"Where your gentle wing rests" is the translation of a line from Ode to Joy.

So, I was looking through the _kaworuxshinji livejournal group for fic (I need to get a dreamwidth, although I have a tumblr and yet I've barely done anything with it, from a combination of terrible internet and lack of energy) and I found that there was a kinkmeme at nge-kink.

Prompt: Kaworu/Shinji Each time they sleep together Shinji looses just a little bit more of his humanity, but remains obvious (due to post-coital bliss, etc) until it's too late to go back. Pleased!Possessive!Kaworu, Angel!Shinji (in the end)

I tried bringing in another character who could find him creepy, but if the prompter wants, I could try again with manga!Kaworu in awhile.

Was it weird that he slept with Kaworu the... well, technically the day after he met him? He slept with him that night, feeling amazed but so safe there in that small, quiet room, with Kaworu looking down at him (watching over him) and smiling with that soft, loving smile.

"It means I love you," Kaworu said, so kindly, not making fun of Shinji for needing something so obvious explained. Of course Kaworu loved him.

"I think I was born to meet you," Kaworu said that night, and the thought of such a special person coming into the world just for him? That he was the reason someone so wonderful existed?

In the morning it was hard to get up the will to get out of bed, just like always, but Kaworu was willing to lie there patiently, to take Shinji's hand and talk with him, just talk, about music, emotions and whatever Shinji needed to talk about. By the time Kaworu joined him on the floor, it felt like Shinji had known him forever, except for the fact that if Kaworu had been there Shinji's entire life, that life would have been so much better.

He never would have been alone.

His first kiss was something of an eskimo kiss, Kaworu just leaning forward and nuzzling him, smiling, when Shinji said... he didn't remember, really, because Kaworu had been there, only a couple layers of fabric between Shinji and his warmth. Kaworu smelled of water and stormclouds, like the clean air after the rain washed everything away, and maybe that should have been a clue, after finding out the truth about Rei.

Then Kaworu's lips brushed against his cheek, laughing softly and doing it again when Shinji blushed: just a gentle caress, nothing that should be strange to Shinji or something to be afraid of. Just like Kaworu's arms around Shinji, or having his company at all. "You really don't understand how wonderful you are, do you?" Kaworu said finally, and leaned up to kiss Shinji on the forehead.

Even Shinji knew the significance of that somehow, a kiss of protection.

"You deserve so much happiness, Shinji," Kaworu said, holding the boy's head to his chest, kissing at Shinji's hair now, and Shinji had never felt so safe. So much like he was home, when home was where someone loved him. Then Kaworu slid down Shinji, finally kissing him on the lips, and Shinji knew Kaworu would show him.

It made him blush, but with happiness. With anyone else he would have been far more afraid, too afraid to be alone together in their room the first day he knew them, too afraid to stay that close after being touched in the bath, but this was Kaworu.

A gentle soul, a gentle light that concealed all of Shinji's imperfections. That kissed each centimeter of his face, caressed lines down his back with gentle hands that removed every knot built up over these months of constant attack from every side. "Ka-Kaworu," Shinji finally said apologetically, embarrassed when he found himself starting to rub against the other pilot, because until then this had felt too pure for something like that. Sex was supposed to be base and disgusting, and Kaworu was...


Kaworu had just smiled happily and said, "I'm glad you like it, Shinji." Then kissed each of Shinji's reddened cheeks, and made it clear that this was alright too by slipping his hands down inside the back of Shinji's pants, the heels of his hands digging into the small of Shinji's back and his fingers cupping and rubbing the muscle there too, guiding Shinji to move not just against him but back into those hands, because even as tension built up in his groin, the release of tension felt so good. "It's instinct among the Lilim: even your bodies need the touch and care of others. I want you to understand that you are loved."

Shinji didn't want Kaworu to think Shinji didn't believe him, but he already understood what Kaworu was saying. Those hands, how they touched him over and over, not hurting him but making him feel better, soothing the hurts dealt by others: he recognized this somehow, unlike the words 'I love you.' Some part of him knew what it meant, that someone was taking this care with his body, this care to make him feel good.

