AN: Well, here's chapter 2! Hope you all like it, it's a little darker, but rest assured, the next chapters will develop in a clearer time-order, and they'll be a bit less brutal on the angst, I just had to get all the poison out of the way. Hmm, well, who knows what will happen. Anyways, Hope you enjoy!
Chapter Two: First Act. Ich Tu Dir Weh
Day 3-Intensive care, Nerv medical ward.
Shinji felt like shit.
Such a proverbial, simple statement worked the magic of describing his inner and outer feelings perfectly. He felt like absolute shit. Granted, he could not feel most of his body, but it hurt to breathe and for some reason he could not wake up. One would believe that being trapped in a morphine-induced slumber would be quite the trip, but such was not the case for that particular young man. Being asleep, or physically unconscious, meant being inside your own mind, and there was nothing Shinji feared more than his subconscious. Time and time again it had tortured him worse than Asuka ever could.
So, Ikari Shinji felt like shit, not in the metaphorical sense, but quite literally. To him, he was shit; he was worth exactly that: shit.
So then, why would the savior of mankind degrade himself in such a way? Simple, he was no savior. Sure, people came back. Sure, Toji had gotten his limbs back; his little sister would never have to visit physical therapy again. Sure, Misato had come back. He had all but watched her die, and not a week later she came back from the dead. He remembered the way he reacted; it was so pitiful. He had all but pushed her cross to her hands, begging her to take it back. The cross reminded him of his eternal failure, of his horrible actions. It was so heavy against his neck he just could not carry it any longer. She consoled him, held him for hours as he cried and bawled and screamed like a little child, while Asuka watched, disgusted, from afar.
He liked her, that much was certain in his mind. He had no understanding of true love, but he was certain of his feelings for her at the least. He loved that red hair, those beautiful ocean blue eyes, that perfect, perfect body she possessed, but most of all, he admired her spirit. The fire that burned in her soul was so bright, so full of energy. Instrumentality had taught him many things and among those, he had learned of Asuka's past, of her Mother and her childhood. The similarities between them both were disturbing, to say the least.
Why could he not hate her? He had tried, God he had tried, but there was no anger in him, not directed at her anyway. He understood Asuka; he understood the reasons behind her actions, behind her violence. She was alone, had been alone her entire life, and because of her personal history was afraid to allow any one person to get close. She was not a hedgehog; she was porcupine, and a very angry one at that. In Asuka's brain no human being besides Kaji had her best interests in mind, everyone was after her in some way, so she had to be the best at everything she did. The redhead sought for the wrong kind of attention, even when she subconsciously hated it.
Asuka hated perverted little boys, but she wore her skirts higher to allow a better view at her perfect legs. She ranted that she did not need anyone, yet when she had lost that one thing she thought made her special and the attention was taken away, she fell apart faster than a building under an Angel attack. She craved for the empty praise but ran away from real relationships or bonds.
She was so confusing, but he found himself enamored with her more and more. Most would believe that Shinji only saw the German pilot as a sexual object, but they did not understand Ikari Shinji at all.
Shinji had watched as thousands were murdered in front of him, he had run through a sea of corpses to get to his Evangelion, he had watched the only mother figure he ever had get shot and die. He had killed the only person who had ever admitted loving him; he had squashed Kaworu with his bare hands. He had done and seen things no child could ever bare, but the moment Ikari Shinji had lost his mind and will to live was the moment he saw Eva Unit 02. He had ascended, the mighty Unit One howling, it´s wings crashing everything on its pass, and as he had gone over the Geofront, that sight had greeted him. And so, his mind had broken into a million pieces.
For eight months now, that same scene replayed itself again and again in his mind. The butchered remains of the Second Child, presented before him by the abomination that were the MP Evas. It was too much for his fragile, damaged psyche to take.
The moment the idea sank into his brain, the thought that Asuka was dead, and had died such a horrible death, everything just became too much. It was no big surprise, everyone had a breaking point, after all.
