Because sometimes miracles happen.
By Ariss Tenoh
It was almost cliche, the way they had met. After all, how often does an angel fall into your lap?
Okay, it was more like a "fall on top of you" kind of fall. Or maybe a "fall near you" kind of fall.
But it was still a shock. Worse, when you realize he really was- is an Angel. Beyond the metaphorically physical aspect of the word angel.
And now you're blabbering within your own mind. You'd really better shut up.
Even if only in your mind.
Shinji couldn't believe it, couldn't believe how bad his luck ran. He was swimming in the lake near the abandoned school site and suddenly a shooting star comes his way. He saw the intense glare and the way it made shadows of everything around it. He'd expected to die once that ball of light hit the water.
Instead, there was a minor tsunami wave and he nearly drowned. Only to be saved by a strong pair of hands.
Saved by an angel. Has a nice ring to it. Only you didn't know it at the time.
Shinji coughed and spluttered and had trouble standing in what was now knee-high water. When he finally opened his eyes, there was a naked boy gazing at him with a serene smile on his face.
He blinked. Then swallowed once he realized the boy was naked.
"Are.. are you all right?" Shinji reached a hand towards the boy, then hesitated before touching him.
The boy looked at Shinji's hand, which was kind of hovering between them, before seizing it in a firm grip and laying it on his own cheek.
Shinji tried to say something but couldn't. A hundred, no a thousand conflicting emotions entered then exited his mind as if his body and mind couldn't agree on an appropriate emotional response.
He started once he felt a cool hand touch his face. The boy was returning the favor; Shinji's palm was still stuck to the boy's cheek. He kept patting Shinji's face as if it was the strangest thing he'd seen.
It took Shinji a full minute to notice the boy was an albino. Ruby red eyes and palest skin and silver hair.
God, he's beautiful.
He tried again. "My name's Shinji."
The boy, again Shinji belatedly realized that they were within the same age range, tilted his head to one side like a curious cat. Then smiled, the most beautiful smile Shinji had seen on any human being, and really that should have been a clue, and said softly, "Kaworu."
Warmth curled itself into Shinji's chest for the first time in years. He gave an answering smile and that pleased the boy which made him smile more brightly and Shinji smiled back and they both laughed out loud.
Shinji led the naked boy to the shore, telling him to avoid the scraps of metal and concrete and gave him his shirt. He quickly dressed, though in only his pants and shoes only to turn around and find the other boy had no idea what to do with a shirt. He told himself NOT to look anywhere but at the boy's face and helped him put his arms into the shirt and button it. He felt a strange contentment over being able to do something so simple as buttoning up a shirt for someone. Maybe because it wasn't earth-shattering or essential or requiring an Eva.
He took a step back and allowed the boy to look at himself in the shirt. No pants of course because Shinji hadn't brought a extra pair. There hadn't been a need after all.
The boy tugged at the shirt this way and that, poked at the buttons like they were the most mystifying things in the world, and ended his examination by smiling at Shinji.
"Shinji..." He uttered it slowly, testing the flavor of the word on his tongue.
"Kaworu." Shinji knew that was the correct answer.
He reached out and took Kaworu's hand in his own and led him away from the lake. He was trying not to link "stray kittens" with "Kaworu" in his mind. Somewhere along the way home, Kaworu began to hum a little tune and Shinji knew he should recognize it but didn't.
So it was there on a sunny day, under a clear blue sky, that Shinji met an Angel.
If he hadn't been so uncharacteristically happy, he might have questioned what a naked boy was doing in that lake. Or how he was related to the falling star......
"Damn it, Shinji. He's an Angel! Don't you see it?"
Misato was furious and Shinji tried not to cower from the strength of her voice alone if not her anger.
"But how can you tell? They can't lock him in a cell because they think he might be one?" Somewhere toward the end, the words became hesitant and almost a plea.
Misato's eyes softened and she lost some of her steam, though not all of it.
