The Paintball War of Blue & Red

by Ancient Rime

It was a glorious morning. Asuka awoke in her own bed in Misato's apartment. She stretched and yawned, her hand reaching behind her head to scratch her back. With a lively and energetic step, she hopped out of bed, to find that Misato was also just getting out of bed. She looked like she had been sleep walking, and was hit by a truck in her sleep. Asuka blinked looking at Misato at the intersection between the hallways. She reared back just a little bit, and in her normal loud and awake voice, spoke her mind.

"What the hell happened to you Misato?" Misato yawned and scratched her head as she walked towards the fridge for an ice cold beer. She groaned and answered Asuka.

"Uuugh... Good morning Asuka." She sat down at the dining room table and stared a little blankly, just trying to wake up.

The prolonged silence remained until Misato's beer finally kicked in and her motor began to run. She was in the middle of a yawn when she stopped about half way through to speak. It seemed as thought something had just come to her.

"You know that Shinji found out in that flower field last night right?" Asuka turned a flagrantly red as her own hair. She immediately took the defensive position in order not to make herself seem vulnerable.

"He did WHAT?! That pervert! He better have not taken advantage of me!" Misato quirked a brow at Asuka and tried not to laugh.

"Yea, he found you alone in that field sound asleep." Inwardly, Asuka sighed with relief. At least Shinji had not seen her with Rei like that. There was another drawn out pause while Misato took a sip of her beer.

"Oh, hey... Did you get the papers to Rei?" Ha, Asuka knew she was forgetting something.

"I..." Just as Asuka began her statement, there was a knock at the door.

"They're here already? Huh, now that's odd. I guess the commander was in a bit of a hurry to get this all over and done with." Despite the fact that she was rather scantily clad, she made haste to answer the door. Asuka's eyes got a little winder as her confusion mounted.

"What are you talking about Misato?" Her questions only grew greater as she watched moving men pile into the apartment.

"What the hell is this about Misato?" Misato sighed a heavy regretful sigh.

"I'm afraid that you'll no longer be living with Shinji and I, Asuka. This is your new residence." Misato smiled brightly, making light of a heavy situation as always, and handed Asuka a paper. The address read 'Block 85: Apartment 100.' Asuka's voice rose into an indignant shriek.

"What the heck is this?! This is Wonder Girl's address!" Misato nodded solemnly.

"You right.. that's because that's where you're staying from now on. You better start getting your personal items together. The moving crew will take your furniture." Asuka stormed off into her room to begin the task, and along the way couldn't help screaming with frustration.

"What IDIOT arranged this?!"

The move went fairly smoothly, and two days passed by. Day in and day out, Asuka attempted to hide her feelings towards Rei. She had remained distant and cold, until one day Rei herself had to wonder what the feeling inside of her own heart was. That day happens to stand in the present. The blue-haired girl stood at the corner of a busy intersection, waiting for the "pedestrian crossing" sign to turn green. She stood there in thought, clutching her school bag with both hands. As though she were phasing out of this world and skipping to the next, like tracks on a CD, Rei kept her eyes closed. The strange feeling only continue to irk her.

Her eyes reopened, and she observed the unmindful masses passing about her, as her skirt was swept up in a breeze by a passing vehicle. Rei shook her head and kept walking. The feeling was bound to go away eventually. But what ... was it exactly? Along the way, Rei passed a colorfully painted pet shop window. At first, the only thing that had captured her attention was the pale blue, almost gray picture of a kitten that was painted on the glass playing in a box of yawn. On the box the words "KITTENS FOR SALE" stood out in bright yellow. Rei turned to her right, placing a pale hand upon the cold glass. Her placid eyes focused in on the Plexiglas cage inhabited by five young kittens.

Watching them play, Rei's eyes traveled to one kitten in particular. It had the deepest, brightest red fur; so pure in fact, that it resembled Asuka's hair in every way. The kitten stood up on its hind legs and playfully batted its paws at another white one. All of a sudden, Rei's eyes went a little wider, and her mind skipped to the next track. Her eyes shut gently. Visions of Asuka, Unit 02, Combat, the Angels... Why was her mind reflecting such horrible things back from her memory. She wanted to forget these things! In her mind, she questioned mournfully ... Why do I pilot it? Why?

Her eyes reopened, and looking down at her hands she soon discovered why. Droplets of salty tears tell on her hands, although Rei's face showed little emotion at all. She stared down at her hands for some time, and whispered softly. "Why ... am I... crying? What is ... this feeling?"

