*         *         *

         Tamahome was taking a beating.
         Even when he was fighting by himself, Nakago proved to be nearly invincible. With the other Seiryuu Seishi killed, he alone was left. But being one mere man with heightened psychokinetic powers didn't really stop him from wiping Tamahome across the block. The other Suzaku Seishi could only watch as Tamahome repeatedly engaged Nakago--only to be punched, kicked or launched across the street.
         Chichiri jammed the base of his shakujyo into the ground. "Miaka," he said. "Hold onto this, no da. You need to focus all of our chi into Tamahome. Without the extra power, Nakago will kill him!"
         Miaka nodded, gripping the staff.
         It was the only way they could save Tamahome--and themselves, along with Tokyo and the universe of the four gods.
         With a shout, Nakago unleashed another burst of his chi. The energy exploded from his open palms, slamming into Tamahome and sending the Suzaku Seishi crashing into what was left of a devastated department store.
         Nakago's blue eyes narrowed, and the kanji upon his forehead glowed. "Shin'ne," he hissed.
         Seconds later the entire building imploded, smoke and dust spilling out from the structure as it mercilessly collapsed upon Tamahome.
         Yet not entirely.
         Nakago stepped back in surprise when a part of the falling building was abruptly held at bay.
         "Tamahome!" Miaka screamed.
         Beneath the slab of cement, Tamahome was holding the debris up over his head. "Nuriko," he whispered to himself. "I can feel you. Your power...it saved me." The kanji of the other Suzaku Seishi began to appear on his body. "Hotohori-sama's kindness...this is Chichiri's. I understand; I won't lose my focus."
         From where they stood behind Miaka, eyes closed as they sent their chi into Tamahome, the other Seishi continued to back Tamahome's power.
         "Chiriko's wisdom, Tasuki's courage." Tamahome felt the warmth of another symbol on his palm. And with it came the healing powers of Mitsukake. "Mitsukake...arigato."
         He clenched his hand into a fist, the combined energy of the seven Suzaku Seishi now manifested inside him. His hair was standing on end, gone from a dark blue to a shimmering grey. The sign for 'Ogre' burned on his forehead.
         A dark glare was made in Nakago's direction. "I can't possibly lose, can I?" he stated. "Because our minds are merged. And Miaka...because of your love!"
         Tamahome charged, sending a punch to Nakago's chest.
         But Nakago deflected it. "That didn't hurt!" he snapped, retaliating with another vicious chi blast that sent Tamahome tumbling backwards. Yet Tamahome refused to let it end like that. A blast of crimson light erupted from his hands, shooting across the intersection and detonating as it hit Nakago.
         The entire intersection was covered in a raging fireball.
         Yet the fires and smoke quickly dissipated...only to reveal Nakago standing there, perfectly unscathed. He grinned, laughing at Tamahome's efforts. "I estimated how strong that would be," he said. "Your friendships weren't strong enough."
         From where she knelt with Chichiri's shakujyo, Miaka found herself trembling. No...he still was too powerful. Even like this, they didn't stand a chance.
         "Miaka-san," Chiriko said. "Seiryuu. Can't we seal Seiryuu's power?"
         "Difficult," Chichiri replied. "Unlike when Suzaku was sealed, Seiryuu's already been summoned, no da."
         Everyone glanced over their shoulders to the enormous dragon and phoenix still battling it out amidst the skyscrapers.
         "But the scroll Taiitsu-kun gave me," Chiriko said, desperate to find a way of defeating Nakago. "It holds the power of a deity. If we can seal Seiryuu into the scroll itself--!"
         "What a piece of crap!" Tasuki snapped. "It'd be too hard on Miaka if she did that now!"
         Mitsukake nodded. "That's true. I healed her externally, but internally, Suzaku is still in there."
         If she made her second wish so closely after the first one, there was the risk she'd be entirely consumed by the animal god. Her only chance was if she had the inner strength to survive it.
         But she wouldn't lose.
         She absolutely refused to lose.
         Not when her world and everything she held dear was threatened with annihilation.
         Miaka closed her eyes, making her decision. "Chiriko," she said. "Give me the scroll." The mark of Suzaku appeared on her forehead as she summoned the phoenix god.
         "Kaijin!" she shouted, throwing the scroll into the air. "Seal Seiryuu's powers!"
         Suzaku responded, and answered her wish.
         The blue dragon abruptly froze, enveloped by a red light before its form was dispelled. And then it vanished completely.
         Nakago's eyes widened as his kanji symbol flickered out of existence, his entire body feeling the sudden drain of power.
         Tamahome was already charging towards Nakago, his fist poised to deliver the final blow and end the battle once and for all. There was no way to escape what was about to happen; closing his eyes and accepting the inevitable, Nakago braced himself for the impact.
         Tamahome's hand punched through the ribcage, ramming mercilessly through vital organs before exploding out the back. A spray of blood and gore was sent out in his wake as his fatal attack was performed.
         But not quite as he had expected.

