Disclaimer: I do not own Evangelion, nor do I own Noir. If I did own Noir, I would have had the subtitlers add a note in the opening credits explaining who the heck Coppélia is. You shouldn't need to consult Wikipedia to understand the theme song of a TV show.

The Black Hands of NERV

By Bissek

Chapter One

Shattered Dreams

"Due to the present emergency, phone service has been shut down. Please make your way to the nearest shelter…"

Shinji listened to the automated message repeat a few times, and then hung up the pay phone. Having no idea where the nearest emergency shelter was, he walked to the nearest bench and sat down. He would just have to wait for his ride to show up. As he sat and waited, he pulled the two messages he had received in the mail a few days previous and thought about their implications.

Most boys his age would have passed over the coldly direct letter from Shinji's father in favor of ogling the semi-risqué photograph of the purple-haired woman (with an arrow pointing directly towards the risqué portion) with the note 'I'm coming to pick you up' written on it. But to Shinji, the flat statement of 'Come to Tokyo-3. I have a use for you' represented something that nobody other than him could possibly infer from it.


Shinji still remembered the terrible day ten years previous when his mother walked into a strange device and never came out again. While everyone fussed over their instruments trying to figure out what had happened to Yui Ikari, ignoring her two suddenly orphaned children, the only one that Shinji could turn to for support during that living nightmare was his sister, and the only person she could turn to was him. The two children, already close, had clung to each other as their only support in a world that had suddenly been torn apart. But a few weeks later, their world went from being torn apart from being ripped to shreds without any warning.

Shinji's father had arranged for him to be taken care of by an uncle. But when Shinji wanted to know why Kirika wasn't coming with him, all that Gendo said was "I still have a use for her. You are of no use to me."

That was the last time that Shinji saw his sister. There had been no contact between the siblings of any kind since. His uncle wouldn't even let the boy find out what his sister's mailing address and phone number were. For ten years, Shinji had prayed that one day either his sister would no longer be useful to his father, and be sent back to him, or that he would somehow become useful, and be allowed to come back to her. Now, after all these years, Shinji's dream had come true. He didn't know what use his father had for him or his sister, but as long as it enabled them to be together again, he didn't really care.

Shinji's wandering thoughts on the subject of his long-absent twin were interrupted by the sound of passing jets. Looking up, he was suddenly learned what the 'emergency' that the automated message spoke of was about.

The thing was large, green, and extremely ugly. It looked for all the world like some kind of kaiju out of a Godzilla movie. Like in those movies, it appeared that the military was throwing everything they had at it. Also like in those movies, the most that this did to the monster was mildly annoy it. The monster shrugged off the effects of the missiles and shells thrown at it, swatting aside any planes and helicopters that got into arm's reach like they were gnats. After a few minutes of watching, Shinji realized that the battle was heading his way. Fortunately, before it got close enough to make giant feet or flying debris a major safety hazard, a blue sports car screeched to a halt near him. It was being driven by the woman who was on the risqué photograph.

"Shinji? Get in the car, NOW!" The woman yelled. Shinji quickly complied, not wanting to be flattened by the monster or pieces of the things that the monster was destroying. This turned out to be a wise decision, as a shattered fragment of a building smashed into where the train station had been moments after the car had pulled out.

Shinji had never been on a roller coaster, but he imagined that doing so would be similar to this particular car ride. The woman who was driving treated the maximum speed limit as if it was the minimum, swerved around the wreckage caused by the failed attacks on the kaiju like a fighter pilot taking evasive action, and seemed to believe that braking before turning was a cardinal sin. The nightmare ride went on for several minutes, knocking Shinji all over the car while he struggled to get his hands on the seatbelt. Just when he had managed to get hold of it, a large plane screamed overhead. The driver noticed the car and promptly screeched to a halt.

"They're using an N2 mine!" She cried, "Get Down!" With that, she dove on top of him. Moments later, a massive shockwave hurled the car down the street. As the car flew down the street, Shinji barely had the time to think Sayonara, imouto-chan…. Then his head struck the side of the car and he blacked out.

Shinji woke up a few minutes later. The car had rolled so that it was resting on the passenger side. As he climbed out of the car, he heard the women shouting.

"This is just great. I still have payments on this car! My dress is ruined! ARRRGGH!"

Shinji climbed down to the ground and asked the woman who she was.

"Oh, I'm sorry," She said, "I didn't get a chance to introduce myself. My name's Misato Katsuragi, Chief of Tactical at NERV."

"NERV? Is that where my father works?" Shinji asked.

