Once More With Feeling by Crazy-88
Length: 12 Chapters, Ongoing
Sources: Neon Genesis Evangelion
“Once More With Feeling” is a Neon Genesis Evangelion fic based on the implied anime-series ending (Shinji is included in the sea of LCL) where, seeing what awaits him once he lets go of his individuality, Shinji changes his mind and asks Rei/Lilith to take him back. He finds himself holding the phone before Misato arrives to meet him in the first episode.
The important change is that this time, he’s decided he won’t let the people he cares about come to harm through his own cowardice. I think this fic’s title really sums the concept up nicely. The only really memorable plot element for the first couple of chapters is that Misato’s blood-stained cross followed him back in time, but it’s an entertaining read nonetheless and things get really interesting later.
I won’t spoil the surprise, but I will say that this is the best “Third child with foreknowledge manipulates things to bring about a better end” fic I’ve ever read. The only thing I can think of which comes close is Calamity’s The Wild Horse Thesis, and in that one, Ranma is the third child. I especially love how the author managed a great deal of subtlety in the changes. Sometimes, Shinji uses Gendo-like tactics for better reasons… but sometimes the changes catch him by surprise without it seeming cheap in the way that so many second chance fics are.
There are various typos, grammatical errors, and the occasional formatting error which I suspect to be the fault of Fanfiction.net’s import filters, but in general, it’s a pretty comfortable read. If you like “second chance” fics or “Shinji helps Rei overcome Gendo’s conditioning” fics, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t read this.
My only regret is that I can’t write a review that does it justice.