Claymore Fan Fiction / Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ Neon Genesis Claymore ❯ Siblings ( Chapter 2 )
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---------------------- Neon Genesis Claymore: Chapter 2: Siblings
Breathing hard, Hikari pulled herself away from Touji’s fevered kiss.
"I want you," she whispered. "Do you want me?"
"More than anything."
She pulled open her silver shirt. "Even with a body like this?" she asked, the fear of rejection plain on her face.
Touji glanced down and, for a moment, his eyes grew wide before they returned to gazing into hers. "That doesn’t matter to me. You’re what matters to me."
She smiled and pulled him into another passionate kiss.
Some time later, Hikari stirred next to her gutted campfire as dawn broke. She stood and stretched, parts of her body still feeling pleasantly warm after how her dream had continued.
"You slept very soundly," a voice beside her said.
"I know, Ermita," she replied as she turned to face him. "Usually your approaching would have woken me up."
"Good thing I wasn’t a youma or a thief."
"I don’t think I was sleeping that deeply," Hikari said with a smile. "What are you doing here anyway?" she asked as she began to put on her equipment. "I’m still over a day’s walk from my current job."
"There has been a change of plans. Number 37 will be dealing with that request now."
"You have been reassigned to a much more serious task."
Hikari frowned. Ermita could only be referring to one thing. "An Awakened Being hunt."
Hikari felt a stab of fear in her heart. "Even though I’ve gone on seven hunts already, the prospect still scares me."
"As it should… You are to proceed to the town of Eridu, three days south of here. There you will take command of the other three members of your team. The target is in the mountains just to the west."
"What can you tell me about it?"
"It is a former single digit from five generations ago. She had been quiet for a long time, but something seems to have stirred her."
"A single digit… That will be difficult. Who else is on my team?"
"That I don’t know. I have now told you everything I was told."
Hikari holstered her sword. "I’ll see you back in Eridu when we’re done."
"I look forward to it. Lead the others well."
Free of her confining armor and clothes, Asuka was enjoying her dip in a deep pool she had found in a forest stream. She smiled contentedly as her head broke the surface, her cares momentarily forgotten.
"Having fun?" came a voice from behind her.
She spun about to find Rubel sitting on a large rock.
"Turn around, you pervert!" she yelled.
Rubel complied, but added, "Asuka, how many times have I seen you naked since you were six years old?"
"Way, way too many!" she answered with a huff. "You’re always ogling me."
"How can you tell I’m ogling you through these glasses of mine?"
"Because you’re a pervert!"
Rubel chuckled. "Oh, well… You know, for someone who enjoys covering herself in her victims’ blood as much as you do, you certainly seem intent on always getting it off you and your clothes as quickly as possible."
"It can’t be the smell. A warrior’s body smells exactly the same."
"Would you prefer it if I just left it to putrefy?"
"You do have a point."
"Damn right I do," Asuka snapped as she got out of the water and walked over to her clothes, which she had spread out on a sunny rock to dry after washing them.
"I’m surprised. You seem in a sour mood. I would have thought that making a kill today would have made you happy."
"I was… but then I passed a caravan on the road out of the town," Asuka answered soberly as she slipped her pants back on.
"There were slave traders in it, and they had a couple of little girls… It pissed me off. The traders looked so smug. If it wasn’t for the rule I’d have killed them right then and there."
"I see. Are you concerned the girls will end up in Sutafu?"
"Yes and no… There are far worse fates."
"But, unlike most of your sisters, you were never a slave, Asuka."
"I know, but sometimes I feel like I’ve had even less choice." She sighed heavily. "Mama," she whispered.
"Sempai!" Maya cried as she rushed into Ritsuko’s office. "I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get here in time for your meeting with the Committee!"
Ritsuko waved her off. "I’m surprised you even know about it. One of them just came in here and told me to come to the meeting room."
"What did they have to tell you?"
