Author's Notes: This was written at the same time that Chapter 8. Yes, I've thought of this ending pretty far in advance, and it suits the purpose. I'm the type of the writer who likes writing the ending first so I make sure I tie up loose endings before I get to the ending.
Revision Notes: I cleaned up all the mistakes and hope to make this sound more mature.
Disclaimer: I don't own Neon Genesis Evangelion and am writing this fanfic for pure enjoyment.
CHAPTER 18: THE BEGINNING
Shinji felt tired. Every muscle in his body ached, crying out in pain. He could faintly hear the soft rolling of waves. Mustering up his strength, he opened his eyes.
The sky was red. It was crimson red like a spray of blood across the sky. It scared him that the essence of life was poured into the heavens.
Shinji propped his elbows up to support himself, noticing that he was lying on a beach. The coarse sand dug into his skin while the red waves were gently licking his feet. It was comforting, yet at the same time, it was sickening. The blood of those he loved was bathing his feet. He scurried backwards on the sand in disgust. Each step sent pangs of pain shooting up his legs.
He desperately wanted it to end. Into the abyss. Into the darkness. He wanted to throw his head up and scream, but nothing came out of his mouth. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw a mess of red.
Red. It was the color of blood. The color of life and death. The color of someone's hair. Whose hair? Asuka's hair.
"Asuka…" said Shinji silently.
He got up and walked over to Asuka's limp body. She was still in her red plugsuit. Her eyes were closed, at least the one that wasn't covered with a bandage. As she lay there, Shinji realized how helpless and vulnerable she looked. His eyes surveyed her arm. The bandage there was long, but he wasn't surprised. He had seen the kind of damage that the Production Series EVAs inflicted. The sight of them eating Unit 02 was something that would probably haunt him forever if he survived.
If he survived… The realization that he was in a post-apocalyptic world had dawned on Shinji. Everyone… they're gone. From what he could tell, he and what remained of Asuka were the only things left in the world.
Anger surged through Shinji. After all he had been through, he had to come back to this. Was this another dream? Was this some kind of sick joke that Lilith was playing on him? For her to send the lifeless body of the girl that he loved with him to hell. He lowered himself and straddled Asuka's waist. He put his hands on her neck and began to squeeze. Squeezing what he had already lost. Squeezing the humor out of a sick joke.
Suddenly, a warm hand caressed Shinji's cheek. It was something he wasn't expecting. Was Asuka really alive with him? Shinji loosened his grip, scared that he might kill the only one besides his mom who ever loved him. The memories of his dream flashed back to him.
"Shinji…" whispered Asuka in a meek voice.
"Asuka…" replied Shinji as tears welled up in his eyes.
Tears dripped onto Asuka's chest. Were these tears of sadness? Or tears of happiness?
Shinji stood up, afraid that Asuka would be infuriated for sitting on her. He held out his hand and was pleasantly surprised to find that Asuka accepted it, borrowing his strength to lift her up.
In the distance, Shinji could still see the split face of Rei-Lilith. It still had that twisted smile on it, a smile that for some reason scared Shinji. To his left, he saw that his companion had finished getting the sand off her back and was taking in the same view as he was.
"Hey, Asuka?" asked Shinji timidly.
"Do you remember anything when you were in there?" Shinji pointed towards the sea of LCL to illustrate what he meant by "there." Asuka didn't reply. Shinji looked over at her, only to see her deep in thought. After much thought, she shook her head.
Deep down, Shinji had hoped that Asuka would remember everything that had happened in the dream that he had while in the sea of LCL. All the experiences he shared with Asuka during the dream seemed so real. Especially the kiss they shared. He was sad to realize that those memories would only reside in him. It was hard enough to love an Asuka in a world without Eva. Would he be able to do it in this world? This world that contained a broken and beaten Asuka. The same Asuka told him that she hated him. Yet all he could think of was falling in love with her. Reacting to his thoughts, Shinji's hand reached out for Asuka's, yearning for warmth.
Asuka looked at Shinji's facial expression. It was the same depressing look that he held during their last week. Would she let it happen again? For some unknown reason, she seemed compelled to reach out and hold his hand.
Their hands met in the middle, entwining fingers desperately grasping for the warmth of the other. This was a union of complements.
End Notes: Sure, it's an unsatisfying conclusion. Sure, it leaves a lot of things vague. Guess what? End of Evangelion does the same thing, but you don't see people complaining. I do feel bad for using a deux ex machine to end the fanfic, but for some reason, this felt like the most fulfilling way to end it. The AU constructed by Shinji was a perfect world where everything despite all the conflicts was WAFFy, but life isn't always fair. Besides, it leaves room for a possible sequel. I've always wanted to write a 3I fanfic. This might be my chance. Until next time!
Revision Notes: Guess what? I'm writing a new 3I fanfic that picks up where this ends.