“maybe we’re just two stars born from different constellations,
we were never meant to connect,
oh, but how we tried, we reached, we screamed, we yearned,
but it was never enough.”
— you slipped away from my grasp before I could even touch you // k.s.
“Maybe you were born to kill me, Miyuki-san,” the body that Miyuki is cradling mumbles, voice weak.
Even so, there’s a tiny twitch of the other’s lips like a smile, and Miyuki swallows when cold fingers gently reach up to touch his cheek. Blood from the fingers smears on his face but he doesn’t care, he can’t bring himself to care when all he can feel is the despairing sink in his shoulders—because this wasn’t supposed to happen.
“Don’t say that,” Miyuki croaks pleadingly and it sounds so unnatural coming from his lips. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t want to, fuck—please, not this time, I swear, don’t—d-don’t die on me, please—“
“It’s what has to happen. You did the right thing. You always do,” the other says, eyelids fluttering close over blue eyes, “It’s okay.”
“It’s not!” Miyuki snaps, grabbing the other’s bloodied hand caressing his face tightly. “I refuse to believe that you have to die because of me, now or ever,” he hisses angrily, hot tears prickly the edge of his eyes. “Look, help is on the way, just, just hold on for a bit longer,” he swallows. “…Stay with me,” he pleads, soft. “Don’t leave me.”
“I’ll see you again, Miyuki-san,” the other whispers.
“That’s not good enough,” Miyuki shakes his head in denial, body frame starting to tremble. “I want you now. In this time,” he admits, voice hoarse. “Why can’t I have you this time?”
The pale face lying in his arms just smiles upwards towards him; an actual smile, but it only serves to make the tears bleed out. “You have me in all of them.”
Those last words sound like a promise and a prayer and a conviction and a plea; but it’s not good enough. It’s still not good enough. Miyuki grips the person he’s cradling, his body hunched over and forehead pressed against the other’s forehead; the fingers in his hand goes limp, and that’s when he knows it’s over. There’s no word to describe the cry that threatens to rip from his throat, but instead he squeezes his eyes shut and embraces the body tighter in silence.
He wonders if he’s always been too late in confessing this too; “…but I-I love you…”
He blinks again, the feel of the cotton on his skin starting to bleed into his senses.
Miyuki exhales, closing his eyes for a moment before forcing himself to sit up. His body flares
up in pain like fire—right rib, left thigh, splitting headache; not the worst he’s had—and he grits through it to push himself to lean up against the head of the bed. Light filters in from the window. It’s eerily quiet.
He lets his sore body settle for a bit as he simply breathes and scans the room. Empty and clinical as always, no surprise there. There’s no clock in the room and even if there was he probably can’t see the time anyway, being devoid of his glasses and contacts. He doesn’t know what day it is, but he’s sure someone will come in and tell him at some point.
It’s not unusual that he wakes up like this ever since the number of Angel attacks have been increasing—if his memories are intact, then his fight with the 16th Angel, Armisael, landed him here. The details are still fuzzy, but he vaguely remembers Unit-02 going berserk before he was sent out in replacement and to retrieve its pilot, Second Child Sawamura Eijun.
The door opens before he can try to recall more.
Miyuki sighs out a breath he didn’t know he was holding when he realises it’s not his father—but that’s a stupid thought, like his father would ever have time to visit him in the hospital being head of NERV and all—or Rei. He doesn’t want to face Rei’s disappointed stare for his “reckless behaviour” in Unit-01; sometimes he wonders why Rei even thinks he should pilot the Eva anyway, considering all he’ll ever do in the robot is to make those “reckless choices”.
The person that comes in carries a tray that the other sets down on the table next to his bed. Short, pink hair, some sort of smile—Miyuki can’t see it too well with his blurred vision, but he recognises Haruichi Kominato, the First Child and pilot of Unit-00, who lingers by his bed.
“How are you feeling?”
“In pain,” Miyuki answers honestly, lips twitching to a wry smile. “Is Sawamura—“
“Alive,” Haruichi confirms. “Eijun in the room next to yours, but he hasn’t woken up yet.”
“I see,” Miyuki replies. “...Where are my glasses?”
