I do not own Evangelion or DC Comics. Please don't sue me, I'm poor.
The loss of her ability to walk devastated Chiyo Suzuhara, the younger sister of Toji. That is, until she came across a discovery of her mother's. One that lifted her up into the clouds.
Chapter One: First Flight
Chiyo Suzuhara loved to draw.
It'd been a passion of hers ever since she'd been little, pencil flying across paper in simple, yet elegant designs. In her first year of Middle School she'd entered an art contest that had won second place in a Tokyo-3 wide talent competition, losing only to a specialized Academy on the outskirts of town. But she didn't really draw for fame, she just enjoyed it.
So it came as no surprise to her she was sketching now, since no one was going anywhere anytime soon.
Chiyo glanced up, it was Nozomi Horaki, who sat behind her in home room, fellow classmate from class 2-C at Tokyo-3 Middle School. She'd recognize the distinctive freckled face just about anywhere.
She tilted the sketchpad in her hands, showing off her latest work.
"Mhmm," replied Chiyo, going back to her doodling. "Not sure yet if I want to draw this one alone or in a flock though."
The lights overhead flickered, and both girls glanced up. They weren't currently sitting in the middle of class, but instead in the middle of an emergency shelter. Chiyo hadn't received the whole story from the teachers, and it seemed unlikely they had either. All they knew was that some very massive and very dangerous creature called an Angel was coming to Tokyo-3. And that they'd been evacuated to keep out of the way of the fighting. She wished she'd been in the same shelter as her big brother Toji, but alas, his school was on the other side of the city, they'd been forced apart. The same with their father and grandfather, they were likely on the outskirts by now, if they hadn't already made it safely home.
They'd been here for a long time now, since just before school had been about to let out. It would've been dark out by now, and Chiyo wasn't anxious to walk home at night all by herself.
"Hey Nozomi, do you think it would be okay if I stayed over tonight? Your place is closer than mine is."
"I dunno I'd have to ask big sis first. Assuming we ever get out of here," she muttered. "How long have we been here?"
Chiyo checked her watch. "Just under three hours."
"Still? Jeez. Maybe they just forgot about us," said Nozomi.
"Nah, no way," said Chiyo, returning to her sketching. Though she had a sneaking suspicion Nozomi might be right. They hadn't heard anything in a long while, after all.
Then suddenly a massive shudder shook the room, causing dust to trickle down from the ceiling. Nozomi sneezed, even as some of the other students began to fidget and ask meaningless questions, and then start demanding answers. The lights flickered again, and Chiyo felt a sliver of fear wash over her like a tangible wave.
"We're going to be alright, aren't we?" asked Nozomi.
Chiyo put down her sketching pad and wrapped a comforting arm around the other girl. Though if she admitted privately to herself, the comfort of closeness was as much for her benefit as Nozomi's. She couldn't shake this feeling of dread...
There was a massive crash overhead, and someone screamed.
The ceiling and far wall didn't so much break as crumble, the way stale bread did. Concrete gave way easily as a massive purple arm came smashing down, seconds after several students and other evacuees had moved out of the way. Chiyo watch in horror as chunks of wall the size of beach balls came tumbling down towards her. She had only enough presence of mind to shove Nozomi out of the way as the wall came crashing down atop of her. She heard a high-pitched scream.
It may have been her own.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
The steady hum of machines, the beep of a monitor, the whoosh of a respirator. Medical sounds. And there, in the background, something else. Heated voices, arguing. They sound like they're a million miles away, past the vast expanse of darkness. But they're gradually coming closer, and she can almost make them out.
She stirred a little, consciousness slowly returning as Chiyo tried to open her eyes. They felt like they weighed a dozen tons, each. But slowly, she peeked them open and adjusted to the ambient light, the fuzzy shapes coming into focus after a moment.
The face of her father was still fuzzy, but Toji's became much clearer as he leaned over to check her, displaying the most terribly worried expression she'd ever seen him use. She used to believe nothing could faze him, that he was impossibly brave. But now he looked horrified.
