Disclaimer: I don't own Evangelion.
Author's note: A little late on this chapter, but I'm gonna update again this week, so no worries there. Not a lot to say here, so on with the show!
"AH!" cried Shinji sitting bolt upright in bed. His head was spinning a bit from the sudden movement. He looked around his room, trying to catch his breath. Suddenly remembering why he had awoken so suddenly, he looked down at his hands.
He sighed in relief, his breath shaking a bit. It had all been a dream. There was no fur, no claws, nothing. It was just a dream.
"All that werewolf talk," he said quietly to himself. "That must have got my mind going too much." He shook his head a little, and placed a hand on his arm. It didn't hurt today. He unwrapped the bandages, and his eyes widened. He was almost fully healed! "Must have been a more shallow wound than I thought."
He went to the bathroom and changed out his bandages. After that he went to the kitchen and prepared breakfast as usual. There was no school today, it being the weekend, so Shinji tried to figure out how he'd like to spend the day. Barring a surprise Angel attack, he wasn't needed at NERV until at least two days from now, when they were expected to go through their usual drills.
He felt restless though, and as soon as he was done with breakfast he got dressed and headed for the door.
"Hey baka," said Asuka, "where are you going?"
"Out," answered Shinji.
"I dunno, just out, I guess," he said, shrugging his shoulders. He left before Asuka could question him further. Misato had gone into NERV early, needing to take care of some work today, and so was already out.
He made his way down to the park, hoping to just get some fresh air and try to relax a little. He felt a bit on edge, and for the life of him he couldn't figure out why. 'Probably the nightmare,' he reasoned, although he wasn't fully satisifed with that answer.
As he approached the park, he became aware of noises. When he rounded the corner, he saw a bunch of tents set up in the park. His curiosity was piqued, and he went to go investigate.
It was some sort of carnival. There were tents and booths set up all around, and there were people of all ages having a good time. It wasn't often that anything like this came to Tokyo-3, especially with all that had been happening over the last few months, so this was a rare treat for the people of the often-embattled city.
Shinji wandered about, looking from place to place. There was a dunking booth, a dart booth, one of those strength testers with a bell on top, and much more. He wondered what he should try first, when something caught his eye. It was a fortune teller's tent, and it currently had no line. Deciding it couldn't hurt, he went inside.
The atmosphere inside the tent was a stark contrast to that outside. The air was thick, but not too thick, with incense. The material of the tent was thick, and so managed to keep out the sunlight seemingly entirely. The only light in the room was produced by a few candles placed here and there. And there at the center, gazing at a crystal ball, was a woman wearing a thick veil over her face.
The woman's brilliantly bright eyes were immediately on Shinji. She beckoned him forward, gesturing to the chair opposite hers at the table. Shinji slowly walked forward and sat down, not saying a word. She appeared to be a young woman. Shinji could just tell she was, despite not being able to see anything but her eyes and forehead.
"Hello," said the woman in a mysterious tone. "Welcome to the tent of Madam Bella."
"Um, hello," said Shinji. "I'm-"
"Shhhhh," said the woman, shushing him, "no need to introduce yourself. Your identity is clear to me. The young Ikari, Shinji, correct?" Shinji nodded, stupefied. He'd always assumed fortune telling was all smoke and mirrors, tricks. But in a single moment she had told him his name, having never met him before.
"How did... how did you know my name?" he asked.
"I know many things, dear boy," she said. "My concern rests within the spirit world, and the spirit world confides much in me. You are one of humanity's great protectors, are you not?" Shinji shook his head yes, although he disagreed.
"It's really nothing," he said, "I just do what I need to, and-"
"It is not nothing, dear boy!" exclaimed Madam Bella. "Your work costs you much, does it not? It causes you pain as well, yes?" Shinji nodded. "Then it is a great service and good work that you do."
"You seem to know a lot about me," said Shinji. "How?"
"How does one know anything?" she answered. Shinji could feel her smiling under her veil. "But that is not why you are here, is it?"
"I don't actually know why I'm here," said Shinji, looking down at the floor.
