Word Count: 5514
Summary: Some loops, Kaworu feels heavy with grief and hurt.
Warnings: Abuse, self-harm, Anxiety/panic attacks, depression and self-loathing.
Notes: Sharkie wanted Scar-kissing fic but I don't think she was expecting something kind of dark like this. Title is from Sic Semper Tyrannis by mae. A lot of my headcanon for this fic comes from the fic Lavender Hydrangea by monomiko which you should read because it's good. and sad. but hey, it's kawoshin.
More often than not in this loop, Kaworu wakes up feeling heavy. Falling asleep had been such a struggle that it seemed ridiculous to crawl out of bed now, even as the clock looms dangerously close to the first bell at school. He simply pulls the covers over his head, turning away from his alarm clock. The last loop had been awful. A dismal failure. Despite Kaworu settling quite nicely into this loop (a lot earlier, thankfully - Shinji still smiles and laughs here) his most recent life and death settles cold and weighty in his chest. It pushes him down, making his smiles a little slower and his voice a little fainter.
He doesn’t want to worry Shinji, and he knows that his absence will be noticed but even so he can’t bring himself to move even a centimeter. Besides, he doesn’t want Shinji to see him like this. He doesn’t have a right to burden Shinji like that, not on top of everything else and not before his eventual, inevitable death. The thought of that makes him bury his face against his pillow, wanting to disappear. ‘The Angel of Free Will’ SEELE had called him, which must have been some kind of cruel joke. He doesn’t really have much control of anything, and it’s more of a comfort than it should be when he thinks of how he can at least try to help Shinji.
Kaworu pulls the blankets tighter around himself, trying to block out any light. He just needs to rest.
But the next day comes and Kaworu feels just as heavy. He feels much too cold and his head is buzzing with sickening thoughts. He pushes himself out of bed anyway, feeling too enclosed and too confined in his small, designated apartment. The walls are too starkly white. The cleaners he uses in his kitchen don’t smell much like sterilizing agents but it’s just similar enough to be unnerving. Assigned rooms, sanitized walls, and his unease mix together to be much too reminiscent of situations he would rather not spend much time remembering. He dresses lethargically, his fingers fumbling his laces, and leaves the apartment.
He doesn’t head to school. He still can’t face Shinji yet, not like this. He mixes into the city for awhile, getting lost in the crowds of Lillin on their commute. He purposefully avoids any route he’s sure students are sure to be traversing on their way to school. Particularly if it’s where Shinji could be walking. Kaworu loses himself in the buzz of the crowd, letting the collective energy muffle his thoughts to a dull hum. Eventually, though, he finds himself wandering away from that too.
He wanders out to the trees, to soft breezes and a small creek. Nature is somewhat too quiet for his liking, true, but even so it is certainly the opposite of what Kaworu hates. There’s the scent of life all around, the smell of dirt and grass instead of sterility. The sound of wind flowing through the grass and rustling the leaves instead of monotone voices over intercoms, instead of cruel or desperate, pleading words. He absentmindedly follows the creek until he sees it leads to a small lake. He quickly turns away from it while thinking of emerald sunsets and sailor suits. He strays back into the city again as the Sun sinks back behind the horizon, long after students have gone home. He arrives back at his apartment and collapses back into his bed, somehow completely exhausted.
In the earliest hours of the next morning, Kaworu awakes with a jolt. He’s covered in a cold sweat, trembling. He sits up quickly, drawing up his knees to his chest and shutting his eyes tightly. He can’t control his breathing. He feels like he’s gonna throw up. Snapshots and sound bits from his dream flash through his mind on an agonizing loop.
Patterns of colors on his skin, blue, black and purple. Pulled around, hissed words of disgust - freak, ugly, a burden, a monster - as he keeps his head down, muttering apologies.
He tries to take a deep breath, but he can’t get any air, he can’t control his own breath or anything. He can’t control anything.
His tenth birthday. He’s handed over to SEELE, told what he is. Any idea of identity and understanding of himself shatters all around him while a much more sickening understanding that somehow makes so much more sense settles cold in his stomach. A small, bare room. Observation. Distant words, cold hands. Sterile examination rooms and unattended blades.
