Author's Note: I never saw any of the movies, so really, my understanding of how everything is cobbled together comes from wikipedia and from internet message boards. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it. Please R&R!
At World's End
Chapter the First
Misato and Shinji's Tragic Comedy
The two of them stood at Gendo Ikari's desecrated grave. Shinji and Misato. It was a cool, windy, overcast day, and the air smelled of the sea and of a coming storm. The world had turned on it's head and inside out. Black was white, up was down, the world was shattered. "I can't believe it; I just…can't believe it," Misato said. "All this time, they had been lying to us…he had been lying to us. That fucking bastard."
Shinji didn't speak. He looked at the grave and felt…nothing. Naturally, when people learned the truth about Second Impact, about SEELE and NERV, they had been a bit pissed off. That was something of an understatement; Gendo Ikari had been killed by a lynch mob. Later, another mob had dug him up and hanged his corpse. It was back in the ground, but still, there was talk of just cremating him and not having to worry about this sort of thing again. The graffitied tombstone proclaimed many things in many languages and had chunks missing, probably due to a sledgehammer or something, invoked no emotion in Shinji.
"Let's go, Shinji," Misato said.
"Right," Shinji said loyally, following her to her car.
Misato drove at a reckless speed, even for her, and her eyes stared ever forward. "I don't believe it…I don't fucking believe it…the fucking bastard. I thought I was getting revenge on the angels, but this whole time, I should have been hunting down SEELE. Should have hunted them down like fucking animals. They won't even let me do that now, because I'm too close to the scandal. Too close to the fucking scandal, Shinji," the words were bitter in her mouth.
"I'm sorry, Misato."
She looked at him, and her voice softened. "It's not your fault, Shinji. You're not responsible for what your father does. Did."
"MISATO!!" Misato swerved, barely in time to avoid going off the road, off the cliff, and into the ocean. Shinji breathed a sigh of relief. "You almost gave me a heart attack."
The corners of Misato's mouth twitched upwards. "Sorry about that."
"What are we going to do now?" Shinji asked.
"I don't really have any plans. We could go visit Asuka in the hospital."
"Actually, what I meant was, what are we going to do now?"
"I see," Misato said. "Whatever they tell us to do, whoever 'they' end up being now that NERV and SEELE are no more. After all, someone's got to fight the new angels Kowaru said were coming."
"Kowaru…" Shinji said.
"Are you alright, Shinji?" Misato asked.
"I'm fine," Shinji said. "It still hurts, is all." More than the death of my father does. But then, it was often said that the worst injuries were the ones in which pain was delayed, or even worse, there was no pain at all. Did he have some sort of psychological nerve damage, or something? Psychological nerve damage, ha-ha. Not funny. That joke was brand new, and it was already old.
Misato nodded. It was an awkward silence that followed. For Misato, at least; For Shinji, it was par for the course. Much of his life was spent in silence of one sort or another. Misato drove home, and they went up to her apartment without saying a word to each other. They sat on the couch, and Misato grabbed the remote and turned on the TV.
"The board of SEELE is still at large, but it looks like the majority of NERV was oblivious to their true purpose," the newswoman said.
"That makes sense, as I doubt that so many people would be complacent in scheming the end of the world," her male co-anchor said. "When we come back from the break: Is the threat of more angels serious? Should we just take Tabris' word for it? An analyst's view on the subject."
Misato turned off the TV. "There's nothing good on, anyway."
"They never reveal that Tabris was Kowaru," Shinji said.
"If people realized that it was possible for angels to have a human form, there would be no end to the chaos. People would turn on their neighbors, thinking that they or their kids were angels…it would be pandemonium," Misato said.
"So much for the new full disclosure," Shinji said cynically.
Misato shrugged. "At least they're giving us a positive spin." Probably the only thing saving them from a lynch mob themselves was an interview in which Misato tearfully conveyed how hurt and betrayed and shattered she felt, knowing that her hatred for the angels and desire for revenge had been being used by the very men who were responsible for their existence to further their designs.
