At the End of the World 8
Neon Gensis Evangelion: At the End of the World
by Luna Ayanami (ayanami@highlandgrey.com)

Author's Note: These two chapters contain extremely mature subject matter. Because of the nature of this, this part is rated NC-17. I take no reponsibilty for anyone who reads this.

Chapter 16

   What are you doing? Unit-01 asked curiously.
   I turned the welding tool off and shoved the face guard up onto my head, sighing in exasperation as I wiped sweat off my forehead. "At the moment, nothing!" I told it acidly. I was glad that I was the only one working in the EVA bay right now. "I can't do anything when you're talking to me, because I can't risk having you in my head when I'm attempting to work with such a dangerous tool!" I shook the welder almost angrily. "So just be quiet and let me fix you up, alright?"
   No reponse. I sighed again, slammed the face guard down and got back to work.
   Unit-01 and I had had a bit of an accident, only one in a long series of accidents. It wasn't major compared to the plug incident, but it was serious enough to warrant me having to get up super early and do what I could to fix it.
   We had been above ground again, looking for supplies, and I had gone by the lake. I was not prepared at all to have found a few archaic pieces of artillery waiting for me. They looked like big boxes attempted to be cut into a rounder, ovular shape and rolled about on nice long treads that were in their death throes of productive use. Huge guns were attached to the fronts. They had fired on me. None of the shells did damage when they hit, but they did disrupt my thought patterens or the relays in the Unit to them enough that I tripped and stumbled into several buildings and the remainder of a rather formidable wall. Unit-01's shins had been scraped fairly badly and I needed to replace a toe plate. I was doing the toe plate now, provided that the Unit could keep from talking to me long enough for me to get anything productive done.
   As it was, I didn't really want Tashi, Risa or Kyle finding out that I'd fallen like that. Tashi was likely to give me a Look that said, "You should be more careful." Risa would check to see if I was alright, and truthfully, my back did kind of hurt. I must have twisted when I fell. Kyle would laugh.
   I finished the toe plate as the lights in C&C came on; I packed up the tools and put them back in their closet. By the time I had gotten that done, Tashi had come down to the floor level and was waiting for me.
   "What are you doing up so early?" he asked, yawning.
   I grinned at him. "Minor repairs," I replied. "The air above is positively acidic."
   He only stared at me, the expression on his face unreadable. Then he reached out and placed his hand on my shoulder. "Looks good," he approved, which was followed quickly by a yawn. "It's too damn early," he complained.
   "Then what are you doing up?" I asked.
   "Couldn't sleep. Besides, we have those joint tests today." Today was a special kind of test. Tashi wanted to see the plug suits really affected our performance in the Units or not. "Come help me set up before the other two get up." He turned and started across the bay again. I followed.
   We worked in silence for a long time. It was nice, just the two of us, working together just like we used to before Risa had joined us. There was this sense of infinite friendship between us at this moment as we worked; the knowledge that we would always have this special affinity for each other, and that nothing could really destroy it.
   Kyle was up next; he was always a zombie in the morning, so he didn't even try talking to us right away. Risa followed soon after, and she was all ready to help with the final preperations.
   Finally, the test was set up and we took the time out then to have some breakfast and relax before starting. Kyle was more sociable, and while Tashi and Risa discussed something about the Units, he started talking to me.
   It wasn't as though we hadn't talked before. It was that we hadn't as much of an opportunity to talk since he had gotten better.
   "So what's the plan?" he asked. His eyes held mine.
   "We're going to see if plug suits really affect our performance in the EVA's," I said, managing to get my gaze back to what I was eating, so I missed the gleam that stole into his eyes. He hid it very well; I only caught a glimpse of that look when I turned back to him. I wondered if I had even seen it at all.
   He laid his hand on my arm; it lingered there as he spoke, leaning closer to me. "I'm sure you'll do fine," he whispered, an odd grin stretched across his face.
   The test took place later that morning. Risa and I had to strip down completely in the curtained off area Tashi and I had prepared, and then relax ourselves as completely as we could before getting into the entry plugs.
   I remember this, the Unit -- Shinji -- said.