He can’t breath, he can’t even think. His body is filled with something disgusting and awful. His blood is swirling with panic and inhumanity and he needs to get it out he needs to get it out.
He doesn’t process rolling out of bed, staggering down the hall towards the kitchen. He can’t breath. Can’t think. Can’t control his shaking or his hands or his own life. Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing was ever truly his from the start. Not his body, not his life, not his death. He never had anything.
When Kaworu’s breathing slows and he comes back to his senses, there’s a knife in his shaking hand and red streaking his wrists.
He doesn’t go outside again for a week.
Over the music Kaworu had been playing to drown out his disgusting thoughts, he hears his phone buzz. He reaches for it, purposely keeping his eyes away from his fresh scars. It’s a text message, from one of NERV’s workers.
He groans. A week off from school he could attribute to illness, but missing a sync test after said week had passed isn’t so easily explained, and is more likely to cause invasive suspicion from his superiors, and unneeded concern for Shinji. With another groan, he pushes himself up. He quickly looks away as the blanket slips off his forearms. He swings his legs off the side of the bed while glancing over at his dresser. He’s sure he still has a long sleeved shirt hidden somewhere in there.
Shinji’s heart sinks when he walks into the empty changing room at NERV. He hadn’t seen Kaworu in over a week, and hadn’t been able to reach him. He knew Kaworu was more than capable of taking care of themself, but he couldn’t help but feel slightly sick with worry. Something, something about this situation grips his heart with a strangely familiar sense of dread. He swallows down the thoughts as he opens his locker, taking off his shoes and setting them inside. He’s so lost in his thoughts that he jumps at the sound of the door sliding opening again.
He whips around, and every distressing thought dissipates in a rush of elation at the site of the pale teen walking in the room.
“Kaworu-kun!” He exclaims, bolting up and all but running to the other pilot. “Where have you been? I-I’ve been worried.”
Kaworu smiles at him, his usual gentle smile. “I apologize for making you worry, but you don’t need to. I didn’t feel well over the week, is all. I must have caught something,” he says, walking over to his own locker, across from Shinji’s.
Shinji frowns. Kaworu’s words were always reassuring and soothing, but something about this felt inauthentic. Forced, almost. “Then, are you sure you feel alright today?” He asks.
“Better than I did before, yes,” Kaworu says, not looking back at Shinji as he slips off his shoes and starts to undo his belt.
Shinji still isn’t convinced, but goes back to his own locker to continue changing. The two strip in silence. The quiet air feels dark and heavy to Shinji. The dread still sits like a rock in his stomach, chilling his blood. Shrugging off his button up, he glances back at Kaworu, who is similarly removing his long-sleeved shirt. When Kaworu starts to slip a sleeve down his wrist, Shinji’s heart skips a beat and his breath stops. Kaworu looks back at him, catching his gaze.
“What is it?” He asks, just barely pulling the fabric back up.
“Oh, n-nothing!” Shinji exclaims, snapping his attention back to the locker in front of him. Kaworu doesn’t say anything, and the soft sound of rustling fabric tells Shinji he’s gone back to changing. Shinji’s throat feels tight, his stomach nauseous. He quickly pulls off his undershirt, trying to focus on getting undressed instead. His head races, trying to convince himself that he didn’t catch a glimpse of anything.
I’m just imagining things, there’s no way, kaworu wouldn’t
He wants to glance over again, wants to try to confirm that he’s seeing things that aren’t there, but he can’t. A sickening sense of fear keeps him rooted in place, hands functioning on autopilot as he finishes stripping and steps into his plugsuit. It isn’t until he’s clicking the collar into place and he hears the characteristic rush of air being expelled behind him that he looks back again. Kaworu is full changed now, his dark plugsuit accentuating his slender form and making Shinji blush despite the distressing circumstances. Kaworu turns to him, his soft smile not quite reaching his eyes, which suddenly look very tired.
“Ready to go?” he asks.
