Okay, this is my second work in English. I know my English had gotten better by the last chapters of Child of Love, but nothing's perfect, and this fic, like any of my creations, doesn't escape this rule. So that rude and pushy Canadian Dave Watson got ahold of it and retooled it (like he did with Child of Love) on 1999 6 13, 14 & 21 & 7 10 & 13-14. He also did the basic HTML and even more polishing on 1999 8 04 & 09. This is HTML version 1.0a.
WARNING: ANY SIMILARITIES OR LIKENESSES WITH ANY OTHER FANFIC BY THE SAME AUTHOR ARE PURE COINCIDENCE AND TOTALLY UNEXPECTED. Well, sort of...
Now, let's begin the show!
THE FIRST MEMORY
Shinji: "Asuka! Move back!"
Too late. Shinji's shouting didn't make the Second Child react in time. She was hit by the Angel's energy beam.
Makoto: "Pilot readings unstable!"
Shigeru: "A-10 System not responding!"
Ritsuko: "What's going on!?"
Maya: "Sempai, all the displays are beginning to race!"
Ritsuko: "Disable all the neural connections between EVA-02 and its pilot!"
Maya: "We can't! The signal is being refused from inside the plug!"
Misato: "Cut the umbilical cable."
The umbilical cable of the EVA-02 bursts from the mount on its back. But that doesn't stop Unit 02 from rushing towards the Angel with its progressive knife...
Makoto: "Unit-02, one minute of power left!"
Shinji, who had been standing beside her, is horrified by what he's seeing, while Rei is in her customary emotionless state in her Unit 00, looking at what's happening right in front of her eyes.
Shinji: "What...what the...?"
The Angel tries to attack Unit 02 before it can do the same to him, but it doesn't succeed. Unit 02 reaches the Angel at an incredible speed and cuts it in pieces with the Progressive Knife, disabling its AT Field almost instantly, and then proceeding to hit its Koa repeatedly. Everyone is amazed by Unit 02's behavior. Finally, after one minute of pure fury, Asuka's Unit 02 shuts down and peace and quiet returns to the control room.
Misato: "Send a recovery team, now!"
Shigeru: "Right away, ma'am."
Maya: "Ejection signal accepted by the plug. Ejecting now."
The back of Unit 02's neck moves, revealing the entry plug. It slides out of the EVA seconds later.
Later. Two young girl's eyes open slowly in a hospital room.
Asuka(whispering): "What...my head..."
She looks to her right and sees Shinji sitting in a chair by her bedside. Shinji gasps when he sees Asuka's head turning towards him. He fears the worst from the usually unpredictable Second Child.
Shinji(standing up): "Hm...err...sorry...I'm leaving now...I was just...just keeping an eye on you...err...Misato's orders...nothing else, okay? Sorry..."
Asuka: "Hey, what are you apologizing for, kid?"
That last word strikes Shinji's mind like a sledgehammer.
Shinji: "...'kid'? Why are you calling me that, Asuka?"
Asuka: "Asuka? Who's that? I don't see anybody else here."
Shinji is in shock.
Asuka: "Hey, answer me, Baka! That's your name, right? I know you...Baka is your name, right?"
Shinji's feelings are mixed between wanting to laugh heartily and wanting to jump up and run away. However, neither of those feelings won the fight in his mind.
Shinji: "Asuka...are you...are you...?"
Asuka: "Are you WHAT? And who is this Asuka you're talking about?"
Shinji(to himself): "She must be making fun of me again...well, two can play that game!" (To Asuka:) "Okay, what's your name, little girl?"
Asuka: "What? Do you think I'm stupid? My name...is....ach, mein Gott..."
Shinji: "Then what's your name?"
She sits up in her bed, curls up into a ball, and starts to cry.
Shinji: "Sorry, Asuka...I didn't mean to make you cry, okay? I was just..."
Asuka: "Damn! I can't remember a thing! Not even my name!!! That can't be! My head! It hurts so bad! Where am I?"
Shinji is now really puzzled...
Shinji: "You...you can't remember anything?!"
Asuka(still crying): "Just like I said, Baka. Now get out of my room!"
Shinji: "You sure? I mean..."
Asuka: "Get out!!"
Shinji then proceeds to the door and opens it. Before he can shut the door, however...
Asuka: "What's your name?"
Shinji(ironically): "You said it yourself, I'm Baka."
Asuka: "No, that's not your name, I'm sure of that. Baka was just the first word that came into my mind when I saw you. What I want to know is your REAL name."
