Disclaimer: I don't own Evangelion.
Author's note: Well, so much for twice a week. It's amazing how missing a single week will throw me off for months. Entire months... a year and a half worth of months. Just... yargarble. Anyway, enough of my grumblings.
In the interest of moving the story along, Shinji has already transformed. I don't regret it, because to not do so would make me invent things to drag it out. Ya'll are reading this to see Shinji be a wolf anyway, right? Well, off we go!
'OH GOD!' Shinji was screaming in his head. "AWOOOOOOOOOOO!" Nothing escaped his new muzzle except a howl.
Shinji panicked. He panicked for several minutes. He wasn't able to process what was happening, at least not right away. It took him some time to reach a semblance of calm. The first thing he did, once he'd achieved this, was hide in a nearby bush. He couldn't let anyone see him, not like this.
It was very fortunate that he was an EVA pilot, and had already been exposed to things that less than a year ago he would have thought impossible. That being said, the idea of suddenly being a wolf was a tad beyond the idea of even the Angels or the EVAs.
'How?' he thought. 'How can this possibly be happening? People don't... this just doesn't...' He took a deep breath. 'Okay... think... wait... think? I'm still thinking. I'm still thinking! Okay! Okay, good!' Had Shinji not been so focused on this happy revelation, he would have noticed that his tail had started wagging in response.
Shinji began going through the list of possibilities. He would have loved for it to have been a dream, but he was filled with a great certainty that he would already have woken up if that was the case. He also did his best to avoid the most obvious explanation, rationalizing that 'fairy tales don't just happen.' However, it didn't take him long to accept that as the only possibility. He had no other way of explaining it.
'Okay, so I got bit by a werewolf the other night,' he thought. 'But how? Why me? Why did this have to happen? And why can't monsters and curses stay in stories where they belong!?'
It took Shinji several minutes to calm down, upon which he realized something. No matter what the situation currently was, his torn clothing was still laying out on the park path for all to see! He had to do something. He didn't know what the chances were of someone walking by, but the longer the waited, the worse he felt those chances would be.
He dashed out of the bushes, grabbed his destroyed clothing, and dashed back into the bushes. Okay, clothes hidden. The less for people to investigate, the better. But what was he supposed to do now? Did he dare try to go home? Did he risk staying the night at the park? If he was found, he might be carted away at best, or shot at worst. And if he transformed back in captivity? Worse, what if he didn't transform back!?
'Calm down!' he demanded of himself. 'Calm down! This isn't helping, this isn't helping. Gotta think. Think. Okay. Um... do I stay in the park? Should I just...' He was distracted by a scent, and a distant sound of soft footsteps. It was a strange sensation for him. One the one hand, he'd never smelled like this before, never been aware of just how subtle the differences in aromas were. On the other hand, what he smelled was familiar, but he couldn't place it.
It shouldn't have been possible, but there it was. He could smell things he'd never smelled before. The grass, the lingering scents of people in the park earlier, his own scent on his torn clothes, the smell of fresh and decomposing food in the nearby trash can, and this one impossibly familiar scent.
He identified it as a person, and as someone he knew, but he also knew that didn't make sense. After all, he didn't go around smelling people, and wasn't in the habit of getting close enough to someone for that to be a thing in the first place. But... he knew who it was. He tried to shake the thought off as nonsense, but he couldn't. As the sound of footsteps grew closer, he carefully peaked out from the bushes. Against all his expectations, he was correct.
Walking through the park was Rei Ayanami. He couldn't imagine what she was doing out walking at this time of night, but it didn't matter. The fact that there was a familiar face nearby was definitely helping his mental state. He also couldn't help but notice that she still held the small bear he'd won her earlier that day.
Rei, meanwhile, was actually looking for the source of some howling she'd heard earlier. She'd stayed in the park after the carnival closed, simply enjoying the silence until it had been broken. She had remembered that Ikari had been bitten by something in the park, and wondered if it was the same animal that had been making the noise. She did not worry about encountering the animal, either. Ikari's description of his encounter indicated that, even if the animal attacked, it was not out to kill. She could handle a bite on the arm.
She looked around, sure that the sound had come from somewhere in this area. However, she could not find any other sign of the creature. She turned to leave when she heard a very slight rustling of leaves in the nearby bushes. She turned back to look.
Shinji's breath caught in his throat. He'd accidentally wagged his tail, happy that Rei hadn't discovered him. He knew she'd heard him, and now wasn't sure what to do.
