A/N: This is my first time writing Evangelion Fan fiction, and to be completely honest, I haven't even seen End of Evangelion, which this fic is based off of. I think I have most of the facts right though, but just know that there might be errors. Also Shinji's narration is decidedly OOC, but his actions are not. Who knows what lurks in that mind.

I wrote this almost as a response to all these stories that have Asuka and Shinji living the dream life after Instrumentality. It seems to me that even though these stories often have conflict, they make being the only people on Earth seem too easy. If I did my job right then this story is not one of them. Criticism of any kind is greatly appreciated. Enjoy.

Breathing Room

In instrumentality the separate minds of humans became one. I could feel the thoughts, desires, and fears of a world worth of people and likewise they could feel me. The deepest pains in existence were revealed to me along with the greatest pleasures. I could feel the greatest loves of all and know the greatest sorrows. The experience left me with a deep empathic feeling towards all mankind of a magnitude of which I could never properly express. And still… I have no idea how to deal with Asuka Langley Soryu.

I woke up on the beach after instrumentality and there she was. After all the god-like fusion of minds and such, I was finally looking at something real. Something I could feel and touch, react to and be reacted on in exchange. Faced with this wonderful opportunity, I sort of freaked a bit. After I explain I'm sure you'll understand.

I just choked her a little… not a lot, but a little. It's not like I brutally impaled her while she was outnumbered in a battle of life or death inside of a gigantic machine of mass destruction that was inhabited by the spirit of her mother. I'd never do that. I just choked her a bit. Nothing big, right? But after we both calmed down and recovered from the "accident" she had to go and take it personally. She always takes things so personally.

"Shinji, you idiot!" she yelled at me out of nowhere. We hadn't been talking for quite some time. It might have been three hours since she spoke last, pronouncing that she was sick. Still I kept my silence and waited for her to explain why I was an idiot. There were so many possible reasons that it made it impossible for me to mount a proper defense without knowing which one.

"How could you try to kill me like that? I could have died! And then where would you be? You're such a fool! I don't know why I'm even here with you!" I decided once again that silence was the best option. At least it would be until she asked me a direct question that I couldn't avoid.

"But I do know why I'm here!" she spat bitterly. "It's because you wanted me here. You're such a spineless coward that you can't even take care of yourself. But guess what, Shinji? You're going to have to anyways because I refuse to look after a fool like you!"

After those kind words, her anger seemed to dissipate. Gone was the reproachful scowl and flash of sharp, white teeth. They were replaced by a pensive look that indicated deep thought. Soon that look was gone too and was replaced by a sick smile that I'd seen far too often in our "previous life" together. This one meant trouble and it was directed straight at me.

"But you know what Third? I'm here now and I'm your responsibility. You brought us to this… this wasteland and now you've got to be a man and do your duty."

This was not what I was expecting. I was so shocked that I broke my vow of silence. I realize now that I could never be a monk… if monks ever exist again.

"My d-duty?" I asked in what had to be one of the wimpiest voices I'd ever heard. And trust me I've heard lots; I was in instrumentality after all.

"You have to take care of me Shinji. You're the man and I'm the woman. The only ones of our kind left. It's up to us to set an example for the future society that will come to be. If you can't take care of us now, then us being here will have been for nothing. The future depends on you." I stared back into her disturbingly sadistic smile and a light bulb went off in my head. Only this light bulb must have been twenty times too bright, because my realization was causing me blinding pain.

As far as either of us knew, we were the last people on earth. Asuka and I made up the whole of humanity. There was no one for me to interact with but her and there was no one for her to interact with but me, at least until society rebuilt itself. But that wouldn't even begin to happen unless we… interacted with each other. And think of what would happen to our children! In order for man to survive they'd have to… interact with each other too. And that would be… incest.

Just the thought made me sick to the stomach and it showed on my face. Although I doubt she understood my exact thought process at the time, Asuka seemed to notice this and it caused her cruel smile to widen. The more her smile widened, the sicker I felt. The sicker I felt, the more her smile widened. This went on for at least 5 minutes until Asuka once again broke the silence.

"Kind of makes you wish you had finished the job, doesn't it Third?"

She had no idea.

Asuka did not stop talking that whole day. She kept describing things that I knew were important, but just didn't have my heart into. Things like food, shelter, clothes, and government. She had a lot of ideas for the future of mankind and most of them seemed to go right over my head. When she realized how little I was paying attention she began to insult me again.