It almost hurt when Kaworu got some of the knots out, because Shinji had spent that time tensed in anticipation of a blow, and so not being tensed: he had to be safe to be without that pain.

With his hands, Kaworu was showing Shinji what it was to be safe. What it was to have someone make sure that he was safe, that he didn't have to be afraid.

Maybe that was when Shinji dared to lick, just a little, at the side of Kaworu's neck. He tasted of the sea, of salt and sweetness and just a touch of LCL, and maybe that was when Shinji relaxed entirely, put himself entirely in Kaworu's hands, because the same part of him that knew that Kaworu's touches meant lover and love already knew that Kaworu wasn't human.

But that just made it safer, because humans always hurt Shinji. This was proof, to the dreaming part of his mind, that Kaworu wasn't like them. Kaworu was Kaworu.

"It's alright, Shinji," Kaworu said, finally pulling Shinji to sit up, to help him remove his shirt, smiling as Shinji bunches his hands in Kaworu's as permission to pull it up. "I'll protect you."

Impossible to be afraid then, because Kaworu had proven with those hands that those hands will never hurt him, and soon it was proven with those gentle lips as well, with all of Kaworu's body.

Shinji liked it, actually. Feeling Kaworu inside him afterwards. Kaworu licked up every drop that comes from Shinji and smiled at him, not to clean Shinji up or anything but because Kaworu liked it. Liked to see that he made Shinji feel good, liked to see the expression on Shinji's face as he looked down at that pale, pale tongue and those smiling, dark red eyes that may look like they hold a secret but it can only be a good kind of surprise.

Maybe Kaworu was thinking of what they could do in the shower next.

Kaworu told Shinji to just rest when they were done, and stroked him until he went to sleep. When Shinji woke up, it was because he could feel Kaworu on his skin even though they weren't touching yet. Like sunlight. No, moonlight, because sunlight burns. He told Kaworu this and savored that delighted smile, that he'd managed to make Kaworu happy.

Kaworu left to get lunches for them both, and Shinji tried to say he had no appetite but Kaworu coaxed him to eat. Shinji didn't know if he discovered that he was hungry because he just, well, exercised earlier or if he wants to eat if it's Kaworu feeding him. This was one more way that Kaworu was trying to take care of him, to show him love, he realized, and almost ate until he was sick. He did eat until he was comfortably stuffed, and then the two of them fell asleep, together this time, all curled up.

He woke with Kaworu's mouth around him, and in a small voice managed to say that it was unfair that Kaworu was wearing clothes.

He was so beautiful, with that moonpale skin. Even more beautiful when he smiled.

Shinji felt warm and sleepy after they were done, but also hungry again. Somehow they ended up making a game of Kaworu feeding him: Shinji keeps his eyes closed and has to guess where the chopsticks are coming from. Well, first it was Kaworu's lips, and he was rewarded with a kiss when he found them, then it was those gentle hands, and the compliments when Shinji can even find the chopsticks make him blush. It was like he could see Kaworu even with his eyes closed, see that smile.

He fell asleep again with Kaworu's hands rubbing the small of his back, working out the stiffness that remains there.

They had to go for testing later in the afternoon, and it was so hard not to touch Kaworu in the locker rooms. Even with his back turned to Kaworu, Shinji still knew he was there and afterwards Shinji managed to shyly insist on doing with his mouth what Kaworu did for him, while Kaworu leaned back against the lockers and Shinji looked up at him with wondering blue eyes, feeling almost overwhelmed by the knowledge it was him making Kaworu look like this. That he was responsible for the way Kaworu finally went from looking warmly down at Shinji and stroking his hair to his head thrown back and his eyes tight shut, gasping for breath.

Afterward, Kaworu pulled Shinji up to taste it on his lips, lapping at them as Shinji felt heat pool in his stomach, and they wouldn't have left the showers until lights out that time either if Shinji's stomach hadn't growled.

He felt so light as he went home with Kaworu, hand in hand, matching smiles of delight on their faces. Kaworu changed the sheets, since they didn't need a bed on the ground for Shinji anymore, and with the sheets full of musk and sweat gone the room smelled like Kaworu.

