivating. But she didn't mind, on the contrary, it made her feel less like the mindless killing machine that she had once been and more like the woman that Makoto saw her as. "That it is." She raised her arm and with a long, outstretched, finger she depressed the button.

As she did so the couple could hear a chime sound within the apartment before them. When no one had opened the door within a second Ifurita reached out and repeated her actions of a moment before.

"You only have to press it once," commented Makoto. It wasn't really polite to ring more than once within such a short period of time. After all, one must give the occupants some time to extricate themselves from whatever activities that they had been doing.

"But they did not answer," replied Ifurita. Her tone suggested that such a short period was more than enough time for those inside to respond. And therefore a second ringing of the bell was warranted, "Perhaps they did not hear it the first time." When one had an advantage over others, as Ifurita did, they tend to forget that others are lack those same advantages. Ifurita suffered from this lack of consideration for others, if she could answer the door in a second then everyone should be able to. Right?

While Ifurita might still lack certain social graces, her methods still proved to be helpful as a woman's voice called out from within the domicile. "I'm coming!" From the woman's tone it was clear that despite Ifurita's success the occupants where less than pleased with her.

At that Ifurita looked to her boyfriend, her expression was an odd mixture of triumph and embarrassment. A second later the door opened to reveal a young woman with long brown hair. She wore a pair of dress pants that looked very professional yet at the same time showed off some of her curves while hiding others. Her blouse was made of light blue silk and, like the pants; they hid and exposed her feminine frame. All in all she had the appearance of a young businesswoman who was confident in her gender while not wanting to use said sex as a tool in her work. To Ifurita, this was all useless information. What was important to her was what her dimensional sensors were telling her. They told her that the dimensional fingerprint that the woman possessed was different from everything around her. What it was similar to was the device that killed that creature a short while ago. She announced this fact to all that would listen by letting loose a gasp and pointing at the woman, "That's one of them!"

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As much as the odd clothes threw her for a loop, the gray haired woman's exclamation really worried Mitsuki Sanada. Could they be agents of the planet's intelligence services? Had someone seen the enormous holes in her story? "Um. What do you want here?"

The man placed a hand on his companion's shoulder. The gray-haired woman looked at him questioningly and he smiled. "Let me handle this, ok." Through the link that they shared, Makoto expressed his concerns with how Ifurita was dealing with this situation. Luckily, such communication was completely unambiguous and she understood completely. With that taken care off, he turned to the woman in the doorway. "Good afternoon, ma'am. My name is Makoto Mizuhara," he said with a bow, "and this is my girlfriend Ifurita. I must apologize for Ifurita's straightforwardness. She hasn't been out much recently." In saying this he was telling the truth and not hurting his beloved's feeling.

Mitsuki narrowed her eyes at the man's seemingly nice façade. To her eyes this was rather like a good-cop bad-cop situation and she not going to fall for it. "Yes, well that's the reason why it is always wise to be around others. Now what may I do for you two today," she asked as she folded her arms under her bosom.

Makoto winced at the woman's tone. Obviously they had done something to upset her and place her ill at ease. "I'm sorry if we've done anything to upset you." But before he could continue a young man's voice called out from the apartment's interior.

When Mitsuki had gone to answer the door Kazuki stayed behind to explore his new place of residence. But during the course of his explorations he heard Mitsuki talking to someone and she sounded more upset than usual. Being the type that likes to keep his friends happy, Kazuki headed for the front door. "Hey Mitsuki! What's wrong?" He arrived at his destination before she could answer and was treated to the same odd sight that Mitsuki was looking at. But while Mitsuki saw two potential government agents Kazuki saw two oddly dressed people. "Nice outfits. Come on in and you can tell us where you came up with them," he said with a smile. With that he headed back into the apartment and left a stunned Mitsuki staring at the space he had just vacated.

There were times that Mitsuki wondered if all the dimension hopping that Kazuki did had some sort of negative effect on his mental faculties. But now that Kazuki had made the invitation Mitsuki had to abide by it, even though she felt it was a bad idea. The only thing that abated her fears at all was the self-defense training that Akane and Yayoi gave her. She put on the best smile that she could, "Yes, please come in."