Wiping her hands clean on her skirt, her attention went back to the small kitten that had brought about the flash back. It sat in the corner, very much alone, licking its tiny paw. Rei could sense that it was in distress. Although she concealed the ideals of her empathy often, she had more understanding than she ever let on to others. She looked a little bit closer, upon hearing the kitten's whimpers. Staring at the details of its tiny paw, Rei could see a trickle of blood saturating the gray bedding of the pen. It was but a drop, but the kitten had injured its paw. Rei's eyes turned glassy and the tears returned. It hit her all at once, the epiphany was so startling that it forced her to cry. It was Asuka, Rei didn't want to see Asuka get hurt.

Her voice rose to barely a whisper. "This is why I pilot my Eva..."

Rei balled her hands into fists at her sides softly, picked up her bag, and entered the shop with utter sincerity. Her red gaze searched relentlessly for a sales person, until she had located one.

"Excuse me," she said in a voice so soft that the man could hardly hear her. "I want that orange kitten in the window."

The salesman offered Rei a jovial nod and a smile. He told her to stay where she was so that he could go in the back and get the key to the display pen. He returned, opening the cage, and holding the kitten above his head. It meowed irritably, and seemed almost frightened. Rei wanted to yell at the man. The man suddenly frowned.

"What in the heck is wrong with this one?" He examined the kittens body, lifting up its injured paw. He sighed softly setting it back down and looked towards Rei.

"I'm sorry dear, this one seems to be hurt. Would you like to pick another." Rei's eyes were stern and unfaltering.

"No. I want that one." The salesman stared at Rei, somewhat vexed.

"Are you certain." Rei did not nod, or show expression, she just spoke her mind.

"Yes." The salesman offered her the same bright smile as before and handed her the kitten.

"Well, all right." Rei followed the man to the counter and paid for the kitten.

"Wouldn't you like a carrying case to take her home in?" Rei shook her head lightly and was on her merry way.

Rei had tucked the little kitten into her bag, leaving the top open. She ripped off a part of the inside of her skirt to bandage the minor cut on its paw. Upon her arrival at her appartment, she went directly to look for Asuka. It didn't take Rei long to find her. Asuka was sitting in her room on the phone with Hikari. Rei couldn't miss her loud voice. She stood there silently in the doorway with her bag in hand. Asuka barely even noticed her, and if she did, she was ignoring her. She soon hung up with Hikari, only to notice Rei standing in her doorway.

"Why the hell are you standing there Wonder Girl?" she questioned in short, choleric tone. Rei completely froze. How was she to tell her what she felt inside if she herself didn't understand it? The only noise that was made was the sound of her choking on her own confused words. "I..." No sooner than she had spoken that one single word did the kitten's head pop out of her school bag. It meowed sweetly, and looked up at Asuka.

Asuka's false world, her fake "self" crumbled before Rei as her expression became kind. Her voice was aloft and compassionate for the first time in two days. Rei walked towards Asuka, and reached inside of her bag, She scooped the kitten up in her arms and handed it to Asuka. She accepted it, holding it close to her body, and looked up at Rei. Setting the kitten down, Asuka pulled Rei's arm hard enough for her to be forced to sit on the bed. Her arms softly wrapped around Rei as she pulled her cheek against her own. Asuka closed her eyes, gently stroking Rei's hair and applying a soft kiss to her cheek. She whispered softly, "Thank you... Wonder Girl..." The two remained that way deep into the evening and throughout the night.

The night was later sent into hiding by the morning sun peeking over the horizon. Asuka woke up alone, Rei's spot was totally empty and the kitten was sleeping in the shallow area where her body once was. Asuka's blue gaze searched the room. Her attention was soon drawn to the sound of clothing being moved in the room across from her. Slipping to her feet, Asuka went to go and see what was going on. She stood in the door frame, and saw Rei packing up a small duffel bag. She spoke in a groggy voice, as she was not totally awake yet. "What are you doing Rei?" Rei remained silent until she was finished packing her things.

"Today is this month's synchronization test." Asuka jumped to attention and ran into her room.

"CRAP!" The sound of drawers opening could be heard as she searched for her plug suit. She shoved it into a bright red bag and zipped it up quickly, attempting to dress herself in the process. When she had completed this said task, she stumbled into Rei's room, only to find that she had left without her some time ago. Asuka didn't have the luxury of time to let it upset her though. She dashed down the hall at full sprint, and headed towards Central Dogma, NERV Head Quarters.