Shinji: "Shinji. Ikari Shinji."
Asuka: "Shinji...Baka Shinji...Damn! That hurts!!!"
Shinji doesn't move from the hospital hallway. As he's about to shut the door, he hears a faint voice--almost a whisper--coming from the redheaded EVA Pilot.
Asuka: "Please...tell me. What's my name...?"
Shinji approaches her hesitantly, leans over her, and says something softly into her left ear, in an almost reassuring and comforting voice.
Shinji: "Your name is Asuka. Sohryu Asuka Langley, okay? Try not to forget it again."
Shinji was used to being called 'Ikari-kun' by Rei, but definitely not by Asuka. It was almost disturbing to him.
Shinji: "'Shinji' or 'Baka' will be alright, 'Sohryu-san.'"
Asuka: "Then call me Asuka if you want me to call you Shinji. And since Asuka is my name, I guess I should get used to it right now..."
Shinji: "Well, I'm coming back with Misato-san, okay?"
Asuka: "Mi...Misato...that sounds familiar...but I can't place any face to that name! What's going on!? My head hurts!"
Shinji: "I just hope we'll find out. Get some rest, okay? I'll come back soon."
Asuka: "Shinji...I don't know who you are and I kinda wish I could find out by myself, but...thank you."
Shinji smiles and disappears into the hallway, shutting the door behind him.
Major Katsuragi's office.
Misato: "She's WHAT?"
Shinji: "Yes, Misato-san...she's not making fun of me like she usually does, so that's what I think."
Misato: "Asuka? Amnesia? Our Asuka?"
Shinji: "I'm serious here. She couldn't even recall my name when she saw me. First, she thought that my name was 'Baka'..."
Misato has a wide smile on her face and she tries to keep herself from laughing at that, but she settles down when she sees that Shinji isn't smiling about it.
Misato: "Hmm, it could be mental contamination with the Eva...I'll ask Ritsuko about this."
Shinji: "Is that serious?"
Misato: "If that's what it is, she may not be able to pilot Unit 02 again."
Shinji looks away a little. Knowing Asuka, that WOULD be serious.
Misato: "Okay, we'll go visit her. I'm gonna call Ritsuko."
Back in the hospital room. Asuka was looking at herself in a mirror when Shinji and Misato entered.
Asuka: "This is...me?"
She puts a hand on her cheek.
Asuka: "Yes. This is me..."
She turns around to see Shinji and Misato. Asuka gasps when she sees her and tries to move back for some reason.
Shinji(smiling): "Don't be afraid. She's a friend."
Asuka calms down after hearing those words.
Misato: "Asuka...can you remember anything?"
Asuka: "Who are you?"
Misato: "Well, I guess the answer is 'no'..."
Asuka: "I don't know you, Miss...?"
Misato(smiling): "I'm Katsuragi Misato, Major of Tactical Operations and your guardian."
Asuka: "My...guardian? Where are my parents? Family? Does this mean I'm...I'm..."
Shinji looks down. He couldn't answer that question now.
Misato(trying to find something proper to say): "Asuka, you belong to a military organization. All your data has been erased. You have no parents, no past, nothing left. Only you, me, Shinji, and Rei."
Asuka: "I see...I'm some sort of soldier. A secret agent, perhaps?"
Misato(smiling at the question): "No, not exactly. Can you stand up? I want to show you something."
Asuka: "Well, I don't think I have any choice."
Misato: "Good. Come on."
A few moments later, Asuka follows Misato and Shinji down the hallways of Central Dogma. They're heading for the place Asuka should be most familiar with.
Asuka(looking up at her Unit 02): "Wh...what is this?!"
Misato: "This is your Evangelion Unit 02, Asuka."
Misato: "In other words, you're the designated pilot of this robot."
Asuka: "Me? Piloting this thing? You're crazy, Major Katsuragi!"
Misato(smiling): "Call me Misato, Pilot Sohryu."
Asuka: "I can't pilot THIS thing! You must be joking!"
Misato: "But there is the threat of Angels. You have to pilot, or we will all be killed by these invaders..."
Asuka: "So, let me see if I've got this right: I'm a pilot, who has to pilot a giant robot, against giant things from space, with giant weapons, in a giant city, and WITH A GIANT HEADACHE!!!?"
Misato(cheerfully): "Brilliant analysis!"
Asuka: "YOU ARE JOKING!!! I'm not gonna do it!"
Misato(softly): "Shinji is an Eva Pilot, too, you know."
