A Neon Genesis Evangelion Fanfiction
One Last Song
By Myssa Elaine S. Reyes
"Somehow, I knew that I'd find you here..."
A moment of silence passed, before it became apparent that no reply was forthcoming. The speaker shrugged to herself, as if it didn't come to any surprise, and let herself into the dimly-lit auditorium. The visitor winced inwardly, as the soft squeak of her school shoes against the hardwood floor followed in her wake. In the stillness of the place, the sound of each step seemed to be amplified tenfold, an unwelcome dissonance in the peaceful atmosphere the chamber held.
In front of her, standing in the middle of the elevated stage, the lone occupant of the chamber didn't seem to mind the intrusion. In fact, she seemed to be quite oblivious to it; her eyes were closed, and she had a distracted sort of expression on her face. It was a look that was enhanced even more by the strangely wistful smile she had on her face.
The visitor was tall for a teen her age, with a fall of auburn hair that fell past her shoulders, and eyes of sky blue shone even in the muted light of the hall. She seemed more European than Asian, certainly, but somehow she wasn't entirely a foreigner either; the features that made her Japanese were still there, though they seemed to have been muted by the Caucasian part of her heritage.
In comparison, the girl on the stage was fully Japanese, with straight black hair and a complexion that was on this side of fair. A mole graced the lower left of her lips, just underneath the smile she was currently displaying. A pair of reading glasses hung from the front of her school sweater, seemingly forgotten for the time being.
"Gee, you'd think that a person would find a better place to hang out in," the redhead commented, shaking her head as she found a place to stand in front of the stage. Though she seemed to be saying this offhandedly, there was no hint of malice in her voice, and was actually grinning as she said this. "Not that I'm complaining, you understand. It's just that this dim light is getting to me..."
"Really?" the girl on the stage spoke suddenly, making the redhead turn her head to look at her. "I think it's soothing, in a way." She opened her eyes, before smiling warmly at the new arrival. "Though I guess you never liked dark and quiet places... Right, Asuka-san?"
"Well, it depends really," Asuka said, as she walked over to the front of the stage to cross her arms upon its edge. "But most of the time, yeah." The girl grinned, and cradled her chin with one upraised palm, as she looked up to her schoolmate. "A little too boring for me, though. Then again, I'm not you, Angel-girl..."
Yamagishi Mayumi, or 'Angel-girl' as she had been casually nicknamed by the redhead, chuckled a little as she sat down, letting her legs dangle over the platform's edge. "It depends on what you define 'boring'."
"Of course. And this place more or less fits my definition..."
The girl laughed a little at that. "So," she asked, when she had more or less calmed down. "What did I do to merit the great Sohryu Asuka Langley-san's attention, hmm?"
This time, it was the redhead's turn to chuckle. "And you better remember that—my time's a valuable commodity. You should be thankful that I actually went through all this trouble to look for you," she said, before the expression on her face turned serious. "So, are you ready yet?"
Mayumi nodded slowly. "More or less. I already talked to our teacher, and the school principal, and I've already packed all of my things anyway... It's not like I have a lot to pack to begin with..."
"I see..." Asuka gave her a questioning look. "How about your ticket?"
"Katsuragi-san already took care of it earlier. All I have to do is board the first evening train out of the city, and then I'll be on my way home." Mayumi sighed, a flash of regret appearing on her face at that last word. "It's been a while since I've seen everyone. My family, I mean.."
"Home, huh..." The redhead stole a quick glance at her companion, and caught the look on the other girl's face. Despite the lighthearted front she was trying to project, she was obviously unhappy about leaving—it didn't take a genius to figure that out.
There wasn't anything Mayumi could do about it though. After the fight with the Angel of Illusion, and the revelations about who, or in this case, what she really was, her staying would bring a lot of unwanted complications. So, for her own safety, it had been decided that she return home, to the family who had raised her.
Still, given a different perspective, one could say that she still came out better for the deal. She still had a loving family to return to, which was more than could be said about a few certain people...
"It's too bad though," Asuka spoke after a while, breaking the quiet that had fallen between them. Mayumi glanced in her direction, a curious look on her face. "That you have to go now, I mean. The school festival's still pushing through, even after the attack..."
"Yeah." Mayumi sighed, as she remembered the events that led to this, events that turned her life upside down. Having friends, being able to be with other people—those were things she would never have even considered a few weeks before.
It's strange, how a chance encounter can change everything.
"Still, it seems such a waste," Asuka continued. "All that work, all that preparation, all for nothing. I guess the Stooges are out of luck again..." The redhead blinked, as if surprised at what she said. "N-not like I'm concerned about those idiots, of course. It's just that that this is going to reflect badly on the rest of the class..."
"Oh, I'm not too worried," Mayumi interjected, soft laughter issuing from her lips. Asuka turned a questioning eye at her companion, seemingly waiting for the girl to expound on what she just said. "I'm sure that Shinji-san and the others will figure something out," she continued, smiling in response to the redhead's look.
