It became harder to justify things once Shinji was with them. In the beginning, it made an unspoken sense; Eri was silent in her hospital bed, Kanzaki Shiro was glimpsed only occasionally in the mirror's reflection. They had come together out a need to not be alone, and though they had never explicitly given it a name, it had been what it had been, a glimpse of them perhaps seen within a reflection, his weight pushed down against her, the covers thrown aside in their fever. Once Shinji arrived, once he had taken up residence with them, continuing in his guileless attempts to obstruct anyone who came close to uncovering the answers to the problems Kanzaki posed, it became more difficult for them to spend time together, to console one another with the touch of something they refused to name, to tell each that it was not deceit, but simply companionship.

He writhed at night, tossing and turning in his sleep, hearing the snores of the younger man from his bed on the other side of the room, and all he could think of was that he missed the shudder of her body beneath him, the shake of the bed.