"Who is there?" asked Rei. "It would be best if you revealed yourself. There may be a dangerous animal nearby." Shinji sensed that Rei was not going to just leave, and suddenly felt he had no choice. He stepped out of the bushes, revealing himself.
Rei's eyes widened, and for a moment she felt that looking for an animal such as this may have been unwise. It was indeed not a species of Japanese wolf that stood before her. It was larger, and looked to be of European stock. However, it did not growl at her, or menace her in any way. It simply stood there, looking at her. She was unsure what to do.
Shinji was also at a loss. She hadn't run, but what was he supposed to do now? Talk? He would have laughed if he could have. Communication was almost certainly out, but how could he at least show her he wasn't dangerous? He took a step forward, which caused Rei to take a step back. He stopped, and so did she. Having clearly run out of options, he opted to sit down, thankful that he'd managed to figure out, in a short time, how to operate a four-legged body.
Rei looked at the animal in confusion. This was clearly not a threatening beast, and she began to even doubt that it was the one described by Ikari. Compelled to break the silence, she spoke again.
"You are not the animal that attacked..." she paused, looking down to the small bear she held, "... my friend, are you?" To her surprise, the wolf seemed to shake its head in reply, and it's tail began wagging.
Shinji had been pleasantly surprised to hear Rei call him her friend. The girl was so mysterious and quiet that even when he thought they were on good terms he could never be fully sure how she saw him. And now that she'd opened up a means of communication, maybe there was a chance that she could help him somehow. Or at least hide him until such a time as he could figure out what to do.
"You can... understand me?" asked Rei, now very confused. The wolf nodded. Her eyes widened almost imperceptibly. "Then you are not just a wild animal." The wolf shook its head no. Rei stared at the creature curiously. It must have been some sort of trained animal. Perhaps it belonged to the carnival?
"You should probably stay out of sight," she said. "The carnival will be back in the morning, and you will be able to find your master then." She turned to walk away.
Shinji was confused. Master? Carnival? It only took a second for it all to come together for him. Tomorrow, he could look for the fortune teller! It didn't seem entirely logical, but it was his best bet. She seemed to be in the know about things like this, and she did say she would be able to help him in some way. However, he was absolutely sure he could not stay here overnight, because the fear of discovery was too great. Becoming distressed at Rei leaving, he began to follow.
Rei heard the wolf following her and turned back to look. The wolf stopped. She began walking a moment later, still watching it. It began following again.
"Do you intend to follow me?" she asked. The wolf cocked its head to the side for a moment, as if considering, and then shook its head yes. Rei found this strange as well, but no more or less strange than the behavior it had exhibited up until now. She also did not quite know what to do with this new information. Should she just let it follow her home? And if she did, what then?
Shinji did not know either, as he was pondering that very same question. Assuming he was allowed to follow, what would happen in the morning? If he changed back, how on earth would he explain it? And if he didn't, then what on earth was he supposed to do? He felt like he had almost no options, but that following Rei and possibly getting stuck in another situation was still preferable to being stuck in the park. After all, how likely was Rei to call the authorities and report a wolf? Or to call animal services? She might, sure, but for now what else could he do?
"If you are to follow me, you must behave as you have been behaving," said Rei. "It is apparent to me that you are an intelligent animal, but to most you will not appear so. In the morning you will have to accompany me back to this place, is that understood?" The wolf nodded, and Rei did not know if that made it more or less strange that she was talking to it in such a manner. However, there was some kind of... familiarity about the animal she couldn't quite place. Unable to shake that feeling, she decided that this was the best course of action.
She began walking, and the wolf followed. Shinji was happy that she had decided on letting him go with her. Out of the entire crazy situation he currently found himself in, he was at least sure that he could count on Rei to either hide him, or at least to not react as everyone else. After all, anyone else who'd found him...
He balked at the idea. Misato was a tough woman. If she'd found him, he doubted she'd have just stood there waiting for a wolf to react. She'd more likely have pulled her gun out. If Toji or Kensuke had found him, he imagined there'd have been more running and calling for help. And as for if Asuka had found her... he shook his head. There was actually no telling what she'd have done. It was an even draw between running or attacking him out of self defense.
He suddenly realized that he was still in some trouble no matter what happened. After all, not being able to go home meant that he would indeed be unable to appear. Misato was worried about him after the attack, so would that make her stay up and wait for him? He wouldn't be able to, provided he changed back tomorrow, just tell her he'd come in late.
Could he say that he had stayed at Toji or Kensuke's place? Maybe, but what if she'd called them to check? Could he... no, saying he'd stayed with Rei was out of the question. She would obviously know that he wasn't there, as there was no way that she'd just know that he was the wolf.