"They’ve made their decision regarding accelerating the Project."
"Yes, and in their typical fashion they’re going to try to have things both ways… Training with Number One is to begin as soon as possible, but at a slower schedule than originally planned. In that way, in about two years time, the schedule will be back to what it was originally. This way they hope to minimize the worst risks, which are further into the timetable."
"Then why would they bother to change it at all?"
"I presume they want the flexibility to be able to speed things up if necessary."
"I still don’t understand why they would want do that. It’s so risky."
"I have no idea, either. The best conjecture I can come up with is that something must be happening in the South that we don’t know about."
"What do you think of them, Rei?" her handler asked as he sat watching some 9-year-old trainees spar.
Standing behind him, Rei closed her eyes. "They have a very wide range of yoki."
"That’s understandable since most of them are too young to have fully integrated the youma transplants into themselves yet. But do any of them stand out to you at all?"
Rei opened her eyes and soon focused on one girl whose short hair still bore traces of its original brown. "That one will be a very strong warrior," she said, pointing.
Her handler nodded. "Your perceptions are sharp as always. She’s Rafaela. She may turn out to be this generation’s Number One."
"That is Rafaela? Her sister and she will most likely be the next subjects of the Project, correct?"
"Yes, but don’t say things like that out loud except in private, Rei. You are not supposed to know about the Project or your place in it yet… Remember, I only told you so you could better prepare yourself through constant training."
"I understand. I will not do it again."
Hikari felt the yoki of the last remaining arm of the Awakened Being as its claws swept towards her.
‘Into the ground,’ she thought as she attuned her own yoki to the beast’s.
‘Now!’ her mind screamed as the claws obediently smashed into the dirt at her feet. ‘The head is finally completely undefended.’
Releasing her own yoki power, Hikari leapt into the air and drew back her sword.
"Yaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!" she yelled as she brought it down, cleanly slicing completely through the Being’s neck.
She landed on her feet in a shower of purple blood.
‘That was so hard,’ she concluded as she dropped to one knee, almost totally spent. ‘She was tough.’
Hikari surveyed her wounds. ‘Two slashes in my left thigh, one of them deep… a puncture wound through the stomach.’ She wiped some blood out of her right eye. ‘And a scalp cut.’
Leaning on her claymore she pulled herself painfully back to her feet. ‘I’m in rough shape… but I’ll heal soon enough.’
She looked around to see how the other members of her team were faring.
"How are you, Anya?" she asked warrior Number 19, who was kneeling on the ground, leaning on her sword.
"I’m pretty banged up, but I’ve had worse," she answered between pants.
Hikari turned her attention to the other two. Number 34 was sitting on the ground, cradling Number 31’s head in her lap. The latter’s yoki was very faint.
"Is she?" Hikari asked, fearing the worst.
"Yes," Diana answered weakly. "Wendy’s dead."
Hikari hung her head. She had never lost anyone under her leadership before, and had always felt no small amount of pride at the fact. "This is my fault," she said, fists clenched. "I let you all down."
"Commander!" Anya cried, shocked. "You’re amazing! If it wasn’t for you we’d all be dead! The rest of us were no match for that thing."
Hikari tried not to show it, but she knew there was truth in Anya’s words. She had known that this team was going to have trouble from the moment she had met them. A typical Awakened Being hunt team was led by a single digit and usually consisted of at least one warrior in the teens and two others no lower than the twenties. There were always at least two hunters with prior experience.
That was not what Hikari had been given.
She had hoped that, because of the strength of the opponent, she would have had another single digit or at least someone in the low teens, together with two other warriors no lower than twenty-five, all with experience. Instead she was faced with a team with two members in the thirties, none of whom had ever participated in a hunt before.
‘What was the Organization thinking?’ she asked herself as a tear ran down her cheek. ‘I suppose this was probably the best team they could put together around here at a moment’s notice. Awakened Beings can destroy entire towns, after all, so they had to move quickly.’