"Thank you," Ifurita replied kindly. Taking hold of Makoto's hand, she followed the young man into the apartment. She had noticed that Mitsuki was apprehensive about something but once her companion came out of the apartment all of Ifurita's attention focused on him. Of the two, the man and Mitsuki, the man had a dimensional signature that was several times greater than Mitsuki's. The warping around him was so large that she was surprised that it wasn't visible. She needed to know more about this person and how he could exist without imploding.

Makoto let himself to be dragged into the apartment by his girlfriend. For one thing she strong enough to hurl him like a Frisbee, so there was no stopping her. But that wasn't the main reason that he allowed her to take him away from the entrance. That Mitsuki girl was creepy as hell. This new guy though seemed to be the sort that he would like to interact with. While he did want to get away from her, Makoto made a quick bow to Mitsuki and gave her a small smile, "Sorry." After all, it was only right to be polite.

The young couple made their way into Mitsuki's home in search of the other occupant of the apartment. They found him in the living room, where he was straightening up what little clutter there was. Seeing that they where near, the man gestured to the couch, "Please, have a sit. Is there anything I can get you?"

"Um, yes. Can I have some green tea," asked Makoto. It had been a long time since he had spent any real time in his home dimension and he missed certain things about it. While this place wasn't said plain of reality it seemed close enough.

"Sure," exclaimed Kazuki. He turned to the woman, "And you?"

Being addressed broke Ifurita out of her in-depth study of the dimensional field surrounding the man. "Oh, me," she asked as she pointed to herself.

Kazuki nodded his head, "Uh huh."

"I'll have what Makoto is having,"

"Ok," said Kazuki with a smile. He turned and headed towards the kitchen, "Now to find the kitchen."

But before Kazuki could get far Mitsuki called out, "Don't bother! I don't want you messing up my kitchen."

"Hey! It was only that one time. And besides, tea is way easier than that spaghetti you wanted me to make," he added testily. "It's not like tea is much different than ramen." With that Kazuki sat down and looked the couple at the other side of the couch. "Sorry about that. I'm Kazuki Yotsuga."

Makoto waived off Kazuki's apology, "Hey, no problem. I know what it's like to have strong women in your life." He stopped for a moment as his mind turned to the others that he left behind in El-Hazard. But that passed as quickly as it came, after all he would see them again. It was only a matter of time. "By the way, my name if Makoto Mizuhara. And this is Ifurita, my girlfriend."

"It's a pleasure to meet you," Kazuki with a smile. "So what brings you by?"

Ifurita and Makoto shared a brief look before turning their gaze back to their host. "Um, well I'm not quite sure how to approach this. So let me ask you a question. What do you know about alternate dimensions?" As soon as he asked that Makoto knew that it had been the wrong thing to do, for the young man's relaxed posture suddenly became rigid and the welcoming look on his face slipped away into one of shock.

Now normally Kazuki was not the suspicious type. Usually the odd behavior of others passed by as he tried to see the good around him. But even he had to see the correlation between these two people and his recent arrival in this world. His mind was a mass of conflicting emotions, each coming and going in an instant. The one that kept coming back though was fear. And it wasn't the kind of fear that was explainable. It was the kind that a wounded animal gets when it's cornered. While he was scared, the rational portion of his mind reminded him that the pair on the opposite end of the couch was staring at him. Quickly, said part supplied Kazuki's speech center with something to say. "J just what you here on TV."

From the safety of the kitchen Mitsuki could not help but smile. Though Kazuki's tone relayed his fear quite expertly, he didn't just blab the entire story to these suspicious strangers. Her thoughts were intruded upon by the bubbling of the electric kettle and she quickly poured the tea. As far as she was concerned, the quicker that she had finished her task, the sooner she could prevent Kazuki from letting anything slip. So, she placed the tea and what snacks she had onto a tray and made her way into the living room. There, she saw her "husband" and their guests sitting on the couch. As she looked to Kazuki, Mitsuki saw that he was scared but the iron will that he had developed in combat was holding the fear in check. In a flash she had the various items on the tray handed out and she sat down next to Kazuki, forming a united front against their guests.

