DISCLAIMER : None of these characters are my own. Neither is the world
of Evangelion, the story, the events, the lines, or pretty much
anything else. It's all owned by GAINAX. In addition, if any of these
characters or events resemble real-life people or events, that is
totally unintentional.

" " denotes speech
^ ^ denotes thought
_ _ denotes emphasis (italics)


An Unwilling Angel
Author : Ryan Xavier
Prologue : Hold Me Again

It was midafternoon in Tokyo-3 when a knocking came at the door.

The person knocking didn't try the bell; they knew it wouldn't work.
Not satisfied with waiting, the person on the other side opened the
unlocked door. The door squeaked loudly on its ungreased hinges. On
the other side stood Ritsuko Akagi. After pushing the door open wide
enough to admit her, she slipped inside and let it close behind her.

"Rei?" she called out, stepping into the dirty, unlit apartment that
was Rei Ayanami's home.

There was no answer. But this was not out of place; Rei rarely spoke,
even to answer a call. Akagi walked into the apartment, looking back
and forth for the young girl.

"Rei, where are you? We've got a harmonics test in an hour."

Still no response. Akagi finished checking the apartment over, finding
that it was empty. It seemed Rei had stepped out for a minute. That
was odd, in and of itself. She wondered where the girl could have

Akagi was about to leave when she saw an envelope sitting on the
bedroom's small dresser. Interested, she went over and picked it up.
It wasn't that she disrespected Rei's privacy; she'd just grown used to
Rei having no concept of privacy. And right now, interest over what
could be inside this very out-of-place item was overpowering any kind
of social rules she may have known.

The letter was not sealed. Akagi opened it carefully and removed a
paper from it. She unfolded it, smoothing it out on the wall. She
blinked a few times when she saw it was an honest-to-goodness letter,
not a status report, or anything else Rei might have had in her
apartment. It was also in Rei's neat, efficient handwriting. Interest
goaded her on, and she began to read.


"I do not know why I am writing this now. I suppose the true question
is why I did not write it earlier. In retrospect, I suppose I should
have put this to paper some time ago. Why the defeat of the Fifteenth
Angel should give me the courage to write is something I don't

"But I digress. Ikari, I am writing this to tell you that I may not
survive to see the end of the final Angel. I suppose it could be
called "woman's intuition," but it is something more. I've seen the
way the Commander looks at me. We do not talk the way we used to. It
seems he expects me to die soon.

"At first, this revelation did not bother me. Death is the natural
course of life; there is no way to escape it. I suppose that is why I
did not write this earlier. But as time went on, I began to think
about my doom. There is little I would regret; in all probability I
would end my life while fighting in Eva. This is the way I would
prefer to die. But -"

Akagi stopped reading, studying that last word. There was a dot buried
into the paper just after "But". It seemed Rei had paused after that
word, and had had to think about what to say next. Satisfied with this
conclusion, she kept reading.

"But I also discovered some aversion to death. I didn't want to die.
The thought scared me. This was confusing; I did not know why I should
be afraid. I didn't realize it until after the Fifteenth Angel. I
suppose I should explain. After the Fifteenth was destroyed, I was
outside, watching the repairs to the city begin. When you spoke with
the Second after the battle, I may not have been near you, but I was
still within earshot. I heard her words : "the little bitch saved
_me_". Those words hurt. I understood, by then, what she meant. For
a moment, I found an insight into who I was. Like all other humans, I
am defined by my own self-view and by what others think of me. After
listening to the Second, I realized that very few people even know me,
and even fewer like me. I've never tried to get to know anyone, as I
never saw the point. Those I was forced to make the aquaintance of,
such as Major Katsuragi, see me as an odd individual and ignore me.
Even the Commander on occasion does not appear genuine with his

"For some time, I found this depressing. I couldn't think of anyone
who'd ever liked me as a person. I apologize for not thinking of you

Akagi blinked and read that last line again. ^Interesting,^ she
thought. She kept reading.