Haruichi holds up his finger like he’s just remembered something and swipes a box off the tray that he was carrying earlier to hand it to Miyuki. It’s his glasses case.
“Thanks,” he says when he can see clearly again. “…When can I leave?”
Haruichi smiles; maybe it’s because NERV is sick of his constant complaints and ruthless passive aggressive behaviour when he’s stuck in the hospital.
Miyuki is alone in the train when he takes it home. On the way he bypasses the ruins of the artificial city inverted underground, the wreckage he, Sawamura and the Angel had caused. He turns away from the window, hand clenching over his right side to dull the stinging pain that’s still aching.
It’s a good thing that he doesn’t have to carry anything—since NERV had sent his bag home whilst he was out cold in the hospital over the past couple of days—just his travel pass card and keys in his pocket, because he’s dragging his feet in exhaustion by the time he reaches the apartment he shares with Rei and Sawamura. It’s empty and dark as he expects since
Sawamura is still in the hospital and Rei is probably doing NERV things, but he prefers it that way. Hopefully he doesn’t have to face Rei until tomorrow, if he’s lucky.
Miyuki rummages through the fridge first, picking out a cold can of beer. He’s underage and Rei will sigh in exasperation when the other finds out, but who cares, he deserves whatever he wants after risking his life for the world on a regular basis. He leaves the lights off when he stumbles into his room, ignoring the mess of his things on the floor and sits on his bed, leaning against the wall.
The beer is bitter and cold in the first sip. He doesn’t actually even like the taste of it, but the alcohol—however weak—helps to dull his senses. When the aches in his body lessen, he lies down sideways slowly, gropes around for his walkman somewhere under his pillow and plugs the earphones into his ear.
But the moment he closes his eyes, he sees the pale face and bloodied hands reaching out to him in the darkness. It’s just a dream, he tells himself, the same dream he keeps having even though he doesn’t know who he’s cradling, and yet it feels so wrong that he doesn’t know, because it feels like he’s seen that face a million times before. He doesn’t even really know what his dream is supposed to be about; just that overwhelming despair and sadness and desperation clogs at the back of his throat when he wakes up, all too real.
He inhales, turns up the volume of his walkman louder, and tries to sleep.
A week passes, and Sawamura is still out cold in the hospital. It seems like the latest mind snap and subsequent rampage had done a lot more to the Unit-02 pilot than Miyuki had thought—though he doesn’t have the best relationship with the Second Child, he’s immediately uneasy when his father says, “We’re taking care of it.” when he raises it up. He’s alone in his father’s office standing practically ten meters away from his father’s desk, where the elder never once looks at him, eyes apparently busy with something on his computer screen.
“What if an Angel comes?” Miyuki presses, dissatisfied. “Unit-00 is still out of commission and my Unit-01 is kind of wrecked too.”
His father only then looks over at him, but his gaze is directed more towards the door behind them. “Send him in.”
Miyuki turns as the door behind him slides open—and his lungs immediately go devoid of air.
Pale face. Blue eyes. Dark hair.
It’s unmistakable, but it’s the same face as that person from his recurring dream, except alive. Miyuki furrows his eyebrows, watching the boy that walks in staring back at him.
“This is Furuya Satoru, the Fifth Child,” his father states, eyes back to the computer. “He will be piloting Unit-02 until the Second Child is declared fit for duty.”
The Fifth Child?
Miyuki wasn’t even aware that they had started screening for pilots again, especially after what happened to the Fourth Child, Kuramochi Youichi—
“Any other questions?”
“No,” Miyuki replies in barely a whisper, gaze still glued onto the Fifth Child.
Miyuki doesn’t have the words to explain how…creeped out he feels.
He walks out of his father’s office with Furuya following slightly behind him and enters the lifts to bring them down the levels. The other boy keeps glancing at him occasionally and Miyuki refuses to believe that there might be some kind of higher order divine intervention involved here. Who the fuck is this Furuya Satoru who has the exact same face as the person he keeps dreaming about—dreaming about being his murderer?
“Miyuki-san,” the boy suddenly speaks up in a quiet voice before bowing in his direction when they’re standing side by side in the lift. “Pleased to meet you.”
