Something interesting is how Shinji just ups and leaves. I really get the sense that he'd wander away from his teacher and just come back a few days later, which of course contributed to the knowledge that there wasn't anyone who really cared what happened to him. Either they didn't really miss him, or it was just one more annoying thing he did (another cry for help unanswered) and they knew he'd be back eventually.

He's amazingly casual about it, even though Rebuild!Shinji seems to actually be worse than anime!Shinji at finding places to sleep out of the rain and such in a city - interesting that the 'later' Shinji is the less competent one when it comes to surviving as a homeless person. Even so the prospects of sleeping out there, of trying to find food, of wandering around in the rain don't daunt him: my concept of Rebuild!Shinji found being followed more annoying than the rain. And of course the people who were following him never bothered to try to talk to him, or spot him a meal or help him find a better place to sleep… This Shinji is used to being surrounded by people who do not care about his welfare.

There's definitely a stray cat element to Rebuild!Shinji, especially in 1.11: he wants shelter and companionship and all those things, but he knows better on some level.

In this 'verse, he did have someone who cared what happened to him, but that just meant he had company when he went out exploring and came back a few days later. There are a lot of references in The Cat Who to how Tabris is concerned about Shinji's ability to survive, there are caches and Shinji knows how to identify edible plants and fish and so on.

This Shinji's street smarts would be less developed than Rebuild!Shinji's, since although he had someone teaching him Survival 101 it was someone who couldn't really teach him how to deal with Lilim, but his survival skills are much more developed (finding/building better shelter, etc.) than Rebuild's.

It wasn't hard to pass for Kaworu. Shinji knew these people, was a silent observer to most of the conversations they had with SEELE's Boy. Even if the survivor was his Kaworu, his Tabby-cat, Misato scattered his memories. Shinji thought he could do a better job passing for Kaworu right now than Ka-the survivor could, if questioned, because at least his memories are intact. He wasn't watching Kaworu all the time, not when there was Rei to train and worry about and try to protect, try to salvage her memories every time Gendo killed her, but pretty close. So he should know everything they'd expect Kaworu to know.

He, he did his best to save the person who wanted to save him, wanted him to be happy, and yet… The world was still in danger, so he hadn't really saved it yet, even if he had stopped angels. Had he really saved anyone, anyone at all?

Did it really count as saving Rei when Gendo killed her afterwards, when he kept killing her?

He couldn't lend his strength to plants the way Kaworu did, but he remembered Kaworu's routine. Knew how to play the piano, too, although there was no joy to be found in sitting here, on the bench. Just memories. Kaworu talking about music, Kaworu singing a lullaby for Shinji inside his head (so his aunt and uncle wouldn't hear) when he was a little kid. He knew he was never going to be able to hear classical music again without thinking about Kaworu.

The greatest achievements of Lilim culture. The fruit of thousands of years trying to figure out how to reach out to each other, despite everything in the way.

The one person who reached out to Shinji, when he was an abandoned child. The one person on this planet who acted like adults were supposed to act. Who cared about something, anything other than himself.

Misato might say she was trying to save the world, but screams for vengeance echoed past her shields. Asuka's desire to be the best, Gendo's raving loneliness, willing to destroy everyone else as long as he got what he wanted…

Shinji had to close his eyes then, take a deep breath, focus. Because people were always looking at Kaworu. Kaworu attracted attention in cat form or human form. And a lot of these people were SEELE's.

If they saw hatred in their angel's eyes? If a kind, serene being clenched his fists? They'd know that something was very, very wrong. Kaworu was capable of anger, even if he wasn't very good at it, but none of these people had seen him like that. How furious he was with Gendo, with a man willing to smash a world, including its children, destroy the future of the Lilim and hurt Shinji just to get what he wanted?

So he had to keep smiling, at least until Rei found the spear. Until they knew, one way or another.

The hesitant concern, like someone touching the back of his hand, wanting to ask if he was alright without intruding? Just a reminder that the angel was there, but what if it wasn't the right angel?

Shinji could keep him caged away from the rest of his mind, but even though he wanted to wall out all sensation he still wanted to feel Tabris. Wanted to know that he was alright.

Misato might have just killed Kaworu, and she didn't really care. He could feel that it was mostly that she was burnt out, that too many people had died, and it was the numbness as much as the anger that sustained her, but he wanted to kill her. To hurt her. He wanted it so much. Just as much as he hated his father, hated SEELE.

