OBLATION

Disclaimer: Gainax own eva. I own this fic. Gainax owns angst however and I only have it on loan.

*click*

The SDAT begins to play as soon as the boy sets it on the ground. At first all that can be heard is the hissing of static. The other student wires the SDAT into a portable speaker system so that the tiny sounds are amplified enough to reach the assembled.

Everyone else stands around the grave.

It had almost gotten ugly for awhile when the two had arrived – not that they hadn't been invited of course. No one would have begrudged them their right to mourn. Yet they had not come to mourn. Tears streaked their faces, yet their still child-like eyes held a look of grim determination, a singular purpose that had allowed them to come this far, to boldly confront the Commander of NERV as he was about to leave, to insist that everyone stay for a final eulogy… Most especially him.

Today they have not come to mourn – but to accuse.

"H-hello? Is – is anyone there?"

Scattered gasps arise from the crowd as the voice is recognized, distorted both from the speakers and from the emotion it contains – yet it is still familiar.

It is the voice of the dead.

"C-can anyone… anyone hear me?" The voice stops for a moment, and all can hear the heavy breathing of the child. He continues, in a much softer voice. "Does anyone care? Will anyone…"

The breathing gets quicker, heavier, the voice more desperate, rising in volume with each word.

"I- I don't care anymore… I don't CARE! I'll speak… I'll speak… and they can all just listen – just listen to me for once…"

A pause, a gathering of breath.

"I'll make them listen for once…"

Suddenly the boy begins to laugh, softly yet almost hysterically.

"I- it's funny, it's so funny when you look at it… I thought that after the last Angel was dead, it would all be over. It'd be… normal again. I – I wasn't even expecting to – to be happy or anything like that. Wasn't expecting him to come up to me at the end and say," he pauses for a while, then tries to assume the commanding voice of another. "'Good work Shinji,' I – I wasn't even expecting that. Just – just that it'd be normal again – I could run away again, without needing to worry about what happened to anyone else, not needing to see Him everyday. Maybe finish school, become friends with Toji again… hear A- asuka call me 'baka' one more time…."

The boy trails off as laughter turns to quiet sobbing.

"But – but it wasn't happy – wasn't even normal. Wasn't even just _bad_ - I could deal with bad. That was just a lie I told myself… but then, so what right? Everybody lies… Him most of all – He can lie without even saying anything… just sitting there in his godam chair…

"The doctor lies too. Ritsuko. I always thought they couldn't do that… doctors I mean. I mean they're scientific right? They deal in what's true, what's there – they're supposed to help people, heal people. I – I thought that when she called me over that… that she was going to tell me the truth. 'That's – that's what Doctors do Shinji' I told myself – 'they know things – and they use what they know to help people'…"

The boy is silent for a moment. A blond haired woman shifts in her chair, uncomfortably.

"But you didn't want to help anyone did you Doctor?" The voice is dark, anguished. "You just wanted me to watch you kill Rei.

"Watch you kill her a dozen, dozen times over with just one – one push of a button. Heh… just like that. The power of science… it can't bring people back from the dead but it can kill them just fine. And kill their memories to, my memories of Rei… she was my friend you know that Dr. Akagi? Do you know what that means? I was so happy she was alive… even if she couldn't remember me, at – at least she was okay – but you had to take that from me too didn't you doctor? Had to take away even that… the one lie I would have been – would have been glad to believe…"

The blond haired woman is silent, her gaze is locked straight ahead, unseeing, unblinking – like the gaze of the crimson eyes which seem to be gazing into her soul…

"Rei – Rei was my friend. She would have cared… would have cared that I was gone… would have listened. But she's dead now… dead so many times… and yet no one can remember that she is dead. Just like she can't remember me…"

No the blue haired girl does not remember, not her past, not the dead. But today she remembers – or discovers – regret.

"I – I came back because of Rei… because of Asuka… because of Misato…Misato…"

The Major breathes in sharply, her heart is pounding in her chest. She does not know if she has the strength to hear him say her name…

"I remember seeing my mother…, hearing her… then seeing Misato. Misato was crying too… she – cared. She cared for me then… What happened Misato?"

"I care, I care…" the Major whimpered, eyes blinking back tears. "I still care…"

"I – I remember when you heard Kaji's message in the answering machine… when you heard his words. He – he was gone and you knew it… I knew it too. I wanted to help you – I really did! But I'm just a kid Misato! I'm just a child… I – I didn't know what to do… but after Asuka… and Rei… after they – and then Kaoru came. Kaoru… and I killed him Misato. I killed him… and he was my friend. He said – said he loved me… and even if he was lying, even if he was, just by saying that he became my friend. Do you know how long I longed to hear that Misato? From you – from anyone?"

The Major was shaking now, trembling in her seat. She cannot bear to listen, she cannot bear it – and yet she owes him this much she knows. Owes it to listen one more time, and say those words she should have said long ago.

"I love you, I love you, Oh God I love you…" she whispers, she wails – all the louder after she hears his next words.