   That's fantastic, I shot back at him, not really knowing if I was annoyed at him or just plain annoyed.
   It was an uneventful test, at least for Risa and I. All we had to do was sit there like any other test. Tashi sounded completely neutral when he said we could get out, so I couldn't even speculate as to how the results turned out.
   Risa and I had to take a bath afterwards. The LCL felt so slimy against our bare skin and in our hair that we just ran straight to the bath room. We took a nice long soak in our "tub", which was really just a remnant of a tub, but a fairly large one, so we could both sit in it at the same time. It was a little crowded, but we managed.
   Risa got out when she felt sufficiently clean; I stayed longer, wanting to relax a bit more. Plus I was feeling a little bit tired now. I tried not to fall asleep in the tub, but I did.
   Kyle found me; I don't know how much later. It didn't feel like it had been very long at all, but it could have been.
   "Hey, sleepyhead, wake up," he said, shaking me by the shoulder.
   I jerked awake, splashing water out of the tub. The water left was cool, so it must have been a fairly long time since I had fallen asleep. "Huh? What -- ?"
   "Relax," he assured me, laughing. "Tashi said you were up super early, so he said it would be okay for you to sleep for awhile, although when Risa told him where you were likely to be sleeping, he didn't think it would be very nice for you to drown. So he sent me."
   I was uncomfortable without really knowing why. Why couldn't Tashi have come, or Risa? Then I remembered that they were still doing final repairs on Unit-00. It had had a bulkhead or something equally heavy fall from the ceiling onto it's shoulder. The long plate rising off the shoulder was bent inwards.
   I got of the tub then, reaching down and pulling the plug out. The water drained downwards with a slurping sound. I didn't really mind that Kyle was still in the room.
   My body caused me no shame. I had spent too many years in the ranks of the work force and big communal baths -- when we got them -- to be ashamed of it. I thought about that as I dried myself off from my bath with the scrap of sheet we used for a towel.
   Tashi had always respected my privacy, even when we very small. When we had been chained together, he had always looked the other way when I needed to go to the bathroom and I had done likewise for him. We had least helped each other with our baths without feeling guilty...
   I stopped drying myself and looked down at my body. I was very slender, but that was to be expected. I had been underfed my whole life -- poor feeding did not do wonders for one's muscle structure. The best thing was, since leaving the work force, we had eaten better, and the flesh around my ribs had filled out. I always thought they had looked rather silly, poking out like they had been.
   Tashi had once said that I was small and compact -- I could believe him. I had a narrow waist and hips, my arms and legs were stronger than they appeared, which wasn't saying much, and my breasts were very small -- at least they weren't squished by the hard chest plate of my plug suit. I didn't think that I was anything special, or any great attraction (at least physically) for Tashi or Kyle. With a shrug, I began rubbing the towel over my wet skin again.
   "You do yourself wrong to hide that body beneath clothing all the time," Kyle said from behind me, unexpectedly.
   I stopped, drawing the towel closer about myself instinctively. He was sitting on the egde of the drained tub, his eyes gleaming in an unsettling way.
   I laughed shortly after a moment, hoping that I didn't sound like I was forcing it. "You've got to be kidding me," I said, turning my back to him and unwrapping the towel slowly to continue drying myself off, although more cautiously. "I don't have the kind of figure Risa has."
   He came up behind me, placing his hands on my shoulders. "You don't need the kind of figure Risa has," he said, his voice too near to my ear for any kind of comfort. "You're fine just the way you are," he whispered in my ear, using one hand to pull my wet hair away from my skin.
   I tensed, though I couldn't tell if it was in nervousness or anticipation. His breath tickled my ear and neck, and a shiver ran over and through my body. "What makes you say that?" I asked, drawing the towel closer again.
   He slid his hands down my arms to where my hands were clasped together, between my breasts. "Because you're fine just the way you are," he repeated before touching his lips to my neck. His hands slid off mine and onto my breasts, rubbing them through the damp towel.
   I gasped, my body arching of its own accord away from Kyle. I couldn't tell if it was from fear, revulsion or actual need.
   "Kyle, stop it," I said, trying to slip out underneath his arm.
   I hadn't counted on him moving his arms to keep me in his embrace.
