-- SPOILER ALERT - The following fan-fiction contains spoilers. It is advised that you see the entire series before reading this fic. -- This fan fiction is adapted from Neon Genesis Evangelion, produced by Gainax. All characters thereof are the sole property of Gainax. They are used without permission and no claim on them is made by this author. -- I am Myself, part 1 by Chris Burke -- Lie still, little bottle. Don't twist it and twist in time. With every move you make you just disintegrate my ever troubled mind. -- They Might be Giants -- In a back corner of Toyko-3 stood a series of run-down apartment buildings. These were not the sleek, efficient, retractable buildings of the rest of the city. These were hulking, decaying monoliths of cracked cement and rusting steel. They had escaped the demolition that all other such monstrosities had suffered due solely to budget constraints and their remote location. Their days were numbered, however. Already the one nearest the city had been imploded and a new, modern structure was rising from the rubble. Within one of the buildings, on the fourth floor, ran a long dark hall with grey, cracked paint. Few of the lights worked, and those that did buzzed and flickered incessantly. Refuse left by tenants who had long since vacated the decrepit building littered the hall. Behind one of the many doors in the hall was the only occupied apartment in the entire building. It was just as dirty as all the abandoned rooms. The small signs of habitation - the working refrigerator, the dishes on it, the clothes lying about the room - only emphasized the dirt. On the bed before the window lay the apartment's occupant. She lay on her back, breathing peacefully. She stirred, her hand reflexively rubbed her nose, then she lay still again. Moments later the alarm on the dresser went off. Her face tightened, as though dreading the onset of consciousness. Then, Ayanami Rei awoke. She groaned as she sat up and rubbed her eyes. She sat there, just resting and waiting for her brain to come fully online. As she woke up, she stretched her arms above her head and arched her back and let out a soft moan. Rei winced as her feet touched the cold floor of her apartment. She stepped lightly over to her slippers, and walked into the bathroom. A moment later Rei walked out of the bathroom and over to her dresser. She turned off the alarm clock, then went back into the bathroom. She stepped out of her slippers and into the shower. She turned on the water, shivering in the cold until the hot water caught up. A sigh escaped her mouth as the water ran over her. Standing there under the stream she watched the patterns the rivulets of water made on her body. She followed them until they met the mass of water by her feet, swirling towards the drain. It struck her as being a little sad. Each drop was destined to end in the same place, carried by the rush of all the others. There was no choice, and no avoiding the final outcome. She pondered this for a moment, then brushed away such morose thoughts. She would think of sadness some other time, but not now for a simple reason: Today was going to be a wonderful day. Rei leaned her head back, letting the water hit her in the face, and smiled. Yes, it would be a wonderful day. She would get to see the Commander after school. During school, she would get to see Ikari-kun. Between would be an irritating visit with Dr. Akagi, but getting to be with the two most important people in the world to her more than made up for it. Rei picked up a wash-cloth and the soap, and began to clean herself. Ikari-kun. Just seeing his face would make her day. Rei hoped he would smile at her like he sometimes did. If he would smile at her, she would nearly cry with joy. Everything he said and did for her was precious. She would do anything to be near him, to see him smiling at her. She would do anything for him, because she loved him. The words struck her. Loved him. Of course she loved Shin-chan. She had loved him for a long time. Since the Fifth Angel she had loved him, and had loved him more every day since. Why then did it feel as though she had just realized it? No, it wasn't that she now knew that she loved him... It was that _he_ still didn't know!
She didn't know why she hadn't already, but that wasn't important. The error would be corrected. She would declare her love, and she knew with absolute certainty that he would accept it, and love her back. Such a thing must be done correctly, though. She could send him a message, tell him to ask to go to the bathroom. Follow him, and then in the hallway... No, not enough privacy, and not enough time. But she knew how she could get both. Her smile became a grin. She would tell him to come over to her apartment sometime after she was done with the Commander. She would tell him she needed to talk to him about... his father? Yes, that would work. Behind closed doors, she would tell him she loved him. Then she'd put her arms around him, and their lips would meet. Her mouth would show him her love. Locked together in a passionate embrace, she would lead him to her bed and... Rei realized that she had dropped her wash-cloth, and her hands had found their way to her breasts. she chided herself. Reluctantly, she picked up the wash-cloth and resumed washing. To keep herself from becoming too distracted again, she thought about Asuka. The Second Child clearly was not a fan of the First. Rei wasn't sure why that was so, but she imagined it must be her own fault. She recalled being cold to Asuka on more than one occasion. Asuka wasn't that bad, really. From her friendship with Horaki it seemed like she could be pretty nice, if given a chance. She was just misunderstood. Rei decided that today she would make an effort to be nice to the red-head. Shinji would probably like that. Suddenly an alarming possibility occurred to Rei. What if Asuka too held unexpressed feelings for Shinji? That would be trouble. She had to beat Asuka to him. Once they were together, the Second would be too embarrassed to make a move. Even better, if she could make Asuka into a friend instead of a rival, then she could solve two problems at once. Yes, everything will be wonderful. Rei got out of the shower, and returned to her room. She laid out her clothes on her bed, then began to dress. She wiggled into her panties, mourning that she had nothing more interesting than plain white cotton. But perhaps it was better not to totally blow her Shin-chan's mind all at once. He probably still thought of her as a reserved, shy girl. She put on the rest of her clothes, finishing pulling the frock over her head and