Wax Wings

Disclaimer: I do not own Evangelion.


Shinji Ikari was a good boy. He obeyed the rules his Teacher decreed. He was courteous and did not speak unless it was necessary. He did not run around or make mischief. He was clean. He ate everything he was given even if he didn't like it. He did these things because he had to be a good boy.

Shinji Ikari was a good student. He always listened to his Teacher. He always did his homework. He never complained and was always respectful. He did not talk back or slack off or daydream because a good student did not do those things and he had to be a good student.

Shinji Ikari was a good boy and a good student so he could live with his Teacher and not be left alone at another train station.

Teacher was an old man of the ancient, unknowable age of fifty-seven. To ten-year-old Shinji anything beyond his next birthday was old. It was all a cloudy landscape devoid of distinguishing characteristics save the physical ravages long life rendered.

Teacher had gray hair and wrinkles like spider legs all over his face. His eyes were dark and sunken. His mouth refused to smile. He spoke with an authority alien to Shinji, full of depth and certainty. He always wore a tie.

His house sat on the dotted suburban outskirts of the City where Shinji lived. Shinji's knowledge of the world was the City and the Station where he was left to cry beneath the roar of commuter trains. It was a small world without excitement or the unfamiliar. Shinji woke, ate, learned, ate again, learned again, ate one last time then slept until he woke to eat and learn once more.

It was with a sense of violation that Teacher broke the natural order and woke him up one Tuesday to announce they were taking a field trip.


They were at a place Teacher called the Marduk Institute. It was a very big place of halls and doors. It was a very big place but Shinji did not see any other people.

They walked for a time, Shinji struggling to keep pace on short legs so he didn't have to see his tall Teacher's back moving away from him. He was sweating when Teacher finally stopped and entered a low, wide room with curved walls and a thin cylinder in the center connected to the ceiling and floor. Inside the cylinder a boy floated in orange liquid.

"Who is that?" Shinji asked.

"Someone very special," Teacher explained. And because Teacher said it, it had to be true.

"Why is he in there?" Shinji asked.

"He's sleeping," Teacher explained.

The sleeping boy was pale. He had silvery hair that moved gently as he floated. His eyes were closed. Shinji thought he looked very pretty, like a porcelain doll.

"Is he okay in there?" Shinji asked. He edged behind Teacher. Was the doll boy drowned?

"It is where he sleeps," Teacher explained.

The doll boy's eyes opened.


Teacher led Shinji to a small anteroom through another door with a table and chairs. They sat. Shinji did not ask any more questions. The stimuli of the day caught him and sealed his mouth shut.

After an eternal thirteen minutes of silence the door opened again and the pale boy stepped in, clad in a white hospital gown.

"Hello," he said. "My name is Kaworu Nagisa. I am pleased to meet you."

He had an agreeable voice, soft and sure. It immediately made Shinji relax and not care that he just saw this boy floating in a tube of orange liquid.

"This is Shinji Ikari," Teacher said, and gave his student a look.

Shinji hurried off the chair and offered a bow to the boy. "Pleased to meet you, too, Mr. Nagisa."

"Ikari," the boy said to himself. Resolution passed over his features with a smile. "You may call me Kaworu, Mr. Ikari."

Mr. Ikari was his father. The tall dark man who forever walked away from him in his dreams.

"Please call me Shinji."

"Then I will."


Teacher took Shinji to the Institute in obedience to an erratic schedule. Sometimes they visited several times a week. Sometimes once a month. No matter how much time passed Kaworu greeted Shinji with a welcoming smile that made him feel like it had been only a few minutes.

They talked. Shinji spoke to him with the hesitancy of someone who never had friends before. Kaworu seemed to relish his halting, awkward speech and always looked deeply interested in whatever Shinji said.

Shinji described what he was studying because he had no clue what else to talk about. It was the dominant feature of his existence. There was his music, too, but the SDAT he used to crawl through his free time was tied up with the things that haunted his dreams. He did not want to scare off the strange pale boy who seemed intent on knowing him.