"You're so pathetic Shinji. Why does the only man on Earth have to be the dumbest as well?" she said at one point or another. You really lose track after hearing so much of it.

"I'm also the smartest man on Earth," is what I would have said, but sadly I didn't think of this reply until well after the current assault on my self-esteem had ended. In fact, it took me so long to think of that one reply that I got yelled at once again for not paying attention to her while she was yelling at me. After she was done yelling at me for that second time, I found it harder to ignore her as somewhere down the line her yells had turned into commands. She had finally given up on explaining our future to me and moved on to give me work. She claimed that work was the only thing I understood.

I think she's right about that, for the most part. She set me to the task of creating a fishing rod. It wasn't too difficult either. I just found a large durable stick along the beach, used a pocketknife to make a small whole in it, and tore some thread from Asuka's plug suit to tie into the whole. Asuka wasn't too happy about that last part, but she had to agree that it was the most durable line that we had available. It took me about twenty minutes alone just to rip a thread long enough off of her suit without exposing the girl.

When I finished that task Asuka told me to set the line out into the ocean. I immediately had problems with that. Asuka didn't.

"But Asuka, there's… people out there."

"And there's fish too! And I'm hungry. I haven't eaten in forever. You only think about yourself Shinji! You're just so afraid of a little LCL that you'd rather starve to death, but I'm not going to let you because you're my future now and humanity needs you! If I didn't need your lazy behind, I'd eat you instead!" She said all of this with confidence but I could see her visibly pale at her last remark. It took her a second to collect her thoughts and then she went on with her tirade. "What did you think I had you make a fishing rod for anyways?"

I had no good response for any of this so I just took a seat in the sand and idly watched the line. Asuka sat down about a foot next to me. She fell asleep soon and about an hour later we caught our first fish. It was pretty small for two people to eat, but at that point in our lives every catch was a keeper. I woke Asuka up and she yelled at me for disturbing her. She would have kept yelling, but I told her the news about the fish. For the first time since I found her there, she seemed genuinely happy.

"Shinji, you finally did something right! I didn't even think there'd be any fish in there with all the contamination. I thought we were going to starve. But now we've got food!" She even went so far as to hug me quickly (and quite roughly as well).

"So where is it?"

I pointed to the fish, which I had set down on the ground. She smacked me in the back of the head.

"You caught that tiny thing? We can't both eat that small piece of crap! And you woke me up like you were all proud of it. If you're going to be the man around here you better do better than that! Throw that pathetic thing back in the ocean!"

"But Asuka," I pleaded. "It's still good for eating. Who knows when we'll catch another one?"

She consented to my logic, but decided that she would be the one to eat it and that I should just wait for the next one. I sighed, but nodded my agreement. There wasn't much else to say so I went back and threw out the line again. Dinner wouldn't catch itself.

When I turned back around I was met with a face full of Asuka. She was staring me down with a look of annoyance on her face. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why.

"Well?" she asked impatiently.

"Huh?" I asked confused.

"Weren't you even listening to me when I was talking to you?" Of course the answer to that question was no, as she very well knew. After all she had yelled at me for a solid 20 minutes for not doing that exact thing. But I just kept silent. I figured she'd be loud enough for the both of us. I was right.

"Start the fire, idiot!" she said pointing to a pile of sticks and flammable debris, "I'm not going to eat this fish raw!"

I was shocked, and not just because her face was so uncomfortably close to mine. It surprised me to find that she had actually done something to help me along. There was no way that I would have expected her to gather the kindling. I felt compelled to thank her.

"Thank you for gathering the wood." I called it wood then, but really there wasn't much wood in the pile at all. At these words Asuka stepped back a little and I could have sworn her face had softened.

"You better be grateful! I just got bored while you were building that rod so I figured I'd go and do something useful. Don't get used to it."

As I began to start the long tedious process of starting the fire, my mind wandered through the events of the day. I decided to take Asuka's advice to heart. I wouldn't get used to her being helpful.

Best advice I ever received.

Nighttime came and Asuka scared the crap out of me.

After all the wining and complaining Asuka did about the fish, she didn't even end up eating it. She took one bite and spit the piece out of her mouth yelling, "it tastes like blood!" Then she threw the rest of the fish onto the beach and began to sulk. That's not what scared me though… I almost saw that one coming. What scared me happened after we were both asleep.

We had decided to lay by the fire that I had finally managed to start and retire for the night. I slept facing the ocean and Asuka slept about a foot away from me facing the fire.