He could go for a walk, see the green: nature had always made him feel better, but who was it who showed him nature? Who taught him the names of the plants, and what they fed, what they sheltered?

The same person who taught him music, who lifted him up and adjusted his hands as he tried to play an instrument that was really too big for him.

"I found it," Rei said, touching his mind carefully, with more of a trace of fear amidst the apology.

He didn't want to hurt her… but part of him did, because how could she think of Earth at a time like this?

He closed red eyes and put his arms on the piano, pillowing a silver head on borrowed hands.

The eyes he opened were Rei's.

A cavernous warehouse, in a bunker deep underground. They would never have been able to find this if Rei hadn't found the workers in the computer system and Shinji hadn't gone looking for the information in their minds until they had enough for it to be worth Rei's time to go looking for it.

Kaworu was going to be very upset with Shinji for trespassing in someone's mind, but 'candy from a baby' was the term and Kaworu would have to be alive to reprimand him, he thought as he placed someone else in control of this body.

The spear didn't light up when the First Angel put his hand on it.

Rei and, and Adam could still feel it respond.

The lances were half of what made a carrier admin a carrier admin, and all of what made it legal for a carrier admin to be as powerful as they were. Something to keep that power under control. In order to control the light of the soul, they had to act on an angel's soul, the inside of their mind. And since they were so fragile on that level? They had to be tailor-made for each angel. Tethys, ice-bound Tethys of the 'measure three times and then make it bigger so we don't have to do it twice' philosophy had made their first angel an ordinary angel instead of a carrier admin because they didn't have the infrastructure and decades of testing necessary to reliably make lances yet. It was easy to make replica lances that would kill, that could fit through an angel's AT field just far enough to reach the vulnerable areas. It was hard to make ones that would act properly on the targeted areas of their unconscious minds.

That would let them disengage safety features. That would let them terraform a planet without reformatting it first or debugging it afterwards.

Tabris had used the Spear of Cassius on Rei and Shinji because having Adam's soul in his body meant it responded to him even if it wouldn't really work for or on him, and Shinji's presence in the partial merge meant he could shield Rei from anything that might have damaged her soul.

Rei was thinking that now they could fix the world, the world where Lilith's children lived (and also cats) and Shinji had rarely felt so alone.

How could she think of that now? Did she see Shinji as her family at all, when he'd lost his family and there was something else that was more important to her? It was just the fate of the world!

Arms around him now, Rei must have made herself another body… Two sets of arms around him now.

A familiar voice murmured something, and no, it was not going to be okay, how could it ever be okay again?

"You betrayed me," Shinji found himself thinking. "Just like my mother." By dying and leaving him alone… Except it was cruel of him to even think that. It wasn't like Tabris had wanted to leave him alone. How could he think something so cruel?

To make the person who was not Tabris suffer the way Tabris would have suffered? To make him stop holding Shinji, to make him stop reminding Shinji of someone who was dead, the only person who… Rei was still his family, Rei still cared what happened to him and he knew that, but maybe it was that he was only one among Lilith's billions of children?

He knew that it was selfish of him to want Rei to care that he was unhappy more than about the world. He didn't really care. So what if he was selfish sometimes?! It was called being human! It wasn't like he wanted to kill everyone to get Tabris back!

Tabris would have stared at Shinji, horrified, as though he was the second coming of Lorenz Keel, and blamed himself. Wondering how he could have gone so wrong, blaming himself for what Shinji would have chosen to do, dammit. Always thinking about other people, never about himself, and how much of that was the guilt and how much was just Tabris?

Was this what Tabris had wanted? They could fix the world now. Shinji could survive, and have children, and forests for those children to play in, and music for them to listen to and it was kind of impossible to give a damn about that.

"I thought you'd never leave me," he said to the person whose soul was a little like his mentor's, his brother's, his father's. "Not like my father or my mother, you were better than them." Such a good person, good enough that Shinji could trust them even though betrayal like that should have taught him never to trust anyone. That the people he thought loved him would just leave him, just abandon him, because they'd never cared about him in the first place. Because no one would ever really love him.

And he knew that was what SEELE and Gendo wanted him to think, but he'd known that they were wrong because, because of the person who helped him figure out how to play basketball. And now Tabris was gone too, and there were tears slipping down the cheeks he'd borrowed from Rei. He honestly hadn't noticed until now that he was in a girl's body, since Rei had called him without taking the time to change it first.