“Mm,” Miyuki says in reply, still eyeing the other skeptically. “It’s Furuya, right? Where are you from?”
Furuya blinks back in confusion. “Um, what do mean?”
“Where do you live?” Miyuki rephrases.
“Here?” Miyuki repeats, blankly. “As in...here in the NERV headquarters?”
Furuya nods. Miyuki squints at him further, because that answers zero of the questions that he actually wants to ask—staying in the NERV headquarters can mean a lot of things; an orphan, or maybe trauma, and Miyuki doesn’t want to pry into things like that. Everyone in this programme is a little fucked up, it comes with the job description apparently.
“Well, see you at some point,” Miyuki says finally when they get off the lift, turning to walk away.
“Miyuki-san—…“ Furuya blurts suddenly, one feet stepping forward to call him, but the boy visibly holds himself back.
“What is it?”
Furuya meets his eyes and looks away, shaking his head slowly. Miyuki eyes him suspiciously.
“Okay…” Miyuki trails off, and turns to leave again. “See you.”
He doesn’t look back, but he can feel Furuya’s eyes on him the whole way.
There’s nothing for Miyuki to do in the next few days while his Eva Unit is still being serviced. He goes to school in the meantime, looking out for the pale face and blue eyes—there’s no reason why Furuya shouldn’t be in school since their schedules should be similar. Even Haruichi is in class, though the younger is quiet, obviously still worried about the Second Child in the hospital. Miyuki can’t shake off this…weirdness that comes with Furuya; the déjà vu of the familiar face from his dreams and yet it makes absolutely no sense.
The logical thing he can only do is to confront Furuya about it; maybe they’re really in…something…together, but somehow it feels cruel to spring such a bizarre accusation on the quiet boy. Nonetheless, the third day is when he finds himself walking through NERV after his classes have ended, towards the accommodation building he was assigned to before Rei opened his apartment to him.
He finds Furuya much faster than expected—not that he was particularly looking out for the other, but he intended to snoop around or something. He had been walking past some wreckage when he heard the sound of piano keys; highly unusual, and his curiosity led him to Furuya who was seated on the dirt ground behind a metal scrap with an electronic keyboard in front of him.
He watches the younger press a few keys hesitantly, and then frown and mutter under his breath, and then press a few keys again. It sounds completely terrible and devoid of any tune.
“Why weren’t you in school?” Miyuki asks loudly when he makes his entrance, inwardly snickering when he notices Furuya startle in shock.
“Miyuki-san,” Furuya says blue eyes meeting his and lips parted in surprise. “I…um, I’m not allowed to leave.”
Miyuki blinks. “Why?” he presses, though he vaguely remembers that he and Haruichi weren’t allowed to in the beginning either, and he still doesn’t know why.
Furuya keeps quiet, so he decides to ask another question. “Where did you get that?” he points to the electronic keyboard.
“I asked for it.”
“And they gave a keyboard to you, just like that?” Miyuki raises his eyebrow, suspicious.
Okay, he’s never really asked for anything but his goddamn freedom; and he’d really rather not ask his father for anything either.
“So why a keyboard?” Miyuki prods, flopping down on the ground beside the other. “You can’t play—I can tell.”
Furuya avoids his gaze; there’s something there that Miyuki senses a burning itch he needs to dig at, but he doesn’t know where to begin.
“There’s a song I want to hear,” Furuya says finally, curling his fingers together. “…Can you play, Miyuki-san?”
It’s been years since Miyuki has touched a piano—or any music keys for that matter—before the Second Impact where he lost everything. He doesn’t know why he sighs and says ‘yes’ grudgingly.
“I haven’t practised in years,” he says, tapping one of the keyboard keys. “I think I can only remember the chords of one song.”
“Can…can you play it for me?” Furuya hedges.
“The keyboard is not the only way to listen to music, you know,” Miyuki replies, his fingers absentmindedly finding their place on the keys.