"Of course you do," said Madam Bella. "This was the one place with no line!" She laughed a pleasant laugh, and Shinji smiled. "But there is another reason you were drawn to my tent. You have a question, though you do not know how to ask it."
"I have a question?" he asked. She nodded.
"Just think for a moment. I am a woman who knows fortunes. Pasts, presents, futures. I know dreams, omens, signs. What could a woman like that offer you?" At the word dreams, Shinji started slightly. "Ah, so you do have something."
"I had... I had a really strange dream this morning," he began. "Well, I've had a strange few days, really."
"Is that so?" asked the young woman in front of him, resting her veiled chin on her hands, and her elbows on the table.
"I had a dream that I turned into a wolf," said Shinji. "I got bit by a big dog or something the other day, and I guess it freaked me out a little."
"And why should being bit by an animal make you think you should become an animal?" she asked.
"Well," said Shinji, a little embarrassed, "I guess it was 'cause I had just finished reading a book about werewolves. I know, it's silly." She remained quiet, raising an eyebrow.
"A story about werewolves, you say," she said, thoughtfully. "Interesting." She hummed a little tune, and placed her hands on her crystal ball. Without warning, the candles in the tent went out. However, darkness did not replace it. The ball was glowing blue. So, Shinji thought, were the woman's eyes.
"Quiet, dear boy," she said. She gazed into her ball. "There is much change in store for you, young Ikari. It was not just a dream, but a premonition! You do not believe now, but you shall, in forces both large and unimaginable. Fate has brought you here to my tent. I am the one person on this Earth that will be able to assist you in what you are going to go through in the coming time." Shinji was quiet, wide-eyed, and a little fearful. What was she saying?
"You will go through this change soon, sooner than you are prepared for," she continued, a supernatural quality coming into her voice. "You shall gain something you have never had before. A great pain and a great power. This power may be used to take lives or save lives. It is up to you to choose, but know now that the fate of others relies on you, and not just because you are Earth's defender! You have the power to set things right, things that would go wrong!"
"What are you-?"
"And beware! Beware the thirteenth! You now have the chance to prevent a great tragedy from befalling those you care about! Beware the thirteenth!" The glow from the ball slowly faded, leaving Shinji and the fortune teller in darkness. She struck a match and relit her candles.
"... What was all that?" he asked
"Sorry," she said amiably. "Sometimes when these things come, they come in a big way. The spirit world does love showmanship from time to time."
"But what on Earth was all that?" he asked. "Thirteenth what? The date? And what transformation? Are you saying I'm actually a werewolf or something?"
"I really can't say," she said. "Sorry. However, you will know soon enough. And when you do, you may come find me. My carnival will be in town for quite some time."
"I'm sorry, but this all sounds really crazy," said Shinji, standing up. Madam Bella laughed.
"I know it does," she said cheerfully. "Believe me, I didn't understand everything at first either. But know this: when the time comes that all of this is made clear, I can and will help you. And do not be frightened. What the spirits have promised is remarkable, and not without reason." Shinji shook his head, trying to make heads or tails of the whole situation. She walked over and put a hand on his shoulder.
"I've seen a lot of strange things," he said quietly, "but that has to be one of the strangest."
"It may only get stranger from here," she said. "Now, would you like some tea to calm your nerves?" Shinji raised an eyebrow. "No, I'm not trying to poison you. Despite what you may have heard, carnies are not dangerous miscreants. Well, not all of us are." She laughed again, and Shinji decided to just go ahead and take a seat. While he wasn't sure at all what to think of the bizarre things he had just seen and heard, something inside, some small voice, told him that he could trust this strange woman.
Shinji spent the better part of the day at the carnival, leaving and coming back a few times. True to her word, Madam Bella had not poisoned him, and he actually felt better after his cup of tea than he had before. His feeling of restlessness had gone, and a small part of him wondered if it had been fate making him go to the carnival to see the fortune teller.
"Nah," he shook his head. He didn't really believe in fate. But he did at least believe that there was something special about Madam Bella. While he had, after a time, been able to accept that he was fighting giant creatures from space, the spirit world, or at least claims to be able to communicate with it, had always seemed a little harder to believe. If nothing else, he had seen something very extraordinary.