Shinji woke up in the middle of the night, somehow knowing that Kaworu was awake and smiling down at him, and afterwards Kaworu insisted on being the one to go get more food again. "Let me take care of you," he said, stroking Shinji's back, and even though Shinji liked taking care of people it was such a joy to have someone want to pamper him, to worry about his health and how he was so thin.

As he lay there half-asleep he wondered if he was eating so much more because he was happier or because of all the exercise. Probably both, he decided, yawning and snuggling into where Kaworu lay (mostly, they moved around on that bed a lot) to feel his warmth and breathe in the scent of him.

He dreamed that he was growing, like the world was expanding around him or he was expanding into it. Like he was unfolding somehow: instead of being curled into a fearful ball he could relax now, and stretch, lying there listening to the universe and emanating out into the world around him. It was such a clearly fantastical thought, that there was so much more Shinji than this body could contain, that there was light inside him the way Kaworu was such a bright presence, that he wasnt' surprised when he imagined that he could feel Kaworu coming back.

When it turned out that he was right he was too happy that Kaworu was back, too happy to have Kaworu feed him and kiss at his lips and his neck and his chest to wonder at it.

Shinji wasn't worried when he woke up the next morning to find Kaworu gone because he'd felt him go, warmth brushing against Shinji like that in Kaworu's smile before he left. He got up to shower, and change the sheets himself this time. He couldn't help squeezing them and breathing in the scent of them, not because he missed Kaworu but because… Kaworu, and it was startling how clean they smelled, after all the things they did together. Not like Shinji's sheets after dreams, but then Kaworu liked to clean Shinji, rub him down like polishing something precious, and, well, Shinji imagined he could still feel Kaworu inside him, soaking into him, so that wasn't in the sheets, either. They still stunk a little of Shinji and his sweat, so he changed them anyway, and showered.

Kaworu was pleased that Shinji was awake when he got back, but seemed to feel the need to mark Shinji all over again, reddening his lips with kisses, suckling at his neck and his nipples and elsewhere, covering Shinji's body with his own. "I saw Misato while I was out: she seems well," he said while Shinji was panting on his lap, and had to repeat himself because it was like the first time they bathed together and Shinji was too buried in his presence to actually listen to what he was saying.

All Shinji could do was make a questioning sound, because why was Kaworu bringing up Misato? Kaworu just smiled, and slid his cheek against Shinji's, thrusting up again and touching him with hands that know Shinji so well, knew enough to wring pleased sobs from him, pleading cries for more and "Ah, Kaworu!" until Shinji finally collapsed against his chest and Kaworu now had to fall back, Shinji's body wringing him dry until they were both looking at each other with equally sleepy, half-lidded eyes. Kaworu looked happy, pleased by something, and Shinji wondered if it was more than just making Shinji feel good, although that was certainly part of it.

When Shinji next stumbled into the bathroom, his mind was too full of Kaworu to notice that that his eyes weren't just dark because his pupils were a little dilated, they had actually changed hue to a startling purple, red showing through the blue.

His eyes were closed during the sync test, both to focus on the Eva and because he was still tired, pleasantly wrung out, but Misato stopped him in the hall afterwards anyway, when he and Rei were the first to be let out. "Shinji?" she asked.

"Yes, Misato?" Shinji sighed and turned to look at her. He'd known Misato was coming but he felt too tired to talk to her. He was tired of being hurt, even though he didn't blame her. He knew she didn't mean it, and he was happy enough right now that everything seems brighter, like he was seeing everything for the first time. Shinji felt like he was glowing with inner happiness, the same way Kaworu was.

In the dim corridor her searching look didn't find anything, but she still asked, "Are you alright?"

Shinji could nod, and even smile a bit, because this was where Kaworu had asked him to go to the shower together. He felt warm, remembering how Kaworu had touched his hand.

"He hasn't… done anything weird, has he?" Misato asked, looking worried.

"No," Shinji said, puzzled. "He's been very kind." That would have been weird to him before, he remembered. It had been new and strange when he met Kaworu, but now that he understood Kaworu it wasn't strange or weird at all. Kaworu was just... so very kind.

"That's good," Misato said, although she didn't look certain of that. "Shinji… when are you coming home?"

