DISCLAIMER

Apparently I haven't secured the right to Evangelion yet.

Hello again from Iraq, yep, it's my second time here. Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I warn you this is an alternate universe fic, the kids are in high school and believe it not they are almost normal so look for some ooc. I had planned to write more of an introduction but after spending the entire day writing the story I find my imagination and wit drying up. Please enjoy.

In the Mind of a Child

Chapter 1. THIRD

When it comes to human beings the only cause that matters is the final cause, the purpose. What a person had in mind. Once you understand what people want, you can't hate them anymore. You can fear them, but you can't hate them, because you can always find the same desires in your own heart.

-Ayanami, Rei

The room fell into darkness as she closed the lid of her laptop. She sat in her chair staring at her toes which wiggled childishly and thought of what little bit of philosophy she would post on the nets tomorrow. She had become quite popular under the pseudonym "Zero" for her utilitarian, commonsensical essays. The nets were where she had influence, where people would listen to her ideas and not simply discredit her for being a child. As far as she was concerned her real life was lived in the discussion boards and group chat sessions where she could converse with people of her intellectual capacity. It wasn't that she disliked the people in her school for being "normal"; she just didn't share the same interests as they did.

"It's cold" Rei said aloud as she shuddered and rose from where she had been sitting. She enjoyed waking early and just lounging around as she watched the minutes slowly tick away. School didn't start for another hour and she usually waited until the last minute to get dressed. Though disorganized by normal standards, her apartment was in such a way that it made sense to her and she could easily find her clothes and get dressed in minutes if necessary.

After dressing herself she decided there wasn't enough time for breakfast and left her home headed for school on an empty stomach. She walked alone, unlike so many other kids on this route. In the year she had been at this high school Rei had made no real friends. She figured this was mostly her fault. Though she wasn't maliciously avoided she never went out of her way to talk to people either. As she passed a large group of boys she heard one of them call out her name but ignored him thinking this would only invite unwanted attention from the more perverted members of the group.

Having arrived at the courtyard to her school she took a seat at an empty bench and retrieved one of her books. She wasn't more that a few pages into reading before she was interrupted.

"Hey Ayanami!"

Rei knew that voice immediately, knew that wherever and whenever she heard it, trouble was soon to follow. Rei was an open minded person and tried her best to understand even the most obnoxious of people, however if there was one person that she hated it would have to be Asuka Langley Sohryu. She shook away the thought immediately and remembered that in a high school environment everything is about your reputation. Asuka gained power by bullying someone around, she gained popularity by putting someone who wasn't part of her group down. All that Asuka was trying to do was keep from being the one bullied, Rei couldn't fault her for that, eat or be eaten. The one thing that Rei couldn't understand is why the red headed cheer leader felt it was necessary to steal her books. She had already asserted her dominance, why further punish Rei by taking from her the means to educated herself.

"Hey Ayanami, I'm talking to you!"

Nothing to say, just leave.

"Hey Casper too smart to talk to us?" Asuka demanded.

Can't think of anything to answer. Anything I say will make it worse. So will say nothing.

Apparently Asuka had enough of being ignored and shoved Rei hard enough to make her drop her book on the ground. Before she could bend down to pick it up Asuka had her foot on it. Great there goes another one. "Bored already Asuka?" Rei sighed. This encounter could turn physical if she wasn't careful with what she said.

"Not especially, just wanted to say hello. I was just kidding anyway." Asuka said offering her hand

Rei knew better than to accept the feigned friendship and stood up on her own. This was the scenario every time Asuka's gang saw Rei enter the school. She couldn't understand why the girls automatically assumed she was weaker than them just because she kept to herself. There was basically no physical size difference. Even when Asuka didn't have her gang with her she was still a devil. Rei figured it was all about ego, Asuka's ego overshadowed hers therefore Rei was perceived as the weaker girl. However Rei also understood that if two egos were matched it always came down to physical strength. She wasn't about to resort to getting herself into trouble with the administration over something as trivial as this.

"Asuka you know as well as I do there are instructors all over the courtyard, so unless you plan on getting yourself suspended, get out of my way."

