Shinji walked a few steps behind Asuka and Hikari, absently staring at the distant mountains that hung over the cityscape of Tokyo 3. He was wretchedly mulling over an encounter he had just had with Ayanami.
Earlier that day all three pilots had stayed after school with their class to clean the homeroom. The boys had cleaned the floor, the girls cleaned the chairs and desks.
Rei had been kneeling over the water bucket, wringing out a rag in her hands. The way she had looked then, the water slowly dripping off the cloth, the way the sunlight angled in and bounced off the ground around her - that image had caught Shinji's attention and held it. Then Touji had hit him with a broom and sent him back to work.
Later, after a series of sync tests, Shinji had found himself on an elevator with Rei - alone. He had been trying to talk to her all day, but someone was always around, and he couldn't work up the nerve.
"I'm going to my mother's grave tomorrow," he said. "I'm going to be seeing my father."
Rei's head rose slightly, but she did not respond.
"I was wondering, uh, what should I talk with him about?" Shinji's voice grew more confident.
"How would I know?" the girl asked.
Here Shinji faltered. "Well, I've seen you talking with him happily and" his voice grew low and miserable "I don't know what kind of person he is."
Shinji's eyes fell away from Ayanami's back and he slumped in the corner of the elevator.
"My own father," he muttered.
The elevator counted the passing floors. Shinji straightened as they approached the ground floor, and something occured to him, something that might salvage this pathetic attempt to talk with Ayanami.
"Hey, earlier today, when we were cleaning? I saw you and," here he stumbled - where had he been going with this?
"Well, I saw you with that rag, in front of the window and," what was I thinking then? I was going somewhere with this, right?
"It seemed a lot like a Mom," the words came as a relief, the sentence perfectly articulated what Shinji had felt, though he hadn't understood it at the time.
And then he had to ruin it all by adding "I guess you would make a great housewife, Rei."
Rei slightly turned, and Shinji could see she was blushing.
"...what are you talking about?" the girl asked."Hey, what's wrong with Shinji?" Hikari was asking. She only used his first name outside of class.
"Oh, he has to visit his dead mother tomorrow," Asuka said dismissively. "He's been moping around all day."
Hikari Horaki had met up with Asuka and Shinji just outside Nerv. The two girls were going to eat somewhere, and had "allowed" Shinji to "enjoy the pleasure of their company". Well, Asuka had invited him along, anyway. From what he heard of their conversation, she was going to be going out on a date with someone Hikari's sister knew. Asuka had invited Shinji along so that he could hear this, he recognized that. He had no idea why she would bother. Regardless, he was more worried about meeting with his father the next day, then with the Second Child's date. Actually, he didn't even want to think about Asuka going on a date.
His abortive conversation with Rei, his appointment at the memorial tomorrow, and what he was hearing about this "hunk" a few feet in front of him all finally caught up with Shinji. The shame curdled in his gut, making him feel sick. His appetite, formerly strong enough to supress his fear of the Hikari-Asuka dynamic duo, totally fled from him. He was about to speak up and tell Asuka that he would just be going home, when
Something was watching him. He swerved and saw only an empty, darkening street. When he turned back Asuka and Hikari were looking at him, or behind him. Shinji looked over the hedge next to the road, but beyond that was a steep enbankment. There was no one across the street either - their quest for food had taken them through a series of Evangelion support structures. The lights of traffic twinkled at an intersection a few blocks away, but behind them there was only the minimal lighting afforded to Nerv buildings. The road itself was brightly lit with intermittent streetlights, but everything around that was a suddenly oppressive black.
"This place, suddenly its creepy," Shinji muttered, closing the distance to Asuka and Hikari.
"Should have had Misato drive us, Third!" Asuka declared loudly, as though this were somehow Shinji's fault. "She likes you best, after all." At that, she made a slight gesture to Hikari, which caused the other girl to giggle politely.
Shinji didn't care about Asuka's insults. A loud voice made things less... strange. The three of them started hurrying towards the distant lights.
As they walked, the feeling of strangeness stayed with them. Everything around them suddenly seemed less real. Shinji's hairs stood on end, and suddenly something was right behind him. He shrieked and turned to find the same empty street. Breathing hard now, he turned back to the girls, who were some distance away.