Shinji understood Teacher's insistence on traveling to the Institute as an implicit order to socialize, despite the terror such a thing would normally arouse. But Kaworu was pleasant and did not make fun of him and did not say he hated him. The situation betrayed his experience and expectation.

Shinji did not know what to do.


"… and so then Teacher explained how to find the area of the square," Shinji finished, recounting his previous day's lessons. He looked at Kaworu, patient, pleasant, and not at all bored. Shinji blushed. "Um, sorry. I don't… I don't know what else to talk about. I've never had a, I mean, I've never really talked to someone like this before."

Teacher told him their visits to the Institute were a secret and he must never tell anyone. The implication of punishment for noncompliance was enough to keep Shinji quiet. Because of that he could not ask anyone if what they were doing was wrong or strange, or if Kaworu was wrong or strange.

Sometimes it made the Shinji feel guilty, like Kaworu was something hidden out of embarrassment or shame. But those feelings always lessened when they were together. When Kaworu was focused solely on him Shinji could forget his harsh Teacher and the cruel world outside the Institute walls. It was still nerve-wracking, but it was an excited kind of nervous energy. Shinji found someone tolerant and accepting of him and despite the fact they were forced together he was desperate not to lose him.

"What do you wish to talk about?" Kaworu asked.

Shinji fumbled with his hands. "Does anyone else come here to see you? Like I do?"

"Not the way you do."

Kaworu tilted his head slightly. Shinji turned to follow his eyes and saw Teacher in the doorway of the anteroom. Shinji rose from the table.

"Thank you for your time," he said with a respectful bow. "Goodbye."

"Until the next time," Kaworu said.


"Are we friends?" Shinji blurted out one day.

"Do you want to be?"

"… Y-Yes."

"Then we will be friends."


"Do you like water?" Shinji asked. He glanced down at his glass and swirled the clear liquid clinging to the bottom. "This kind of water is fine, but I don't like a lot of it. Like pools or oceans."

Shinji confessed he did not know how to swim. Teacher never deemed it necessary.

Kaworu knew how to swim, it seemed he knew how to do everything, but he didn't enjoy it. Water dragged things down and hid them.

Kaworu preferred the air. It was brighter, lighter, more welcoming in a safer way. It could carry wonderful scents to him, it could feel good against his skin. Air let him forget the tube and the saturated bloody stink that it made cling to him.

Shinji had noticed the smell but never mentioned it. Teacher smelled strange too and Shinji deduced most people did.

The two boys were in a big, empty cafeteria within the Institute. Everything was polished steel, reflecting orange sunlight from a bank of tall windows along the far wall.

Shinji was eating lunch, stir-fried vegetables over noodles. Kaworu watched. He said he was not hungry. Eating in front of someone felt disrespectful but Shinji never had a meal outside Teacher's home. It was too novel an experience to pass up.

The food was very good. Much better than Teacher's. Shinji wished he knew how to cook.

"What do you like to eat?" Shinji asked. Maybe he could learn how to make what his friend enjoyed.

Kaworu hesitated without seeming to hesitate. "Nothing comes to mind. It all seems the same."


"Are you disappointed?"

"N-No. I just, um, I just wanted to…" He frowned. "Do you have any hobbies?"

"I do not believe so."

"Is there anything you like?"

"I enjoy music," Kaworu said. "It dwarfs the rest of mankind's achievements."

"Music's great," Shinji readily agreed. "It's like…" He scrunched his brow in an effort to vocalize the extent of his feelings. "It's like art in the air."

Kaworu smiled beautifully. "I also enjoy the time we spend together."


Shinji played the cello because Teacher decreed he should learn an instrument and Teacher enjoyed the cello. So Shinji learned to play the cello. Kaworu said he also enjoyed the cello. So Shinji practiced harder.

