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 "Gendou's Child", Part 1. All beta-readers welcome 
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Post "Gendou's Child", Part 1. All beta-readers welcome
Okay.

A little while ago, I posted the first chunk of the first part of a series I'm tentatively calling, 'Rei as Shinji'. [EDIT: Well, now it's called "Gendou's child", but you get the idea.] I am now posting the entire thing, as I've now finished writing it. ;) Anyway, I'd love to hear comments on it; this is kind of an open beta-reading. (Although I may not be able to take every suggestion on board.) And if anyone can think of a better title, PLEASE post that, too. I've been banging my head against the wall ever since I started this, and I *still* can't think of anything.

Ahem. Got a little off-topic there. Anyway, here it is.

[UPDATE: Thanks to Mista_B/a_B for the title suggestion.]

*************************************************************

"Gendou's Child"

Part 1

The girl stood outside the train platform and tried to
take stock of things.

It was warm. She was alone. It was sunny. She'd been
called here by someone she barely knew. There were crickets
chirping, and some birds perched on the overhead wires
across the street. The person picking her up was a woman
called Miss Misato Katsuragi; her picture made her out to
be happy, easy-going, and apparently quite proud of her
cleavage. She was carrying two bags, a battered black
hold-all and a backpack; everything else was stuffed into
cardboard boxes, and were on their way. Across the
street and down the road a bit, a boy was watching her;
he stood in the middle of the empty street, far enough
away to almost be a mirage, and just stared. He was
about her height and weight, and age, too. And there was
something about his face; not the expression, but the
face itself. Something familiar. And the eyes - were
they red, or was that a trick of the light? Miss
Katsuragi had said she'd be waiting for her, but she
wasn't there yet. The boy also appeared to have blue
hair. She'd been on the train for quite a few
hours, and was tired, hungry, and thirs-

Waitaminute, boy?

The birds took off, catching her
eye - and when she looked back, the 'mirage' was
gone.

"Dammit; lost another one."

Any further thoughts on the subject, or
any thoughts at all, were cut off by an explosion,
loud enough and close enough to set the overhead
wires snapping back and forth between their poles,
and send her hands to her ears.

Then there were the planes; VTOL's, she'd heard boys
call them - Vertical Take-Off and Landing planes, looking
more like warped versions of helicopters as they flew
backwards. Like they were trying to get away from
something. These were big, nasty-looking machines of
war, and they were backing away, not attacking. Then
something else showed up.

Oh. Well, with something like *that*, what else
would you do?

Then the VTOL's started shooting at the...thing,
just as she was forming the thought to wonder
what you called a huge, gangly, mostly black
humanoid thing with a red ball in its chest. Then things
just went crazy. She watched as the planes shot at the
thing, the thing playing Super Mario with a fallen
plane, right in front of her, missiles, bullets...
She was thrown on her ass by the noise and explosions
and shock-waves and general chaos as it rained down
around her.

And then a car pulled up in front of her.

"Hi, have you been waiting long?"

Thus, Katsuragi Misato met Ikari Rei for the
first time.

*******

Ms. Katsuragi liked fast cars, and tight exits from
certain death; she liked tight and flattering outfits, and
colouring her hair purple. (Then again, the mirage'd had
blue hair, so who was she to talk.) The sense of energy,
of vitality, sensed in her snapshot was confirmed in the
person herself. She drove desperately, but with care. She
looked like a race queen that'd decided to join the army;
fast and loose, but tightly controlled. She was one
of those people, Rei decided, for whom the phrase
"a study in contrasts" had been invented. At the moment,
though, she was driving them away from whatever that thing
was - and Rei could live with a few quirks in a person like
that.

********

Captain Misato Katsuragi was indeed determined and
carefree, energetic yet carefully contained. This mix of
opposites had often landed her in trouble in her life, but
had also rewarded her; she was a senior officer, the Head
of Operations in a top-secret and ultra-important UN
organisation, charged with the defence and safety of the
entire planet. It was her duty to make sure that said
organisation, NERV, was to spec, clean lean and mean,
every day. It was an awesome responsibility, but
making sure that both she and her passenger got back
to H.Q. safely would help to fulfill that responsibility.
Then she could start worrying about everything else...

Like how the defences were holding up. They'd been
planning and scheming and building for fifteen years,
just to deal with what was going on around them right
now - if it wasn't enough, they were screwed. Likewise with
the UN forces, the crews and techies at NERV...you could
drill for things like this, to the point where you felt
more like a machine than human (and they had), but the
real deal was the true test - you passed, or died. The
fact that they'd had to resort to an N-2 mine didn't
exactly fill her with confindence. Using something
like that now, so early in the game, meant that things
were going to get much worse later on.

But at the top of the list was something else
entirely; the most powerful weapon of them all was
sitting back at base right now, in the middle of an
attack, useless. Two gigantic biomechs, the cutting
edge of modern tech, and they were nothing but
super-size paperweights until viable pilots could
be found - the only one they had right now wasn't in
any shape to even stand. If he was all they had, they
were dead for sure; the facts were that simple.

And then there was her. Ikari Rei, she had to
admit, didn't look very impressive, as potential
pilots went. She looked like a nice enough girl;
her chestnut-brown hair was cut into a short but
flattering style, and she was wearing a dress that
was both sensible for travel, and stylish too. Her
face marked her out to be thoughtful, and pretty. From
what little she'd said, Misato could tell that she was quiet,
deferential (most of the time), and probably quite
intelligent. She'd helped her 'borrow' the car batteries, but
had the guts to give her some lip about it. She, all in all,
was a nice sort of kid, everyone's favourite li'l sister, who
would walk into the job at hand and get eaten alive. Possibly
literally; these were alien creatures they were talking about,
after all. Or by the pilot of Unit 02, once she found out that
one of her fellows was the boss' daughter. Ritsuko was
tight-lipped about the processes of the Marduk Institute, but
when it came up with a character like Rei, you almost had to wonder
what the logic was behind their decision. But she had no training;
there was an emergency, they had a Children, and she wasn't sure
what to do.