It took a moment for him to make sense out of that, to realize that she meant her home instead of Kaworu's room. "Um… I guess I should pick up my cello. And some more of my clothes." He'd been wearing the same outfit for awhile now, huh, although Kaworu had washed them with the sheets for him. "And Kaworu doesn't have a kitchen, so I'd like to cook for him. Is that alright, Misato?"

Now she was the one who had to figure out what his question meant. Why was he asking if he could cook at 'their' apartment? "You mean having him over for dinner? Sure. I'd like to meet this Kaworu." Who Shinji was referring to with such familiarity already.

Shinji nodded, smiling, because of course. He was so happy he'd met Kaworu. "Here he comes now," he said, turning to the door.

"Hmm?" Misato said, a moment before the panels slid apart to reveal Kaworu.

He smiled at her, but there was a note there that was different from when he smiled at Shinji as he walked towards them. "Is something wrong, Shinji?"

"No, Misato just wondered when I would get my things," Shinji said, not noticing when Misato opened her mouth to say that that wasn't what she'd said at all before closing it, still watching Kaworu. "Come with me, Kaworu: I want to make dinner for you."

"That would be wonderful, Shinji," Kaworu said, taking Shinji's hand and shifting to stand very close to Shinji, which made Misato take a step back since it was one thing to be in Shinji's personal space, but another to be in that of a stranger. Kaworu's smile went back to normal then, pleased that Misato had stepped away from his Shinji, and Shinji realized with a blush that Kaworu hadn't liked how close Misato was to him, how she'd put her hand on Shinji's shoulder for a moment to get his attention. He considered saying that Kaworu didn't need to be so protective, but Misato had hurt him before, even if it was by accident, and Shinji liked that Kaworu wanted to protect him, so he just blushed a deeper red, lowering his eyes and enjoying it. "But we need to shower, and I'm sure Misato has other duties: what time should we be there?" Kaworu looked a little disappointed by the thought that, "We'll need to get there before dinner, won't we. So you can cook," but he brightened, saying, "I'd like to help, Shinji, although I don't know how to cook at all."

"I'm sure you'll be a big help, Kaworu," Shinji said, squeezing his hand. It wouldn't be hard to be more help than Misato or Asuka. "We'll have to pick up ingredients on the way, too." He even looked forward to walking through the ruined city he'd failed to protect if Kaworu was there, holding his hand.

"I'll have to learn to cook," Kaworu said, tilting his head. "It's something Lilim do for those they love, so it must be almost as great an achievement as song."

"Lilim?" Misato asked, although it was the world love that was even more responsible for the raised eyebrow.

"The children of Lilith, the Black Seed," Kaworu told her, tilting his head. "As opposed to the other angels, the children of Adam. Since all of them are genetically human, each of the angels is different enough to be a different species and humanity is technically an angel, GEHIRN coined the term 'Lilim' so they could talk about their type of angel specifically without using 'human' and being imprecise. You've never heard that term before?"

"Their type of angel?"

Kaworu nodded, looking a little surprised. "Humans are angels and angels are humans, just like the Eva. So far, all of the angels have been made up of particle wave matter, but… Well," he said, smiling. "Rei and I are the same: I was raised by SEELE to fight the angels, so I haven't spent as much time as I would like with ordinary Li-people who don't know classified terminology. Shinji has been very kind about my mistakes."

"That's not true, Kaworu," Shinji said, squeezing his hand. "You've been very polite." Much nicer than Asuka. Well, there was the personal space thing at the beginning, but that was just Kaworu being nice, and Shinji was glad he was like that. Kaworu beamed at him, and Shinji felt himself glow with happiness. "I'm just glad you've been putting up with me," and his awkwardness, and…

"Shinji… You still don't understand the position that you're in," Kaworu said fondly, raising his hand to touch Shinji's cheek. Didn't understand how much Kaworu would do for him.

"No, although if you haven't met many other people who weren't like Gendo, maybe that explains why you liked me so fast," Shinji said, looking up at Misato and shrugging a little. Misato being here reminded him of how strange it was for people to be as nice to him as Kaworu was, and so soon after meeting him.

"You like him?" Misato asked Kaworu, clearly skeptical of the idea. It hurt, that Misato didn't believe someone like Kaworu could possibly like Shinji, and his face paled. Kaworu turned, alerted to Shinji's heartache somehow, and he frowned for the first time Shinji remembered.