   He clamped a hand over my mouth, the other resting on my waist tightly as he pressed me back into him. "You're not going to fight me, are you, Mei?" he whispered hoarsely, his breath tickling my skin. Eyes wide, I nodded. His hands hurt.
   "Good," he answered shortly and then licked my cheek.
   I felt sickened and twisted my face into a mask of disgust. "Kyle, please, stop!" I begged, trying to twist away again.
   "Be quiet, Mei," he ordered roughly, one hand pulling away the towel I still held to my body. Exposed, I wanted to cover up for the first time in my life.
   "Oh yeah," Kyle breathed, his hands more roughly over my body. One hand came up to play with my breasts again as the other travelled down to stroke my thigh.
   I wanted to throw up. I felt violated and like I had somehow brought this down upon myself.
   When his hand came up between my legs and his fingers began to stroke me at my most secret self, I forgot about not fighting him and tried to get away as quickly as I possibly could.
   "Help me!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. "Tashi! Risa! Someone please!" That was all I was able to get out before Kyle cursed and came around in front of me, backhanding me violently.
   "You little bitch!" he snarled as I fell beneath the force of his blow. I had almost managed to stay upright, but my foot slipped in a puddle of water and I crashed to the floor, landing on a piece of the wall no one had gotten around to picking up yet. It dug deeply into my hip and I knew that there would be a bruise there. I twisted to remove the piece, tossing it aside and forgetting about Kyle for a moment.
   He didn't stay forgotten for long. He was in front of me again in moments, placing his knee between my legs and right up against my body. "You like that, slut?" he growled, shoving his knee harder against me; I cried out in pain. "You think I don't notice the way you look at Tashi, the way you move your body when he's around? Here's a news flash, whore -- he's too good for you. You are not worth the flesh you live in and call a body. All you are good for is looking for is looking pretty in that suit you're so fond of. And it's no wonder you like it so much. It was made for a boy, right? It's the only one that would fit you properly with this figure of yours." He waved his hand over me and then slapped me a few more times before grabbing my breast again.

Chapter 17

   "Someone, please! Help me!" I screamed again. It turned into a wordless scream as his mouth closed over my breast and he bit it savagely.
   "Didn't I tell you to be quiet?" he said, slapping me again. He got up on his knees without removing the one against my body, undid his pants and shoved them down. I was frightened by the sight of him; he used the pause in my struggle for freedom to his advantage, pinning my shoulders down, removing his knee and then forcing himself inside my body.
   I screamed. His entry hurt. "How many times do I have to tell you to shut up?" he yelled, covering my mouth with one hand. "Jeez, you're tight," he continued in a snarl, pulling himself almost out of my body and then shoving back inside. "Why hasn't anyone ever fucked you properly before?"
   I felt like I was on fire. Every nerve screamed in protest to his actions. I started to twist beneath him, hoping to get my head free at least so I could scream for help again.
   "Would you hold still!" he demanded, shifting so he was covering my body with his own. I doubled my efforts, trying to throw him off. "Hold still!" he started again, and then literally flew sideways. Unfortunately, the blow wasn't hard enough to remove him from my body.
   I looked up; Tashi stood over us, a long piece of wood in his hands and a furious expression on his face. Kyle looked up too, and snarled primally.
   "Get off of her," Tashi said calmly. That frightened me. Tashi was always calm, but when it was coupled with that expression, I wanted to run and hide.
   Kyle thrust into me again before removing himself completely from my body on the outward stroke. His exit hurt just as much as his entry and my head swam in pain. He stood up, wrapped his hand around himself and quickly moved it back and forth until he ejaculated, in front of Tashi, and all over me. The stuff was sticky, and I did throw up then, rolling quickly to one side and emptying my stomach of what little was in it. Kyle shoved himself back inside his pants, did them up and faced Tashi. "Just want her for yourself?" he said mockingly. "Here's a tip for you -- she's a lousy lay."
   Tashi's expression soured more and he whacked the unsuspecting Kyle full in the face with his stick. Kyle went down with a thud! Tashi turned to me, still angry.