Makoto could tell that the boy was lying and that his girlfriend didn't trust them. He honestly couldn't blame them. Leaning closer to the pair, he tried to look as non-threatening as possible. "Listen, I can tell that you are both reasonable people. Why don't I tell you about who we are and why we are here. If you don't believe us, or want nothing to do with us, then we'll leave. Does that sound fair?"

When you fight along side a person you tend to develop a means of communicating without words. Kazuki and Mitsuki had gone through a long a perilous war together and often it seemed as if they could read each other's minds. A quick glance to the other was all that was needed to confer on this matter. As one they looked to Makoto and Mitsuki said, "Yes, yes it does."

With a sigh of relief, Makoto leaned back. "This is going to take a while, so you might want to sit back for a while."

Once more, Kazuki and Mitsuki looked to each other. After a second they nodded at the other and then sat back for the long haul. Like last time, Mitsuki was the group's spokeswoman. "Ok. Start when you are ready," this time her tone was slightly more cordial than before. While she was still suspicious of the two she did note that the man was had taken notice of their discomfort and was taking measures to lighten their image.

Makoto smiled at Mitsuki and took a sip of tea to wet with throat. "It all started a little over six years ago when an odd room was found in my high school . . . ." Over the next two hours Makoto told Kazuki and Mitsuki everything that had happened to bring him here. From Ifurita's hand in transporting him, two classmates, and a teacher to the land of El Hazard to the war with the seemingly endless Bugram, no detail was spared. "And for the last six years I have been working with Ifurita's power key staff and the system's of Eye of God. Finally, I was able to use the staff to force the Eye to the co-ordinates of my home dimension. After that all I had to do was charge the staff and open a portal. I found Ifurita, nearly dead at the edge of Shinanomi High's basketball court. With what little strength that she had left, Ifurita ran into my arms and using her staff I tried to return us to El-Hazard. Something went wrong though, and instead of appearing there we materialized on the streets of this city. That's when we saw a large gray figure horribly destroy an even larger diamond. Thanks to her interaction with the Eye of God, Ifurita here could see the dimensional irregularities surrounding the figure and she was able to track it to a warehouse at the edge of the city. From there she was able to detect a trail, which lead us to you. Now Ifurita and I don't really have to worry about much. All we have to do is lay low until the staff gains enough power to open a portal home. But we thought that you might not be so lucky. So we came here to help you find your way back."

Now at first Mitsuki had been silent out of common courtesy, but by the end her silence was her interest in what crazy thing this Makoto would say next. I mean come on, sure inter-dimensional travel was nothing new. Neither was large, insanely powerful, machines capable of ripping holes in the fabric of reality. But control over elements? Flying? Or dimension hopping powers? Yeah right. "I assume you have proof of all this," she asked in a deadpan voice.

Ifurita and Makoto shared a quick look. They could tell that their hosts doubted the tale of their adventures. Unfortunately they had little proof to back their claims. In fact, the only evidence in their possession was Ifurita herself. "Yes," stated the woman simply. Taking hold of her staff, she stood and looked at the pair on the couch. "There is proof, and I am it." With that, Ifurita exerted her power and her feet left the carpeted floor. Then, in an effort to show off, she summoned a sphere of fire and one of water. These she willed to circle her lithe form. Seeing the wide-eyed expressions of Mitsuki and Kazuki, Ifurita came to the conclusion that they had their proof.

Of the two Kazuki was the first to get his bearings. In his time in the parallel world he had learned that speedy recovery from shock could be the only thing that stood between him and death. "Ok, you have my attention," he laughed nervously. Seeing that her story was true an element of fear crept into his being, sure he could deal with he with Zinv, black holes were pretty good at stopping things, but right now he was just Kazuki Yotsuga, average mortal.