She looked up with a sigh. "I will find a suitable place for Wendy’s grave and dig it myself. I owe her at least that much for my failure as her leader."
Diana started to protest but one look from Hikari silenced her.
A few hours later, as the sun was beginning set, the three remaining warriors stood on the mountain valley overlook Hikari had chosen.
"This is a lovely spot," Anya said. "I hope my gravesite is as beautiful."
Hikari fought back more tears as she turned to Diana. "Wendy was your friend, wasn’t she?"
Diana nodded. "We were trainees together."
"Then the honor of the final duty is yours," Hikari said as she held out Wendy’s sword.
Diana took it and thrust the point deep into the grave to serve as its marker. "Goodbye," she whispered.
"Our work here is done," Hikari said solemnly. "Return to your districts and carry on with your duties as warriors… It was good to fight beside you. May we all live to meet again."
She turned and walked away without looking back or saying anything more, just as she always did at the end of every job.
"What do you want?" Ritsuko snapped as Rei walked through the doorway of her office.
"She is merely with me," Rei’s handler said as he came in behind her.
"And what brings you here?" Ritsuko asked in a far more deferential tone.
"I’ve just been speaking with members of the Committee. Rei and I have been ordered to go to Lagash."
"So soon? Is she really ready?"
The handler nodded. "I thought you might want to accompany us. We’ll be leaving in the morning."
Having walked all night, Hikari arrived in Eridu just as dawn was breaking.
She was not surprised to find Ermita waiting for her beside the town gate.
He tossed a pack at her feet. "I anticipated you would need a new uniform."
"I lost one of my warriors," she said sadly.
"That is not surprising given the weakness of your team."
"Then you knew all along?"
"Of course… I just did not want to burden you with that knowledge any longer than necessary."
"If I had known sooner, I might have been able to devise a better battle plan," Hikari spat. "Wendy might still be alive if I had."
"You and I both know that is highly unlikely given an opponent such as the one you faced. No amount of planning can prepare the uninitiated for an Awakened One."
Hikari reached down and picked up the bundle. "You can be so callous sometimes."
"It comes with the job… Do you know how many warriors I have sent to their deaths? One cannot help but become detached."
"So what’s my next assignment?"
"You were to be allowed two days here to rest and recuperate. Are you so eager to get back to work?"
"Anything to get my mind off of what happened." ‘And to get away from you for a while.’
"Very well, then… The Organization has need of its Eye. You are to report to Lagash."
"Lagash? Not Sutafu?"
"No, Lagash it is. There you are to meet up with Number One and her handler."
"N-Number One? Why?"
"Your new supervisor will give you that information."
"Goodbye, Hikari," Ermita said as he turned and began to walk away. "I hope you live long enough for us to meet again."
"Oh, Shin-ji!" Misato called out flirtatiously. "Do me a favor and bring me my robe!"
"But you’re in the tub!" the boy replied from the kitchen, where he was preparing dinner.
"Don’t you want a peek?" Misato teased.
Shinji dutifully went and fetched the robe, and then cracked open the bathroom door and tossed it in without looking.
"You are no fun!"
"Sorry, Misato," Shinji replied and then went back to his vegetable chopping.
A moment later there was a loud knock at the door.
"Coming!" Shinji said, only to find that the door was already open and a bearded man in black was standing just inside it.
Shinji stopped dead in his tracks. "F-Father."
"It’s been a while."
Shinji suddenly charged at him, brandishing the knife he still held in his hands.
In an instant he found himself knocked flat on his back. He saw stars for a moment when his head hit the floor with a thump.
When his vision cleared, he looked up and saw a blue-haired girl dressed like a Claymore in full battle gear standing over him, holding his knife in her left hand. He noticed there was blood on it. ‘My God! She grabbed the knife by the blade!’
Shinji slowly got to his feet, where his breath caught in his throat when he saw the girl’s red eyes regarding him as if she were sizing up prey.