"More like NERV works for him. Commander Ikari is supreme commander of NERV. Now help me right the car. That N2 mine probably didn't finish off the Angel, and I'd like to get out of here before it comes back."

Not wanting to be stomped by a kaiju (which was apparently called an Angel for some reason), Shinji helped push the car back onto its wheels. There was an additional delay while Misato looted a hardware store for a new battery and enough duct tape to hold the car in an approximation of its original shape. As Shinji buckled himself in, Misato pulled a booklet entitled 'Welcome to NERV' out of the glove compartment and handed it to him. Then she gunned the engine and returned to the high-speed act of vehicular lunacy that she apparently considered a normal driving habit, tearing down the highway towards the nearest entrance to the underground facility known as NERV headquarters.

It had been over half an hour since Shinji had arrived made it to the Geofront and entered the NERV base. At first he followed Misato while keeping most of his attention on the introductory booklet he had been given (Which seemed to contain more PR buzzwords than actual information). However, after he finished going through it, he started looking around as he walked. It soon became apparent that either the facility had a large number of identically furnished corridors, or they were going in circles. Soon the two had been wandering the halls of NERV for an hour. Shinji started wondering if he'd ever see his sister again or if he'd be stuck in this endless maze for the rest of his life. Fortunately, rescue arrived in the form of a blond woman wearing a swimsuit, a lab coat, and a rather annoyed expression.

"Did you get lost again, Misato?" The woman demanded.

"Eh, heh…" Misato tried to come up with some kind of excuse, and failed.

"We're in the middle of a crisis here, Captain. We don't have time for you to wander around in circles. Is this the Third Child?"

Shinji wondered what the woman meant by Third Child. The last he checked he was the firstborn child out of two.

"Yes, this is Shinji." Misato replied.

"Alright Shinji, I'm Ritsuko Akagi, head of Research. Please come with me." With that, Shinji was lead off by the blond. Fortunately, the blond appeared to know where she was going.

It took no more than five minutes to get from the point that Misato had passed at least eight times in the past hour to the point Ritsuko was trying to reach. Their destination was a hangar bay, containing an enormous purple robot.

"What is that?" Shinji wondered. It certainly wasn't in the highly unhelpful introductory booklet.

"That is what NERV has spent the past several years building – the ultimate fighting machine – Artificial Human Evangelion Unit 01."

Another person entered the room. It was Shinji's father.

"Dr. Akagi," He said, "We're moving out."

"But Sir, we don't have a pilot!" Misato protested

"The Third shall pilot."

"But it could take months before he's able to synchronize enough to fight!"

"All he has to do is sit in it. We can handle things from there."

Shinji listened to his father's statements and Misato's objections. He now knew what use his father had for him. In order to defeat the kaiju, they needed a mecha-kaiju. And in order to make it work, he had to pilot it. Given the way that thing had crushing all of the forces that had been sent against it, doing so was near suicide. But as he stared at the purple monstrosity, his mind kept coming back to an image of a little girl with a mop of untidy black hair and brown eyes.

He had been separated from his sister because she was useful to his father and he was not. Because of this machine, he was useful again. If piloting the Evangelion was the price he had to pay to be reunited with Kirika, then he was willing to pay it. He stepped forward.

"I'll do it."

Shinji was quickly shoved into an entry plug and the Evangelion was prepped for launch. Unit 01 was then sent to the surface of Tokyo-3.

"Alright, I'm out. What do I do now?" Shinji's voice asked over the com system.

"Try to focus on walking for now, Shinji." Misato replied.

"Synchronization at 41.3. Impressive for a first attempt." Ritsuko commented.

"Let's hope it's enough."

The two watched on the bridge monitors as EVA-01 started to walk shakily across the city. They cringed as they saw it stumble a few times, but fortunately Shinji was able to correct himself before he actually fell over. Soon Shinji had enough control over the robot to move it about without stumbling. Just in time, as the Angel had recovered from the N2 attack and was re-entering the fray.

The Third Angel and EVA-01 stared each other down from over a mile away. Then the eyes of the Angel started lighting up. Before Misato could tell Shinji to dodge, EVA-01 had already leaped to the side, narrowly avoiding a beam of light that created a cross-shaped explosion. As a means of escaping an attack, it worked. However, the dodge wasn't well coordinated, and the EVA rolled and skidded down the side street it had dodged down, tearing up the pavement as it went. The EVA then slowly and painfully climbed to its feet.