There wasn't enough novelty to it for it to distract him for more than a moment. Not any more than the breasts pressed to one of his sides did (he'd never had a chance to hug Rei in human form), not when the chin his head was tucked under was so familiar. The hand that combed through his hair.

A physical connection, since the Lilim needed that to feel loved. "I'm here," said that hand. "You're safe, with someone to guard your back," but Kaworu wasn't there, not anymore. Just an echo, a copy of his Kaworu, pressed onto the soul of someone who had spent billions of years throwing a fit over Lilith starting to terraform earth first. Even if it were ethical, he couldn't try to make Adam into his Kaworu. Like trying to replace a child's pet before they noticed that their goldfish had gone belly-up. Adam cared about him, but that was just an echo of Tabris' feelings for the only child the angel would ever have. Just a reminder of how much Shinji had lost.

So that was why Gendo destroyed every other memento of Yui.

He knew that Kaworu was dead. He knew from the way the great crystal set into this spear (much more elaborate than Lilith's, and once he would have been curious about what it meant about Adam's homeworld, that they'd design it that way) was glowing, startup complete.

He wasn't, he wasn't a child anymore.

He wasn't like Gendo, who tried to make Rei into nothing more than a living photograph to remind him of Yui.

Shinji wanted to keep crying. He wanted to scream. But crying was showing vulnerability, and he couldn't trust anyone. He'd never trusted anyone. The only person he'd ever trusted was dead, and he'd been right there and he hadn't been able to do anything! If only he'd kept Kaworu safe in his mind, if only he'd ignored him when he wanted to focus on Misato and left Shinji's shields! Kaworu had wanted to comfort her, to help her, and she killed him and it wasn't fair!

Nothing was!

Maybe he was still a child.

Maybe he was Gendo's son, to care so much about one person that honestly, he couldn't be happy at all right now. Even if it meant they could save the world.

Maybe he was Gendo's son, because right now, he thought, making a borrowed hand glow with the light of a soul that wasn't his, he really wanted to kill some people. Quite a lot of them.

Gendo fought.

He didn't know what he was doing, and he certainly didn't know what was happening until Shinji was past his shields and had Rei change the body so that it looked like his, so Gendo would know who was killing him.

It would take him awhile to track down SEELE, even with Rei to monitor communications. He'd thought that finding them would be the only challenge, even if planetary humans were supposed to be tougher than angels mind-to-mind.

Fuyutsuki had been tougher than Kaworu, gentle-souled Kaworu. He still hadn't fought. Half because he craved death, and half because Yui's teacher and accessory after the fact to Second Impact (before and after to Third) knew damn well that he deserved to die.

Gendo knew he deserved to die and did not give a fuck.

Images of a teenager, Shinji's age and older and younger, punching someone in the face and ignoring a return blow to grab them by the shirtfront, pull them off balance and send their head smashing down into the pavement. Sinking teeth into a hand someone tried to clamp over his mouth, a vicious "Crazy little bastard!" And he was a bastard. No father, and his mother had left him because she wanted another man to like her and the other man didn't want to deal with a kid. He was a bastard, but so what? So was everyone else.

Everyone except Yui. This world was trash, he wanted to burn it all down, and there was exactly one thing that was worth anything. It wasn't that he wanted to destroy the world for Yui. He just wanted to destroy the world. That Yui wanted him to do it wasn't even an excuse: he didn't need an excuse. The world deserved it, and the world wanted it. And that last part was the only possible reason not to destroy it.

Maybe other people would panic and wonder what was happening. Shinji doubted SEELE had ever faced real danger, the real threat of death. Others might hesitate to unleash their inner beast, the part of them that knew how to kill, that knew things the conscious mind had never needed to learn.

Gendo was a beast, and maybe, for a moment, Shinji almost… appreciated him for it, he thought as he stood there in front of the desk, watching blood pour out of an ear to spread across slick darkness, just like his father's soul.

Because if it was easy, then it would have reminded him of Kaworu's death. If Gendo hadn't fought, then it was possible that the part of Shinji that had been raised by someone who hated the idea of hurting people might have felt guilty.

If it was quick, then he wouldn't have gotten to enjoy it.

It wasn't quite like wrapping his hands around a neck and squeezing. Not even like clawed hands, digging thumbnails into the jugular and feeling warmth flow down his arms, coating his hands until it stopped, the scent of iron filling the air.