The surprised look on Asuka's face was proof she was caught off guard by Rei's response. "I was only joking before Ayanami, you've crossed the line. You had better watch your back from now on."

As Asuka walked away Rei silently kicked herself, this wouldn't be good. Her torment would continue everyday now, now that Asuka had been defeated in front of her friends. She was going to have to do something dramatic to regain her standing with the gang. That meant Rei was in trouble. What a wonderful way to start out the day.

The bell sounded that she had five minutes before school started. She still had a queasy feeling in her stomach as she walked to class. When she arrived at the door to the classroom she could see everyone else had already taken their seats and were chatting quietly. Rei would be the source of attention as she sit down and it would be the perfect opportunity for Asuka and her friends to do something childish to get her back for embarrassing them earlier. Rei just hoped whatever they were going to do wouldn't be too painful and figured she might as well get it over with. She braced herself for whatever was about to happen as she walked in the class and took her seat. After minutes of waiting she turned back to look at Asuka and saw that she wasn't even paying attention to Rei. This is bad. She would rather have Asuka embarrass her in front of the class than catch her outside of school where the fight wouldn't be as easily controlled.

"Stand, bow, sit!" Hikari the Class Rep. exclaimed.

In walked Misato the instructor dressed, as always, inappropriately. The rest of Rei's teachers normally wore some kind of semi-formal dress, or feminine business suit. But not Misato, she always looked like she had just come from a day at the beach. Today she dressed rather conservatively however, wearing jeans, sandals, and a tube top that showed off her endowment. Rei looked at her own chest and felt a slight tinge of jealously. She wondered if that would be her one day, dressing to impresses the simple minded testosterone driven boys in this school. If that was Misato's goal she had succeeded rather well considering the entire male population of the class drooled excessively whenever she entered the room.

"Good morning class!" Misato greeted the students with a wink, a wave, and a smile. The class responded enthusiastically. Rei rolled her eyes.

"Today is a special day, we have a new student! He's really cute too girls!" She said excitedly fanning herself in over exaggeration of how attractive this new kid was. "Please come in Mr. Ikari"

The boy that stepped in was seemingly normal on the surface, dark hair and eyes, skinny, not overly attractive but with no disfigurations either. She could read his body language like a book though. His arms laid limply at his sides, his eyes were set to the ground, when he spoke it was barely audible. Wow, she thought, he's almost as bad as I am.

"Hello, I'm Shinji Ikari."

Rei had almost lost interest in the introduction of the boy when something in the corner of her eye caught her attention. The look on Asuka's face was unmistakable. The dreamy look she wore, the blush in her face, the way she batted her eyes whenever she thought he was looking. She was infatuated with this kid. Great, thought Rei, perhaps now her attention will be focused on something other than making my school life hell.

"Um, excuse me, but where do I sit ma'am?" Shinji whimpered.

"Call me Misato, I'm not old enough to be a ma'am kiddo."

"You look pretty old to me."

"I what!" Misato exclaimed.

Rei grinned as she watched Misato turn a stunning shade of red and puff up like a threatened bird. That ruffled her feathers, Rei thought. If there was one thing Misato hated, it was being told that she looked old.

Regaining her composer almost as quickly as she had lost it Misato calmly explained, "I'll forgive you for that this one time because you're new. Now as to where you sit" She paused looking in the air at nothing as if she were putting all of her intelligence into this one decision. "I know, sit beside the girl you think is cutest!" She exclaimed proudly.

Rei watched as he scanned the room for the girl who he would involuntarily embarrass. Finding his target he started down Asuka's row. Rei heard her shriek in happiness as he neared her desk; however just before he reached his assumed throne next to Asuka he turned and sat down beside Rei.

"Hi, I'm Shinji Ikari." He said with a shy smile on his face.

Rei looked at him with a mix of shock and horror and could only manage to say, "Huh?" before she was hit in the back of the head with a spitball. Oh dear God, Rei thought as she put her head on her desk hiding her face with her hands.

"Um, you have something in your hair." Shinji offered.

"Yes, I know."

