Cassiopeia

By Ekai Ungson

DISCLAIMER: Neon Genesis Evangelion copyright GAINAX and Anno Hideaki, characters used without permission.

Summary: Sohryu Asuka-Langley's heart was beyond mere bruise and break. That was true, until the day she finds Ikari Shinji pining for an unresponsive Rei. This was the event that she had to examine her whole persona and learn what it was like to have her heart squashed, and, worse than that, to have it done to her by no one else but herself.

~~~~

It's pitiful, the way Dummkopf goes on, as if the whole world depended on this, whatever this was, the way he's pacing around now, looking as if he were on the verge of something very big, so big in fact that he would burst if he couldn't spit it out. Because, really.

I know what this is about. It's always about this—it's been about this the last thirty-eight times. It's about Wonderdoll and it's about mundane, maudlin emotions like 'love' and 'devotion'. As if Wonderdoll could even feel emotion, because from the looks of that girl she could get hit by a speeding train and nothing would change from her expression.

But that's not the point. If Dummkopf keeps pacing that way I swear I'm going to push him over the balcony rail. Seriously. I can see his lips moving, I know he's rehearsing this whole big speech for his confession extravaganza. Gag me. I don't even want to see this.

But I'm here, aren't I?

He's stopped pacing now, well, not in front of me anyway. He's broadened his horizons to the perimeter of the apartment. I marvel, really. Considering the mere amount of clutter in this place, it's a wonder how he manages to go around, and around. And around. And around some more.

Okay, this is getting really annoying, now. It's even more annoying than the last time.

The last time he went into these sorts he wore almost half the apartment floor. Then he wouldn't talk for hours, just staring into space or stuffing his ears with those earphones of his, listening to music that I'll bet he doesn't even really hear. When we were in school, he stutters at the mere sight of her. And when she walks by, he stops breathing. I know, I checked. And half the time he looked a pale shade of blue, as if he was about to explode, or implode, because it also looked like he was keeping whatever it was inside.

This time is just far, far worse than that. I can hear him trying to mutter 'suki' and 'Ayanami' in the same sentence under his breath. He wishes; he's loud enough to wake anyone in a mile's radius. I roll my eyes. What am I doing here?

Please don't answer that.

~~~~

Today's the day. I know because I can hear him through the wall, trying to pep himself up like a boxer getting ready for a match. He's even bouncing, 'cause I can feel it from the floor. Oh, susser Gott.

We get to school and Wonderdoll's there, sitting in the bench, reading her NERV manual. I swear, the girl's been through it forty times and she's still rereading it. Must lead a pretty boring life. Anyway, beside me—

I can feel Dummkopf stiffening. Oh, scheisse.

~~~~

It's really annoying to get the truth thrown in your face at the most inopportune times. Especially if the truth involves life-changing decisions that you have to decide on in a fraction of a second. I hate those. I can think fast, sure, but for something that'll change my life?

I know what he feels for Ayanami. It's real. So real in fact that it scares even me sometimes. There is just something about the way he looks at her, something in his eyes, or the way his whole face lights up when he sees her, like a godforsaken Christmas tree in Plaza Berlin. It's just not normal. I know that a lot of boys find Ayanami pretty (ha.), and the way they stare is just different from Ikari's.

And I know that if I do this, if I just give him one infinitesimal push, he will be happy for the rest of his life. Wait, that's rather optimistic. He'll be really happy, then. I know that. Just one little tug in the right direction and he won't only be happy, he'll be at peace, and I'll have peace back. It's a win-win situation.

Yep, maybe if I tell myself a few more times it'll come true.

I wonder when I got this selfless streak, really. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a very selfish bitch, and that I'd put myself before others, and I know that in the same way a right push can make him a king, the wrong pull can destroy him, destroy them.

It's what I want. I want to wreck this, muck it up. I want this thing to fail. I want him for myself, dammit! And I can make it happen, all I have to do is make one little move and she will turn away. He will be mad, sure, but I'm not afraid of him—what matters is that he's not hers.

But I can't do it, this time.

Because he deserves to be happy, this time.

~~~~

I take one hand and connect it to Dummkopf's shoulder. Then I give him one forceful push towards Wonderdoll.

"Oh, do it already," I holler. "You've been driving me insane! Now she can have you all to herself!"

He turns to me with the most shocked face he has ever put on in his life. I wink at him. "Ha, ha, go get 'em, tiger."

He smiles back. "Thanks.. Asuka."

Then he turns and runs to her.

"It's no problem," I whisper. "Not a problem at all."

I know he can't hear me.

It is a problem, that I know I'll have to live with this for the rest of my known life. That I'll have to live with the knowledge that I could have stopped this and didn't, that I had a hand in this.

The tears sting. I don't cry.

But there's a first time for everything.

This is the feeling of your heart being broken—

It squeezes in your chest, trying to gouge out that last drop of blood to sustain you. Then it stops. And then you feel something blocking the veins in your chest and a lump forms in your throat and it's not budging. You feel an empty pit in your stomach. You feel spent, used, fatigued. And in the face of all this pain and emptiness, your blood flows from your eyes down your face in the form of tears.

I know because I feel it.

And worse, I did it to myself.

-- owari

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