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-- 
SPOILER ALERT - The following fanfiction 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, and no 
claim on them is made by this author.
-- 
Previous parts can be found at:
http://www.umich.edu/~wyrm/abp/fanfic.html



Rei's Birthday Present, part 2
by Chris Burke
--

     Shinji stood in front of the open door to Rei's apartment. Next to
him stood Misato. In the doorway was Rei. She was looking at the large
cardboard box in Shinji's arms, her mouth turned down in the faintest of
frowns.     

     "Um... Can we come in?" Shinji asked, nervously. He had many
expectations when he knocked on the door, but Rei's current expression
was not one of them.

     Rei stepped aside to let them pass. They walked past her and into
the bedroom. Shinji set the box down in the center of the room, and
turned to smile at Rei who came into the room after them. 

     "This is her room? What a dump." Misato's muttered comment caused
Shinji's smile to twitch. He hoped Rei didn't hear. She didn't appear to,
though Shinji had to admit that didn't mean much. 

     After a moments silence punctuated by the sounds of construction,
she spoke. "What is this?" she asked, her mouth turned down slightly.

     "We brought you a present," Shinji said, gesturing at the box at his
feet.

     "A present?" She looked down at the box, which made another
whimpering sound. Her mouth straightened.

     "A birthday present," Misato said, coming to stand next to Shinji.
"For you birthday," she said when Rei didn't respond. This statement too
was met with silence. "Hello, Rei? Today is your birthday?" Misato said,
incredulous.

     "My... birthday?" Rei said quietly. 

     Shinji thought he heard an odd tone in her voice, but didn't know
what it meant. 
Shinji couldn't believe it. Surely his father would have...

     "Just open the box, Rei," Misato said tersely, interrupting Shinji's
thoughts.

     Obediently, Rei stepped forward and knelt in front of the box.
Shinji quickly sat down cross-legged nearby, between Rei and Misato. He
grinned and leaned forward in anticipation as she lifted the lid.

     Rei looked into the box. Inside was a small dog, looking back up at
her with wide brown eyes. From head to tail it was less than a foot long,
most of that being taken up by its narrow body. Its legs were stubby even
in relation to its small frame. Its head, too large for the small body,
was topped with large pointed ears. That and the narrow muzzle lended a
fox-like appearance. Its short fur was brown and white in large patches.

     The puppy wagged its tail, and barked.

     Rei turned a questioning look on Shinji.

     "It's your present, Rei," he said, trying to reassure her with his
smile. "It's a corgi," he added, even though the word held little meaning
for him.

     Rei looked at him, then at the bag of dog food at Misato's feet,
then back at the dog. "I am to care for it, then?" The frown had
returned.

     "Geeze, Rei, I'm not ordering you to," Misato said. She sat down on
the floor, crossing her legs in front of her. "We just thought you'd like
a pet. You know, someone to keep you company. It's so gloomy here." She
gestured to encompass the entire apartment.

     Rei looked down at the dog, as though not quite sure what to do with
it. The puppy, however, had its own ideas. It bunched up its long body
and short legs, and leapt out of the box onto Rei's lap. Without
hesitation it leaped again towards the pale girl's face.

     Reflexively Rei leaned back away from the canine projectile. Already
off balance, the impact of the puppy's small mass against her chest was
enough to send her over backward. She landed with a flop, knees in the
air, dog perched on her chest and licking her face with vigor.

     Misato burst out laughing. Shinji joined her, and turned his head to
avoid seeing something he shouldn't. The sound reflected off the bare
walls, brightening the atmosphere of the otherwise dark room.

     "Rei, I think she likes you!" Misato laughed.

     At the sound of Misato's voice the dog looked up. It hopped off Rei
and bounded over to Misato.

     "Oh no you don't!" Misato said cheerfully, catching the pup when it
leapt up toward her face. She held it in one hand and stroked it with the
other. "Such a cute puppy!"

     Rei sat up and wiped her face with the back of her hand. Shinji
looked over at her, still chuckling. He answered her confused expression
with a shrug. He turned back to Misato, who was struggling to hold the
wiggling puppy. "Hey, let me hold her."

     Misato handed the puppy over to Shinji, who took it in both hands.
He held it up to his face and let it lick him. He laughed at the tickling
sensation and coo-ed "Good dog." He set it down on his lap and stroked
its back.