This man had hurt him, had tried to kill him without remorse and with more than a little glee of his own when he saw that it was Shinji who would be his death. This man was a monster, this man was his enemy, and he was dead. The world was a cleaner and better place for it.

What made it even better, he thought, was that Adam had refused to help him with this. Because Tabris wouldn't have. And that meant that until he was done with SEELE he wouldn't have to face the reminder of what he had lost.

That didn't mean he wasn't going to hurry, though.

For the world to be restored… wasn't that what Tabris had wanted?

He'd also wanted Shinji to be happy, but even SEELE agreed that reshaping the world was easy compare to that. And what did those old bastards have to be so unhappy about?

Perhaps he'd find out. Perhaps he'd take his time with them.

"So you're supposed to arrest me?"

"Supposed to," Kaji agreed with a relaxed smile as he turned to see Shinji stepping out from behind some bushes. Up here in the hills, it had taken quite awhile to track him down. This was the boy's hometown: he clearly knew these woods like the back of his hand. Well enough to survive here without venturing into town for about eight months: He looked a little thin, but not underfed. "Don't you want a change of scenery? Do you good to get back to civilization." Away from the memories.

"Tomorrow, with snipers," the ex-pilot said, blue eyes looking right though Kaji, and Kaji wished he could do that. Except maybe not. Had it done Shinji all that much good? "You're not supposed to approach me on your own."

"Theoretically it's something like half protective custody?" Kaji mused. "With all the documents Misato and you guys," you guys meaning Rei, since according to Ritsuko angels could make mere mortal computer systems sit up and beg, "dumped, there's evidence that you did save the world." And not just by fixing up the place. Although killing the rest of SEELE, and his own father in cold blood? Kaji knew the feeling, but if people acted on their feelings, well, wasn't that what Gendo and SEELE had done? They'd wanted what they'd wanted, and disregarded every kind of morals and right thinking to get what they wanted.

Kaji did want Shinji locked up. Before he decided he wanted to kill Misato. A psychic assassin and mind-reader, with Lilith backing him up?

Right after Third Impact, it had disgusted Kaji that people wanted Shinji dead for fighting to save the world. Now, now things were a little more negotiable. Now Shinji had blood on his hands, blood he'd damn well chosen to soak them in.

"They know I'm a key to Third Impact, since my real body is Unit 01 now," Shinji said shortly. "The people they have interviewing Rei: why not call themselves the Committee for Human Instrumentality?"

That brought Kaji up short. "You're saying that they're more of SEELE?"

"I'm saying that they want instrumentality. That they want Rei to trigger it for them," Shinji said. "SEELE's ritual needs two angel souls so that they'll interfere with each other, and they're thinking about using me as one of them, since Adam took Bardiel with him." So neither angel would hurt this world any more than they already had.

The lines of questioning, the questions they'd asked Kaji, the parts of his research both the UN and reporters were most interested in echoed in his thoughts as his mind raced. "What Kaworu said," that day when he took him to meet Misato. "SEELE trying to make us all want to die."

"Neither of us should have trusted them," a shake of Shinji's head at the world, "with the truth. Misato knew that, otherwise WILLE would have tried to bust the conspiracy wide open."

Kaji nodded: he'd thought that Misato would want to tell the whole world, it was half of why he'd avoided telling her anything until she tied him to- But she'd known better. Until the seas were blue again, until the last angels except for Lilith were gone, until the world was safe… But then, it wasn't like the world hadn't been in danger of annihilation before Second Impact. Hell, before the invention of the nuke. Mankind's biggest problem was mankind, all along.

"They want their dead families back," Shinji knew. "The way my father wanted my mother. All kinds of people saying I should turn myself in, for that. Give back what I took from them, in Third Impact." A laugh. "I've only got one person I want back, and I couldn't look him in the eye if I killed everyone just so that he could live. No, I can't look him in the eye already. For the Lilim to die, just so that he could live? I'm not going to do that to him. And that means I'm not going to give them what they want, either."

"You have that body because of Rei, right?" Kaji said thoughtfully, looking up at the sky. At where Unit 01 wasn't, because it had been brought down to earth already. UN scientists pouring over it, despite Misato's campaigning to have it destroyed. What was worth the risk of keeping around a doomsday machine like that?

Why, it was almost as though they wanted that thing to destroy them all. "What happens if they tell her to bring you in?" Kaji wanted to know. "If she's the reason you have that body, can't she just?" he waggled his fingers.