Mostly because of how Chiyo looked, lying on that hospital bed. She'd always been on the shortish side, small limbed and delicate featured, taking more after their mom in that regard. But lying on the big bed, swathed in the white blankets, she looked positively tiny. Her dark hair was a sharp contrast to her paler-than-usual skin, and her normally bright blue eyes looked clouded and gray.
"Chiyo... I'm so sorry. I should have been there."
"What happened?" she croaked. Her throat felt dry.
Toji turned away, ashamed.
Hesitantly, a dark-haired nurse stepped forward, clutching a clipboard to her chest. "The shelter took a hit during the battle. During the fight the Eva unit accidently crashed into the refugee bunker where you were. You're lucky to be alive, really."
She tried to lift her head, but it felt like it weighed a hundred pounds. "Nozomi...?"
A hand was placed on her shoulder, gently pushing her back down. "She's fine. Preliminary reports suggest nobody was killed. You were the only one seriously injured. But... I'm so sorry..." said the nurse. "We... we did all we could really."
"Why, what's wrong?" asked Chiyo, feeling slightly more awake than she had before. Adrenaline fed strength to sluggish limbs. She felt all out of sorts, like her body didn't fit right, but nothing hurt really. Pain being the universal message for something wrong, she couldn't feel anything that hurt. She lifted up her arms, they worked, and pushed herself up into a sitting position slowly. Then her eyes widened as she realized what was wrong. What she could finally feel.
Or rather, didn't feel.
The nurse looked more panicked than Chiyo did, about ready to bolt out of the room or scream for a doctor or hit the emergency button or anything if Chiyo so much as twitched. But all the little girl did was slump wearily against her pillow, staring at the end of her bed.
Where her legs lay, unmoving.
She later found out she'd been unconscious for nearly three whole days, during which she'd been in intensive care. Overall, she'd escaped with mostly just bruises and cuts that had healed up during her time under, but her spinal injury was irrepairable. A few medical breakthroughs were showing some progress with regard to nerve repair, but most of these were only in the preliminary stages, and carried a lot of risks. In all likelihood, she'd never be able to use her legs again for the rest of her life.
Chiyo started to make very good friends with her wheelchair.
Ironically, her one key phrase in life had previously been "I'm not going to take this sitting down." Obviously, she'd have to think up something new. Because she was determined not to let something so stupid beat her.
So she coped.
Firstly, but understanding her problem. Chiyo made a point to ask the nurses who oversaw her recovery for some answers on exactly what had happened to her, not content with the 'your legs won't work anymore' they'd given her. She wanted details.
Apparently some damage to her spinal column had come from the debris that had crashed down atop of her. Signals from her brain called impulses wouldn't reach her legs the way they did her arms and other body parts. Her legs were otherwise completely healed, they just didn't respond to her thoughts. When some of them didn't even know themselves any more details than that, they'd brought some reading information, and later books from the doctor's lounge. Some of the terms went clear over her head, but she preserved, determined to understand as much as she could.
And, as part of her recovery, Chiyo underwent physical training to keep up her upper body strength, since she now had to rely a great deal more on that. Lifting weights was the easiest way to deal with any frustrations that lingered, she just worked them off until she was good and tired.
She was just finishing up her last rep when the glass door to her room slid open, and the curtains parted to reveal Toji.
"Hey Chiyo. How're you?" he asked.
"Pretty good," she replied, setting the weight aside. She flexed, showing off still decidedly small arms but ones that were rapidly becoming very firm. "Check it out. Whaddya think?"
He laughed good-naturedly. "Oh definitely. Who needs those stupid giant robots when Chiyo Suzuhara is ready to defeat the Angels bare-handed?"
She managed a chuckle at that, holding out her arms for a hug. Toji grimaced, leaning over to hug her back awkwardly. She knew he hated it, but that's exactly why she did it. Partly out of a desire to prove she hadn't changed one little bit as his little sister, and partly to get him used to the idea that this is who she was now, and he better get used to it.