Upon her arrival, Dr. Akagi blocked Asuka's path. The doctor seemed fairly annoyed, but no less professional than usual.

"Hmph... You're late, Asuka Langley Soryu." Asuka came to her own defense.

"Hey, it's not my fault they make head quarters so confusing!" Ritsuko chuckled.

"Get to the changing room, there is much to be accomplished today." Asuka sighed, mumbled some German term of discontentment beneath her breath, and stalked off to the locker room. She saw Ayanami there, but virtually ignored her. She instead proceeded to get undressed, and pull out her plug suit. She slipped it on, staring at how distasteful it looked before she clicked the wrists. She smiled with satisfaction when it conformed to her body. Both girls silently exited the locker room and met Shinji in the test area waiting room. As the high pitched buzz went off, the both made their way out on to the support docks, and met Dr. Akagi.

Ritsuko's arms folded securely about the clip board in her arms. She took one step forward and stared at the three children.

"Today's test will be crucial. I ask that you all treat it that way. For the first phase of the test, operations will follow the norm. Upon my orders, relayed to you from Commander Ikari, you will disengage and begin phase two."

Shinji shifted to uncomfortably look at his father standing in the window above the test area behind bullet proof glass. His gaze and thought process was only interrupted by Ritsuko's voice. "Are there any further questions?" She stood there a moment to see if there were any. With the lack of a reply, she ordered them to enter the entry plugs as she entered the observatory area.

The test began, and all went well. The sync rations were the usual. In no time at all Ritsuko's voice came in loud and clear over the intercom.

"That'll do. Begin for test two. Asuka, you will switch with Rei and standby in Unit 00. Do not attempt to sync with it. " Asuka's voice came over the speaker, outraged completely.

"That's got to be a joke! There's no way I'm letting her near my Eva. Over my dead body!! I'd rather DIE than let that wind-up doll near my Eva!" Ritsuko's voice came over the speaker again, this time with more force.

"You will do it. And you will do it now. That is an order!" Asuka resumed to brutally struggle, until a shock was sent from the back of the entry plug seat to her heart. She fell into a limp state of chock and was silenced. Shinji gasped in horror. He knew they wouldn't have killed Asuka, but it was measure of his father's resolve that disturbed him. The entry plugs were manually switched. Rei found herself inside of Unit 02.

"Rei, what's your status?" questioned the doctor's voice over the speaker.

"All systems are cleared. Condition green." No sooner than she had finished her comment did the entry plug refill with oxygenating LCL. Rei swallowed whole gulps until her lungs were filled. The test seemed to go by smoothly. Unit 02... It felt so safe and warm. Was this what Asuka was like on the inside? In this gentle cradle, the womb of all of Asuka's thoughts, Rei felt so at home. Was it because she had come to know so much more about Asuka's heart in having lived with her? Ritsuko stared at the monitor in front of Maya. She gawked at it in awe.

"Incredible... " Misato walked to her from the other side of the room.

"What is it Ritsuko?" Ritsuko pointed to the screen, and ran her finger along the circuits until her finger landed on the last one to be turned green. The doctor spoke in a perplexed voice.

"Her ratio with Unit 02 is two times higher than Asukaís." The screen reflected in Misato's eyes as she stared at it.

"What is your explanation, doctor?" Commander Ikari shifted in his chair, taking prime interest in this new turn of events. Before Ritsuko could answer, he interjected.

"This is excellent. This data will be suffice to configure the Dummy Plug for Unit 02 through Rei." Commander Ikari stood before the window, observing the progress. A firm smile formed over his face as he observed the progress with Rei. This wonderful progress, this was what the Commander had created Rei for.

He was just about to turn to speak to Dr. Akagi, when the emergency phone rang. The Commander of Operations, Major Misato Katsuragi picked up the phone, Makato's panic stricken voice was coming over the other end.

"Major! We've spotted a large energy mass moving wet due north west. It's heading right for head quarters! According to the read out it's gotta be an Angel!!" Misato, as always was adamant and in control as always. She turned to Ritsuko and Maya.

"There's an Angel on attack. Put out a code red warning." She turned briefly to the Commander for her approval. He stood there like a statue as usual, which normally meant that he approved of her course of actions. Dr. Akagi was the next to speak.

