Disclaimer- Nope, I don't own Neon Genesis Evangelion, which belongs to Studio Gainax (and probably a bunch of other people).


Of all the things he hated about this new world, he hated the silence the most.

There was a time when he did not mind being alone, even cherished it...

But not this silence.

This was not the silence of solitude.

This was the silence of a dead world.

Asuka is a little bit away, sleeping for now. He doesn't mind... but the silence... the silence is crushing.

Like the sand in his fingers, faces slip in and out of his mind's eye. Touji, Kensuke, Misato, Hikari, Ritsuko, Ibuki, Aoba, Shigeru, Kaworu, Rei, Father...

Each of them, gone.

And he again was the survivor, once more, he stood amidst desolation and death, alive.

He was dirty... he was a liar, a coward, a weakling... he was a sinner.

On his hands were the deaths of so many.

Rei was forced to sacrifice herself because he was useless.

He couldn't save Asuka from the Fifteenth Angel, couldn't protect her from it's violation of the mind.

Kaworu forced him to become a murderer, when he, an Angel, was so much better, so pure...

Misato... who sacrificed herself to give him a chance to save Asuka, and he couldn't even do that right.

All on him.

What was that his mother said?

That happiness can be found anywhere, and anyplace can be heaven?

Anyplace could be Hell as well, he mused darkly, staring at the Eva Series blankly.

The Great Third Child... one of the so called defenders of humanity...

A bitter laugh escaped his lips. He was no defender... he was the reason for the Apocalypse. Because of his weakness, humanity had been forcibly united.

It was even certain if people would ever return to the Earth.

Why would they? In Instrumentality, there was no AT field, no wall of hearts...

Everyone was one.

This was his punishment, he knew.

To be exiled from the rest of humanity... to live in a world of pain and misery and ultimately, death.

In short... to be human.

But why was Asuka here?

She had suffered enough... he had wanted to send her back to Instrumentality via death, but something in that touch stopped him, stayed his hands...

Why did she return?

Was it Eva that protected her, shielded her from being snatched up in the rapture?

If it was, then the Evangelion was truly a curse.

Misato's cross dangled on his hand, brushing his chest. Somehow, despite all the insanity of Instrumentality, he had held on to it.

An eternal symbol of what he had lost, what he had failed to protect.

Inexplicable and irrational anger flared within him, and he almost tossed the silver cross away. Why did he need a tangible reminder?

The memories in his heart were torture enough.

But he held on to it...

After all, Misato asked him to hold on to it... until she returned.

Was that why he held it?

For some false hope that the woman who had become a pseudo-older sister to him would return?

Or maybe...

Maybe it was a reminder that someday, other's might return to this Hell, this Earth.

As long as the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth exist... everything will be alright.

Wasn't that what his mother had said?

Perhaps he had to place his faith in his mother... one last time.

A hand was placed on his shoulder, and he turned slowly, glancing at Asuka. Wordlessly, the redhead planted herself on the sand next to him.

For a while, neither spoke, simply sitting there...

In silence.

Then, at last, Asuka spoke.

"It's quiet..." the words were soft and seemingly insignificant, but held so much resonance.



The silence of two people.

Not of death.

But just... silence.

"Well, we'd best get moving Third Child. I'm sick of this view." The Second Child said loudly, a trace of the old Asuka Langley Sohryu returning as she stood. As she began walking off, she turned her head back, glancing at him.

"Are you coming?"

Should he?

Did he deserve this?

"I'll be right there, Asuka." He replied, before glancing back at the LCL sea.

All those lost... they were right there, and yet, they were worlds away.

Everyone he knew and failed...

So many regrets, so many mistakes...

"Could we start again... please?"

The LCL waves remained silent as they crashed against the beach.

And even as he turned away, Shinji Ikari wept.

Author's Remarks

Odd little thing... grew out of that last sentence Shinji spoke. Ah well. Complaints and threats should go in a review.