Asuka(turning her head towards Shinji): "You...we do the same job?"
Shinji: "Y-yes. My Unit-01 is here too."
Asuka: "You can do it? Isn't it hard? Aren't there many things to learn?"
On one hand, Shinji wants to tell her how painful and hard it is to pilot an Eva, from his point of view, of course. But, on the other hand, he has to help Misato encourage Asuka to get back into her own Eva.
Shinji(smiling): "Well, not really. You basically just have to think about what you want to do, and the Eva obeys. It's as simple as that!"
Asuka: "You are sincere. I can believe you."
She turns back towards Misato.
Asuka(now determined): "Okay. I'll do it. I'll pilot this robot!"
Misato(smiling warmly): "Welcome back to active duty, Asuka!"
Ritsuko walks in through another doorway.
Ritsuko: "So here's our amnesic pilot."
Asuka(looking at Ritsuko): "Wait, don't tell me anything! Let me guess! You're a doctor, right?"
Asuka: "And...what may I call you, ma'am?"
Ritsuko: "Ritsuko. Ritsuko Akagi. So you're really amnesic...I guess you wouldn't lie to a scientist like me."
Misato(to Shinji): "You were right..."
Shinji: "Well, I thought it was a joke at first."
Misato: "But it's really worse than that."
Shinji: "I understand."
Misato's car. Misato is driving Shinji and Asuka, who are in the back seat, home.
Asuka: "What is this city? Why are there buildings above us?"
Shinji: "We're in the Geofront, and this is Tokyo-3."
Asuka: "Why are we living underground? Is there something scary on the surface?"
Shinji: "Well, Tokyo-3's a fortress city designed to intercept Angels."
Asuka(puzzled): "Angels? Major Katsuragi said something about them earlier but I can't remember well."
Shinji: "We're fighting against them with the help of the Evangelions."
Asuka: "Evangelions...those giant robots I just saw?"
Shinji: "Yes. And we--you, Rei and I--are protecting this city, and mankind."
Asuka: "Whoooaa! A real science fiction story! I'm someone special, if I understand correctly, right?"
Shinji: "Yeah, sort of..."
Asuka: "Tell me, Shinji..."
Asuka: "Are we safe in the Evangelion? How does it work? Tell me. I'm dying to know!"
Shinji: "Well, as far as I can see, EVAs communicate with your mind and you feel what they feel. If...hmm...I mean, you imagine yourself walking, then the Eva walks. The scary part is, that when the Eva feels pain, you feel the same thing but your body isn't wounded." (softly, to her:) "Once I thought my arm had been cut off, but it wasn't...I only thought it was because my Eva had lost its arm, too. But my arm is still there. You see?"
Asuka: "It's like a double-edged sword, then..."
Shinji: "In other words, yes."
Asuka: "...never mind. I probably don't want to know yet. Maybe later."
They arrive at Misato's apartment. Misato opens the door, and Asuka steps in.
Asuka: "A familiar place. I can tell that I've been here before."
Misato: "Actually, it's your home, Asuka. It's our home."
Asuka: "'Our'? I live with you? Oh, that's right, you're my guardian. I understand..."
She lowers her head, as if she's disappointed.
Asuka: "And...what about you, Shinji?"
Shinji: "What about me?"
Asuka: "Where do you live?" (to herself:) "Not too far, I hope."
Shinji: "Well, this is my home too, you know. We live together like a family."
Asuka's face suddenly (and to Shinji and Misato's big surprise) lights up with joy when she hears this.
Asuka: "Together? Really?"
Asuka(happily): "Well, Shinji, will you show me the way to my room?"
Misato(can of beer in hand): "Come on, Shinji! Show her around the premises!"
Shinji(looking at Misato): "Okay."
Shinji shows Asuka the way to the bathroom, the kitchen, and finally they end up at the door of her own room, with the "Asuka's Room" plaque on it.
Asuka: "So...this is MY room..."
She puts a hand on the doorknob. But after she turns it a little, she decides not to open the door to her room.
Shinji: "What's going on?"
Asuka: "Damn...my head hurts. No...I can't enter this room. Not now..."
Shinji: "Why not?"
Asuka: "I sense...something. I just can't tell what it is. I have a bad feeling about this room. That's all."
Shinji: "You want me to go in there with you?"
Asuka: "Would you do that? I know I'm afraid but...well, I have to overcome it sometime! You're right, I'm no coward! And this headache is not too hard to live with, for now. Okay, I'm going in, now!"
She finally opens the door, steps in and looks around.