Nakago: [venturing to open one eye] "Am I dead yet?"

Tamahome: o.O [with his hand through Desolation's chest] "......"

         Desolation, not exactly looking too thrilled about this turn of events, glanced down at his blood-stained shirt. Tamahome's hand was still sticking through his chest. Desolation then slowly lifted his gaze to eye level with the Suzaku Seishi.
         "That was my favourite shirt, you bastard," he said indignantly, promptly clocking Tamahome in the head with his parasol.

Fairy Godbabbit: "Ewwww! And blood stains are the worst to try to get out, too."

         A li'l SD Nakago swiftly leapt into the fracas, helping Desolation out by stomping an utterly stunned SD Tamahome into the pavement.
         "Oooh!" Miaka exclaimed, suddenly glomping onto Nakago with a starry look in her eyes. "Until now, I never realized just how sexy evil is! You're the greatest, Nakago-sama!"

Desolation: [sweatdrop!] "Yuu Watase's gonna kill me for this."

Fairy Godbabbit: [flagging down a car] "Taxi!!"

         [A week later....]

         Nakago stretched out his arms as he laid on his deckchair. A pair of shades were over his eyes as he leisurely tanned himself in the sunshine.
         Tokyo had fallen to his power quite easily.
         After siding with evil, Miaka had used her last wish to make him a god. Taking over Earth was the next natural step, and Nakago was feeling fairly pleased with himself. He only had to blow up Antarctica (and a few
random cities, such as Tokyo-2 and the Moon Kingdom's royal palace) to get the planet's unconditional surrender.
         Nakago turned his head as Miaka showed up, sauntering across the sundeck clad in...well, technically nothing.
         Does a smile count?

Miaka: [purring like a Nekojin] "Mmmmm, last night with you and Yui-chan was wonderful, Nakago-sama. Please tell me we're doing it again tonight."

Nakago: [turning to the readers] "Oh, come on. You really didn't think she would marry Ogre-boy, did you?"

         [Cue a very irate SD Yuu Watase storming onto the fic!]

Yuu Watase: [demonic manga artist mode!] "I know you're in here, Desolation! It's no use hiding! You're gonna pay for this ending!"

Nakago: "Ne, Yuu-sama, care to join me?"

Yuu Watase: [blush!] "Really? You know, Nakago, you were always my favourite character in the manga."

         [Yuu Watase happily skips over the sunchair--and promptly pushes Miaka off Nakago.]

Miaka: o.O "Waaah!"

Yuu Watase: ^^v "Vee!"

         [Cue the Babbit!]

Fairy Godbabbit: "Since the author's still having his massage, I'm here to add that in various interviews Yuu Watase said that Nakago was indeed her favourite Seishi."

Desolation: [whew!] "Saved by an evil blonde guy."

Fairy Godbabbit: "Saved from the manga artist, yes. Saved from the falling Tulip--"

         [Cue the falling Tulip!]

Desolation: o.O "KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!"


Fairy Babbit: [wince!] "--not quite."