The keyboard is cold and smooth under his hands, and the first chord that he plays triggers a memory. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the fourth and final movement; he remembers the faint voice of his mother singing,
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter fire imbibed,
Heavenly, thy sanctuary—
His hands move on his own as he plays the next verse of the tune, and the light music fills the air, until he’s so absorbed into the song. He doesn’t even realise that Furuya is humming very softly in tune until he presses the last chord down, letting the music fade. It’s the first song that comes easily to him because he had played it a dozen times before he never touched the piano again, when he was taken away to live with his father when his house got cold with only his presence left alive.
He isn’t even aware that he’s been staring hard at the keyboard with his fingers still frozen in place over the last set of chords until warm fingers curl around his hands and he looks up; Furuya peers at him quietly, voice astoundingly gentle when the other says, “Thank you, Miyuki-san.”
The blue in Furuya’s eyes is so vivid, and Miyuki is sure that he’s seen that hue before, somewhere, somewhen.
“This is going to sound stupid but,” he inhales, staring determinedly. “Have we met before?”
Furuya retracts, leaving his hands startlingly cold. “…Why do you ask that?”
Because I’ve dreamt of you, over and over.
Because I’ve dreamt of killing you, over and over.
Because I’ve dreamt that I said that I love—
“…No reason,” Miyuki shrugs, voice purposely casual. It’s a stupid question, of course. He clears his throat. “So what do you do all day since you can’t leave?”
“Training in the Eva unit.”
“Oh, right. How’s that coming along?”
Miyuki glances at the other out of the corner of his eye. “…Really.”
Furuya looks back at him. “Yes.”
“Good for you, then,” Miyuki says, turning his eyes up at the sky.
“…You don’t like it?”
Miyuki barks a chuckle. “Hm. Well, I pilot it because it’s either the world or me, so guess which
is the obvious choice.”
“I would choose you.”
Miyuki blinks rapidly before he realises what Furuya just said. “Um, what?”
“If it’s you or the world,” Furuya repeats. “I would choose you.”
“You don’t even know me,” is the first thing that comes out of Miyuki’s mouth, his eyebrows pulled in incredulity. “We met like, what, three days ago? And that was really sappy; who told you it’s okay to just say things like that?”
Furuya averts his gaze, and Miyuki sees a small swallow down the other’s throat, but the younger doesn’t look embarrassed like how Miyuki feels with that declaration—instead, it looks like Furuya is bothered by some other aspect of saying those words.
“You made me happy today, Miyuki-san,” Furuya says eventually, carefully looking at him. “That you came to see me. Thank you.”
“I wasn’t looking for you per say,” Miyuki states, rubbing the back of his neck. “I was—…well that’s not important. Anyway, I’ll ask Rei if she can do something about your…confinement. There’s no reason why you have to be stuck here alone.”
Furuya hasn’t smiled since Miyuki has met him, but with way those blue eyes brighten up, it might as well be one.
Sometimes Miyuki thinks he’s the number one on Rei’s regret list. Scratch that, he knows he’s the number one Rei’s regret list when Rei finally heaves a sigh and promises that she’ll do something about Furuya’s situation—Rei admits she doesn’t know why Furuya is placed under confinement, but maybe she can try to push for security clearance for Furuya to leave NERV headquarters.
It’s not a victory, but it’s better than nothing.
The next time that they meet is during training.
Miyuki’s rib has mostly healed and his Eva unit has been serviced, which means it’s back to running simulations. When he’s changed into his plugsuit, he walks into the simulation room to see Furuya similarly decked in a plugsuit and listening to Chris Takigawa, the head scientist in charge of their Eva units.
The memory hits him out of the blue—Furuya decked in the same plugsuit in his arms; the pale face, the smile that reaches up to the blue eyes, thick blood pooling on the other’s chest and trailing over Miyuki’s hands to the floor.
“I’ll see you again, Miyuki-san.”
“—…ah, Miyuki?” Chris places a hand on his shoulder, and he abruptly snaps out of it.
“You were saying?” Miyuki carefully soothes his expression to neutral as he lets Chris brief them on their training session.
It’s the usual—a check of their synchronization rates and a couple of simulated runs; they finish way faster than Miyuki is used to, perhaps due to the absence of Sawamura and Haruichi there is less mindless chatter (shouting) over the comms, or maybe Furuya is just scarily efficient in his objectives in the simulation runs where they barely even need to communicate their plans before attacking.
