Disclaimer- I don't own Neon Genesis Evangelion, property of Gainax Studios and a whole host of other people.

Within the empty place he called home, sitting on a couch and just staring at the ceiling, Shinji Ikari felt terribly alone.

Not exactly a divine revelation.

He had been alone for most of his life. This was natural, and most of the time, Shinji wanted to be alone, wanted the world to retreat from his presence, wanted nothing more than to curl up into a ball and drown himself in his SDAT player.

Boys with low self esteem who go out to fight giant monsters are expected to have angst trips. Especially if said boy is abandoned by his father after the death of his mother.

Loneliness was first nature to the boy.

But this was special.

This was more alone than he had ever been, an awful, looming sense of isolation beyond anything he had known. This was not the comfortable feeling of being alone, this was an oppressive imposed isolationism.

Maybe that was because he had known what it was not to be alone, and going back was Hell. He had tasted what it was like to enjoy life, to enjoy the presence of others.

For the first time, he had friends. People respected him, liked him. His father had praised him even.

And now, like a house of cards, his foray into the presence of others was shattered.

This little world he had built for himself, this niche in life, was falling apart.

The comfortable banter with Asuka was gone, replaced with cold hatred and quick snaps, till the redhead had left entirely, perhaps forever.

Misato's vivacious presence had retreated, sinking into depression. No longer did she tease and joke, now all she did was obsess about the secrets of NERV.

Kaji, that unshaven man that he had begun to see as a mentor... gone forever, it seemed.

His friends... Touji, in the hospital... Kensuke, evacuated... the school, obliterated by Unit 00's self destruction... Ayanami's sacrifice...


He pushed thoughts of the blue haired girl away, lest it uncover monsters in his memory...

A giant aquarium, filled with Reis...

Panicked screams and sirens as his mother disappeared into the Eva...

Shinji almost screamed, but stayed silent, sitting on the couch.

He was alone.

Nothing was right... this shouldn't be...

They were the good guys, right? Why were they losing? Why was everyone hurting!

They were doing the right thing... weren't they? He was trying to protect humanity, piloting, inflicting pain upon himself for others... wasn't that enough? Why did there have to be more pain?

The door swung open, causing Shinji to turn slightly. His gaze fell upon a shockingly sober Misato, who, instead of drinking her customary beer, looked at him piercingly and plopped down on the couch next to him.

Silence stretched on, two people who had once been as close as siblings, now barely strangers who lived together. The discomfort of the situation who overwhelming, and disconcerting.

After a few more moments, minutes, eternities of terrible silence, Misato spoke. "Shinji... I'm sorry I haven't been... well, around lately." The major began slowly, looking away, to hide the tears.

The Third Child wanted to say that was fine... but that would be a lie. Lying would mean running away again. "I... well..." nothing. What could be said against the terrible truth? What could hide away what was plainly visible?

"I know things look bad... and I'm not going to lie to you and say everything will be fine." Misato said quietly.

"A lie is better than reality." The pilot of Unit 01 replied bitterly. Anything is better than the world I live in.

"Lying to yourself is running away. I thought you were past that." The major looked at him accusingly.

"Its not running away... everyone needs to lie to themselves once in a while." He said softly, sadly. "Is there something wrong with trying to numb the pain every now and then?" his tone had an almost pleading sense to it.

Misato was caught off guard. Is that what I've been doing about... Kaji? Trying to drink myself into oblivion to forget him? Still, she pressed onward. "Lies don't last forever." That was true... the lie of forgetting only lasted until she woke up. "The truth will return, and will always be there, just as awful as ever."

"I know that... but... maybe just one lie?" Shinji whispered softly. "Its all too much... its happening too fast... I don't want to run away but its just too much!" his voice had picked up intensity, becoming increasingly agitated.

"You want me to lie to you, Shinji?" Misato asked, her tone piercing and unreadable.

The pilot nodded weakly. "Please... lie to me." Please, make the pain go away. Make this nightmare stop. Do anything, just please, help me.

The major paused, before she smiled, a smile full of false happiness. "Everything will be fine, Shinji. Asuka will get over the Angel's attack and be herself again, Rei will regain her memory, and the team will be back together. Your friend, Touji's body will be healed, your father will apologize and be kinder, and we'll all live happily ever after." She paused, fake smile falling, and glanced at the silent boy. "Is that what you wanted to hear?" her voice was soft now.

Shinji nodded again, but did not smile. "Thank you... for lying to me." He whispered softly, and closed his eyes, resting his head against the cushions. The lies brought some peace to his troubled face.

Even for a moment.

Misato couldn't bring herself to reply, and left without a word.

She didn't want to think about that bright, happy future she had painted for the Third Child... because if she did, she might try to buy into the lie herself. Try to numb her own pain. Try to forget the haunting past, the nightmarish present, and the uncertain future.

She tried to convince herself that a lie would only stop the pain for a moment.

After all, it wasn't true, and would never happen...

But it was nice to think about.

It helped make living a little easier.

Maybe that was enough.

AN: Short, mostly just a drabble on the EoE lines about how ambiguity, i.e. lies, make reality easier.