Raison d'ĂȘtre. French. Means "A reason for existence". A simple phrase laced with quite the destructive potential. Oh sure, it's harmless when it's just some posh French phrase someone spurts out to make themselves sound that much smarter. Most don't care for such things anyway. A stupid question, isn't it? Does a person need a reason to live? Surely that's a silly question?

To most people, yes. But not Shinji Ikari. Not since he was left with a man he didn't know by a father who didn't want him, and only days after his mother has died. In a blink of an eye he lost his family, his confidence, his pride... and now, it seems... even more.

Thought flooded his distraught mind. Why me? Why now? Why here? Why... WHAT THE-?

!

The limo's side mirror missed him by millimetres. In his hurried retreat Shinji tripped and fell on his back. Luckily it was grass, not concrete that met the back of his head. Still hurt though.

"You! Boy! Are you alright?" - a woman's voice called out.

Shinji sat up and stared at her. She was of an average height with long - reaching past her waist in fact - blonde hair. She seemed to have been in the middle of tying it as she pulled a long ribbon out of it and shoved it into her pocket. She was wearing a dark overcoat, underneath which a black business suit was visible.

"Hey! Can you hear me? Are you alright? Are you hurt?" - the woman asked in a worried voice. After getting a nod and a shake of the head, respectively, her voice grew angry - "What were you thinking?"

At this Shinji laughed. The woman was startled. It was not a sad laugh. A laugh of self-pity, of complete disregard of one's life's worth.

"What was I thinking? I... I don't know. I wasn't thinking anything. Except..." - here a change came over him. He leaned forward and grabbed his head with both hands, crying - "Why am I so useless?"

He flinched when he felt a hand on his shoulder. It was the woman. She sat down on the grass next to him. He didn't look up.

"What's your name, boy?" - she asked in a kind tone.

"Shinji... Shinji Ikari" - Shinji replied. The woman's hold tightened. Though uncomfortable, Shinji still didn't look up.

"T-tell me..." - the woman asked, her voice trembling slightly - "... are you... Yui Ikari's boy?"

Startled, Shinji looked up. Their eyes met. There was a strange change over the woman. She grew very excited and suddenly embraced him. Shinji was about to pull away when he found that his body wouldn't move. It felt good. More than good, it felt... familiar.

His brain still jumbled and tumbled over this development when he heard it. The song. No, not a song. A song needs words, recognizable sounds which, in turn, form words. No, this was... This was an emotion. Happiness. Or was it sadness? No, it was something more universal, something that eclipses all others. Love. Love washed over him, and with it... came memories.

"A-aunt... Aunt Helena?" - Shinji's voice trembled. He did not believe. He COULD NOT believe. Then the embrace tightened. It was all the proof he needed. His arms moved on their own accord. Tears, unbidden, streamed from his eyes.