Chapter One: Unfamiliar Walls


This ceiling is unfamiliar,
Shinji Ikari thought.

And it was.

He was in a cell. There was a bench, a sink, a chamber pot, and a big, gray door. Locked. There weren't any windows.

Inside of the sink there was a little bit of water.

There were guards outside of the door.

There was a uniform neon light.

Shinji lay on his back and crossed his hands under his head over the thin pillow. He wore his usual clothes. He remembered wearing a hospital gown at some point, but that was vague and fading fast.

He was certainly not wearing a plugsuit.

He didn't know what time it was.

If he looked outside through the bars on his door, he could see the guards. There were two of them and they both wore NERV outfits. They were only lightly armed, which was to be expected since they were only guarding a fourteen years old boy behind a large slab of a metal door. He could see a little bit down the corridor and it was dimly lit and featureless.

Shinji lay on his back, then lay on his side.

His eyes wouldn't close. He wasn't sure why. He put a pillow over his head, even though there was no real noise to block out. He tried to imagine that he was in Misato's apartment and trying to keep out Asuka's voice shouting at him to make breakfast.

But every time he tried that her voice kept changing to horrible screams.

I killed Father, Shinji Ikari realized, staring at the wall next to his bed.

Killed.


The uniform neon light went out and turned on again. Twice.

Shinji ate a gray meal, and somebody replaced the pot while he slept. He slept when the light was off, and when it was on he stared at the wall.

I'm fourteen, Shinji thought, can they put me on trial? Will they put me on trial? His fingers opened, and clenched.

He was not calm. He was not worried either, happy or hurting.

Father is dead. That means I don't have to do what he orders me to anymore. I don't have to be afraid of him anymore. It means I can't hate him anymore.

Can't hate.

Can't fear.

Can't do.

His heart started to pound. Sweat began gathering over his eyes, cold sweat. Shinji breathed. The air in the cell was dank and wet. His fingers twitched, and he angrily stopped them. Being angry frightened him, white fear, cold fear. He looked down on his hands, and pulled them back, and around his body, cautioning himself. Don't be angry – don't be –

I mustn't run away, Shinji began to think, then realized there was nowhere to run away to.

Nowhere.


Lying on his side, face away from the door, he overheard the guards talking.

"How's the kid?"

"Sleeping, daydreaming, I don't know. He's so damn quiet. Jerking off thinking about vivisection, for all I know."

"You shouldn't be so set against him, Hamato."

"Why on earth not? You realize for months we've been letting a psychotic teenager pilot the greatest fighting machine ever made? He was supposed to be protecting us, for God's sake."

"He did protect us."

"Just because Commander Ikari kept him on a leash, I bet. The things I heard about this boy. They say he keeps running away from piloting, the he's always whining about it, never even cares if we all die. If his father hadn't – "

"I've heard some pretty harsh things about the father, Hamato, they say Commander Ikari left the kid when he was small…"

"Well, does that justify murder!"

Justify.


Shinji jumped from his bed. He leapt across the floor. He slammed his hands into the steel door. He grabbed the bars. He tried to shake them. He shouted. He shouted:

"You don't know anything about my father! He left me! He doesn't care about me! He only wants to use me! My father hates me! He's cold, and cruel, and evil! He made me kill Toji! You don't now anything about – !"

"Whoa, whoa, kid!" The guard shouted back at him. "Settle down, what, you want to kill me too?"

Shinji fell back.

Kill.

Nowhere.

Justify.

Kill.

Kill.

Kill.

No. He sobbed. No, I'm not a killer!

"By the way," the guard continued, in a more amicable tone. "I thought you'd want to know what you're not accused of. The boy in the other machine survived."

He did something terrible then. He turned back and walked from the door, and left Shinji Ikari alone with himself.