Title: Sing Like You Think No One's Listening
Summary: AU. You would kill for this, just a little bit.
Rating: Hard PG-13? It has violence and mentions of sex.
A/N: Say hello to Yandere!Shinji. This actually started out as being fairly happy. I don't know what happened, actually.
The Gauntlet, 30. the heavenly scales got dropped and lost.
Title and idea comes from Existentialism on Prom Night by Straylight Run.
For Vadalia because I stepped back while writing it and went "Dude, she'd love this."
In a world that never was...
Beaches are a place of beginnings and endings. This is their beginning.
Shinji wobbles out to a place of emptiness and vagrants. There are pieces of glass stuck in his foot as he tramps barefoot, leaving tracks of coagulated blood in his wake.
His mouth is dry.
A boy strums his battered guitar at the seashore. He sings tone death, like a deaf man.
Shinji had hoped to be alone.
The boy peers up from his song and stares at him. He stops his song and starts towards him.
Shinji looked down. The pain was a far away sensation to him.
"Sit down and I'll pick it out."
Shinji obeys because it is all he has done all his life. It is all he knows. He flinches when Kaworu plucks at the tender skin. Tweezers and hot water would be a better idea than his bare, calloused fingers and the rough sand, but it is all he has. When the boy has finished, he rips a strip of his shirt and ties it over Shinji's foot.
Shinji doesn't answer.
"Isn't a human custom to exchange names? I thought that was the rule."
"Alright, Shinji-kun. Meet you to pleasure."
"Isn't that the quote to say on meeting. Me you to pleasure?"
"It's— It's 'a pleasure to meet you."
"Ah. I see."
Kaworu returns to his strumming, apparently unburned at whatever faux pas he has made. Shinji sits down. He has no place to return to and no place to go. This is as good as any. Kaworu strums along.
"Haven't you heard it, Shinji-kun? They say the world is ending."
Shinji stares out at the last remains of the day. The sunset is a dark shade of orange veering into red. His foot still throbs.
Night falls and the air is startlingly cool for summer. Drifters come in at night to warm themselves by the fire and sleep in between the dunes where the salt spray can't reach them.
Shinji fans his hands over the fire. The barrel it is kept in is rusted from the salt, and worn away in some parts. He can see into the deep, pulsing fire inside.
"You got a girlfriend?" says one of the regulars he didn't know the name of. Shinji thinks his name was Lucky. His real name was probably Taro or Takahashi
He thinks of Rei and Asuka; there is nothing left of them to bury.
He doesn't know if he is talking about Rei or Asuka, but it doesn't matter anymore. They're both gone and whatever connections he'd fostered gone with them.
"A real shame. I'm sorry."
Lucky-Or-Taro-Or-Takahashi turns to Kaworu."
"What about you, musicboy?"
Kaworu smiles. It's too wide, almost creepy, like he's wearing his skin as a mask and puppeting human emotion.
"Are you cold, Shinji-kun?"
Before waiting for an answer, a scratchy blanket is about his shoulders and Kaworu is sitting by him. Kaworu defies all standards of personal space in a way that is oblivious, like he is an alien who isn't inducted to the unspoken rules of human contact. Kaworu is weird, no doubt about it, but that is his draw. He's too blunt and he never bothers with the social lies, the false civility that the world is seamed up in.
An ember flickers, a fire burns bright against the dark sky that is pockmarked with stars. The lights haven't blotted out the sky here, but the moon is out of sight yet again. It has been so weeks.
Just another reason why everyone is proclaiming that the world is ending.
Kaworu scoots a little closer.
Shinji feigns sleep. Kaworu starts humming a song again. Soon, Shinji drifts off and is no longer pretending.
Morning comes and Shinji drops a small bag of chips and stale bread on Shinji's lap. He drinks some bottled water and watches Shinji openly, like a test subject.
Shinji doesn't ask where the food comes from. It is better not to know.
They walk through sallow streets tinged sepia with rust and decay. Shinji is too far gone to think of the dangers of what might lay in such a place.
