Chapter 15 This Is Your Fault, Shinji.

"...We should kill him, Shinji," Kaworu insisted. He and Shinji stood in the hall outside the dorm room, doing their best to ignore the screaming and sobs from behind the door. Shinji sat with his back against the wall, resting his head on the knees tucked into his chest. His dead, glossed eyes showed no emotion, as if the Angel had stolen his spirit. The only reply he gave was a small shake of the head. "Shinji," Kaworu pleaded, "The pain will never go away. It will never be treatable. It is the only thing we can do to help."

Simple denial was once again the only response. Shinji buried his head in his arms and curled up into a ball to hide from the world around him. A small part of him still clung onto the hope that nothing had happened, and if he hid long enough all his problems would just pass him by.

"Damn it, Shinji!" There was a loud thud, the sound of human flesh hitting the wall above Shinji's head. Kaworu's knuckles were white in his tightly clenched fist, and little dents were visible where his nails dug into his skin. "Do you think I am not worried?" he yelled, "Do you think this decision is not hurting me as much as it would anyone else?"


"What do you think of me, Shinji?" Kaworu leaned over and shoved his hand under Shinji's chin, jerking the boy's gaze up to meet him. "Do you think that I am heartless? That I wanted this to happen?"

Shinji's lips parted, but he couldn't think of words. Not while those shining crimson eyes challenged him. His best- only- friend was suffering the worst pain imaginable, and yet those eyes held him captive. At that moment, he hated Kaworu. "You..." he began, You let this happen. The words wouldn't come, because he knew in his heart that they weren't true. "We..." And that wasn't it either. Shinji's mind spun desperately for the right answer, but his own psyche was protecting him by keeping it hidden, and the words always escaped his grasp.

Suddenly the burning eyes softened, turning from flames back to rubies as the anger faded into guilt. "...Sorry," murmured Kaworu, "I got angry. I'm sorry..." He lowered himself and collapsed limp into Shinji's side. Shinji had no clue how he was supposed to react. The boy next to him was defeated, lacking grace, poise, confident self-control... This boy was not Kaworu. Not the one he knew.

The noise from inside had died down; maybe Alois had fallen unconscious, maybe Rei had helped him cope with the pain. The sudden silence relieved a bit of worry, but it wasn't enough to comfort Shinji at all. He could feel Kaworu's body against him, his ragged, uneven breathing against his neck, and a slight sensation of... wetness. Shinji pushed himself away, startled, until he took a second look and saw that Kaworu was crying. It wasn't the crying from movies that left glistening trails down the character's cheeks; it was the puffy-eyed, runny-nosed, quivering crying of someone who was desperately trying not to. "K-Kaworu?"

"It- it was a lie." The silver-haired boy hiccuped for air, and the last bit of control that held back the sobs broke. "I-I've been lying."

Shinji awkwardly put his hand on the boy's shoulder in a tentative attempt at comfort. "What was a lie?"

"Everything. Just... everything. You- you don't know me. This is me."

"What do you mean?"

"Every time I've seen an Angel I- I wanted to run away screaming. Hide. Get away. And- and then after we won, I wanted to lock myself in my room and never come out, okay? I'm not emotionless! The... formal... classy, brave Kaworu... doesn't... exist. Sorry."

Shinji was completely bewildered. "But, why? Why would you-"

"I did it for you! The- the Eva told me to, said you would expect it, want it! So I played a c-character..." Kaworu felt so pitiful; Shinji was supposed to look up to him, and yet there he was, sobbing on the floor of the music dorm. It was good all the students were still at lunch, unaware of the fiasco happening across campus.

The dorm door flew open, ramming Shinji in the back. "In here!" Rei exclaimed, "Now!"

"Fuck!" What happened while he was outside with Kaworu? "No! No, no, no!"

Alois lay on his bed panting, a group of large rips in his neck gushing blood onto the white sheets. "I'm- sorry," he rasped, struggling to force the air past his vocal chords. His eyes were watery and drooped half-closed. "It hurt a lot..."

Shinji ran to his side immediately and reached over to cup the blond boy's quivering hands in his. There was blood and pink flesh wedged under the nails of his right hand, the hand where longer nails could grow and not impair his viola skills. "Did... did you-?"

"I- I can't take it, I can't!" A spasm rocked his body, and he couldn't stifle another whimper of pain.

Shinji looked away; he just couldn't watch it. He couldn't watch the consequences of his actions. And besides, those words from the Angel World still followed him... "It's... It's alright to hate me for this, Alois. This was my fault, and now-"

"I can't hate you."

It took all Shinji's courage to look at his friend again, to see the running tracks of fluid from his eyes and nostrils, and the bloodless white skin. But there was something else, too; a half-smile somewhat twisted by a trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth.

"I... could never hate you. Because we're friends... right?"

"Alois... Alois, don't, I want you to hate me. It's all my fault, I need to be punished, I need... Alois? Alois?" There was no sudden chill, no light fading from his eyes, no dramatic fall of his hand. "Alois? Please answer..." Shinji shook his shoulder. "Hey, Alois..."

