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Instrumentality ends with the two of them, side by side on the shore of the sea that humanity has become.

Instrumentality ends with red, staining the moon, washing over them.

Instrumentality ends with silence, and two children staring up at the sky.

Shinji is the first to move, turning his head to the side and staring at something. Asuka does not move. She can't bring herself to care. Why bother? She cared before, and look where it got her.

He sits up, shaking his head. She stays still.

He climbs on top of her, and she wonders, briefly, if he's going to finish what he started in that hospital room. When his hands close around her neck instead, she's almost relieved. But she still can't bring herself to move.

She lets him grip her throat tightly, lets him press his thumbs into her windpipe, until she realizes that perhaps she doesn't want to die like this, with Shinji on top of her and her throat constricted like...

Like Mama's.

Her hands twitch at her side, and she lifts one, gently, touches the side of his face--and lets her hand fall down, in a quiet, emotionless false caress. Immediately, his grip loosens, and she waits for him to get off of her--but he doesn't. He stays there, his weight crushing, and then the first tears start falling onto her face, and she feels only disgust. Why does he have the right to cry? She's the one who was torn apart, eaten alive by those monsters. She's the one who nearly died by his hands, twice now. She's the one who was exposed for his sick fantasies.

"How disgusting," she murmurs, and then lapses into silence, waiting for him to get off.

 

It takes him far too long to stop crying, she thinks, and far too long for him to get off of her. When he does, he only sits by the shoreline, staring out into the sea, murmuring names under his breath. Some, like Misato, Toji, and Kensuke, she knows. Others, like 'Kaworu', she doesn't. She doesn't particularly care, either.

She wants to get out of her plugsuit, get away from the reminder of her last moments, but all her clothes are in the ruins of Tokyo-3, and she doesn't know if any of them are even still fit to wear. Still, anything's better than being reminded of what she was.

She'd never thought she'd want to leave her memories of being a pilot behind, but here she is.

Still, she can get rid of as much as possible, and she does--ripping the A-10 clips out of her hair, throwing them into the sea of red with her unbandaged arm. Her other arm doesn't hurt, she realizes a moment later, nor does her eye--she wonders if they are even injured, and carefully peels off the bandages over her eye to find out. Her vision is blurred at first, but a few blinks and a quick rubbing solve that, and when she unwraps the bandages from her arm, only pale, unbroken flesh remains.

Her movement seems unimpeded, which is nice. She might have to do some digging if she wants to find anything wearable other than her plugsuit, after all. Turning, she starts back towards the city--

"Don't go!"

His hand latches on to her wrist, and she freezes in place. Don't touch me, she thinks wildly, pulling back--but his grip is surprisingly strong, and she finds herself standing, staring, almost shaking. What does he want? Hasn't he already done enough?

"Why not?" she asks, her voice hoarse. "Why would I want to stay with you?"

"I don't want to be alone," he mutters, and his grip tightens to the point that it hurts. "I don't want to be alone. Asuka, I don't want to be alone!"

What about what I want?

She wants to ask him that, but knows it won't do her any good.

So she lets him pull her back down, and sits beside him. When he leans against her, she stiffens, but allows it. Protesting will only lead to another fight, and she's tired of fighting.

Really, she's tired of a lot of things.

In the end, she finds herself once again lying on the shore, this time with Shinji's arms wrapped around her, as if he requires proof that there is still someone else there.

He has a peaceful rest, that night. She does not.