It was a year before he worked up the courage to tell Kaworu he played an instrument. Kaworu was not surprised, like he always knew. Shinji asked if he wanted to hear him play. It was terrifying but it was the polite and proper thing to do. He kept the secret for so long his conscience demanded absolution. So he played.

He finished a slow piece by Bach. Kaworu preferred Beethoven but Shinji was not adept at any Beethoven. He was upset over that when he played and made mistakes, the kind of distracted mistakes that made him blush and frown and make more mistakes.

He fumbled his way to the end of the piece, tripping over the notes like he was running on an earthquaked sidewalk. Kaworu was silent and serene the entire performance.

"Sorry," Shinji mumbled, dropping the bow to his side. "I'm not good at this."

"It would be boring if you were perfect," Kaworu told him. "Variations and deviations prove you are human. And humanity is fascinating."

It was almost worse to have his friend so accepting and understanding. He knew Shinji had limitations and was not angry or disappointed when he reached them.

"Humanity is the state of pressing limitations," he stated, and because he said it in his soft unassuming voice free of judgment it was true and did not hurt.

Shinji still couldn't help himself. "Isn't that bad?"

"No." His lips formed a smile around the word. "Not if you don't think it is."

"I'll get better."

"I know you will."


"Do you have a tutor like I do?" Shinji asked. The question never came to mind before. It was an unspoken, unconscious fact to him but he wanted confirmation.

They were in the cafeteria again, Shinji eating the superb Institute food, Kaworu again declining a meal.

"I have several."

"Wow." Somehow that cemented how smart his friend was. "Do you have one for each subject?"

"Each one does teach me something different."

"I bet you do really well."

"I am rarely graded," Kaworu said.

"Wow," Shinji said again. He must be part of a very progressive schooling system. "Do you, um, like your tutors?"

"Like?" Kaworu considered the question for a brief moment. "I do not dislike them."

"My teacher can be a little grumpy sometimes," Shinji confided in a whisper, staring down at his half-eaten meal. "Sometimes I don't think he likes me, or thinks I'm a burden." He idly twirled his utensils. "I wonder why he took me in."

"Do you dislike him?"

"N-No," he quickly replied, glancing about in guilt. "I just wonder if he dislikes me."

"You are very concerned about how others view you."

"Well, isn't that normal?" Shinji asked, a touch offended.

"It depends on who is viewing you."


"You wanted to tell me about what happened?" Kaworu said it as a question but it felt like a statement.

Because Shinji did want to tell Kaworu about what happened at the graveyard with his father, despite his embarrassed, angry reticence.

It felt like he could not keep secrets from Kaworu. That he would find out some way, but even then he would not judge. Shinji was not familiar with understanding or compassion. It was a dangerous intoxication to confess a sin and not receive punishment.

"I ran away," Shinji said. The shame was so thick he could barely force the words through.

"Why did you run away?"

It didn't sound as bad coming from Kaworu.

"I don't know." He fell quiet until the lie burned. "I was scared to see him. But I wanted to, too. I wanted him to… to say I could go with him when he left this time. But he didn't. He didn't even look at me. He didn't even say my name."

Kaworu still smiled, but it seemed sad. It was too faultless not to continue.

"I got angry," Shinji admitted. "I wanted him to…" He twisted his fists in his lap. "I wanted him to do something that would make me love him."

They were sitting on a bed in what was made up like a normal boy's bedroom within the Institute. There was a desk where Kaworu did not do homework, shelves of books he did not read, a TV he did not watch, a closet of clothes he did not wear. It helped make Shinji feel at peace and forget the odder aspects of his friend, which was the room's purpose.

"I wanted my father to… to be my father, for once. But he didn't. And, a-and I ran away from him because of it."

He saw my back this time, Shinji suddenly realized, and it was enough to make his eyes sting with tears.

"Running won't change him," Kaworu said.

"Seeing him didn't change him."

"Change is difficult for humans. It is scary. But it is necessary."

"Why?" Shinji asked. He was desperate for an explanation for his father's cruelty. He needed his friend to tell him how to make everything better.

