Author Notes: My first Evangelion fic. I'm a very recent fan, but in the short time I've had the entire series, and EoE, I've watched it through three times. The series is truly deserving of it's title as one of the best Animes around.
As you may have read in the summary, this is a post 3rd-Impact fic. Cliché, I know, but... this is what I want to do. However, in all the EVA-fics I've read concerning the events of post 3rd-Impact, they tend to be a time-skip of a few years; or if it is the immediate aftermath, the characters seem to be near-enough at peace. To me this doesn't make sense, especially given events leading up to 3rd-Impact. (I'm sure you've all seen End Of Evangelion). For this reason, I wanted to take a look at the psychological impact of post 3rd-Impact, and events leading up to it, on the characters.
So, before I start rambling, enjoy.
Those were the first words he heard her utter. Right now he was crying onto her chest, a few tears having hit her face earlier, sobbing his heart out. He didn't know why... He didn't know anything. Why did she come back?
Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
Why wasn't she leaving him alone?
"Hey... idiot..." She mumbled in her tired voice. He gave no response. "... Would you mind...?"
He just took his hands off her neck, and wrapped both arms around her, snaking them under her back. He was sure he'd be alone when he came back... but no, she was here too. She'd been lying on the beach with him, in her plug suit, still coloured a mix of reds, which was missing it's right arm piece, her right arm snugly bandaged in it's entirety, and her left eye covered with a patch of soft fabric, held in place by three sticky straps. Two ran vertically, one horizontally.
And it was his fault.
... My fault!
"I'm sorry..." He uttered into her chest, the words sobbed out and muffled to her ears. "Asuka... I'm sorry... It's my fault..."
Still the same spineless Shinji. Apologising as soon as he sees me. Right now... she couldn't really care what the hell he was talking about. She was alive, and more horrible memories had been added to her head. More memories to bury.
"Shinji, you pervert..." His head bolted up see her looking down at him, though she hadn't moved from her position. "You're lying face down on my chest... pervert." Her little attempt to lighten the mood.
She noticed his eyes were puffed up and red, and his cheeks sodden with his tears, almost seeming like they'd wrinkle up like fingertips in a bath. He stared at her for a long moment... then his face contorted into a severely painful expression, and tears once again flowed free. Not caring for the pervert comment, he just buried his face into her again, and cried quietly.
She didn't know how long they had already been there, or how long they remained. All she knew was, from what little she was able to see, was this place seemed alien. The starry night was scared with a blood red streak across the sky, which floated there like a crimson milky way. That streak also seemed to cut through the moon, cutting it into rough three-quarter and one-quarter chunk, though each piece remained glued to the other. The water she heard washing up on the beach every now and then, was also red. LCL. Yet again, she'd had to bathe in the crap...
And it hit her!
She'd seen into Shinji's head. And him her. They knew parts of each other they'd always kept private.
She sighed, hard and tiredly, into the sky above. "Verdammt!" Looking down again, Shinji was still crying on her chest, and it almost felt like it was coming through the plug suit. Had he cried that much. "Hey, idiot. Could you get off me?" Though lined with some disgust, the tired nature of her voice made it seem more like a kind request.
Shinji moved himself, swinging his right leg over her, and rolling off to fall flat on his back, as they were before he'd tried to strangle her, though closer. He could feel the last few tears rolling out. The same two words kept replaying in his head, like his SDAT player had been broken. My fault. My fault. My fault. My fault. Everything about this place was his fault... because he ran! And not only that... the girl beside her, Asuka... she was his fault too.
He felt the area beside him shift. He craned his neck left to see Asuka now sat upright, her legs curled up in a loose upside-down 'V' shape in front of her. He knew she'd see the half-face of the angelic Rei, that single glaring, red eye, and the ominous half smile of that face. She seemed indifferent.
"So this is it huh?" She asked no one in particular. "Instrumentality?" She looked down a little at the LCL sea. "Both places suck if you ask me."
"Yeah..." It was all Shinji could say. If Asuka felt dead, he felt like he'd been rotting for years. "I don't want to sleep on a beach." Asuka said absently, her voice still tired and near-monotone. "And I certainly don't want to spend the night in a plug suit."
"Yeah..." Shinji felt his clothes – his white school uniform shirt and black trousers – were also uncomfortable, having been caked with sand.
"Where do you think we should try?" Asuka asked. That stuck a chord with Shinji. She was deferring to him.
"Well..." He sat up slowly, staring out in the same direction as Asuka. He couldn't look at her. "Perhaps we should see if Misato's apartment isn't ruined." He said in a slightly hesitant voice. Asuka nether deferred to him.
"Yeah... clothing, food... If it's still around." They sat there still, neither wanting to make the first move or try to. They felt too tired. "Hey, Shinji..."