When presented with Instrumentality, he thought he could find her there and maybe apologize and have a second chance, but when he could barely distinguish himself from the rest the task proved futile. Even when he found her, she rejected him, and his heart twisted itself. He had begged her to help him, to aid him finding himself, but she had refused, it was in her right after all, no one could be forced to help another human being. Poisonous anger had invaded what remained of him.
"I choked her, I killed her, I killed her, I killed her…" That one terrible thought kept repeating itself in his mind, refusing to let him rest, in this morphine-induced coma of his.
Day 4-Intensive care, Nerv Medical Ward
He felt somehow more lucid now, he couldn't wake up, but he could feel his body around him, or most of it. There was close to no feeling on his right arm, it still hurt to breathe, but the glass shards were gone. There was something wrong with his head; it just kept spinning. He could not hear, taste or see anything, but his mind provided more than enough material for him to be, how shall one say, entertained…
Stop it, please, just this once. Stop showing these things to me. I know I'm scum, I know, damn it! Just…just leave me alone. It hurts so much. So much…
It was the masturbation, all over again. He was standing by Asuka's side, attempting in a futile effort to wake her, to have scream at him, to have him call him an idiot, he didn't care. He needed her. Then, with a final push, her breasts were exposed to him. He could feel it, the lust that controlled him at the time, the helplessness, the emptinessm, and despair. Again, he could feel himself reach his peak and release his poisonous seed to his dirty, dirty hand.
Shinji desperately wanted to scream, to get up and wash his hands, to rid himself of the disgusting sensation, of the feeling of warm semen all over his palm.
"I'm the lowest…of the low."
Then, the scene changed, to another horrible moment. Her death at his hands.
"No, no. No! Stop! Stop! Please… no more, I can't, I can't live this again. I didn't mean to; she could have helped me! It's her own fault for being so stubborn!"
That voice, everything but that voice, not again.
"Why, is that fear I sense in you? Do you fear me, Shinji?"
Yes, he did, he feared that voice so much. It felt as if someone was scraping their fingernails on a board. It broke him, to hear that twisted voice that stank of decaying corpses.
"Corpses, huh? How intriguing. Did you know, Shinj, dear, that you killed everyone?"
"Yes." His voice came out muffled, clipped and barely audible.
"Do you, really? Do you hear them, screaming as you killed them? Or have you forgotten their pain? You're trying to, aren't you? Shinji…"
"I remember…please, don't make me... Don't make me listen." In this dark void that was his mind, a light appeared, under it, Shinji stood, head down, shoulders slumped, shaking like a leaf, tears running down his face.
"Please, no more." A sinister chuckled reverberated in his brain.
"Oh, but we have just begun Shinji my boy. Let's hear them... one more time!"
"No. Please…don't, please…" The voice paid no mind to his pathetic whimpers. His senses were overwhelmed under the screams of billions as they were turned into primordial soup. Women, children, babies, aged men and women, all at once, screamed into his ears. It was deafening.
"Do you like it, Shinji? It's just a small reminder, just so you're always sure of what you are, and do you know what you are?"
"And…What is it that you are? What are you, Shinji? What name do they give to someone like you?"
"I'm a coward, a monster, a rapist… I'm nothing. Not even Rei can stand the sight of me, that's why she'll never come back…"
"Using Asuka's lines, are you? Your twisted tongue has no right to utter the same words that came from her mouth, you´re unworthy of such honor. I want You to tell me, Shinji-kun, just what you are."
"Yeeessss…" The voice was so full of malice, it took a sick pleasure in his suffering.
"Please, do tell me just who you are…"
"I'm, I-I am my father's son." A mere whisper in the void that is Ikari Shinji´s mind.
"Yes, you are." He hated that voice, it was so cold, so unforgiving, so much like his father.
"Stop, please, no more. Stop!" he was so weak now, even though he was unconscious, he could not find solace anywhere. The voice spoke again.
"Do you want to know who I am? Do you, Shinji?"
"I hate you, I hate you! Leave me alone! It wasn't my fault! Please! I tried! I tried!"