"Prepare Evangelion Unit 01 for launch and alert the pilot!" Commander Ikari stood up.

"Cancel that order. Units 01,02 and the Prototype will engage." Ritsuko stood back, her eyes were wide.

"But Commander! Asuka is in a state of cardiac arrest and Rei has no experience piloting Unit 02. That's insane! We don't even know if Asuka can even pilot the Prototype!" Commander Ikari was unmoved, and did not waver.

"That is irrelevant. Resuscitate the original pilot of Unit 02, and send her into combat with Rei and Shinji. Rei's sync ratio with Unit 02 is more than high enough. We have no time to switch." Misato only gave a pleading glance at Commander Ikari. She knew he wouldn't budge and he didn't. The orders went about as the Commander willed them.

Shinji and Rei were both silent inside of the Eva's. Rei's eyes were shut, though it felt as though they were open. She could see the image of a woman there who looked a lot like Asuka, but had shorter hair. Who was this woman? She looked closer, and observed a small child. She looked exactly like a smaller version of Asuka. Was this Asuka as a child? Rei watched the image closely. What was it trying to tell her? What was happening. The small child remained at the bedside of the woman who Rei presumed to be what people called a "mother." The scene was brutally interrupted by the child running away.

"Asuka... is this your existence? Is this Soryu's soul?" Rei spoke quietly in the corner of her mind. What was this strange warm feeling that she was feeling so profoundly, so strongly now? Could it be sympathy? Rei closed her eyes, and reopened them to see a doll with its head ripped off on the floor. She gasped. The image of the doll flashed rapidly with the images of Asuka as a small, crying child. What in the hell was going on?

Despite the fact that Asuka was less than conscience, her mind was perfectly active. Her heart was the only thing that had stopped. The chemical reaction in her brain had never ceased. This is believed to be what allows people to have near death experiences. This is the light that we see at the other end of the tunnel, and that was what Asuka was seeing as we speak. Ayanami was there, Rei. She stood in what seemed to be hospital clothes. It was as if all things were in third person. She could see herself on the floor before Rei. There was nothing for miles except them, and an endless sea in which it seemed that neither one could sink. Rei spoke in a very placid tone to Asuka.

"What do you fear?" Asuka, who normally would have been repulsed by the question answered her with sincere honesty.

"You. I am afraid of you. I don't want you to know me. I hate you! Stop trying to see what a disgusting soul I have! Can't you let me be happy with my fake world?! You took my Eva... Do you need to take my world from me too?!!" Asuka began to cry, as she held herself softly. Rei's voice spoke again regardless.

"What if I choose to defend you with it?" Rei's image became confused with images of Asuka's mother. Those deep blue eyes went wide. The devastation and confusion could seep deep with them as the pupils restricted. Asuka stood up on her own two feet.

"You don't NEED to defend me! I'll FIGHT even if it's not with my Eva! I'll fight until I'm killed! I won't dishonor my mother!!"

Rei's concentration along with Shinji's was broken by the soft sound that was reaching her ears now. It grew louder, and louder, as though it were coming closer, and then it finally reached a point of arrival. "Rei! Shinji! Were under attack." It was Dr. Akagi's voice. "An angel is on the move. Prepare to intercept. You will be launched into combat in 30 seconds.." Shinji violently broke from his meditation. "What? Now?!" Dr. Akagi affirmed his fears. "Yes. Now! Get ready to be launched."

A mild shock of electricity was sent through Asuka's back, and her heart began to beat again, she awoke screaming, and distressed. She didn't remember much of what had happened in the visions at all, but she was left with a feeling that she could not describe so she called it determination. The Eva's made it above ground, only to see the angel looming about as if nothing at all were wrong. It was walking carefully around buildings, as if it were looking for something. Ritsuko's voice came over. "You are to take out this angels arms first, and then go for the core." There were no further orders from the command center.

Asuka took charge as usual. Her Eva stepped in front of the other two Units. "Now listen both of you. Rei, you take out the left arm. I'll take out the right arm as soon as you take the initiative to attack. Shinji, you'll stand by and take out the core when I tell you to. Got that?" There was a dismal agreement. No one liked listening to Asuka bark out orders, but one had to admit that this was what she was best at; she had proven it time and time again. As they broke into formation, Asuka sat up in the cockpit of Unit 00. Nothing was going to bring her down. Not even the fact that Rei was piloting her Unit 02. Shinji himself was simply shocked that Asuka didn't literally kill Rei and blow up head quarters because Rei was in her Eva. There was something different in Asuka right now. Those blue eyes were no longer playful, but they had grown forbidding. She watched the other two from afar, and spoke in a disturbingly strong voice. "Let's go , Asuka."