Rei reached over from the other side of the bed and closed the corpse's eyes.

The three teens retreated to the hallway once again; none of them could discuss what needed to be discussed in the same room where what had just happened... happened.

"We-" began Kaworu, but he froze as he realized the impact of what he was about to say. After a deep breath to calm his racing thoughts, he tried again. "We need to hide the body."

Rei sat cross-legged on the floor, tracing patterns in the carpet. She said nothing. Shinji just stared blankly back at Kaworu.

"I said, we-"

"Kaworu, why can't I cry?" Shinji interrupted, an edge of panic tinting his voice. "He was my best friend... but my eyes are dry. Why am I not crying for him?"

Kaworu chose his words carefully before answering. "Maybe it's the shock. When the idea really hits... then you'll cry. It's okay, it's normal-"

"But what if I'm not crying because I lied? What if I never thought of him as a friend? What if he didn't matter to me? Really? Why can't I cry?" His eyes were wide, pupils shrunken, beads of sweat appearing on his forehead.

"Shinji! Snap out of it!"

The boy shook his head a few times to clear his mind. "I'm sorry. I'm just... the body. Yeah. I'll call the police."

"No," murmured Rei, "We can't. They'll think it's us. We disappeared with him, half an hour later he's dead. We're all in the room together. Won't work."

Shinji understood where she was coming from, but disagreed. "But they'll see it's suicide. His... his fingers, and his throat..."

Kaworu shook his head. "Even worse. Who'd commit suicide that way? So painfully? And someone as... happy, all the time... as Alois, with lots of friends? No. They'd assume that one of us did it and tried to hide it. So... so we have to make it look like he went missing. Is still alive."

"I read about this once," said Rei, "Six hours. Until the body gets stiff. Got to hurry."

"If we buried him surely someone would find him in the search... maybe we could cut him-?"

"No!" yelled Shinji, "He... he needs a funeral! With... with an open casket. Wearing new clothes, where people can see him one last time. And... and white lilies..." His mind drifted back, years into his past. His mother's funeral had white lilies. It was beautiful. But the coffin was nailed shut to prevent anyone, especially him, from seeing the body torn apart by the train's wheels. Shinji knew this, but he wanted to see her. He had always wanted to see her one last time.

"Shinji, we can't! We'll get sent to prison, okay? And then we won't be able to fight the Angels and stop the Rite of Spring..." Kaworu's voice trailed off. He'd said something he shouldn't have, but there was no rewind button in life. Luckily, Shinji didn't seem to notice; he stayed silent, lost in thought over something.

An idea occurred to Rei. "We could leave the body in an Angel World. When we fight the next one and it collapses." She frowned. "But that's in six days."

"Maybe," Kaworu ventured, "If we could... refrigerate... it... him..." He felt a thick lump of fear and dread rise in his throat, blocking his air. "God, I can't do this!"

"There's a mini-fridge in the girl's dance room. No one uses it. Could take it to base and-"

"Rei!" the crimson-eyed boy yelled, "How could you even think of that? Don't you feel anything? Shinji's devastated, I'm scared, I'm really fucking scared, and how are you... in character? Still!"

Rei's face remained a blank slate. She cleared her throat. "The mini-fridge. I go drag it up into our base. You and Shinji wrap the body in the bloody sheets and carry it up. Before he gets stiff. Shinji tells the Deans he's missing. And then... we keep him. Until Gaghiel arrives. And then we leave it in Angel World. No more problem."

Shinji sighed, closing his eyes. "We have to, don't we? I'm so sorry. This is my fault. I did this. I didn't listen. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm-"

"Stop it, Shinji!" commanded Kaworu, "You can't fix everything by apologizing. We all should have known better. He's gone now, and Rei's right. We'll do what she said, is that okay with you?" Shinji did his best to swallow his feelings and nodded, gritting his teeth. "We should hurry to finish before lunch ends. People could see, and it'll look suspicious if we're late. We'll... we'll meet you at base, Rei."

He grabbed Shinji's hand and gently led him back into the dorm. They walked as quietly as they could to the side of the bed, as if making the slightest noise would disturb Alois's sleep. However, no matter how hard they tried, they couldn't imagine he was simply sleeping, not the way he lay, not with the blood and uncomfortable emptiness that hung in the air. Shinji looked at his friend's face for the last time before they wrapped him up in the soaked sheets and shoved the corpse into an undignified black trash bag, along with their hopes, ideals, and morals. Shinji never thought a trash bag could hold so many precious, broken things.

End Notes: This... was hard to write. It really was. I don't think I did any of the feelings and emotions justice, but I tried. Consider this the end of Part One of Evangelion: The Rite of Spring.

Here (on my DeviantArt) is a fanart of Shinji and Alois which I did before I really knew for sure what would happen. ( A look at that would be appreciated, as well as any reviews, questions, or comments for this story.

Thank you for reading.