"No, you did not. Don't delude yourself, Ikari. You did nothing. Need I show you just how much you tried?"
"No! Not again, please! It's too much, please, not again."
"Yes! Again, and again, and again, and again! You remember this, Shinji Ikari! Remember your failure!"
Maya was screaming through the speaker, Asuka was down.
"Shinji! Asuka! Asuka is…Oh my God! Shinji!"
He sat there, like a puppet with no strings, staring at the Bakelite that covered the monster who had ruined his miserable existence. He could faintly hear Asuka's scream of pain as the spear went through her eye. But he sat there. He could have yelled at the damned thing; he could have looked for a way to get to the Entry Plug but did not. He just sat there, feeling sorry for himself, as the girl he thought to love was torn to shreds.
When all was silent, the purple behemoth moved, extending its arm to him, inviting him to be tortured just a little more. He climbed, and the beast extended its wings, his Mother mocking him with the faint warmth of an embrace. She was a liar, a fiend... just like his father.
Then, the horror.
Asuka's Unit Two, or what remained of the once proud mecha, was presented to him, a sickening offer to an equally sickening god. Arms, limbs, and organs gripped by the white monsters as they danced around him, drawing closer, feasting upon the mangled corpse of the redhead's mother.
If Shinji could vomit, he would have. But he could do nothing as the memories flooded, he couldn't so much as scream while he relieved Instrumentality yet again.
Day 5-Intensive care, Nerv Medical Ward
Today he would finally wake up. He was more conscious now, he could already feel the dulled pain of his injuries, but he allowed himself to believe he was dead. It would be so releasing, to be dead. Besides, this empty hole he found himself unable to escape from, this universe built for his suffering, for his pain, it just had to be hell.
'Even if this isn't hell, there's nothing waiting for me out there.'
He remembered Misato, as she apologized time and time again for not showing up for dinner, always wrapped up in something.
It's not her fault, it's mine. Had I not killed everybody and blew all of Tokyo 3 to hell she could be here, but now she always gets called. If it's not the UN it's some government that demands a meeting with her. She's busy because of me, she's not happy because of me. I'm so useless, I couldn't even bring Kaji back to her.
Misato, having hacked into the Magi just before Third Impact, had very valuable information for the UN. Along with Ritsuko, they had to tell the story again and again for different ears and eyes every time. The Nerv employees that had returned did not have to go through the tiring process. They were in charge of a heavier duty, trying to fix the world he had sent to hell. Watching the news, he had found out that Japan was all but in ruins. The explosions had reached almost every major city and crashed its infrastructure. Buildings had been reduced to rumble; houses had been blown away. Half the population still had to live in the UN shelters as reconstruction continued.
One could not walk through Japan anymore. A car, preferably a strong one, was necessary. In many areas not yet cleared by the cleaning efforts, the rubble made it impossible to maneuver on foot. The farthest coast of China was destroyed, and floods were a normal occurrence. The weather pattern had once again been disrupted Yet, as if mocking human race, the ground was strangely fertile. In the week that had passed since the human race had achieved that so-called perfection, animals had taken over cities like San Francisco, what was left of New York , Moscow, St. Petersburg, Hamburg, and others. Nature had reclaimed its place once again, with vengeance. The waves had destroyed most of the coastal cities all over the world. Earthquakes had destroyed villages, leaving thousands of "returnees" without a home or any material possessions. Central America had been all but left intact except for some near-shore cities.
Misato, the poor woman, had been forced from day one to work nonstop on the reconstruction, involving herself in budget meetings, trials and overall tactics. She had protested many times but had no choice other than to comply if their safety was to be ensured. Luckily, or unluckily, they had been one of the first 'families' to be compensated. A brand new three bedroom, two-bathroom apartment had been granted. It was slightly bigger than their old living area, strange and unfamiliar, but it was home. The only happiness in his life now was that apartment. When he cleaned, he could feel himself relax. He used his energy on leaving his home spotless. The kitchen was his little slice of heaven; he loved cooking, especially for those dear to his heart. It made little difference if Asuka was behind his every step, accusing him or hitting him. Cleaning and cooking for those two made his soul swell with joy for some reason. Even when Asuka assaulted him, insulted him, or berated him, even when Misato was barely there, even when Rei was not there at all, he felt just a little bit happy.