What a mess.

********

Rei sat in the car and read the words; they were in the book
that Katsuragi-san - no, Katsurag1-*ichii* had given her. They were
good words, the ones that Rei read. They were on the pages, and
they were good; solid, unmoving, unequivocal. They meant what
they said, and they said what they meant; they didn't hide
anything, or use euphemisms or veiled imagery. They were words
in a basic-training manual, and they were great words, according
to Rei. Not like the words that Katsuragi-ichii had actually
said to her just after she'd received the book.

Words about Him. The man she hadn't seen in four
years. That she hadn't lived with in ten years. The man she
didn't think about unless she could possibly help
it, when she was so tired and worn down by life that it
seemed impossible to get back up again. Who'd cut her loose
like so much unwanted, excess baggage. The words were an
insensate blur right now, but Rei still stared at them, as if
clinging to them like a shield. The words were kind and
helpful; they wanted to her to do well, to strive and
succeed at whatever she was going to do next in life. They
valued her, accepted her - they said, "Welcome Rei-chan! We
hope you're going to be happy now; things will be better from
now on, we promise."

Not like Him.

Not like...Dad.

Her mind curled a figurative lip at the very word.
'Dad', hah; what the hell'd he ever done to be that to
her? Had he ever looked out for her? Taught her anything?
Read to her? Bought her gifts? Bounced her on his fucking
knee? Even talked to her? And she didn't acknowledge the
encounter they'd had at Okaa-san's grave when she was ten,
or any of the other times they'd met before that;
ten minutes and a handful of sterile words could never
compensate for what that bastard had put her through.

As the woman beside her in the car babbled
about something or other, Rei could honestly say
that there were things crawling around on the
floor of the car that had more kindness and
support in their short lives than that man would
ever have in his entire miserable existence.

That's what she'd been when he'd left, though -
miserable. Okaa-san had had to go away (bastard wouldn't
say where), and now Daddy, her only Daddy in the Whole
Wide World, he was telling her that she had to go away,
too; he couldn't look after her, and she had to go live with
Uncle Toshi, who was funny-looking, and his breath smelled,
and he was a meanie. She missed Okaa-san, who was nice and
soft, hugged her lots, told her stories and let her have
cookies and milk before bed; Daddy wasn't as nice, but he
was her Daddy - Oroko-sensei at school had said that even
if they didn't live together, Otou-san and Okaa-san always
loved you.

Then he'd left her. Left her on the platform with
mean Uncle Toshi; left her because whatever he had to do,
his Important Job (what Okaa-san called it), was more
fucking important to him than his own child - her
happiness, her piece of mind, wasn't as significant as some
stupid job. That was probably why she was on her way to
see Him now; he needed her for something, something he
couldn't get out of anyone around him, and he'd had
her shipped over, like a machine part. That would be the
only reason he'd break the silence between them; he had a
use for her in his High and Mighty Plans, his Big Important
Fucking Career - so she'd been sent for. Feeling,
emotional ties, had nothing to do with it. Bastard.

The image flashed up in her mind; standing there
beside a stuffed bag, shirt slightly too large, and hanging
off one shoulder, bawling her eyes out as her only living
parent left her without a word goodbye, or even a single
backwards glance. Leaving her with that ugly little creep,
who played funny games with her when Aunty Reiko wasn't
around; who got tired of her, sent her off to foster
parents, to one set of faceless people after another, place
after place - until Kino-sensei, and safety, and stability
again. Not much affection, but hey, who needs that shit
anyhow? Simple existence didn't hurt so much; and
Kino-sensei had given her space, and time. And that had
been nice; after all the moving, the facelessness and
misery, short of formally adopting her, that'd been the
nicest thing Kino-sensei could've done. Giving her that time
and space, to just let her live, had been the best gifts. That,
and the new, full-size viola, had been Good Things. And Good Things
were, well, good.

The poke in her ribs jolted her back to reality, and the
book fell into her lap. She looked over, frowning, to see
Katsuragi-ichii looking at her with a concerned expression.
Well, mostly concerned; there was a sizeable chunk of mischief
there as well. Her face quirked, and she said, "Ne, Rei-chan?
Are you okay? You looked kinda distracted."

"I'm fine, Katsuragi-ichii, thanks." A short and cool
reply.

Not looking like she'd believed Rei for a second, the older
woman said, "All right Rei-chan, if you say so. But call me Misato,
okay?"

"Yes, Ka- Misato-san."

Misato sighed, and continued, "Besides,
you're missing the view."

"View? What view?"

Misato grinned, and pointed past her, out the car window.
"Look out there, and you'll see what I mean."

Sighing, Rei turned back to her window, and
looked out. And down. And down. And even further down.
And around. And gasped with wonder.

It was a GeoFront. A real, actual, honest-to-Kami
GeoFront! It was a whole world in miniature. There were
forests, great swathes of lawn, bushes; mountains, or
at least some impressively large hills; and shimmering like
a dream, a lake. It was manmade, true, and the light was
probably fake, but for right then, it was sunny, blazing,
colourful, and gorgeous. And the added bonus (that she didn't
figure out 'till later) was that the sight of it chased every
single other thought right out of her head. She knew what
it was, but that didn't stop the exclamation.

"Sugoi! A real GeoFront! It's beautiful!"

A smile on her face, Misato confirmed, "Yep. This
is our secret base - NERV Headquarters."

Her expression becoming slightly more serious, she
continued, "This is the key to rebuilding our world; a
fortress, built for all mankind."

With a sight like that, words were unnecessary. Rei
watched out the window, totally enraptured, until the car
train pulled into the station, obscuring her view.

**********

Of course, once inside this 'fortress for all mankind',
things went screwy.

"What the hell? Isn't this the right way?"

They were lost. And as long as Misato-san was leading
the 'expedition', Rei thought to herself as they headed down a
massive set of escalators, they were likely to remain so. This time,
however, at least she had the presence of mind to hold on to her
dress. Misato-san would never let her hear the end of that. 'Oh
Rei-chan! What cute panties!' Hentai. As if the picture she'd sent to
Rei wasn't a perv's wet dream. She must have forgotten who she was
sending it to; Rei didn't mind pictures of models, but really, she
preferred *guys* in jean shorts, thanks.