"Shinji, there's a progressive knife in a holster on the EVA's shoulder. Use that to fight the Angel." Misato called out.

After some fumbling, Shinji managed to find and draw the knife. Then he started towards the Angel. The Angel raised its hand and a large spike extended from it. Shinji dodged to the side and continued his advance. When the Angel repeated with its other hand, Shinji dodged again, but overcompensated and crashed into a building. The Angel then proceeded to take advantage of this and leapt onto its fallen foe and started pounding on it. Shinji tried stabbing it with the knife, but the blade bounced off a field that appeared in front of the Angel.

"Shinji, the Angel is using its AT field to defend itself. You need to use the EVA's AT field to neutralize it before you can beat it." Misato's voice called.

"HOW?" Shinji called back.

Ritsuko looked at Misato. "This is what we get for using a rookie pilot. He doesn't have the slightest idea what he's doing. We should have brought him in for training earlier."

Shinji managed to get a knee up and kicked the Angel off of his EVA. He staggered to his feet. His EVA had scored and cracked armor all over it. The Angel was still unharmed. From a purely objective point of view, it seemed that all was lost. However, Shinji's view of the situation was far from objective.

I can't lose. I can't let myself lose to this thing. Kirika's waiting for me to come back, I am GOING TO SEE HER AGAIN!

With a roar of rage, Shinji charged at the Angel. It only managed to get off one attack before the EVA closed, which was swiftly evaded. The EVA then proceeded to pound and stab its enemy repeatedly, knocking it all over the city.

"He's really giving it to the thing, isn't he?" Observed one of the bridge bunnies.

"Unfortunately, he still hasn't penetrated the AT field. He may be knocking it around, but he isn't actually hurting it." Replied Ritsuko.

In the end, it was the combination of Shinji's swift reflexes and poor training that took him down. He was able to tell when the Angel was about to attack him, but couldn't properly judge how far he needed to dodge. He kept either overestimating, and having to recover from the spills he took while doing so, or underestimating, and taking a glancing hit. After the first time that Shinji overestimated a dodge during his offensive, the Angel gained enough time to start a serious counteroffensive. An underestimated dodge of the Angel's laser took EVA-01 in the hip, bringing it down to one knee. The Third Angel knocked the EVA to the ground a second time, this time taking care to pin its legs. In desperation, Shinji thrust his knife forward one last time, continuing to press forward even after hitting the AT field. By sheer chance, he managed to figure out how to activate the EVA's AT field during this final stroke. The knife penetrated the field far enough to embed itself in the red orb on the Angel's chest. As Shinji twisted the knife, the Angel screamed, and then it abruptly exploded, driving the EVA further into the pavement.

"Pattern Blue signal has faded. Target is destroyed." Came the call from the sensors board.

"Entry plug reports that the pilot is unconscious." Came another call.

"Stand down from alert. Send a retrieval team out to recover EVA-01. Medical unit standby to treat the pilot on recovery." Misato ordered.

When Shinji woke up, he was in a hospital bed. His body ached all over. When he tried sitting up, his head started spinning. He lay back down on the bed, and decided to rest until the pain went away. In his mind, the same thoughts kept occurring to him over and over.

I did it. I won. I'm useful to Father now. Now we can be together again.

After a couple of hours, Misato showed up. By this time, Shinji's body had stopped aching enough that he could sit up in bed. After some mild small talk, Shinji brought up the question that was foremost in his mind.

"Could I please speak with Kirika?"

"Kirika?" Misato sounded honestly confused about the question.

"My sister. I'd like to see her."

"I didn't know that your guardian was caring for any other children. I'll get in touch with him for you."

"No, when Father sent me off to my uncle, he kept her here. I need to see her, please." Shinji's tone was getting panicked.

"I didn't even know the commander had a daughter. There's only one person that he acts as guardian for, and her name isn't Kirika."

At that moment, Shinji's world came crashing down. The dream he had been holding onto for a decade had just turned out to be nothing more than an illusion. Either Kirika had outlived her usefulness, or this other girl had shown herself to be more useful, and Kirika had been cast aside. His fa- no, the Commander hadn't even cared enough to send his discarded children to the same place, or even to send a note letting them know how to reach each other. Shinji cradled his head in his hands and wept.

On the same day that Shinji had his illusions of a family reunion shattered, a black haired, brown eyed girl living in Paris was having illusions of her own shattered. Nobody knew the girl's real name – the girl didn't know it herself – but she answered to the alias of Kirika Yumura.