Besides, there is an undertone to Kaworu that drives people away. A creepiness, a rotteness, a sense of inhumanity. Shinji, by comparison is drawn to it. Moth to flame, he is drawn to what will destroy him. Kaworu is the first true thing he's seen in weeks, no years. His whole life as been just a stack of pretty lies and Kaworu is the first bit of truth he's ever come across.
He stays there with Kaworu. Days, weeks, months. Maybe years have passed since he left. He doesn't know anymore. He avoids tvs with their constant news of destruction. Humans or angels.
(He wonders Why does God bother Humans are doing a good enough job of destroying themselves without his help. A nuclear war is always just a step away. Angels seem superfluous to the sheer amount the humans do to themselves every day.)
Kaworu does not understand the concept of personal space. He leans in too close when they talk and stares too intensely to be comfortable. At night he puts his arms about Shinji (for warmth, Shinji thinks)
Shinji's skin burns within the first few days. It is red, painful and flaking all down his back and neck. Wet clothes offer no protection from the sun, or so Shinji finds. Kaworu, despite being an albino, never burns. (Kaworu seems all too happy to rub the aloe he pilfered on Shinji's back)
Shinji sleeps on his stomach. Kaworu's chest is his pillow, his head turned to the side, away from Kaworu's amused glance.
He pretends that he doesn't know that Kaworu's fingers stroke his hair at night. He pretends to not understand the creeping undertone that both excites and reviles him.
It is a minor thing to endure for a temporary home.
Shinji bathes in the ocean in the mornings when the sky is still grey with promise. Kaworu is shameless in his nakedness, and does not seem to know the meaning of modesty. His lack of personal space comes free even here. Shinji turns away and lets the salt bite at his skin. It stings, but he has grown to know pain well. It is all that remains of his former life.
Kaworu stole some towels from a beach house vacationer whose drier had gone on the fritz. He plucked them right off the line.
The weave is soft. Kaworu's fingers are rough. Shinji finds he likes the contrast. Kaworu towels off his hair and then starts painstakingly on his body. He takes care to dry each groove, each hidden place. Shinji blushes as his body responds – burns. He can't breathe. He can't breathe.
He pushes Kaworu away – a slap, a push – back into the waves and falls to the still-damp sand. He curls up, naked and hyperventilating. He holds himself too tight – too tight.
"It's alright, Shinji-kun."
Kaworu's voice is soft. He pries Shinji's fingers loose from his own arms.
It takes a few tries, but eventually Shinji allows himself to be lead to where their clothes are.
That night in the cold, there are not drifters save themselves. Those rough fingers touch over his lips. It is the most brazen of touches Kaworu yet, for Kaworu has often made such gestures.
Shinji wets his lips and feels his tongue graze over Kaworu's long fingers.
He can tell that Kaworu is smiling, a suggestive grin even without looking at him.
Kaworu is the only person he's even known that liked him for himself. This is the first taste of love, or something like it and Shinji is starved for it.
It is no longer a seduction. Shinji grabs Kaworu and drags him closer. He kisses Kaworu in his unskilled, too hard way. His nails dig into Kaworu's shoulders.
He is too love starved to care about the consequences anymore.
Shinji catches a news fragment that he's been running from all along. He sees twisted metal buildings falling to rubble and beings they called Angels. He sees Gendo Ikari, his own blood. Perhaps it isn't so much running to as from Kaworu. Something has been ignited between them now, and Shinji can no longer pretend that Kaworu is simply being weird.
Shinji doesn't know what to do with this, this being loved (or something like it.) Especially by another male. So he runs. He leaves while Kaworu is still asleep and pads away back to the hell of a life he left.
He sees the leavings of destruction on his walk back. His feet are stuck with gravel and thorns from the weeds that live along the roads. Weeds and rust, the broken shards of glass and pieces of metal. That is what makes up the gardens here.
He walks all the way to the base, the uppermost which is destroyed. He finds his way to the underparts with ease. There isn't much security with no one to man the computers.
The cold metal is a tomb, a swaddling tight to him. He walks, his feet quiet except for the pittering of gravel.
When he comes to the main room, through the varied empty rooms, it is just Gendo. Gendo turns, calm as ever and inspects him. As always, Shinji is found wanting.