With a shrug, she went back to reading; obviously, things
weren't that desperate right now - they'd used a nuclear weapon on
the thing. Probably the only people busy were on clean-up duty. Misato-san
certainly didn't seem overly concerned, anyway - of course, if she
was only a NERV greeter (after all, Misato's self-description as a
'government employee' covered a lot of ground), why should she be? Her
job was almost over. She still wasn't reading the book all that much;
it was slim, but quite dense in its way. And honestly, it beat trying to
deal with Misato-san continuing to make herself look like an idiot. The
older woman, while nice, seemed as if she was the type that just said
whatever she felt like, no matter how bad it made her look; maybe guys
found it cute, but to Rei, it was really annoying. At this point,
Misato-san decided to say something else.

"I'm sorry Rei-chan; I'm still getting used to this place."

<<And a line like that>>, Rei thought wryly, <<is just
begging for a response.>> Keeping her face carefully neutral and
buried in the booklet, she replied, "That's okay; we've only been
past this spot once."

The annoyed sigh that Misato came up with as a response was
exactly what Rei had been aiming for. <<1 - 1; the score is tied -
I wonder if it'll go into extra time?>>

But Misato wasn't without a better response for long.
"Don't worry about it; after all, these systems were meant
to be used."

<<Yeah, right.>>

Hopefully, they wouldn't get lost forever.

***********

Dr. Ritsuko Akagi, head of E division at NERV, was a
mid-height bottle-blonde, with a dour expression and a mole
under one eye. Even so, she was an attractive-looking
thirtysomething; and as the two had chattered in the elevator,
Rei was struck by the fact that so far, she hadn't met any
unattractive women working for NERV - or, for that matter,
that many men.

<<Figures; he's probably used this agency as an excuse
to build his own harem.>> Misato's words rankled. <<And with
an introduction like that, I wasn't going to come off
sounding like a debutante, was I? I might be shy, but I'm not
deaf! Bitch.>>

Now, apparently, they were on their way to look at
something; some thing called 'Unit 01', and that was fairly
crucial to things here, to judge by the tones of the older
women, as they stood on either side of her on the moving
platform. There'd been as announcement about going to battle
stations; Misato-san, now revealed as Head of Operations
(so, not just a greeter), had sounded concerned, but not
panicked. As the two talked over her head about 'the O-9
system' and various other things, Rei read, and
wondered.

What were they going to see? A gun? A ship, or a plane
maybe? With that thing out there, it'd have to be big, that's
for sure - and powerful, too. Then, there was Him. Her initial
anger now faded, she considered the whole thing again. Wherever
she was going at the moment, he would be there to meet her;
Misato-san hadn't said as much, but she got the idea (or was
it just a general feeling of dread) that was going to happen.
What would she do? Tell him off, and then just leave? Chew him
out for being such a shitty parent, and demand to know why? Break
down, and beg forgiveness for some crime she'd never known about?

Could she even look him in the face?

The dinghy was an interesting touch; why not - she'd
been on virtually every other form of conveyance today. Why not
this, too? The water raised the level of weirdness, and made her
a little worried; she'd never seen purple water before, not that
it actually smelled like water. Just what kind of weird stuff
were they doing here, anyway? And was she supposed to be working
here?

<<So long as I'm not some sort of sci-fi lifeguard, I'll
ignore it. It's not like I'm going to be here long, anyway.>>

This didn't solve what she was going to be doing about
Him - but honestly, being something else to think about, it was
the easier path to tread. And anyhow, whatever she *did* do,
he'd end up the winner. Every time they'd met since she'd been
sent away...she'd had questions to ask. Comments to make. Anger,
frustration, outright pain to vent; but face-to-face, when she
could spew out these emotions at Him, throw the words with the
expectation of them being caught...they were somewhere else, and
she was left with only herself and a man who, quite frankly,
could win the 'Mr. Most-Intimidating Universe' contest without
raising a sweat. With that in mind, whatever she said or did
would be a gigantic waste of time - not that she wasn't going
to do *something*. She just wasn't going to plan it; she
had some memories of early childhood, when they lived
together, and the only time she'd ever seen him even vaguely
discomfited was when she'd done something he hadn't expected her
to - like the time she'd gotten into one of the higher drawers
in his home office, just to see what was there.

It was only boring old papers and stuff, no toys or
candy, but when He'd found her there...the look on his face
hadn't been anger at first, and had been so odd that she hadn't
known what to call it - and then he *had* been angry, and there'd
been punishments, and the whole incident had been pushed from her
mind. But later, an older Rei had sifted through this memory,
seen the look on his face again, and compared it to faces of
adults that she knew and trusted - and then she knew. It *was*
surprise; he hadn't expected her to get into the drawer, and
was surprised when she had. She'd been punished, yes, but for
a second there, she'd seen behind his ever-present mask, behind
the wall he put up to everyone else (except for Okaa-san), and
seen the real man. So, if she did do something, planning was out -
the more random, the better. He might not be expecting that.

After the dinghy, there was a jetty; then a huge pair
of automated doors. Then...well, then the light was out.

"Wh-what's going on? Why're the lig-"

FOOM!!

"AAAGH!!

A moment of shock, her hand clutched to her
chest, and then Rei started to take in what she was
seeing. It was complicated; an almost random collection of
shapes and angles and colours thrown together - but then,
like one of those visual puzzles you stared at until you nearly
went cross-eyed, the pieces suddenly clicked together, and
Rei found herself staring at pretty much the impossible. Her
mind still trying to catch up, she breathed, "Masaka...what is
this? A giant robot?"

She turned around when she heard Ritsuko's voice.

"Yes Rei-san; this is Unit 01. A creation made by
Man to combat the threat of the Angels. Don't bother looking in
there, you won't find any mention of it", she said as the rattled
girl hurriedly flipped through the manual, "It's top secret. Unit
01 comprises the sum total of Man's scientific knowledge to date -
it is our best chance of saving our race."