   I shrank back, crossing my arms tightly over my chest and drawing my knees high, turning away from him at the same time. Then Risa was beside me, throwing a blanket over me and wrapping me up in her arms.
   "Snap out of it, Tashi," she said angrily. "Mei was not a willing party to that."
   His expression didn't change for a moment; then it slowly softened, and he lowered his stick, dropping it once the end hit the floor. He sank to his knees and crawled across the distance between us, going opposite to Risa and sliding his arms around me.
   "I'm sorry, Mei," he whispered, and he sounded like he was crying. "I am so, so sorry."
   I started to cry as well, the full impact of Kyle's actions finally hitting me. Mine were understandable; Tashi's weren't. Both of them held me, not saying a word, but giving me the comfort I needed right then.
   "Are you hurt?" Tashi asked after a few minutes. "If he hurt you, I swear I'll kill him."
   I couldn't look at him. Instead, I just pulled the blanket down to expose my breast. There were sluggishly bleeding wounds where Kyle had bit me. I knew I would have several bruises, some very nasty, in a day or two, and I wasn't sure if I would ever walk normally again. His entry and continued thrusting had left me burning down there. I pulled the blanket up to my waist and saw the trails of blood streaking my inner thighs.
   "I'll kill him," Tashi stated bleakly, pulling me closer to him and burying his face in my wet hair.
   "Well, do that then," Risa said. "I'm taking Mei to get cleaned up." She forced Tashi's arms down and pulled me to my feet, wrapping the blanket fully around my body and leading me away.
   We left the bath room and were going down the hallway to our medical area when I stopped walking and just dropped to the floor, clutching the blanket close and crying hysterically.
   "Mei, c'mon, get up," Risa urged, tugging at my arm. "Kyle's just an arrogant Easterner who needed to be taught a lesson. He's not worth it."
   "It's not that!" I cried. "I just feel so...so wrong...and the look on Tashi's face after he clobbered Kyle..." I started to cry beyond the capacity of being able to speak through it.
   "Oh, Mei, why are you worried about that?" Risa knelt beside me and hugged me again, resting her head comfortingly on my back. "Tashi was just upset that he let Kyle get to you before he could warn you. He thought you could take care of yourself, but where Kyle's concerned...You should have seen the look on his face when he heard you screaming. We were working on Unit-00 and he just froze, dropping his welding tool all the way to the bay floor and dashing off like his ass was on fire."
   I was surprised to hear Risa use that paticualr word; she wasn't the type to use slang very often, and almost never did. But what surprised me more was her story of Tashi's actions. I hadn't thought that he cared for me that much...
   I slowly looked up at her; she nodded to my unspoken question. I closed my eyes and then wiped the tears on my cheeks away with the back of my hand. "Okay, then, let's get to med." I let her help me up and down the hall to the medical area.
   It didn't take long to get me cleaned up. The blood and ejaculate washed away easily, leaving only the bite marks on my breast, the bruises on my face and the ache between my legs to attest to Kyle's rough handling of me. Risa was very professional, and she pronounced me fit to wear the plug suit in three days. Until then, I was to wear loose shirts, protective wrapping about my breasts, and skirts. I didn't mind; I felt sore enough that I didn't want to even think about using the plug suit just yet. She even brought out clothing that I could wear until then.
   I had just finished getting dressed and was sitting down slowly -- and rather painfully -- on the bed there when Tashi quietly knocked on the door and entered cautiously, carrying a steaming mug in his hands.
   "Are you alright?" he asked, a slow flush coming over his face. He approached me almost as if I had some sort of disease that he didn't want and sat down next to me on the bed. "Here, I brought you something to drink," he added, offering me the mug.
   I made a ghost of a smile and accepted the mug with an almost inaudible, "Thank you." I sipped at the contents and found that it was apple cider, my favourite hot drink -- and the hardest one to find. We sat there in silence for a few moments, until he turned to me and began talking.
   "Mei, I...," he began awkwardly. "That is, I...I mean...oh damn it!" He leaned forward and covered his face in his hands. When he looked up again, he was bright red and there were tears in his eyes. "Mei, I'm sorry that I let Kyle do that to you," he whispered, his voice sounding as though he had to force it out. "I...I'm sorry it took his rape of you to realize how much I care for you." He turned away from me then.