Gendo looks at him, appraising, as if he were a malfunctioning tool.
"Are you done with your histrionics now?"
Gendo is close, but still just as far away as ever. His voice is cold. It lacks any sense of fatherly compassion, or caring. Shinji might as well be some worker who has proved troublesome rather than his own flesh and blood.
And somewhere deep, he breaks. A fragile part of him that had only been sawed to a single thread with each death soars away. The rest is the fulfillment of a quiet wish, one he'd barely dared to speak. He pulls out the serrated metal, a gift from Kaworu and their wandering days.
He pushes the knife into his father's flesh with a power he didn't know that he had. All his life, he'd been looking for this man's recognition. All his life there's been this one dream, a fantasy really – of his father looking at him and being proud
What a pathetic lie.
Blood trickles down Gendo's mouth. He coughs, and laughs. It is short, strangled, like a smoker's cough.
"Never thought you'd have the courage."
"Neither did I."
Gendo slumps, and Shinji watches him. He watches the man whose blood he bears fade away until those eyes that had burned into him with displeasure and with the ringing tune of you're a failure turn glassy.
He watches his father die. Finally, he has the upper hand.
Shinji walks out with blood on his hands and no one stops him. He walks past happy people who don't realize that the world is ending. He thinks of screaming like some homeless, crazed beggar that they're all doomed. But he's too numb to say a word. He feels nothing, and this is funny, somehow. He almost laughs but he doesn't.
Rei is dead. Asuka is dead. His father is dead, by his own hand. – but then, Rei and Asuka might as well be blood on his own hands. His mother, too. All these people who die will also be on his hands still their as stained as they were the time he picked berries through the thorns as a child.
He walks into the harsh daylight, and shields his face with a mottled hand. A drop of blood falls from his fingers to fall down his cheek. It is deceptive, as cold and gentle as rain.
He thinks of running through the crowds. He thinks of the pavement hard under his feet and adrenaline rattling in him, stones and tin cans and noise.
He does none of these things. He slumps into the bathroom and cries himself hoarse until he can't see through the blurred sheen of tears. Every year of his life has been a waste. And isn't that what they all are? Wasting their lives on some rotting planet until their eventual deaths. That's the meaning of life right there: nothing. People are rancid from the inside out. They deserve to die. The world deserves to end. He is no one's savior, least of all theirs.
He rises, unsteady as a newly born thing, a fawn on spindly legs. He clings to the cold, white sink for support. He turns on the water and watches the last of his father wash away. He is impassive as he looks into the face of a murderer. His face. His.
He turns off the facet and damns the whole world.
He returns to the beach, he returns to where Kaworu and his songs reside. He thinks fuck the planet.It's ugly and vile, a diseased thing not worth saving. He feels the ocean lap at him, the sand is like a cat's tongue to his skin.
He decided this before and he decides it again.
Kaworu, unlike his father, changes expession when he returns. He turns to happiness, elation, joy.
He's crazy with the knowledge of the clocks ticking their life away. He's slipping away. They all are. Gravity keeps them from sliding away, into the sun and a merciless dark cloak of space.
He's crazy, he's losing it. He grabs Kaworu's collar and shakes him.
"Sing! Sing, damn you!"
Throughout it, Kaworu is the same oddity he always has been. His smile is thinner, but still there.
"What do you want me to sing, Shinji-kun?"
Something soft. Something sweet. A delicate thing, a lullaby. Something to stop the ringing in his head. Shinji's grip falters. His voice breaks on the last and he lets go. He balls his fists and presses them to his eyes until the tears fall back and he sees splashes of color behind his eyes.
"You smell like blood."
"I killed a man." I damned the whole human race.
"He probably deserved it."
Kaworu shrugs it off. He goes on strumming as if Shinji had merely confessed to stealing money from his father's wallet. Maybe with Kaworu's messed up vision of the world he thought murder was perfectly ok. Maybe he simply doesn't care. Shinji curls up beside him, love starved and too far gone to care about anything more than this moment.
Shinji listens to the clumsy strains of Ode To Joy rising to what may be the last night of their lives.
"Haven't you heard it, Shinji-kun? They say the world is ending."