By now totally thrown, Rei could only weakly ask, "What does it
have to do with me?"

"You will pilot it."

That voice...she knew that voice. She'd heard that voice
when she was little, when it told her not to do things. She'd heard it
on the phone when she was older, cold and permanently disappointed. She'd
heard it at the graveyard, giving substance to words with no meaning
behind them. And now, she heard it here, saying something worse than
all of that. Turning slightly and looking up, all the time with the
hope that her ears were deceiving her, Rei picked out a figure,
standing high above her. It was dressed in a strange, all-black
uniform, and it was a fair distance away, but clothes and space
couldn't disguise anything. It was Him. Gendou Ikari.

Dad.

"It's been a long time."

***********

She wasn't ready; she was his central tool for the tasks that
lay ahead, and she had about as much usable experience as a tour
guide. She had no training, no clue as to the nature of the weapon
she had to use today. She had no concept of stress under fire, and
probably no killer instinct, either.

This wasn't a surprise; he'd known she wouldn't be
ready. Before she'd set foot inside the base, before they'd
dropped the N-2 mine, before the Angel had even been spotted,
he'd known this - in fact, he was counting on it.

Still, it would've been better if she'd been a boy, he thought
as he looked at the girl below, looking up at him, mouth open like
a bad cross between a guppy and a mouse. A boy would've been more
useful, more malleable to his will; he would've striven in the
battles ahead, ultimately, to please his father - to gain a
measure of praise, no matter how small, from someone that held
such sway, yet treated him like nothing, who drew and repelled at
the same time. And he, Gendou, that self-same father, would use that
attempt to further his own ends. That could still happen, but
Kami only knew what this girl would do, having lost her mother,
raised largely by a woman that, to put it mildly, had little
to no use for authority, or men. She should've been a boy. But
Yui had been so happy that'd been a girl...

Speculation on the subject was pointless; he had to
work with the tools at his disposal, and the girl before him was
such a tool. Rei hadn't been what he'd wanted for this, but
she'd do. Whether she hated or loved, feared, despised or
ignored him, she'd follow the path laid out for her - and in
doing that, she would reward him with exactly what he wanted.

He could see the moment of shock drawing to a close, Rei's
mouth closing as she prepared to reply. Time, he thought, to
help her take her first step.

*************

First shock, then anger. That's generally how these things
went, Kino-sensei had said. You see the thing occur, hear the voice
speak; and at first, you can't process the information, it's too
much, and you block it out. But an effort like that can't be
sustained indefinitely without serious damage; sooner or later,
she'd said, the brain would start processing the data, and trigger
a reaction - oftentimes, the bigger the shock, the greater the
reaction.

When she thought about it later, Rei came to the conclusion
that the shock of hearing her estranged father, whom she hadn't seen
in at least three years, order her to pilot a giant robot out of a
secret base in the middle of a giant bubble in the ground must've
been pretty damn huge, because, well...

"You lousy fucking bastard, why am I here?!"

...so was the reaction.

If her outburst had affected him at all, he wasn't showing
it; he heard the rage, let it pass, and replied as if she'd asked
the question as casually as one person would ask another to pass
the sugar.

"As I said, you are here to pilot Unit 01 in order to
defeat the Angel."

"What? What d'you mean?" Rei gestured wildly at the giant
purple face. "You want me to get in that thing, right now, and
go and fight? And I suppose that thing out there, that's the
'Angel'?"

The answer was clipped and exact. "Precisely."

Beside her, Misato was looking on, fairly
shocked herself. She'd known that Rei was a potential
Children before she'd ever met the girl; she'd known that
they didn't have any spare pilots, one being badly injured,
the other thousands of miles away; and the experiences of the
last several hours had shown her the futility of fighting
a creature like an Angel with anything other than an Eva
unit. But to put all of that together, like this...she
gasped.

"Masaka..." She turned to Ritsuko. "You can't be
serious; the girl has no training. It'd be suicide!"

The roof shuddered slightly as, far above on the
surface, the Angel's attacks grew closer. The blonde
scientist's face was impassive. "I am, and we will. We
are out of viable options, not to mention the time necessary
to formulate more. I'm quite aware of the severity of what
we're asking, and if it weren't crucial, we wouldn't
be trying to use an untrained amateur. Simply put, we
have no other choice. If there is a chance Rei can pilot,
she must."

Rei stared at her in angry disbelief. "But Misato's right!
I don't have a clue how to work that thing! That monster'll
tear me to shreds in five seconds flat!"

As she whirled to face Gendou, the roof shuddered again,
more violently than before.

"You can't be serious! I'll die out there!" His face
didn't so much as twitch. "Don't you care about me at all?!
Do you *want* me to die?!"

"Irrelevant; it must be done, and by you."

On the verge of hysterics, Rei screamed, "But
why *ME*?!"

"Because you are the only one that can."

For one fragile moment, Rei stared up at her
father, mouth gaping. No-one moved or spoke, and if you'd
wandered into the scene right then, you could almost believe
that the whole thing was a life-size diorama. Then Rei's brain
came back online. Her face hardened into a combative and
determined glare, reminding Gendou of a certain someone else,
when she was about to dig in her heels. Then she spoke.

"I won't do it." Misato, her face a mask of equal
determination, started to snap, "Rei-"

Rei's head snapped around. "No! I won't! I *can't*! I don't
know how!"

"Rei", Ritsuko interjected, "We're not expecting you to;
we just need you to sit there - we'll do the rest."

Rei's eyes nearly bugged out straight out of her skull.
"Are you insane?! That thing'll kill me!"

"Rei, listen to me." Rei turned to face Misato, and the
two masks faced each other. "You have to do this, okay? You. Have.
To. Because if you don't, we all die, right here and now. Is that
what you want?"

Now Rei's mask had a shade of uncertainty. "But that can't-"

"It is. Do it, or we're dead." More cracks appeared in
Rei's mask. "Look; face your father and your fears, here, now, or
you'll never be able to, and you know it. Please."