"What was it like? To be God for a day?" She turned her head left partially, a small smirk adorning her lips. "To have all that power..."
Shinji stared at her dumbfounded, the reality of everything hitting him. "I... don't..." He looked away. "... want to talk about it."
"Fair enough." She shrugged and began to stand up. Her legs felt stupidly weak, shuddering and shaking... but she wouldn't show weakness, especially not in front of the idiot. She finally forced herself up, feeling unsteady. "Let's-" She suddenly lurched forward, holding her stomach, feeling like she was about to throw up.
"Asuka!" Shinji shot up like lighting, slowly bringing her upright and looking at her in a worried expression. "Are you okay? Please tell me you're-"
"I'm fine" She said calmly through her hand, which she moved away. "Just a lack of food." Verdammt! I had to do that in front of him. "Let's go." She began walking off, the sand making gentle crunching sounds under her feet. She soon her a second set of that sound, signalling Shinji was walking behind her.
Damn it Shinji! It's your fault! He wanted to yell at himself in his head, so as they walked back to Tokyo-3; or what was probably left of it, he did just that. This is your fault! This world, that sea, Asuka... Your fault! Sure... Instrumentality had taught him he could like him for him, but that doesn't do a very good job at stopping guilt when you've done horrible things.
After all that he'd done... Killed Kaworu, wanting to die and not getting into his EVA when he was needed the most... when she needed him... and he'd... he'd... he'd... done that to her while she was comatose. He was a horrible human!
What's more, he'd been able to peak into her mind... violated her like that angel had. Good God in heaven! He knew the mind was private, yet he'd seen into her head. Her past, her pain... everything. EVA wasn't the monster, SEELE wasn't the monster... Not even Gendo was the monster.
"Mein Gott!" Asuka whispered to herself, though Shinji heard it, and he stopped in his tracks.
He hadn't noticed, but that sand had changed to rock while they were walking. They stood on a hill, the one they had once been on, thinking things over – Rei included. The blue haired albino had something about 'man scraping away at the darkness' that night. That night, Tokyo-3 had been such a clean place... now it was a wreck. The tallest buildings had been cut at least in half, and the area surrounding it was littered with destroyed vehicles, broken glass, jagged metal... anything possible when something like this happened.
Shinji just stared, shocked and appalled. Appalled because he'd found something two more things that were his fault. This destruction was because of him. Rei was now gone because of him, one of the very few friends and people he could relate too. His sister in many ways. Wonderful.
"Well come on idiot, we gotta get going!" Asuka called, already half way down the hill.
Was he so lost in his own guilt? Must be. Drowning in LCL seemed like a good idea right now; though technically, drowning in LCL was physically impossible. Oh the irony.
He followed after Asuka, walking slowly, hands in his pockets and head hung low. He wanted to stay as far away from her as possible. Sure, he knew he was attracted to her, he had been for a long time... but he... had done that while she was comatose.WHY??? Was it because it was the only chance he'd get without some kind of verbal abuse? Heat of the moment? To prove Asuka right? He could've simply covered her up, and let her rest... but no... he had to go and indulge in his own sick fantasies while she was comatose! Right over her! That was practically as bad as invading her mind!
He needed to talk to someone; but only Asuka was available. Jesus. How would he live with himself and her? Of all people to return, why the hell did it have to be her?
They soon found themselves walking the city. Many walls had been turned to rubble, many buildings having collapsed or blown away to the far reaches of Japan. Shattered glass and jagged metal – that had been superheated and cooled – we're strung all over the place. Collapsed street lamps were a common site. The night sky with it's blood streak cutting through it like a scythe truly gave this place a post-apocalyptic feel. The sheer lack of people, the only acknowledgement of there existent being the burnt on silhouettes of people on any remaining walls, also helped. This place really did look like a nuclear wasteland.
"Hey, idiot, you awake?"
He replied with a flat tone."Yeah..." As if to accentuate his point, he tripped over a piece of metal that he missed. He landed flat on his face, hands still in his pockets. He rolled onto his back and sat up, now facing away from Asuka.
"Scheiße..." Asuka sighed, having heard the thud, then turning to see him now sat up. "Way to go, idiot." Her voice was still tired, though it had quickly regained it's old tone. "Get up, we have to keep moving." She noticed that he did not move, and that he was cradling his lower right leg.
She went over to look at it, kneeling by Shinji's right side. The first she saw saw was his agonised expression, eyes clenched tightly shut, and teeth gritted hard in an attempt to keep from screaming. When she looked to the said leg, she noticed a deep gash, running diagonally right, across nearly his entire lower leg. It was bleeding profusely, wetting the fabric around the wound, and leaving the pants a dark red-black. She sighed in exasperation. Leave it to Shinji to slow us down. She moved her right hand towards it slowly, preparing to check for any broken bones.
