LITTLE MATCH GIRL
Disclaimer: I do not own Eva or its characters.
Summary: During a cold snow storm, Rei is trapped at her apartment with only a box of matches to keep her warm.
Authors Notes: Just a little something I put together a while back and just recently finished it. Happy Holidays Everyone!
The cold of the falling sleet stung at the girls skin as she walked to her apartment. She showed no emotion despite the pain she was enduring even as she entered the apartment and quickly closed the door. Once inside, however, she wondered if she wasn't better outside.
Rei Ayanami looked around the bleak apartment that was hers and sighed once again.
It had been six months since the last Angel attacked NERV, which according to the commander was not in the scenario. And to make things worse, the climate had suddenly shifted from the balmy heat caused by Second Impact more than 15 years ago. The constant humidity and heat of the last fifteen years had caused an imbalance in the worlds climate. This was naturally shocking to everyone when the heat suddenly vanished and was replaced by a massive world-wide snow storm. And right now that storm was covering the Fortress City of Tokyo-3 in more than five feet of snow.
Rei looked around her apartment and tried to find warmer clothing. The rundown and dilapidated apartment building had become more of a hindrance than help. Because of the massive heat that Second Impact caused, the older building was a good choice since it didn't keep the heat in. But with the massive climate change from hot to cold, the aged apartment had become perhaps the most undesirable place in all of Tokyo-3 to live right now.
The only comfort Rei drew from this entire affair was that the commander had agreed to come and move her to a different place this afternoon.
However, that left her with considerable time before she had to leave. She didn't question why he couldn't have come by earlier. For right now, there was only one thing on her mind.
She dug deep into the pocket of her school uniform and fished out a half-filled box of matches that she had procured on the street.
A man was finished lighting a cigarette at a crosswalk and put the small box of matches into his coat pocket. However, the box missed his pocket and fell to the ground. Rei, knowing the value a box of matches could bring to her in her cold apartment, quickly picked up the matches and headed home.
Rei quickly began rounding up loose things to make a fire with. This included pieces of school work and her notebook. Considering she was going to die in the resulting Third Impact, she wondered why she even bothered to have a notebook.
Nevertheless, she started working on crumpling up papers and setting them in the metal waste can so that she could start her fire.
The task done, she pulled open the box of matches and pulled out one of the matches. She stared at the small wooden stick for a few seconds before bringing it to the rough side of the box, striking it and causing a friction reaction that ignited the red head of the stick.
For some reason, Rei thought of the Second Child as she tossed the burning match into the waste can. Within seconds, the small fire was lite inside her apartment, generating the only available heat inside the dreary room. Rei looked around her apartment and noticed the lack of burning materials that were available. There were a couple of books, her towel, a small change of clothes which consisted of her school uniforms and undergarments, and one pair of shoes.
Despite not having a watch, or a clock in her apartment, Rei knew that the Commander was running late.
He should have been here by now. She thought to herself. The snow must have delayed him.
The Third Child had originally helped her clean up her apartment. So she had no bandages to burn, only papers and basic waste.
The papers stared to burn, though they would eventually die out with time. Rei looked to her books and towel, then to her clothes.
It will have to do. Rei thought as she picked up the books and tore pages from it, tossing them into the waste can, careful not to snuff out the fire itself.
She was grateful that the manuscripts were outdated textbooks. As they burned, she wondered vaguely why she even bothered to read them if she had no future.
For several quiet, but now warm minutes, Rei just watched the fire. While she welcomed the heat that it brought, she scowled at the red that reminded her of the Second Child.
In a way, the fire being associated with the Second was appropriate. Both were angry, unforgiving, nearly untamable, red, and had a tendency to 'burn' people who tried to get to close to it.
As the papers of her book burnt, she caught a glimpse of a name written in the pages.
Her eyes froze on the name as it was slowly consumed by the fire. The book was for her math class, and contained a serious of questions that helped to emphasis the point of the puzzle the class was working on. These questions often used peoples names to familiarize the student with the problem. In this instance, the name was Shinji.
The problem was quickly erased from importance, as Rei realized something else.
The fire... has consumed Shinji. She thought.
To her, this was a depressing and distressing thought. The thought that the Second Child would bring harm to the Third Child.
Ikari-kun... where are you? She thought.
Suddenly... a knock on her door.
Rei's eyes widened as she looked over and stared confusingly at the door.
Who could be knock... Ikari-kun? She mentally gasped as she went to the door. He is the only one who knocks.
Opening the door, Rei was happily vindicated when she saw Shinji Ikari standing in her doorway.
"Ayanami! You're alright!" Shinji sighed happily.
"Yes, I am. But why are you..." she paused when she looked down and saw a package in his hand. "What is that?" she asked.
"Oh! This is for you!" he said, holding up the blue and white gift bag.
Rei looked a little confused, not sure why he would have gotten her something. Anything for that matter.
"You... bought me... a gift?" she asked, confused.
"Yes. Here." he said, holding up the package to her.
"I... thank you." he said, accepting the package.
Opening it and looking inside, Rei gasped when she saw what looked like a winter coat.
It was light blue with white fur trim and looked like it would go from her head to her knees.
"Go ahead, Ayanami, try it on." Shinji said.
More from Shinji's insistence that she try it, rather than the fact it was very, very cold, Rei pulled the parka over her body, instantly feeling warmer and more comfortable.
Shinji smiled as he looked at her in her new coat.
"Is something wrong, Ikari?" Rei asked, noticing him staring.
"I just... you look really..." he said, starting to blush.
His face is becoming red. I do not like that color. Rei thought.
"You just look really nice in your new coat." Shinji said.
Rei's eyes widened as he said that.
"You... I do?" she asked.
"Yes." he said, his cheeks returning to normal.
Was the red in his cheeks implied to be a sign of attraction? Does Ikari... like me? She wondered.
It was true that Rei had no real understanding of relationships or the rituals and habits that came with them. But she had observed when certain boys and girls at school liked each other that they often talked, and blushed, like Shinji was doing now.
And for some reason, this made her warm as well.
It was then that Shinji noticed something as well.
"Rei?" he asked.
Rei turned towards Shinji, giving him her full attention, as he had just said her first name.
"The snows fallen harder. We'll have to hurry if we're going to get to the train." he said.
"We? The Train?" she asked.
"Yeah. I wanted to ask if you wanted to stay with Misato and me while Asuka's gone back to Germany for the Holiday." he said.
"The Second is... not with you?" Rei asked, getting very interested.
"No. She isn't. Is that..."
"Yes." she said quickly.
"Yes. I wish to join you." she said, slipping on her shoes and stepping out the door.
"Uh... okay." he replied.
Shinji grabbed Rei's hand and the pair quickly ran to the train station.
The entire trip, Rei and Shinji didn't let go of each others hand. The passengers who saw them thought it was cute. The last length of the trip, Rei actually placed her head on Shinji's shoulder, nearly falling asleep.
The pair barely arrived at Misato's apartment before the snow shut the city down.
Misato, Pen-Pen, Shinji and Rei were snowed in for two whole weeks. It was fortunately that Misato had Shinji stockpile their apartment for the long winter, a precaution that Ritsuko Akagi had warned her about.
Shinji and Rei grew closer to each other in that time. Rei taking to snuggling up to Shinji in his bed for warmth.
Misato had her alcohol to keep her warm. (As well as her teasing of the pair sleeping together)
So did Pen-Pen.
Asuka never returned to Tokyo-3, since the Angels never returned either.
A month later, the Commander's car would be found buried in the snow, a block from Rei's apartment building. The frozen corpse of Gendo Ikari in the backseat with his driver in front, a bullet in the back of said drivers head.