Shinji got up to cook dinner. "You've been taking this remarkably well," Misato told him.
Shinji shrugged. At this point in his life, he'd have been more surprised if there hadn't been some sort of elaborate, evil plot that he was the unwitting pawn of. "I just seem to be having that sort of life."
"So young, to be so jaded," Misato, who was plenty jaded herself, said.
Shinji cooked dinner, they ate, and then he cleaned up. They went to bed. It all seemed somehow mechanical, like something was missing. And something was missing. Purpose. Righteousness. The belief that they were the heroes saving the world from an evil alien threat.
Shinji was punched in the stomach, and fell to his hands and knees, gasping for air. It remonded him of that time he was punched by Toji. He was kicked, and landed on his back, staring up at the ceiling of the parking garage at the hospital. He and Misato were here to see Asuka.
"Fight back, you bastard!" the guy who was beating him up said. "You, spawn of Gendo Ikari, fight or you'll die all that much faster."
"I'm not my father," Shinji said weakly.
"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!" he retorted.
"I'm nothing like my father," Shinji said softly.
"Oh, it's going to be like that, eh?" the man drew a knife, and pulled Shinji into a kneeling position. He put it to Shinji's throat. "Alright; beg. Beg for forgiveness. Beg for me to have mercy." Shinji looked him in the eye, and then looked at the floor. "Beg, I say! Beg for life! Or…beg for a swift death."
The barrel of a gun was pressed to the back of the man's head. "You like threatening children, mister?" Misato asked, ice in her voice.
"Children? This…this Ikari-spawn—"
Misato cocked her gun. "If you know what's good for you, you'll run away." The man decided to take her advice. "Shinji, are you alright?" Shinji nodded. "C'mon, we're getting back home."
Misato was fuming on the way home. Shinji decided not to try to talk to her. "I can't believe the…after all we…rrrrgh!" They got home in record time, and when they reached their flat, they found the phone ringing. Misato picked it up. "What is it?" she barked. "Yes, this is she…he's here, too…she's in a coma, don't you pay attention to the news?...WHAT? What the hell are you talking about? You're putting us under house arrest?...I don't care what you call it, it's house arrest. Call a spade a fucking spade, will you? What is the meaning of this???...We've already been questioned, like, a dozen times, by a dozen different UN organizations, handing us off to one another like a hot potato! What makes you think you people will handle this better?...Whatever. Yeah, I know. Fucking bitch." Misato hung up, and collapsed into a seat, head held in her hands. "My fucking god. This is unbelievable. We're under house arrest, Shinji, can you believe that?" Shinji shrugged, making a noncommittal noise. Which was not the correct answer. "Shinji, how can you not be pissed off right now? How could you not have been pissed off at that guy who tried to kill you at the hospital? God damn it, boy, have you any feeling left in you at all? You're a fucking human being, Shinji, why don't you fucking act like it for a change? Defend yourself, for once in your life! Don't just let people treat you like…this!"
"I'm sorry," Shinji said, looking at the floor.
"God damn it! You're doing it again!" she stood, and squeezed his shoulders in her hands like a vice grip. "Why do you do this, Shinji?"
"This, Shinji; all of this! Why do you do this, Shinji? Why don't you complain about having so many chores? Why don't you try to get out of it so you can go do whatever with your friends?"
"I don't really have all that many friends," Shinji said. "Besides, I don't mind the housework. And it won't take care of itself, you know."
"That's not natural, Shinji!" Misato nearly screamed at him. "What do you want?"
"To be yours," Shinji said, barely managing to say it, and only realizing it was true as he was realizing he was saying it. "I want…I want…never mind." He had lost whatever courage had allowed him to say that much.
She adjusted her grip on him, lowering herself to his eye level, her voice calm, "No, tell me, Shinji. You want to be mine? What does that mean? Don't run away now!"
