Fanfic: Walking in the Shadow of Dreams
The Angels are gone. Now What?By Gregg Landsman, the author of Nobody Dies, Walking in the Shadow of Dreams once again takes Neon Genesis Evangelion and tweaks one or two things to make an interesting What If?. Using a snippet by the creator of The Second Try as a launching point, Landsman takes us to a world where Third Impact was rejected in a stunning but well-written fashion, and we open with a Shinji and Gendo that actually have some common ground sparring as a lead-in to Gendo offering Shinji a job as NERV's Chief Inspector. His first assignment — go fetch the new head of Project E.Gendo being Gendo, even now, he neglects to tell his son the recruit is a certain red-head...and that their new head scientist is bringing her daughter...As with a certain other fic linked above, Landsman uses NGE as a lens to explore family, dysfunction, and coping...but uses a Lighter and Softer touch than canon to do it. Still, one gets the impression from word one that this is a world where you must Earn Your Happy Ending.It's also the fic that solidified Landsman's characterization of Lilith, and by extension Rei, as having an insatiable drive to procreate.note Although it only has sixteen chapters, they are worth the read. Landsman has also posted a rewrite of this fic, which moves more slowly, expands the plot, and has incorporated Mari Makinami and other characters which weren't in the original. The Spacebattles.com forum thread about the rewrite is here.
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- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Following the Second Angel War, monsters named Kaiju started showing up. Theories about why go from being attracted to Ramiel's corpse to divine punishment for the fact that Commander Ikari remarried. Entirely understandable.
- Artificial Human:
- In the original fic Ariel was found in a subsection of the NERV-germany branch which was filled with unfinished dummy-plugs that were genetically based half on Asuka. Because she's biologically her daughter, Asuka decided to take her in and raise her as such.
- In the rewrite, But I Can't Be Pregnant! / Surprise Pregnancy: Asuka actually gave birth to Ariel, but she has no idea how it happened. Apparently, she woke up one morning and found herself magically pregnant. For obvious reasons she suspects that NERV or AT Field tomfoolery had something to do with it, but because Ariel turned out to be a normal kid, she decided to raise her.
- The Atoner: Gendo is making a genuine effort to be this — although Gendo being Gendo, his chosen avenues tend to be complex and questionable in nature.
- Yui—and later Kyoko—also count.
- In the rewrite, Asuka's father, Director Langley, is also trying to be this. He's having mixed success.
- Badass Boast: Rei: I am Adam. I am Lilith. And you are screwed."
- Break the Cutie: In hindsight, it probably wasn't the best idea to let Shinji guest lecture about his experiences as an Eva pilot. It's quite an accomplishment to make an entire room of trained pilots break into tears.
- Break the Haughty: Kyoko Zeppelin Langley. She refused even consider she did anything wrong and shoulder her part of responsibility by her daughter's mental scarring. And she went on doing it until she got attacked by Arael. In that moment all of her self-deceiving vanished and she crumbled down.
- Broken Bird: Asuka. Hoo boy, where to start. The events of Instrumentality ripped her pride to shreds and left her an absolute wreck. While the rest of the cast began to pick up and move on with their lives, her bitterness, resentment, and sense of self worth steadily grew worse and worse, culminating in a violent meltdown 4 years later (see Freak Out). She fled back to Germany after the breakdown and spent the next few years rebuilding her life and recovering from her ordeals. She's mellowed out considerably since then, but is still rather bitter towards her old life, and convinced that everyone she knew back in Tokyo-3 hates her guts and/or sees her as a pitiful wreck of a human being.
- Brother-Sister Incest: The Lilith part of Rei really wants Shinji to make her some babies.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Asuka has absolutely no endurance. Sometimes she wonders why a German woman has gone through college twice is such a light-weight.
- The Chessmaster: Of course, Gendo is the most obvious example, but Shinji is becoming another. A humorous example was his developing a plan to score with Prof. Soryu. It was a good plan.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Touji at the beginning of chapter 6 in the rewrite. Why? Because he's been left to deal with a really weird situation involving younger versions of Shinji and Asuka who have just appeared in Tokyo-3 while the rest of the cast have all decided to take unannounced trips to Berlin.
- Cool Big Sis: Misato was a blend of this and Parental Substitute to Shinji in the original series. In the rewrite, her mother got married to Gendo, so she now IS Shinji's stepsister and treats him accordingly (or not accordingly, keeping in mind how her blood sister would want to be treating him).
