The Mysterious Girl, The Fourth Child?
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1
Okay, from this point on, I’m gonna have some spoilers, so caveat lector.
Dawn, now clad in a clean NERV uniform, looked in amazement at the huge purple…mecha? That seemed like the right word. Xander would probably know, he had introduced her to anime after all. Or maybe that was just another false memory created by the monks.
Whatever the term for it was, the thing was both awe-inspiring and terrifying. Like everything in this screwed up place, it just seemed ominous. It reminded her far too much of the numerous monsters that roamed Sunnydale, preying on humans.
“This is Evangelion Unit 01,” Dr. Akagi explained, “The Evangelions, or Evas for short, were created to protect humanity from the Angels. Units 00 and 01 are prototypes. Unit 02 is the first production model Eva and is located in Germany with its pilot. Units 03 and 04 are currently in production in America.”
“Coolio…” Dawn responded half heartedly, still having a staring contest with the Eva.
It wasn’t that she didn’t find her tour of NERV HQ entertaining. She was just immensely freaked out by this place and she really wanted to go home.
“So what did that Commander guy say?” Dawn finally asked.
“Erm…” Dr. Akagi hesitated momentarily, “Commander Ikari would like you to attempt to pilot an Eva first and if you are indeed selected as the Fourth Child, he would prefer for you to remain here until either Unit 03 or 04 is complete. Then you’ll have your own Eva.”
Dawn had a few things on her mind at this point. One, she definitely didn’t like this Commander Ikari already if he was trying to drag her into this global conspiracy/war or whatever these people did. Two, she very much didn’t like that there wasn’t a question anywhere in what Dr. Akagi had just said to her. Three, she had guessed that Fourth Child meant fourth pilot. Four and most importantly, definitely wasn’t looking forward to getting in that…thing.
“So…I have to get inside that?” Dawn inquired uncertainly.
“No,” Dr. Akagi responded, “We will test you in Unit 00. Its pilot was injured recently and she is still recovering.”
She turned around to look straight at the bleach blonde scientist. She found herself wondering if her mole had switched sides since Dawn last looked at her. She was savvy enough to know just to go along with this and wait for her chance. Being captured by a hell goddess can do that to a girl.
“Okay then, let’s get this over with.”
Dr. Akagi reached into her lab coat pocket and pulled out two small white objects.
“These are A10 Nerve Clips. They will allow you to mentally link with the Eva.”
So it was going to be linked to her brain? Dawn had a feeling that wasn’t a good thing.
Dawn took a hesitant breath of the LCL around her. Just like Dr. Akagi had said, she was able to breathe it like air. It was an odd feeling though, like having water in her lungs but not drowning.
They had made her put on some skin tight one piece suit
The orange Unit 00 hadn’t unnerved her as much as Unit 01, but she didn’t like it. She liked even less the small, liquid filled tube she had to get in to pilot it. She just kept in mind that she needed these people to trust her if she was ever going to get out of here to open a portal home. Besides, he had stared down real monsters, soulless demons that subsisted on the blood of humans and took sadistic pleasure in toying with their victims and she been held captive by a god and then jumped to what was supposed to be certain death, so what was having to get inside a scary giant robot? Granted, Buffy was the one that did the slaying, but she watched!
Suddenly everything around her flashed several colors and then a screen appeared in front of her. It showed Dr. Akagi standing over a younger brunette whom Dr. Akagi had introduced her to. Maya, Dawn believed her name was. She appeared to be typing on some keyboard and monitoring something. The two of them conferred in Japanese and then spoke with some other people in the room.
“You are doing fine, Dawn,” Dr. Akagi said, “Your ratio of synchronization is 26.2%. That is pretty good for…”
She trailed off and began speaking to Maya in Japanese again.
“Your synchronization ratio appears to be rising.”
“Is that normal?” Dawn asked, still nervous.
“Not for a test like this. Excuse me.”
Dawn sat in silence, waiting for them to finish talking.-you?
“Huh?” Dawn asked, looking at the screen. It apparently hadn’t been Dr. Akagi as she was still talking to Maya.Who are you?
Was that coming from inside the Eva? Or inside her head.
“Okay, this is seriously creepy,” Dawn muttered.Who are you?
It was more forceful this time. She had to get out of this thing. But how would it react if she panicked? She forced herself to stay calm. Buffy couldn’t come save her here. She had to stand on her own feet.