"I…want…you…to…" he forced every word. For him, it was a battle, and an uphill one at that.
"You want me to what, Shinji?" Misato prodded.
Shinji built up his courage, breathed in deeply and then in one fast burst, he said: "…to hold me, Misato. To kiss me. To whisper sweet nothings in my ear. To be happy when I do things for you. To be happy with me. To want me. To hold me…hold me close, and not let go…" And that was about as much as he was good for. His eyes were drawn to the floor. He couldn't face whatever look she'd have for him, whatever words. Foolish! Foolish! Foolish! But she didn't say anything. She lifted his face to hers, and then she kissed him. Shinji was very confused, but also very not complaining.
He kissed back a little. She kissed harder. He did a little more, and she did a little more. The learning curve here was not exactly steep, and pretty soon they were making out. And then his hands went to his shirt. She pulled it over his head, worked off his pants, and then her own clothes. Next went the underwear, and then she was riding him right in the middle of the living room. God forbid, anyone should come over. Not that anyone would, as they were under house arrest. Well, at least they would have something to do with their time.
Shinji was sound asleep, his limbs wrapped around Misato, who was not so much. She lay awake, wide awake, in the bed they had shared. Why were they here? Why had she done this? Did she love him? Well, of course she loved him, but did she love him in that way? What she meant was she in love with him? She didn't believe so. Did she?
"Why do you do this, Shinji? Why don't you complain about having so many chores? Why don't you try to get out of it so you can go do whatever with your friends?"
"I don't really have all that many friends. Besides, I don't mind the housework. And it won't take care of itself, you know."
"That's not natural, Shinji! What do you want?"
"What do you want?" indeed. She looked at him, asleep and peaceful (and content?). Was she really what he wanted? Could she really ever be what he wanted? Did she even want to be?
"To be yours."
A person's choice of words can be telling. She had asked what he wanted, and he could have said, "You." What he said was, "To be yours," though. "I want you," and, "I want to be yours." Two phrases which meant the exact same thing, and yet didn't. It was clear where the power was to be in this hypothetical relationship. Ironically, this was dictated by the one who was to be without.
"What do you want?"
"To be yours." Three little words. Squeezed from him, in a tiny voice. "I want…I want…never mind."
She adjusted her grip on him, lowering herself to his eye level. "No, tell me, Shinji. You want to be mine? What does that mean? Don't run away now!"
"I…want…you…to…" he forced every word.
"You want me to what, Shinji?"
"…to hold me, Misato. To kiss me. To whisper sweet nothings in my ear. To be happy when I do things for you. To be happy with me. To want me. To hold me…hold me close, and not let go…" and then his courage bottomed out, and his eyes were drawn to the floor.
Things flew through her mind so fast that she didn't even know what they were. Whatever the origin of the impulse, she lifted his face to hers, and she kissed him.
And that had lead to this. Well, after the floor and the couch. Did she love him, or was what she did because of more utilitarian motives? It was a simple concept, maybe even a ruthlessly simple concept: those who were fighting for the sake and survival of humanity couldn't afford to forget what it was they were fighting for.
Shinji Ikari was a mess. He was the definition of mess. If you looked up mess in the word "mess" in the dictionary, you'd see his picture. He makes the people around him seem almost normal by comparison, she thought wryly. In short, if there was anyone who would break, it was him. Three children, asked to protect the world and everyone in it from certain doom. Right. No pressure. Asuka, classic A-type personality that she was, would take out her frustration on those around her. Rei…Rei was so inhuman, it was hard to imagine the pressure affecting her at all. It had to, unless she was the mother of all sociopaths, but…well, maybe she was. Maybe the fact that if she failed, every man, woman, and child on earth would die meant nothing to her. Maybe it was all a game to the girl, something to do to kill time. At any rate, there was something distinctly alien about the girl, something as cold and lifeless as the surface of the moon. Shinji, however, took all that pain and internalized it. He didn't complain, he didn't lash out, but there were limits to what any human being could endure. It bespoke of a great inner strength that he had not already killed himself many times over, during the course of the life he had lead.