"Trap my soul in the Eva, until I lose my Lilim mind and my soul converts to the angelic format, I'm no longer me and there's nothing a mental infant could do to stop them from using me for Fourth Impact." Yes, Rei could do that. Could make SEELE's Fourth Impact back-up plan a reality. "Unless I kill her first."

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that," Kaji said, and really wanted a cigarette. A drink, and Misato, because if Lilith died every soul on this world was going to die. Nothing left but smears of red-orange. Nothing to show they were ever here, but the memories in Adam and Bardiel. But the few spacecraft made from metal instead of particle-wave matter they'd sent sailing out into the night. But a few decades of TV transmissions, that might be so distorted by the time they reached some other human world with receivers to here for them to realize that this was a product of intelligent life.

Not that most shows qualified as products of intelligent life, true. "I wanted to say that you couldn't keep running. Not with the whole world looking for you, even if there isn't much of it left."

"They want Misato for letting Bardiel leave, don't they?" When Bardiel would have obeyed Misato's order to stay, and angels couldn't travel alone. When that would have left Adam trapped here, and Adam was one of the two souls SEELE's ritual was designed for. "They're not even pretending she's just testifying anymore." She was up on charges herself, for not revealing the truth earlier, for a dozen other ridiculous things…

For preventing instrumentality and complementation.

For trying to save the human race.

SEELE was responsible for billions of deaths in Second and Third Impact both. It wasn't just personal revenge Shinji had gotten, but revenge for the world. So why was the world really so upset?

The birds Kaji had scared away – Shinji was too good at traveling through the woods, give Kaji a city any day – were coming back. The way the blue seas had come back.

Kaji didn't think Shinji really cared.

How many people cared about birds, about a hunk of rock in space, when these were the people they loved that were dead, and they wanted them back? No matter what it took?

Kaji leaned back against a tree, hearing the leaves crunch underfoot as he took a step back to get comfortable. "Do you think Rei will do it?"

"We're not in contact anymore. I'd have to get close enough to find her to restore the link. I'm the one that cut it." Because he was angry with her. "So I can't restore her memories." So all they'd have to do was kill the mother of their species, and have the new one trap their savior in solitary until he went mad (just like Misato) and became something inhuman.

Hell, compared to the billions killed for the sake of complementation in Second Impact, that wasn't much at all, was it? So many ways they could justify it to themselves. Execution for Third Impact, if they wanted to revive one more of Gendo and SEELE's lies. "You're going to let us capture you tomorrow, aren't you?" Kaji asked. They might let him see Rei – Kaji would try to make that happen – but it also meant they could have him executed. It didn't take Shinji long to take someone out, but multiple soldiers with guns? It would just take one living long enough to pull the trigger.

"I'm not going to be that convincing," Shinji knew. "What do I have to live for?"

"To spit in their eye," Kaji said without needing even an instant to think of an answer. "To spite those bastards. That we're still here, despite everything they tried to do to us. We don't care what they wanted, or what they tried to make us want."

Even if Shinji's eyes were blue, they were the night sky, not an eternal summer's day. "That's enough for me," he agreed.

"But. There should have been a but in there," Kaji thought, and wondered why he didn't need to ask "but what?" But he, Shinji, Misato: they were none of them normal, were they? And maybe that was a good thing. It would be nice to think that most people were better off than the three of them. Less broken. That the world was a little less broken, and could pick itself up and go on spinning.

Except there wasn't anyone in this world who wasn't broken.

And it was only human to want more. To want a life full of love and togetherness instead of one that ran on spite and old anger. How many people had been killed throughout history in the name of some imagined heaven?

"Shit," he said thoughtfully, looking up at the sky again. Because they were kind of in for it now, weren't they?

"They what?" Asuka demanded.

Better to think of her as Asuka than Bardiel, especially when neither Tabris nor Adam's memories of the original Bardiel, the sane one, had survived intact. Better for the person he was talking to now (for a given value of talking, of course) to carry the name of someone brave enough to fight for their world's future than be constantly reminded of their fall into madness. "I can't think of any other explanation for these readings." As much as he wished there was one.

"Turn this thing around," she ordered.

Exactly what were they supposed to do? Yes, it was unfair for the tale of the Lilim to end like this, for all their dogged survival and all their art to come to this, an entire world full of people turned into nothing more than a vast slime mold. All those souls trapped within it until the end of this universe.