Shinji had spent so long letting all of these things run through his head that he was surprised to finally look up and see that they were at Rei's apartment building. He frowned inwardly at the sight of the somewhat dilapidated looking building, remembering his previous visit. He didn't understand how Rei, who was clearly favored amongst the pilots by his father, lived in such conditions. He didn't have much time to think about that as he was led inside.
Shinji followed Rei upstairs. She opened her door, stood there for a moment, and then motioned him inside. It was clear to both of them that she'd never handled an animal before, but that was fine by Shinji. Even though she didn't know he was the wolf she was letting into her home, he was glad to be awkwardly treated as a person rather than as an animal.
"I suppose," she said, looking around after turning on a lamp, "that you may have to sleep in the corner. I am not accustomed to animals or pets, and I am not prepared with any accommodations for you. I also do not know what to feed you, so I can only hope you are not hungry." She looked to the wolf, who was looking at her patiently. "I have had a long day. I will be getting ready for bed now."
Rei turned around and began disrobing. Shinji immediately turned away, sure that he was blushing if wolves were capable of it. He then remembered the first time he'd been inside Rei's apartment, and this only made things worse. He did his absolute best not to turn around.
That being said, he could almost hear Toji's voice saying, "Go ahead, look! She doesn't know it's you! This is your shot at a free look, man!" He shook the thought from his head. He knew it would be wrong to take advantage of the situation, especially since Rei had been kind enough to let him into her home. He heard the sound of her getting under sheets, and with the click of the lamp the apartment was dark, save for the glow of the full moon outside, coming in through the window.
It was now that Shinji risked turning around. Rei was indeed covered, to his relief. She was, however, facing him.
"You are a strange animal," she said. "I have never seen a wolf before, at least not a live one. What I understand of them tells me you should not be as well behaved or tame as you have been so far, and you certainly should not be able to respond the way you have. I do not know what to make of you."
Shinji, having no way to reply, simply tried his best to communicate that he was listening with body language. He looked into her red eyes, and she looked back into his. For a moment, there was a glimmer of something strange in her look, and Shinji almost felt as if she was looking straight past his wolf form and could see who he was. However, this was momentary.
"I hope I have not made an unwise choice by allowing you into my home," she said. "If any harm befalls me, I know I could be replaced, but... it would not go so well for you." It didn't come out a threat so much as a warning. Shinji only wished that he had a way to tell her she needn't worry about anything. Lacking an idea, he simply curled up in a way that felt comfortable to his new body.
They stared at one another a bit longer before Rei eventually closed her eyes. Not long after, her breathing became more relaxed, and it was apparent that she'd fallen asleep. Shinji couldn't help but notice that she had the bear he'd given her close by. It would have made him smile, if he thought he could have.
He looked up at the moon, which he could just see through her curtains. It glowed bright, huge in the sky. What was going to happen when it went down? Was he going to change back like in the stories? How was he supposed to explain that to Rei? He looked back at her.
The night had been a confusing, exhausting one. He was more grateful than he knew how to express to be hidden away while he was like this, and he wondered how he was going to repay her for it, especially since she had no idea what was really going on. He'd have to think of something. In the meantime, he needed to find a way to deal with this new, crazy turn of events. If he changed back, surely the fortune teller, that Madam Bella would know what to do. She'd seemed to know about this stuff, after all.
He realized he'd thought this before, but it was one of the few things that was helping him keep it together at the moment. He'd have to figure out a way to fix all this. He'd just have to.
There you go! I really, REALLY hope it was worth the wait. I know, I'm the worst. But sometimes life happens, and sometimes I have terrible self-discipline. I'm working on that second part.
It took me a while to get here, because I caught myself in an interesting problem: how exactly to do the werewolf stuff/what will happen the following day. This problem was one that depended entirely on itself, if you know what I mean. Also had to figure out exactly what was going to happen with the Rei situation. I think I've got it now, so hopefully we can proceed at a more reasonable pace.
Anyway, thought you all might like to know: I'm gonna start working on a short novel soon, or a novella as they call them when they aren't referring to Mexican soap-operas (s' technically tellanovellas in that case, but who's counting, really?). I don't know if anyone here knows this, but I wrote a novel a few years back. I want it to get published, but I'm not ready to release it. It still needs editing, and a bit of fixing, and a bit of me being brave enough to release it.
Anyway, the novella is not going to be too too long, and it will be taking up some of my time. Wish me luck on that, yeah? And when it's done, I'll let ya'll know, k :)