A Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic by R. Alexander Spoerer
part one
      If it weren't for the moonlight streaming in through the window, she wouldn't have been able to see at all.
      The incessant whirring of machines to her right brought her attention to bear. Her head turned, and she could make out the outlines of various life-support apparatus, LEDs blinking in a symphony of vital information.
      She then looked upward at the ceiling, staring at it quietly as the nearby machines chirped in rhythm with her heartbeat.
      Her dry lips felt as if they'd been glued together when they parted. Her voice escaped the confines of her throat not at normal volume, but as a faint whisper.
      "Where am I?"
      She slowly sat up in her bed and tried to look around the room to no avail, the darkness jealously guarding its secrets.
      Deciding to get a better look around, she attempted to get out of bed, only to be restrained by a multitude of tubes and sensors connected to her.
      Realization slowly set in that she was in a hospital, and that something horrible had happened to her to necessitate all of the equipment around her.
      What had happened?
      She tried to remember what might have occurred, only to find she couldn't penetrate the deep abyss that her memory had become. Even the simplest things that she should know escaped her, slipping out of her grasp like water.
      Simple things like who she was...
      She brought up her right hand to rub her forehead, pulling on the I.V. slightly, when she noticed just how pale it was. It had a reflective quality in the moonlight, a faint halo of light surrounded it.
      Confusion seeped onto her face as she examined the ghostly hand in front of her.
      "Who am I?"
      Her line of questioning was brought to an abrupt end when a scream erupted to her right.
      Snapping her head toward the frightening sound, she couldn't see who it was that screamed, but it sounded like a boy.
      She could tell, however, that the boy was in pain from something that she couldn't begin to imagine.

      Amazing Pain.
      Grabbing his mid-section, he screamed aloud, eliciting attention from the medical personnel who burst through the door of the room, the lights blinding him as they blazed to life.
      He felt several pairs of hands wrestle him down onto the bed.
      "He's spasming!"
      "Get me 15cc's morphine, stat!"
      The bite of a needle going into his arm caused him to panic, his struggling becoming desperate.
      Hospital staff held him on the bed. He couldn't break free no matter how much he thrashed about.
      The sudden burst of exertion started taking its toll, as he felt he limbs getting heavier.
      Before long, the full effect of the morphine permeated his body, forcing him back to sleep.
      As he lay his head down on the pillow, he caught a glimpse of a girl in the bed next to him, a confused expression upon her face.
      A girl with blue hair, and red eyes...

      It fell in sheets, drenching the window in a blanket of little sounds, enough to wake her from her light sleep.
      A couple seconds passed before her eyes adjusted to the moonlit room.
      She noticed the multitude of stuffed animals perched on the windowsill, partially blocking her view of the torrent outside.
      Slipping out of bed, she went to the door of her room and opened the door.
      Her room? Is this really her room?
      As she opened the door, she heard a soft clunk against the outside of it, near eye-level.
      Opening it completely, she saw hanging on the door a small wooden nameplate in the shape of a pair of wings, with a name carved into it.
      "Asuka? Is that me?"
      That must be who I am... Who else could I be?
      Asuka backed into her room, and closed the door behind her.
      She sat upon her bed, grabbing a large teddy bear and held it close to her.
      Resting her chin against the top of the bear's head, a small tear flowed down her face as she stared out the window at the dousing rain.
      "What's happening?"

      "Good morning, Shinji. How are you today?"
      Shinji turned toward Dr. Kanemaru's voice, and smiled slightly.
      "Fine, thanks."
      The black haired doctor smiled back, adjusting his glasses as he peered downward at Shinji's chart.
      "You're doing much better than a couple of nights ago."
      Shinji nodded, acknowledging Dr. Kanemaru's enthusiasm, however, he couldn't help but feel lost.
      He had awoken to find himself in a world he doesn't know, without any idea who he was.
      It frightened him like nothing he'd ever felt before.
      That is if he could remember before.
      A hand lightly grasped his shoulder and squeezed gently, bringing his attention toward Dr. Kanemaru, concern radiating from his brown eyes.
      "Don't worry, Shinji. It'll come back to you, just give it some time."
      Shinji closed his eyes and gripped his bed sheets with both hands in frustration, "But, I don't even remember my parents, Dr. Kanemaru... I don't remember anything before waking up here. And now, there's no one..."
      His sentence was cut short when he felt a hand touch his.
      He looked up to see his sister with a reassuring smile upon her face.
      "We still have each other, Shinji."
      Shinji nodded, feeling his mood lighten because of her kind words.
      "Thanks, Rei. I'm glad that you're here too."
      Unfortunately, he could only vaguely remember her. He felt that they've been together for a while, but the mists of amnesia obfuscated that precious piece of memory.
      He'll just have to make some new memories. Enough new ones to replace the void that the old ones left behind.
      "I'm glad that your smile's returned, Shinji, " remarked Dr. Kanemaru as he replaced the chart, "Don't worry, either of you. You'll be out of here in no time."
      He turned around, and started out of the room, but stopped to smile and wave at the two teens before finally exiting.
      Shortly after Dr. Kanemaru departed, Shinji heard Rei sigh, and whisper barely loud enough for him to hear.
      "And when it's time to leave, then what?"
      It was Shinji's turn to sigh. He understood Rei's concerns. They were the same ones that have been preoccupying him since he woke up, and found out his name.
      "I don't know. But whatever happens, we'll face it together."
      Both teens hugged, realizing that in this world they only had each other. The old lives they had lived through have disappeared into the great maw of oblivion, never to be found again.
      It was time to begin anew.
      Time to live.

