Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ Pain, Rage, and Sorrow ❯ Waking ( Chapter 1 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
It was the sound of chirruping insects outside the window and the soft, incessant hum of the air conditioning that woke her. For a few moments, the auburn-haired girl with a figure that most grown men would conquer the world for simply laid there, her chest rising and falling slowly with each breath she took as she listened carefully to the oddly soothing sounds before deciding to wake up completely.
Eyelids fluttered open slowly as she sat up, revealing a striking pair of blue eyes, bleary from having been closed for the past couple of days. The striking young beauty that was Asuka Langley Soryu raised her arm to rub the fatigue from her eyes as she attempted to remember where she was, and how she had gotten here. For a few seconds, her memories were quite blank, but as soon as she brought her arm away and saw she was in the blue-tinged medical ward, a place she had visited many times before, the startling recollections came crashing back into her mind.
In a horrid flashback, displayed in vivid, merciless detail, she remembered that the 14th Angel, Zeruel, had attacked Tokyo-3, using its immense destructive power to rip through the numerous layers of the geo front as if they were nothing more than sheets of rice paper. She, the incredible Asuka, had been the first pilot deployed to intercept the monstrosity, since Rei Ayanami had been injured at the time and Shinji Ikari had resigned and was no longer a pilot for NERV. She launched in the red biomechanical giant known as Evangelion Unit 02, confident that this time, the glory would belong to her and her alone. She was, however, severely mistaken.
She had thrown everything she had at the Angel, blasting it with every kind of weapon in the NERV arsenal, but it was entirely unaffected by her barrage, having been protected by a nearly impenetrable AT field. The only thing her assault had succeeded in doing was inciting Zeruel to counterattack. Even in her darkest nightmares, Asuka could never have imagined the speed and brutality with which the Angel had surgically dismantled her Eva, using its extendable and razor-like limbs to remove first the arms, and then the head of Unit 02. She recalled, with a slight cringe, the mind-rending pain that had devoured her body, and the blissful unconsciousness that had taken her seconds later as the Angel glided past her to continue its destruction of NERV headquarters.
Silently, Asuka bowed her head as she was forced to acknowledge her failure. After a few moments, her hands curled into fists at her sides and her body tensed as the sadness and insecurity she usually kept buried deep inside began to rise within her. Her face, hidden by a curtain of crimson hair, contorted into an expression of wretchedness as she struggled to hold back a flood of tears that threatened to overwhelm her.
Her grief caused her whole body to quiver. What the hell had gone wrong back there? She was a highly trained, fine-tuned killing machine, for God's sake! Asuka didn't understand why she always found it so difficult to accomplish what she had been trained to do, while a boy with almost no training managed to defeat the Angels so much more easily than she. She raised a fist and drove her knuckles into the bed, hard enough to make the whole mattress shake.
Her attempts to dam the river of tears had failed, and now salty water was streaming down her cheeks. She was on the verge of bursting into a sobbing fit when her inner voice broke in again, though this time it carried a much different tone.
“Snap out of it!” the voice ordered abruptly, causing her to pause and open her eyes, which were already turning red and puffy.
“Look at yourself, for Christ's sake! You're Asuka, not some sniveling little worm without a spine! You should be ashamed! Get a hold of yourself!”
She blinked once or twice in bewilderment then, as if she were breaking out of a trance, she pulled her head back up and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.
“That's more like it.”
With a deep breath, the pilot of Unit 02 recomposed herself, quickly rebuilding the emotional defenses she had spent years reinforcing. Within moments, she was back to being the confident, arrogant Asuka that everyone thought her to be. The ever-present sadness still lingered, however, hidden deep beneath the surface.
Maybe not, but it was certainly an improvement. Once she recovered, the redheaded teenager finally took a good look around, and at this point she realized something. “Wait, if I'm inside the medical ward and it's still intact, then that means someone must have stopped the Angel. So, if I didn't do it, then who did?” The question Asuka posed to herself was sufficient enough to distract her from contemplating the emotional fit she'd just experienced, and her depression dissolved, only to be replaced by bitterness as she thought, “Must have been Wonder Girl. Knowing the First Child, she probably hopped out of bed and volunteered to be sent on a suicide mission.”