"So uh, how was school?" Chiyo asked, wheeling her chair over to the table to get her towel. She wasn't sweating very much, but it had been in the fridge, so it was cool, and she wrapped it around her shoulders as he took a moment to shrug off his bookbag.
"... not so bad. I met the pilot of that giant robot that nearly crushed you."
That caught her interest. She'd heard all sorts of stuff about the pilots of the giant robots, or Evangelions as they were called, circulating the hospital. One of the most unbelievable (to her, at least) had been that it was a boy the same age as Toji.
"Really? So he's really a kid just like us?"
Toji nodded, then looked away. "He's even in my class."
She stilled a little at that change in his voice. She recognized that tone. Growing up with Toji, it was exactly how he sounded whenever he was trying to pull a fast one over on Dad. When he was telling the truth, but not the whole truth. Sometimes it worked on their dad, but Chiyo could tell there was more to this story.
"Toji, what did you do?"
He pressed his lips together, refusing to answer.
"I popped him one, okay? He had it coming! If he'd been piloting that thing better you wouldn't have gotten hurt!"
"Don't be a baka! It was an accident, you can't blame him!"
Toji spluttered. "It-! He-! It had to be done! Look I don't wanna talk about it," he said, turning his back to her.
"Tough!" Chiyo declared. "That boy saved the city from an Angel, in case you forgot. The whole city. Including you and me. It's the Angels you can blame for this!"
"Yeah well I can't fight the Angels, can I?"
His whole body shook, he wouldn't even look back at her as his fists clenched. Chiyo knew he'd never lay a finger on her, but still, she worried. For him as much as of him.
Finally, he shook it off, grabbing his book bag and throwing it angrily over his shoulder. "I'm going to the arcade."
"Toji! Get back here, damnit! It's not his fault! Toji!"
He stomped out without another word. The doors hissed shut behind him.
She slumped angrily in her wheelchair, her head dropping down low, black bangs obscuring her face. "It's not your fault either, you big idiot."
Chiyo didn't see Toji for nearly a week after that, and coupled with her father and grandfather being busy at the labs, meant she had almost no one visit her.
But she'd refused to let that ruin her days. She kept at her studies, she kept at her physical therapy. Depression was like a cloud hanging overhead, but she stubbornly ignored it. She wouldn't let it get to her.
The most terrifying part, however, had been the Angel attack that came that week. She'd barely woken up that morning when the sirens had gone off, and she'd been hastily evacuated along with the hospital staff to another one of the myriad shelters located deep inside of Toyko-3. She felt a chill wash over her very body, down to the bones. Before, she'd held onto the naïve, childish delusion that she was invincible, that nothing bad could truly happen to her. That accidents of the awful sort you read about in the news always happened to 'other people.'
But everyone was 'other people' to someone. And she was living proof that, no matter how people went about their daily lives, they were in the midst of a terrible war.
To her vast relief, the incident ended, the Angel was declared dead, and she'd returned to Tokyo-3 Hospital with nothing worse than some shattered nerves and a strong desire not to sleep. She'd stayed up late that night, reading by flashlight the medical journals left to her. Toji had come back the very next afternoon with a bruised cheek, stating that he'd apologized to Shinji. He'd already more than apologized enough to her, and for something that still wasn't his fault, so she let it go. Though Chiyo groaned as she realized he must've let the poor boy hit him to comfort his male ego. Boys, she thought. They were all impossible.
It took nearly three whole weeks to get Chiyo released from Tokyo-3 Hospital, just a little while after the Fifth Angel was defeated. She'd spent much of the time in recuperation. The last day had been the absolute worst, when the doctors had sent a psychologist to her, worried she might do something stupid because of her condition. They didn't want her to give up and lose hope.
But now, finally, after so long, she was being released. Toji was there, pushing her wheelchair as she was rolled out of the glass doors and to the streets. Once they'd cleared the air, he'd visited her almost every day. And now he proudly rolled her out into the parking lot, the blue sky clear and cloud-free above her, the sun shining down. It was a beautiful day...
... and she was spending it at home.
