Chapter Four: The life and times of Rei Ayanami:

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The rubber ducky stared at her, plastic eyes digging into her soul, and she gazed back in contest. Her will verses its own.

Rei Ayanami sits in the bath full of warm and suddy water engages in starring contest with her yellow rubber ducky. It said a lot about the young child that she was reasonably sure that Rei was winning the battle of wills. After about two minutes of just looking at the bath toy, Rei gently took hold of it with her two hands. Holding her arms out awkwardly; Rei gave the rubber ducky a tentative squeeze.

It squeaked loudly; echoing through the bathroom, eliciting a tiny smile on Rei's young face and a barely audible giggle from the two year old who looked like a six year old. She continued to squeeze the ducky, every sound that it made was accompanied by a giggle.

"Enjoying yourself? My little blue-bird." She asked the child from where she stood leaning against the door frame.

"Dr. Akagi!" Rei exclaimed, surprised by the older woman. Before she smiled at her and lifted her yellow toy to show off. " Mr. Ducky! My Friend! He says hi." She said with some excitement. Far too much excitement for just a rubber toy.

"Yes, Mr. Ducky. I am glad to be introduced to such a gentleman!" She said dramatically as she approached the tub, before leaning down and planting a tiny kiss on his rubber bill, which sent Rei onto her back with giggles.

Chuckling a bit; she crouched down beside the bath and rolled up the sleeves of her lap coat, before she fished out a wash cloth from the tub and began to gently scrub the child's pale back as the girl continued to play with her toy.

After about five minutes of back washing, Akagi dropped the cloth back into the tub once more and picked up a bottle of children's shampoo. Squirting a bit of the purple stuff onto her hand, she lathered it up a bit and gently began to rub it into Rei's short hair. Leaning back into her touch, Re closed her eyes and sighed; what ever tension was in her young body seeping out of her.

"Dr. Akagi?" Rei said, eyes still closed.

"Yes, my little blue-bird?" She answered.

"Are you okay? You look upset?" Rei asked, concern in her voice.

Dr. Naoko Akgai stopped her treatment for a fews seconds, before continuing with a sigh. " I am fine, my dear. I have just been under a lot of stress lately, there is no need for you to worry your head over it."

"Are you sure?" Rei asked tentatively, clearly worried.

"Of course my dear, I am fine. Truly" Naoko said, before gently pushing Rei's head under the warm water.

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Cliff hanger!