Rei could feel their eyes on her; Misato, Akagi-hakusei, all
of the technical people - but most of all, Him. Her father's eyes,
boring down into her, past all her objections, her defences and
wild emotions, past the fragile 'mask' she was wearing now. She
knew he could see the conflict within; she wasn't sure what to do,
whom to trust...she was vulnerable, and he knew it. And it was that
knowledge, and the corresponding flare of anger, that ended the
deadlock.

"...No." <<Dead or not, I won't be his damned doll!>>

Gendou's face remained a passive mask, but
Rei could hear the contempt in his voice. "Very well.
Fuyuutsuki?"

Next to him, one screen out of a bank of ten flickered,
and then came up with the image of a serious, scholarly man, his
grey hair adding to his air of gravitas. He turned to face the
camera and replied, "Yes?"

"The spare is unusable. Revive Shinji."

Fuyuutsuki's face tightened slightly, but he
nodded and said, "Understood." The screen flickered again,
and his face was gone.

"Shinji?"

The male voice that replied was colourless and calm,
but even so, it managed to convey that the speaker was very tired,
and in more ways than one.

"Yes?"

"Our spare is useless; you will do it again."

"Yes, sir."

She'd heard the conversation, but couldn't believe it. Misato
looked up at her commanding officer in incredulity.

"Sir, are you serious? Shinji's in no condition to pilot
anything!"

The face was still expressionless, but the steel in the voice
very nearly made her flinch. "There is no-one else, Captain, and
the Angel has nearly found us - unless you have another
solution?"

Misato had no answer to that.

***************

Rei was in her own private hell. She'd dreamed it up, built it
it up brick by brick, and now she was living it out. All her strategies
had failed; she'd tried to be strong and resolute, an immovable wall against
her father. In the space of five minutes, he'd turned it against her so
thoroughly, she'd ended up looking like someone that was so petty, she'd
rather die, and not only that, doom everyone around her to die, the whole
world, just because she couldn't stand her dad. And after all of that,
coming all this way, facing Him again, she wasn't needed. Useless, surplus
to requirements, deadweight; in a breath, she was right back where she'd
been in His estimation before she'd ever shown up here. It was depressing,
but hardly surprising; to Him, this was what she was. Nothing would ever
change that; word or deed. She was nothing to Him, and unless there was
a miracle, she'd stay nothing. She could hand him the world on a gold
plate, and it wouldn't even register as a flicker on his face. The best
she could do would be to leave; out of his sight, maybe she could
cultivate a life that made her happy - here, there was no chance of
that, not in her father's shadow. And if they all had to die, at
least in that situation, she could face her end with some calmness,
and a scrap of dignity. If it was that or grovelling for even a tenth
of an iota of affection or approval, there was no choice to make.

Right?

She didn't hear the squeak of the trolley wheels until they were
nearly next to her. Still looking mostly inward, Rei turned to see. Two
people in white coats, probably doctors, pushed a hospital bed on
wheels, a gurney. And it was loaded, too; monitors, IV drip bag,
and in the midst of it all, human and machine, a patient. It
was difficult to make out at first, but the closer that the gurney
came, the clearer the figure lying on it became. It looked to be no
bigger than her, and the hair -

- and the eyes -

It slapped her in the face; it was him! The boy she'd seen
at the station, a million years ago. Same face (what could be seen around
the bandages), same hair...but it couldn't be him; the apparition at the
station had looked in perfect health. This boy looked like he'd been on
the losing end of a fight with a wheat thresher. But that eye...she'd
never seen that colour anywhere else, ever - or how it looked at her;
blankness, but with a hint of...something. She couldn't put name or face
to it, but it was a thing, *some* thing, and even if she ever *did* find out
what it was, she might not want to give it a name. But he was cute, so
the journey wouldn't be a totally wasted one. She mentally shook herself;
this was not the time to be scouting out potential dates. This guy was
seriously hurt.

And they were going to make him pilot. She turned back to face
Gendou, took a step forward...and the roof fell in on top of her. The
Angel had found them.

************

Actually, that wasn't entirely true; it wasn't the whole
roof, just a few I-beams. And, strictly speaking, they didn't
actually fall on her; they fell on the doctors pushing
'Shinji', who, valuing their patient's life more than their
own, shoved the gurney out of harm's way. Some fell down to
the mecha's feet, scattering various techs as they fell. And
some fell towards Rei; she fell over, shielding herself,
Ritsuko and Misato scattering. She waited for the worst. It
never came.

After a moment, Rei opened her eyes, moved her hands, and
looked up - at another hand. Big, no, huge. And purple. And
connected to wires and big and...

<<It couldn't...the robot protected me?>>

Strangely, that same question was reproduced in
quite a few minds; but in one, it was an answer. In that mind,
it was a confirmation; it could be done. It could all be done.

********************

Once she'd collected her wits, Rei looked around. The doctors
were - oh, yuck. She looked away quickly, and tried not to vomit;
they were, put politely, fish paste. Akagi-hakusei
and Misato-san were all right, if a bit shaken. And the boy, Shinji...
he was out of harms' way all right, but he was lying on the floor,
next to an overturned gurney. And not moving.

She was by his side and picking him up before she could
consciously form the idea to do so. He was very pale, and when
she moved him, he shivered and gritted his teeth as if he was
cold. But when she looked at one of her hands, moving it to put
it in a better position, she confirmed with her eyes what she'd
felt on her palm. Blood. This boy, Shinji, was badly injured,
bleeding, and she was going to just walk away, and let him die.

<<But I can't walk away; not from this.>>

Fear and doubt from this realisation rose up,
trying to overwhelm her, and she closed her eyes and fought
back, thinking one thing; one phrase, over and over and over.

<<I can't walk away. I can't walk away. I can't walk away.
I can't walk away. I can't walk away. I can't walkawayI
can'twalkawayIcan'twalkaway - >>

"I'll do it!"