At least that would've happened, if Shinji hadn't quickly swatted her hand away. "Don't touch me!" He screamed.
"Idiot! I need to check for broken bones, then bandage that wound!" She reached for the leg again, only for her hand to be swatted away, this time harder.
"I said don't touch me! I don't deserve your help!"
"Maybe you don't, but I'm not going to spend the rest of my miserable life alone of this god-forsaken planet; now let me help you!"
Asuka almost reeled back from the ferocity Shinji was showing. Almost. He glared into her dark sky blue eyes with his own darker blue ones. Tears were once again flowing, from the physical pain Asuka assumed. Wimp. And why the hell wasn't he accepting the help? Did he want to die?
"Fine." Asuka said in deceptive monotone; only to punch Shinji in the jaw and knock him out. He fell backwards, landing with a small the on the concrete below. "Idiot!" She sighed.
She was quick to tear off his white shirt, leaving his chest bare. Next, she tore the sleeves off, and tied one tightly above the wound, to slow the flow of blood. Next, she took the main part of the shirt, and wrapped that around his lower right leg to cover the wound, making sure it was also tight. Finally, she used the other sleeve to tie the top half of the shirt in place.
Damn! It wasn't enough. What else could be used?
Asuka tore off his left pant leg entirely, with some struggle. He'll thank me later. She was quick to tie that around the rest of the shirt on his lower right leg. A fine job of improvised first aid if she did say so herself. Now, to get him home, the only option was to carry him. She decided then and there that when they got to Misato's apartment – if any of it was left – that a good, long talk was in order.
After quickly checking Shinji's leg for broken bones – of which there were none – she picked him up bridal style, being careful not to damage his leg further. Luckily, he proved to have a quite light frame, so carrying him was not a problem. Throughout the continuation of the journey, Asuka grumbled to herself about 'idiotic spineless idiots called Shinji'. Not that she hated him, she never really had... his submissive nature just... repulsed her, scared her even. He was so kind, without batting an eyelid. And when he rejected her help, that scared her more. Since when did Shinji reject an offer of help so vehemently? Instrumentality must have screwed him up pretty bad... something must have.
She found the building that held Misato's apartment. The top half of the building annihilated, leaving roughly half the building intact, somehow protected by the surrounding buildings. They all looked worse for where though. What was left of the walls had been charred, and any and all windows on any building had been shattered. If Misato's apartment still existed, it would be in a barely liveable condition at best. Might as well check.
Asuka went up flight after flight of stairs. All stairs would soon feel the wrath of Asuka Langley Soryu. She now officially cursed all stairs. So many stairs. Oh... at last, the right floor. Damn Shinji had gotten heavy suddenly, and her own sorry state was catching up to her as well. She walked tiredly to the door. She pressed the switch to open the door... then again, then again, and again and again and... She remembered that the electricity would be out. Of course, something else just had to go right. She set Shinji down on the right side of the door, sitting him upright, and returning to the door. She grabbed hold of what she could, since the door had been damaged itself, suffering puncture marks, and pulled as hard a she possibly could. After some struggle, it was fully open. She went to-
"Why did you help me?" Shinji's tired voice asked from no where.
"I already told you." Asuka shot back to him, glaring at him as he stared off into space. Her voice was still tired, especially after her workout.
"If you knew what I did, you wouldn't have helped me."
"You can tell me what you did later. You need rest, and get proper bandages." Asuka took a deep breath and calmed down a little. "Look... whatever it was, it can't have been that bad. Can you walk?"
Shinji shifted his legs, and pushed himself up, using the wall behind him as leverage. "Barely."
"Then you're lucky I got you here." Asuka motioned to the open door. "Invincible Shinji, saviour of the world, and he's brought down by tripping and slicing his leg." She couldn't help but mock him, pure habit. That was suddenly offset when she walked up to him, slung his right arm over her shoulders, and helped him into the apartment. "Leave me to do all the work eh?"
"Sorry Asuka. I should've looked where I was going." He sounded very downcast.
"For once, you apologised at the right time."
When they got into the apartment, they were in for quite a sight. Scorch marks were everywhere. The kitchen was near enough destroyed, with the fridge in pieces, most of the cabinets having been torn open by the sheer forces involved, with doors hanging open, or no doors at all. The freezer had also been broken into three different pieces. On inspection of the living area, it was a wreck. The sofa had been upturned, the television destroyed beyond repair, glass from the windows and T.V. strewn about the floor. The floor and roof each a gaping hole in them, approximately two meters in diameter, in the centre of each. Something heavy had fallen through them, that was for sure. The balcony that once existed had apparently collapsed, leaving a rough stop to the door. Upon inspection of Shinji's room, it was near enough a wreck as well. The bed was turned on it's front, the mattress heavily charred, and the covers little more than pieces of burnt cloth. Once again, broken glass lay all along the floor. His SDAT was in pieces on the left side of the room. Joy of joys.
