Authors Note: I tried to sleep, but then I woke in the middle of the night and then I all of a sudden had the idea for this. Its not really a Reishin oneshot, its just a Shinji and Rei thing I decided to write.

Dull blue eyes peered down at the concrete pavement of the sidewalk. The once concealed, almost protected, vibrant life behind them seemed to be dwindling, like the last light of day disappearing past the horizon. So desperately does it try to stay, only for it to be stamped upon and neglected. Much as it seems to be for Shinji Ikari.

He simply stares at nothing as he sits on a bench. The street is empty, the sound of cicadas overwhelming any minor sounds. No one else is around, the exact reason why Shinji finds himself there. This part of the city of Tokyo-3, along with many others, are considered abandoned. Anybody who had not already evacuated after the angel of might led its assault on the city and the Geofront that lies below, or had chosen to relocate due to any of the other angel attacks, were all but guaranteed to have left after the self destruction of unit-00.

Any entire district of the city had been caught in the explosion of the prototype eva and the 16th angel. It wasn't just that and the loss of one of the three guardians of Tokyo-3 that solely caused such an exodus, with the angels growing more and more destructive and vicious, it had been made quite clear to the civilians that had kept to their homes despite the previous attacks, that staying any longer was most likely a death sentence. It was better to pack up and leave than to leave your fate against those angels to a single defender and a shelter.

Though, unlike them, Shinji didn't have the choice to run anymore. He doesn't even feel the desire to try and leave anymore, but not because of some inspirational sensation of bravery. It's because he knows he has no choice anymore. Piloting unit-01 is his responsibility, because he's the only one who can do it, and unit-01 is the only Eva capable of stopping the angels.

Afterall, unit-00 is completely destroyed, and unit-02 has no pilot. It did, but after the 15th angel invaded her mind, she had a mental breakdown due to her past trauma resurfacing, all of which affected her sync rate with her unit. It was made clear during the 16th angel that she is now completely unable to control unit-02.

Asuka disappeared for a bit after that, but he heard that they found her again. But apparently, her mental state had gotten worse, and she slipped into a comatose state.

When he last spoke with Misato, he asked about her, but the purple-haired woman spoke with her strictly professional tone, the same she used when she was acting as their operations director whenever they fought an angel. He's noticed that lately, that whenever he does see her, which is usually at the geofront now, she doesn't try to be fun or carefree as she used to do, but he supposes there's no time to be carefree right now with how terrible things seem to be getting.

Well actually it seems that some things were always terrible, it's just that they are only choosing now to show their true faces. He learned that after Dr Akagi had shown him and Misato the... dummy plug factory.

That's why he was sitting here, on an empty bench on an empty street. Afterall, the fresh air almost made him feel like he had freedom, and sometimes it's better to pretend to have what you can't get.

But the price of such a thing was, of course, loneliness. It always had been the tradeoff. He either had to give up his freedom and pilot, or he had to be alone. The easiest choice was to always turn to being alone, afterall, loneliness was a pain that he was able to take on its own, even if it sometime made him want to hurt himself, because he was familiar with it, unlike the pain that came with Eva's. It was already twice that he had tried to escape from the Eva's, yet he always turned away from loneliness. It was because of the false hope that came with his unfamiliarity, the hope that perhaps the Evangelion's don't have to bring pain, that perhaps he doesn't have to be alone, that he doesn't have to be hurt.

He was wrong.

The first time, he truly was unfamiliar with the Eva's, but right before cross the precipice to return back, he was stopped, by Touji and Kensuke, his friends. He never had friends, not really, school acquaintances sure, but real friends? It was nice while it lasted. That was when he tried to think that maybe Eva doesn't have hurt him.

The second time, he had started to learn that pain was all the Eva's brought, afterall, how could he forget the pain of knowing that one of your friends' lives was changed forever, possibly ruined, and you're the one who did so, despite the fact that you were willing to let yourself die rather than hurt them. It seems that idle hands really are the devil's playthings. But at the last chance to leave, he still chose to pilot.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, a perfect summary of these decisions.

Only now he no longer has the decision to get fooled. He realized too late that he is stuck with the pain that is Eva, and now he's also stuck with the pain of loneliness again. It seems at the moment that he is the only chance for humanities survival it seems. Unless they manage to find a fifth child pilot (a gray haired boy sneezes somewhere) then he had no choice to choose whether he pilots or not. To say no would go against what everyone else wants. And there's no greater offense in the eyes of mankind, than to oppose what they want.

Though to say he was the only pilot is false. The only reason he has to pilot unit-01 is because it refuses anyone else. No he does not understand why. Despite that, there's still one other pilot.