Shinji looks back, pressing the button on his own suit to fit it properly. He turns to Kaworu, putting on a smile so Kaworu won’t suspect anything.
“Yeah, let’s go.”
His heart still feels heavy as he sits in the seat of the simulation entry-plug, trying to lose his thoughts in the soft hum of the test. It isn’t long before he hears Misato’s voice crackling from the speaker.
“Shinji-kun, you’re sync ratio is a little low, try to relax. Same to you, Nagisa-kun.”
Shinji’s eyes fly open, his sight darting to the small screen on his left. Kaworu’s sync rate was low? It didn’t seem possible. Misato and Dr. Akagi were always flummoxed by Kaworu’s beyond-perfect sync rates. Kaworu doesn’t at all seemed phased by Misato’s comment, his eyes still closed and his breathing even. Misato’s voice comes over the speaker again.
“Shinji-kun, I just told you to relax!”
“R-right.” Shinji responds, reluctantly looking away from Kaworu and closing his eyes again. The earlier sense of dread and worry settles cold in his stomach, sending a chill down his spines as nervous thoughts dominate his brain. It feels like an eternity until Ritsuko clears them to leave. He practically jumps out of the plug to see that Kaworu was somehow ahead of him, already walking back to the locker room without a word. Shinji is frozen in place, his heart aching as he watches Kaworu’s retreating form. Ayanami must sense his distress, as he hears her soft foot steps approach behind him.
“Ikari-kun did. . . something happen with the Fifth?”
Shinji feels pathetic when he answers “I . . . I don’t know.”
Though Shinji does his best to get back to the changing room quickly, Kaworu is already fully changed when Shinji arrives, sitting on the bench and tying his shoes.
“My apologies, Shinji-kun,” Kaworu interrupts as he finishes tying his shoes. He stands up “I’m not sure I’m feeling quite one hundred percent yet, so I’ll be retiring for the day.”
The words make Shinji freeze. “Oh, alright, um, feel better soon.”
Kaworu smiles at him as he walks past, expressing his thanks as he steps outside. The door shuts with a hiss behind him, leaving Shinji alone. The sudden silence and stillness is paralyzing. Shinji morosely walks and sinks down to the bench. Part of him feels like this must be his fault, maybe Kaworu is just tired of seeing him so often, having to put up with him. But he can’t ignore the sense that it’s something different, something more related to Kaworu himself. He presses his face into his hands. He can’t ignore it, ignoring it feels like running away, but what can he do? What can he do for anyone?
Shinji sighs. He wishes this wasn’t so hard.
Kaworu shuts the door behind him and immediately sinks down to the floor.
He saw he saw he saw them god I can’t believe I let that happen.
He harshly pulls his sleeves down lower, to the middle of his palms. He can’t look at them right now, can’t even think about them for too long until he starts feeling sick. He curls in on himself again, pulling up his knees and wrapping his arms around them. He hates himself for not being able hide his awful parts from Shinji, for not being able to protect him. He hates himself for feeling this way again, when he thought he was well past it. These crushing feelings were a relic of a time hundreds of lifetimes ago, they had to be, and if he ignores them, they have to go away, just as suddenly as they resurfaced. They have to. He pushes himself up and drags himself to his bed. Another nap should do it.
Kaworu wakes up at the sound of the doorbell. He opens his eyes, looking at the clock on his nightstand. It’s 5 o’clock in the evening, two hours after he had arrived home. Well, that certainly wasn’t what he had planned. The doorbell rings again, and the only thing that pulls him up to get it is the thought that it might be Shinji
And sure enough, it is.
He smiles at the boy, and it’s almost sincere what with the way Shinji is shuffling his feet and fiddling with the plastic bag in his hand. “Shinji-kun, what brings you here?”
Shinji looks down. “W-well, I thought that . . . Kaworu-kun doesn’t always eat enough when he’s healthy, so, i-if it’s not imposing, I thought, maybe I could make you something?”
It feels like a flower of warmth is blooming in Kaworu’s chest, and the weight of forcefulness in his small smile melts away into complete sincerity.