***********************

Rei had made a promise; she'd taken on a task, and intended to
see it through. That being said, of course, the reality was
somewhat different. Sitting in the pilot's seat (the cockpit?) of
Eva Unit 01, (which supposedly meant that there were more of these
things somewhere) Rei was acutely aware of quite a few things, not
least of which was the thought that maybe this wasn't the best idea
she'd ever had. She watched technicians scurry around, and, because
there wasn't that much else to do (not that she was nervous, not at
all), she decided to list them.

<<'Put it in a list'; that's what Kino-sensei always said. 'Break
it down, piece by piece, and you'll be surprised at how simple even
really difficult things can become. It won't be so scary anymore.'>>

And it went like this: she was sitting in a big tube, inside a
Giant Robot. A secret agency wanted her to kill some giant creature,
otherwise everyone would die. Said creature looked like a reject
from a Mothra movie. It had dealt with everything thrown at it up to
that point, up to and including nuclear weapons. 'He'd' told her that
nobody else could pilot the robot. She'd met another pilot; his name
was Shinji. The tube was filled with some kind of gooey orange-clear
liquid called LCL. Shinji looked like the boy she'd seen outside of
the train station, but he was so banged up, that simply wasn't
possible. She was wearing two odd-looking metal thingies in her
hair, attached to a headband - they called them 'neural receptors',
said it'd make moving the robot easier. She was sitting in the
tube in her underwear; they'd told her to change, the dress was
impractical, there was a suit, but all she'd found in the locker
was some filmy thing hanging there - and she wasn't wearing *that*.
She might have low self-esteem, but she did have some modesty. After
they'd filled the tube, the walls had done strange things - they'd lit
up, fantastic swirling colours and odd images; when it was done, she
could see what looked like the inside of the hangar. She'd wanted to
ask about the suit, but after meeting her father, the robot, and
Shinji, she was all out of moxie; she'd ask about it later. She felt
weird, like she was ten stories tall, but also her normal size at
the same time. Shinji was hurt when the creature (Angel) attacked,
but they'd made sure he was back in a hospital bed. And there
was a little picture of Misato-san's face on the bottom-right of
the screen.

"Ready to go?"

"Uh...I gue-"

"Great. EVA 01, launch!"

******************

This is how the fight went.

At 2215 hours, Ikari Rei was on her way to the surface, inside
this thing called Evangelion Unit 01. 'On her way', as in "flying upward at
speeds liable to tear your face off'; Rei had never been a fan of
rollercoasters, and this wasn't helping. Right then, given the chance,
she'd never get on one again. Date or not.

Seconds later, Rei was on the surface. After a moment, the final
safety locks release, and for the first time ever, Eva 01 engages in an
actual battle situation. This, folks, is not a drill.

This was how the fight went, because this is what you
heard.

"Rei?" "Yes?"

"I want you to concentrate on walking, all right?
Walk for me."

"O-okay." (Nervous, but that's to be expected; she is just
a child.)

"It's walking!" (Jubliation)

"Rei, quickly, get up! The Angel-"

Nervousness, concern.

(screams of pain)

"That's not you arm, Rei! That's not your arm!"

(Fear. Shouts from others; there are words, but trapped behind a
wall of pain, shock, terror.)

This is how the fight went, because this is what you saw.

The tunnel walls zipping past. Seeing the city night,
from a perspective no-one else has witnessed. The Angel, not too
close, but not too far, a giant child's toy, waiting patiently. The
view shifting as the step- and things rushing past, buildings, and then
the ground, with the fall. Picked up, seeing the Angel, too close,
hands on the shoulder, the wrist. A purple arm twisted, wrenched, a
bulge forming, (PAIN!) the arm falling limp. Its hand against the
screen, on the Eva's face. Pounding, flashing lights with rainbows,
hitting like sledgehammers. The Angel moving away, but standing
still - the buildings moving backwards. Screen juddering
on impact with something behind. Then...

This is how the fight went, because this is what you missed.

The silence after the impact against the building. The
shouts of controlled panic from those in the control room watching,
barring two. Their frantic efforts to restore life to the mammoth
biomech, to rescue its pilot, both failing.

The blood. The roar. Ritsuko's disbelieving shout. The
Commander's secret smile.

The eyes. Then, the counterattack.

The Eva leaping towards its enemy, tearing through its
invisible barrier as if were merely thick plastic sheeting, grappling
with it, hurling it backwards into the rock face. Jumping on it,
pouncing like a predator; tearing off a 'rib', beating at its red
core over and over and over and over. The Angel's last desperate
move. Unholy fire.

The faceplate. The reflection.

The scream.

This is how the fight went. Memory's a tricky thing, but if you
treat her right, she'll give it all up for to you. Everything. Every
last detail. No matter how hard you beg.

Unfamiliar ceilings are fun.

******************

Misato didn't know that up in her infirmary room, Rei was
(slowly, and by degrees) getting her memories back. That she was
putting things together in her head, most particularly impressions
on fighting, Eva, and exactly what the hell she'd signed herself
up for. Licking her wounds, thinking of the strange
boy that'd fired her determination, and wondering if her pain
was worth sparing him more. Or what came next.

She was ignorant of all of that; she knew that by this point,
the girl would probably be up and about (or at least conscious);
as for memories, that was in the lap of the gods. If Ritsuko was
right, there was probably only minor damage, if any. If it was
worse, they could end up losing one of the few pilots they had,
even if she wanted to fight; turning a girl like Rei into a
gibbering wreck, or worse, a vegetable, was too high a price for
a victory. That on top of everything in the past two days -
the cleanup, the Eva's recovery and repairs, the civilian
casualty reports...but the girl was key, and the rest could
wait. Until she decided to quit, she was a resource, and had to
be properly managed. (Even if she herself wouldn't have
phrased it in such a cold-hearted manner, most of the time.)
Which meant making sure she was healthy, and looked-after.

Rei didn't say much; she looked a little pale, and tired. She said
the bare minimum in greeting, and didn't make much eye contact. But she
didn't look like she was going to crack up, at least for the moment. Given
some time in a calm environment, some rest, and she'd be a lot better. By
the time they'd got back to HQ, (Phase 1 was complete,
now Phase 2 - getting her looked after, which meant
accommodation, first of all) Rei was looking pretty good,
and Misato was feeling optimistic.