"Uh, yeah. What Kazuki said," added Mitsuki shakily.

As Ifurita powered down and sat next to him Makoto could tell that she was hurting. The source of her pain was obvious, the fear that Kazuki and Mitsuki were now experiencing was so obvious a blind man could see it. From where he stood they had nothing to be afraid about, especially since they all would have to work together if they were going to make it back to their respective homes. "Listen. You two have nothing to be afraid of. With the obedience circuit broken Ifurita is just as human as you or me. It's just that she has more power than the rest of us. But so do you Kazuki."

"Huh?"

"Didn't you say that Zinv would know the moment you were in danger and come to save you? I'm pretty sure that if it came down to it, you are way more powerful than Ifurita here," he said as he reached over to lay a comforting hand said woman's shoulder. "Does that mean that we're afraid of you; no. So what do you say? Friends?" With that he held out a hand in friendship.

Kazuki shared a brief glance with Mitsuki and then looked at the outstretched hand. He was right, the speed that Zinv possessed was great enough to get here the moment he even thought he was in serious danger. After that Ifurita would be cat food. But more than that, he too could see the pain that marred the bio-roid's features. So, mirroring Makoto's friendly smile, he reached out and took hold of the offered hand, "Friends."

"Great," but before he could say more Makoto was caught in the grip of a massive yawn. "Oh god, its late."

Looking at the time Kazuki whistled in disbelief. "Damn, you're right. You two can sleep here tonight." Realizing what he just did, the young man turned slowly toward his companion, "That is, if it is alright with you Mitsuki."

Mitsuki sighed in annoyance. "Honestly Kazuki! You need to think before making decisions like that," she chided angrily. Turning to the couple, "Of course you may stay."

Makoto blinked at the odd emotional changes that Mitsuki just displayed. He was used to such things with Nanami and Shayla-Shayla but had thought that they were isolated cases. Now though it looked as if they were the norm and his beloved was the odd ball. Shrugging his shoulders at that thought, he smiled at the offer of lodging, "Thanks. We really do appreciate that."

"Excellent," exclaimed Mitsuki as she stood. "If you will follow me, I will take you to your rooms."

After getting the young couple situated for the night, Mitsuki did a quick patrol of the apartment to make sure all the doors were securely locked. With each room cleared she made sure to turn off the lights behind her, this place may be free but she certainly didn't want to overburden things by wasting energy. Finally, her patrol landed her in front of the master bedroom. At first, she was just going to walk in as she had done in the last month, but as she realized that Kazuki might be changing in there she did not want to just barge in on him. After all, if she expected a modicum of privacy from the man that was to share her bed then it was only right that she afford him the same courtesy. Lightly rapping upon the thin wood door she called out softly, "Kazuki, are you decent?"

"Yeah. Come on in Mitsuki."

Sliding open the door, she found that Kazuki had already changed and was trying, be it embarrassedly, to get comfortable in their bed. Mitsuki felt her cheeks warm a little at the sight but quickly pushed such things down, otherwise she may not get anything done. "Um Kazuki," she started hesitantly, "Can you cover your head? I need to get changed."

Kazuki blushed bright red at that, "S, sure Mitsuki." Very quickly, so as not to incur her wrath, he pulled the thick cover over his head. "Ready," he said, as if she could not tell that he was unable to see her. And as an added bit of safety he closed his eyes as tightly as possible, if he was going to be sharing a bed with her then he was definitely not going to get on her bad side.

With Kazuki sufficiently covered, Mitsuki felt safe enough to get changed. Stripping off the day's clothes she tossed the dirty apparel into the nearby hamper. As she stood with just her underwear on a thought crossed her mind. It was one of those brief, sometimes odd, notions that can creep into one's mind when they least expect such things. Now, with the idea lodged firmly within her psyche, she slowly and sensuously glided over to the closet. From within its dark confines she withdrew one of the men's long-sleeve shirts that she had purchased for Kazuki. She had regular pajamas that she had been able to purchase with her earnings, but for some reason it seemed somehow, better, to wear this to bed. Using the same sensuality that she had been filled with before, Mitsuki slinked toward the young man who had, whether he knew it or not, captivated her attention. Sliding into place next to Kazuki, she sounded the all clear, "Ok Kazuki, you can come out now."