The 'first' child. Rei Ayanami. But she is not the survivor of unit-00. No, there were no survivors. Rei Ayanami is a clone of the former unit-00 pilot, Rei Ayanami, who died.

She wasn't the same as Rei Ayanami, she didn't know him and he didn't know her. He wasn't sure if she was even human. He didn't understand her, and that's what scared him the most. As the thing man fears most is what he does not understand.

The more he thought of the blue haired girl, the more he realized how close he was to her apartment. It was only a forty minute walk or so. He wouldn't know whether she is there or not, and it's not as if know whether he really even wants to see her.

His mind wants to avoid her to avoid the fear and hurt, but the empty feeling in his chest wants contact, interaction, no matter whom it may be from. It's as if there is a gaping whole in his chest, devoid of heat, empty of happiness. It makes him want to puke as it claws away at his innards. It's a different kind of hunger, starving for a different kind of sustenance.

It's not until he crosses the street as his feet lead him onto a somewhat familiar path that he realizes he had made a decision. His mind reels and he tries to steel his nerves, telling himself that she may not be there, in which case he can simply leave.

He's not entirely sure why he doesn't try to run off in any other direction, even as the dilapidated apartment building comes into sight.

Perhaps he's tired of doing so, perhaps he's desperate to be rid of the loneliness if only for a little, he doesn't know the answer as he begins climbing stairs. Each step feeling heavier and heavier as he ascends in a gloomy hallway. His footsteps softly echo as Shinji finds himself walking down it.

It's as if he is on autopilot, his mind seemingly blank as he simply accepts his body's actions as it continues on. He manages to muster up thoughts pertaining to the inherit filth of this building, and how it should be condemned.

It was a brief moment before he realized he had stopped, looking up, he almost went rigid. He was standing right in front of an apartment door with a broken buzzer, its mail slot jammed full of paper, marked 402. It was Rei's apartment.

Taking a breath, he raced an almost shaking hand. Stretching it out to the door, he hesitated, feeling frozen as he tried to decide whether or not he should commit to his choice. He gulped as he then proceeded to knock on the door.

He retracted his hand as if it had been burned, his body stilling as he waited to see if his action would have a response. A seemingly deafening silence overtook him as the minute stretched on.

Nothing happened.

He considered that perhaps she truly wasn't home right now. Though it didn't make him reassured in the slightest, it also didn't upset him. He was neither disappointed nor relieved. He only felt… ambivalence.

That only left him with the choice to either return back to Misato's apartment, or wander about, maybe he would visit the Ashinoko lakes.

But before he could even turn away, the door in front of him opened inward.

Shinji's breath hitched by the sudden action as his eyes focused on the figure in the doorway. Pale skin, red eyes, blue hair, and a school uniform. Rei Ayanami. He said nothing, and neither did she. Both simply looked at one another.

A moment passed before the silence was broken by Rei.

"Ikari" She acknowledged, "Why are you here?"

Shinji felt his throat clench, as she looked at him, her face expressionless, her voice monotonous.

"I- I don't, I don't know" he got out, the fact she didn't seem expectant of anything for some reason made it harder for him to answer.

"I see" was all Rei responded with.

Shinji's mind felt on the verge of panic. He had no idea what to do next, and this Rei did nothing to deter or encourage his presence. But his… gut? Heart? Chest? Seemed to respond for him.

"C- Could I-I come in?" Shinji found his voice asking.

The blue haired girl showed no reaction to his question, only blinking at his question before giving her response.

"I suppose" Such a phrasing would sound rude, if it wasn't for the monotonous voice delivering it.

Rei had turned and walked into her apartment leaving Shinji to hesitantly follow in. There was a faint stench that reached him from the kitchen as he entered. Closing the door behind him and taking his shoes off, Shinji took the time to look around Rei's. It more or less looked the same as before, still neglected of any repair or cleaning.

Looking at her, Shinji saw that Rei was walking towards her room. He meekly went to follow, not knowing what else he should do. As he entered the room, he looked around it as well.

Her bed was the same with its crinkled bedding and metal frame. The light from her window gently filled the room, its stream illuminated particles in the air as it did. The mini refrigerator against the wall still hummed quietly as various things were stacked on it, including a packet of some prescription pills. The dresser in the corner of the room was also the same, a glasses case lying on top.

He didn't linger long on the glasses as they reminded him of a man he hated. His eyes shifted to her trash can, which was full of bandages, nothing to knews, except the bandages usually had blood, unlike these ones.

He returned his attention to Rei who was sitting on her bed, her hands sitting in her lap, her eyes fixed on him as he stood in front of her room's doorway. He felt his mouth go dry as he realized he should probably say something, but he doesn't what.