<<Things are looking up. And with Asuka nearly ready to go, they're
about to get better. We'll have three pilots soon; Rei'll have people her
own age to talk with here, and she won't have to fight on her own - stuff
like that'll help her settle in much more easily. Hopefully, she'll want
to pilot again; if she does, I think she'll be doing just fine.>>

They got to the elevator. The door opened.

*****************

Tired. Disoriented. Fearful. In agony. Some she'd felt; some,
she was still feeling - equilibrium had yet to be attained. That was
going to take some time. Since waking up in the hospital room,
there'd been lots of it - time, spent looking at the ceiling, the
view outside, and listening to her SDAT player - but it
hadn't been enough.

Keep pouring it on. I need all the help I can get.

Then, Misato-san. Mixed feelings on the woman, what
she'd said and done; she saved my life, but nearly ended it - so
what do I do? Like, hate, or let it slide? Right then, Rei didn't
have the energy to pick any of those curtains. So she just stood,
and was. They were elevator doors; about all you could do in
front of them was be.

But fate doesn't like that. So it opened the doors.

Father faced down daughter across a divide of no
more than inches. Eyes locked on; bodies responded, barely
moving, but they were speaking volumes. And this time, Rei
blinked; she looked away and down, letting her bangs fall,
obscuring her face. Perfect silence reigned.

And the door closed, and it was just the two of them
again.

They got the next one, but Rei hardly noticed that she
was moving at all. She'd been that close to him; all that
time, he'd just stood there - hadn't flinched, hadn't spoken,
it didn't even look like he'd been breathing. A whole
universe of possibilities had existed, right there and then;
she could've done anything, said anything - turned away in a
huff, screamed at him, slapped that stupid fucking look off
his face, broke down and cried, showed him how badly she'd
been hurt, let him see the scars...asked him why. Why now;
why here; why that. Why she was alive at all. She'd had the
opportunity, right there in front of her, and what'd she do
with it? Fucked it up; and he'd always remember that - she'd
blinked first. You could fault that bastard for a lot of things,
but having a bad memory wasn't one of them - Rei knew that for a
fact.

Living with him was gonna be hell. Okaa-san had been there
before, but this time...no buffer, nothing to bring them together,
no shelter. Just him, for as long as this thing went on.

And that did something; she'd put up with a lot in her life
because of him - living with him, after all that, was out of
the question, even if it had to do with saving the world. The shit
with the robot put it into perfect focus, not that it hadn't been
pretty much crystal clear long before that. Being nothing, or being
dead...she'd made her choice. They'd bury her before the two of them
lived together again.

But what else could she do? Live alone? The law might allow it,
but then if this NERV thing really was some kind of super-secret
agency, why would it pay any attention to that? They could force
her to live with Him - after all, she might not see it that way in
her heart, but officially, they were family. And she was underage,
too; cases of fourteen-year-olds living alone...well, it was
possible, but then so's jumping out a window and flying - doesn't
mean it's likely. So, now what?

Rei remembered something that'd happened about three months
before she'd come to Tokyo-3. There'd been a boy, Yoshio; there'd
been a school dance. For two weeks prior to the night before,
she'd agonised over whether to ask or not. Kino-sensei had noticed,
of course, and after days of waiting for Rei to say anything on
the subject, had eventually cornered her, and ferreted out the
truth. She'd listened to her charge pour her heart out, and then,
with one of the most serious expressions that Rei had ever seen
on her face, had said the following:

"Rei, you can't dither like this; you'll find as you get
older that the surest way to succeed is to be sure. You might be
wrong, but unless you're sure, you'll never know, because you'll
never try in the first place. If he says no, it's his loss; if he
says yes, well..." Her face softening into a smile, she'd
continued, "I have to say you've got excellent taste; for a
boy, Yoshio-kun's a real cutie!" The smile was now
decidedly naughty, a wink was evident, and Rei's face was
trying to burn itself off with embarrasment.

But she'd asked, two days before the dance. He'd
turned her down, she'd hid in her room, cried for two days
and refused to eat, but she'd been sure about what she wanted.

The elevator chimed, breaking the spell. They were there;
she'd have to decide.

What colour scheme did she want in *her* apartment?

*****************

"You did what?!"

"She said that she didn't want to live with him, so I
volunteered; the brass went with it. C'mon Ritsuko, she's only
fourteen; you really want her living on her own? With this much
on the line?"

"...Fine. But be careful; she's not like that goldfish
you tried to keep in college, you know."

"I know that; I *have* had some experience with kids,
you know. I mean, it's not like we're gonna go out every night,
cruising for guys-"

"YOU BETTER NOT!! IF THE COMMANDER HEARS SOMETHING LIKE
THAT..."

("Ehe...she really can't take a joke sometimes...")

click.

"Ready to go, Rei?"

****************

So they were having a party. Apparently. Rei herself
wasn't quite sure why ('because she was moving in' seemed a
little lame as a reason, in her opinion; wasn't as if she was
a celebrity or something), but Misato-san seemed so
enthusiastic, she'd found it nearly impossible to say
no. And it wasn't a big deal, anyway; it was about
suppertime anyhow, so why not?

The convenience store...there was nothing wrong
with the place itself, or the food; seemed they were getting
a little much for two people, hey, it's a party, right? Right?
No, it was what she'd heard when they were in there; those two
women...did they think she'd enjoyed it, turning the city
'into such a battlefield'? That she'd picked a fight with that
thing in the middle of Tokyo-3 because she'd felt like it? That
stupid woman could take her kids and run for all she cared; as
if it wasn't enough she'd had to go through it all - now she
had to put up with people criticizing her for it as well! So
much for the people of Tokyo-3.

And now they were on their way home, she supposed.