“Hmph!” said Asuka, the first thing she'd said out loud since she'd awoken. “That girl would sit up and beg if it meant pleasing the Commander,” she muttered under her breath before throwing the covers off her body and swinging her legs over the side of the bed. She then located and pressed the power switch on the machine beside her bed that monitored her vital signs, and yanked a number of leads off her body. She didn't want a bunch of doctors and nurses running into the room thinking that she'd had a heart attack if one of the damn things accidentally got pulled off as she moved around.
With a deep breath, Asuka stood and immediately began to pace around the room in her hospital gown, ignoring the minor muscle spasms she experienced as her legs protested to being used after such a long period of laying idle.
“But if that thing took me down without breaking a sweat, then how could that little puppet have managed to destroy that thing? Even Wonder Girl couldn't have accomplished it with only one arm,” she said to herself aloud, puzzled.
Another thought hit her then, and she immediately came to a halt, her eyes wide as she began to consider another possibility. If she had still been hooked up to the machine beside her bed, it would have displayed a sudden spike in her heart rate.
But her train of thought was interrupted as the door to Asuka's room opened, and then broken completely as she looked up to see Major Misato Katsuragi step inside. Her purple-haired roommate/guardian/CO paused as she saw the emotionally charged teenager standing in the center of the room, and smiled softly.
“Hey there,” she said cheerfully. “Looks like you're feeling better already.”
The young redhead blinked once, and smiled widely as she turned to face Misato, setting her feet wide apart and placing her hands on her hips. “Did you expect anything less than a speedy recovery from the great Asuka?” The confident grin plastered across her beautiful features betrayed nothing of the emotional outburst she had experienced less than a minute ago.
Misato rolled her eyes, still smiling. “Yep, you're definitely feeling just fine.” She hadn't the slightest idea of just how incorrect her statement was.
The older woman took another few steps into the room, and continued to speak. “I came here to check how you were doing,” she said, “and since you seem to be well enough to be walking around, I need to take you to be debriefed.” At this point, the humor faded from her face, and her brow creased with unease. “Normally I'd just take you straight back to the apartment, but there's been . . .” Misato's forehead wrinkled further, and her gaze flickered as she searched for the right term. “. . . Developments and you need to be updated.”
Asuka frowned, worried. She wondered what could possibly have happened that she was needed by NERV as soon as possible. After considering what it could possibly be that required her so soon without her post-recovery beauty sleep, she sighed. Whatever the problem, she would handle it. She started towards the door, but halted as Misato put her arm out to stop her.
After the woman gave her a cursory once-over, the smile that she had brandished before returned, except this time it was an outright teasing grin. “Unless you want to walk around in public wearing that,” Misato said, nodding her head to indicate the white hospital gown, “I'd recommend you change before we leave.”
The younger woman blushed in embarrassment, and opened her mouth to say that she didn't have any other clothes with her, but the Major was already one step ahead of her. “Hold on,” she said, and stepped outside the room for a brief moment, retrieving a shopping bag sitting just outside the doorway before handing it to the girl. “Here I figured you'd be waking up within the next couple of days, and dropped by the apartment to grab some clothes for you so I could leave them inside your room.” She grinned. “Looks like my timing couldn't have been better.”
Asuka returned the smile, and gave her thanks as she checked the contents of the bag. Inside, there was a pair of jeans, a white tank top, shoes, and underwear, as well as a few items such as a brush and stick of deodorant in case she wanted to freshen up before she left. “I'll be waiting by the lift when you're ready,” Misato said, and left the room, closing the door behind her.
The young redheaded pilot stepped into the bathroom adjoining her room and locked the door before changing. As she was pulling the shirt over her head, she remembered what she had been thinking about before Misato had arrived, and Asuka froze with her top pulled halfway down her torso.
“Friggin' wonderful. The Hentai Baka must have returned to save the day again.”
And yet, despite her unspoken complaint . . . why did she feel so relieved?
A/N: And so ends the revised version of chapter one. Hope you enjoyed it. I must say, I'm happy with the new changes, and I can only thank my good friend, Kanto the Slayer, for his suggestions. Overall, they have greatly improved this chapter, and I hope to do the same with the other before finally continuing this story. Anyway, this is where I take my leave. See you soon!