He turned back to Misato, not glaring at her but smiling sharply, clearly offended for Shinji's sake. "Yes. He has a kind and delicate heart, and I don't understand how anyone could not love him, how so many people could have been so cruel as to leave him with any doubt that he could possibly be worth loving." Perhaps there was an edge of contempt there, because if Misato was one of those people who had hurt Shinji? If she couldn't see how worth loving Shinji was, she was a fool.

"It's okay, Kaworu," Shinji said, because Misato wasn't a bad person and he didn't want her and Kaworu to fight, but he was still happy that Kaworu jumped to his defense. "Misato took me in when my father called me here. She's nice, really."

Kaworu regarded her as they stood in the shadowy corridor, remaining quiet for a few more moments, his body slightly between her and Shinji before he relaxed a little, ducking his head in apology. "I see. I'm glad that Shinji has other people who worry about him. I do love Shinji. Very much," he said, turning back to Shinji and stepping away, just a little, so she could see the joined hands that connected them. "I think… No, I know I was born to meet you."

"Well, doesn't that sound like a cheesy pick-up line," Misato said, and tried to laugh off the flash of suspicion in her eyes, her hands still on her thin hips. "I guess you really weren't let out much, were you?"

"You're fighting the angels, and you don't believe in fate?" he asked her, curious. "What about the prophecies?"

Shinji felt Misato's flash of interest like a physical force: it looked like her eyes lit up. "Prophecies?"

Kaworu nodded: yes, prophecies.

"So you were raised by SEELE: just how much did they tell you?" When Misato reached out to put her hand on Kaworu's arm now, to hold him here to make him answer her questions, it was Shinji that pulled him away, suddenly jealous. Misato was a very attractive woman, after all.

"Sorry, Misato, but we need to get showered! I'll see you later for dinner!"

Kaworu wasn't fooled by Shinji's excuses: when the door closed behind him he smiled and said, "I'm glad I'm not the only one. I want to keep you all to myself sometimes." Kaworu started kissing Shinji, both of them somehow removing each other's plugsuits and making it to the showers with their eyes closed, the world made up of light, warmth and each other.

Shinji almost purred as Kaworu's hands combed through his hair over and over under the heated water, not noticing the dark brown strands that fell to be washed away down the drain and out of sight, nor did he notice the scorching heat of the water, enough that when the two of them suddenly sank down to the bottom of the stall, tired, the skin Kaworu caressed was several shades lighter.

Shinji didn't notice that either, not even when they left the baths to gulp down cans of coffee and juice to fill Shinji up long enough to survive the shopping trip. He still bought more than he really should have, especially since Kaworu insisted on paying, but Kaworu nibbled on his ear when they were in a deserted corner of the store and said he liked feeding Shinji, so Shinji kind of did want Kaworu to have things to feed him so he didn't have to leave to get food tomorrow…

They walked hand-in-hand to Misato's apartment, Shinji carrying the things for dinner and Kaworu carrying the much bigger collection of bags of food for tomorrow, and midnight snacks, and all the things that Shinji wanted to feed Kaworu since he'd never tried them before.

"Misato, we're here!" Shinji called when he came in the well-lighted apartment, instead of 'I'm home.' He didn't notice that but Misato did, as she sat in her room looking through Kaji's files and wondering what sort of leading questions it might be safe to ask Kaworu, if he really was as naïve about SEELE's secrets as it seemed. He must understand secrets and trickery if he was concealing himself around humans… Or would he? It was the committee that had made him in that human form, according to the Magi and Ritsuko's best guess. The other angels either couldn't or wouldn't communicate: it was possible that he either didn't understand or wouldn't assign any importance to concealing human matters, although she wasn't going to press him about his identity. Not yet.

"I'll be out in a second, Shinji!" she called, closing files and putting away the more incriminating documents.

"That's fine: I'll just get started."

When she came out, he had his head bent over the counter just like always, showing Kaworu how thinly to slice a radish and how to hold the knife so he didn't cut himself. Kaworu seemed much more interested in Shinji's ear, doing something she couldn't see that made Shinji laugh and turn to kiss his cheek, she saw as she walked around the kitchenette into the living area.

