T/N: This is a translation. The author of the original story is Arkhyn; I'm translating and publishing this with his permission.

"Why do I pilot the Eva?"

Shinji sat on the floor somewhere, hugging his knees. The place didn't matter. The batteries of his SDAT had ran dry, and his world was silent.

"Why do I pilot the Eva? I can't do anything right. I only hurt others. I'm disgusting."

At this point, Shinji Ikari desired only one thing: an end to all this. Maybe he could just accept the promises, and then there would be one body, one soul. All suffering would stop. The endless chain of mistakes and disasters – for which he had nobody to blame but himself – would come to an end.

He could get up, go somewhere, do… something. There was no reason, though. The time for action had passed long ago; now, it was infinitely, inevitably late. If he took action, he'd have to fight against inevitability. And he would just fail again, and see and bring more death.

No. Not again. He won't pilot the Eva.

Something was happening – outside Shinji's world. Somebody was talking, and there was a weapon at his head. He did not care.

Then Misato came. She'd shot all the soldiers – quickly, skillfully – and began dragging Shinji somewhere. She was talking at him: ordering, shaming, demanding, begging to take action. She talked about the command center being overrun, the Terminal Dogma being the last holdout, the Commander and Rei disappearing, Asuka and the Series fighting against overwhelming odds… Shinji did not hear most of it.

Misato was the one who'd come to get him, not his father. His father didn't need him. Not before, especially not now. He was useless.

Shinji's guardian was taking him somewhere, regardless. They had almost made it. Then there were more weapons firing. Then Misato screamed, and the door closed.

"Don't worry, it's just a scratch."

It was too much. Shinji couldn't take it anymore.

He told Misato everything that he had on his mind. About all the things that were torturing him, all the festering splinters in his soul.

And his guardian understood. She accepted Shinji Ikari for what he was.

Then she told him that he has to make a decision – right now. Make it without looking back at the past, without worrying about hurting others. That he would either die on his knees, or make a difference.

Then she kissed him. It was an adult kiss. She said they would do more, after he returns. And then she pushed him into the elevator and set it in motion.

"Kaji, did I do the right thing?..."

For several infinitely long seconds, Shinji believed her. He believed that not all was lost, that he could fix everything by simply getting into the Entry Plug and synchronizing with Unit One. He believed in himself.

Then he became aware of Misato's blood on his palms and face, and heard an explosion from below.

Misato was dead because of him. He could have saved her if he'd acted earlier, if he didn't just sit there, if she hadn't had to drag him. He was useless. He only caused more people to die. He should not pilot anything. He only wanted for the suffering to end. One soul. One body.

Shinji sat near the Entry Plug. Somewhere above him, there was a battle going on; Asuka and some of the Series were still fighting. Maybe if he just got into the Plug and helped them… No. It was too late. He could not. He was nothing; even his own father didn't want anything to do with him. He only had to wait a little longer, and then he would become one. One soul. One body. It would all end.