"Thinking about her again, hmm?" The dreaded voice returned, hissing in his ear.
"Yes Shinji, it's me again, are you not happy to see me?"
"No, I hate you; you give me nothing but pain." He felt angry now, the beast in him growling in hatred.
"You hate me, but you don't even bother to know who I am. How mature of you Shinj, dear."
"Shut up, shut up!" He wanted to kill that being, that being that spoke and tortured him.
"Hahahahaha. How utterly pathetic you are. Rei, Rei, ooooh Rei, please help me sister! Please come back! She's not your sister, you know."
"Shut up, shut up, shut up, she is, she is... she loves me and she's coming back too, she is…" Every word was weaker, until his voice faded in a whisper.
"Fool. Rei was a clone of your mother; she was part angel. You idiot, you idiot…"
At once, his thoughts stopped as he heard the voice change into Asuka's.
"No, no…please, I'll be quiet. I'm sorry, I'm sorry." Shinji was broken, his mind was shattered. The mere thought of the redhead was immediately associated with the worst pain in existence. Heartache, soul-wrenching heartache.
"So, you choose that doll over me again, Third Child? Why am I not surprised? You were always drooling all over her, ugh, how disgusting."
"No! Asuka, you don't understand! She's my sister... or something like my sister, please…just gimme a second to exp-"
"Shut up." He did as he was told at once. She was using the voice's tone, dead and frozen.
"You were never there, only for your precious little doll. I hate you, Ikari, you're nothing but a tool, being used is the only thing you're actually good at."
He had no response, nothing to offer in return.
"You're my toy. Mine! Your life belongs to me, am I right?"
Asuka smiled, but it wasn't in any way warm, nor was it her usual confident smirk. It was a sick little sneer, seen only in the faces of torturers who loved their job, it was the smile Jack the Ripper wore as he slashed his victims. A smile born out of sick pleasure, so dark it made her beautiful face look like a demon's maw. She licked her lips then, a hungry expression occupying her face.
"Don't say it, please don't say it..."
His scream could have driven a shiver down the sturdiest of men.
A dark chuckle resonated in the Void after he was rendered hoarse.
"Well, that was fun, wasn't it?" The damn voice was back, it mocked him as he cried, there, sitting in the darkest parts of his broken self. He wanted it to stop, he couldn't take so much.
"I can't believe you're so pathetic that you cried the first time, how unmanly is that?" Relentless, the voice continued to taunt him. It would not stop no matter what he did, no matter how he tried to run or hide.
"Shinji, Shinji, what a big crybaby. You should feel honored she lowers herself to worms like you, you should cease the opportunity."
"I can't, not like that, not when I can't even touch her." He wanted to disappear at that moment. The worst always came when Asuka came to his mind. The voice knew what Asuka meant to him, it would use her again.
"Bah, such a boring little boy. She hates your guts, boy. Face it."
"I know she does, she should, I'm nothing but a monster." His own voice sounded so hollow now. He lacked the strength to resist anymore.
"Wanna review some of her latest commentaries on you?" The mirthless tone sent shivers down his back, it sounded like a child who knew it was getting its favorite candy.
"Who are you?" He needed it to stop, he couldn't bear that pain. The eight months of torture, he couldn't bear it. Relieving them again would drive him insane.
"Ahh, I thought you'd never ask my dear Shinji, dear. Do you really want to know?"
"Do you, really? Can you handle it? Can you handle me, Shinji?"
"Yes, I can." In his mind, another light appeared, but there was nothing but a mirror under it.
"Come then, Shinji-kun, see for yourself..." The voice whispered from all over, its rotten breath intoxicating his nostrils.