"Dammit Ikari!" Asuka yelled, "Don't scare us like-"
Then the words came. Diffuse at first, in the sound of the leaves being blown across the pavement, the wind through the trees that ran across one side of the street:
void so black to blue world-young spins a meager Web with beautiful
Suddenly Shinji was looking at a black space where the girls had been scant moments before. There was no light or pavement, only black. No, not true, the light behind Shinji seemed to shine off what was before him, like polished stone.
"Run, run dammit!" Asuka was screaming - but not in front of him.
Dully, Shinji shifted his gaze to the street and saw Asuka, Hikari in tow, going across and further down the street. She was not looking exactly in his direction, but Hikari was, and the class representative's mouth was open and slack.
The Second Child, the way she had spoken - her voice had a quality to it Shinji had only heard once before. Not sure of herself, not resigned, but afraid. That Angel they had killed in the Pacific, when she had seen it had teeth, she had spoken in that tone. Never since.
Anchored by this tangential observation, the particulars of the thing in front of him slowly began to seep into Shinji's brain. It was enormous, so large it blocked his view of the sky or the road ahead, but he could peer around it. A streetlamp that had been previously dark flared on just behind Shinji, and the thing before him was suddenly visible.
Four legs that extended from a rounded segment of the body. These legs had several points of articulation and ended in sharp points, one of which had split the concrete beneath it. From the front of that segment, which was scant inches from Shinji, another segment rose up, towering over him. There were four arms on this segment as well. The bottom pair were folded at the joint between the two segments and ended in a knot of cutting things. The upper pair of arms ended in five-fingered hands that were slowly descending towards Shinji. At the top of that segment there was a smaller protrusion inclined down to him. Eight red points glowed there.
Gods and gods
and powers and Powers... the voice hissed in Shinji's
mind, the one-way dance, the inevitable conclusion that
end that savage end where all are one such simplicity in
synchronicity a thing I must commend you for...
Shinji slowly sank to his knees. His eyes glazed over. It occured to him that someone was screaming, and he wondered who it was. The black arms snaked down and picked him up.
Spider, Shinji thought. A big spider.
He rose in the air and stopped just beneath the eight red eyes of the spider that was just a bit larger then Shinji's sanity. That close, he could see the thing's mouthparts, which churned in black as dark as the rest of the thing.
oh poor Child
so sad yes sad oh my fellow Weaver human Weaver genocide Weaver blue
Weaver fate written in dust and celestial and by and for invisible
Asuka was screaming again. Shinji heard, but could only listen to the thing that called itself Weaver.
dying like you like Children here and here the exclimation point of
perpetual slender deaths thoughts-thick destiny scrummed
The Weaver lifted Shinji up higher, right against its face.
Perhaps it will eat me, Shinji thought mutedly.
The thing regarded the Third Child with its red eyes, then carefully lowered him, upright, to the ground.
Weaver hatred born of hatred my lovely cliche prophecy of self dark
and lightning-dark and red-dark
Then the Weaver shifted its body, the points of its legs slamming deep into the concrete now, so Shinji could see Asuka and Hikari some distance down the street. Asuka was screaming into a cellphone and Hikari appeared to have passed out. The Weaver indicated each girl in turn with one five-fingered hand.
song here is a
song there is a song so beautiful young love-death fractals in the
Web like grass like ferns like sub-structure of neurons and gouche of
the Torque faded and fated ending the final vision in the dark
One of the Weaver's lower arms, the ones covered is sharp things, was suddenly inches from Shinji's face. The odd organic scissor hissed in motion, with the promise of easily parted flesh.
a change yes a
change to this wonderous web with the soon-end the Weaver the Artist
spake to the Weaver the Genocide yes yes nice nice very nice all
together in the same device oh u short and i long from the
The Weaver's knife-hand flickered out of Shinji's vision, and there was the lightest of pinches at his wrist. Then the Weaver showed Shinji his own right hand in its black one.
Shinji looked down. His left arm ended in a smooth stump. He looked back at the Weaver, who was lazily flaying the flesh from Shinji's hand with both its knife-hands while gesticulating with both five-fingered hands, occasionally pausing to pull off scraps of flesh and throw them in the air, like confetti.
anytime is not enough no this this weakness taint an imperfection
that makes girls beautiful and kills geo-thurmaturges should the
Weaver the Artist a moot question this Weaver serves the quintessence
the glamor and glamour and geas Weavers weaving and intersecting now
and before the-end the last chance says the outside Weaver to him who
And then the Weaver slipped back out of reality, its monologue fading into the rustle of leaves, and then finally vanishing.
Shinji looked down at where his hand had been. Then he started screaming.