Asuka: "My room...my bed...my desk..."
She opens her wardrobe.
Asuka: "So these are my clothes...hmmm...I have good taste!"
Shinji: "I should leave now. This is your private space, after all."
Asuka: "No...please stay a little longer...I feel better when you're near me."
Shinji(to himself): "What?"
She looks on the floor and sees that many of her belongings are lying there.
Asuka: "Boy, what a mess..."
Suddenly, Misato calls from the kitchen:
Misato: "Asuka, Shinji! Dinner is ready!"
Shinji: "Oh, gosh...I forgot that it was Misato's turn to cook!"
Asuka: "Why are you giving me that horrified look? Is there something wrong? Is Ma--er, Misato's cooking really bad or something?"
Shinji continues to stare at her with the same disgusted look.
Asuka: "Oh. It's that bad? And I bet I haven't eaten anything for a few hours now..."
Dinner (well, Misato's dinner). Asuka doesn't really eat anything. First, because Misato's cooking wasn't very appetizing, and second, because, all things considered, she isn't that hungry (note that the second may be mostly a consequence of the first). She then retreats to her room shortly after that.
Shinji: "...this definitely isn't the Asuka we used to know..."
Misato: "You mean, because she's nice to you?"
Shinji: "Y-yes...in particular, because of that..."
Misato: "You know, I think it's because she forgot what happened to her when she was small..."
Shinji: "I won't ask. I bet it's another painful story."
Misato: "You're guessing right..."
Misato: "A few minutes ago she seemed happy to be with you in this apartment."
Shinji: "I noticed that, too...and I made her change her mind about the Eva."
Misato: "You're the first person she saw after she woke up...please try to understand her, Shinji-kun. She must feel like a stranger in a strange world, and she doesn't know anyone around here...it must be horrible for her."
Shinji: "I think I see what you mean."
Misato: "You have to be there for her, Shinji-kun..."
Shinji gives her a puzzled look.
Misato(fumbling): "No, I didn't mean that, like you have to love her! More like as a friend. We have to do anything we can to help her recover her memory, okay?"
Misato: "Tomorrow, you have harmonics tests scheduled. I'll talk with Ritsuko and she'll cancel them. Then you'll have plenty of time to show her around Tokyo-3, the school, the neighborhood. Try to show her photographs we took, too. That might help her..."
Shinji: "I noticed that, every time she tried to remember something, she said that her head hurt."
Misato: "Well, forget about the photographs, then..."
Shinji: "But I can try."
Misato: "Besides, we don't have much time to train pilots, you know...if she could recover her memory, it would be better for all of us."
Later that night. Shinji isn't really sleeping well. In fact, he's lying awake thinking instead of sleeping. He had just sat up in his bed when he hears some strange footsteps.
Shinji: "Who's there?"
Asuka: "Hmm...damn, I knew this wasn't the right thing to do. Sorry. I'll go back to my room now...have a good night."
Asuka is standing at Shinji's door, in a nightdress. He notices that her last words had a bit of a disappointed tone.
Shinji: "No...you can stay...I wasn't really sleeping, you know. You want to talk?"
Shinji's not used to the mighty Asuka having problems with words.
Shinji: "Well, come in and sit down, then."
Asuka: "If you don't mind..."
She then sits down, at his side, on the bed.
Shinji: "So what do you want to talk about?"
Asuka: "I don't know where to start..."
Shinji(trying to put her at ease): "Come on, I'm your friend, aren't I?"
Asuka(smiling): "Shinji...I...I want to ask you a favor."
She's quite visibly nervous.
Shinji: "Hey, you don't have to be so nervous, you know. What do you want from me, then?"
Asuka(giving him her best kawaii look; you know, that one no male on Earth can resist?): "Can I...can I sleep with you tonight?"
Shinji: "WHAT?! Sl-sleep with m-me?!"
Now he's the one who's nervous.
Asuka: "Please...I want to be with someone...not alone. I-I just had a nightmare...please..."
Shinji (to himself): "Wow. This is like a child asking her parents to chase the bogeyman away. Strange." (to Asuka:) "A...nightmare? You want to tell me about it?"
Asuka: "Well...I was little, and I was running and telling everybody around me that I was someone special. That I was chosen to pilot an Eva and...I opened a door...and saw someone hanging from the ceiling...God, it was horrible..." (sobbing:) "I don't know who it was, but I felt so sad, I wanted to cry and I..."
Seeing that she's on the verge of crying, Shinji stops her.