I was just having a strange dream that seemed more like a memory. In the dream I was Rei Ayanami and I was talking to me. But I was confused about what I was saying to myself… I mean what I was saying to Rei. It felt weird because I (Rei) felt wrong when I was around myself (me). It felt as if I wasn't doing something that I needed to and I couldn't figure it out at all because I'd never done it or even seen it done before. But I (Shinji) affected me (Rei) in a way that no one else did. I felt a weird warmth in my stomach every time I looked at me, but I wanted to look at me some more. Yet every time I tried to explain it to myself my head started to hurt.

Then the dream started to seem different. The warmth that I felt in my stomach seemed to disappear oddly and was replaced by warmth in different places. It started on my arm and moved to my back and stayed there. It somehow seemed to reach my legs and chest. The weirdest part of it though was when the warmth hit my face. It seemed to hit it in waves of sort, like it was coming in and leaving instantly.

This odd warmth was seriously beginning to worry me and I (Rei) considered telling myself (Shinji) what was wrong in the hopes that I might know the answer. But I didn't get the chance as a blood-curling scream woke me from my awkward slumber.

"Noooooo!" yelled Asuka in horror making me jump badly. But I wasn't able to move much at all, as something was constricting me.

"I don't want to be here," she said much more softly and I realized that she was no more than an inch away from my face.

"We can go somewhere else then," I said nervously. "We don't have to stay on the beach." But she was asleep. Just talking in her sleep like she was crazy or something. I tried to move my arm to shake her awake from her nightmare, but once again realized that it was constricted.

"not with him…" she said just as softly.

I couldn't stop my self from asking her, "With who?"

"I can't… not with him. He'll… he'll ruin it. He doesn't know… how to…"

"How to what?" I asked painfully aware of how close our faces were.

"He can't… care for me." The sadness in her voice was making me feel horrible.

"Are you talking about me?" I asked, but never got her answer as her eyes shot open surprising me to no end.

I tried to get up then, because I felt guilty about being so close to her, and once again I found I was restricted. But this time I finally figured out by what. Asuka's arm was draped over my back and was pulling me desperately towards her, her legs were oddly intertwined with mine, and I could feel her chest up against mine as well. I realized that I was lying on my side facing her, even though I had fallen asleep on my stomach.

When all of this sunk in I let out a small squeak and once again tried to pull away only to find myself unable to. Asuka's hold was tight. I looked back into her eyes with obvious fear.

"Shut up, Shinji." It was a simple command that I could not help but disobey.

"What? Why? Huh?" I stammered. "I didn't do this! It's not my fault! You have to believe me!" I was too caught up in my defense to realize she wasn't mad.

"I said shut up." This time I complied. Asuka just looked me in they eye, making me feel extremely uncomfortable. I tried to break the stare, but found I could not. My only salvation was a blink and even that only earned me half a second of reprieve.

As I continued to stare into her eyes for what seemed like ages I grew more and more uncomfortable. Her arm was pinning mine at my side and I wouldn't be surprised if she was cutting off the circulation to my legs. Her chest felt so warm and wrong against me. They were a foreign entity that was violating my space and pushing against me harshly, just trying to get closer to me. But her face was the worse. Her eyes were boring into mine as if they were searching for something that I knew couldn't be there. I could she they were red from tears and bright with moisture that didn't seem natural in the moonlight. She was too close, much too close. I could feel her breath on my mouth. As I exhaled, she inhaled and as she inhaled, I exhaled. It was sick.

She was breathing my air.

Every breath that I took tasted like Asuka. I thought I could taste the LCL soaked fish she had bitten earlier, mixed with something more distinct that I had only tasted once before when she had kissed me. The combination was disgusting. I tried to filter it out, by breathing through my nose, but even that backfired on me because I could smell her. And it wasn't that pleasant smell that lovers always claim is sweet. Well at least not completely. I smelled all of her. I could smell the dirt she'd accumulated from picking up debris, and the LCL from when she walked out of the ocean, and the smoke from the fire, and something else buried beneath it all that was distinctly… human. It was this smell that bothered me the most because it cut through all the rest. It wasn't a bad smell, but it completely ruined the whole mixture. It was like mixing skunks with perfume. Horrible.

It got to the point where I just couldn't take it anymore. I had to be away from her, if not just a little bit. I needed space! I needed freedom! I need breathing room!

So I violently tried to break away, but Asuka held onto me fast. She continued to stare me in the eyes and said, "No."

"Please let me go," I pleaded trying to move my head away from her, but her hold was so tight that I could look nowhere but straight ahead. So I closed my eyes.