"Without it humans cannot grow. And that is a human's greatest ability. They can grow. They can become more than what they are." Kaworu permitted a wistful smile to brush over his lips. "It is most enviable."

"My father didn't grow," Shinji sulked.

"But you can."


For his thirteenth birthday Kaworu gave Shinji a sketch of the seashore. Shinji was awed and humbled. He thought it looked like a photograph.

"It's amazing," he said, holding it like fragile glass. "It looks real."

"It's a reproduction," Kaworu said, almost regretfully. He explained it was of a picture he once saw in a book.

Kaworu had never been to the seashore but he liked imagining what it would be like. It smelled of salt, Shinji told him. He hoped one day they could go together. Kaworu just smiled.

And Shinji realized he had never seen his friend outside the Institute.

"I have to be here," Kaworu explained.


"It is where I have to be at this moment." He smiled again. "And if I wasn't here, I wouldn't have met you."


It was a base temptation and Kaworu did not stop himself.

Shinji lay slumbering after a long day of lessons. Kaworu felt a mild disappointment his friend was not awake to interact with but he had never seen Shinji asleep and took a quiet enjoyment from the new experience.

He watched his small chest rise and fall with slow uniform regularity, the occasional twitch of his face, the way his body curled into a ball as if warding off the waking world. Kaworu leaned close enough to feel Shinji's breath. He was unaware, at his mercy.

This was a human. Vulnerable, weak, ignorant of its failings.

Shinji's face was relaxed and free of anxiety and sadness.

This was a human. Warm, soft, ignorant of its potential.

Did he dream? Kaworu wondered. Did he dream of him? Would he want to?

He touched Shinji's cheek, lightly drawing a fingertip down the fleshy curve to his jaw, then around to his chin. He was frighteningly warm. Tactile sensation seemed sharper, more accurate, able to discern the slightest variation in Shinji's skin.

Kaworu felt strange. Light, unfettered, losing the tethers that bound him to the world of obedience and obligation. It was a new feeling. It was a dangerous razor's edge and he skated the fine line.

The purpose of his existence was to be the gate to Godhood that Kiel desired, or at least the form of Godhood he believed he desired. It was not something that kept Kaworu up at night or tortured his conscious mind because he knew it was what he had to do. There was no use rebelling against it or posing complex hypotheticals.

Similarly, Kaworu knew the purpose of his interaction with Shinji was not part of the Committee's education for him or a token gesture at making him feel human. It was to influence Shinji Ikari, thereby influencing Gendo Ikari. Kaworu was a tool to facilitate Kiel's plans but he held no animosity for that fact. It was how it was. It was how it had to be.

Which was why he was so disappointed in himself. He allowed this boy, this human to influence him and tilt his desires toward death, so that Shinji would live. Kaworu supposed Shinji would be sad but being sad was better than being nothing for a human. And for the first time since he was created Kaworu cared for the fate of a human being.

"I love you," he said softly. "You are too extraordinary not to love."

Shinji had become his ideal, the standard he weighed all other humans against. Shinji was scared, and shy, and angry, and kind, and naïve, and anxious, and selfish, and giving. He was everything a human should be. He was perfectly imperfect and Kaworu loved him for it.

He carefully cupped the side of Shinji's face. His fingertips brushed the edge of his hair. He leaned over him, committing the sight and scent and sensation and sound to memory. He wanted to remember this peaceful, secret Shinji for the rest of his existence. It was an experience no one else had, and something no one could take from him.

He bent further. Their breath mingled. Kaworu memorized the bend of his nose, the curve of his cheek, his meshed eyelashes, the hair whispering over his forehead, the slope of his lips.

He was beautiful.

It was a base temptation and Kaworu did not stop himself.


"I got a letter today," Shinji told Kaworu. "From my father. He told me to come to Tokyo-3."

"Will you go?"

Shinji was silent.

"Do you want to go?"

They sat on Kaworu's bed. He was carelessly, gracefully relaxed against the headboard. Shinji was hunched over by the edge, hugging his knees.