The comforter was slowly pulled back, in a time like this Kazuki was not going to take any chances. In many ways Mitsuki was like her mother Ayuko and could be very mischievous when the thought arose. For all he knew, she could be laying beside him completely naked just to mess with his mind. The feel of her silken, shaved, and most disturbingly, bare, legs against his own only served to reinforce that fear. When the cover was completely removed from his vision he gulped in nervousness. It seemed, that although she had chosen a button-up shirt as her night shirt of choice, Mitsuki had forgotten to secure several of the buttons, as her absolutely perfect, in his opinion at least, assets were most profoundly on display for him, and anyone else who should come in, to see. "Mitsuki! Are you sure you want to be wearing that," he asked cautiously. "It doesn't seem to be all that warm."

"Oh I'm sure:" she replied with a saucy grin. "And besides," she added with a deep breath, "if I get cold I have you to warm me up." Seeing the way Kazuki's eye grew to humongous proportions was the final straw and the laughter that she had been suppressing exploded. "Oh God Kazuki! You should have seen your face!"

Kazuki could only stare as Mitsuki was reduced to a laughing mass. Eventually he began to see the humor in the situation and was soon laughing every bit as hard as she was. Every now and then one or both would regain a modicum of composure only to break down when they saw the other. Finally their laughter had run its course and the pair were left gasping for breath and holding their sore stomachs. "I haven't laughed that hard in forever," he gasped with a smile.

"I know, isn't it great?"

"You bet," he replied with a yawn. Apparently their merriment had burned up his final reserves of energy and it was all he could do to remain awake. Mitsuki seemed to be in the same boat as she sleepily pulled the disheveled covers over them and laid her head on his chest. Normally such actions may have been cause for some concern, but at the moment Kazuki could care less. Her warmth was soothing and their close proximity only seemed to increase the feeling of peace that filled him. Tomorrow was another day and he would think about the possible ramifications of their arrangement then, for now sleep's siren song was just too alluring to ignore.

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"The Angel has halted its forward motion. It's holding steady at seventy-five meters above Tokyo-3," announced a voice off to Misato's left.

Said woman never shifted her gaze from the massive screens which occupied a good portion of Central Dogma. On the main screen the latest Angel hung silently above the surface of the fortress-city. To the left of that was a feed from a camera within Unit-01's entry plug. With a smile Misato took in her young charge's scared, yet determined, expression. "Unit-01's status," she called out to one of the faceless techs.

"All systems in the green! Pilot's sync ration holding forty-five percent," yelled one voice.

"Unit-01 now locked on cat-02," responded someone else.

"Ready Shinji," asked Misato.

"Ready Misato," he replied with some confidence.

Misato smiled at that. For the past month Shinji had been changing. It wasn't much but she could see it. He was opening up a little more and he seemed to take piloting Eva a tad bit more seriously. In her mind such things were a sign that he was on the right track to becoming the person that she knew he could be, the one that had been hidden under so much despair and angst. "Right! Eva Unit-01 . . LAUNCH!"

Like a shot out of a cannon, the purple mecha shot up through the secret passages in the Geo-front. On the entry plug camera Misato could see Shinji straining under the massive g-forces that the catapult produced. After several seconds though the strain had stopped and Unit-01 appeared on the main monitor. It was a standard launch, nothing out of the ordinary to cause any alarm. Suddenly though, as if in defiance of the normalcy, a claxon began to sound. From her standpoint, Misato could see the Angel's surface begin to glow.

