He is the successor of life.
That’s what SEELE tells him. His purpose is to return to Adam, they say. Tabris sprung from Adam, and to Adam he will return. Just as the Lilin will return to dust.
Tabris accepts this for a while. He holds his destiny in mind and reads about the Lilin who he will unite. They’re such peculiar creatures, stirring in him what he thinks is called “curiosity.” He spends many of his years this way—preparing for Adam and passing the time with books and television.
It’s when he’s reading one day when he realizes that there’s more.
There is an It.
Adam might be important, but Adam isn’t the It that he’s meant for, and Tabris has no idea how he knows this. He just does. That’s what frustrates him when he goes to bed that night.
Tabris does not dream. He does not question. He does not eat of the fruit of knowledge. But something in him has been born.
He waits for years, wondering, praying, studying the Dead Sea Scrolls like a crazed scholar. Nothing happens until the night he turns twelve.
Maybe it was a dream. SEELE says that the Lilin often have dreams, perhaps he has had one too. He saw a seashore littered with broken marble. He saw the setting sun. And he saw a boy.
The It is a him, and he’s all Tabris thinks about for the next three years.
The boy has dark hair and lonely eyes, and his name is Shinji Ikari.
Lilin don’t seem to like nudity. Tabris thinks it’s quite beautiful, though. Shinji is as naked as the first man, skin turned blue by the bathing room’s walls. Tabris could touch him so easily, if he dared. But Shinji is a precocious thing, and if he touched him he might run away.
“You are extremely afraid of any kind of initial contact, aren’t you? Are you that afraid of other people?”
Shinji looks down into the water and Tabris knows that the answer is yes. The poor thing; he’s so anxious he can’t speak. So Tabris decides to speak for him, the same way Shinji’s heart spoke to him on the beach mere hours ago.
“I know that by keeping others at a distance you avoid a betrayal of your trust. For while you may not be hurt that way, you mustn’t forget that you must endure the loneliness. Man cannot erase this sadness, because all men are fundamentally alone.”
Tabris dares to take Shinji’s hand, and looking into his eyes makes Tabris feel strange. Alien. Human.
“It’s time…” Shinji mumbles, blushing cobalt.
“Time to go?”
“Yeah. I have to go to bed.”
Shinji’s eyes widen. “No! I think you have your own room…that they gave you, I mean!”
Tabris wants to hear Shinji’s voice again. He wants to leave Eden with him and explore the world that no longer feels so lonely. He wants to hear him say his name like he did when they met.
“Kaworu Nagisa.” It’s not technically his real name, but it feels right on Shinji’s lips, so right that he never wants to be called “Tabris” again.
“You are delicate like glass, especially your heart.”
“I am?” Shinji asks, even though he knows this.
“Yes, and worth earning my empathy.”
“I’m saying I love you.”
Adam has never looked at Kaworu like he’s the world. Adam has never asked him to call him by his first name. Adam has never trusted him with his past. Adam has never given him a life in the span of a few hours. Adam has never loved him with his heart of glass, nor trusted him not to break it.
Shinji is everything that Adam is not.
And Kaworu has to betray him.
He can’t just turn his back on Adam, no matter how perfect lying on Shinji’s floor is. It would be unfair. And uniting with him will be everything he’s ever wanted. Right?
“I think I may have been born just to meet you, Shinji Ikari.”
He means it.
There are metal fingers around his ribs, and they aren’t tight enough. They have to be tight enough to kill.
“Please, destroy me. Otherwise you will be destroyed.”
Kaworu can’t see him, but he knows that Shinji is shaking inside Unit 01. He wishes he wouldn’t be so upset, but Shinji can’t help those pesky emotions. He’s going to break his heart. It will all be worth it, though.
“Only one life form can be chosen to evade the destruction and seize the future! And yours is not the existence which should die. You need the future; it is what you live for!”
For the first time in fifteen years, he’s lived. But he cannot have lived without dying.
“Thank you, Shinji. My life was meaningful because of you.”
There’s a rush of warmth and snap of pain and a wave of content before Kaworu Nagisa dies.
One day they will be happy. One day they will be together. He knows it sure as he knows he loves this boy. Despite the change of circumstances, it was much easier this time now that he knew who to look for. Only little things have changed. Shinji doesn’t play the cello anymore. A girl named Mari has joined their ranks. The world has already ended by Shinji’s hand. But none of that matters; they’re sharing the same sky and Kaworu can tell him the truth.
“I really was born to meet you.”