- Cool Down Hug: After twelve years Shinji at least has managed to master the technique. He effectively uses it several times with Asuka and in the rewrite it got him laid with Hikari, but that is another history.
- Covert Pervert: Asuka. As soon as she hooked up with Shinji, she tossed the "covert" part out of the window.
- The changes in Instrumentality that form the backstory of Walking are a result of the butterfly effect of the interactions of the canon NGE cast with the characters from Nobody Dies that were dropped there by that fic's version of Leliel.
- In the rewrite, younger versions of Asuka and Shinji from the end of End of Evangelion have wound up in this universe alongside their older counterparts, likely for the same reasons.
- Death Equals Redemption: It took being Mind Raped by Arael for Kyoko finally stopping to blame everybody but her and admitting all her faults and wrongs (including her part on her daughter's mental scarring). Asuka finally forgave her and introduced her to Ariel, something she had previously refused to do before she left for the afterlife.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: After Third Impact Asuka was a mess. After a while she freaked out and left. After meeting her again, she and Shinji got closer and he managed to go past her barriers to keep everyone away and they got together.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Since Rei is now the sum of Adam and Lilith merged with her, Asuka did just that during their Cat Fight. It is not known if it will happen again in the rewrite, though.
- Disappeared Dad: Asuka raised Ariel by herself and refuses to explain who the father is. This is because she doesn't know either.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Asuka uses to do this when she is depressed -which happens a lot-. Usually she drinks heavily and then she latches onto Shinji for comfort and reassurance.
- Everyone Can See It: During a conversation, Shinji says nobody back in high school would have seen Asuka and him getting together. Touji replies EVERYONE saw it but the two of them.
- Everyone Went to School Together:
- Shinji, Toji, and Hikari not only shared the same classroom, they attended the same college.
- In the rewrite, Touji went to a college in Kyoto rather than the one in Tokyo-3 that Shinji and Hikari attended.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: Asuka seems to think so. In the rewrite, when Shinji told her Misato had brought Pen Pen with her, Asuka asked if he also attended the reunion.
- Fiery Redhead: Even though she is calmer than before, Asuka still keeps her fiery temper.
- First Episode Spoiler: Asuka has a five-year old daughter named Ariel.
- For Want of a Nail: See Crossover above.
- Freak Out: Asuka had a massive meltdown about 8 years prior to the start of the story, which destroyed Misato's living room and put Shinji in the ICU; She fled to Germany the same night. The reason for her fit? Shinji asked to take her on a date. It was an ugly mess to be sure; lots of bridges were burnt, her relationship with Misato was destroyed, and Rei developed a pretty serious grudge against her because of it. Shinji forgave her however.
- Friend to All Children: Shinji is surprisingly good with children. He frequently babysits for Toji and Hikari, and to their kids he's known as "Uncle Shinji". He also knows magic tricks!
- Parental Substitute: He also becomes the official "Daddy" to Asuka's daughter Ariel.
- Guile Hero: Even more so than Nobody Dies, Gendo. Shinji has come to think that complex plans are just the way his dad works.
- Go Into the Light: Kyoko, at the sixteenth chapter of the first version, after earning her daughter's forgivenness.
- Go Through Me: In the rewrite, to reassure Asuka's fears about the possibility of the Commander screwing up with her and her daughter much like NERV and SEELE screwed up with Kyoko and Asuka herself, Misato swears to Asuka that the Commander would have to go through her. It was a very heart-warming moment, especially given how Misato felt about Asuka early on the fic.
- Heroes Want Redheads: It IS a Shinji/Asuka fic. Shinji bluntly states he had been waiting twelve years to fulfill his Asuka-related fantasies, and Gendo explained to Asuka all relationships his son had been on since college had failed because he kept comparing his girlfriends with Asuka and finding them wanting.
- Jerkass Fašade: In one scene Shinji reflects how Asuka no longer looks like the girl who put him into a coma eight years ago. Then he remembers what he was said about her past and about all psychological issues and deep trauma they knew she had but did nothing about, and reflects that girl was never real.
- Karma Houdini: Do you remember the Third Impact? Gendo does not seem to have faced legal consequences for abetting to commit global genocide (although technically everybody were restored. But still...). Moreover, he still is supreme commander of NERV, and since all SEELE members are dead, he can now make anything he wants without them interfering or hindering him.