     "Hey," Misato said with a girlish giggle, "you're keeping her from
her mother."

     "Right," Shinji said, and held it out at arms length for Rei. She
looked at it warily, as though it may have been poisonous. "Go on, take
it," he encouraged.

     Hesitantly she reached out. At Shinji's nod of approval, she grabbed
the pup from his hands. It wriggled in her grasp, and to keep from
dropping it she pulled it up against her. Still for not a moment, it
rolled over and stood up on her arms. This time she didn't back away when
it's face approached hers. It began to lick her face.

     Misato leaned back on her hands, laughing again. "Well, while you
two get to know each other... Shinji, why don't you show her what else we
got."

     "Okay," he said, and took hold of the smaller bag. "There's the
food, of course. Here's a chew toy," he said, pulling out a smooth white
bone-shaped toy. "Water and food dishes, leash, another chew toy." Rei
watched over the head of the dog as Shinji added a green rubber frog to
the pile. It squeaked when he set it down. "A book, collar, dog tag,
ball, and... another chew toy?" He raised an eyebrow at the yellow rubber
duck, but set it down with the other items.

     The dog, apparently satisfied with the coating of slobber on Rei's
white skin, jumped down off her arms. It scampered over to the pile and
grabbed the rubber frog in its teeth. It padded back to Rei, and climbed
onto her lap.

     "We got a license," Misato said, "and she's already had all her
shots. So you don't need to worry about that." She glanced around the
room, as though looking for something.

     Rei nodded. The animal in her lap chewed on the frog
enthusiastically. She kept her hands at her sides, away from it.

     "Just to warn you -- she had just started house training when we got
her. So you will have to handle that." Misato tapped her chin. "That's in
the book, right Shinji-kun?"

     "Ah... Yes, I think so," he answered.

     "Good. She has no other training yet either. She's three months old,
though, and this breed is supposed to be easy to train, so that's no
problem." Misato shifted uncomfortably.

     "Ah... Ayanami?" Shinji said concernedly. "What are you going to do
with it while you are at school?"

     Misato answered for her. "She'll have to leave it here alone. So
you'd better get on that house-training, or you'll have a mess, Rei."

     Shinji looked at Misato, then at Rei and the dog. Taking care of a
dog sounded like a lot of work. He began to suspect that what was
supposed to be a gift was actually just a burden. He didn't want to place
any more burdens on Rei.

     "Ah... Ayanami... are you...?" He tried to find a voice for his
concerns. "Are you up to all this? I mean, are you sure you can handle
it?"

     "I will," she answered.

     "Of course she can, Shin-kun," Misato said, waving her hand. "Taking
care of a puppy isn't that hard."

     This didn't reassure Shinji much. He didn't think Rei knew what was
involved. With her treating it like an assignment, she would agree to it
regardless. He was not sure if Misato really knew much about taking care
of dogs, either. Pen Pen didn't count, given the degree of
self-sufficiency the penguin showed. 

     "Rei," Misato said, closing her eyes and putting her fingertips to
her temple, "you can touch her, you know. She isn't going to bite, as
long as you are nice to her."

     Slowly Rei placed one of her hands on the dog's back. As soon as she
touched it, the dog dropped its chew toy and twisted around to lick her
hand. She brought up her other hand and began to lightly stroke the
animal's fur.

     At the sight, Shinji felt his spirits rise. He was reminded of why
he had thought this was the perfect gift for the quiet girl, and his
worries vanished. Even if taking care of the puppy was a burden, wouldn't
that be offset by what was happening right now? He believed -- had to
believe -- that they were doing the right thing.

     Conviction restored, Shinji watched Rei in silence. The repetitive
clanging of a nearby pile-driver filled the small apartment. The
metallic, rhythmic cacophony set the peaceful image of a small girl
petting a puppy into sharper relief for Shinji, making it seem more
precious. He wanted to stay here, to watch this first contact for hours.

     "Well!" Misato's voice cut sharply into Shinji's nearly meditative
state. "We'd better get going, don't you think, Shinji?" She stood up
abruptly.

     "Ah... I guess so." It hadn't really been a question. He wasn't
quite sure why she wanted to leave so suddenly, but he got up
regardless.

     "Have fun with your new friend, Rei," Misato said as she passed by
the girl without looking at her.

     Shinji looked from Misato's retreating back down to Rei. She looked
up at him. "Ah... I'll see you in school tomorrow," he said.