Kirika knew nothing of her past. All she knew is that one day a few months previous she woke up with no memory of who she was, where she came from, or how she had gotten where she was. Searching the apartment she woke up in, the only physical clues to her identity was a student ID card with her 'name' printed on it and a musical pocket watch. The only clues to her past were a sense of connection to a certain woman and to the word 'Noir'.

Shortly after starting to attend classes at the school the ID came from (where she had apparently been going for some time before her sudden memory loss), people started trying to kill her for some unknown reason. At this time, Kirika learned something else about herself.

She was extremely good at killing people. She could do it swiftly, efficiently, and without a shred of remorse.

After a few attacks from these unknown attackers, Kirika managed to track down and contact the woman, an assassin named Mireille Bouquet. After the two of them exterminated yet another attack from these attackers, they had become partners, operating under the codename of Noir.

Since then, the two had traveled the world, hunting down terrorists, criminals and corrupt officials on commission from those they had wronged. All the while, they searched for information on the people who were trying to kill them, a shadowy organization known as Soldats.

During those journeys, Kirika also tried to find any leads that might lead to her discovering the secrets of her lost past. Did she have any family? Did she have any friends? Did they miss her? Where had she learned how to kill with such ease? Had she any other interests when she was younger other than death and how to bring it about?

In an attempt to find something to occupy her time other than death and the unfathomable mysteries of her past and her mysterious enemies, Kirika had tried to take up painting as a hobby. While working on her first painting, she had gotten to know a painter named Milosh, who was also painting a landscape of the same view. Milosh ended up being the first real friend that she could remember outside of Mireille, someone who had no connection to the dark life that she lived, someone she could talk to and pretend to be a normal person around for a little while. Mireille hadn't approved of the friendship, but Kirika kept it up anyway.

That had been about a week ago, and Kirika had discovered exactly why her partner had said that she should stop seeing him. Christian Galle, an enemy of Mireille's from before they had become partners, had come looking for revenge. Having survived his first fight with Noir while seeing both members of the team, he tried a more indirect method of assault. Recognizing Kirika walking alongside Milosh after a morning of painting, he had the painter gunned down in a drive-by shooting, killing the man for no reason other than the fact that he was the friend of a friend of an enemy.

Galle was dead now – killed by Kirika's hand. But that wouldn't help Milosh. Glancing at the sketchbook holding the first painting that she had ever made, Kirika wondered if she'd ever be able to paint another landscape without being haunted by the ghost of the friend she'd inadvertently killed by the very act of befriending him. She understood what Mireille had tried to tell her now. People in their profession couldn't afford to get close to anyone. Connections were weaknesses that could be exploited. It was much better to avoid such things, so that the uninvolved would not get hurt and they would not suffer the pain of loss.

But even as Kirika went over this cruel lesson, a small part of her still wished that this truism wasn't as absolute as it seemed to be…

A/N: If you didn't understand the comment in the disclaimer, the title of the Noir theme song is 'Coppélia's Casket'. Thanks to their being no explanation to the reference, I thought Coppélia was some Engrish mispronunciation of 'copper' until I looked it up online and found it was the title character of a 19th century French ballet.

I came up with this idea after watching Noir for the first time, and realizing that while they stated that Kirika's name was an alias, they never said what her real name was. That left plenty of options for who she could be…

According to Megumi Hayashibara (A singer and voice actress whose credits include Rei Ayanami), the ultimate reason why Shinji pilots isn't because he wants to save the world, but because he thinks that saving the world will win him the approval of the father that abandoned him. This time around, Shinji only sought Gendo's approval because he thought it would enable him to be reunited with his sister. However, now he knows that not only is the princess in another castle, nobody in the area knows where the other castle is, or that there was a princess in the first place. The fact that the only thing Shinji wants from his father is something he doesn't have will complicate the scenario.

Shinji is the twin brother of one of the world's deadliest assassins in this story. I don't think that it's implausible to give him sharp reflexes. However, as he hasn't spent the past ten years studying the finer points of how to kill people like his sister has, he can't use those reflexes to their full capacity.

Whether it is by coincidence or choice, Noir has never once taken a contract against an innocent man. The closest they've ever come is taking one on a man whose hands were just as dirty as his victim's were (He had committed the most recent atrocity in a chain of atrocities that two ethnic groups had done to each other for centuries in revenge for the previous ones). Mireille actually thought that this might justify cancelling the contract (That and the fact that the man was likely to die of natural causes within the month anyway). It was Kirika who insisted that they kill him.

My thanks to CJN for the help in ironing out details while I was working out the initial concept.