At the same moment a voice cried out from behind her, "There's an energy build up in the target." From the Angel lanced out a beam of hot, yellow, light. In an instant the beam had impacted upon its target, the wayward Unit-01

On the side screen the beams awful effects were displayed vividly to the horrified Misato. Once it had breached the outer armor and the organic components of the Eva the beam went to work on the entry plug itself. Instantly the LCL, which normally cooled and cushioned Shinji, began to boil. The searing heat burned the young man's flesh. Before her wide eyes the young man that she had come to know was being cooked alive. With each blink Shinji was cooked a bit more. His pale flesh first became red from the burning. Then, as the temperature increased, the burned flesh was ripped away as the entry plug's systems tried, however vainly, to cool the superheated plug. By this point the plug suit had long since melted and as he thrashed about globs of plastic and flesh pealed away to reveal muscle and bone.

And the screaming. It had started the instant that the vile beam had first touched Unit-01's armor. As time passed it only increased, both in volume and in urgency. "MISATO! PLEASE HELP ME! OH GOD IT HURTS! MISATO!" Their power and pain reached out to the woman and forced her to her knees. Tears flowed from her eyes as his agony continued unabated. She didn't know how but they kept on coming, even as skin, then muscle and nerve pealed away, they came, begging her to end the pain which gripped his soul. Finally, once everything that made Shinji, Shinji, his bones began to dissolve, denying Misato any sort of memento of his life. There, in that one horrible, eternal, instant, the young man known as Shinji Ikari ceased to be and through every memory that she had of him could be heard the terrible screams of his death.

She could take no more, during the entire ordeal Misato had been unable to say or do anything, now though, as Shinji's body now consisted of nothing more than some seared meat and melted plastic she grabbed hold of the cross around her neck. Her entire being was filled with rage and sorrow and her grip on the white cross was so much that it pierced her flesh. Ripping the blood soaked idol from her neck she hurled it towards the screen, which had so passively displayed the young man's horrific death. "SHINJI!"

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Misato did not know how long she yelled the young man's name, she only knew the she stopped when she was slammed against the floor. Opening her eyes, which had closed in the shock of the fall, she saw that she was now in her room. The chair, which she had been sitting in, was now turned over. Before she could really gain her bearings a dark form crossed her field of view. Focusing her tear filled eyes on the form she saw the concerned face of one Shinji Ikari. That thought pinged around her skull for a minute like a game of pong. Finally though, he addled mind was able to piece everything together and she realized that it was indeed Shinji above her. "SHINJI!"

Before he could say anything, Shinji was caught in the vice like grip of Misato. Given how he had been positioned over her, when she grabbed hold of him his face ended smack-dab in the middle of her bountiful cleavage, had this been any other moment he may have blushed at the situation. But in the here and now Shinji's thoughts were focused entirely on the sounds of Misato sobbing into his chest.

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Several minutes earlier he had been preparing for bed, thoughts of the battle recording danced through his head. The peaceful situation was shattered though by a loud scream on the part of Misato. Now he had heard his named bellowed by the woman before, normally it was for beer or food, but on the rare occasion it was during battle. Those times he could hear the concern that she had for him, and he thought about it they may have given him hope that she actually cared for him. This time though, it was as if she had just seen him killed, her scream was one of loss and supreme sadness. Never in his life had he heard such a sound, and if he had his way he was never be subjected to it again. For her to cry out like that meant to him that there was something deeply wrong.

With a speed that he did not know he possessed, Shinji ran towards the sounds of Misato's constant wail. When it abruptly stopped with a thud, he paused but only for a moment and then he continued on all the faster. Slamming open the door to her room, he was nearly knocked back by the smell of alcohol, which was ever present in Misato's room. Laying on the floor was the room's sole occupant, for a moment the thought that maybe her scream was no more than some drunken outburst passed through his mind but a second later the sound of her anguish resonated in his skull. Whatever had happened was not the result of beer, at least not entirely.