“You’re not imposing at all, this is very kind of you.” He says, stepping aside to let Shinji in. “Thank you for thinking of me.”
Another rush of warmth follows Shinji’s soft blush and slight smile.
“Oh, no, it’s nothing special, I mean,” He walks into the mini-kitchen, placing the bag on the counter and starting to arrange the ingredients. “You’re always so concerned about me, it’s only fair.”
“Even so,” kaworu says, following him into the kitchen. Shinji frowns.
“Is something wrong?” Kaworu asks.
“Well, it’s just, I really think you should be resting. I don’t want you to start feeling sick again because of me.”
Kaworu is a little taken aback at how firm Shinji’s being, but not in a bad way. He recovers, maintaining his smile. “Well, if you’re certain you don’t need my help with anything.”
Shinji smiles again. “Well, you know, you aren’t very good at cooking anyway. I should be fine on my own,” he says. Kaworu nods, and finally moves to exit the room as Shinji starts working. He settles himself on the bed, leaning against the wall, closing his eyes and listening. The quiet apartment carries the sound of Shinji chopping and moving things around rather well. Kaworu wonders what he’s making - Miso soup, perhaps, or maybe some sort of rice dish. He’s starting to relax, feel peaceful again, drinking in Shinji’s kindness.
But isn’t this supposed to be the other way around?
His body settles cold again. True, he had promised himself to make Shinji happy, to show him kindness, and how effective is he at that, really? He’s starting to lean against Shinji, relying on him to block out all the ugly parts of himself. He frowns, his eyes opening. This isn’t what he should be doing, he has no right to burden Shinji this way. His feelings should be irrelevant, compared to Shinji’s. He lies down on the bed, curling into himself as the sickening swirling thoughts fight to creep into his head again. Maybe, hopefully, he can fall asleep before Shinji finishes cooking, and Shinji can leave his food out for him and then go home. Then Shinji won’t have to see him like this, won’t have to deal with Kaworu’s weakness and ugliness. But his mind is firing at a hundred bad memories a minute, and it won’t settle down. He’s trembling slightly, even as he tries to settle down and relax. Before he knows it, Shinji is joining him in his room, sitting down on the bed with two bowls in hand. He’s silent, just for a moment.
“Can you sit up to eat?” He asks, so softly and gently that it can’t help but sooth Kaworu, which only brings another stinging wave of guilt. Kaworu sits up, not even trying to hide his minor shaking and the heaviness in his movements. He had already claimed sickness, after all, this would be easy to explain away. He takes the bowl Shinji holds out for him, not quite meeting his deep blue eyes. It’s Miso Soup, just as he had been thinking. It’s almost enough to make him chuckle - he knows Shinji too well after all this time. He murmurs a thank you and takes a sip. It tastes just as wonderful as he was expecting. He dares to steal a glance at Shinji. Thankfully the boy isn’t watching him, instead focused on his own soup. He doesn’t seem bothered, perhaps Kaworu shouldn’t say anything, but . . .
“You don’t have to stay, you know. I don’t want to keep you if it’s troublesome.”
Shinji turns back to him, his brow furrowed and his mouth turned down. “I want to, though. You’re not a bother at all, Kaworu-kun.”
That should be enough, Kaworu almost thinks. It should be enough to absolve him of the toxic guilt and the resentment aimed towards himself that has been consuming him for the past week. Even so, something poison is running in his veins and impairing his thoughts. Before he really processes it, he’s speaking again.
“Well, I would feel bad for worrying y-”
“Stop that.” Shinji interrupts. Kaworu blinks at him, startled by the uncharacteristic outburst. He stills as he waits for Shinji to continue. The brunette boy is gripping his own bowl of soup tightly, brow furrowed in frustration. “You’re lying, o-or you did lie. Earlier, when you said you’d been sick.”
Kaworu’s heart sinks. This is exactly what he had been hoping he could avoid. This isn’t what Shinji needs, it isn’t the happiness he’s been wishing for. He does his best to keep up his smile, but he can feel it faltering. “I only wanted to avoid causing you undue concern.”