     Ayanami's gaze dropped back down to her lap, where the puppy was now
lying still under her touch, eyes half closed. "Goodbye, Ikari-kun."

     Seeing Shinji coming, Misato turned from where she had been waiting
to open the apartment door. She ushered Shinji out, and was about to
follow when she hesitated. With one hand on the door, she called back
into the room. "Rei?"

     "Yes, sir?" the soft answer came.

     "Your last synch test showed you up three and a half points. That's
outstanding, Rei. Keep up the good work."

     "Yes, sir."
     
     Misato sighed in exasperation. She stepped out of the apartment, and
shut the door behind her. "Let's go, Shinji," she said, and began walking
briskly down the hallway.
     
     Shinji followed after a moments hesitation, and had to run to catch
up. They passed the elevator, which was out of order as it had been the
last time Shinji had been there months ago.

     "Three and a half? That's pretty good," he said conversationally.
Shinji looked up at Misato's hard-set jaw before she started down the
stairwell, taking the steps two at a time. 

     They had nearly descended all four floors when Shinji called out
"Misato-san!" He was winded from keeping up with his speeding guardian.

     "What, Shinji-kun?" she said over her shoulder, not slowing down. He
followed her down the hallway on the ground floor and out the front door
into the waning afternoon sunlight.

     "Misato, I'm sure..." He paused to catch his breath while Misato
walked around her car which was parked in front of the building. She
opened the door and got in.

     Shinji sat down after Misato opened the door for him. "I'm sure Rei
meant to thank you. She was just kinda surprised that's all."

     "What?" Misato said, starting the car and tearing away from the
derelict building. "Oh, I don't really care about that."

     "You don't?"

     "No, not at all. I mean, this is Rei we're talking about, right?"
Shinji looked over at her, noticed her expression had softened. "I didn't
do it for thanks. I did it because you thought it was the right thing to
do, and partly because it makes me feel better."

     "Oh... You left so suddenly, and you looked kinda upset... I
thought..."

     "Oh, no." Misato laughed. "I just had to get out of there before I
got a migraine. The noise was driving me crazy! Is it always like that?"

     "I've only been there once before!" Shinji said defensively. "But...
it was like that last time, too."

     "How can she stand it?"

     Shinji shrugged.

     "So, do you think she liked her present?"

     He sighed. "No... Not yet anyway. It will probably take her a
while." He looked out the window at the tall white buildings of Tokyo-3,
gleaming orange as the sun began to fall. "But I'm sure someday she'll be
really happy we got her that puppy."

     Misato was satisfied with the answer and fell silent.

     Shinji let himself drift off into a daydream, in which a smiling Rei
told him how grateful she was for their gift, how happy she was not to be
alone any longer.  

     He was startled out of his reverie when he heard Misato mutter
distantly: "What an awful place to wake up with a hangover."

--

     When Rei heard the door to her apartment close, she let out a nearly
inaudible sigh. The unnoticed tension in her shoulders eased. The ordeal
was over, and she was alone again.

     Except she was not. She looked down, and noticed as if for the first
time her hand petting the dog. Startled, she moved her hand away. She
looked at her hand, wondering what had possessed it. She could still feel
the fine texture of the fur lingering on her fingertips.  she rationalized. Satisfied for the moment, she
considered the animal, which had fallen asleep on her lap.

     Here, completely unexpected, was a change in her life. 

     This did not alarm her. Change was inevitable, and must be dealt
with when it came. She was not yet sure how large a change the animal
represented. Most likely not as large as when she had moved into the
apartment and started going to school. Not as large as when the Eva
project had entered its main phase. Not as large as Ikari-kun... But that
was a different kind of change. Here instead was a change in
responsibility, and her daily routine. No more.

     Responsibility. Rei was only directly responsible for her own well
being, which was fairly simple. A monotonous task, really, but it was
required of her, so she did it without complaint. Now she was responsible
for the dog as well. Katsuragi had said that it was not an order, but
clearly she was expected to care for the animal.

     Rei accepted the task with a mental shrug. She would do it, of
course. Except that she had no idea how. She looked to her side at the
pile of things Misato and Shinji had brought along with the dog, hoping
for some aid.  she thought with relief. 