   I nearly dropped the mug, staring at him in amazement. "Tashi, I...," I started, interupted when Risa came back into the room, carrying a small jar of something white.
   "Mei, I want  -- oh." She stopped talking when she saw Tashi, though she didn't stop walking towards us. "Tashi, could you leave us for a moment?" she asked, cocking her head at him. He nodded and got up, leaving the room quietly.
   Risa gave me the jar and gave me instructions on where and when to use it. "We'll see how you're doing in three days," she said, wrapping me in a hug again. "I'm not going to force you into the entry plug of Unit-01 until you're ready to. Promise me that you won't go back until you think you can handle it, alright? I don't know how  you're going to hold up under the mental stress of that position right now."
   "Promise," I got out around a closed throat.
   I left after that. Tashi was waiting just outside; he offered his hand. "I'll help you back to your room," he suggested. I took it with another ghost-smile. He led me slowly down the hall, and I was grateful that he did. I moved slowly, and as though I had a log between my legs.
   It took awhile to get to the room I shared with Risa; when we reached it, Tashi led me inside, and helped me sit on my bed. Then he gently pushed my still-damp hair back from my face and looked me calmly in the eyes. "Need me for anything else?" he asked.
   I couldn't even smile. "Stay with me tonight, please," I whispered, feeling tears gather in my eyes again.
   He sighed and closed his eyes briefly. "Anything," he said as he opened them.
   I got up then, handing him my mug and heading slowly into the washroom. "Doctor's orders," I explained, turning on the light and closing the door.
   I leaned against the door, fighting a losing battle against the tears that threatened to spill over. Then I managed to get a hold of myself, pulled the jar of cream out of my pocket, set it on the counter, pulled the skirt off and sat on the toilet to administer it.
   I nearly screamed in pain as the cool cream touched my flaming skin. I did draw a sharp breath and had to hold it for a few long seconds before I could continue. When I left the washroom, I was in tears. Tashi leaped up from the seat he had taken on my bed and set the mug down hurriedly, rushing to my side. "Are you alright?" he asked anxiously, taking my elbow in one hand and placing the other on my opposite shoulder.
   "I will be," I answered, my voice tight with pain. "I was led to believe that first times weren't quite that bad."
   He looked confused for a moment; then his eyes flashed angrily. "Most first times didn't involve rape," he answered, helping me sit down again.
   I lay down on my bed and turned away from Tashi. He pulled my blankets up over my body to my shoulders, smoothing them down around my torso. "I'm here, Mei," he whispered. "I'm not going to leave you."
   It was several hours still before I could sleep, and when I did, my dreams were filled with nightmares of Kyle and the horrible act he had commited on me today.
   *****
   They let me sleep in, which was nice, I guess. I didn't really like sleeping in. It went against everything I had ever been taught.
   As soon as I thought that, I started to cry again. It didn't matter whether I'd had the chance to sleep in or not, all that mattered was that they had left me alone. I was by myself right when I didn't want to be.
   Remembering Risa's instructions, I got myself out of bed, feeling even more sore and stiff than I had yesterday. I made my way to the bathroom, applied the cream, and took a long, good look at my reflection in the mirror.
   Bruises had formed on my cheeks. They were an ugly purple colour that was black in the middle. The outsides of the bruises were just starting to turn blue. To top it all off, my face was red from my recent crying, and the undamaged skin was puffy, though whether it was from tears or the abuse, I wasn't sure. Tears formed in my eyes again. It was so hard to believe...just yesterday morning...I had felt so safe...
   Then I noticed the pair of scissors on the countertop. Risa must have left them there, though for what purpose I couldn't imagine. Almost as if I couldn't stop myself, I reached over and grabbed them. As I looked back at myself, I wondered what I would do with them. I couldn't kill myself, even though I really wished I could. There was just no way I could leave Tashi and Risa...or Unit-01.
   I caught sight of my hair, uncombed since it had been washed the day before. The more I stared at it, the more it seemed like the perfect target. My hair had been my only vanity.
   I grabbed a handful, and began sawing away at it with the scissors.