“D-dawn. Dawn Summers.”
Dawn looked at the screen to see Dr. Akagi hadn’t heard her. The last thing she needed was them thinking she was talking to herself. Especially after the vampire comment.You are not one of the Lilim, nor are you a child of the other. You lack the light. How do you exist as a separate entity?
“Um, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Separate entity from what?”
“Hello? Creepy disembodied voice?”
“I’m never getting in this thing again,” Dawn promised herself.
“Dawn!” Dr. Akagi yelled.
It was only then that Dawn realized her eyes had been closed. Did she fall asleep in this thing and have some kind of weird dream? It hadn’t really seemed like it.
“I was worried. I thought you had lost consciousness. Your synchronization ratio went back down. We got the data we needed so I’ll eject the entry plug.”
Dawn let out a sigh of relief.
“Oh wait,” she said, “what are Lilim?”
Dr. Akagi seemed to be caught off guard by this.
“I don’t believe I’ve heard of Lilim,” she said after a moment’s hesitation, “Why do you ask?”
“Um, it’s nothing, just a word I heard before,” Dawn quickly lied, “I think it was a science term or something so I thought you might know, being a scientist and all.”
She mentally chastised herself for being so careless again. Lilim obviously meant something and now they knew she knew Lilim, whatever they were, existed. She just hoped that wasn’t ‘shoot you in the head if you find out about it’ classified information.
“What do you have to report?” Gendo asked, sitting in his characteristic position with Fuyutsuki standing at his side, as always.
Most people would be intimidated by him in the gloom of his office, but Ritsuko Akagi was used to it.
“She was able to synchronize with Unit 00. Her synchro ratio started at 26.2% and rose to about 92.6% in a short amount of time, then went back to 25.4%.”
Gendo considered this for a moment.
“Was there anything else unusual?”
“She appeared to be unconscious when her synchro ratio reached the eighties and she was mumbling to herself. When she came out of it, she asked what the Lilim are.”
Gendo’s eyebrow arched.
“Is it possible she communicated with the soul inside of the Eva?” he asked.
“I considered the same thing. I wouldn’t have thought such a thing would be possible without her completely dissolving into it,” she replied.
Gendo sat in pensive silence.
“Perhaps it would be better if she didn’t attempt to pilot an Eva again, at least until she has one of her own. Rei seems to be recovering from her injuries. I believe the two of them should meet. I intend for the two of them to live together. And tell her she will go to Nevada to test Unit 04 when the Americans finish it. Dismissed.”
Ritsuko nodded and exited.
“What are you thinking?” Fuyutsuki asked after she was gone.
“If this girl can communicate with the souls of the Evas, it may cause problems,” Gendo stated, “But how does she do it? What is she?”
“Could she be an Angel?”
“All the tests indicated she isn’t. She may be human with special abilities or she could be something else, neither human nor Angel. The important thing is to use her for our advantage.”
“What about her Eva? Whose soul could be put in it?”
“That might be unnecessary. She may not require one.”
“What basis do you have for thinking that?”
“As we’ve seen, she’s special. Even if I’m wrong, she will probably have made friends by then. All the children at the school are potential candidates for being Eva pilots, so if they happen to have an accident, their parents will understand that is one of the risks of war.”
“So why Unit 04, why not Unit 03?”
“It’s closer to where she wants to go,” he said simply, “Besides, I don’t intend to let her go until we have located the Fifth Child.”
“Don’t you worry the Americans or SEELE will get their hands on her?”
“No, I have it all planned out.”
When Dawn met Rei Ayanami, her first thought was ‘demon.’ The girl was fairly pretty, even if she didn’t wear any makeup and her right eye was covered by a bandage. The thing that bothered Dawn was that the girl had blue hair, red eyes, and was practically albino. The hair color could’ve been the result of dye and the eye and skin color could’ve been from actual albinism. Dawn just hoped she was right about that, though she had a sinking feeling in her stomach that said otherwise.
Plus the girl was seriously creepy, her school uniform only making her seem like something not quite human masquerading as such. The only thing that comforted Dawn were the bandages and her right arm in a sling. At least if she wasn’t human, she wasn’t invulnerable either.
“Hi, I’m Dawn Summers,” she said as cheerfully as possible.
Rei stared at her.
“Rei Ayanami,” the creepy girl said in a flat voice.