*         *         *

         SEELE was meeting once more.
         It was audio only, so Commander Keel was the only one who remained visible as Gendo Ikari found himself reporting to his superiors. Everyone else's identity remained hidden, their present status indicated by grey monoliths and a chair number etched onto it.
         And it was not a pleasant encounter between SEELE and NERV. The board of directors wanted results from the branch they had created to play their scenario; Gendo had yet to show them something they liked. Losing the Spear of Longinus didn't ease the tensions.
         "It is impossible for us to retrieve the Spear of Longinus," SEELE member 06 stated.
         "Why did you use it?" SEELE 02 demanded.
         "And about the EVA series," SEELE 04 continued. "We don't have all of them scheduled."
         Seated before the council, his hands clasped and fingers laced in front of his face, Gendo remained unnervingly calm to the interrogation. "The annihilation of the Angel was more important," he answered. "There
was no other way."
         "No other way?" SEELE 06 exclaimed. "Your excuses should be more persuasive."
         SEELE 05 agreed, "The things you have done recently are too bold."
         A disruption abruptly came to their session as the phone on Gendo's desk beeped. He showed no loss of composure as he picked up the receiver. "Fyutsuki, I am in conference...alright."
         He hung up the phone and looked to the rest of SEELE.
         "An Angel is approaching right now," he told them. "We will finish this discussion at the next opportunity."
         The light around his desk faded and Gendo vanished into darkness, leaving SEELE to deliberate the issue by themselves.
         "If your chair remains," 05 added ominously.
         "Ikari," 03 asked, already seeming to have decided the answer. "Are you going to betray SEELE?"
         Yet unbeknownst to SEELE (yet obviously knownst to you, the readers), a certain lost fanboy picked himself out from beneath a Tulip and found himself in the shadowy conference room. "Where are we now?" the Fairy Godbabbit whispered, helping set Desolation's arm in a sling.
         "Somewhere in Evangelion," Desolation answered, popping his shoulder back into its socket. "Shhh! Now that we're actually party to SEELE's secrets, we might be able to do what no other otaku has ever done: make sense of the end of the series!"
         The Fairy Godbabbit nodded. "Think of the merchandizing rights we can milk off that."
         "Na ni?" Desolation said, a sweatdrop appearing next to his head. "We can do that?"
         "Hai!" the Babbit replied happily.
         Desolation shook his head. "As a guardian Babbit, you really scare me."
         Meanwhile, something that seemed to resemble a coherent twist in Evangelion's plot was unfolding around them. "I doubt in NERV's ability to do what we have deciphered from the Dead Sea Scrolls," 06 stated. "Gendo has his own agendas he wants to bring about, and that is conflicting with our ultimate desire."
         "Gendo has strayed from Human Instrumentality," Commander Keel agreed, nodding. "We must rectify this problem and bring about Third Impact ourselves now."
         "We will persevere!" SEELE member 04 stated boldly. "And then once and for all, we shall find out how they get the caramel into the Caramilk bar!"

         [Desolation facevaults!]

Desolation: "That's it? That's your big freakin' ambition?! No wonder your movies didn't make any sense."

Fairy Godbabbit: "At least they're not trying to see how they get the Karma into the Karmamilk bar."

Desolation: --;; "Don't you start with me. But suddenly everything makes sense: the random Biblical names and references, the confusion of SEELE turning on NERV--and this definitely answers that twisted live action sequence in the middle of A Pure Heart For You! I swear director Anno is giving us all a happy 'Zakkenayo' and punishing us! Nothing makes sense because it's not supposed to! Why was there that big freaky Mega-Rei face at the end? Did the world even end and everyone die? And what's a dream? How the hell should I know?!"

Fairy Godbabbit: "Hai! And what about that man, Yang Wen-Li?!"

Desolation: "Exactly! What about that...(o.O) Shut up."