Misato didn't notice how pale Shinji was right away, not next to Kaworu. Having lively chatter in her apartment was so pleasant that she let herself just sit there with a beer for a bit and watch them, the worry in the pit of her stomach gradually lessening the more she heard the doting fondness in Kaworu's voice, how he so very gently scolded or corrected Shinji every he said something self-critical. Lots of humans who hadn't had cynicism beaten into them yet believed in fated romances, right? Ah, to be young and stupid again.

Kaworu had his arms around Shinji a little more than was practical when Shinji was trying to cook, glancing at Misato out of the corners of red eyes to make sure she knew that Shinji was his, and precious to him.

If he was newborn back then, he would be half-human, and fifteen, and Misato was almost starting to think that he might be different from the other angels when Shinji finished and came to the table.

When she got a good look at Shinji's eyes and was shocked enough to spit out the mouthful of beer she'd just taken.

It wasn't just that they were purple. That might have been a, a trick of the light or contacts or… Shinji's eyes were glowing, just softly, not when he looked at her but when he looked at Kaworu. She hadn't seen that before and it should have been far more obvious in NERV's dimly lit corridors, unless whatever was happening to Shinji, whatever the angel was doing to Shinji, was getting worse.

"What's wrong, Misato?" Shinji asked, shocked, as he tried to wipe the beer off his face.

"Shinji," she said, trying to sound calm, "Why don't you go into the bathroom and wash up? Take a good look at your face, I think you got something else on it while cooking," she managed, although the last part sounded like a complete fabrication or excuse even to her.

"…Okay?" he answered, wondering what on earth she was talking about, purple eyes blinking at her under hair that seemed a paler brown, touched with silver.

Kaworu reached out to run a hand down Shinji's back as he left, his own eyes glowing softly, dotingly.

"What did you do to him?" she demanded, leaning forward with her palms on the table as soon as the door closed behind Shinji and she heard the sound of running water.

The angel simply smiled, serenity untouched by fear, much less guilt. "He will not be touched by age or illness. The light of his soul will shine freely like the sun he is in my eyes."

"You're turning him into an angel," she knew, hands clenching into fists.

"Shinji was born an angel," he corrected her. "Just like you are an angel yourself, Misato. The breed of angel that caused Second Impact, but you know that, don't you? SEELE knew Kaji knew too much, and you've guessed too much too quickly for him not to have told you more than just the truth of what happened that day, and to your father, before one of NERV's agents silenced him. Why should I let Lilith have Shinji, when she let her children experience such brief, fragile lives full of pain? How could I leave him unprotected, when those who arranged Second Impact, including his own father, will try to destroy him along with everything else in order to bring about their vision of Third Impact? He has such a beautiful heart of glass, such a precious soul… I couldn't let it be shattered," he said, closing his eyes and smiling to himself. How ridiculous the thought of leaving Shinji a mere Lilim was, indeed. Such pitiful creatures. Not that Tabris intended to give this blessing to all of them, no. Shinji was such a special, precious existence.

"Will you kill me?" he wondered, not needing to open his eyes to know that she had pointed her gun at him. "What then? I am the Seventeenth Angel, Tabris, but you are the Eighteenth Angel, Lilim. Will you exterminate your own kind, Misato? Killing ever last angel: are you truly willing to kill children like yourself and men like your father, as they try to protect them? Kill Shinji?" His eyes opened now, still calm but with a force of presence that felt as though he was staring her down. "I won't let you or anyone else harm Shinji."

"How dare you talk about my father!"

"I didn't mean to hurt you, but Lilim existence is pain. You lash out because of it, even at those who are blameless. You care for Shinji, and yet the way he reacts to you proves that you have hurt him, over and over. If Shinji didn't wish it, I would never have let him come here, given you another chance to hurt him." And if she didn't put the gun away before Shinji came back, if she made him regret that decision, they were going to have a problem.

Kaworu turned away from her, somehow knowing that Shinji was coming before the bathroom door opened. "Kaworu…" Don't fight: that was part of what Shinji was saying, but from the way his hand touched his face he'd seen what Misato wanted him to see.