"You're just going to leave it there?"

"If I wipe it away she'll just shoot another one, I figure why make her waste the spit." Rei mumbled.

"She who?"

"The girl you were supposed to sit beside."

Misato walked over and grabbed Rei's wrist lifting her slender arm high above her head like she had just won a boxing match. "Eat your heart out girls, look who Shinji chose! The smartest girl in our class, our little philosopher, our little Rei!"

By all means make it worse, Rei thought as she covered her face with the hand Misato hadn't captured.

"So has he asked you out yet? When is your first date with this stud?"

Date, are you kidding? Asuka is going to kill me before school is out, Rei thought but said nothing.

"Look how shocked she is everyone; this is probably the first time a boy has talked to her! Well if he hasn't asked you out yet Ms. Ayanami he'll have plenty of time. According to his schedule he's in every one of your classes!"

You have got to be kidding. Rei wasn't easily angered but Misato was definitely pushing it, this was out of control. The students were in the floor laughing, all of them except for Asuka that is. Rei didn't care about her reputation but Misato was unquestionably making the already unstable situation with the Red Head worse.

"Ms. Misato, do you remember last Thursday when you were so inebriated you had me teach the class and claim that you had to go home sick?" Rei said only loud enough for her instructor to hear. Misato was stunned. "I'm sure you do. So if you don't want to lose you job and make your living on the street corners wearing even less clothing that you are now, I suggest you let go of my arm."

Rei watched as Misato's eyes grew as wide as saucers, her shoulders slumped and she walked away with her head drooped. Eat or be eaten, Rei thought.

The rest of Rei's classes continued normally until lunchtime. Shinji had been following her around like a lost puppy all day so of course he felt inclined to sit with her while she ate. This bothered her because lunch was the only time she was able to sit down and learn something. She was extremely interested in group psychology and enjoyed watching the students interact with each other. She watched how the various cliques volleyed for supremacy and better seating. Rei also noticed the subtle infighting between clique leader and the rest of the clique. Even in the more outcast groups there were still people trying to prove themselves better than everybody else.

Everyone had gotten used to Rei sitting by herself while she stared at them and wrote little notes in her binder. Occasionally she would actually sit with a group of people and listen in on conversations while saying nothing. At first people were a little thrown off by this weird, antisocial behavior, but eventually the students of the cafeteria regarded her presence with little more attention that a chair or table.

"Hello Ayanami."

High school drama being what it is Rei expected the wide-eyed stares and gasps as he took his seat. What she didn't expect was that Asuka's little gang of cheerleaders were going to get up and move all the way across the room to a table in front of hers. Asuka, of course placed herself so she could see and hear everything Rei and Shinji said.

"Hello, Ikari." Rei sighed.

"Thanks for showing me around today." Shinji said obviously desperate to start a conversation.

I didn't show you around, you followed me and I ignored you as best I could, Rei thought. It really wasn't fair the way she was treating him, he had done nothing more than sit beside her in class letting everyone know he thought she was prettier than Asuka, the girl that tortured her day in and out. Rei was determined however not to let the Red Head influence the way she treated other people. She had been new once as well and knew what it was like to have no friends, she just didn't mind as much.

"Don't worry about it. So how do you like the school?" Rei said and realized that she was horrible at idle chit chat with people her own age.

"Its…" Shinji was interrupted by Asuka who had jumped from her jair and had perched herself neatly on the table pushing Rei's food into her lap.

"Hi, I'm Asuka Langley Sohryu. You're Shinji the new guy right? Can I call you Shinji, I'm sure you don't mind." She giggled and tickled his face with one of her multicolored pompoms.

This was about the point where most boys in the school would have fallen madly in love with her. From Rei's observations it was a game to Asuka. She would show them a little attention and they would fall for her. The game usually started out exactly like it had today, with Asuka ridiculously hopping on the table and then offering the boy to let him take her out. How they fell for it Rei never could figure out. Once they were hooked however she would use them to get what ever materialistic non-essentials she thought she needed.

