Disclaimer: Neon Genesis Evangelion is the creation of Anno and property of Gainax. I don't own it, make no claims to it, and am making no profit from this fan fiction. No infringement of copyright is intended. In other words, please don't sue.
20 days before the First Battle of Tokyo-3…
"Damn it!" Ritsuko Akagi swore, only barely resisting the urge to pound her fist on her desk in frustration.
"Looks like another one bites the dust, sempai," Maya sighed. "And this mixture looked so promising, too."
Ritsuko nodded silently. After Unit Zero had gone berserk during the experiment and injured Rei two days ago, Commander Ikari had ordered her to attempt to create a sedative that could be used to stop or at least calm down a rampaging Evangelion.
It had been nothing but one frustration after another so far, and Ritsuko was fairly sure that the Third Angel would arrive and disrupt the project before anything could possibly come of it. And if that were to happen, she'd have much more important things to worry about than an EVA sedative.
Every chemical mixture they'd tried so far had shown itself to be either ineffective or toxic to EVA when they mixed a bit of it in with some LCL and EVA tissue in a Petri dish, save for one.
They'd had to mix a dose of that one with several thousand gallons of LCL in order to determine that it wouldn't work, though Ritsuko had no damned idea why.
"EVA's physiology is too different from that of a human for sedatives made for a human to be expected to work, I suppose," Ritsuko mused, composing herself.
She gazed again at her screen, which was currently showing a magnified view of the LCL they were experimenting upon, transmitted from an electron microscope. The blond scientist sighed. She had never seen cells just rupture like that.
"Dump the contaminated LCL," she ordered. "We'll go get lunch and see if we can't think up a new approach afterwards."
Maya entered in a few key stokes, then winced. "There's a block in the waste water pipeline, sempai," she said apologetically.
Her patience already expended, Ritsuko had to restrain herself from snapping at her protégé. Forcing herself to keep calm, she looked over Maya's shoulder and saw that there was indeed a clogged pipe in NERV.
"We'll have to call maintenance and get them to clear it," she sighed. "For now, though, use the other pipeline and dump the waste LCL into Lake Ashi."
"But sempai, that's where the city gets its drinking water from," Maya protested.
Ritsuko smiled wanly. "The lake is large enough that the sedative and LCL will be easily dissipated. It won't harm anyone so long as we don't make a habit out of it. No one will even taste the LCL."
"There are still traces of Unit Zero's DNA in the LCL, though," Maya argued.
Ritsuko silently admitted that she hadn't thought of that. However, she wanted that LCL gone in the worst way right now. It had become a symbol of all her frustrations that day.
"It's not a big deal," she said. "The odds of the EVA's genetic material affecting anyone in any noticeable or significant manner are only one in half a million. Incredibly unlikely things like that never happen around here."
"If you say so, sempai," Maya said, obviously dubious but obedient enough to do it anyway.
She typed in a few commands and the corrupted LCL was redirected to the pipeline the led right into Lake Ashi. Neither of them realized until it was much too late that roughly half a million people resided in Tokyo-3 at the moment.
Several miles away and a few hours later, Hikari Horaki was working on dinner. Which was no small task for the fourteen-year-old girl, considering that she was cooking for herself, her two sisters, and her father. Still, it was something she was used to and she did it without complaint.
However, no amount of practice could keep the human body from lodging its own form of complaint when one was working in a kitchen with both the oven and the stove going on a hot summer day.
"Whew," she panted, grabbing a paper towel and wiping the sweat off her brow. "It's like a sauna in here."
The girl gave her miso soup a quick stir, then she went over to the cupboard and grabbed a drinking glass. Too busy to root around the refrigerator for her favorite beverage, she simply poured herself tap water.
Hikari drank the entire glass in one large gulp, totally unaware that she was one in half a million, and went back to work on the meal.
Nozomi Horaki awoke with a yawn, a huge stretch, and the vague feeling that something was wrong. The eleven-year-old didn't know where the latter came from at first. She pondered it while she rubbed sleep out of her eyes.
Then the feeling crystallized into realization.