"I have to," Shinji finally answered. "Right?"

"There are very few things people have to do," Kaworu said.

"Teacher already packed my bags."

"How presumptuous of him."

"I think…" Shinji stared at the far wall. "I think I was going to go, eventually. I still don't know if I want to." He paused. "What if he disappoints me again?"

"Then he will disappoint more than you."

Somehow that triggered gratitude and sadness in Shinji at the same time. "I'm scared," he admitted. "I don't want to leave. I want to stay here with you. You've never disappointed me."

Kaworu was silent for a long moment. Fate demanded it was only a matter of time before he did disappoint him. "I will never truly leave you," he said, "because you are always first in my thoughts." He sat up in a liquid motion and gently laid a hand on his shoulder. "I am with you, Shinji."

"Then… then this isn't really goodbye, right?"

"No, it isn't."

"I wish you could come with me."

Kaworu smiled.

"Teacher said I can't have any contact with you from now on," Shinji said. He was looking at his feet. "It'll be lonely."

"You will meet other people."

"But none of them will be you." He blushed a touch, and checked his watch. He stood with a frown. "It's almost time."

Kaworu rose with him, feeling an unfamiliar sting in his chest. Shinji would be leaving. Shinji would be changing, without him. He might become a totally different person. He might forget him. Kaworu knew the love he held for the human before him, no matter how he may change or may not change, would remain constant. Even if Shinji's emotions did not.

"W-Well," Shinji muttered. He hesitated, then stepped forward and hugged his friend tightly.

Kaworu's body shook. This feeling, this perfect union of physical and emotional sensation was too powerful, too pure to resist. He felt his heart race against Shinji's and cautiously raised his arms.

Shinji stepped back before he could return the embrace, wearing a small, embarrassed smile. "Uh, sorry. It's just that I'm leaving and it might be awhile before we see each other and… sorry. I don't know the proper time to, to do that with someone."

Kaworu forgot how to speak for a moment. "I am glad you did."

The door opened behind them. Shinji's Teacher stood beneath the threshold, silent and commanding. Kaworu, for once, held a brief flare of animosity for a human.

Shinji stepped back, brought himself to his fell height, and bowed deeply. "Thank you," he said softly, "for, um, f-for being my friend." He rose. His face was red.

Kaworu Nagisa had been a good disciple. Kiel told him his purpose and duty and he accepted both without resistance. He was made to live forever, to allow his creator into a sacred communion with the rest of the human race. It was what the old man wished, and it was what Kaworu was bound to fulfill.

Kaworu Nagisa had been a good Angel. He knew Angels and mankind could not exist together. One must die for the other to live. He knew his place within existence and held no pretension or regret regarding it. Compliance to fate was his domain.

Kaworu Nagisa had been a good disciple and a good Angel until he met Shinji Ikari and fell in love with him.

And his decision was made. He could not kill the only one in the world he loved.

He knew the next time he saw Shinji would be the last. He knew they were fated to never be together. He knew he had to let him go.

"It's not goodbye," Kaworu reminded both of them.

"Then… then until the next time."

Shinji was herded out by his Teacher. He turned as the door was closing, giving one last, brief smile. Kaworu stood alone in the middle of his room.

"Until the next time."



Author notes: And thus did Shinji make Kaworu the Angel of Free Will. Through his sexy, sexy hotness.

This is another experiment, a collection of snapshots of the two boys growing up pre-series. It was one of the first ideas I ever had for a fic, way back when. So that's why it's even rougher and more boring than usual.


"Then… then until the next time."

Shinji was herded out by his Teacher. He turned as the door was closing, giving one last, brief smile. Kaworu stood alone in the middle of his room.

"… Shit!" he yelled, clutching his head. "This means I'll never get laid now! Damn it! Why didn't I cement Shinji's wavering homosexuality when I had the chance?"

And thus did Shinji make Kaworu the Angel of Unrequited Shinji-Lust.