"But when I _did_ think of you, I realized that someone, you, actually
does like me. I began to remember all the times you've shown that you
care for me. I don't know why something as simple as cleaning my
apartment should have made such an impression, but it did. Your
comment, that I would make a good mother, still makes me blush.

"I also remembered that time we first met, in front of Eva-01. I
remember how you held me in your arms, trying to make the pain from my
injuries hurt less. I remember how you agreed to pilot the Eva, so
that I would not die. That memory, that you thought my life was worth
something, made an impression on me. And it is now why I do not wish
to die, even though it may very well be inevitable.

"I have never had a reason for contact with anyone but the Commander.
I have tried to keep my distance, both physically and mentally, since I
never saw a reason to do otherwise. But over time, I began to feel
something was lacking. I could see people happy to be in the presence
of others, but I couldn't understand. I was always the girl no one
could touch, in all senses of the word.

"I have never actually desired anything. But in the past few days, I
found that I wanted someone to be close to me, someone to touch me.
I'm tired of always being alone. When you held me in front of Unit-01,
for the first time I felt a little safer. I wish you would hold me

"I don't know if this feeling is what people call "love." I have not
been able to find a good definition of the word. But in the time I
have left, I would like to become closer to you, and to explore my
emotions. You are one of the few people who has ever helped me
understand what it is I'm feeling. Perhaps I may find the motivation
to go on living, even when the time comes for me to die.

"If anything, I would at least like to tell you how I feel about you.
I have never been adept at speaking, and so I thought a letter would
work better. But having read this over, I am unsure if even this says
what I wanted to say. I'm sorry; expressing my feelings has always
been difficult. But this is all I can manage; I doubt I could have
told you this much by speaking.

"But I know that I" - there was another pause, here - "I hope that you
feel the same way about me."

The last words became almost sloppy, as though written with a shaking

Akagi slowly folded the letter back up and absentmindedly slid it into
its envelope. She crossed her arms, thinking. This might complicate
things. She wondered what Gendo would think of it.

The sound of the door opening grabbed her attention. Stifiling a
curse, Akagi put the letter back on top of the dresser and went towards
the door. Sure enough, Rei was coming in.

"Rei..." she began.

The girl said nothing, only met her gaze.

"Rei, we've got a test in less than an hour. Usually you're at
headquarters by now. Where were you?"

"I was taking a walk."

Akagi blinked; Rei _never_ spontaneously went out on a walk, even for
exercise. She suspected something was up, but she didn't have time to
pry an answer out of the girl in front of her.

"Fine," she said. "Just be at NERV in time for the test."


Shaking her head a little, Akagi went out the door.

Rei watched the door close, and then she slowly went over to her
bedroom. She looked at herself in the tiny mirror taped to the wall.

What she'd told Ritsuko had not been a total lie. She _had_ indeed
gone for a walk, but it she had been headed somewhere. She'd wanted to
visit Ikari-kun, to try and talk to him. The feeling of dread towards
her coming death kept growing, and she knew she just _had_ to tell him
how she felt before then. Otherwise, she'd die regretting something in
her life.

But she hadn't been able to. About halfway to the apartment, her
footsteps had slowed, eventually coming to a stop. She hadn't been
able to go on. A million worries had crept into her head. What if he
laughed at her for feeling like this? What if he didn't like her back?
What if he saw her as just another pilot, someone he worked with and
nothing more? Rei had never been nervous before in her life, but she'd
definitely been nervous then. Unable to handle the new sensation,
she'd turned and come back.

Straightening out her hair a little, she turned and walked over to the
dresser, looking at the letter resting on top of it. Maybe she could
give this to him. She'd written it days ago, but had been unable to
take it with her to NERV, for the same reasons she'd been unable to get
to his apartment. But she just _had_ to get these feelings into the

She reached for the letter. But just as her fingers were about to
touch it, her hand stopped, shaking a little. The worries came back.
No, this was a stupid idea. She couldn't tell him. Not yet, anyway.

With an almost-inaudible sigh, Rei turned and walked out of her
apartment. Back to life as normal.