"Look Shinji, I know you've kept him at your place and you're... friends with it. But we've suspected for a long time that they were up to something. This could be it. Do you realize what an advantage being able to have human bodies would give them?"
"He's not.. AN IT!" He didn't know where that burst of self-righteousness came from but it felt good, cleansing. It removed the cobwebs of doubt from his mind.
There was something that looked like a mixture of hesitant admiration and extreme exasperation on Misato's face.
"Shinji... he has red eyes and white hair. Do you know any humans who look like that?"
The reply was swift and deadly. "Ayanami."
The woman bit back whatever she was going to say and stomped to the kitchen for a beer.
Shinji found himself alone, breathing hard. That little outburst had taken all his energy from him but he didn't want to give in to the urge to curl up and hide in his bed. That wouldn't solve anything. He'd always suspected it would come down to a showdown with his father. He just didn't think it would be in quite this fashion. His father had Ayanami for some pseudo child and lethal weapon role, while Shinji got to be the disposable puppet piloting the Eva.
Well, he wasn't going to roll over and die and he wasn't going to allow his bastard of a father to experiment on Kaworu or whatever he was planning on.
I love you
He swallowed thickly. Kaworu was the first, /first/, person who had said that to him in his life. And how many times had Shinji lied awake at night wishing that someone, /anyone/, would show him a little kindness? love him?
Misato peered from the kitchen's door. Shinji's back was stiff, his shoulders were shaking and his head was bowed. Her imagination could supply the rest without her seeing it, thank you very much. She turned back to the fridge. She needed another beer.
How strange. Steel rods ran from the ceiling to the floor. But only on one side. The rest of the room was bare. All grey stone. No light. Shinji always said humans had to have sunlight; it was important. Why it was important, he couldn't explain and Kaworu had taken his word for it. If Shinji thought something was necessary then that was enough.
Kaworu held one bar in his hand. He could hear the minute sound of the metal creaking in his grip.
Shinji. Poor Shinji. He'd been crying. His face all red and swollen and those drops of water flooded his eyes and fell. Kaworu tried to reach him, he was afraid the water would blind Shinji, but the men in hard clothes with long sticks held him and pulled him out of the door. Kaworu could hear Shinji shouting, all the way down the stairs to the van they'd thrown and locked him in.
In the darkness of the van, Kaworu wondered how the humans couldn't hear the sound of Shinji's heart. It was breaking.
My poor Shinji. Such a fragile heart you have. So delicate.
He heard footsteps from the other side of the hall. If he were human, he'd turn and crane his neck to see. Humans were an impatient species. Kaworu didn't care. It wasn't Shinji so it didn't matter.
It was a girl. She wore a school uniform, like the one Shinji had hanging on his closet's door; she stood in front of him but shy of the single light bulb overhead.
"You are like me." Kaworu stared at the girl with her familiar features. Red eyes and pale hair. There was the incongruous thought that Shinji would approve of him being clothed in front of a girl, he was wearing Shinji's grey shirt and a pair of his old jeans.
"No, I am not like you. We are not the same," she spoke very slowly. The way Kaworu realized he used to speak, when the concept of linking sounds was still foreign to him.
He looked at her. For a long time, silence stood as a third party between them.
"No, we're not alike. You are.. hollow." Kaworu saw a flicker of surprise in her familiar red eyes before he turned his back to her. She was of no consequence to him now. His only thought had one name, Shinji.
/Kindred One.... Do you hear US?/
He sat hunched against the wall, adopting the pose because it reminded him of Shinji.
/Are you harmed? Shall WE retrieve you?/ The Voice of his fellow angels asked him, all clamoring in his head. A chaotic, yet sublime symphony.
/No. I shall do what I came Below to do. Then I will meet You./
Kaworu stood up. His knees and legs protested. Human bodies were so fragile, only second to human hearts. He could not fathom the reason his Kin thought to adopt such breakable shells.
/Yes. WE shall wait. WE shall find you.... Show no Mercy to those who dwell Below./
The emptiness in his mind left a deep void that had Kaworu staggering to the iron bars. He gripped them and concentrated on breathing. How could the Lillim live like this? Alone, fragile, and without the Voice to unite them. It was unbearable.
