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Father Brother Lover Mother

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A tall thin man covered in blood-soaked rags holds a limp girl to his chest, and forces his way one step after another through hell on earth.

When they get there, he lays her into the capsule and threads his necklace around her limp neck, fastening the clasp with uneasy fingers. He beholds her for a moment, and a single blood-stained tear falls upon her cheek.

Misato stirs awake and turns to him. He is smiling at her gently. But he looks so far away. Blurry. Like he’s entering another world.

“Father?” she whispers. Knowing what happens next, she lifts one of her arms and holds onto the upper edge of the capsule, blocking the shutters.

He looks surprised. “Misato, no…” He wraps his thin, tattered hands around hers. “No. You have to let me do this.”

Here, the pain from her wound doesn’t matter. She springs up and wraps her arms around him. “I won’t let you!” she cries. “You can’t leave me too!”

Tears flow from his gentle long-lashed eyes. He returns her embrace, and says, “This isn’t what I wanted. This was never what I wanted. But now... there’s no other way. You have to let me go.”

“I won’t,” she says, pressing the side of her face against his and digging her fingers into his hair. “You’ll stay with me. You’ll see me grow up. I won’t hate you anymore. And you won’t be afraid of me anymore.” She wipes the tears from his eyes. “See? They’re clear. You won’t die. Not here. Not now.”

It’s true. Suddenly his wounds are gone. He is pristine and beautiful.

“Misato...” he says, at a loss for words.

She feels her body burgeon, freeing itself from the shackles of girlhood. In haste, Misato starts to remove her clothes. Her father’s eyes grow wide. Misato thrusts her face upon his and at last tastes his beautiful mouth. He doesn’t resist. No — he reciprocates. Abruptly overcome with intensity, his lanky frame bears down upon her, and they share a true adult kiss. She places his graceful hands upon her swelling breasts, and with practiced motions he lets himself enjoy them. As his lips wrap around one of her rosy buds, she attempts to hike down her too-tight pants.

“I want you,” she moans. “I’ve always wanted you.”

Her father’s hands run down her new curves and grip her waistband. She’s able to start wiggling out. His breath rasping, his lips seek hers again. Her neck veers to the side as she squirms, and his kiss lands there. And he makes it count.

Too much. It’s too much. “Father...”

He issues a delicate moan as he inhales deeply of her. “Misato... You’ve become so much like her. But you’re also so different. The unique product of the love we once shared.”

“I’m better than her,” Misato says. “I’ve hurt you, Father… I’ve hurt you so badly… But I’ll never hurt you the way she did.”

His gorgeous brown eyes fill with tears of joy.

She wraps her legs around him. “Don’t hide anything anymore. Let me feel you. All of you.”

He pulls back just long enough to pull off his shirt, revealing a boyishly skinny physique. His height and shoulder span indicate he is all man, however. The message comes through even stronger with the next article of clothing he removes. There it is. It’s right there and it’s all for her.

He eases her back into the open capsule, and gently climbs over her. Her hips lift toward him, yawning with desire. His face comes down to hers, and they exchange another impassioned kiss. All the love they had been denying one another floods out. He draws his body down upon hers and then…

And then…

A giant of pure white light hangs over them, its blood-red eyes staring out from its enormous skull, seeing all.

***

After her early morning rituals, Misato beholds herself in the bedroom mirror, as she has countless times before. She looks rundown and ragged. Older than her years. She replaces her father’s necklace around her neck, white cross-shaped pendant hanging from its chain. A symbol of sacrifice and all that is holy. And also a symbol of the demonic beings that ravaged her life.

The cross marks her father’s sacrifice. So too does her scar. As severe as her wound was, it was nothing compared to what he suffered. A hellish sight: shredded alive, the life oozing out of him. A frail yet tender smile on his mostly-intact face was all he had to give her before shutting her out so her eyes couldn’t linger.

Her memories of that day are spotty at best, but she knows he had shielded her from something. And somehow, even after that, he got her to safety. He had been a weak and cowardly person as long as she’d known him — but in the end, he uncovered a strength nobody knew he had. He sacrificed himself for her.

No sooner had he shown her true paternal devotion than he was violently ripped away. She knew what was responsible. She knew what was unleashed that day. Adam and its kind would pay for what they had done.

The 17th Angel, said to be the last, would attack soon. She would see to its destruction. But what then? The First Angel, or at least what was left of it, was crucified in Terminal Dogma. She had seen it with her own eyes. Once it had finished serving its purpose as a lure for the other Angels, what would Nerv do with it? She worries that Commander Ikari and Seele have big plans for it. What, exactly, she can’t begin to imagine. But these past few weeks have rapidly expanded her notions of what’s possible, and thanks to Kaji she’ll continue to get closer to the truth, no matter what it takes.

And then there is the matter of the Evas. They, surely, are the missing Second Angel. It makes too much sense to not be true. Until the First and 17th are destroyed, Misato will need them. But after that, she will make sure that the Evas are destroyed as well. Even if it costs her her life, she will see to it. Only then will her revenge be complete.

Transiently, she thinks about what Ritsuko said about the Evas having people inside them. “Salvaged souls”. What does that mean? Would she be a murderer for ordering their destruction?

It doesn’t matter. There’s no point in thinking about it.

Clasping the cross within her palm, she thinks, ‘Just a little longer, and then you can finally be at peace.’

***

The apartment is empty. Ghostly quiet. She already relocated Pen Pen to the Horaki residence. Asuka is still missing. Shinji has been avoiding her, and she can’t blame him, after what she did. Or tried to do, anyway. He seems to be using his emergency quarters down in the Geofront, only rarely coming back to the house to collect more of his things. They should probably make the move-out official, but that would require facing one another after all that's happened.

Desperate for someone's voice, she goes to the kitchen table, where Kaji’s last message to her lingers. She's heard it countless times already; it never seems to be enough. Her index finger wanders toward the playback button… but she can’t do it. There’s no point in trying to hold onto him any longer. He’s gone, while she’s still here.

Misato tries to imagine him now inside her heart, but, already, he's collapsing back into the man he was always a proxy for. Did she ever actually love Ryoji Kaji? She honestly doesn’t know, and that makes everything so much sadder.

At least, in death, he's no longer cursed to pine after a disgusting person like herself.

Misato deletes the message, setting him free. The counter resets to zero. All returns to nothing.

Only then does she realize that she never did ask Shinji where Kaji’s flower garden was hidden. For the best, really.