Doing his best to collect himself, Shinji shot his father a withering look. "What do you want here?" he asked darkly.
Gendo smirked. "I decided it was high time for you to meet your twin sister," he said, putting a hand on Rei’s shoulder.
For a moment Shinji felt faint. "M-My… sister?"
"Why, yes," Gendo replied, his smile widening. "Your younger sister, if only by a few minutes."
Shinji again looked at the strange girl. Her neutral expression had not changed once, nor had the look in her eyes.
"Why…" Shinji began to ask when a dripping wet Misato came rushing into the room in her bathrobe, clutching her chest.
"Shinji! What is going…" she began to say until she saw who was standing in her doorway.
"Hello, Misato," Ritsuko said, stepping out from behind Gendo.
Instead of replying, Misato stared at the girl standing in front Shinji. "This… This is Rei?"
Shinji’s eyes went wide. ‘Rei? Wasn’t that the name of the Claymore that Hikari girl seemed so frightened of?’
"You’re R-Rei?" Shinji asked in a near whisper.
"Yes," she replied softly. "I am warrior Number One."
Shinji returned to glaring at his father. "If you’re here, it can only mean that you want something from me."
"That is correct."
"And it must have something to do with her."
"Again, you are correct."
"What is it?"
Gendo turned to Ritsuko, who shook her head. "Don’t tell him too much at once," she said so only he could hear.
He turned back to Shinji. "We’ll be back to give you the full details when the last member of our team has arrived. That should be in a few days. Until then I want you to rest and conserve your strength. You’ll need it for what’s ahead of you."
"No," Shinji said with grim finality.
"What was that?" Gendo asked, his tone even but clearly annoyed.
"Whatever it is you want, I’m not going to help you."
"Rei, show him what the consequences of not cooperating would be."
There was a sudden flash of steel and Shinji found Rei’s sword at his throat.
"Do I make myself clear?" Gendo asked, again smirking.
Shinji looked from the sword to Rei’s unblinking eyes.
"If you don’t want to die right here and now, you’d better say ‘yes.’"
Shinji’s entire countenance collapsed. "Yes, father… I’ll do as you say."
With another flash Rei’s sword was back in its rack.
Gendo turned and began to leave. "Remember, rest up. We’ll be back soon."
"How does suddenly learning I’m your father make you feel?" Gendo asked Rei as they returned to his room in the town’s finest inn.
Rei’s face betrayed her bewilderment. "Feel?"
Gendo chuckled. "Forget I asked… So, what is your impression of your brother?"
"If it had not been for his place in the Organization’s plans, I would have taken his head for attacking you."
"Even given the rule about not killing humans unless you have orders to do so?"
"Does that rule apply to him?"
"You knew, didn’t you?" Shinji asked Misato, breaking the silence that had dominated their evening meal.
"About Rei?" Misato asked, and then nodded. "Yes. I knew you had a Claymore sister, but until just now I’d never actually seen her."
"Why didn’t you tell me?"
"Shinji… You refer to yourself as an ‘orphan’ even though your father is still alive. You hate him so much you immediately attacked him with a knife after not seeing him for over two years. Was I supposed to think that you’d feel any differently about having a sister like that?"
"No… I suppose not. But I would still have liked to have known."
"Claymores are all inhuman monsters… and she’s the most monstrous of all. The longer you didn’t know about her the better, as far as I’m concerned."
Misato got up from her chair and came around the table to give her charge a comforting hug, only to be pushed away.
"Don’t touch me!"
"Shinji? What’s the matter?"
"You! You’re what’s the matter!" he said as his eyes filled with tears. "All this time I thought you cared about me! But now I see you were just taking care of me as a job!"
"T-That’s not true! I’ve always cared about you, Shinji."
"Then how did you know about my father’s plans and about my sister?" he asked morosely.
