"I want to be touched."
Don't touch me…
I don't want to be touched.
"Please… I can't bear it…"
I want more…
Her eyes closed, tears forming under her lids. And the tears slipped and fell, rolling down the sides of her face. They tickled and left a wet path of pain and sorrow. She was lying on the floor, but where she had no idea. But really, did she care? There was a hand, and it was hovering over her. It might touch her. She knew who the hand belonged to, yet that couldn't be right – he was dead. She was too scared to move – in case he left? In case he stayed?
"Please don't touch me."
I crave it too much. I'll become something else. The unknown –
Her breaths quickened in unison with her heart. She couldn't – she wouldn't –
"When I gave my life, so the Lilim could live, I was unaware of some things," a new voice contemplated above her.
"I want to be touched…"
But if you do…
"I'm sure you do. I think I'm starting to understand. You harboured feelings for me, not unlike the ones I had for Shinji, but different. A different kind of love, a personal one I was unaware of, because you harboured it deep in your heart, away from where I could see. And as a consequence of this undisclosed feeling, I unintentionally hurt you." His voice soothed her, but at the same time, unnerved her. He was dead…
"I am the perception of me you had. You perceived me to be sympathetic to your predicament, and so I am here behaving like this. But I am still me, as we exist both as ourselves and what others perceive us to be."
His hand still hovered.
"You're afraid of contact, yet still you crave it."
His hand rested on her stomach and she shuddered. The contact was so frightening, yet felt so good.
"Do you believe if Kaworu Nagisa had of lived, he would have engaged in a romantic relationship with you?" he questioned, stroking her stomach. She didn't know what to say.
"Would you have even told him about your feelings, or would you have merely hoped he would notice and do something about it?"
Her heart wrenched. He knew what she would have done.
"Can all you do is beg me?"
I want to be touched, no matter the cost I perceive.
"No… Touch me."
"Will I be touched in return? Do I want to be touched? Do I trust my heart with you, even as you are willing to entrust yours to me?"
"I… don't know."
"You do not know me."
She remained silent.
"My love for Shinji was a love for mankind – a love for the Lilim's frailties. Shinji has the potential to be strong, but it is swallowed by his weaknesses. You too have the potential to be great, as all humans do, but your weaknesses hold you back. To overcome is not to win through, as most believe. It is to come against a different challenge. To win at life is to push past all these problems, to never give up. To never run away." His voice echoed in her ears and mind. She wasn't sure if the hand and the voice were joined anymore. His voice ran into the walls, everything was melting together in her mind. She was losing the battle, she realised. If she failed, she would die.
You mustn't run away.
"If… if I am happy to live in the company of a perceived shadow, I am really living with myself. And to live with myself is an empty life. You are dead, and so you are a shadow. If I crave solitude, I will be granted the loss of my individuality, and so my death. To die like this is wrong. I will not die because I am selfish." Her voice had grown stronger. Kaworu chuckled and removed his hand.
And she awoke to the world.