Her mornings did not begin with pleasant stretches and laid back yawns. No, her mornings began with her sister Hikari shaking her and telling her to get moving or she'd be late for school.
Suddenly fully awake and alert, she snapped her head to the side to look at her clock and was shocked to see that it was over an hour after when she should have gotten up.
Which begged the question, why hadn't Hikari woken her?
Nozomi got out of her futon and headed for Hikari's bedroom. "Nee-chan?" she called.
No response. Nozomi began to feel worried. Hikari would never forget to wake her up in the morning. The young girl's mind began to concoct all kinds of terrible scenarios that might have occurred to prevent Hikari from performing her sacred duty as human alarm clock.
Most of them involved evil ninjas.
Despite the nasty possibilities running through her mind, Nozomi steeled her courage and proceeded to Hikari's room, sliding open the screen before she could stop herself.
No ninjas, oni, or any other monsters lurked inside Hikari's room. The only living soul inside Hikari's room was, in fact, Hikari herself. Her older sister was still in her futon, apparently asleep.
This shocked Nozomi far more than ninjas would have. In her mind, a ninja attack was perfectly plausible, but Hikari sleeping in on a school day? Totally inconceivable.
"Nee-chan?" Nozomi said, rushing over to Hikari and shaking her gently.
Hikari's pajamas were soaked with sweat. The older girl's skin was cool and clammy. She opened her eyes in response to Nozomi, but the younger girl could easily see the glazed look in her sister's eyes. Hikari probably didn't even know who she was at the moment.
"Nee-chan!" Nozomi exclaimed. "Don't worry! I'll call Dad!"
Tanaka Horaki was a busy man, and he worked as a technician for NERV. Of course, at the moment, that was a redundant statement. The workload of everyone at NERV had increased dramatically since the failed Unit Zero activation experiment. It was as if the Commanders expected an Angel to arrive any day now and didn't want to be caught with their pants down, not that working their people to the bone as they were would help very much. Without a healthy EVA pilot, they would be in big trouble if an Angel arrived.
So, the single remaining male member of the Horaki family was overburdened and could ill afford to take a day off from work.
Yet when Nozomi called him and frantically told him that Hikari was extremely sick, he didn't hesitate to tell his supervisor that he had a family emergency to deal with and go speeding home.
Since his wife had passed away, his daughters were all Tanaka Horaki had left.
He made it from NERV headquarters to his home in record time, flinging the front door open hard enough to send it slamming against the wall, something he usually scolded Nozomi for doing.
"Nozomi!" he called.
The little girl rushed down the stairs to meet her father, still clad in pajamas. "Hikari didn't wake me up this morning so I went to see why not and I found her still in her futon and she was all cold and clammy but since I called you she's gotten really hot and I think she has a fever!" she exclaimed in a great rush.
Tanaka quickly made his way to Hikari's room, where he found his middle daughter in a state as sorry as his youngest daughter had described. He had been hoping that Hikari just had a simple cold and Nozomi had panicked unnecessarily.
"I'm taking her to the hospital," he said to Nozomi, who had followed him upstairs.
"What should I do?" Nozomi asked.
"Get dressed and go to school," Tanaka answered, gently picking up Hikari.
"But I wanna stay with nee-chan," Nozomi whined.
Tanaka took a deep breath. He knew Nozomi was being difficult out of fear for her sister, who had become like her mother in recent years. "I know," he said, "but you're not dressed, and I don't want to delay going to the hospital. Not with your sister like this."
Nozomi paused, silently acknowledging that her father was right, but not quite able to bring herself to part with Hikari just yet.
"I'll call you with any news, I promise." Tanaka said.
Nozomi nodded reluctantly. "All right, Dad."
"Well? What's the diagnosis, Doctor?" Tanaka asked.
Dr. Yamagata of Tokyo-3 Memorial Hospital adjusted his glasses nervously. The truth of the matter was he didn't have one, or at least, not one that he was sure about.
"It appears to be a virus, Horaki-san, perhaps a new strain of the flu," he answered. "Antibiotics are having no effect on your daughter's illness."
Of course, Yamagata mused, it wasn't flu season, and the girl's sickness wasn't behaving like any virus he knew. But he had no idea what else could possibly be wrong with the girl.