The bars snapped into pieces in his hands and fell like chunks of dull rain to the floor.
WARNING. CODE RED. WE HAVE A SECURITY BREACH. TERMINAL DOGMA IS IN LOCK DOWN MODE. ALL STAFF PLEASE REMAIN AT STATIONS. WARNING. CODE RED.WE HAVE A SECURITY BREACH...TERMINAL DOGMA ... WARNING...
Kaworu could see now how unnatural this room was to humans. High ceiling, red water, a corpse crucified against a block of stone. Shinji had taught him human sensibilities and aesthetics. Humans would flee from this room. Shinji would hate it. And dream about it for days afterward, Kaworu thought.
There was Shinji now. The Doll he was in made it impossible for Kaworu to see his face.
Shinji was angry. He was crying. And he was lying to himself, and screaming, and accusing, and begging Kaworu to tell him the truth.
Kaworu smiled to himself. Humans! They were so complicated. How could they bear to feel a dozen conflicting emotions and not shatter from the strain of it? It was astonishing.
He told Shinji what he had to do. He told Shinji what Shinji had to do.
Long, long moments passed between them.
And Shinji surprised him again by doing neither. He ejected from the Doll and half ran and half stumbled. Kaworu could feel the boy reeling from the whirlwind of emotions in him. He stumbled and firmly gripped Kaworu's shoulders and screamed, "I DON'T WANT YOU TO DIE. HOW COULD YOU THINK THAT? HOW COULD YOU THINK I COULD KILL YOU?! DO YOU THINK I'M LIKE MY FATHER?! HOW COULD YOU... do..... this.. to me..."
He sagged against Kaworu and Kaworu wrapped his arms around the shivering human.
"I love you too," Shinji whispered from the vicinity of Kaworu's chest as if they were simply picking up a conversation from where it had tapered off.
There was a strange fluttering in Kaworu's body. Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. He had watched that on the box Shinji called a tv. That seemed like a long time ago. Humans had no true perception of Time.
Shinji straightened and pushed Kaworu away. He looked older in that tight body suit he wore.
"I want you to go. You can't stay here. Go back... where you came from."
It was very brave of Shinji to say that, Kaworu could tell.
"Even if I won't be with you?"
Shinji looked like he was going to cry again.
"You'll be safe. That's all that matters." He stared at the ground between his feet.
The Eva units hovered behind each boy's back, waiting, judging.
"An-and maybe I'll see you again..." Shinji looked up and smiled at Kaworu. A smile so tremulous it was a single drop of dew on a green leaf, so precious.
So on another lake, another shore. The Angel bid goodbye to Shinji.
Light exploded and shot upward, rocking all of NERV.
Shinji stood alone between the Evas.
Azrael darkened the sky with his mass, while his thousands of eyes watched those Below with an indifferent calm.
A pillar of light shot forth from the ground and coalesced into a being with six wings.
/Tabris. You have returned. Did you find Adam?/
/No. It was Lillith. WE were deceived./
/Let us Return. WE glory in your safe return to US./
The Voice of his Kin thundered in agreement through Tabris' mind.
/I missed You all./
Azrael enfolded the Light in his Blackness. Tabris was newly born; his inquisitiveness rivaled the Fallen at times. He needed Guidance.
/Loneliness? That is a Lillim taint./
Small flares of light shone in Azrael's physical form. Tabris would be laughing had he still possessed his mortal shell.
/Humans are fascinating./
Azrael did not respond. The weight of all their Kin's expectations was heavy for him to withhold.
Tabris finally revealed it.
/Yes. They have this Temptation called Hope./
That night, a meteor shower lit the sky.
Shinji didn't see it. He was asleep in his bed.
~ End ~
I read on one website that the angel Azrael had a dark mass for a body with eyes filling every inch. Eyes that would fall from his body everytime it was time for a person to die. I thought it was very appropriate for an Eva fic.