Shinji: "It's okay, you're awake now, I'm here, and you're all right...nothing like that happened, okay?"
Asuka(with a tearful voice): "Thank you, Shinji. You're so sweet to me. And I called you a baka a few hours ago. I feel so ashamed..."
Shinji: "That's no problem. I'm used to being called that, you know..."
Asuka: "Really? Who's calling you that!? I'm gonna hit him!"
Shinji hesitates for a second or two before answering.
Shinji: "Actually...it was you who used to call me 'baka' before your, um, accident."
Asuka(horrified): "I did that to you? Was I mean to you? Why did I...I must have been crazy to treat you like...like shit! I'll never forgive myself!"
Tears start coming back...
Shinji: "It's all right, really. Now, calm down...and just relax here."
He gestures to the space beside him on the bed.
Asuka(happily): "So, you'll let me sleep here? Oh, thank you, Shinji!"
She then quickly climbs over to the place he showed her and pulls the sheets over herself. Although Shinji feels really uneasy with a girl in his bed, he tells himself that he's doing this for her own good, without any other motives...well, he tries to tell himself that.
Asuka: "I know that it's not really right for a girl and a boy to sleep in the same bed, but...I just need to, sorry."
Shinji: "There's nothing to apologize for. I understand how you feel."
Shinji turns away from Asuka so he won't have to face her in bed. She wraps her arms around his waist and presses her body against his back.
Asuka: "Like that...I feel so much better...you're warm."
Shinji: "You, too."
Asuka: "Tell me, Shinji. Have you...errr...well...I know it isn't really...well...do you have a girlfriend?"
Asuka: "I mean...it must be the Rei you were talking about a few hours ago, right? She must be a great girl, the way you talk about her. I'd like to meet her."
Shinji: "Well, actually..."
Asuka: "She must be your girlfriend...sorry for asking. I know I shouldn't have. How embarrassing..."
Shinji: "...she isn't my girlfriend."
Asuka(grinning): "Someone else, then? A cute boy like you MUST have one! Or...is it me, by any chance?"
Shinji: "I don't have a girlfriend at the moment."
Asuka (happily): "Really!? Then...will you let me be yours?"
Shinji(stunned again): "What!?"
Asuka: "Shhh...I just want to. I can't help it. I feel safe when I'm with you. And...I know I can trust you, and only you...in this strange world."
Shinji: "What gave you that idea?"
Asuka: "You're so nice to me...and, you were there when I woke up. That's the proof that you care for me. I'm sorry if this is too much for you to handle. If you can't help me...I'll just leave, don't worry."
Shinji: "No...that's not what I'm trying to say..."
Shinji: "If you were to recover your memory, I really don't know how'd you react..."
Asuka: "Why? Why are you saying this?"
Shinji: "The Asuka I knew wasn't so lovely and desirable...when she was with me."
Asuka(chuckling): "Baka...oops, I said it again!"
Shinji: "Don't worry about it."
Asuka: "Anta baka? I like to call you that, but it's not very nice to you."
Shinji: "As I said, if you were to get your memory back...you wouldn't want to be my girlfriend anymore..."
Asuka: "Then I don't want to remember."
Shinji: "What are you saying?"
Asuka: "Too painful..."
Asuka(in a sad, faint voice): "I feel like the way I used to be was too painful. And if remembering everything...were to mean that I couldn't be with you anymore, I don't want to remember, ever."
Shinji: "Don't say that, Asuka. You will remember, sooner or later."
Shinji can hear Asuka's soft breathing behind him. He now knows that she's fallen asleep.
Shinji(to himself): "At least, I now know what the real Asuka is...a cute and kind normal young girl...don't worry about anything, Asuka, I'll be there."
TO BE CONTINUED
Don't miss the next episode: Familiarization.
Well, I was asking myself what I could write after The Child of Love. Now I know! :-) I hope you like this new fic!
Anyway, thanks to all my pre-readers:
Alain Gravel (author of The One I Love Is..., damn good!), Al-l-Bus (author of Imagine Normality?), Borderline Case (author of Reflections In Red), EBJ, Eva_Pilot00, Greg Thomas, Kaoru Nagisa (author of EvaLeSs), Jon Byram (author of Holy Knights), Readiosys Fisher (author of Unfamiliar Fearings), Shinji The 10 O'clock Assassin (author of "Many Fanfics" :-) ), Dave Watson (author of Victory, Child of Love retooling), Sudhoya'da, Sushi Boy, and Sammy Sy.
Thanks to you all, and thanks to all the people who read my fics!