adjusting the shoulders. She grabbed her bag and headed for the door. She was almost to it when she saw the piece of paper taped to the door on which was written: Take your medication. --Ayanami Rei Rei sighed, and returned to her room. In her excitement, she had forgotten all about her medication. She had been very forgetful lately; she couldn't even remember writing the odd note. Rei shrugged, and used the beaker of water to swallow a pill from each of the child-proof bottles. Then she turned and rushed out the door. The bleak hallway did nothing to damper her spirits. She strode down the hallway toward the stairs, and hummed a happy tune to herself she couldn't remember having heard before. she promised herself, grinning, Several minutes later, the front door to the apartment building opened and Ayanami Rei staggered unwillingly into the sunlight. She squinted and shielded her eyes from the bright morning sun with her hand. She kept her hand up, and pressed it against her throbbing temple. Head down, she began to walk slowly toward school. As she walked, the pain began to recede. She was halfway to school when the headache finally vanished. Rei lowered her hand, and walked with her normal brisk pace. Her head was upright, her eyes straight ahead, and her face the expressionless mask that others identified as Ayanami Rei. -- Rei sat quietly on a folding chair beside a table inside one of the many laboratories deep within NERV. Standing at the table, Dr. Akagi Ritsuko watched the vial filled with blood she had just drawn from the First Child spin in the centrifuge. The silence had been unbroken for nearly an hour when Rei spoke. "She came again," Rei announced flatly. Ritsuko stopped the centrifuge and looked down at Rei. "What? When?" she asked with concern. "This morning, when I woke up." The Doctor grabbed a chair and sat down facing Rei. "Rei, tell me what happened." "She was... in control as soon as I awoke. I had prepared, though, and she took the pills. They worked quickly. By the time I left the building, I was myself." She delivered the synopsis in her usual monotone, but her hand clenching the hem of her dress betrayed her feelings. "Were there any side effects?" Ritsuko asked. "I experienced a headache immediately after. It was short-lived." "I'm glad it worked," Ritsuko said. "I wasn't sure if it would in that situation. The drug is a stabilizer, designed to be preventative." She rubbed her chin and thought. "Though clearly not doing its job well enough. We should consider increasing the dosage." "That would be acceptable," Rei said. "You might get more headaches though," Ritsuko warned, though she knew it would not dissuade the First Child at all. "How much do you remember this time?" Rei was silent for a moment. "Everything," she said softly. Ritsuko nodded a little sadly, and decided not to press Rei any further. She had only wanted to verify that the drug had not affected Rei's memory. "So you will increase the dosage." It was a statement. "Yes, I will, Rei," she said. "Though I'm not sure it will work. The last increase didn't help prevent this attack." "It must work," Rei said. "Rei, we must accept that the drug may not be the solution." The Doctor leaned forward. "You know I am not an expert in this area. I can only work from what I know about you and the project." There was always the chance, Ritsuko worried, that this had nothing to do with the dummy system. If that was true, this was outside of her realm of knowledge. "Perhaps a psychologist-" Rei cut her off. "We have already discussed that," she said, a touch of irritation in her voice. "I know, Rei, but I was thinking there must be some way to do it surreptitiously." "Dr. Akagi," Rei said, looking at her, "the Commander must not know." "Of course," Ritsuko said reassuringly. "I promised that I would not let him know, and I meant that. You know there are secrets I keep from him." Rei nodded, seeming satisfied. "But Rei, you have to acknowledge that he might suspect after..." "He does not," Rei said, turning away. It was clear what Dr. Akagi was speaking of, and Rei did not like being reminded of that night. The night when the person who was not her had taken control while she was eating dinner with the Commander. When that person had used her body to seduce the man she most respected. She had returned to herself during it. He had noticed her body become stiff and her eyes clinch shut in pain just as he finished. He had staggered back, looking at her in horror at what he had done. They had never spoken about that night, yet now all their meetings were marred by tension. No longer would he place his hand comfortingly on her shoulder. Whenever he smiled at her, Rei could see guilt carved deeply into his face. She could hear it when he said her name. For this, she would never forgive. "Rei," Ritsuko said and got off her chair to kneel in front of the girl. "I understand you don't want to involve a psychologist. But we already know that the drug isn't one hundred percent effective. At the higher dosage it still may not be. What happens if she comes when you are at school? Or in front of the Commander again?" "Dr. Akagi..." Rei's voice was barely audible. "Dr. Akagi, you must find another way. A way to get rid of her. She... she was going to... Ikari-kun..." "I will do my best." She stood up. "As you know, the project is my highest priority. I will make this second. Does that sound acceptable?" "Yes, sir," Rei said, recovering her composure. "You can go now; I'll finish the rest myself. You can double your dosage tomorrow, and next time you are here I will have a refill for you." "Yes, sir," Rei said as she stood up. She walked to the door of the lab. "Goodbye," she said, and left the lab in the direction of the Commander's office. Rei walked briskly down the hall. She wanted to see the Commander, but was nervous. She wished she knew how to make things right again, and how to do it without telling him about /her/. She wasn't sure why, but she felt it was important that he not know. Rei stopped in the middle of the hallway, with a puzzled look on her face. She had forgotten where she was going. She remembered being with Dr. Akagi... which meant that now she should be headed to dinner with the Commander. Even more important, she remembered, were her plans after dinner. She smiled as visions of the night's activities moved through her mind. Her excitement grew, and she had to suppress the urge to run down the hall to the cafeteria. she thought. She grinned as she walked. -- end part 1 first posted 3/25/2000 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.umich.edu/~wyrm/abp