“Stop it!” Shinji interjects again, roughly slamming his bowl down on the nearby table. He turns around to face Kaworu, leaning towards him. His face is filled with the worry and concern and distress Kaworu has been fearing, and every line on his face is like another glass shard in Kaworu’s heart. “When you say things like, I - I just, I can’t help but be worried, you know?” He takes a deep, shaking breath before continuing. “It scares me, i-it makes me feel like Kaworu-kun is hiding something, like you’re scared, too, and hurting, a-and I want to be there for you, l-like you’re always there for me. I don’t want to leave Kaworu-kun alone.”
The words felt like half-lies on Shinji’s tongue. He didn’t know what to do, didn’t know what to say. In truth, he wanted to run away. He had always thought of Kaworu as perfect and unaffected by cruelty and hurt, and he wanted to run away from the reality that was currently confronting him with the truth.
Even so, something keeps him rooted to the bed, his hands gripping the blankets tightly, something keeps his mess of words falling out of his mouth. Keeps him pleading and hoping that Kaworu will open up, will share whatever is killing him from the inside and maybe, maybe for once in his life Shinji won’t be an additional burden, but will be in aid in lifting those burdens. Maybe this will be the one relationship that won’t crumble and wound him when he gets too close. He wonders, briefly, if this has anything to do with the warm feeling in his chest when he’s with the pale boy, with how light and happy Kaworu makes him feel.
After a long silence, Kaworu breaks their eye contact, looking down at his soup, which was getting too cold. He searches for something to say, searching through all the loops and lifetimes in his head, but none of them seem to suit this situation. His mind is turning up blank but still buzzing and running and screaming.
The words fall, unplanned, ungraceful. Shinji immediately tries to say he doesn’t need to apologize, but now Kaworu can’t stop himself.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I just-” One hand presses to his face, roughly gripping at his hair. “I really didn’t mean to worry, you, honestly. This - I - I never wanted you to see me like this, in this condition.
Shinji is watching him intently, looking so kind and soft but worried and frightened for Kaworu’s sake. Kaworu is screaming at himself in his head - stop it stop it stop it don’t say anything else don’t talk anymore you’re just going to hurt him - but something inside him has broken down and he can’t stop the mess of words and emotions from rushing outwards.
“I’m sorry, I . . . Shinji-kun, you, you think so highly of me, but, in truth I, I’m just-”
a freak, a monster, ugly, disposable, weak, failure failure failurefailurefailure
Kaworu lets out a bitter, sharp laugh, the sound of it harsh in his ears. “I’m pathetic, honestly. I just, I just want to make you happy, but no matter what i just keep fucking up.” He takes a deep, shuddering breath, similar to his shaking, and tries to blink away the moisture in his eyes. “And I do-” another shaking breath, sounding like a sob “I don’t mean to trouble you with all of this, sincerely. I know you believe otherwise but I truly, truly, do not deserve the kindness you show to me.”
Shinji leans closer, reaching out “Kaworu, that’s not-”
“If you knew” Kaworu spits, too harshly, cutting him off. Shinji pulls back, on reflex.
Good, Kaworu thinks. Stay away from me, don’t touch me, don’t look at me, I’ll just hurt you stay away stay away stay away-
“If you knew everything about me,” he continues, with another sob “You wouldn’t even want to look at me. You wouldn’t - you wouldn’t smile at me or cook meals for me, you would hate me. Because I don’t deserve this, or anything like this. The only I deserve is to di-”
He’s interrupted by a sudden force pushing him back, arms wrapping around him and fingers tangling in his hair. In the next instant he’s on his back, staring at the ceiling. The bowl of soup is knocked over, spilling Miso soup on his comforter and sheets. Shinji is lying on top of him, trembling slightly and clinging to him.
“Don’t,” he says quietly, his voice shaking in parallel to his body. “Please, d-don’t say those things about yourself. You’re the kindest person I’ve ever met, Kaworu-kun, a-and you deserve to live” more than I do “just as much as anyone else.”