Rei in Unit 02 stalked as quietly as possible behind buildings. They couldn't let the Angel know that they were there just yet. She was hidden behind a large building. where she observed the Angel closely before she even considered going in for an attack. Finally, she felt that the position was clear. Rei ran into the scene, and headed at the Angel at full speed with her cutter knife, which had been charging the while and glowed with radiant energy. The angle turned its head and faced the oncoming Unit 02. It growled with surprise, but stood exactly where it was, as if it didn't care whether or not it died. Rei met head on with the left arm, and as she got closer, she notice the large growth on it. As she made close enough contact, Rei was repelled, Unit 02 sent flying through buildings.

The control center was in total disarray. No one had ever seen anything like this before. This wasn't an AT field. It was simply an extremely strong field of positive energy. Ritsuko watched the combat monitor in disbelief. Makoto swung over to another keyboard to look over the read out on the data from what seemed to be the Angel's "defense" tactics.

"Dr, Akagi! All of these read outs insist that the force wasn't the Angel's AT field at all. It looks like it's no more than a very strong positive field, certainly not something that our science has never seen before."

"This is impossible. That cutter knife was designed to stand a one time use against an Angel's AT field. How can something as simple as a positive field of energy possibly cause something like this?!"

Asuka, seeing Rei's failure, went for the opposite arm. She charged headlong at the right arm with a fast and furious conviction that she was correct in her actions. All so suddenly, she lost all control over Unit 00. She pulled frantically on the controls but nothing would work. Her scared and staggering voice came over the speaker as she was pulled towards the Angel and could not stop. The Angel connected arms, enclosing Unit 00. The growth on its right arm seemed to open up. As the Angel gripped the Eva tightly, the growth began to glow a deep violet color, until it eventually shot positively charged energy at Unit 00.

"HELP ME! Misato!!! Itís killing me!" Ritsuko looked to Makato.

"Switch to the recorder inside of Unit 00!" Asuka could be seen, in incredible pain and screaming. Misato went pale, and her eyes became wide.

"Ritsuko you have to do something! get them out of there!!" Ritsuko stood back in horror. "I can't. Shinji is our last hope. We've lost all initial contact with Unit 02, and Asuka is actually stuck to that thing!"

Asuka's screaming continued as she was shot time after time. "Please! Misat-" She was cut off, the tape grew fuzzy and there was nothing on the screen but static. Ritsuko stepped closer to the screen and observed it, thinking as quickly as possible. Misato pressed against the glass of the observation window. Ritsuko's eyes strained as she grunted in confusion. She looked between the static, Misato, and the Angel's arms. It seemed more like a shaft had been shoved through the Angel. It didn't look like it had arms. That pole was made of a pliable substance. The Evaís had been drawn and repelled from both arms, complete opposites, like a... MAGNET!

Ritsuko turned to Maya. "Can we make contact with Unit 02?" Maya was probably just as panicked as Misato, but she tried to stay calm anyway.

"Yea... if we use up 90% of the Eva's internal energy to restore all contacts in the system. Ritsuko hardly gave it a second thought as she replied in a strong tone, "Do it."

Maya turned to Ritsuko, doubt showed in her eyes. "But Ma'am! If we do that, Unit 02 will only have 60 seconds of operating time, even if it's hooked up to the cable."

Ritsuko's eyes became dark and demanding. "Follow my orders." Maya did as she was told, and was ready for Ritsuko's next command. "Put me in contact with Unit 02 then 01." In no time, she was connected to Unit 02. "Rei. Listen to me. Attack the left arm. Once you do that, Unit 00 should fall. Shinji is going to give you a second knife. I want you to cut off the right arm with it." Rei quietly agreed. Ritsuko was then patched quickly into Shinji. "Shinji!" Before Shinji could really react, the knife was delivered to the surface. "You are to deliver that to Rei after she severs the left arm. After she eliminates the right, go straight for the core by taking Asuka's knife." Shinji nodded with enthusiasm. "I've got it!"