"It-It is true that I took you in after the Organization asked me to… but I wanted to, regardless of that. I couldn’t stand the thought of you being all alone after your uncle died… But if it hadn’t been for the Organization giving me money all this time I could never have afforded to look after you."
"You didn’t have to do their bidding. We could have moved far away. We’d have managed."
Misato sighed sadly. "You might be right, but I didn’t have much choice about their so-called offer."
"Let’s just say I owe them and leave it at that."
At that moment, far to the southwest, three men were walking down a seemingly deserted rural road.
"What’s that up ahead of us?" one of them suddenly asked.
"I-It’s a silver-eyed witch!" another replied with a gasp. "And she’s coming this way!"
"Good evening, gentlemen," the Claymore said as she approached.
"Ma’am," the three responded as politely as possible, as they gave her a wide berth.
Moments later they were all cut to pieces by the warrior’s blade, their purple blood flying everywhere, revealing their true nature.
Asuka let out a string of curses in an obscure Northern language as she sheathed her blade. ‘And I just washed my uniform…’
"God, I hate giving freebies," she muttered as she continued on her way.
Her mood still dark from the night before, Misato crawled out of bed and made for her kitchen. She grabbed her morning bottle of ale off the shelf and then noticed something unusual.
She went to his room but found it vacant. A quick check of his dresser confirmed her worst fear.
‘He’s taken some of his clothes and his little money stash.’
"I should have guessed he’d do something like this," she said to herself unhappily.
"He’s what?" Gendo asked angrily.
"As I said," Ritsuko answered in an annoyed tone, "Misato came to that crummy little inn you stuck Maya and me in and told us that Shinji’s apparently run away."
"I see… Rei!"
"Our outing to locate suitable accommodations for you will have to wait. Find him and bring him back, alive."
Shinji did his best to make himself comfortable on the ground as darkness fell.
‘Good thing I remembered about Kensuke’s favorite camping spot… There’re fruit trees and a stream here… Another day’s hike and I should come to Nippur. A big city like that, I'll be able to join a caravan there that’ll take me anywhere.’
A while later, he was just about to drift off to sleep when he heard the clink of metal on stone. He opened his eyes, and saw nothing but a moonlit sword blade.
"What the?" he exclaimed as he shot upright and dashed towards the darkness of the nearby trees.
However, as he reached them he was suddenly grabbed by the throat. "Did you think you could get away, brother?" a soft voice asked him out of the darkness.
The hand released him. A few moments later he heard several sharp clacks behind him and saw sparks fly as Rei knelt to light a small campfire.
She looked up at him. "Did you not even think to carry a flint with you?" she asked as she slipped hers back into her waist belt.
"I was afraid to light a fire," Shinji admitted.
Rei nodded once. "That might have been prudent if it was someone other than a warrior tracking you."
"I’m not going back!"
"If I have to, I will render you unconscious and carry you back to Lagash."
Panicking, Shinji yanked Rei’s sword from the ground, only to find he could barely lift it using both hands.
"An average human cannot wield one of our claymores with any proficiency," Rei informed him. "It is too ungainly for you, since it was made for someone with a warrior’s strength."
"But I’ve got it! You’re defenseless!"
In an instant, Rei was beside Shinji, once again holding her sword to his throat. "Defenseless?" she asked.
"I am a warrior."
Shinji sank to his knees. "I guess I have to go back, don’t I?"
"Yes. I suggest you try to get a good night’s sleep. The walk back tomorrow is a long one and I will not slow down much for your sake."
Resigned, Shinji sat back down. As he watched, Rei jabbed her sword into the ground on the other side of the fire, sat down against it and immediately closed her eyes.
‘Gee, she’s sitting just like Hikari did. I guess they all must rest that way.’
As he lay down Shinji again turned his attention to his sister. Sleep and the firelight had softened her features. ‘She really looks different sitting peacefully like that. She seems so… fragile.’
