The Color of His Eyes

A Neon Genesis Evangelion fic.

Disclaimer: To Gainax and Hideaki Anno, my thanks.

How can you not hate someone who hurts you with the color of his eyes?

There is something; he isn't able to place exactly what, about the boy, that becomes familiar to him at the worst, more inopportune moments. Part of it is the brown of his eyes – the vivid brown – the gentle brown – tender, deep and recalling. Part of it is the cut of his face and the pitch of his voice, the language of his hands, and even his body. But then he never needs much to remember. The boy is the sort of painful constant he has tried to avoid – has avoided – for years, as one might avoid a hot pan, closed spaces or sunlight. It doesn't take much more than a single look, even behind tinted glasses in the dark.

At these moments, he suddenly feels as though he is living in a world of glass – any movement might shatter the air around him, and any breath would be enough to drive a hundred thousand shards into and through his skin. He becomes painfully aware of how dangerous is the life he leads; a life of constant guardedness, of frantic, minute control, of unsteady heartbeats and unpredictable, terrible need. He feels his self slipping in between his fingers, abruptly knowing that he has nothing to define it by save those who wish it to cease to exist. He must hold on all the tighter. The boy makes that necessary all but daily. The boy forces him deeper in.

The boy hates him, of course.

He is only a boy and there isn't much he knows. His beginnings were flawed, and his future is nonexistent. He fails time and again to understand the power he has by his mere being, over, of all things, this inscrutable, stone-faced, dark-clad figure that looms over him, there to be blamed and hated. Unaware, as well he should be, that there are nightmares behind his eyes, given quite freely.

But he cannot afford to slip into weakness. He wants to sleep at night. He has more important things to dedicate all his reserves to than maintaining that fragile field that holds him back from loveless nothingness. He wants this boy away from him.

And so he hurts the boy. He turns a blind eye to any triumph, and makes failure into an abyss that only grows progressively deeper and a darker black. He is never there when he is needed, always there when he is unwanted. When the boy speaks, he does not listen, and so he does not hear. When the boy looks at him, he sees nothing, or else it would not be the boy he would see, either way. He angers, he alienates, he manipulates, he hurts; he has always been much better at that than at anything else. It's easy.

It works.

The boy hates him, of course, and he is used to being hated. He indulges in familiarity and hoards his self jealousy for the future only he knows is coming. The boy looks at him and sees only empty eyes, and he wills himself to see nothing; but of course that doesn't matter either way. Even when the wall cracks, and he feels hot blood and human breath inside him, and seems to see, faintly, something more of the ghost in the boy, something that had once been different with him, to him. Even then, tighter then, his throat constricts, and his face becomes dead weight, and he cannot, will it as he may, open his mouth to speak to the boy and say any one of those words.

You look so much like her.