The two stood in awkward silence with Rei’s eyes boring into Dawn. Dawn averted her gaze, not wanting to stare into those red eyes. It felt like the creepy girl was staring into her soul. Dr. Akagi had warned her about Rei, but she hadn’t expected this. It was Dr. Akagi who finally broke it.
“Rei, Commander Ikari would like Dawn to live with you and for you to teach her Japanese. You’ll have to move to a larger apartment.”
Dr. Akagi smiled, “Why don’t you two girls get to know each other a little? I need to go take care of some things.”
“Okay,” answered Dawn.
Rei did nothing.
So Dawn was left alone with the creepy girl. They both sat down in nearby chairs.
“Um, so what do you live alone?” Dawn ventured, not sure what she was supposed to ask.
Rei regarded her, then nodded.
“That must be nice, ya know, no one telling you what to do. I bet you can pretty much do whatever you want. I really miss my sister, but she could be pretty strict sometimes.”
There was a hint of what might have been confusion on Rei’s face.
“I do as I am ordered.”
More silence followed as Dawn thought of what to say.
“Do you…ever get lonely living alone?”
No reply as Rei looked at the floor.
“I think I’d get lonely if I had to live alone,” Dawn said, trying to fill the silence, “I kind of resented Mom and Buffy, that’s my sister, sometimes but I couldn’t imagine having to be all by myself. I just hope you don’t mind that I’m going to live with you.”
“We were ordered to live together,” Rei said.
Dawn was really starting to feel uncomfortable. This living arrangement was not going to work.
“So, uh,” she attempted again, “Do you think it’ll be hard for me to learn Japanese? ‘Cause I already know a little. Buffy’s Wa-boss taught it to me. He always said that American schools would never give me the language skills I would need in that stuffy British way of his. I was so excited, ‘cause like how many teenagers can say they speak a bunch of languages? He was even teaching me to read Sumerian, which is cool, but I doubt I’d ever need that.”
Even if her new roommate didn’t appear to be listening, Dawn was comforted by reminiscing.
“If you are a good student, it should pose no problems,” Rei replied, much to Dawn’s surprise.
Growing emboldened, Dawn decided to push ahead with more questions.
“So what do us crazy teens do for fun here?”
“Fun?” Rei asked in response.
“You know, whacky hijinks? Stuff you do when you’re not following orders?”
“I always follow orders.”
Dawn could see this path going nowhere. Maybe she had been brainwashed. This place certainly reminded her of the Initiative. Well, what she had always thought the Initiative would be like from what they had told her about it and she wouldn’t put it passed any Initiative-like organization to do something like that.
Luckily she was saved from further conversation by Dr. Akagi arriving with two other people in tow. The first was a brown eyed woman with black hair that had an almost purplish tint to it who looked to be about Dr. Akagi’s age, wearing a black dress and a red jacket over it with a silver cross necklace. The other was a blue eyed brunet boy who looked to be about fourteen or fifteen wearing a school uniform consisting of a white button up shirt and dark blue pants.
“Dawn, this is the Third Child, Shinji Ikari. He pilots Unit 01 and he’s Commander Ikari’s son,” Dr. Akagi introduced, “The woman is Captain Misato Katsuragi. She’s a field commander for the Children and Shinji’s guardian for the time. They’re here for Shinji to run a combat simulation. You can stay and watch if you want. We’ve got people preparing a new apartment for you and Rei.”
“Sure, I’ll stick around for that. It’s not like I’ve got anything better to do,” she said, then decided to try her Japanese skills out on her new acquaintances, “Dojo yurishiko.”
Both of them gave her very strange looks. That was definitely not the right phrase for ‘pleased to meet you.’ Maybe she should’ve paid more attention when Giles went over Japanese. Luckily Dr. Akagi was there to bail her out.
“I think you meant ‘dozo yoroshku,” Dr. Akagi said with a small laugh and then said something to Shinji and Commander Katsuragi in Japanese.
As Dr. Akagi and Commander Katsuragi continued talking, Dawn noticed Shinji attempting to talk to Rei. He was very hesitant and spoke slowly and cautiously. When Rei did reply to him, it was in just one or two words with a short phrase thrown in. Dawn noted a look in Rei’s eye as she looked at the boy. It was piercing, but also seemed somehow maternal in a way. Not ‘cookies and hugs’ maternal, more ‘we need to have a talk, young lady’ or ‘mess with my baby and I’ll hit you with a fire axe’ maternal. Dawn just tried to shrug it off as her imagination.