Chiyo been taken there just after being released, and although Toji wanted to stay, he'd only been given half a day off of school because of her, since none of her other family could come pick her up. It was notoriously lame, and she said as much as he shouldered his bookbag and got ready to catch the train.
He agreed. "Yeah I know it sucks but I don't have any choice. I have to get back to school, but you're still on physical therapy for at least a week, so I guess you'll have to stay home."
"By myself?" she asked incredulously. "What am I going to do?"
He shrugged, skipping out the door. "I'll be back soon as school lets out! Promise!"
She huffed, crossing her arms and trying to look stern, but failed miserably. Then the anger drained out of her and she slumped miserably in her chair.
She gave herself a slap, shaking out of her melancholy. It wasn't in her to be such a whiny little girl, and she had no intentions of starting now. So, she resolved to find something to do. Trouble was, the TV was still out of the question. The power was still not fully restored in the wake of the Fifth Angel's attack, and so cable was limited to two stations: static and blank screens. Neither of which offered any dynamic new plots this season. She tried doing some sketches but everything ended up horrible and tragic, she ripped out three pages of her book before giving up entirely. She even did a little weight-lifting, but all it did little to alleviate her boredom.
To keep from going utterly stir crazy, she decided to sort through some of her Mom's old stuff. Before she'd passed away in that accident at NERV, she'd been a part-time curator at the local Tokyo-3 International Museum, specializing in artifacts from the country of Egypt. She used to show Chiyo them when they were little, and still had a few pictures left behind in her things. Toji hadn't had any interest in 'dry, old relics' as he'd put it, and after a while, their Mom had reluctantly stopped including him on their trips, since it was apparent his interests lay elsewhere. But Chiyo had loved them, and been a most apt student.
Indeed, it was in part thanks to her mother's tutelage that Chiyo had discovered her own talents in history, writing, and other scholastic matters. At twelve years old (nearly thirteen) she was well on her way to being just as knowledgeable as most high school seniors.
Chiyo was idly sorting through the papers trying to find some image or other to take her mind off of things when a stray paper fell to the ground by her wheelchair.
"What's this?" she asked, puzzled as she picked it up.
It took a moment to puzzle over the wording, but it looked like a shipping manifest, nearly a year old. It had her mother's signature on it, and it had a crate and contents that had been shipped to the International Museum of Tokyo-3. The same place her mother had worked before the accident. Curious, Chiyo checked the date, mentally counting back in her head. Barely a week later, but the dates matched. Could it be no one had found it? That it had been sitting here quietly in the Suzuhara household this whole time without anyone noticing?
Curious despite herself, Chiyo resolved to take a closer look. If nothing else, it was a brilliant excuse to get out of the house, which was stifling her. Placing the manifest in her lap she rolled over to the phone and dialed a number on the phone and listened to it ring, idly winding the cord around her finger as she did so.
"NERV Laboratory, how can we help you?"
"I'd like to be transferred to a Mister Suzuhara please?"
"One moment please."
Several languid moments later, punctuated by elevator music, and there was a click. "Hello?"
"Hey dad, busy?"
"Extremely," he replied, his voice weary but seemingly lifted. "What can I do for my favorite little girl?"
"I'm your only little girl," she replied teasingly. "Unless you've got other daughters I'm not aware of. Did you adopt while I was in the hospital?"
"Chiyo!" he mock-yelled in protest.
"Kidding," she said, stifling a giggle. "Is it okay if I go to the museum?" she asked. "I'm tired of being home all day long, I need to get out."
Her father considered that. "Might want to wait until Toji gets home, at least. He can take you."
"Daa-ad, I'm not a little kid anymore, I'm nearly thirteen. And it's just a few blocks away from here."
"What if you get hurt?" he asked.
"I'll have my cell phone on me, and I'll call. I promise. Pleeease?"
A sigh from the other end of the phone, and she smirked, knowing she'd won.
"Alright, but be back for dinner at five. If not I'm gonna send Toji to find you."
"Thanks dad! Love you lots!"
She hung up the phone, giving a sigh of relief, and wheeled towards the door.