Asuka's room was the only one left workable. Her bed was at least in tact, only being on it's side, and the mattress being relatively intact. Most of her clothing however, had been charred and burnt beyond recognition, including her favourite sundress. Only a single, loose t-shirt and a pair of baggy shorts remained. She sighed hard. This was going to mean a huge amount of shopping.
Ah well, first thing's first. After righting the couch, which had it's own share of scorch marks, and clearing away any loose glass, Asuka sat Shinji down on it, and propped his leg up with a pile of pillows, so that it stretched horizontally. She untied her makeshift bandage, throwing the bloodied clothing away, and checked the cut. Luckily, most of the bleeding had stopped, and the cut actually didn't seem that deep, just long.
"I'll see if I can get some water, if the waters still running and clean that is."
"Asuka... you destroyed my clothes." Shinji had only just realised this, after getting a cold shudder.
"It was that or let you bleed." Asuka retorted forcefully. She slipped away to the kitchen and checked the taps. Nothing. She walked back into the living area, where Shinji sat on the couch, gazing up at the ceiling with a tired, almost dead expression. She applied more makeshift bandages, since the first aid kit had disappeared, kneeling down to his leg. This time, a charred pale reddish-pink cotton t-shirt, and a pair of pant legs. She'd found them in Shinji's room; there were better clothes for him to get in that room. She stood up once more, directly in front of him, hands on her hips. "So... what was it you did?"
"Huh?" Shinji brought his gaze to the bandaged girl in her plug suit.
"What made you try and reject my help? Hmm?"
Shinji's eyes widened at the sudden realisation. "It... It... I... I'm sorry." He hung his head low once again, letting some errant tears fall onto his upper legs.
"That's not going to cut it, Third. What the hell did you do?" She walked up to him and bent at the waist, glaring at him as best as she could. "Tell me Third, or I'll-"
"I'm sorry!!" Shinji yelled at her. He was too distraught.
"Tell me Shinji!" Asuka roared back, grabbing him by his shoulders, though refraining from shaking him. "What makes the almighty Shinji break down just by my me being here?!"
There was silence for a moment after that, only broken by the sobs and sniffles of Shinji.
"Do you... remember instrumentality?" Shinji asked, looking up at Asuka's face with a look of regret and remorse, tears still rolling, though a lot more gently. "Remember... when you said you knew all about those... 'jerk-off fantasies'?"
"Yeah..." Her voice was quiet, sullen. She did not like where this was going.
"I... what you saw... it... I did it." He whispered, hoping somehow Asuka wouldn't hear him. She did.
"You... That was real?" Shinji nodded slowly, once again hiding his face behind his hair. "You actually did that?" Asuka's voice was rising slowly, but dangerously. "That image was real?" Shinji nodded again, slowly.
Asuka's system had been shot. She'd seen the image. Her on a hospital bed, partially exposed, and him standing over her... but now... she'd found it wasn't just a fantasy. He'd actually done that!
The sound resonated throughout the apartment.
The right side of Shinji's face would be badly bruised later.
"I should've let you die!" Asuka growled lowly. "You bastard pervert!"
"Asuka... I'm sorry..." His defence mechanism once again came into play once more.
"Don't talk to me Shinji! Stay away from me!" She continued to growl, resisting the urge to utterly annihilate him. "And while I was comatose too... What? Didn't think I'd find out?" He didn't answer. "I didn't expect something like that from you... Third." The final word was forcefully emphasised, to make it like a dagger. It appeared to work. Shinji flinched.
He knew he deserved it. He deserved every word and more. He'd just literally destroyed everything he'd ever had with Asuka. He kept his gaze on the couch, a few more tears dropping onto the fabric. He knew he must look like a disgrace right now. Bloody, beaten, crying, only one pant leg and a pair of white 'v'-shaped underwear being all he wore.
He was the worst human on his planet.
"I'm going to change and go to bed." Asuka spun and walked off to her room, her fiery red hair flowing with her. "Try to control your urges while I do." She walked into her room, and slammed her door shut for added emphasis.
Shinji was left alone in the living area, a pathetic specimen of the human race. How cruel things were. But a little time ago, he had been God. He had the power to make things exactly how he wanted them to be. And now... he was nothing.
Author Notes: For future reference, future chapters will most likely be longer, but I felt this was a good place to leave off.
So, tell me what you think. I like reviews that are a bit more comprehensive, just to let you know. Tell me what you liked, what you disliked, improvements you might suggest, etc.
I hope you've enjoyed the first chapter of this story.