Even so, when Kaworu reached out to him he came to lean against Kaworu's chest and let the angel wrap that arm around him. "I'm changing, aren't I? My eyes, my hair: they're becoming like Rei's. And I smell like you now."

"It was selfish of me not to warn you," Kaworu admitted. "Yes: I am making you mine."

Shinji wasn't surprised by this: touched, not surprised, but "Why do I look so much like Rei?"

"The two of us are the same," the angel said, nodding. "Except she is only born of the Black Seed."

"Will I need medication like she does?" All those pills?

Misato stared: that was what Shinji was worried about?

Kaworu laughed. "No, that's because the children of the Black Seed have to fear things like death and illness. I am my father's child, even if one he didn't choose to bear. You don't need to fear, Shinji: your body will adapt to protect you, instead of turning on you and destroying itself." Just like Kaworu would protect him, from the way he tucked Shinji's head under his chin.

"So you don't want to be reunited with Adam?"

"When that would destroy my self, and yours?" Not only die himself, but destroy Shinji? "Never."

Shinji let out a sigh of relief now, relaxing in the angel's arms because he didn't need anything else.

Kaworu nuzzled his hair. "The old men are fools, to think that instrumentality would give them what they want. 'All who have at least one true companion, rejoice with us: those who do not, must creep tearfully away from our circle.' They have rejected others, rejected the hope for the future that Lilim need to survive, since all they can do is try to forget their pain of their lonely existence. The immortality and unity they seek in Third Impact is nothing but death, Shinji. They don't deserve this. But you do. When you've endured so much and yet your heart has remained fragile and kind, when you've fought to protect a world that treats you so coldly… Your soul shines so brightly, Shinji. You deserve every blessing, every joy."

"Kaworu," Shinji said, opening his mouth and looking up at Kaworu with glowing, half-lidded eyes.

"I'm glad you don't mind," Kaworu said, after tasting those lips. "Because it's too late to stop it. Your body is already half like mine: it would turn on itself the way that of Lilith's vessel tries to, if it weren't for the medications that suppress the Lilim form's rejection of all that is different. That's why you've been so hungry, why you've slept after every time you let me come within you: such a transformation takes time, and energy. You are being rebuilt, reborn. Shinji, feeling your soul open like a flower, no longer walling all else out like a Lilim but shining so brightly…" Kaworu mmmed, kissing him again. "Surely I was born just to meet you, not to grant them their desires but to grant all that you never wished for because you don't understand how much you deserve."

Misato saw him squeeze the other boy, Shinji too touched to say anything.

"You must eat, and I want to taste what you've made for me," Kaworu said finally, both him and Misato able to see that Shinji was entirely placated, entirely willing to be turned into an angel if it was by Kaworu.

The pilot of Eva 01 blushed prettily. "I did make it for you. I… it's not much." Wasn't enough for Kaworu, and Shinji almost wanted to tell him not to eat this, they should get something better, but Kaworu smiled.

"I'm sure it will be wonderful. You still don't understand what your position is." How important he was to Kaworu and this world.

Misato sighed, tapping her foot. "You'll need contacts. And hair dye." And they would be spending the night here. Friends close, enemies closer. "In return, I need to know what you know about SEELE and Gendo's plans." She could kill him after she found out what she needed to know.

"Can we talk about this after dinner?" Shinji asked. He didn't want anything to burn or Kaworu's food to get cold. He even went so far as to nudge Kaworu away just a little when Kaworu leaned down to kiss him for being precious.

Kaworu seemed willing to stay mostly since having a refrigerator gave him more options for feeding Shinji, and he could carry Shinji out to the living room (bridal-style) so Shinji could yawn sweetly and tell him how to make things for him until Shinji fell asleep or woke up enough that he said something that made Kaworu start making out with him and then they went back to Shinji's bedroom.

He really did seem willing, no, determined to spoil the boy, pleased to just sit there and stroke Shinji's hair as the pilot fell asleep with his head in Kaworu's lap while he and Misato discussed Kaji's evidence and SEELE's probable tactics. "Love at first sight?" she couldn't help asking cynically at one point, because really?