<<Great. What next?>>

************

Misato had been watching Rei most of the time since
she'd picked her up from the infirmary. The girl'd been
quiet, polite, deprecating...but not happy. The confrontation
(which was the most accurate word) at the elevator, and that
woman in the convenience store had only made it worse, even
if Rei had tried to put a brave face on it. None of the usual
stuff had worked; she'd been bubbly and fun, she'd suggested
(well, nearly insisted) a party for her new roommate, even tried
to tell a few jokes (not that they'd been that funny; but
most of the 'good' ones she knew were really dirty, and Rei
didn't look in the mood for dirty jokes) - nada. So now,
she was trying a different tack. She'd have to be impressed
by this; everybody she'd ever shown it to had loved it.
(All right, maybe a lot of them were more impressed by her,
but still.) And the more she thought about it, the better
the idea became.

<<Yeah; this'll be perfect. This will definitely cheer
her up.>> She turned to Rei, carefully keeping her face calm.

"I hope you don't mind if we make a short stop before we head
home."

A shrug. "Sure."

Mentally rolling her eyes, Misato kept driving.

<<You wait, kid; you won't be able to shrug *this* off.>>

******************

"Um, why are we here?"

Rei wasn't impressed; she was confused. Why'd they
stopped here, of all places? The view was pretty, all right,
especially with the sunset as it was, but it wasn't
spectacular. The road overlooked the entire city; neat,
but you were going to get a good view from there pretty
much constantly, unless you stopped there in the middle
of a typhoon...or an Angel attack. So why was Misato-san
standing there, looking at her watch with an odd little
half-smile on her lips? Looking up from her watch, the
older woman replied, "Just keep looking at the city; it's
about time now."

Rei's eyes went back to the view, but she was still
confused.

<<About time? What's she me->>

The sound of alarms stopped the thought in its
tracks. Nervous, Rei scanned the scene; was it an emergency,
an attack, a drill? Shouldn't they get to a shelter, instead
of standing around, admiring the view?

Then, mechanical noises, and Rei looked down to see...
the ground? Opening up? No, not the entire ground, just
squares of it, in various places around the city, doors
opening to let out...

Whoah. WHOAH. They were buildings! Coming out of the
ground! And not little ones; great skyscrapers, big behemoths
of metal and glass, rising up out of the ground, for all the
world like massive man-made blades of grass, urban flowers.
She hadn't heard herself make any noise, but she must've
gasped or something, because when Misato spoke next, her
voice seemed to hold a hint of acknowledgement for the
girl's surprise and awe.

"Take a look, Rei-chan, 'cause this is our city.
And this is the city you saved."

This is how the fight went, because this is what you won.

END PART 1

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Last edited by B.T.L. on Fri Dec 03, 2004 5:09 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Sat Oct 16, 2004 6:57 pm
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It's been done.

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--Freefall

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It might be very useful.
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Sat Oct 16, 2004 7:35 pm
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Yea, maybe done before. But not that I've ever seen, and not by Between_the_Lines - I'm impressed, aside from a few grammar and spelling mistakes, I'm enjoying it quite a lot.

Refreshing twist on the standard plot; I'd add more here when I finish reading.

Any chance you could use a spell-checker type person, Between_the_Lines? Just to start, your first "possible" should be "possibly." Kinda thing spellcheck would miss.

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Sat Oct 16, 2004 8:39 pm
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Has it been done? Run with it, cowboy!


Sun Oct 17, 2004 4:56 am
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Thanks for the comments so far. SC, where have you seen this before, other than in the Hentai section of this board? ;)

Does anyone have any other suggestions? Also, does anyone have an idea for the title? I'd leave it as it is, but then, really, that title gives away the premise right at the beginning.

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Sun Oct 17, 2004 4:47 pm
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How 'bout "Gendo's Child" or "Gendo's Children"?

Doesn't give anything away, but gets right to the heart of what it's about.

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Sun Oct 17, 2004 5:44 pm
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I rememebr reading a story on the FFML a fic where Rei was Gendo and Yui's child and Shinji was a clone of Gendo as the DNA from the accident was unusable.

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Sun Oct 17, 2004 5:49 pm
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Mista_B wrote:
How 'bout "Gendo's Child" or "Gendo's Children"?


*thinks* Hmmmm... you know, that's not half bad. Thanks! I might just use that one. You're right; it encompasses the subject, while giving nothing away. *nods* Yeah, I think that's about right. Thanks!

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Tue Oct 19, 2004 9:22 am
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Between_the_Lines wrote:
Thanks for the comments so far. SC, where have you seen this before, other than in the Hentai section of this board? ;)


Hey, that isn't the same thing at all! Shinji got gender-swapped, he didn't trade places with Rei! The sequal will have some Rei action in it too, but it isn't going to be as lemony. That stuff's too hard to write.

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Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:04 am
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Wow! Really intruiging idea! Id bet this "trading places" has alot of potential. Unfortunately I've been reading a few Rei fics and can't screw around with my mental image of her any more at the moment. However, as soon as i've digested for a while, I'll be sure to read this.

Always enjoy seeing creative ideas,

Rosenberg

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Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:16 am
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Fairly interesting.

I was gonna suggest "Flip Side of the Coin".... but that'd give too much away.

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Sat Oct 23, 2004 2:49 am
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This is a call for beta-readers. If anyone would like to volunteer, I'd be really grateful.

Any takers? As I've said, you have a look at this copy, or I can send it to you.

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Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:32 am
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Anyone? Anyone at all?

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Tue Dec 14, 2004 5:56 pm
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Posts: 624
Location: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
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Goose here.

I'd be willing to beta-read - but what do you want in my beta-ing?

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Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:02 am
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Head Pollster
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 6:00 pm
Posts: 1288
Location: Like I'm going to tell you.
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Thanks man. 'ppreciate it.

As for what I'd like...stuff about the story; pacing, characters, stuff like that, more than comments about spelling or grammar - though if you'd like to comment a little about that, go ahead. I'll send it to you soon. And again, thank you. :)

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Mon Dec 27, 2004 12:51 pm
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Chibi-Czar
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Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 12:47 am
Posts: 624
Location: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
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No prob'. Glad to be of service. ^_^

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Tue Dec 28, 2004 12:27 am
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