Source: geocities.com/seele_hq/Archive

               ( geocities.com/seele_hq)    
------------------------------------------------------
SPOILER WARNING: This fan fiction spoils incidents up
through episode 23.
------------------------------------------------------
SARIEL; OR, FOR THE LOVE OF A LADY
Adapted from the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime and manga 
by GAINAX.
------------------------------------------------------

"But, for the love of a lady...come on, Jonny! What are we
waiting for?"
--_Walt Disney's Robin Hood_

Somewhere in Tokyo-3, in the early hours of the morning, a 
light came on in the toilet stall. There was a pause, then came 
the muffled sounds of crying.
--
Horaki Hikari took a bus to school that morning. She told 
her mother that she was tired and that she hadn't slept well. It 
was the truth. Her mother had asked her why, and if she was 
feeling well. Hikari replied, "Stress. That's all." That was the 
truth in part.

She rode on the bus, a quarter of the way back on the left hand 
side. She sat in the window seat, resting her shoulder and her 
head against the glass pane. Tokyo-3 passed by, blurred colors in 
the wintertime darkness. It was early still. Many streetlights 
were on. Hikari's eyes were drawn to the brightness against the 
dark. She looked for light.

She arrived at school well before classes began, even before any 
of her clique appeared. She walked through vacant halls, 
listening as her footfalls reverberated against the floor, and the 
sound bounced across lockers, walls and ceilings. Posters and 
flyers hung by their tape, waiting to be read. Hikari found herself 
in their homeroom; so she put her bookbag down and busied 
herself. She looked at the potted plants at the windows, seeing 
that their soil was moist. She ran a finger across desktops and 
the chalkboard. She paced the rows of desks, wishing that she 
could fill some with her peers and friends.

They came, in time. First was Ayanami Rei, who came early or 
never came at all. Then Aida Kensuke. Then more of the class 
that she represented. She greeted them all. Suzuhara Touji 
came. He was her boyfriend. She kept him at a distance that 
morning. He thought that she was being coy, and she let him 
think so.

Minutes before classes were to begin, her friend Sohryu Asuka 
Langly arrived, with her roommate Ikari Shinji in tow. Hikari 
smiled, thinking about what the morning's conflict would be 
over. A late rise to the waking world, perhaps? Burned toast? 
An improperly cared-for penguin?

"You IDIOT!" shouted Asuka. "I cannot believe you. You have 
no pride in your work WHATSOEVER. You're an 
embarrassment to all of NERV and the entire United Nations."

"But--but--it looked so tasteless..."

"Quiet. It's done with, thanks to you and your cowardice. Good 
morning, Hikari-chan. Shinji's being stupid."

"I guessed so," said Hikari. She beckoned to Asuka to follow her 
out into the hallway. "What's all this NERV business?"

"Hmph. I thought it would be inspiring if we painted kill marks 
on our Evas, so I stenciled some haloes with Xs through them 
on the purple one he has. And then he had them painted over! 
Without telling me!"

Hikari lifted her nose. "I think that's quite a nice idea."

"Isn't it though? Hey, so what's up?"

Hikari sighed and said, "Will Katsuragi-san be at your apartment 
today?"

"Misato? Sure. What do you want with her?"

She bowed her head and whispered, "I'd rather not say, right 
now. When does she get home?"

Asuka scratched her head. "Um, she usually comes--wait! That's 
right! She's taking today off because she's been putting in 
overtime for the past two weeks. Why don't you come home 
with me right after school? We can work on our report for 
history class together."

"That's a good idea," said Hikari. "Let's meet after last period, 
then." The two girls went inside the classroom as the bell 
chimed.
--
Major Katsuragi Misato, highest-ranking woman within the 
United Nations Forces and NERV, responsible for the defense of 
humanity against the threat of the Angels, scratched herself. She 
itched. She was dressed in a thin white t-shirt and a pair of boxer 
shorts. Her attention was occupied by the pile of mail in her 
arms that she had only begun to leaf through; then the sound of 
a key came from the front door and three young adults poured 
inside.

"Misato?" said Asuka. "I brought Hikari-chan home today. 
We're going to be working on our project for History class 
together. We're putting our stuff in the living room."

"Go on in. I'm sick to death of watching TV. Hi, Hikari-chan." 
Misato nodded absently at Hikari's greeting and set the mail on 
the kitchen table. Pen-Pen joined her picking through the pile. 
"'Aria Club Selection-of-the-Month', that's for 
Shinji...'Verofften Institut Meeresforschen Bremerhaven 
Sonderbund' and 'Ko-Gyaru', those are for Asuka...'June', this is 
for ME... 'Fish Monthly', 'Fish Quarterly', 'Fish Semiannually', 
and 'Icelandic Trawler', those are for you...and give me that 
catalogue back, Shin-kun." Shinji wiped his nose off on a paper 
napkin.

Into the kitchen came Asuka, with Hikari following her quietly. 
Asuka wore a bright smile on her face. "Shinji, I've got an idea!"

"What is it?"

"Hikari and I want to talk with Misato, so why don't you go off 
to your room and snivel for a while?"