- Greg's addressing this in the rewrite. Gendo's the head of NERV-1 which technically makes him the supreme commander of NERV as a whole. However, there are 7 other NERV branches around the world which operate more or less independently of each other in sort of a checks-and-balance system...in theory, at least. Gendo is still Gendo. And as to why he's still the head of of NERV-1? He was apparently reinstated due to the Second Angel war, and as Greg explains:"If Gendo is in charge of NERV-1, you know exactly where he is, all the time. If you can see Gendo, he can see you. If you can't see Gendo, you may be seconds away from Instrumentality."
- Greg's addressing this in the rewrite. Gendo's the head of NERV-1 which technically makes him the supreme commander of NERV as a whole. However, there are 7 other NERV branches around the world which operate more or less independently of each other in sort of a checks-and-balance system...in theory, at least. Gendo is still Gendo. And as to why he's still the head of of NERV-1? He was apparently reinstated due to the Second Angel war, and as Greg explains:
- Love Confession: In chapter 5 Asuka comes home drunk. She lunges at Shinji and kisses her. When he tries to stop her because he think they should not do this as she is plastered, Asuka cries out nobody wants her. Shinji tells he does.
- Love Dodecahedron:
- In the original, Gendo revealed to Shinji that he and and Kyoko dated for a while before he met Yui and she returned to Germany and met Asuka's father.
- In Chapter 6 of the rewrite, a very drunk Hikari tries to put the moves on Shinji. This leads to the reveal that while they were in college, Hikari sought out Shinji for comfort after a break-up with Toji, and it turned into a torrid one night stand. As a result, it's a distinct possibility that Hikari's oldest child is Shinji's and not Toji's. Gregg's not saying one way or the other.
- Love Interest: Shinji and Asuka are this to each other's.
- Mad Scientist: Yui Ikari. She was on board with SEELE's "Let's liquefy the whole humankind and merge their souls into a single, divine being" plan the whole time. After the aborted Third Impact, Gendo and Shinji acknowledge she was not quite sane. However she eventually admitted this and felt genuinely remorseful.
- Mama Bear/ Papa Wolf:
- Do NOT threaten anyone the Ikaris consider family. This trait, in fact, is why Third Impact didn't go off as it did in canon. Seeing his wife as the manipulator she is in this verse, Gendo gets around his idealized image of her somewhat — to the point he has his metaphysical fingers at her throat and is ROARING, "God damn you, get away from MY SON!"
- According to Greg this is the reason behind Asuka's initial hostility towards Shinji; she fears that geting involved with NERV again will destroy her daughter's life (as it did to her.).
- Word Of God also tells that "If anyone ever tried to put Ari in an Eva, that person would find that Yui was quite restrained in protecting her child compared to Asuka."
- And then there's Rei, who, besides trying for a family of her own, has taken a shine to Asuka's daughter Ariel."I am Auntie Rei," Rei Ayanami says, "And we must discuss your actions towards my niece."
- Two hours of quality time follows.
- Gendo lampshades it, blatantly stating it is embarrassing when he can be considered the best parent in the room.
- And even though Yui or Kyoko are disappointed with their offspring not following their wishes, they still can be scary when someone is threatening them:Yui (to Kyoko): "Get away from my son."
- Misato's mother also can count in the rewrite. Misato told Shinji if Gendo ever slightly pisses her off, her mother will geld him with her bare hands.
- In the rewrite, Pieter Langley is trying to make up for being a terrible father, and he has become a Papa Wolf in the process. He has gotten into a screaming match with Misato, punched Shinji and told Hikari off so far.
- Me's a Crowd: Apparently, instead of being dissolved by Ritsuko, the Dummy Plug Cores escaped into Tokyo-3 and dispersed; each with an uploaded copy of Terrifying!Rei's personality. One is Gendo's secretary, a few work in the Geofront, at least one is a neighbor to Shinji, one has a movie career in Europe. and at least four went to college with Shinji and Rei. These are just the ones that Greg has listed off; there are about three dozen of them out there. Oh, and only Gendo, Ritsuko, and Rei know about this.
- Mind Rape: Asuka survived one in the original series... and then she met Arael again. Unfortunately she was able to resist it this time. However her mother also was attacked by Arael.
- Arael also gets his metaphorical hands on another character: Gendo, who's raked over the coals so viciously that the first thing he does afterward is to stumble back to his office, take a revolver out of his desk drawer, and start playing Russian roulette with it. Rei telekinetically blows the gun out of his hand before he can shoot himself.