"Where were you Misato? I needed you I needed you so badly… but you weren't there – even when you were there you weren't there… you were in your own world, your own pain. And I know – I know that if I had asked you you could have helped me but – oh Misato! I'm just a kid! Don't any of you understand? I'm… just a kid. I don't know how… I don't know how… I thought you knew… I thought you'd know… know when I needed you…"

The Major is silent now – her racking sobs are her speech, her eulogy. Her hands claw at the earth beneath her, feel the grainy dirt between her fingers. And she knows he feeling of utter failure. Her heart is beating, but the blood has withered and dried, leaving but a beat of emptiness after emptiness…

"But we were happy weren't we Misato? You me and Asuka? Even when she was being a bitch or throwing a tantrum… you know even when I hated her, there wasn't a moment I wished she hadn't moved in with us… you know why? Because I thought I loved her Misato… I really thought I did… because she could _hurt_ me. Isn't that funny? Toji and Kensuke would find that funny – they'd call me a masochist. But its really only the ones who I love who scar my heart – He left me, hardly treats me like a person, let alone His son. Mother was perfect, so she did the only thing that could hurt me more that hate – she loved me with all her heart – and then she left me… left… me…"

The boy is overtaken by sobbing once more, his breaths coming in ragged gasps, almost like spasms in their violence.

"Asuka! Why couldn't you stay with me?!? Why couldn't you be nice to me?!? Why?!? I tried… I tried to make you like me – but you pushed me away. And then when I've almost given up, you'd reel me back in, like a toy like a … like a doll. I know I'm weak – not like you… but couldn't you have shared your strength with me Asuka? I could've gotten better if you'd helped me… but then whenever I did get better you'd hate me even more. Whatever I did you hated me Asuka… hated me when I was weak, despised me when I was strong, screamed at me whenever I apologized for not being both at once… you were always screaming at me. And now… now you just sit there – hardly move, hardly blink. Like Rei, you don't remember me either… but I bet even if you don't remember me, you still hate me… because I'm never going to be strong enough for you to step on, never going to be weak enough for you to admire… but I don't hate you Asuka. I need you… and you're not there. I could bear having to face Him if you were there Asuka… even Him I could fight if you were with me…"

There is complete silence as the boy quietly sobs. All eyes are turned to Him, the beginning and the end. It takes ten minutes before the boy is composed enough to speak… but when he finally does, it is a torrent.

"Father!!! See what you've done to me! See what you've done! I did everything you asked, and now you don't need me anymore – are you happy Father? Is at least one of us happy? I can never be free of you, never come closer or farther than where you want me to be – I tried loving you but could get no closer, hating you but could get no farther… so here I am Father! I! Me! Your son… your tool, something, anything… say something father… tell me I did good work, tell me I screwed up, kick me, spit on me – but show me you know I'm here! Oh god…

"Just call me your son… just once, just once… Call. Me. Your. Son…"

The child is barely understandable now, his lips slurring the words, his words interrupted by sobs. His voice is a knot tied tightly with suffering and anger, hatred and need, in the moments before his live is unraveled… he clams down after a while, clams enough to be understandable one more, to speak in a voice only made dull by grief…

"I – have nothing more to give Father. You've used me up… there is nothing left… nothing…"

There's a rustling sound, fabric being stretched as the boy stands up. It is a long few minutes before he speaks again.

"I can't do it," it is a whisper, a sigh. He laughs ruefully. "I can't even end it… too spineless, too weak until the end. Not even that much do I hold in my own hands…"

The voice is getting drowsy, words stumbling into each other, the recorder picking up the sound of rustled cloth once more.

"So tired… maybe I'll just lie here… lie here on the rooftop and try to sleep… maybe I'll fall asleep… then maybe I'll fall…"

The voice trails away. The boy with one leg hobbles forward and stops the tape. There is no need to continue. They all know how it ends.

Silence reigns for a few moments.

The Father is the first to leave.

* * * * *

"Turn around and face me you bastard."

The Commander is standing by the window of his office, staring at the outside world. The voice is hardly a surprise to him. Nor its anger. Nor the gun pointed at his back.

"So they made you listen. And it roused you from your condition. You should be grateful pilot."

"I'll be grateful when you're dead you black-hearted son of a bitch."

The Commander turns to the red haired girl in the hospital gown and smirks. "And this will assuage your guilt? This will even the score? This will bring Shi-"

"DON'T YOU DARE MENTION HIS NAME! Don't you dare… you have no right, no RIGHT to say his name!"

"And you do?"

Silence.

"If you say his name I WILL kill you."

"You will kill me regardless pilot. And then you will die as well."

"That's the plan, yes."

The Commander turned away, and for once the expression on his face was not a smirk, but a genuine smile – a smile filled with the sorrow of conviction, with the burden of destiny.

The Father speaks one word.

"Shinji."

*click*

*bang*

Author's Note: Ah yes… My first ever fanfic. Just tidied it up a bit for public consumption. Since it has been released that the word I was actually looking for as a title was 'Holocaust' but Oblation, a self-giving, seems to do just as well in this case.

Hope you enjoyed it… Or aat least felt some stirring of sympathy ^_^

And to the oft asked question of how Shinji died – he fell asleep at the edge fo the roof and rell off the edge to his death. Just as he planned – to leave the taking of his life not in his own hands, but the hands of fate. He didn't even have the courage to do it himself.