I like Asuka.
Ayanami Rei walked towards oblivion.
There's nothing that can replace her.
Shinji's words echoed in her head.
She turned and looked at Nagisa Kaworu.
Her hair, face and clothes were all covered in red.
"Ayanami…" the boy said, running up and putting his hands on her shoulders, "who did this to you?"
Kaworu blinked. "Why?"
She didn't answer, only turning to walk away.
He then pushed down, forcing her to look at him. His face held genuine concern.
"Rei. Tell me. Why did you do this?"
Rei's voice was quieter than it ever was "I….I…Ikari-kun".
There was a long silence as the two stared at each other.
"Why?" Kaworu asked again.
"I…wanted…to look more like…the Second" she said in that same almost-whisper.
Kaworu then pulled away a bit, paused, and nodded his head a little.
Then he smiled, reached down, picked up a can of black paint, and poured it over his head.
His face then turned into a frightened expression. "I mustn't run away, I mustn't run away, I mustn't"
"You are not Ikari-kun!" Rei was now as loud as she ever was.
Kaworu simply smiled as he rubbed the mark Rei left on his face. "Shinji-kun…is unique. Just as Pilot Soryu is. We cannot become them, no matter how much we try. They are they…and we are we."
Rei turned her head downward. "It hurts" she whispered again.
He then put his arms around her. "Then you should cry. It will ease the pain".
After a few moments, she did.
They went into the showers first, to wash off the paint on their bodies, changed into a set of fresh clothes, and then Kaworu followed Rei to her apartment. He noticed she took the contacts out that changed her eye color. Neither of them said a word for the entire walk, until they went inside.
Kaworu took a brief look around the place and said "Sit down. I'll make some tea."
Rei complied. More silence until the kettle steamed over. Kaworu poured the tea into two cups, and then sat down himself, giving one to Rei.
"When did you start liking Shinji-kun?" Kaworu said directly.
"…I don't know." She closed her eyes. "The first time…the first time I touched them, I felt nothing. The second…it was a bit unpleasant…The third time…they were warm…The fourth time…I was happy. I want to touch them again."
"What are they?"
Kaworu nodded. "You love him" he said simply.
Rei paused for a moment, and then eventually responded. "Yes".
"And you are sad that he doesn't feel the same way in return".
"Because he feels that way about Asuka, which is why you were trying to look like her".
Kaworu then smiled. "He does care about you greatly though. I think…there are many different kinds of love. And while it may not be the love you want, it would foolish of you not to accept the love you already have."
There was silence. "But it still hurts" Rei said quietly.
Kaworu nodded. "Pain is part of the…human condition. But I believe that pain makes them worthy of being loved".
"What does that mean…for me".
And then he slowly took her hand in his own.
"It means I find you worthy of being loved as well."
Later that evening, Shinji was standing in front of Rei's door.
I wonder if she's already asleep, he thought.
He reached out to knock and found it open.
He slowly went in.
The room was dark, so he felt around for the light.
And then he found Rei and Kaworu sleeping peacefully together on the bed, still in their school outfits, holding each other close.
Shinji blinked in surprise.
And then smiled.
Disclaimer: Don't own Eva, or Studio Kimibaguchi's Eva fan-comic, Re-Take.
As you may guess, this is based, rather loosely, of the Japanese Eva fan-comic Re-Take. Of course, I changed the continuity for my benefit.