It’s a bit…alarming too, in some sense, that Furuya is so good at piloting with a synchronisation rate of over 90 percent. It’s unheard of, but that’s hard to conclude when there’s only four Eva pilots in the world. Still, Miyuki had a synchronisation rate of 41.3 percent when he first started—and he’s arguably a pretty damn decent pilot.
It all just makes Furuya weirder, especially in combination with this itch under Miyuki’s skin like he’s supposed to know why that is.
The sun is at half-set when they’re finally done for the day. Normally Miyuki takes a quick shower to get rid of the LCL in his hair before going home to wash it out more thoroughly, but this time he notices that Furuya keeps looking at him like the other has something to say while he rinses his head underneath the tap in the common bath. He lets Furuya glance at him until he’s done rinsing off his body too, then he sighs and faces the other.
“Spit out whatever you want to say to me, Furuya,” he says as he pushes his glasses back on his face.
Furuya averts his gaze guiltily. “…Miyuki-san,” he starts after a while. “Are you busy tonight?”
“Why?” Miyuki raises an eyebrow, a small teasing quirk to his lips. “Are you lonely?”
Furuya immediately lowers his head, and Miyuki inwardly winces when he feels a sharp jolt of guilt. Confined to the NERV headquarters with no one around to talk to; Miyuki remembers how it was like before Rei stepped in and argued for greater freedom for him.
“I can hang out, I guess,” he says, watching Furuya lift his head slowly in surprise. “I don’t know what you’re expecting from me though.”
“Miyuki-san, you are very kind,” Furuya mumbles, cheeks going faintly pink. “Thank you.”
“I’m not,” Miyuki snorts.
“You are always very kind,” Furuya insists, and Miyuki stills at the sentence.
“You know,” Miyuki starts slowly, feeling like his jaw is stuck but he ploughs on. “The last time…I lied about asking whether we’ve met before.”
It’s silent in the bath, the only sound is his dripping tap that he doesn’t turn off properly. Miyuki keeps his eyes on Furuya’s face, watching intently for any sign of expression he can read off.
“I asked because I’ve seen you before I met you,” he continues, ignoring how bizarre it sounds out of his mouth. “In my dreams. And every time, you die. And it’s my fault that you die.”
Furuya’s eyes widen at his words, pale fingers curling at his lap. Miyuki swallows when he realises Furuya knows exactly what he’s talking about; Furuya looks like he’s barely breathing, face stricken with no cloud of confusion but pure shock.
“We’ve met before, haven’t we?”
It’s impossible—because Miyuki would know if he met someone; besides, he’s been confined to NERV since forever, there’s no way he could’ve met Furuya without another NERV personnel knowing about it. But it feels right, like that’s the only answer that makes sense even though none of this does.
“Furuya,” Miyuki presses, purposely leaning closer until their knees touch. “My dreams. They’re real, aren’t they? I kill you, and you say that I was born to do it.”
His tone is hard and challenging at the last sentence, and Furuya finally lowers his gaze to the side. “…They’re just dreams, Miyuki-san.”
At the back of his mind, Miyuki knows he’s pushing this, but hell he’ll push this as hard as he needs to settle the gnawing under his skin. He reaches up to touch Furuya by the cheek, who leans unconsciously into his touch with closed eyes and a tremble in the other’s shoulders. He’s not prepared for the shudder that tingles from his palm on Furuya’s cheek down his spine.
“Then why do I feel like I’ve done this before?” Miyuki breathes without thinking too much of what comes out of his lips, eyebrows furrowed.
He’s only aware of the way Furuya opens his eyes to look at him at his question, the blue almost a stormy grey with the indiscernible expression that Furuya has on; and maybe he’s mirroring it because his chest is so tight that he can’t breathe.
He’s close, he knows it.
“Miyuki-san…” Furuya whispers in a plea thick with emotion.