- Mythology Gag: After his marathon sexual encounter with Rei, Kensuke asks for "orange juice and an IV drip". Kaji used the same line in a similar context in Nobody Dies.
- Noodle Incident: In the rewrite, Shinji tells Asuka his father got married again. He says he and Rei got him on the dating circuit and mentions it was somewhat awkward, but he does not provide more—or juicier—details.
- He also frequently alludes to Rei's "Adventures" during college.
- Only Sane Man:
- Shinji has a tendency to be this.
- Touji also has his moments, specially in the rewrite.
- Other Me Annoys Me: In the rewrite alternate, younger versions of Shinji and Asuka (from after the events of the End of Evangelion) have wound up in this universe alongside their older counterparts (see Crossover above). While they have yet to meet, some sample material the author has written has shown that Younger and Older Asuka are prone to bickering like a mother with her teenage daughter. The two Shinjis seem to get along pretty well, but the author has implied that they will have a little of this as well.
- Reformed, but Rejected: Asuka has to deal with this in the rewrite. She's cleaned up her act since her rather spectacular meltdown 8 years prior, but the majority of the cast (sans Shinji) don't believe she has changed, particularly Rei who makes it abundantly clear that she detests Asuka.
- Robeast: The Angels and the Kaiju. The later ones are easier to deal with since they have no deflector shield.
- Running Gag: Along with WHUMPA and BABIES, there's Asuka punching Shinji just about every time they meet, and Shinji flagrantly abusing his unlimited expense account.
- Sadistic Choice: In episode 7 of the first iteration, it gets revealed Ariel is half-angel. It looks like they will be forced to kill her—something Asuka understandably is NOT in favor of, when Gendo orders to subdue her and retrieve her without harm.
- Scars Are Forever:
- Asuka again, and once again Shinji finds her scars attractive.
- Interestingly rather than actual scar tissue, she seems more to have had the wounds heal but take on the appearance similar to Rei's. Her destroyed eye is now red, and her many stab wounds were replaced with patches of albino colored skin.
- Shinji has a scar on his chest from when the Lance entered Unit 01's core during Instrumentality.
- Asuka again, and once again Shinji finds her scars attractive.
- Shipper on Deck: Gendo. It's scary how easily he can manipulate events to get his son and Asuka back together despite of all what had happened in the series and in the next years. Then he reveals long before meeting Yui he had promised Kyoko he would make things worked for his and her children, but he had forgotten. Makes you wondering what might have happened if only he would have remembered about it during the series...
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Both Rei and Gendo seem to enjoy popping up out of nowhere, much to Shinji's annoyance.
- Take That: In the first iteration of the fic, to the first American Godzilla film. Identifying the Monster of the Week as an expy of said version of Godzilla, they didn't even bother to send up an EVA. Instead, they had it shot with the positron cannon mid-roar.
- The Teetotaler: Shinji does not drink. Blame Rei for this.
- Averted in the Rewrite.
- That Didn't Happen:
- Subverted in the rewrite. Shinji and Hikari both agreed (the next day) that their one night stand was a mistake, and Hikari and Toji got back together soon after and are happily married in the fic's present day. However, neither really regrets that it happened, Hikari basically throws herself at Shinji in ch. 6 when she's drunk, and Shinji has to make an effort to control himself enough to resist her.
- Shinji and Misato do not talk about the kiss she gave him before TI. Not ever.
- There Are No Therapists: Averted (surprisingly enough). Word Of God states that all the EVA pilots received therapy after the events of the Third Impact. It helped Shinji; Asuka, not so much.
- This Is Wrong on So Many Levels: Asuka says this word for word when Ariel is getting her first chess lesson... from Gendo. Shinji wholeheartedly agrees.
- Title Drop: In chapter 9.
- Tsundere: After returning to Germany Asuka eventually got her act together and her temper under control (well, after a fashion). The first time saw Shinji she punched him. The second time she wanted to sleep with him.
- Unfazed Everyman: Shinji. He's aware that he has very little control over events in his life and has learned to simply roll with the punch. He actually seems to revel in the chaos at times.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Shinji and Asuka for twelve years until they finally "resolved" it (in the original version Asuka gets drunk and tries to sleep with Shinji barely one day after meeting him again—and punching him).
- Workaholic: Gendo. He works hours and hours nonstop. NERV staff rumored in reality he is a vampire that feeds on coffee. In the rewrite, Misato had to blackmail him with calling his wife if he did not leave the premises and go home.