Of course this all made Dawn feel a little left out. Not that she wasn’t used to that. Buffy had always kept her at arm’s length from the Scoobies, ‘safe’ from all the things the things that go bump in the night. What a joke that had been.
She really hoped this simulation would be interesting. The last thing she needed to do was stand around moping. She would find a way and that was all there was to it.
Dawn tapped her pen on the notebook in front of her. She sighed and took another look at the textbook in front of her. This was becoming very frustrating. Finally she just sat the pen and completely stretched out on her bed.
Learning Japanese had been tougher than she originally thought. In the more than two weeks she had been living with Rei, she had already learned hiragana and katakana and some simple words phrases (her previous lessons with Giles, brief though they were, had paid off here), but now it was starting to become harder. She had moved on to trying to learn some kanji and to make sentences. It was really nice to have a native speaker help her, even if getting Rei to talk for very long was like pulling teeth.
Their apartment was fairly nice, if a bit cramped. She and Rei shared a bedroom, the bathroom was tiny, and they had one place that served as a kitchen, dining room, and living room all in one. Dawn remembered learning that living space had been at a premium in her world’s Japan. Apparently this was true in this Japan as well, a problem made worse by good portions of the country being underwater.
She spared a glance at the empty bed across from her. It was a total mess and Dawn was tempted to make it just so she would have something to do. In the time Dawn had lived with Rei she had learned several things about her: she was creepy, she didn’t bother to pick up after herself, she was so introverted that she made Tara look like a social butterfly, she had no problem with Dawn seeing her naked after she finished bathing, and her blue apparently was her natural hair color (something Dawn learned from her lack of modesty).
“Too bad I’m not into ‘doing spells’ with other girls like Willow and Tara,” Dawn said aloud with a chuckle.
This remark made her feel really homesick. She really had nothing to do while Rei was at school but study Japanese and miss her friends and family. This inevitably led to questions. Did they think she was dead? She hadn’t left a body behind after all. Would this make them think she had landed in a Hell dimension like Angel did? Were they spending day and night reading old spell books looking for a way to get her back? How much time had passed there? According to Anya, her almost three weeks here could be three hundred years back home, or possibly just three seconds.
“No,” she said firmly, “I’m not going to think like that. I’ll find a way home no matter what. All I need is a nice shopping trip to get myself out of this place for a while.”
Wasn’t that the truth? She had managed to drag Rei on one trip to spend some of the money NERV gave them, but Dawn’s roommate didn’t really show any interest in having any clothing aside from her uniform.
“What teenage girl doesn’t like shopping?” Dawn asked herself, then raised her voice and shook her fist, “You’ll never brainwash out my love of shopping!”
At that moment her NERV issued cell phone rang, causing her to jump.
“Just kidding!” she said, as she reached for it hesitantly.
“Hello?” Dawn answered.
“Dawn,” came Dr. Akagi’s voice, “We have spotted another Angel approaching the city. A transport team is coming to get you and bring you here. Meet them in front of your apartment building.”
Dawn sighed as she shut the phone.
“Even in a different dimension I have to deal with monsters.”
Shinji’s face hurt like Hell after the punch he had just taken. It wasn’t his fault that Toji guy’s sister had been hurt during the Angel attack. He didn’t even want to pilot the stupid Eva. He never should’ve told anyone he was the pilot.
There was a small glimmer of hope though. Misato had mentioned something about that American girl being the Fourth Child and that her Evangelion was under construction in America. Maybe once it was done and Ayanami recovered from her injuries, he wouldn’t have to do it anymore.
As he lay one the ground, looking up at the sky with clouds floating lazily, he couldn’t help but wish he could just fly away. He just wanted to get away from it all, the Angels, the Evas, NERV, his father, and everything else. If only…
He noted the sound of approaching footsteps and turned to see Ayanami. Embarrassed, he sat up and rubbed his face.
“An emergency call,” she said simply, “I’ll go on ahead.”
She ran off in the other direction as the emergency sirens began going off.
A/N: It felt like it took me forever to get this done. I had actually intended to have the fight with Shamsel in this chapter, but then I realized my one episode-one chapter format wasn’t going to work too well with episode four consisting of Shinji being all emo and running away and episode five consisting of recovering parts of Shamsel (something I could actually work with) and flashbacks of Rei and then Shinji accidentally groping her. So I’ll probably be combining them together for the next chapter.