     She reached to pick the book up without disturbing the puppy. The
thin book was entitled "Your Puppy and You: A Practical Guide". The cover
featured a pencil sketch of a child hugging a small dog to his chest. She
opened the book, and scanned the contents. She skipped the chapters
"Choosing the Right Breed" and "Selecting a Puppy" as clearly irrelevant
to her situation, and opened the book to "Care and Feeding". 

     Several paragraphs into the chapter, Rei was confused. According to
the book, puppies required large amounts of food to grow, but smaller
breeds required less food. Smaller than what? Less food than what? How
much less? The answers were not there. The only solid information she
could extract was that there should be three meals a day, with feedings
just before her own meals if possible.

     Rei briefly noted the pain in her stomach. It was time for her to
eat, which by the book's logic made it time to feed the dog as well. She
set down the book, and then picked the dog up off her lap and set it down
beside her. 

     The dog stood up and yawned. It looked up at her and wagged it's
tail. Rei attempted to stand, and nearly fell over in the attempt. Her
legs were completely numb. She waited for sensation to return, which it
did, painfully.

     Standing solidly now on still tingling legs, she picked up the pair
of bowls and set them in a corner. She then studied the bag of food. 

     The bag was labled, in large letters, as having more meat content
than competing brands. While Rei was herself a vegetarian, she had no
problem with others eating meat. If meat was what dogs ate, then so be
it. What she did have a problem with was the smell of meat, which she
found highly unpleasant. She hoped the smell of the dog food would be
bearable.

     When she opened the bag, the dog began to bark excitedly and run
around her legs. She held the bag open, and gave an experimental sniff.
The scent was unlike anything she had smelled before; not pleasant, but
also not at all like meat. She nodded in satisfaction.

     On the back of the bag was a small chart containing recommended
servings based upon the weight of the puppy. This was still useless as
Rei did not have a method of weighing the dog. She decided that too much
food was better than too little, until she learned different, and filled
the bowl. As soon as she set it down the puppy dove into the bowl. 

     Rei filled the other bowl with water and set it down beside the
first. She then went to prepare her own dinner.

     Heating her ramen noodles did not take long. She took a seat on the
bed and began to eat her noodles just as the dog finished eating. It had
left about a quarter of the bowl un-eaten, and was now was lapping water
from the other bowl. Rei noted the amount of food left for future
reference.

      Rei thought, and grabbed another
mouthful of ramen with her chop sticks.

     The dog turned away from the water bowl. It wandered around the room
with it's nose to the ground, stopping to sniff at a bed post, and near
her dresser. Rei watched it as she chewed. Eventually it stopped in the
far corner. It turned around, looked directly at Rei, and squatted on its
haunches. 

     A moment later it stood and scampered away happily, leaving behind a
small puddle.

--

     Misato emerged from her bedroom. She had on her jean shorts and
yellow tank top, and had her hair pulled back. She stretched, glad to be
out of her uniform and ready to relax.  she
thought, and headed for the kitchen with a purposeful stride.

     In the kitchen, Asuka was sitting at the table, reading a magazine.
She didn't look up when Misato walked past to the refrigerator. "So, how
did it go?" she asked.

     "Oh, all right, I think," Misato replied, opening the refrigerator.
She grabbed a can of Yebisu, not noticing the already open can behind the
container of orange juice.

     Asuka turned a page. "I can't believe you spent so much money on
Wonder Girl."

     "Oh it wasn't that much," Misato answered, closing the refrigerator.
"The woman selling the puppies was pretty desperate to get rid of them
before they got too old. Seems with the current situation, no one has
time for a pet. She gave us a lot of stuff for free, too." She cracked
open the beer. "Besides, I spent a lot on Shinji's and your birthdays."

     "Yeah, but you're our guardian," Asuka replied.

     Misato stopped with the lip of the can millimeters from her mouth.
"Oh, so because I'm your guardian I have to throw you a big party?"

     "You know what I meant!"

     Settling back against the refrigerator door, Misato took a long
drink.  She let out a long and energetic whoop.

     Asuka tapped her finger in irritation until the last echoes faded.
"Well, now that that's done..." 

     Shinji walked into the room. "What's going on?"

     "We were just talking about your trip to First Child's," Asuka said,
"until our guardian decided to let the world know she was drinking."

     "Oh." Shinji kept his voice flat through substantial effort. "I
thought maybe Misato had put her face down on the hot stove."

     "Are you stupid?" Asuka retorted, but with evident humor. "She makes
that noise so much, I'd think you'd be used to it by now."