“You can only say that,” Kaworu responds, his voice breaking, “Because you aren’t truly aware of what I’m talking about.”
“Even though I haven’t know Kaworu-kun for very long, I still, still think you’re a good person. You’re always so kind to me, you never run away, or do bad things.”
Kaworu is silent for a moment. He lets Shinji’s words sink in, reveling in the warmth and comfort they bring him. Though at the same time he feels guilt, feels how he does not deserve such comforts from the boy he’s supposed to be protecting.
“Even so. . .” he starts, his voice somehow more even now “as I am right now . . . do you still believe I would be the best thing for you? For your happiness?”
“This isn’t about me, right now!” Shinji declares. He surprises himself with the statement, how automatic it was. It isn’t very like him to throw aside his own feelings and fears for another. It’s slightly frightening, but he feels like it’s all he can do.
Even if I’m scared
Even if I don’t know what to do
I want to help Kaworu
Shinji swallows at the lump of anxiety that’s settled in his throat. He shifts slightly, reaching up to comb his fingers through Kaworu’s hair - softly, reassuringly. “Right now, I just, I want to take care of you, I, I want to try and make sure that Kaworu-kun will be alright. Be-because I,” he takes a deep breath, squeezing the pale boy beneath him a little tighter. “I really care about you.”
Another wave of warmth rushes over Kaworu and his chest tightens at Shinji’s words. It’s the closest to a confession he’s gotten from the shy boy since rejecting him all those lifetimes ago. It feels like forgiveness, somehow, even if Shinji has no way of knowing how or why. He still feels that constricting darkness in his veins but Shinji is here right next to him, and oh, his hand in his hair just feels so nice. He closes his eyes, humming contently.
“Okay,” he says, quietly. “I don’t mind. . . if Shinji-kun takes care of me this time.”
The words feel like a crime and a liberation all at once. Still, it feels wonderful when Shinji moves again, kissing his cheek, and then his forehead. Shinji then sits up, looking at the mess he caused.
“Ah, first, I guess, I should clean up your bed. Y-you should take a bath too, while I do that.”
Kaworu nods, sitting up and moving off the bed. He can’t help but indulge in returning Shinji’s affections with a quick peck on the cheek. It makes Shinji smile a bit, for which Kaworu is thankful. He feels lethargic and his legs feel unsteady as he makes his way to the bathroom, but he doesn’t complain against Shinji’s suggestion. He shuts the bathroom door behind him, not bothering to lock it. He begins stripping automatically, almost robotically. For the first time since that night over a week ago, he lets himself actually look at his wrists.
The cuts have been healing, making fresh, pink scars stripping his arms. They’re jagged and uneven, slashing in different directions, some overlapping. It isn’t the most he’s ever had, but they still weigh on his heart.
weak weak weak weak I fucked up all I ever do it fuck up I should just get my death over with this time
He shakes the thoughts from his head, trying to clear his mind. He takes a deep breath and walks over to the bath. He turns the knob for hot-water all the way, not caring how scalding it is. He watches the water as it fills the tub, watching how the water sloshes against the sides of the tub. He turns the water off as it almost fills completely, noting the ripples as the water settles.
Meet a wall. Repeat. Meet a wall. Repeat. Meet a wall. Repeat.
The water settles, smoothing out, perfectly still. No more ripples, not more repetition.
One day he won’t need me. He won’t need all the hardship I bring for only a glance of happiness.
Kaworu shuts his eyes, trying to shut out the image of the still water. He listens, and he can hear Shinji moving around outside, running the washing machine and cleaning up a bit. He’s still there, and he’s taking care of Kaworu. He said that he cares, that he thinks his life is worthwhile. He takes a deep breath. If he can at least exist in this world, maybe that can be enough.
Without looking he carefully steps into the top, wincing slightly at the temperature of the water. He quickly lowers himself into it, letting the water surround him. He doesn’t bother adjusting the temperature or sitting down gradually. The heat shocks his body to life as it numbs his thoughts. It stings his fresh scars. He uncurls his body, stretching his legs as much as he can in the small tub. He leans his head back, his neck prickling at the contrast of the cool edge of porcelain.