While Ritsuko was speaking to him, Rei had already begun to carry out the orders. Unit 01 charged in right behind Rei. Unit 02 rose its cutter knife above its head and lunged at the Angel's right arm. The arm went falling to the ground with a loud thud as the angel's purple body fluid covered whole buildings. Shinji threw Rei the other knife. He had to agree that it had a completely different feel from the regular cutter knife that all the Eva's had. He slid to the right to catch Unit 00, and take its cutter knife. Shinji stepped out of the scene so that Rei could go for the left arm. The new knife went through the angel's left arm like a knife through butter. Shinji stared in complete shock. He had never seen anything like this in his life. He soon heard Rei's voce over the speaker. "Now Ikari!" Unit 01 moved into position as she spoke "Right!" Shinji placed Unit 00 down and charged with the knife he had taken from it. He penetrated the core, and the angel was soon destroyed.

Papers flew up in the air, and there was much rejoicing at headquarters. Ritsuko slumped against a counter top, holding her head with relief. Everyone was so sure that there was no way that the Eva's could possibly fight this battle and win, but they had. The main concern now was for the original pilot of Unit 02, Asuka Langley Soryu. The other two had been sent back home to get some rest the trauma of having to fight an angel like that had undoubtedly taken a toll on both Shinji and Rei. Asuka was found in little time at all. Misato and Dr. Akagi oversaw the rescue operation.

Misato stood beside Ritsuko staring at the wreckage. As always, Ritsuko let out a disappointed sigh. She was never satisfied with her work, there was no such thing as "minimal damage" in her eyes.

"It's going to take a while to clean this disaster up. Thank God the injury to the pilot wasn't too severe." Misato couldn't help but feel as though she herself was lying in the stretcher next to Asuka who was now being wheeled out of the scene; she felt so incredibly responsible for it all. Misato almost didn't have the strength to face Ritsuko who had saved the day yet again.

"How'd you know how to defeat it?" she asked, not even looking at her. Ritsuko chuckled and pushed her glasses up.

"The explanation is actually very basic. The Angel's arms acted a magnet; one end was positive, the other was negative. The cutter knives all have positive charges, as only positive charges can give off destructive radiant energy. That's why Rei was repelled when she went to attack the left arm. It was positive and so was the knife. They act as shields to any type of destructive action. When the Angel had Unit 00, the arms connected, completing a circuit. The Angel's internal energy went through this circuit through the growth in its arm and shot Asuka was the positively charged energy."

It's a universal concept that all hospitals look and feel exactly the same no matter where in the world your journeys happen to take you. Had Asuka been awake to feel the insipid constant droning of the lights pulse through her brain, or hear that faucet drop every five seconds, she would have certainly gone mad and torn past the various bandages and IV tubing blocking her path. Those deep blue eyes were shut, and she was silent. Most of the world thought they would be glad and relieved to see Asuka so silent, but there was an intense remorse felt all over head quarters. The environment was stagnant with out the flame of Asuka's passion, and those around her were beginning to long for that.

Rei sat in the window seat beside Asuka's hospital bed. She had sat there for several days, refusing to partake in any training. When questioned as to why she would not leave her place, she simply would not answer any questions. She sat there silently, listening to the birds chirp, and watching a single drop of fluid drip into the IV and travel through the tubes at a time. In staring at Asuka's lifeless body, thoughts ran through Rei's mind.

The passage of time, so slow. She is here, and so am I. "I" ... it's such a strange and fickle name for that which is me. Who am I? Who is she? What is this which I feel? Compassion... Is this what a heart feels like? The heart, red like the blood that flows through it. I cannot hate that color any longer, because it is a part of me, as I am a part of it, as it is a part of mankind. Humans... What are humans? Are they creations of God? Do humans exist because they were created by their own minds? Who am I...?

The question to end it all seemed to linger eternally in the corner of her mind, echoing across time and space. For the first time in an entire day and a half, Rei stood up on her feet. That was just it. This is why she felt such compassion towards Asuka that she could not explain. She was trying to find out exactly who she was. She had a quest now, one that she would not abandon, and the only purpose that she could find in her life. She wanted to know who she was, and that she would accomplish. Rei stepped forward towards Asuka. Those deep amber eyes stared down at her, and she smiled, so lovingly soft that it could have been felt in Asuka's dearest dreams. She leaned over and kissed the cheek that had not the red blush of vitality of its former self. Rei turned her back quietly, to Asuka and began her quest for the truth along a narrow and frightening path. Careless curiosity, such is the only path to truth.