         Desolation suddenly and acutely became aware of everyone in SEELE looking right at him. Well, most of them; Keel was staring at him through that weird visor. Everyone else (being audio only) were just big silver monoliths with an engraved number. But he still felt somewhat overexposed.
         It might have had something to do with the fact that his pants had mysteriously vanished yet again, and his silk, SD Arshes Nei-chan boxer shorts were there for all of SEELE to see.
         Or maybe it didn't.
         Who really cares?

*         *         *

         Jumping scenes while the author plays strip hopscotch with his team of kawaii all-female writing assistants (who always seem to win, leaving me semi-nekkid in my sexy SD Xellos boxers. Are they silk or cotton, you ask? Sore wa...himistu desu! ^^), technician Makoto was busy typing away on one of NERV's computer terminals. He seemed almost oblivious to Misato standing right beside him.
         "Nagisa Kaoru," Misato said, almost as an offside remark as she mulled over the name. She glanced at the data being displayed on the screen. "The record of his life has already been deleted, just like Rei."
         "One thing we know is that his birthday is the very day of Second Impact," Makoto remarked. He was still intently studying his computer.
         Misato nodded; she looked more suspicious than relieved. "The Committee sent him directly to us. He has something."
         "The information on the Fifth in the Marduk report is not permitted for publication," Makoto added. Then he gave a devilish smirk. "For that reason, I secretly investigated the data in the Intelligence division."
         Misato kept her poker face, but admired the NERV tech's tenacity. "You risked too much."
         "The risk was worth it," Makoto countered. "I know where Ritsuko-san is."
         Just then, the doors to Central Dogma's command centre opened up and in walked a new face...followed by the rest of his body.

Desolation: x.x "Itaaaaaiiii."

Fairy Godbabbit: "You really do need to wake up in the mornings, don't you? I've never seen anyone try to shave their face with a Prog knife before."

Desolation: x.x "Coffee...morphine...Arshes Nei-chan...."

         Misato blinked, looking down at the security clearance papers in Desolation's hands. "You're the Fifth Child?" she asked incredulously.
         "Ha! You wish," Desolation retorted, walking past her. "SEELE just sent me over here in the hopes that my Wu aura would take out Central Dogma."
         "Let's hope we can find some good Sake bars before that happens," the Fairy Godbabbit added. "By the way, you get to be the designated driver. After that last scene where we rode down the Yamato no Orochi's digestive tract in a gondola singing bad karaoke with Chage and Asuka, I seriously need to get plastered."
         Desolation shrugged indifferently. "It's not like you're any help to me when you're sober, so I don't think you being drunk will make a difference."
         The fanboy and his faithful Babbit abruptly paused as Misato gave a loud and deliberate cough. "Since your papers identify you as the Fifth Child," she said, a sly grin on her face. "You won't mind if we run some preliminary synchro-tests on you, ne?"
         And so before you could say "Stop the Instrumentality, I want to get off", Desolation found himself stuffed into a plugsuit and then unceremoniously tossed into EVA 02's entry plug. Fortunately for him, breathing the LCL fluid came naturally, what with him having been practically drowned dozens of time already. Interesting sidenote: Wu's
can stay underwater for indefinite periods of time, even though they can't actually breathe the water or hold their breaths. A fringe benefit of immortality--wanton decapitations aside, mind you.
         Desolation glanced around the entry plug, hesitantly trying out the controls. Something moved in the LCL behind him, and he looked over his shoulder. He instantly sweatdropped upon seeing his SCUBA-clad Fairy Godbabbit right alongside him.
         But at least he had the extra support. Ready to show NERV what he had, Desolation gripped the controls...and faltered. "Shimatta!" he groaned. "I only know how to drive EVAs with stickshift, not automatic."
         The Fairy Godbabbit pulled out an underwater writing pad and wrote, 'Maybe there's a driver's manual here somewhere. Find the glove compartment.'
         Burbled Desolation, "I can't find a glove compartment."

Misato: [over the intercom] "Are we ready to start synchronization test yet?"

Desolation: "One last thing: what does it mean when the words 'Service S2 Engine Soon' start to blink?"

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