It took Chiyo a while to make it to the museum, but thankfully the elevator was empty as she descend to ground level and rolled out of the apartment complex her family lived in. Typical of most Tokyo-3 homes, it was a collection of penthouse apartments, all designed to submerge beneath the ground during an invasion to allow the cities occupants and their possessions to be protected, even though most of them tended to evacuate during Angel attacks anyway. Chiyo rather liked it, though she'd been warned countless times to be careful on the balcony.
Considering they lived on the twenty-fifth floor, it was a pointless warning. She wasn't stupid.
Not wishing to take the bus, and knowing the museum was only a few blocks away, Chiyo elected to roll down the streets, pushing the wheels of her chair by herself. Good practice, if nothing else. She saw the looks people gave her as she passed in the streets, alternating pity with revulsion. She stubbornly ignored them all, though it did not exactly lift her spirits to know so few cared about her plight to actually do anything to help her.
Still, she thought, any obstacle can be overcome by a strong will.
Her wheelchair came to a stop as she bumped into something, shaking her free of her thoughts. She looked up at the International Museum of Tokyo-3... and the long, wide staircase that led up to its main doors. The very, very high staircase.
"Though... some obstacles are more difficult than others," she amended ruefully.
"City of Tomorrow, buildings that can go underground and giant fighting robots and they can't be bothered to put in a more convenient handicapped ramp at the museum," she muttered, finally having found the ramp and wheeled her way up it. It was located on the side of the building though, and seemed excessively steep. Then again, the building itself was one of the oldest in Tokyo-3, and not exactly receiving a lot of funding when budgets could be better directed to the almighty NERV that oversaw everything.
She wheeled in through the main doors, dipping her head in a polite bow to the guards. She loved the museum, she found all sorts of interesting inspiration for her artwork here. Strange murals, ancient artifacts, medieval armories, any of which she could pull together into a drawing for her sketch board. She even saw a new wing being opened up in the near future that caught her eye, and wondered what could be found there, but ultimately, she kept going towards the office in the back.
Since her death, her mother's post had yet to be filled, so the office was unused except for storage, and kept locked by the staff. However, Chiyo had a copy of the key, and after a quick glance around to make sure no one was coming, slipped inside.
A sharp contrast to how she had been at home, the Suzuhara matron had been a very messy woman at work. Her desk was covered in papers and folders, as well as framed photos of her family and what Chiyo could only assume were colleagues and fellow museum curators and archaeologists. She recognized a few she's met over the years. The tall, dark-haired American with the rugged explorer look. And the spike-haired intern from Tokyo-2 who they'd lost contact with following Second Impact. Scattered amongst the shelves were various books on the study of ancient Egypt, including more than a few translation manuals on hieroglyphics.
"Now, if I was an long forgotten crate, where would I- Ah!"
And there, innocently sitting beside the desk, was the crate she'd been looking for. The identification numbers matched up to the paper in her hand. This was the last shipment. Her mother's final work, so to speak. For a moment, Chiyo just rested a hand on the crate, feeling... she didn't know. Edgy? Awe-inspired? Something, that was for sure. This was a momentous occasion, though she did not fully realize it at the time.
She used the crowbar lying on top to pry open the crate, thankful for her physical therapy for strengthening her arms, since her diminutive size and weight wouldn't help a great deal. Plopping it onto the ground beside the crate she leaned over to get a look at its contents, double-checking them against the lost manifest as she pawed through the foam protecting them.
A strange leather harness, preserved despite its age at nearly eight thousand years old. The two wide straps of leather crossed in front where the wearers chest would be, a red stone of some sort acting as the clasp in front. The back had two metallic shoulder blades, possibly for resting a cloak or the like. She set it aside for the moment.
A golden scepter shaped like an ankh, with a shining jade gemstone set in its center. It was wrapped in silk, she needed to unwrap the edges to confirm it underneath, but set it aside with the others, being very careful not to touch the actual ankh.
Two armbands of a strange, silvery metal.
A headdress covered in dark feathers.