He sighs, feeling some of the tension and poison flow out as his body adjusts and the water starts cooling. It’s enough to make him relax, actually. This combined with what he can hear of Shinji outside. He’s put on music, one of Kaworu’s CDs. Kaworu knows the track playing - The Scent of Love by Michael Nyman. Kaworu smiles to himself. Perhaps the other pilot is feeling sentimental. He soaks for what feels like along while, not ever stirring when he hears the door open and then close again. Shinji bringing fresh clothes more likely. Eventually the humming of the washer and then the dryer stop, and he hears more movement from outside as the tracks on the CD change. After the third track switch, the door opens again.
“S-sorry, b-but the bed’s ready again, Kaworu-kun.”
Kaworu gives an affirmative hum and evidently that’s enough, the door clicking shut again.
Kaworu leans forward and pulls the plug from the drain. The water automatically starts swirling into it, pulling the heat from his body as it lowers. He stands up, nothing the red tint the hot water has added to his skin. It’s temporary, it’ll fade. Unlike his scars, but similar in nature and cause. He steps out onto the tiled floor, reaching for a towel to dry and cover himself with. Ruffling a smaller one through his hair, he examines the clothes Shinji had put out for him. Pajama pants, short sleeved shirt. His stomach flips at shirt and the lack of pockets on the pants. Shinji has already noticed the scars, he knows, but it still makes him anxious. But he doesn’t want to cause distress or a fuss. So after he’s finished drying off, he reaches down for the clothes, putting them on without complaint.
He walks back into the room, the cold air of his apartment wrapping around him. Shinji is on the remade bed, sitting on the side against the wall. His legs are drawn up to his chest, his fingers fiddling with some loose threads on his pants. He looks up when Kaworu walks in, smiling at him.
“You can lie back down, if you want.” He says. Kaworu nods, walking over to him. He settles down next to Shinji, pulling the blankets around him.
“Mmm, they’re warm,” he notes. Not burning, like the bath, but softer, gentle. Like the Sun in the morning before it the temperature climbs into a sticky, summer heat. It feels like Shinji, somehow.
Just as he thinks that, Shinji is lying down with him, moving close to him. He takes one of Kaworu’s hand between his own.
“I can stay here tomorrow, too. . .if you need me to,” he says, practically whispering.
“Only if that is what you want to do.” Kaworu replies, matching his volume.
“It is what I want! I- I don’t want Kaworu-kun to feel so scared again.”
He squeezes Kaworu’s hand, looking right into his eyes. Subtle blue meeting brilliant red. Their eyes suit them perfectly, Shinji thinks. Kaworu had always been so forward and bold before, but somehow comforting, and never forward enough to make Shinji uncomfortable. He seemed to move on instinct, yet he was never wrong. Shyly, Shinji moves Kaworu’s hand to his mouth, kissing the palm. Then he moves lower, gingerly kissing the jagged skin, the scars on Kaworu’s wrists.
Kaworu tenses at Shinji’s actions, but then relaxes. For as sick and disgusted he feels at himself for those marks, he can’t help but feel comforted at Shinji’s affections. He feels guilty at how Shinji can love and care for the ugliest, weakest parts of himself, but relieved at the same time. He’s appalled at how he allows himself to be held by Shinji, at his lack of protests when Shinji plays with his hair again - running his fingers through it, twirling the strands in his fingers. He’s nauseous at allowing himself to listen to the soft words Shinji whispers into his ears, but revels in them.
“You’re amazing, Kaworu-kun.”
“You’re so beautiful.”
“You’re kind and wonderful and you make me so, so happy.”
Eventually the mixture of self-hatred and comfort tepids out to a soft, warm feeling as Kaworu drifts to sleep, snuggling closer to Shinji.
“I just want to take care of you,” He says drowsily.
Shinji smiles at the sleepy teen next to him.
“Maybe we can take care of each other, then,” He says.
Kaworu smiles before falling completely asleep.