He doesn’t care if he nearly knocks the shampoo bottle over or that they’re both fully naked sitting on low stools next to each other, but he cups Furuya face with both hands, pulling their faces close. When one of his fingers absentmindedly caresses tip of Furuya’s ear, the younger bites his bottom lip and flushes dark pink, eyes squeezing shut in reluctance to face him.
“Tell me, Furuya, why do you know me?” Miyuki presses.
Furuya swallows, still unable to look at him. “You’re not supposed to remember before…before…”
“Before you die?” Miyuki completes, and Furuya bites his lip even harder before he eventually nods.
“I’ll see you again, Miyuki-san.”
“But,” Miyuki swallows. “Wha…—but why? What’s happening?” Furuya looks even more reluctant to answer this time, but Miyuki isn’t letting this go, not when he’s so close. “Furuya, tell me.”
“…We’re in a time loop,” Furuya says finally, exhaling like the word exhausts him. “Your dreams aren’t dreams,” he reaches up hesitantly to cover one of Miyuki’s hands with his own, gently lacing their fingers together. “They’re memories, Miyuki-san.”
Miyuki stares at the way Furuya faces him now, eyes shimmering thick with emotion. A time loop—it sounds absolutely unbelievable, can time loops even exist?—and yet, it feels like it’s the only plausible explanation why Furuya’s face is so familiar, as is holding him like this.
“Why are we in a time loop?”
“I don’t know.”
Miyuki chews on his bottom lip. “How many times?”
Furuya presses his lips together in silence.
“How many times, Furuya?” Miyuki demands.
One, ten, fifty—a hundred—or a thousand?
“…I always had you,” Furuya says eventually, like it’s enough.
But it’s not—Miyuki exhales roughly, throat clogging with some emotion he can’t describe— how can it be enough, to live through this over and over, knowing that they just meet and never stay?
He slips his hand not entwined with Furuya’s hand lower to the back of Furuya’s neck and pulls him in so close that their foreheads touch; he’s done this before, he knows it, when his cheek was bloody and until Furuya’s body went cold. At this distance they’re just breathing into one other’s spaces, and Miyuki waits—he’s not sure that he’s waiting for, but when Furuya doesn’t make a move he leans up and presses his mouth against the other’s lips.
Furuya doesn’t respond for the first few seconds, but when Miyuki whispers his name against his lips Furuya grips his hand so tight that both their knuckles bleed white, and surges forward to kiss him back desperately. Something in Miyuki snaps with the taste of Furuya’s mouth, and tears prick at his eyes when he kisses Furuya hard, like he’s been yearning for this for years—and maybe he has, over all the different times that they’ve lived through.
“Miyuki-san…” Furuya breathes it like a prayer when they part for air, eyes closed.
Furuya’s other hand comes up to rest on Miyuki’s shoulders, fingers visibly trembling as he caresses the bare skin before he suddenly lunges forward to embrace the other tightly. Furuya whispers Miyuki’s name again, voice choked against the Miyuki’s neck, and Miyuki threads his fingers into the wet strands of Furuya’s hair.
They don’t move for a long time.
Miyuki knows exactly what kind of face Rei has, but he can’t bring himself to care, not when Furuya is waiting for him in the room, probably staring at the white walls and toeing his feet together.
“It’s just a sleepover, why are you against this?” Miyuki asks, phone pressed to his ear, leaning along the corridor. “It’s late and I’m tired—what’s the harm of bunking in Furuya’s room for one night?”
Rei sighs, probably all too familiar with his stubbornness. “There’s something you should probably know about the boy, Miyuki-kun,” she says finally. “I did some digging when I tried to push for his security clearance—all his records are sealed. There’s nothing I can find out about him, nothing about his family, where he comes from or what he was doing before, except that he was brought in by SEELE.”
“Mm,” Miyuki hums. “But doesn’t SEELE oversee NERV? It’s not that unusual that they provided a pilot when we needed one right?”
“You’re a smart boy, Miyuki-kun, don’t tell me you don’t find his sealed records suspicious,” Rei replies.
“Well, yeah, but…” Miyuki trails off, glancing at Furuya’s room door. “Maybe you just don’t have that high a security clearance. Besides, you’ve met Furuya, he’s such a tame boy, he’s not going to kill me in my sleep.”