     "But it _sounds_ like she's in pain," Shinji explained, his face
curling into a grin. "I can't help but worry that maybe this time she
really is."

     "It's the woman who cried wolf," Asuka said. "If she does put her
face down on the stove, we can't be blamed. 'Oh, Misato's just drinking
again,' we'll say." Shinji snickered.

     Misato stared at them with narrowed eyes.  she thought, nursing her beer, 

      Silence settled on the kitchen. Shinji fidgeted. By way of making
conversation, he said "So, Asuka... Why didn't you want to go in with us
on Ayanami's present?"

     Asuka slapped her magazine shut. "Because I think it's a stupid
idea, that's why!"

     "Come on, Asuka, it's a good idea," Shinji protested. "She's always
alone, and this will give her some company." 

     "How do you know she wants company?" Asuka shot back. "Regardless,
by giving First Child that dog you've sentenced it to death."

     "She can take care of a puppy! It's not like she won't feed it,"
Shinji replied angrily.

     Asuka shook her head. "Maybe she could keep it from starving, if she
had an instruction book. But a puppy needs more than food. It needs
something it'll never get from Wonder Girl -- love."

     Shinji stared at her. She stormed on. "I bet when you gave it to her
she didn't even pet it unless you told her to." When Shinji lowered his
eyes, she smirked. "I knew it. There's no hope."

     "But..." Shinji started, but had nothing to say.

     "I don't know, Asuka" Misato interjected. "The dog obviously liked
Rei."

     "So does Shinji, but you don't see her showering _him_ with
affection."

     Shinji's only response was to turn bright red. Misato continued to
drink.

     "I'll have no part in putting a dog into a loveless home," Asuka
said with finality. She opened her magazine and flipped idly through it.
"Besides," she said offhand, eyes on a full-page advertisement, "it's not
like she got _me_ anything for _my_ birthday."

     "Ah ha," Misato said. Asuka glared at her askance.

     "Asuka, I told you, she didn't know she was supposed to," Shinji
said.

     "Humph." Asuka turned the page in the magazine. "That's no excuse.
She should have figured it out from your party. Which reminds me that she
didn't even come to mine."

     "You invited her?" Misato said. She shook the beer can, felt its
emptiness.  she told herself, glumly.

     "Of course!" Asuka said. "I had to invite my fellow pilots, no
matter how weird." She looked pointedly at Shinji.

     "Gee, I can't imagine why Ayanami didn't come to your party," Shinji
said sardonicly.     

     Asuka's eyes narrowed briefly, then she tossed her head. "It's your
fault. Your party was so boring, and she didn't realize mine would be
better."

     Shinji grumbled but didn't respond. Asuka flashed him a triumphant
grin, mentally putting a tick mark under her name.

     "Well, Asuka," Misato said, setting her empty can down on the
counter, "it's too late for you to go in on the puppy anyway. You could
still get her a gift if you wanted, but you don't have to." With that she
went to the living room to relax on the couch.

     "I'll be in my room." Shinji walked out of the kitchen.

     Asuka stood up. "Fine. I'm starting dinner now, so don't get too
comfortable."

     Alone now, Asuka went to the refrigerator and opened it. Casting a
glance at the living room, she grabbed the open, mostly full can of
Yebisu.

     There were many things about Japan that Asuka had a little trouble
getting used to. Not having beer was one of them. "When in Rome" had been
Misato's take on the issue of the ludicrous drinking age law, but that
was not a cliche Asuka put much stock in. 

     She wasn't sneaking, of course. Drinking beer was her right, and she
would exercise it when and where she chose. It was just more convenient
to avoid an argument over the issue. For this reason it was fortunate
that Misato didn't keep track of her beer supply very well. Nevertheless,
an open, partly finished can would raise suspicion. 

     Finishing it was out of the question. Yebisu, it turned out, was not
much to Asuka's liking. In fact, she hated it. She emptied the can into
the sink.

     Asuka looked back into the living room to make sure she wasn't being
watched. Her mind was drawn to the last thing Misato had said to her.
 she thought, 

     She set the empty can along side the others, and then began to
prepare dinner.

--

     Ayanami Rei was exhausted. 

     She had already been fatigued when she had come home from school.
The unexpected arrival of two visitors had only exacerbated matters.
Dealing with people was always a draining experience for Rei. Even more
with Ikari-kun. 