"So what are you going to do?" Tanaka asked.
"There's not much we can do," Yamagata answered apologetically. "She's just got to fight this off on her own. I'm releasing her. There's no need for her to remain here."
Still, if this place wasn't so perpetually understaffed and underfunded, I'd probably keep her here for observation, Yamagata added silently.
"I see," Tanaka said, frowning slightly.
"Just make sure she gets plenty of fluids and is kept warm and she should be fine in a few days," Yamagata added.
Tanaka nodded and headed off to pick up his daughter. Yamagata just shook his head and went off to see to his next patient.
In all fairness, Yamagata could probably be forgiven for releasing Hikari. He really hadn't seen any indication that whatever was wrong with her was worse than a bad virus. After all, it wasn't as though the hospital had to equipment to test if someone had absorbed alien DNA and was incorporating it into their genetic code. And while certain, careful scans would have revealed the walnut-sized S2 organ Hikari was developing, there had been absolutely no apparent reason to perform said scans.
Hikari was laid up in bed for three days as her body bore the pain of its unseen transformation. The teenager drifted in and out of a fitful sleep, barely conscious for enough time each day to eat and perform other necessary activities.
Kodama, the eldest of the three Horaki girls, did her best to take over the housework that Hikari usually did, somehow finding some time in the midst of her hectic college schedule. Unfortunately, she wasn't nearly so skilled at domestic activities as Hikari. In fact, she proved Nozomi's claim that she could burn water. Kodama, a chemistry major, insisted that it was impossible to burn water, that some cooking oil or something must have gotten into it. Nevertheless, the fact remained that she had managed to set off the house's smoke alarm while trying to boil water to make rice.
Nozomi dotted on Hikari in a way she would categorically deny later, placing cool damp rags on her forehead whenever Hikari's fever spiked. Had this not been the extent of her knowledge of how to treat Hikari, she would have done more.
Tanaka, seeing no improvement in his daughter's condition, resolved that if she wasn't getting better by the end of the week, he would take her back to the hospital and not leave until they had diagnosed exactly what was wrong and had begun fixing it.
That proved unnecessary, however. On the fourth day since she'd taken ill, when her sisters were at school and her father at work, Hikari's condition changed. Drastically.
She snapped awake abruptly, something that hadn't happened much recently. For the past few days, becoming fully conscious had been very much a struggle. However, she wasn't able to take any pleasure from being completely awake without having to fight for it.
She knew instinctively that something was very wrong.
Hikari felt deep, throbbing pain all throughout her body and would have screamed had the agony not stolen her breath away. Her body felt like it had an inferno raging inside of it. Had she burst into flames at that moment, she would have only been half surprised.
Then, the room was filled with the sound of fabric tearing. And, abruptly as it had begun, the agony and incredible heat ceased. She felt clear headed and pain free for the first time in days.
That didn't mean she felt good, however. Hikari was quite certain that something was wrong with her, very wrong. She didn't know what, but she had heard her pajamas ripping and that didn't exactly fill her with confidence.
Somewhat reluctantly, she got up and looked at herself in the mirror. She gasped in shock, slowly bringing her hands up over her mouth.
A huge pair of wings with feathers as white as snow had sprouted from her back.
Author's Notes: First of all, a big thanks to orionpax09, who was kind enough to give me the okay to give this fic a similar title to his (her? Ah, the wonders of the internet) own "female EVA character gets super powers" story, and it was from him that I got the idea. Go check his stuff out.
Secondly, I've decided to take a less comic book approach, so our super powered Hikari isn't going to have, say, the powers of Angel from the X-Men or something. I do hope to have the feel of a comic book in here somewhat, though it's possible I may not succeed in that.
Lastly, I'm pretty enthusiastic about this idea, but it's undoubtedly going to be a challenge for me. The reason being that, as a guy, the workings of a teenage girl's mind are not something I can claim to understand. (Maybe I should have given powers to an oft ignored male EVA character instead, but really, who would want to read about Super Kensuke?) So if I ever have Hikari acting in a way a teenage girl simply wouldn't, please feel free to let me know.