      Dr. Ichiro Kanemaru tossed his portfolio onto the desk as he rounded it, staring at the woman who stood in his office.
      The arrogance... Couldn't they wait until the bodies were at least buried?
      "The Takagi children will leave when they are ready. When I say they are ready, Ms. Yamadera."
      Yamadera pursed her lips, and looked at him evenly, "Doctor, the welfare of those children is our utmost concern."
      As he sat, Ichiro arched an eyebrow, folding his hands together in front of him.
      "Oh really? They why don't you wait at least for their parents funeral? It's in a couple of days and the reading of the Will shortly thereafter. Why is Social Services in such a hurry to spirit them away?"
      "Social Services is only interested in making sure that they get the care they need."
      He gave her an incredulous look, "And they'll get it in a Social Services foster home? I think not."
      Yamadera closed her eyes for a second as if to compose herself for the next barrage.
      "Dr. Kanemaru, regardless of whether or not you think that we're capable of taking care of them, they are to be delivered to us..."
      "...Upon their medically determined release from this hospital," finished Ichiro, cutting her sentence off.
      Ichiro leaned forward, and looked her right in the eye, "And you are also not taking into account the fact that the Will may award custody of those children to someone other than state."
      She turned around, annoyance evident in her gate, and opened the door.
      "We've taken everything under consideration, Doctor Kanemaru, we do not make mistakes. Those children do not have any direct living relatives to take them in. They are orphans, pure and simple. I'll return when they are ready to leave your facility, and take them into my custody. Good day, Doctor."
      As he watched the door close, Ichiro muttered under his breath.
      "Like hell you will."
      Those two will be somewhere they can be loved.
      Their parents wouldn't have had it any other way.
      In all the time he had been friends with Takehito and Sachiko, he knew that they'd want their children safe. With someone who could take care of them, not in the hands of a government agency known for their mistakes.
      Ichiro promised to take care of Rei and Shinji if anything ever happened to them, just as they promised the same with Asuka.
      One way or another, he'll make sure that Social Services won't get their hands on them.
      Even if he had to get them away from here...

      Rei looked out the window of the car as it sped by the streets of Tokyo, on its way to somewhere in Yokohama.
      Her eyes stayed focused on the rapidly passing black sea of asphalt, occasionally broken by islands of white road dividers.
      The last week had been pretty hectic; only now was it really starting to set in.
      The funeral was a strange experience. She and her brother stood watching as their parents were slowly placed into the bosom of the Earth.
      Her parents...
      She wasn't sure what she should feel. Those two people were her mother and father, but she couldn't remember anything about them before the car accident.
      She couldn't even remember if she loved them...
      This lack of feelings distressed Rei the most. The people she should have loved the most were just two names on graves in a place that she would rather not visit again.
      How can you love someone without knowing them?
      Fortunately, she was sure of one thing and that was Shinji.
      Even if she couldn't remember what she felt for her parents, she knew she loved her brother.
      A small frown passed over her face when she remembered how Social Services wanted to send her and Shinji to different homes.
      And if it weren't for her parents' Will, she wouldn't be here with Shinji in this car. Rei was grateful to them for that. A final gift to their children from beyond the grave.
      It was like a miracle, delivering both of them from the clutches of Social Services into the hands of their godfather: Dr. Ichiro Kanemaru.
      In retrospect, it made perfect sense. His being their godfather explained why he cared so much about what happened to them.
      When no one else seemed to...
      She blinked as she was brought out of her introspection, "Hmm?"
      Shinji looked at her with a curious expression, "Are you ok?"
      Rei nodded, "I'm fine, really. Just a bit nervous."
      "Don't worry, Rei, everything will be alright from now on I promise," came Ichiro's reassuring voice from the driver's seat.
      She wasn't sure why, but his words soothed her. She'd only known him since waking up in the hospital, but she knew in her heart that he would do nothing to hurt her or Shinji.
      Rei felt safe, and most of all she felt wanted.
      Her eyes started to moisten a bit, heralding what would have been tears of joy. She quickly rubbed her eyes, intercepting them, but she returned the smile that she saw in the Ichiro's eyes through the rear-view mirror.
      "Thank you..."