A tablet covered in Egyptian runes. She didn't recognize them, though she hadn't ever been very good with Egyptian like her mom had been, she barely kept up with the kanji taught in middle school. She'd have to check them against her dictionary later.
Finally, she came to the last item.
Lifting it out of the crate, she let the light fall onto the object in her hands. A flanged mace, nearly a foot and a half long, with a strong haft of the same sort of metal as the armbands and a rounded head, covered in blunted spikes. It was surprisingly light-weight, it almost fell into her lap when she lifted it up, and it felt so smooth to the touch, the metal cool beneath her fingertips.
"Amazing," she said. Because of her mother's work, she'd been around artifacts and strange tools and weapons for as long as she could remember, yet she'd never seen anything like these. There was something ephemeral about them. Almost mystical. It called to her. It spoke to her on a subconscious level.
Curious to learn a bit more, she set down the weapon and went back to the first item, the harness. Her hand pressed down lightly on the red gemstone, curious to see just how sturdy it was after nearly eight millennia of dis-use...
Suddenly, as if she'd struck a switch, it activated.
The steel protrusions on the back of the harness, believed incorrectly to be the hooks for a cape, unfolded. Impossibly unfolded to a much, much larger size than should have been possible, from tiny metal bars to a pair of enormous steel wings each almost as big as the dark-haired girl herself.
Chiyo stumbled back, her chair hitting the crate behind her. If she'd been standing, she'd likely have fallen flat on her butt.
She leaned forward, amazed. Sitting innocently on the desk as if nothing was amiss were a pair of great metallic wings. Her mom's documents and photos were scattered all over the ground, along with half of the other artifacts, but Chiyo could only stare in awe. What she'd just seen shouldn't have been possible. Yet she couldn't deny the evidence of her senses.
She brushed a hand against the metallic feathers. Like the mace and the bracers, they were made of a strange silvery metal, not quite steel, not quite silver, that was cool to the touch and seemed remarkably light. Testing this, she picked up the harness. It didn't weigh anymore than it had moments earlier when she'd set it down, despite the new addition of wings. It almost seemed to hover in mid-air, though of course the instant she let go it dropped into her hands. She would've thought it was hollow, except it was solid to the touch. She even wrapped a knuckle against it to confirm. Definitely metal.
And exquisitely beautiful. Every single feather was finely detailed, almost alive. Like the wings of a great bird. Or an angel...
"Wait a minute... if this is a harness..."
That means it was meant to be worn.
An idea sprang almost fully formed into Chiyo's head. It seemed absurd, silly even. Then again...
If God had wanted Man to fly...
It took a little tinkering on her part for Chiyo to make the wings retract, folding back into themselves impossibly until they were just the small protrusions on the harness. In the end it almost seemed like it worked just because she wanted it to. This she slipped underneath the seat of her wheelchair, returning the other artifacts to the now opened crate and sliding it out of sight under her mother's desk. Biting her lip, she wheeled out of the office, down the corridor, and out of the museum. Of course her chair set off the metal detector on her way out but none of the security staff had any reason to search her. They knew her, after all.
She could scarcely think straight as she wheeled her way home, not wanting to miss dinner and have her father and big brother freak out and go looking for her. Her mind was wrapped up in the idea presented by the strange artifact, however. It seemed almost prophetic, how it had been found, she didn't even think of showing it to the museum staff. Technically, some might have viewed it as stealing, but the word barely even registered in her brain.
It felt... felt right... to hold these things. Familiar, almost.
She blinked, looking up in surprise.
Her father smiled indulgently at her. "Honestly did you hear anything I just said?"
"Uhm, something about being privately tutored from now on?" she asked, having only been half paying attention. The rest of her mind had literally been up in the clouds.
Fortunately, he nodded. "That's right, given the shortage of teachers and the distance to the only middle school still functioning in Tokyo-3, the education board decided to try and find you a private tutor until you're ready to join Toji in high school. Problem is, they're having some trouble finding one, so until then your education is going to have to go at your own pace."
"By myself," she guessed.
Toji snorted, picking up his bowl as he left the table. "Lucky you."