"You can't see his soul," he reminded her. "The light of the soul is the true name of what you Lilim call the AT field. He has been hurt so much and endured: remained kind and unwilling to harm others. Remained a soul who wishes to help others instead of hating the world like the old men of SEELE. He is proof the Lilim deserve to endure, as flawed as you are and as painful as your existences are."

"Flawed?" she asked, raising an eyebrow?

He did the same. "You age, you die, you can't fly or deflect bullets." Compared to the other angels, that was pretty weak. "I'm only fifteen, but I will live eternally: even if I die, my soul will continue to exist as long as my self isn't destroyed, as it would be if I merged with Adam. Shinji…" He was so frail compared to Kaworu, and she could see the concern in the young angel's eyes. "The old men of SEELE are very concerned with their health, and surviving until instrumentality. I am more aware than is comfortable of how fragile Lilim are. Of how Shinji could have been taken away from me at any moment." And that? That was unthinkable. How could he leave Shinji human, how could he even give Shinji the option of remaining that way, when he could fall down some stairs and Kaworu would lose him forever? She could see the memory of fear in his eyes, as well as the contentment he clearly felt, watching over his lover and gauging the progress of this transformation. "SEELE will lose their patience with me before very long. We should go tonight, Misato: Shinji wouldn't want you caught in the crossfire."

"They'll go after him?"

"To get to me? Yes. You as well, if I don't succeed in making it clear that I despise you for distracting my pet Lilim from me." He kept stroking Shinji like a pet, his hair and down his back, scratching a little and making Shinji hum in his sleep, pushing against Kaworu. "I'm worried about Rei: Unit 01 will reject her and Unit 02 will choose me over her, but Gendo Ikari might order her to attack me herself. Normally that wouldn't worry me, but with Shinji to protect…" He looked far more human when he was worried, not for himself but the prospect of losing a loved one. "Shinji…"

"Mmm, Kaworu." The pilot stirred at the sound of his name. "I feel like a flower…"

"Hmm? As your soul opens to the world?" Kaworu asked, but Shinji just shifted a little and went back to sleep, if he'd really woken up in the first place. Kaworu smiled, not minding at all: his Shinji needed his sleep.

"You will return Commander Ikari's pilot," the blue-haired girl ordered.

"I won't allow him to hurt Shinji anymore," the angel answered her, voice low and calm and all the more dangerous for that inner peace born of absolute certainty.

A yawn behind him, and a blue-white glow. "Kaworu?"

"Yes, Shinji?"

Red eyes opened slowly, smiling at the angel and blinking at her. "Gmorning, Rei." Another little yawn, as Kaworu floated back to perch on the bed, keeping a wary eye on Rei but devoting the bulk of his attention to Shinji. "I don't want to pilot the Eva."

"You don't have to, Shinji," Kaworu told him, smiling down at his lover. "No one can make you do anything you don't want, not anymore."

Rei watched him pet that soft hair the color of birch bark and wondered at the nature of the feeling in her gut, when Kaworu looked so happy and Shinji so content, sitting up now to kiss the cheek of his angel.

Ah, yes, she realized as two pairs of hands clasped, Kaworu rising up off the bed again and pulling up gently, coaxing Shinji to fly with him, the newborn angel's very first time.

That was it.


Alternate ending:

"I'm glad I could speak of this to you now, and I'm glad you will have Misato's help."

"What? What do you mean?"

He smiled, pale and etherial like the fog, something that would slip through Shinji's hands. "I was born from Adam. I refuse to sacrifice myself to revive him, turning all life on Earth into part of the White Seed, but I have no choice but to go to him eventually."

Horrified once-blue eyes looked at him as Shinji pulled back so they could see almost eye-to-eye, gripping Kaworu's shoulders tightly. "Kaworu, no…"

"I'm sorry, Shinji," he said, regretful but made too happy by Shinji's presence to be sad. "But now that you possess this power, you will live. Neither Adam nor Lilith will have the power to call you, when you are reborn of me, and the old men won't be able to hurt you. Yours is the existence that should go on into the future, and once I have made sure of that… How will I be able to feel anything but joy, that I had the chance to meet you? That you will live, because of my love for you?"

Feedback is always appreciated, but especially on this one.