"Tch, you're giving those idiots too much credit," Asuka snorted, apparently not-too convinced. "Especially baka-Shinji. I don't know why you put so much trust in that fool..."
"Asuka-san, don't be too harsh on him," Mayumi admonished her companion. "He helped me out, even when he didn't have any reason to do so, even before he didn't know a thing about me." She closed her eyes, and put a palm to her heart. "He helped me find my voice..." The veils that were her eyelids parted, as she faced the girl beside her. "That's why I have faith in him. It's the least I can do, after everything he did for me."
Asuka stared at her long, before smirking, a slight shrug to her shoulders. "Well, I still think you put too much stock in that idiot's antics."
"I don't think that it's faith misplaced." Mayumi leaned back, her arms supporting her weight, and threw her head back until she faced the ceiling. "I honestly think that Shinji-san would think of something. He has Touji-san and Ken-san with him, right?"
"Feh, much help that would be. Even if they still decide to join the competition, they don't have a singer. It's a lost cause, Angel-girl."
"Oh? I happen to remember a certain person stunning everyone at the audition with her performance." A slight smile broke on Mayumi's face as her recollections of that particular event returned to her. "Surely that person would consider helping them out. After all, the pride of the class is at stake..."
A chuckle was heard coming from her companion. "I guess it's worth considering..." Asuka said, as their eyes met again. "Besides, it might be fun putting everyone in their places. Especially those Stooges..."
Asuka pushed herself away from the stage, and stretched her arms, as she turned in the direction of the auditorium's entrance. Outside, the sky was already turning a brilliant orange, heralding the end of the day. "It's getting late... You have anything left to do? Before we get you to the station, I mean?" the redhead inquired, as she looked over her shoulder at her companion.
"Just one last thing, Asuka-san." Mayumi stood up, and walked to the center of the stage, a strangely radiant expression on her face. "I still have time for one last memory to take with me..." The girl turned back to face the front of the hall, her eyes closed, her dark hair flowing in her wake.
"...One last song to send me on my way."
And so she began to sing.
"Hitomi wo tojireba kitto, omoidaseru
inochi ga mebaeta toki wo...
(If you close your eyes I'm sure,
You'll remember the moment
your life awakened...)
"Mabushii hikari ni, sutto michibikarette
Shukufuku no uta wa.
Sekai ni hibiite-ita...
(A song of Blessing echoed through
gently leading to the radiant light...)
"Daremo ga, itsu shika wasureta
Kiseki wo tsutaeru tameni
Kimi wa koko ni iru...
(You are here to convey
the miracle that everyone forgot
as time went by...)
"Boku ra wa tenshi ja nai kara
Ikiru koto no itami no naka de...
Jibun no yowasa wo mitsumeru toki
Hajimete yasashi sa no
Imi ni kidzuku yo..."
(We aren't angels so in the midst
of the pain of living,
When we look our own weakness
In the eyes,
We begin to realize the meaning
If asked, Asuka would be the first to admit that she wasn't the type of person who went for the mild, romantically-themed songs. Why would she? It was something weak-willed saps went for, and she was neither weak, nor particularly sappy. But still, there was just something about this particular song that affected her so...
And she didn't know why.
Maybe it was because of the way it was sung? Asuka hated to admit it, but Mayumi's voice had this calming quality about it, a certain purity that was hard to find in a world that was all pretence and little substance...
"Dareka ni awaseta egao tsukuranaide
Sunao na kimochi de
Namida wo nagasu koto mo yuuki saa..."
(Don't fake the smile
you show to others...
Sincerely letting your tears flow,
Is also courage...)
Or maybe it was the theme of the song itself... Speaking of simple truths that Asuka had all but forgotten... Of optimism, of trust...
Maybe it was both.
"Boku ra wa tenshi ja nai kedo
Kibou to yuu tsubasa wo hiroge
Kokoro ni kizanda kanashimi yori
Tashika na nukumori de
(We aren't angels, but we can spread
the wings called Courage
and embrace each other with
a definite warmth...
instead of the sorrow engraved
in our hearts...)
Whatever the reason, the redhead found herself buoyed by the song. Even for a little while, she was able to escape the world that only seemed to bring her heartache, and believe that things such as love and hope were easily claimed... And didn't ask anything in return.
"Hitomi wo tojireba kitto..."
Eventually, the song ended, but the feeling it brought remained.
Mayumi opened her eyes, and was surprised to see Asuka clapping her hands in applause. It brought a smile to her face, and a slight feeling of gratification that her efforts were appreciated, even slightly.
"C'mon, Angel girl," Asuka said as she walked up to the stage to help Mayumi come down. "You wouldn't want to keep the train waiting, right?"
Draft Started April 28, 2003.
Draft Finished April 30, 2003.