Judging by the sound of Rei’s snort, Miyuki knows his attempt at dismissing the issue is raising some red flags but things have changed. Organisation agendas be damned, he trusts Furuya, especially after what just transpired in the bath. He knows Furuya and that’s an ultimate truth.
“I’m not saying that he will—...” Rei sighs. “Just…be careful, okay?”
“Yeah, sure,” Miyuki answers. “Night, Rei-chan.”
When he ends the call, he heads into Furuya’s room where Furuya is sitting exactly like how he expected; at the edge of the bed whilst toeing his feet together, waiting for him. He shuts the door behind him and takes a look around—four white walls, no windows, just one bare desk with Furuya’s electronic keyboard on it and a chair. He’s forgotten how depressing it is to stay in NERV accommodation.
He flicks off the lights and joins Furuya on the bed after placing his glasses on the desk, where the younger had moved to lie down and shifted in to accommodate him. The silence of the room resounds in his ear when he lies back down next to Furuya, face towards the ceiling.
There’s just too many things to think about; but yet his thoughts just come back to the same thing.
“Do I ever remember?” he asks, head turning to face Furuya.
Furuya looks at him quietly. “…Only at the end.”
“Why is it only you who remembers?”
Furuya doesn’t answer him, instead twitches his lips slightly upwards, but with how those blue eyes shimmer in the dim light, the boy just looks melancholic and wistful.
“Am I going to kill you this time?” he asks then, hand reaching out to touch the pale face.
“…It’s doesn’t matter,” Furuya says after a long pause, slipping his palm gently over his. “We’ll always meet again.”
It’s not like Miyuki is in love with Furuya.
Love doesn’t come that easy, Miyuki thinks. Even if he’s met and loved Furuya over all the previous time loops—it’s still hard to truly believe that’s been happening all the while, but that’s the only explanation which sits right—it doesn’t mean that he will again. But it does mean that he trusts Furuya in ways he can’t explain; as someone who’s has seen all of him, the difficult and easy (mostly difficult) parts, again and again and still wants him, that has to count for something. The way that Furuya looks at him or waits for him like everything that he says or does is precious, is special, is of worth; it hits hard in a world where he’s been used as a last resort, as second place, as back up.
It’s no wonder that he lets himself go along with the flow—he whistles a soundless tune as he makes his way towards the NERV accommodation building after school, finding Furuya exactly where they met the last time; in that empty dried field behind some metal scraps. The younger has his keyboard out again, fingers pressing some keys in an attempt to play a chord. The third and fourth fingers are in the wrong place, Miyuki notes, but he lets Furuya try to sound out the correct note for a few times before he steps in, amused.
“You’re really terrible at this,” he says, grinning when he pats Furuya on the top of the head from behind.
Furuya jerks in surprise, a nice flush coming to his cheeks when he looks up. “Miyuki-san,” he greets, both surprised and pleased at seeing him.
“Are you still trying to play that song that you said you wanted to hear?” Miyuki asks, taking a comfortable seat beside him.
Furuya nods, turning his head forward.
“What song is it? Maybe I know it.”
Furuya looks away half embarrassed, half guilty. “You already played it,” he answers.
Miyuki’s eyebrows furrow. “…Beethoven’s ninth symphony—the Ode to Joy?” he blinks. “Wait, did you know I was going to play it? You, you asked me so innocently if I could even play the keyboard, Furuya, what the h—.”
“You always play it for me,” Furuya mumbles. “I’m sorry, I just…wanted to hear it again.”
“…That’s the song I play in every time loop?” Miyuki says finally, incredulous. He squints. “Do you ask for a keyboard in every time loop?”
“Because it reminds me of you,” Furuya states, shying away from his curious stare. “And you’re with me when I do.”
Miyuki sucks in a breath when his face is left burning from Furuya’s words, the other boy occasionally darting glances at him, like he’s afraid that he’s overstepped boundaries.
“I see,” Miyuki manages, trying to wave the heat away from his face. “Do I then try to teach you how to play it and you fail miserably every time?”
Furuya purses his lips and nods sourly.