      Chop, chop, chop.
      Cut, slice, trim.
      Carrots, onions, lettuce, chicken, noodles...
      Are they all there? Did I forget something?
      Ah, yes, I'll need to make a vegetable dish for Rei, Ichiro did mention that she didn't eat meat. Strange little quirk, wonder where she developed it from?
      Masami Kanemaru looked up from the cutting board to address her daughter, "What is it dear?"
      "Are they coming soon?"
      She nodded, "Yes, your father called from the hospital. They should be here any minute."
      Masami placed a hand on her daughter's arm and squeezed gently, "What's wrong, Asuka?"
      Asuka looked at Masami, and shook her head slowly, "It's nothing, Mom..."
      Masami turned her around so that she faced her.
      "Asuka, tell me what's wrong."
      Asuka didn't respond immediately, as if she were searching for the right words.
      Masami tilted her head to the right, giving Asuka a bemused look, "You're not still mad at him, are you? It's been so long since he's teased you, and besides you were just kids then."
      She leaned forward looking at her daughter in the face, a small smile upon her lips, "I'll bet that you've missed him ever since they moved to Osaka, don't you?"
      Asuka blinked, and then blushed, a bit surprised, "N... No, that's not it."
      "Alright then, what is it?"
      Asuka looked her mother in the eyes, and breathed in.
      "Why do they have to come here, Mom? I mean, why do we have to take them in?"
      A mixed expression of shock and disbelief appeared across Masami's face.
      "Asuka! How could you say that? They have nowhere else to go!"
      Asuka stepped out of Masami's grasp, and stood defiantly in front of her, "They could have gone to a Social Services home!"
      She couldn't believe what he daughter had just said.
      How could she be so callous?
      Before she could continue, Masami lashed out with her hand, leaving a red mark across Asuka's left cheek.
      It was the first time she had ever slapped her daughter.

      Asuka looked at her mother in astonishment, cradling her left cheek with her hand.
      "Wha... What was that for?"
      She noticed that Masami's eyes were glistening, and a tear streamed down her face.
      Masami then spoke, her voice barely a whisper, "If your father and I had ever died, where do you think you would have gone?"
      Asuka kept her mouth shut, still speechless from her mother's slap.
      "Their parents would have taken you in without question. It goes without saying that we would do the same if they ever died..."
      She continued to stare at Masami, silent.
      Why did they have to do this? Why do her parents want to take care of those two so badly?
      She couldn't understand...
      She wouldn't understand...
      Asuka turned around, her back facing Masami so that he mother couldn't see her own tears forming.
      Maybe they didn't love her... Maybe they sensed something wrong... That she couldn't remember anything except the past couple weeks.
      She wished she knew.
      "Fine mother... You win..."
      She started to walk toward the stairs.
      "Asuka! Wait a second, I..."
      Asuka interrupted Masami's sentence by holding up her right hand, without turning around.
      "Don't Mom. I'll be fine. I just need some time."
      She continued up toward her room, and stopped briefly at her door looking down the stairs, sighing softly.
      I'll need a lot of time...