Finally, he was in front of the glass, but the thing looking from the other side was not him. The figure in the mirror was a twisted version of him, its eyes red, hair completely wild, mouth salivating and drooling dark blood. The clothes covering the figure were torn and bloodied, a gashing wound on its side. The ribcage was ripped open, with a charred, blackened heart that pumped thick blood to the hideous body of the figure.
Shinji stood there, petrified in absolute fear, staring at his 'reflection'. It smiled at him, a horrible expression on the half-rotten leather that was the figure's skin.
"Hello Shinji, this is what's been torturing you all along."
He could not speak.
"I am You. I am Shinji Ikari. Hehe…hahahaha…"
It laughed, laughed as blood spayed all over the mirror and sprinkled him. He could not move.
Shinji opened his eyes. For a second, he thought he'd see the hideous figure there, waiting for him, but instead was greeted by the too familiar ceiling of the Nerv medical ward.
"Ugh. This ceiling again. I guess I'm not dead yet." He was disappointed. Maybe in death he could find some semblance of peace for his troubled mind, but the truth was that death terrified him more than anything. As he briefly surveyed his room, he noticed the bandages covering his form, and for a moment he wondered why the hell he was in the damn bed anyway. The last thing he remembered was going to sleep after dinner, which Misato had missed yet again, and then red. Red.
Oh God, oh my God…She's there. The fear had long since become familiar; it was a natural response to everything, but this terror was different. He felt he lacked the strength to hide the fear anymore.
Asuka stood in front of his door, a strange expression on her face. He had never seen that look shine so unguardedly on her before, but what his eyes saw wasn't registered by his mind. He panicked a moment afterwards. He wanted to get up and run to the farthest corner of the room and make himself as invisible as possible, but his body would not move. His chest felt horrible, like shards of broken glass moved against his lungs every time he breathed, his head hurt a little, and there was close to no sensation on his right arm at all. So he lay there, petrified, much like the Second Child in front of him.
A strangled yelp escaped him as she drew closer; he shut his eyes and begged for something to kill him at that very moment. Shinji was terrified, truly terrified. When she took a second step, the scream found him, and he allowed its much needed release.
Asuka stared at his roommate as he tried to disappear in any way or form under the covers of the hospital bed. He was trying to escape; he was trying to escape from her.
"Shinji, it's okay." She made her voice as smooth as possible, as if dealing with a scared squirrel. But the boy did not hear her, he paid no mind to her tone. He was shaking, his eyes were tightly shut, and his breath quickened dangerously. The machines started beeping faster along with his pulse.
"I just...'' She sighed. "Listen to me. It's okay. I'm not... I'm not going to hurt you." Her voice was breaking, she felt like crying so much.
Shinji wanted to die. Even when death terrified him, anything was better than this pain. Asuka was saying something to him, but he could not understand her over the ringing in his ears. Soon, the fists would come, then the kicks, then the worst. The insults, the words. They hurt so much worse than ay punch. He tried in vain to somehow get up and run, but at the sudden motion of his body shaking, the machine released yet another dose of morphine into his bloodstream.
"Please, just this once, could you please leave? J-Just for a little while. I'm... I'm kinda tired. Please..." His tone was so pathetic, so submissive. He was so tired, but he didn't want to go back to sleep. That thing was waiting for him.
Asuka stopped approaching him, and for a moment she felt as if she had been slapped, but her guilt quickly reminded her that a slap would be too good for her. His blue eyes revealed his feelings, and the only thing she could recognize in those eyes was fear. He was terrified of her.
"I, sure, sorry." She turned and walked out of the room as fast as she could. The metallic door hissed and locked itself the moment she was out of the room.
It was the first time she had ever apologized to him, but it felt so empty. He had asked her to leave. He had not demanded it, he had not shouted at her, like she deserved. He had asked her to leave.
"God, I feel sick." She felt the bile rise to her throat and made a crazy dash to the nearest bathroom she could find.
Shinji lay there, too surprised to do anything but gape like a goldfish. Had Asuka just…apologized? No, it was a trick, a little dirty trick she was playing on him, so he would be defenseless when his punishment was laid on him. He didn´t blame her though, he was not mad at her. He was just sick like that. The more she hurt him, the more he found himself drawn to the scared little girl he knew was buried deep down, behind that layer of hatred.