"Why did you want into my apartment, Ikari?" She bluntly questioned.

"Um" Shinji didn't really know what to say, "T-to… talk, I guess"

"What did you want to talk about?" Rei inquired as she kept her face stoic.

"I… I don't really know…" He said as his eyes dipped towards the floor.

Silence grew between them. Shinji started to question whether he should have just suppressed his feelings and avoided this place. His thoughts drifted into more negative territory when Rei interrupted such thinking.

"I don't remember much" She said, "About before the battle"

"Oh right" Shinji knew that she most likely just never had those memories due to her being a clone and such, so he didn't think to really talk to her about them.

"But I wondered…" She continued, "Were we friends?"

Shinji stilled at that as he considered it. He thought back to how he interacted with the last Rei. He wouldn't say they were too close, as back then he wanted to be closer, but compared to most people at Nerv besides him and at school, he was probably one of the only people to frequently talk with Rei. Though that is of course because he was able to see her more than some other people, he still had moments where he and Rei were able to almost connect. Like when he and Asuka were doing synchronized training, it took days for them to work as one, but when Rei tried it with him, they synchronized perfectly. Looking back, he almost… almost wished he tried to reach out to her more.

"I… I like to think we were, but… I-Im not sure" He tells her, his voice seeming to carry an edge of regret.

"I see," She tilted her head slightly, "Is that why you came here to talk then?"

"N-no, I… I just… I came here because… because I… I was lonely" He explained, she looked to have remained impassive, but Shinji could have sworn he saw a look of understanding in her eyes.

"Oh" Was the only response she gave.

There was a beat of silence.

"But, do you not share a residence with the Major and second child?" She asked him.

"Y-yeah, but… Misato's been… busy lately"

"I suppose that is to be expected"

"Yeah… and well, you probably know about Asuka… being in a coma"

Rei nodded her head before she asked another question, "Do you not have friends from the school?"

Shinji looked down at his shoes as he thought about his friends.

"... they left with everyone"

"I see. Then, I suppose it would make sense for you to feel alone"

It felt strange for him to have her be understanding with him. Although there were times where Rei was understanding with him.

Shinji thought back to the night of operation Yashima, when he and Rei had really started talking in depth with each other for the first time. He remembered waiting beside the Eva's for the operation to start, and he remembered her telling him why she wasn't as strong as him despite her unreluctantly piloting the Eva's. It was because of why she piloted. Because she had nothing else.

"You… you understand that too… don't you?" He hesitantly ask, when he saw her brow slightly furrow he continued, "Being lonely"

Rei didn't answer immediately, but she looked down at her hands as she thought about it.


There was quiet as Shinji looked at Rei, his mind seemed to have calmed down at her presence but was still wary.

"It… it hurts… being alone"


"Th-then… why do you stay alone?"

She didn't answer.

"S-sorry, y-you don't have to tell-"

"Because…" She cut him off, "I have no one else…"


He knew that she understood that it was painful to pilot Eva. Now he knew that she understood the pain of being alone. Yet still she continued to be alone. Not because she wanted to, but because she has no choice.

He can't help but think that maybe, maybe… she isn't so different from the Rei Ayanami he knew and maybe, he wasn't so different from her.

"M-maybe…" Shinji begins, "Maybe we can be… lonely together?"

He knows it sounds stupid, and he wishes he could have kept himself from sounding so hopeful, but he… he meant it, and the response does somewhat surprise him.

"...Perhaps, we can…"

Shinji blushes slightly and tenses when he hears her answer. Looking at her, he thought he saw a faint pink blush on her cheeks, but he could be mistaken. Taking a breath, he slowly walks near until he's standing next to her, which makes her stiffen slightly.

"I-is it a-alright if I s-sit here" He asked as he gestured to the empty bed next to her.

She slowly shook her head, and taking a gulp, Shinji sat down next to her, the bed sheets wrinkling more as he did so.

He felt awkward and out of place as he sat next to Rei, but he just focused on breathing. He didn't know how much time passed, but when he felt calm enough to relax slightly, he noticed the light had started to dim.

Taking a glance at Rei, she seemed to have also relaxed slightly despite his close proximity. As he simply took in the moment, he felt almost at ease. He wasn't happy, but he also wasn't in any of his depressed moods. It seemed serene. He could tell Rei was near him, but she was also just sitting there. She wasn't expecting or wanting anything from him, and he wasn't for her. It felt pleasant just having someone else be there.

"This… is nice"


Authors Note: So yeah, this is just a oneshot, but maybe I might try to expand upon it one day. But right now I'm tired. If you like it, thanks, leave a comment maybe.