     Then there was the dog.

     Rei hastily consulted the book in response to the dog's sudden
release. The book made it clear that cleaning up the mess was imperative,
lest the dog take to going there all of the time. She didn't have the
recommended cleaners, and so improvised with dish soap.

     That done, she then went to find some newspaper. Normally there were
papers by the front of the apartment building, left there for the
occupants and never claimed. This time was no exception, and she returned
to her room with an armful. She laid out a sheet where the dog had gone
before, in case it did decide to keep using that spot.

     Next Rei lay down on the bed to do her much-delayed schoolwork. By
the time she finished the work, it was past the time when she was
normally asleep.

     She sat up on the edge of her bed and set the schoolwork aside. Now
that all practical concerns were accounted for, she could afford some
time for introspection.

     The dog had kept itself occupied while she did her homework by
wandering around the room, sniffing at everything. Now it found the end
of a used bandage hanging out of a cardboard box, and grabbed it in its
teeth. It ran across the room, dragging the blood-stained cloth behind
it.

     Rei studied the playing animal. The animal which was her present.
 she thought.  While she
knew the concept, she had never thought of it applying to her. Commander
Ikari had never mentioned her birthday before. 

     The puppy caught Rei's stare. It dropped the bandage and ran to her.
It stood with its small front paws on her shin, looking up at her and
tail wagging furiously. Rei looked down at it, puzzled. It jumped up to
her knees, and fell back down, tail still wagging.

     Thinking she understood what it wanted, she reached down and picked
it up, then set it down on her lap. It jumped up, and its nose touched
Rei's. Then it lay down in her lap, panting. It looked up at her
expectantly.

      Rei brought her hand halfway up toward it, then stopped. Earlier
she had startled herself by petting it, yet she had been about to touch
it again. It had not been an entirely unpleasant sensation, however.
Perhaps she could find out why she felt the impulse. Thus Rei, purely in
the interest of discovery, pet the dog.

     The puppy's tail, which had been swaying back and forth peacefully,
beat furiously in response to Rei's touch. She took this to mean that the
dog, at least, approved.

      She rubbed its back lightly. 
The dog's fur was soft and smooth. Her fingertips tingled.  The dog radiated heat into her palm and lap. Rei yawned.  She remembered the gifts others had brought to
Ikari-kun's party. 

     The dog sighed; its back moved under her hand with the motion of its
breath.  she thought, stroking it. The dog rolled over, so her
hand rubbed its stomach. 

     Rei stopped, yawned again. She picked up the puppy and set it down
on the floor. It whined questioningly. Rei ignored it, and began to
undress. It was late, she had to get up early again the next morning, and
she was obviously too tired to think clearly. 

     Rei slid under the bed sheet, and reached up to turn off the
fluorescent lamp. The room was lit palely by moonlight through the
window. Rei closed her eyes. She focused on her breathing, attempting to
relax her mind.

     Over the sound of the machinery that receded at night but never
ended she heard quiet whimpering. She didn't respond, intent on getting
the rest she needed. 

     The whimpering stopped, and was replaced with the clicking of claws
on the bare floor. Then scratching noises, near her head, and a yip.

     She opened her eyes and looked over just in time to see the puppy's
head vanish below the edge of the bed. The clicking noise came again,
then the dog appeared, front paws just clearing the bed. It scrabbled for
purchase on the bed sheets, slipped, and fell. It landed with an audible
thump, and whimpered loudly. Rei, thinking it may have injured itself,
turned over and looked down past the edge of the bed. 

     The dog was sitting, looking up morosely and whining. When it saw
Rei, it stood up and wagged it's tail. It scampered away from the bed,
turned, and charged. It leapt up and landed halfway on the bed. It kicked
its hind legs until it was able to push itself up onto the bed.

     Rei rolled onto her back again. The puppy walked across the bed to
her head. It licked her cheek for a moment, then stopped to yawn. It
turned around in place several times, then curled itself up against the
crook of her neck and closed its eyes. It sighed contentedly.

     She moved her hand up to rest on the puppy's back. Rei stared at the
ceiling, her attempt to rest derailed by this new feeling. Soon, however,
her eyelids became too heavy to hold open, and she drifted off to sleep.

--
end part 2

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first posted 7/27/1999
wyrm@engin.umich.edu
http://www.umich.edu/~wyrm/abp/fanfic.html
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