Misato couldn't help herself. She threw back her head and 
laughed at Shinji's expression of dismay and impotence. 
"Shinji, don't take it so bad. You've got your new album to 
listen to. Go on, then. I'll call to you when we're done." Shinji 
slumped his shoulders and padded off to his room, with Pen-
Pen accompanying him for camaraderie.

Misato watched them until she heard Shinji's door close, then 
she sat across from Asuka at the kitchen table. She popped open 
a 
fresh can of sake, downed a quarter of it, then said breezily, 
"Now then, Hikari-chan, what's up?"

"I'm pregnant."

Silence.

Then, again, "I'm pregnant."

Her hands were folded in her lap. Her shoulders were tilted just 
away from the straight back of the chair. Her head had been 
tilted down, and she raised it as she said, "Misato-san, I just 
don't know what to do."

Asuka remained where she was, her eyes feeling tender. Misato 
silently moved around the table to Hikari's right side. Hikari 
half turned to her. "I've been so scared, so afraid of doing 
anything. I haven't even told my parents yet."

"Hikari-chan." Misato put a hand on Hikari's shoulder and 
another on the clasped pair in her lap. Hikari reached out to 
Misato's hands and squeezed them as Asuka drew her own chair 
closer to Hikari's. "Hikari-chan, I'm so glad you're telling me. 
I'll help you however I can."

"Thank you." She bowed at the shoulders and wiped a tear from 
the corner of her eye.

"Now, the first thing I want you to tell me," said Misato, "is how 
far along you are." She had risen, and she walked across the 
kitchen to the telephone. There was a note pad and a pen lying 
by the phone.

"It'll be five weeks ago on Friday."

"Uh-huh." Misato made a note of it. Instead of moving on, she 
saw that Hikari wasn't done and fell silent. _I don't need to 
know this,_ she thought, _but Hikari needs to tell us._

"There was a party that night. One of the high-school girls had 
invited me because I'm the class president. I took Touji with me. 
We got there, and we had fun, but then some guys crashed the 
party with some booze. Well, one wasn't going to kill us, so he 
and I each had some to drink.

"It didn't seem like we drank that much, but...neither of us was 
thinking straight. He tried to walk me home, but we ended up 
going to his house. His father wasn't home, and his sister is still 
in the hospital. We kissed for a while, and then...I guess things 
got out of hand. He used one of his father's condoms, but it 
broke.

"The next morning, we were both feeling terrible, so we decided 
to forget that it had happened. He took me home, and I snuck in 
without my parents noticing. I couldn't lie to them about 
drinking, but I didn't tell them that I'd been with Touji that 
night.

"I couldn't stop worrying. I snuck a pregnancy test kit home 
with me last night, and this morning I tested positive. And I just 
don't know what to do. And Misato-san, you..."

"I'm a slut."

Hikari and Asuka both giggled nervously. "Yes. You're quite 
promiscuous."

Misato finally returned to her seat. "Well, I may get around, but 
that means I won't keep it to myself. One thing I want to make 
clear to you, though, Hikari--even though I'm willing to help 
you come to a decision, in the end, you're the one who makes it. 
I can't do that for you. Do you understand that?"

"Yes."

"As long as that's clear." Misato jotted down some notes on the 
pad. "Hikari, there are really just two options that you have 
now--you can either keep the baby, or you can abort it. 
Everything else is a variation on the two. If you want to keep the 
baby, you can raise it yourself, or you can put it up for adoption. 
If you want an abortion, there's a couple of different ways that 
you can go about it."

Hikari let out a small gasp. "But--don't abortions for young girls 
require parental consent?"

"We'll worry about that later, Hikari-chan. So, abortions. It's still 
early enough in the pregnancy, you may be able to take a drug 
such as RU-486. If you do, then you won't even have to go to a 
clinic, the fetus will be sloughed off of your body in your 
period."

Hikari's eyes widened, and she paled. Asuka gaped at Misato. "In 
your period? That's awful! I can't imagine anything worse than 
passing a fetus!"

_The kids today never cease to surprise me,_ thought Misato. 
"Well, there are other ways. I think five weeks is soon enough 
to have a regular clinical abortion. That might be more 
expensive, and you'd have to see one of their doctors, but I'd 
loan you some money if you need it."

"What about my parents? What about Touji?"

Misato winked. "I know a couple of places that might 'misplace' 
the paperwork, Hikari. You wouldn't have to tell anyone if you 
didn't want to."

Hikari hung her head again. "I couldn't ever tell Touji about 
this. He's sensitive enough around his sister, I can't think of 
how he'd act if he knew that he got me pregnant." Beside her, 
Asuka didn't agree, but she didn't object. "And my only other 
choice is...to have the baby?"

"Yes, that's right," said Misato. "Your parents would have to be 
informed, and you'd have to see an obstetrician, and you'd have 
to change your lifestyle to accommodate the baby. On the other 
hand, a lot of my friends are happy mothers. I'm sure you could 
make a good mother if you tried it."

Hikari was silent, thinking very hard. Asuka leaned to her and 
said, "Hikari...I don't care what you do. I'm your best friend, and 
I'll be with you no matter what, at the clinic or the delivery 
room. I promise."

"Me too," said Misato.

Hikari was silent, still thinking. Then she became quieter than 
silent.

Daniel Snyder
in his new abode at dsnydder@gunnm-seraphim.org
If I wasn't such a strange person,
this would all seem so confusing.