Creeping over to Misato, Shinji tried to determine if there was anything physically wrong with her. A physical examination proved fruitless though. All it accomplished was giving him a rush of hormones as he took in her scantily clothed form. That had been happening a lot more recently. Before, he had only seen Misato as his keeper, someone how only dealt with him because of his ability to pilot. But he increasingly saw her as others did, a beautiful and vivacious woman. Any further thought though was whipped away when she opened her eyes. Leaning closer to her prone form he was about to ask her if everything was ok, but before he could though she yelled out his name and grabbed hold of him.

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In his life Shinji wasn't really exposed to what one would call healthy emotional experiences, none of the Evangelion pilots had actually. Though it had limited his contact with others there was a part of him that did not mind as it allowed his to keep people away. In this place of pain he had resolved to continue that practice, but you know what they say about the best-laid plans. Kensuki and Toji had done their damdest to work their way into his life, especially the skinny military nut, but were he went the other followed. Misato also seemed determined to work her way into his life; her actions after the fourth Angel had put that into question though. The real sabot in the gears though was one Mitsuki Yotsuga. Unlike the others she had no reason to try and befriend him, and yet she had. It pained him to let people in, but at the same time it felt better than he could have ever imagined. A new world was opening for him and it scared him, at the same time he felt so confident that he could take an Angel barehanded.

This newfound confidence still didn't give Shinji the tolls to deal with someone in distress like Misato was. As gently as possible, and in a manner that he thought would be comforting, he patted her. "It's going to be ok."

A part of Misato realized where the muffled words were emanating from and had the good decency to blush. Her crying abated somewhat as embarrassment was added in with her other warring emotions. While making sure that she always maintained a grip on the young man, so as to ensure he would not suddenly vanish, Misato moved around so that Shinji had more air and she could look at his face. "Sorry about that Shinji."

"Isn't that supposed to be my line," he quipped. Though he often fell back into the habit of apologizing for nothing, Mitsuki had gotten him to realize that he was doing it. The line worked partially, as Misato laughed, though she also kept crying. This didn't sit well with him, Misato was prone to rather mercurial mood swings but he had never seen her cry like this before. "Misato, what's wrong?"

"Shinji, I'm not ready to talk about it right now. Can you just lay here and hold me?"

"S-sure," he replied with a blush. After all, it wasn't every day that an attractive woman asked you to sleep with her. Slowly he leaned back to lie down on the futon.

Misato practically wrapped herself around him, as if something was going to come for Shinji it would have to come through her. Her proximity to him seemed to be just what the doctor ordered, for over the course of the next ten minutes her tears slowly dried up and she fell into a peaceful slumber.

During the whole ordeal Shinji held onto Misato. It seemed as if having his arms around her comforted her. For some reason being like this didn't really feel awkward. Instead of the discomfort or blind panic that he expected to feel there was a certain warmth which filled him. Having Misato, a woman who was normally so strong and in control, totally dependent upon him made Shinji feel better about himself. As he waited her to sleep he found something important, though he wouldn't realize it for a while. All he knew is that the world suddenly seemed a tad bit brighter. And so Shinji Ikari did something that he had not done for as long as he could remember, he had a peaceful nights rest.

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Author's Notes: Wow! Its been a year since I completed a chapter of this. All I can say is DAMN. It was never my intention to have this take so long. Let's just say that nearly a year without school is not conceive to my writing. But the lull is over now, to a degree. I have been working on my book and there are several chapters done in that, but this story has never been far from my mind. In case you all were worried, yes I do plan on finishing this. It just might be 2015 till I do lol. For those fans of my other work, No Life Queen, know that I have not forgotten about it either but the hiatus that I took didn't help me any on that story. As I'm back in the swing of things I should hopefully be able to churn out some more work for you the fateful. And to you who have kept an eye out I thank you, hopefully you liked this as much as the rest,

Now I know that this has been going rather slow story wise. We just ended the first day! Don't worry, now that main characters are in place I assure you things will be picking up. And yes, that was very mean what I did to Shinji. But what can I say? I've always wanted to see him killed and now I've gotten it out of my system, for you Shinji fans don't worry he'll be hanging around for some time.

Well I cant think of all the objections people may have but I look forward to reading them.

Chaos Lord

King of the Wicker People