"Look at me first," she demanded and I did, but she didn't let me go.

"Please… I'll do anything…" A drop of moisture ran down my cheek and I knew I was crying.

"Where would you go?"

"I don't know! Anywhere but here!"

"So you'd leave me?"

"No!" I cried even though I wasn't sure of that fact myself.

"Then where would you go?"

"I'd go for a walk! Restart the fire! Make some more fishing lines! Go into the city to find supplies! Asuka please just let me go, I can't breathe!"

"You wouldn't be able to talk if you couldn't breathe."

"Please Asuka… I can't be with you here like this… it's wrong. I'm wrong! You're wrong! This was wrong! I just want to leave this whole thing!"

"But where would you go Shinji, where would you go?"

"I'd just go… I'd just go for a…"

"For a swim," she said as she looked toward the sea of LCL. "You left them Shinji. You can't be a part of them anymore. You can't be one with them. Now you're here with me… and you're going to be one with me or you're going to die." Her eyes had a weird glint in them. "There's no other way."

"But it's not right!" I yelled in increasing fear at her words and the manic look in her eyes. "How are we going to build a society, Asuka? We're just kids! And think about our children! That's sick… just sick!" I yelled.

"Don't you think I know that?" she asked in what sounded like an almost hurt voice. She began to breathe rapidly, sucking in more of the precious gas that seemed to escape me at increasing rates.

"Then why? Why don't you leave me alone? Why don't you just let us die?" My throat involuntarily closed. "I can't breathe!" I yelled. I was starting to feel weak in her clutching embrace. But even in my weakened state I could see that now she was the one that was scared. I guess we both were.

"Because… because…"


"Because… I need someone… you're the only one that's left." That answer would not suffice.

"There were plenty of people in the ocean, so why'd you come back?" I asked. Her breathing only increased causing mine to become even more labored. She started to cry again, but her voice stayed even.

"Because I… because I…"

"You what!" I yelled painfully reminded of every romance movie I'd ever seen.

"I love you."

There was silence for a long time between us and she began to sob harshly, clutching me even closer, if that was possible. I couldn't even comfort her because she had my arms pinned. After about a half an hour she calmed down and looked at me again. Just stared at me waiting for a response. I wasn't going to give one.

"How do you feel about me Shinji?" she asked finally breaking the silence that engulfed the night. Her words vibrated between us making me even more aware of the limited space separating us. She seemed unaware though and continued to stare at me, waiting for the answer I was afraid to give.

But I reasoned with myself. This was Asuka I was dealing with. You give her what she wants and she leaves you alone. She wants something from you and you'll never find peace. I had to answer her or this would never end. I had to tell her something... anything that sounded like the truth.

"I… I hate you… more than anyone in the world." I had no idea where these words were coming from, but I knew that they were what was needed. There was no way they couldn't be.

She smiled at me sadly and I felt like I was going to pass out from the lack of oxygen.

"Shinji, you idiot… I'm the only person in the world."

She kissed me hard for a very long time. It caused much more pain than pleasure. She finally broke away from me, completely freeing my arms and legs from her grasp and allowing me the freedom that I so desperately needed. I instantly rolled away from her and stood up, but somehow did not manage to break the hold that her eyes had over mine.

We stared at each other for a long time, yet she did not rise from her position on the ground. As I looked into her eyes I realized that nothing else mattered anymore. I was here and she was here. She was the world. Whether I loved her or hated her, was inconsequential. What mattered was that she was the only one there was to love or hate.

Even though I had no options, I made my decision then and there. I laid back down next to Asuka and wrapped her arms around me the best I could. I watched her face twist into that same sadistic smile I'd seen too many times in the past life, the life where my choices actually mattered. I watched as she hugged me close and whispered things to me that I thought I'd never hear from anyone, much less Asuka. They were such sweet words that they made me cry, gasping harshly for air.

I never breathed freely again.

A/N: Call it sad, call it funny, call it strange... just don't call it late to dinner. I'm not even really sure what to think of this one. I started off in one direction, thought "screw that", and instantly sifted into another direction. All I know is that it's safe to say that I have a cynical view of being the last two people on Earth. Tell me what you think, since I have little idea of what to think myself. Psychoanalyze me if you want.

Tell me if you think I should continue this. I don't really think I should, but I do have some ideas stored up that I could still use.

The dream scene with Rei really had no point. Just thought I'd say that for clarification.

Thanks for Reading.

Fresh C