Shinji's soul trapped within it.

The boy was no creation of his, not even of Tabris', and yet… "Although that mass contains all of their minds, none of them possess any control, not even of their own thoughts." Nothing dividing their selves. No solid place to stand. "There is no one left there, and so there can be no one in control."

"The power of billions of souls," Bardiel said, clearly wondering what the administrator was getting at, even as the angel felt the Black Egg's energy profile change, shifting back to normal space in order to plot a course back through Dirac Space. "What would you need that for?" What did a carrier administrator, one of the beings capable of sparking new universes, need with planetary human souls? Well, obviously a universe wasn't much good if there wasn't anyone to live there, but that was a matter of individual souls, not power. A mass of souls stripped of individuality was obviously a really dumb idea, unless you were a congenital idiot like the members of SEELE.

"The processing power of billions of souls," Adam corrected her, because he was an administrator. Personal memories were fragile, when they were meant to be set aside. An angel could not place personal desires above the fate of their world, so the memories which gave rise to personal desires were… lightly tethered. By design. How to do what they were made for, that was hard-coded. "Terraforming a planet is one thing. Restoring it…" Would normally be impossible.

"Billions of networked minds," Asuka mused, cocking her head to the side, and it was Asuka again, because no proper angel would even contemplate making use of something as disgusting as the mass SEELE had created (but Bardiel and Adam had both been driven insane, hadn't they? No proper angel would seek to exterminate a world).

Better to destroy it. To free those souls. Reterraform the world so they'd have a place to be reborn.

But to just wipe away all the history of the Lilim?

When it might, when it had to be possible to give them a second chance? To set things right, bring back all of those who died in Second Impact, when his power was what had truly gone rogue and devastated this world?

This was a universe designed from the ground up, created by the human will in the first place: it was just as easy to twist time as to twist space, if one knew how. When time and space were the same thing, and the original universe's light speed limit meant it took forever to get anywhere.

Could Second Impact be undone? Could the Lilim have another chance to thrive? And not just any Lilim, not simply any souls, but those who had fought so hard to survive?

Another chance for Shinji to live?

Even though Shinji wasn't his child, he remembered seeing him smile. At him (at Tabris), at the world around him. Remembered watching him fight for the sake of others, and…

If the Lilim were brought back? It would be impossible to edit their memories, not when there would be billions of them. A file restore would take centuries as it was. They would be the same people they were back then, before they set of Second Impact. SEELE would be the same.

Perhaps the Lilim would save themselves. Perhaps it would happen all over again. Perhaps Shinji would be abandoned all over again.

But even if he wasn't Tabris, even if his soul had merely slept behind those eyes, even if it wasn't him that Shinji had loved… He couldn't just let that young man's entire life have been for nothing.

Like in the original End of Evangelion movies, fighting off the angels is comparatively easy. It's when humanity assaults NERV that they are fucked on so many levels.

Because even if the angels can think, can come up with plans, it's humans that are going about this intelligently, with unit tactics and long-term strategies of manipulation and application and development of infrastructure. The one angel with a brain on our level would have won, except he was smart enough to realize that this whole instrumentality thing was just really effing stupid.

Seriously, that's manga!Kaworu's opinion of it, and he was nine days old when he died. That's even more so than the Evil Overlord List's five-year-old advisor. When someone who has only been around for nine days and hasn't even had time to figure out the universal bathroom signs can tell at a glance that your plan sucks, then it is really dumb.

Anime!Kaworu dies because he's not willing to kill billions just in order to save his own life. Manga!Kaworu dies because this entire instrumentality thing is really effing stupid, but he knows that if he just blows it off and leaves the old men of SEELE will have him hunted down like a dog (smart enough not to underestimate humans) and he doesn't want to give them the satisfaction. They've controlled his entire life: like hell he wants them to have his death.

Here, Shinji won't be able to think about his childhood with Tabris, all the things Tabris taught him about how life is worth living because of nature, music, people, without thinking of the fact that Tabris is dead. He'd let Instrumentality happen over his dead body, but he's considered a villain, not a world hero, so for him to be anti-people getting their loved ones back, when he's the reason billions of people are dead? He's really not going to be able to convince people that life's worth living when he's mostly hanging on to it himself out of sheer bloody-minded determination to not let the bastards win.

So people believing in SEELE, the ones actually responsible for what happened, instead of the person who kept Third Impact from killing everyone… Sad, but such is the Qverse.