He would be there for whatever she needed, it was the least he could do for her. He couldn´t comfort her, so he would let her use him as much as she pleased. She was right, the only thing he was ever god at was being used. Whenever he tried to do something, he just ended up hurting someone else, so it was better to just –
Before the former Third Child could finish his musing, his surrogate mother burst through the door, tears spilling from her eyes. In a second, she had crossed the short distance between them, a second after his head was in her chest, as she stroked his hair lovingly and whispered sweet nothings to his head.
Not truly knowing why, he started crying as well.
Asuka paused, coughed, and then heaved for the third time, her entire body convulsing as she let out the last remains of her breakfast on the toilet. After her stomach was emptied, she slid on the bathroom door, cleaning her mouth with some toilet paper. The sickness remained, but there was nothing else in her stomach to throw out.
She brought her knees to her chest and started crying; the tears had finally come. She felt so alone, sitting there inside the small booth, bawling in misery and solitude. Soon her sobs turned to wails, with sadness overpowering whatever hatred she still clung on to. There was nobody who would console her right now, nobody to hold her and tell her everything was going to be alright.
Asuka had no clue of how long she sat there, crying her eyes out until, to her everlasting surprise, a pair of strong arms picked her up and held her.
"W-What? Who?" She looked up to find herself in front of her guardian. Misato's eyes were red and puffy, as well.
"Why?" It was the only question her troubled mind could muster.
"I haven't forgiven you." Misato's voice was cold.
"I'm here because you're like the daughter I never had, and I'll try to... love you no matter what you do. What you've done to Shinji is horrible, and... we'll deal with that later. Right now, you both need me and I need you." The older woman paused, took a shaky breath and carried on. "I'm also here because Shinji asked me to check on you. He was worried about you."
The last comment broke her. She threw herself at her guardian, crying like never before.
Things would never be the same again, but maybe they could patch up some of the old wounds. Maybe this was a chance to make something better, but then again, maybe it wasn't.
Asuka kept crying, not bothering to so much as hide her screams of despair and allowed herself to be held for the first time in her young life by the woman she considered her mother. Her wails spoke of pure, raw pain, mind-numbing despair, and guilt.
Misato knew she should not feel good, but some part of her felt really relieved to see Asuka reacting like she was.
"I'm not going to throw you out, but only because Shinji told me not to. God, Asuka, why did you do that? Why...?" Misato's voice was a gentle whisper in her ear, her hand kept caressing Asuka's red mane lovingly, as she rocked the girl and tried to comfort her. Asuka had done many horrible things, and she would know everything. But for now, she desperately needed someone´s comfort and Shinji was still too terrified to provide it for her.
Both women held each other and cried for the poor boy that lay there, unconscious but for once blissfully asleep, in the cold, sterile room of Nerv medical ward.
To Be Continued…
AN: So…yeah. Well, first things first. Thank you! Thank you, thank you thank you for reading! I love feedback. Your words give me strength! Heh, well, there's chap 2. Now, to the grammar business. I'm not a native speaker, so it's still kind of hard for me to write the sentences correctly. I sincerely apologize for the stupid mistakes, but sometimes I just get so caught up in writing that I don't even notice what the hell it is that's being scribbled down. I just let myself go.
As of right now, the Epilogue to this story is being written, and I'm going over each chapter to revise what I can. Hopefully in a few months all grievous mistakes will be eliminated. Also, I'm considering trimming most of the monologues from the first chapters. Should anyone care to not have them deleted please let me know. This shit is going down.
A big hug and my eternal gratitude to the legend Richitzer for helping me improve this chapter! Thank you, brother!
In my older notes I referred to Shinji's injuries and a similar experience I had many years ago due to an accident which broke some of my ribs and landed me in a coma. I took some of that experience to portray Shinji's mind. I hope you give this crazy story a chance, trust me, it gets better!
Inspirational music: In The Name Of God – Dream Theater