"If you want me to break your legs and get you some special treatment I'll be happy to oblige!" she mock yelled at him, raising a fist. They all shared a laugh at that.
"So yeah you'll be on your own for the most part while Toji is at school and I have work," her father explained, sipping at his tea. "I'm really sorry we can't do more-"
"No its fine!" she replied, a bit too quickly. Then, to cover her gaff, went on "I mean, I'm sure I can find something to do. Is it alright if I keep visiting the museum?"
She saw him hesitate, clearly reluctant to leave his little girl alone, outside of his home, for long periods of time. "Its as safe a place as can be, isn't it?" she asked. "Public, easily visible, and security cameras all over the place. Plus guards, most of whom know me already."
"She has a point," Toji chimed in. Chiyo smiled, glad to have her big brother on her side.
Their father reluctantly threw up his hands in defeat. "Alright, but I expect you to have your cell phone on you at all times, fully charged. I'll be calling to make sure you're alright every so often, so you'd best not forget it."
She nodded, plans already whirling through her mind as she set her empty bowl in her lap and wheeled over to the dishwasher Toji was loading.
Unfortunately, the next day was Saturday, and Chiyo had to suffer through the longest weekend of her life with her brother and infrequently their father and grandfather (both of whom pulled long hours and additional duty at the lab) until finally Monday rolled around and Chiyo was left to herself again. Toji was staying over at Kensuke's house for a sleep-over, and her father had already called saying he likely wouldn't be home until very late thanks to some new troubles at work. Chiyo had the run of the house for at least a few hours.
Grabbing the opportunity before it could escape her, the dark-haired girl all but threw herself into her wheelchair, zipped up a warm coat, and moved onto the balcony. The sun was just setting on the horizon, painting the sky with reds and purples, darkening to blue as it dipped lower and lower. For a while, Chiyo just marveled at it, then set about to do what she had come here to do.
She slipped on the harness, tugging it into place around her shoulders and her lithe frame, marveling how easily it fit her, and placed both hands over the red stone, activating it. The wings unfurled at her back as if they were a part of her own body, flexing and turning flawlessly. That was the easy part.
Now came the more difficult bit.
If Chiyo Suzuhara had stopped to think about this, some might argue she could see this as folly, or at the very least dangerous. But for all her intelligence, she was still only a twelve year old kid. Sometimes their logic was just a little incomplete.
Steeling herself, she breathed in deep. This will work, she told herself. Its not like she was jumping off the balcony. Just... breathe... think about flying. Think happy thoughts. No, wait, that's just silly. Okay, focus... breathe... fly.
Slowly but surely, she began to lift up out of the chair. The wings beat a single time, though that could not have been what was truly carrying her. The harness itself was levitating her entire body. It didn't even tug against her frame painfully. Chiyo Suzuhara was literally flying. Her legs hung limply beneath her, but she felt her spirit soar higher than even the birds dared to go.
She opened her eyes and hesitantly flew forward, willing herself so, just over the edge of the balcony. Her balance tipped, and her concentration wavered for an instant. The wings drew close as she seemed to start to fall.
...! she thought, pin-wheeling her arms as if to save herself. Finally, the great wings spread out wide and she caught an updraft, swooping over some telephone wires as she flew up and off into the night sky.
Oh my god I'm flying!
Chiyo let out a squeal, and without even thinking about it did a perfect somersault and then a roll, diving and arcing through the air with greater grace than an eagle. Nevermind walking ever again, she was flying. She was free. Despite it being a relatively warm night, it was cool up so high. The wind slashing against her face and arms, but she welcomed it, the invigorating feeling of being alive.
She finished her last loop and hovered there, wings outstretched, watching the city below. Tokyo-3 looked almost tiny from up here, lit by myriad lights like some sort of strange piece of sparkling jewelry. Chiyo was just about to go home when she caught sight of one light burning a bit brighter than the others, and dipped down closer to get a better view.
And that's when she smelled the smoke.
"Oh god, a fire," she whispered.