At around seven, with the sun almost all the way down, the carnival closed. They packed up quickly, and their trucks and trailers drove off. Before leaving, Bella assured Shinji that they would be back again the next day. Shinji decided to hang around in the park for a while longer, enjoying the fresh air.
He'd had an interesting day, he'd decided. Several kids from school had made their way down to the carnival, including Toji and Kensuke. Toji had even brought his little sister along, the doctors deciding that she was well enough to go out for one day. Shinji had felt a little guilty, seeing the girl and remembering that he had been the cause of her injury. But she had seemed to harbor no grudge against him.
He thought back to what Madam Bella had said. The power to take or save lives. What had that really meant? It didn't matter, he decided. If nothing else, he would always try to save lives. That was part of the reason he piloted Unit 1, after all. Sure, he had his problems with people, but that didn't mean he couldn't try and help.
Asuka had also come down, but had made it quite clear that she was here to hang out with Hikari, and didn't need any of the guys to have any fun. She had said that, but she and Hikari had stuck around for a good amount of time anyway.
Most surprising by far to see had been Ayanami. He hadn't expected Rei to come to a carnival just out of the blue. She was so reserved, and kept to herself at almost all times. She wondered how she had found out about the carnival at the park, and more importantly wondered why she had come down.
They had had a pleasant conversation, though. She had apparently come to the park because she too had felt somewhat restless, and had seen a flyer for the carnival near her apartment building. Not knowing what a carnival entailed, she had come to investigate and satisfy her curiosity.
Shinji smiled. He had shown Ayanami around the carnival and introduced her to the games. While demonstrating the strength test, he had surprisingly scored well enough to earn a small prize. Earning much teasing from Toji, he had given the prize, a small stuffed bear, to Ayanami, as he had no real need of it. Or that's what he'd said, anyway. But at least it had earned him a small smile from the blue haired girl.
Before Shinji knew it, it was dark. He had gotten so caught up in recounting the day's events that he had lost track of time. He grew nervous, uncomfortable being out after dark after what had happened the other night.
He stood up and looked around. It was dark out. The moon was bright, but currently blocked by a few thin clouds. He started heading in the direction of home, when he noticed it getting brighter. He looked up and saw the moon, peeking out from behind the clouds. He tried to move, to continue walking, but suddenly was aware that he could not.
His eyes widened, his body paralyzed and rooted to the spot. His skin began to itch. Suddenly, he felt pain. It was like growing pains, but everywhere and all at once. The pain intensified and he cried out.
"Augh!" he exclaimed, falling to his hands and knees. His head slowly turned back up to look at the moon. It called to him, with an inaudible voice. It pulled him. He suddenly heard cracking noises, and the pain again intensified.
He looked down at his arms, his eyes widening in terror as he did. Hair! Hair was growing all over his arms! His nails grew longer and sharper, and his hands began to change shape. He heard tearing sounds as he suddenly felt his chest expand. Suddenly he heard his pants tear. He looked back. A tail!
His horrified eyes suddenly began to grow a little wider apart. He looked down his nose, the newest spot in which the pain had began, and grew even more fearful. It had begun growing out!
"AAAAAAAUUUHHH" he cried, the pain and fear overtaking him. He felt his teeth grow sharper and change shape, with twice the intensity of a toothache. Snapping and cracking sounds continued as his legs and arms changed shape. He was soon looking down a canine snout at two large paws. His clothes, down to his shoes, lay ruined on the ground beneath him. He was covered in gray and brown fur.
He looked down along his new form. This wasn't happening. There was fur everywhere. This wasn't happening. His legs were clearly the legs of a wolf now. This wasn't happening. He had a tail. THIS WASN'T HAPPENING!
Tada! Sorry, I'm a little late. This was supposed to be done in time for last week's(week before, actually -_-) update. This week's (truly last week's, now) will come soon, and then hopefully this coming week (today's week) will be on time. Hope you all didn't mind me tricking you with the whole dream thing. This time it's real, I promise. But I had to save it until after the fortune teller thing. I tell you what, I've really had this planned out for a while, so no worries: I do know what I'm doing.
Til next time!