The Summer Wind

Shinji/Rei, from Asuka's POV. Postseries.

I don't own Eva (property of Gainax) or "The Summer Wind," performed by Frank Sinatra.

After 3rd Impact

I'm not dead.

That's it. The only thought that's going through my mind right now. I try to force my eyes open, but I only have the strength to force my lids to move a fraction of an inch. I can see the night sky hanging above me, stained with indigo and traces of red, as the cold stars twinkle through the clouds-- indifferent to the trials and tribulations of the hairless apes that have bathed in their million-year old light. My nose tingles with the distinct scent of blood, not seawater, while I can barely feel the coarse sand that I'm laying on through the skin-tight piece of rubber that has signified my identity for nearly a year.

I force my eye to slide to the left, something inside me sensing that I'm not alone on this shore. And there I see you. But only just barely, lying in the sand the same as me, your head turned slightly to something far away. Before I close my eyes, weary as though I've been hospital-bound for a century, I see something glowing in the distance, a speck of light that I can't make out.

Even so...I know that it's her. Then the light disappears, taking that sad excuse for a human being with it.

I drift off for I don't know how long. Then I feel you on top of me. My eye opens to acknowledge you. For the longest time our gazes lock, there's not a word spoken between us. Slowly your hands find their way to my throat and you begin to squeeze.

I try to hold my breath for as long as I can, but soon my lungs begin to burn from the lack of fresh oxygen. My body automatically makes an attempt to breathe, but I can't. Any other day I would push you off like you were nothing. Yet now I find myself weak, helpless to stop your single-minded attempt to end my life. I can feel my vision getting hazy...I know that within minutes I will be dead. And the thought fills me with dread. So I make a final effort to stop you.

I manage to tell my arm, somehow bandaged after my final fight, to raise and it slowly complies, and I surprise even myself when my hand finds your face.

Not to harm you, or force you away. But only to gently caress it. I don't know quite why, but you freeze. It's almost as though my touch is dangerous to you. And then your hands hesitantly force themselves open, releasing me from their stranglehold on me. I quietly welcome the air that once again fills my body. But the sound of half-stifled weeping catches my attention. The next thing I'm aware of is your forehead, gently resting on my chest, and the gentle pitter-patter of your tears as they fall onto me. I turn my eye away from you, and for the first time I can see what surrounds me.

The red sea that borders the sand, explaining the overwhelming smell of blood.

The massive, humanoid statues that breach the crimson horizon, ominous reminders of the unimaginable pain I've endured.

Everything around me simply breathes desolation and death. And I can only think of one thing to say.

"...How disgusting."

Then the last of my strength leaves me, and I pass wordlessly into sleep.

2 Weeks since 3rd Impact

I don't know how many days have passed. Time seems to have disappeared along with the rest of the human race.

Neither of us speak, as though we're afraid to acknowledge that what we see is all that's left. You occasionally glance at me, but for the most part, your attention is glued to the horizon.

Part of me wonders what you're looking for. But I mostly don't care. I want to say something to bring you out of your trance and back to reality, but at the same time, I envy you.

Any dream is better than this reality anyway.

6 months since 3rd Impact

The endless twilight is finally over. The sun's light, feeble but still burning far away from the blue rock we call home, has at least returned, giving us a sense of time again. As I gaze at the first sunrise I've seen in God knows how long, I feel your eyes on me. I turn to look at you and our eyes meet for the first time since we woke up on that shore together.

And I smile at you. You smile back, but it doesn't occur to me that it's somehow forced. Part of me...a part that I'd buried away for so long, that I thought I would never need again, felt alive at your gentle display of kindness.

That day, we were finally able to talk.

1 Year since 3rd Impact

Six months have passed since the sun returned. Now, others are coming back as well. Sometimes one by one, sometimes in large groups-- We haven't seen any of the people we knew before though.

Even though we don't need each other to live now, neither of us have left. You're still by my side.

The only person to ever stay with means more than I ever thought it would. The only thing that bothers me is the way your eyes wander back to the sea. I'm starting to think I know why now.

It's the same reason you started to strangle me. Because you wanted me to be someone I couldn't be.

Because I wasn't HER.

Yet I think I can forgive you that. Because I feel differently about you now than I did before. And maybe, in time, you'll be able to feel the same about me as well.

2 years since 3rd Impact

Everyone's come back now. Misato, Ritsuko, all our friends...

Well, almost everyone.

SHE still hasn't returned. I should know--you dragged me up and down throughout about a dozen refugee shelters and homes for missing people looking for her, your description as accurate as if she was standing right in front of you.

There's a look in your eyes-- an intensity-- in your search for that girl from our past that I both admire and despise. I want to believe that you only want her back safely because she was a friend. Yet I know that there's so much more to it than that.

A few weeks pass. You've stopped checking the shelters. I begin to hope that you've moved on, accepting that she's gone forever.

That's why I told you how I felt.

That's why I kissed you.

You didn't resist or push me away. In fact you surprised me, returning my affection with equal measure and warmth. I shut my eyes, blissful at being able to truly love someone and to have my love returned.

I had my eyes shut so tightly I didn't realize that yours were still open.

4 Years Since 3rd Impact

A year has passed since we got married. The pictures of the wedding line the walls of our tiny apartment. At times I look at the joy etched on every face present there and I like to believe that it was all true.

Yet after a year with you, I know that you've been pretending the whole time. It's not that you didn't care.

It's just...that your heart was always somewhere else. Always with that figure who stood on the red sea like it was solid ground.

And deep down I knew that no matter what I did, I could never have the same hold on you that she did. Yet I fought against the truth even though it was right in front of my face.

But the truth is that I do love you.

And I would give anything to see you truly smile again.

Today, I heard a knock at the door. Busy in the kitchen, you couldn't answer it, so I went for you. I opened the door and nearly fainted.

It's her. She looks the same as before, but with a sad look on her face. After a few awkward moments, I invite her inside. She accepts, crossing the threshold delicately.

We both know, as our eyes meet, why she's here.

She walks into the kitchen, barely making a noise. You don't notice her, and she's too afraid to speak.

So I speak for her. I don't know why, and perhaps I never will. But when you turn around and see her, the look in your eyes is reward enough.

A look of shock and disbelief and joy beyond words.

And for the first time in years, I see you smile for real.

A/N: Well I had some time on my hands, so I wrote out this one today. I'd been wanting to do it for a while, and I finally motivated myself to do it. Let me know what you guys think!