Wings drew in close, and Chiyo dove, dropping down between the skyscrapers to get a closer look.
Tokyo-3's firemen were already on the scene, and she dropped down on a high rise nearby to keep out of sight. She saw clusters of people huddled around outside of the building in various states of dress, none of them appeared seriously hurt, but one of the women was frantically shouting at the firemen who were working on a hose, her pale night robe swishing around her bare feet.
"My baby boy, he's still in there! Someone help him! PLEASE!"
That last cry struck a cord deep in Chiyo's heart. She couldn't look away from this. Without pausing to think she pushed off the high rise and swooped in towards the burning building's balcony. She had already caught sight of the little boy in question, a short-haired toddler still in his jammies and clutching a stuffed bear closed to his chest as he wailed for mommy. He couldn't have been more than five or six years old. Chiyo caught an updraft at the last minute and stopped at the balcony.
"Come with me," was all she said, holding out a hand.
The little boy all but leapt into her arms, and Chiyo dipped, panic gripping her for a moment as she realized she didn't know the weight limits of the wings. But thankfully whatever they were, they were enough for Chiyo and the little boy. Gently she flew backwards, awkwardly holding her passenger before lowering the two of them down onto the ground, less than a block away from the building.
She set her passenger down on a nearby bus bench and immediately turned and took to the skies again, not sticking around to be thanked, mortified that she might be seen by someone else. Thankfully, the firefighters were busy with the others in the building, evacuating the lower levels. No one else was in danger.
Satisfied, Chiyo Suzuhara allowed herself to smile a little as she lifted up into the night sky again and hurried back home before her family found her missing.
"Someone, please! My little boy, you have to help him!"
The worried mother tore across the street and to the bus bench where her little boy was sitting, understandably confused. She did not even pause to think as she sank to her knees and threw her arms around him, holding him close, giving thanks to whatever divine being had saw fit to save him.
"What... what happened sweetie?" she asked numbly, unable to understand how this had happened.
He looked up, and she followed his gaze. The night sky twinkled with a thousand stars high above as they gazed up at the heavens, and Yuki answered his mother in a hushed tone of voice.
"A winged girl, Mommy... she saved me."
"An angel! A true messenger! We are in the presence of a savior!" cried the Light of the Divine leader.
Chiyo frowned darkly, and slapped her mace into her hand, tugging on the top of the handle to activate it and letting lightning crackle along the spiked head.
"Guess again," she growled.
Omake – She'll be Back
Chiyo flew over to the balcony and extended her hand, her face dead serious.
"Come with me if you want to live," she said, holding out a hand.
The little boy all but leapt into her arms. Behind him, in the apartment, the flames parted as a skeletal figure made of chrome steel stepped forward. Eyes of burning red swept the room before locking onto the floating superwoman and her new passenger.
"Hideaki Anno," it said in a thick Austrian accent. "I'm here to terminate you for future crimes against the Evangelion franchise. Asta la vist-"
Chiyo swung out with her mace at the steel man came closer, smashing in his head as if it was made of tinfoil. It swayed drunkenly, and she smashed its head in again for good measure, dropping it to the ground.
"Not if I have anything to say about it, metal head," she muttered, flying off to drop the little boy off somewhere. "Besides, the author decided time travel wasn't an option, so you don't exist. Plus, we're both kinda hoping I'll show up more in the next Rebuild movie."
"S-sounds good to me," said the little boy, clinging to her for dear life. "Uhm, I'll think about it?"
Special thanks to Mike313 and Orionpax, who created the original (and sequel) Superwomen of Eva series. This story was written to add on to theirs, and I am grateful for the chance to use some of their ideas in a work of my own.
Toji's sister was originally going to be named Mariko, a name taken from the "Dark Lady of Tokyo-3" story by Mike313, but due to future plot options I've decided to rename her Chiyo instead. It'll become more clear as to why in later chapters.
Things may seem a little rushed now, with little to no explanation for why and how things work. Then again Nth metal and the Hawk family has always been quirky like that. However an expert character is being brought in for exposition purposes later, so please, bear with me until then.