      The familiar greeting echoed in the foyer as Ichiro took off his shoes, Rei and Shinji following his example.
      A black-haired woman glided over to Ichiro, and embraced him, kissing him briefly.
      Ichiro broke the kiss, and glanced toward both of them, "Masami, this is Rei and Shinji, our new family members."
      Masami then turned to look at the two teens, and smiled happily, "Welcome, both of you! It's so good to see both of you, again!"
      A nostalgic expression emerged on her face, as she seemed to be remembering some long forgotten memory, "It's been so long, Ichiro. I remember a little girl and boy standing here in this house, and now they've grown up to be a beautiful young woman, and handsome young man."
      Shinji felt his cheeks redden a bit from the compliment, and noticed out of the corner of his eye that Rei's cheeks also had some color to them.
      Masami's smile broadened at the noticeable reaction.
      Ichiro also smiled, but fortunately saved them from further embarrassment.
      "That's enough teasing them, I'm sure you'll have ample opportunity to do it later on."
      Yay, great...
      Ichiro then looked beyond Masami, "Where's Asuka? Asuka! Come down and say hello!"
      The sounds of carefully placed footsteps could be heard descending down the steps.
      Eventually a red-haired girl stepped off the last step and looked at Rei and Shinji.
      Shinji's mouth almost dropped.
      She was beautiful!
      As he stared at the vision of loveliness in front him, he felt a nagging feeling that he'd seen her before somewhere. He wasn't sure where, but she was definitely familiar.
      Those intense blue eyes are unforgettable...
      Shinji felt someone poke him in his back, and heard Rei whisper in his right ear, "Stop drooling, brother, it's embarrassing."
      He gave Rei a horrified look, and blurted out a response, "I wasn't drooling!"
      Shinji realized the gravity of his error when he noticed both of Rei's arched eyebrows, and the barely suppressed grin upon her face.
      He also noticed a strange expression on Ichiro's face, as well as Masami's attempt to keep from bursting out laughing.
      Then he noticed Asuka.
      She was completely red-faced, embarrassed to the core.
      He just wanted to crawl off to a corner and die, hoping no one would remember this moment.
      Ichiro tried valiantly to salvage the situation, "Rei, Shinji, this is my daughter, Asuka. Asuka, this is Rei and Shinji."
      Rei's grin subsided, replaced by a friendly smile, "Hi. Nice to meet you."
      Shinji couldn't bring himself to look at Asuka directly, instead looking to the side, "Umm... Hi."
      Asuka blinked her eyes, cheeks still red with embarrassment, "Yeah... Hi."
      "So... What's for dinner?" Ichiro asked, desperate to move out of this tense moment.
      Masami, still smiling widely, motioned toward the dinner table, "Chicken with noodles and assorted vegetables."
      "Sounds great! Let's eat, shall we?"
      Ichiro stepped out of the foyer followed by Rei and Shinji.
      Shinji looked over his shoulder and noticed Asuka glaring at him.
      He quickly turned forward, and swallowed.
      This was going to be a long night...

      "Would you like some more chicken, Shinji?"
      "No thanks, Mrs. Kanemaru, I'm fine."
      "Masami, please. No need to be so formal."
      "Oh. Ok, Masami then."
      First he practically undresses me with his eyes, and now Mom is merrily yapping with him.
      Asuka silently kept her displeasure to herself, seeing no immediate need to ruin dinner over that pervert.
      The thing that troubled her the most was that she felt a connection to those two idiots.
      Especially with Shinji... Although, she has to admit, he doesn't seem that bad looking.
      Asuka frowned, and shook her head.
      Where in the hell did that come from!
      She narrowed her eyes at Shinji while her parents talked with Rei.
      Shinji noticed her scrutiny, and almost choked on a piece of zucchini.
      There's no way I'll ever like that jerk.
      No way at all!

      Rei continued to munch on her salad, keeping an interested eye on the transpiring events between her brother and Asuka.
      It was kind of strange, really. She could tell there was some kind of budding chemistry between the two of them, as if this had happened before. But, somehow she knew that she was also involved in some way.
      Unfortunately, the small sparks of recognition were not enough to light the flames of her memory.
      Shinji would more than likely agree with her hypothesis, but it seemed that his hormones were talking right now.
      Rei would add to the conversation when she felt she could contribute, however, she kept a close eye on the two players sitting beside her.
      Players? Hmm, appropriate analogies for those two, squaring off against each other.
      At least she wouldn't be involved in that.
      She hoped...