Shinji either wasn't falling for it or wasn't interested, he just sat there trying to eat his lunch while picking out the loose streamers that had fallen from Asuka's pompoms. "Su…sure, call me Shinji I don't mind."

"You're so shy! I like boys that are shy though, don't worry." Asuka said with a wink. "I have an idea, why don't you take me to the baseball game tonight?"

There goes the pitch, Rei thought to herself..

"No thanks, I don't really like baseball" he answered without looking up from his plate.

Swing and a miss. Rei couldn't understand what was going on. He was almost completely ignoring her.

"Well you like girls don't you?" Asuka exclaimed, annoyed at being snubbed.

Rei was beginning to wonder the same thing herself.

"Ayanami, will you be going to the game?" Shinji asked.

"Wha…?" Rei stuttered. What is this kid trying to do to me?

Asuka turned around with an absolutely demonic look on her face but it disappeared as soon as Shinji repeated his question.

"Of course she's going to the game! We're the best of friends aren't we Rei?" Asuka reached over and gave Rei a hug and messed up her hair in an award worthy display of phony friendship.

Rei almost said no, but then realized that she could benefit from the situation. She quickly formulated a plan for how she could once and for all get Asuka off her back. "I'll go." She answered removing Asuka's hand from her head.

"Well would you mind if I came with you?" Shinji had to peer around Asuka who was still seated on the table.

"Well gee I wouldn't mind at all" Rei said in her best impression of what she thought the Red Head would say. She even tried giggling but that didn't come out at all the way she had expected.

Before she stormed off to her awaiting gang Asuka leaned in close to Rei's ear and ominously whispered "I'll catch you on the way home Ayanami."

I'm counting on it.

Rei knew they would come sooner or later. She was banking that Asuka would try and berate her vocally before she got physical. A fight with her alone Rei could handle, not necessarily win, but she wouldn't be injured that badly. Asuka would almost certainly bring her friends and that's when it would become hazardous to her health.

"Hey freak!"

There they were, five of them still clad in their red and blue cheerleading outfits. Leading the pack of course was her new best friend. Hands on hips and from the expression on her face mad as hell.

"Come to beat me up because one boy out of the whole school prefers my intelligence to your indecency?" Rei had to play this carefully; she had to manipulate Asuka into believing Shinji liked her without inviting a beating.

"Well freak, if he thinks you're prettier than me I guess we'll just have to rearrange your face a little." Asuka replied taking a step in her direction.

Rearrange my face? Rei was almost sure she could name the teenage soap opera Asuka stole that line from. "Bring all your friends to help you as well?"

"They won't get involved."

Unless you're losing. "I have a better idea, we could make a deal." Rei said standing her ground as the Red Head closed in.

"There's nothing you have that I want freak." Asuka said taking out hear earrings in preparation for the brawl.

"Oh no? How about Shinji?"

Asuka stopped in her tracks. "He…he doesn't like you."

It had worked, she was listening and that's all Rei needed. Being a student of psychology meant Rei could talk herself out of almost anything, especially with someone as insecure as Asuka. "We all saw what happened in the cafeteria today and in the classroom this morning. Did you forget who he chose to sit beside?"

Asuka deflated a little, the anger gone from her face. "Wha…what do you propose?"

She actually likes this guy, Rei thought to herself. This was going to be easier than she had anticipated. "You and your cronies leave me alone, now and forever, and I'll not only forget about Shinji but I'll convince him to go on a date with you. However if you choose to fight me now, you may win, but You Know Who is going to be carrying my books tomorrow, sitting beside me at lunch and helping me at my apartment with, oh whatever I need while I'm injured."

"How do you know you can get him to go on a date with me, he didn't even notice me today at lunch." Asuka said averting her eyes.

So she is human after all. This wasn't good, Rei needed to see her as an enemy to pull this off without getting beaten. She couldn't understand why, after all that Asuka had done to annoy her, she was sympathetic for the love stricken girl.

"Trust me." Rei said as she pushed past Asuka's groupies.

End Chapter 1.

Again, thank you for reading my story. This fiction in general, especially the first chapters are in honor of Orson Scott Card's "Enders Game".