Someone had to help him. Someone had to give him strength. Someone had to give him a reason to stay alive, to keep fighting. Someone had to relieve him of the heavy, Herculean burden he carried. And was that why she did it? Was that why she had had sex with the fourteen-year-old boy? It was hard to tell.
It hadn't exactly been a chore, after all. Shinji was cute, in a way-too-young-for-her sort of way, a he-will-be-a-sexy-beast-in-a-handful-of-years sort of way, and though he lacked experience, he had a vitality and endurance that only teenage boys had. Not that Misato knew from experience, that is. She had heard that a male's sexual peak was at eighteen, is all. Besides, she could swear that he was already learning, but it could just be that it took him longer to come the second and third time around.
Which was it? Was she in love with a pubescent child, or was she oiling an old pair of pliers so that they could continue to be used for a while yet before they broke? She didn't know which one would make her more ashamed of herself, more disgusting. Of course, there was always option C. She had herself been under a lot of pressure of late, on top of the fact that everything she had believed in over the past fifteen years had been a lie, that her world had shattered before her eyes. Was it not, then, possible that she had looked for comfort in the first available source? That would be like her. And the idea filled her with even more self-loathing than the other two combined, because at least if the others were true, they were being done out of some sort of misguided love, while this one…this was a purely selfish motive, a predatory motive.
Shinji was now squeezing her in his sleep. Christ, he was already getting clingy. She could tell that he was going to be a high-maintenance boyfriend. Perfect; she hated high-maintenance boyfriends. Oh, just go to sleep, Misato old girl; my head hurts. And so she went to sleep, with a boy who was half her age.
When she awoke, she was alone in her bed. Had it all been some crazy, vivid dream? I'm going to have to see a shrink, because dreaming about fucking Shinji is seriously fucked up. She wasn't fooling herself, though. The relief she had felt at the idea of the possibility of it having been a dream betrayed it. Besides, her hips ached. She got up and got dressed, and then went into the kitchen. Shinji was already making breakfast.
"Hello, Misato. I'm making your favorite."
Still in denial, she asked, "What's the occasion?" She could tell that this had hurt him. "Right, sorry; I'm just kind of empty-headed in the morning before I've had a beer," she said a little too quickly. Shinji went to the fridge and got her one. Then he went back to his cooking, and Misato stared dumbly down at the beer in her hand as if it had appeared there by magic. She had been closer to the fridge. She could have gotten it herself. Like I want to be yours instead of I want you, it was a small thing that was all too telling. She felt it like a slap in the face. It made her feel like dirt. Like scum. This "relationship" had to be nipped in the bud before it went too far. "Shinji?"
"Yeah?" he looked over his shoulder.
Misato didn't say anything. She willed herself, but no words came.
"What is it, Misato?"
"…It's nothing. Never mind." Fuck. Fuck fuckiddy fuck fuck fuck. She sighed, and she opened her beer to drink at last.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah." Well, this was fucked. What the fuck was she going to do? She realized something, "Shinji, no one can find out about this." Was there a reason she used this instead of us? Another little thing? "If word gets out…"
Shinji nodded. "I understand, Misato." He dished out breakfast and served it.
"So, is there anything good on?" Misato asked as she ate.
"No. The news is still talking about…us," Shinji said. Then he grinned. "At least we can entertain ourselves."
In spite of her reservations about their relationship, Misato had to laugh at that, and smiled back at him, messing up his hair. She didn't know that he had actually thought of it yesterday, and had been waiting for an opportune time to say it. After breakfast, she stood, and said, "Well, I've got to take a shower."
"Can I join you?" Shinji asked.
The doorbell rang, saving Misato from having to decide right then and there whether to continue or end their relationship.