      Shinji rested his head against the pillow, and breathed out.
      "Whew... That could have gone better."
      "That much is true. You've definitely endeared yourself to Asuka."
      He lifted his head from the pillow to see Rei sitting on the side of her bed, which was on the left side of the room, a small smile on her face.
      "Gee, thanks, sis. I'm glad that I can count on you to boost my morale."
      Rei laughed, and leaned back onto her bed crossing her arms underneath her head, "Don't worry, Shin-chan. I'm sure it'll work out."
      "Huh? What do you mean?"
      Rei rolled her eyes, and closed them.
      Shinji shrugged, he didn't even try to understand what went on within his sister's mind.
      About ten minutes passed, Rei stood up, and began getting ready for bed. She left the room, but came back after a twenty minutes, dressed in a long, gray nightshirt.
      Shinji watched as she walked in, and sat on her bed, combing her wet hair.
      He felt awkward about things. He knew that Rei was his sister, but it just felt wrong to be in the same room with her.
      Then again, what teenage brother wants to share a room with his sister, and vice-versa?
      Shifting his position to lay on his elbows, his idle thoughts eventually broke the silence in the room, "I wonder."
      "About?" inquired Rei, as she continued to comb her hair, back turned to him.
      "How long will we be staying in the same room."
      "Not for too long. I think Ichiro mentioned they were converting a room for one of us."
      "Ahh, good. Whose room?"
      Rei looked over her shoulder at Shinji, "Well, the gentlemanly thing to do, Shinji, would be for you to move to the new room so that a fragile woman like me wouldn't have to break her back moving her stuff."
      He looked at her strangely, "You only have a duffel bag, Rei. The rest is coming from our old house by moving van."
      Rei frowned slightly, placing the brush down, "That's not the point, Shinji."
      She then sighed, crossed her arms, and shook her head in disappointment, "How do you ever expect to get together with Asuka if you don't get some manners?"
      "Well, that's easy. I'll just ask her..."
      Shinji choked on his words when he realized what he was just about to say.
      Rei pointed an accusing finger at Shinji, jumping off the bed into an offset stance, a broad smile on her face, "Ah ha! I knew it!"
      "Wa... Wait! I didn't mean it!"
      "Oh yeah? That sounded like a Freudian slip to me!"
      Shinji just closed his mouth. He knew the cause was lost. No point in trying to dissuade the detective that his sister had become.
      He hated it when she did that!
      Shinji laid down again, and grumbled, "Night, Rei."
      He could hear Rei giggle softly as she turned-off the lights, "Night, Shin-chan."

      What emergency?
      Must follow orders...
      Whose orders? What's going on?
      They're attacking... I must stop them...
      Who's attacking? I don't understand!
      I need to go...
      I'm not going anywhere!
      I must...
      Rei found herself floating in absolute darkness. She looked down and noticed that she wore some strange outfit. It was a white jumpsuit, with various electronic-looking apparatus outfitted all over it. Emblazoned over her chest were the numbers "00".
      What's this?
      A sound started to emanate all around her.
      It started out at a very low volume, but continued to grow in intensity. She couldn't readily identify it, but is sounded like a cacophony of voices. They crashed into each other, producing an unintelligible jumble of noise.
      They continued to get louder, the voices becoming screams.
      Rei covered her ears, the voices getting unbearable.
      They kept getting louder.
      "Please, stop."
      Rei could barely think, the voices were so loud. Her ears felt as if they would burst at any second. She screamed with all her strength, hoping that would stop the voices.
      The voices congealed into a single, terrible scream, and she saw materialize in front of her something horrid. A thing that she could never have imagined in all of her nightmares. A blue and white monster of incredible size, that looked covered in armor.
      The monster whipped its right hand out, grabbing her.
      Rei struggled, but couldn't break free of its incredibly strong grip as it brought her in front of what passed for a face.
      The voices stopped.
      Its mouth opened slowly, and it spoke in a raspy hiss.

      Rei woke up, breathing hard, hand to her chest.
      She felt her nightshirt plastered to her skin by a thin sheet of sweat.
      It took a second before she realized that she was in her bed, back in the Kanemaru's house.
      To her right, Shinji slept, making small noises as he breathed.
      Rei shook her head side to side, rubbing her temples.
      What had just happened?
      She tried to recall the nightmare she had, but the memories of fear rapidly disappeared into to recesses of her mind.
      Whatever it was, she didn't care to think too much about it.
      As she rested her head back onto her pillow, and closed her eyes, she hoped that she wouldn't have another nightmare like that one.
      Whatever it was...

[Author's Notes]

Whew... The first part of a fanfic series that is longer than one single story. I've written a lot of stuff, but have yet to embark on such an endeavor as this. I do hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it!

Now for some backround info...

I'll probably get some e-mail on this one, so I'll include an explanation for it in my notes. If all of the children (especially Rei) seem OOC it is beacause they are. And there is a good reason for it. Unfortunately, you will have to wait till the later chapters to find out what that reason is! BWHAHAHAHAHA!! Naw, seriously, everything will be explained in due order, don't worry. Just sit back and enjoy the ride! If you have any comments, feel free to send me an e-mail. Flames will, of course, be placed into the circular file for further storage. ^_^

Copyright reserved 1999 R. Alexander Spoerer [iczer2@generalagents.com]

Disclaimer: Neon Genesis Evangelion © GAINAX/ProjectEva•TX•NAS. No infringement is intended.

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