As he closed his eyes he wondered how much Rei might resemble their mother.
Shinji felt a gentle shake on his shoulder. He opened his eyes to see that dawn was just starting to break.
"I have brought you some fruit," Rei said as she sat back down against her sword. "Eat quickly so we can be on our way."
"Don’t you want any?"
"I ate the night before last."
"The night before last?" Shinji asked in surprise. "Aren’t you starving?"
"If I were hungry I would eat. As a warrior, I do not need to eat very much or very often to sustain my body."
As he ate Shinji again looked at Rei, and was surprised to see her features now looked just as delicate as they had while she was asleep. It then suddenly dawned on him that the subtle difference in her appearance had an obvious cause. ‘She was angry with me last night and at Misato’s!’
"I’m sorry I’ve caused you so much trouble," he said meekly.
"Though inconvenient, your actions are understandable. The common response to warriors is fear."
"But… it’s not really you I’m afraid of."
Rei tilted her head questioningly. "You… are not afraid of me?"
"I-I am still a little," Shinji admitted. "But I know you’re only doing your job. You’ve had two chances to kill me now and instead you’ve lit me a fire and brought me breakfast."
"Then why did you run?"
"It’s father I’m afraid of."
"You fear our father?"
"Yes! Of course I do!"
Perplexed, Rei tried make sense of such an attitude, and failed.
"Why do you do it?" Shinji asked a while later as he followed Rei down a forest path.
"Why are you a Clay… Why did you become a warrior?"
"It is what I am."
"But is it what you wanted to be?"
Rei stopped and turned around to face Shinji. "What I wanted to be?"
"I do not understand."
"You didn’t have any choice about becoming one, did you?"
"I was created to serve a purpose," Rei answered as she started back down the trail.
"What do you mean you were created?" Shinji asked, suddenly uneasy.
"I was bred for a specific reason."
"Then does that mean?"
"You too were bred for that reason."
"I am not entirely sure what your role is to be. We will find out together in due time."
That afternoon, Gendo was sitting in his room at the inn reviewing his notes on the Project when someone knocked on his door.
The door opened and Kaji came into the room.
"You have something for me?" Gendo asked, foregoing any pleasantries.
"It’s still somewhat vague, but I’ve learned the basic reason why the Committee has decided to move ahead so soon."
"Oh? Does it have to do with Riful of the West or the Silver King?"
"No, it’s just as you suspected. In the South, the Angels have started to move."
For some reason I’m really enjoying writing about Hikari. She’s very much the analog of Galatea in this story, but she’s not as strong. Judging by her fight with Dauf, Galatea probably could have handled the more run-of-the-mill Awakened Being in this chapter easily by herself.
I’m also trying to make this Hikari as much like the NGE character as possible, but like Ermita, she’s also been hardened by the job. But she’s not so hardened that she’s not lonely. Her dream about Touji wasn’t really as much about sex as it was about having an accepting companion, something a Claymore never gets to have. Like in NGE this Hikari is just a nice, bright, otherwise ordinary girl who has gotten caught up in some serious shit.
And just what does a Claymore’s body look like? To date, that’s a mystery. However, the manga makes it clear that it’s enough to make a group of bandits intent on gang rape change their minds very quickly.
Readers of the Claymore manga scanlations should know by now exactly what the Project is. However, they may find the targets surprising.
I’ve decided to go with a Shinji that’s more like the manga’s version. That’s why he’s got a little more backbone, just like the manga Shinji, who tried to punch his father at one point. The fact that he’s also somewhat older, about 17 or 18, also helps make this Shinji a little more assertive.
And what’s Asuka’s part in the Project? Like in NGE, Asuka’s entry into the main plotline is still to come. I put a few scenes with her in these early chapters just to let everyone know she’s around, and very much the Asuka we all know and love(?). For now I'll just say that when she finds out she is going to be royally pissed.
Also, aside from Sutafu the place names in this story are real.