“How many times is that?” he asks, laughter laced in his tone.
“Let’s go with the usual then,” Miyuki grins, reaching out to position Furuya’s fingers over the right keys. “How does it go?” he murmurs to himself, humming the tune softly under his breath. “First is C Major. Press down gently.”
Under his palms Furuya’s hands are paler and more slender than his.
“—Mm, good. Next chord is G Major, like this—“
Miyuki learns that Furuya has a tendency to press the keys too hard—it matters less since they’re using a keyboard—but also having a really terrible memory for any of the past chords that they’ve just played.
“G. I said G not D—“ Miyuki sighs, poking Furuya on the temple. “And look at your hands, not at me!”
Furuya makes some sort of disgruntled pout in response—it’s so cute that it throws Miyuki off for a second, causing him to slip out a laugh out loud. Whenever he remembers where he is, it’s all so strange—the end of the world threatening to loom closer with every Angel attack, but yet here he is, under the warm sunlight and on the dirt ground trying to teach piano chords to a boy who loves him—and it feels like everything is okay.
His life for once, feels okay.
“What is it?” he asks with his lips curled up slightly, when he notices Furuya staring at him again.
The Fifth Child blinks like he’s just been stunned out of a stupor, and shakes his head slowly with a bashful tint. Miyuki knows that Furuya leaves a lot of things unsaid; maybe it’s to hide the lost time between them, or maybe it’s to hide the memories that his other selves had given, but it’s easy to see both pain and bliss glittering in Furuya’s eyes.
For a frozen moment in time Miyuki reaches up to touch Furuya’s face; the cheek, the lips, the jaw, just trying to remember—he has seen this; seen this and loved this over and over.
When his lips part unconsciously, he realises he’s leaned so close to Furuya who peers at him through long lashes with a quiver in his breath, afraid but also desperate. Furuya flicks his gaze hesitantly to his mouth, and then visibly swallows before meeting their mouths in a shaky exhale. The touch is warm and soft, and Miyuki lets his eyelids slide close as Furuya kisses him again, longer and sweeter.
Miyuki doesn’t think he’s ever felt like this—with heat blooming in his ears and his heart thudding so loud that he can feel the pulse in his wrists—but maybe he has, over all the different time loops. Except that it’s always been Furuya’s cold lips after death, but this is warm and real with the faint whispers of his name that Furuya mumbles against his mouth and the gentle entwining of their fingers over the keyboard.
Maybe love does come that easily.
Miyuki’s dreams flit occasionally—sometimes he remembers a time when they’ve sat at the rooftop looking over the bloody destruction of the city whilst Furuya held him through tears, sometimes he remembers a time when they’re at the aquarium together where Furuya spent the entire time pressed up against the glass with his eyes wide in wonder.
It feels like they’ve always been together, though he doesn’t know what changes ultimately lead to the inevitable end. Why would he ever kill Furuya, kill someone who is so important to him? He never dreams of what happens before Furuya is lying bloody in his arms. He tries to ask Furuya about it; subtly at first, and then at point blank when Furuya keeps evading it, but all he gets is a ‘It doesn’t matter’ or ‘It’s different every time’—how many different times can he possibly fuck up though?—and the one that he doesn’t want to hear anymore:
‘We will always meet again, Miyuki-san’.
It’s like Furuya thinks his life is inconsequential given that time always restarts after his death, but for Miyuki it’s not. Because Furuya remembers and he doesn’t, technically Miyuki only ever knows Furuya for that one life.
So why can’t he have Furuya in this life? In this time?
Miyuki vaguely hopes that this memory—a good one—passes on as he threads his hands thick into Furuya’s hair and kisses the other breathless against the wall of the changing room. When he releases Furuya, the younger nearly stumbles forward, chest heaving with the lack of air and face blissed out with a dark flush. Miyuki steadies him with a palm on his shoulder, smirking slightly.
“Can I come over tonight?” he asks, and watches Furuya flush even darker and brighten in obvious pleasure. “Sawamura’s out of the hospital and he’s so noisy, I can’t sleep...” he trails off. “Your face is so red, Furuya, what are you thinking about, hm?”
Furuya looks away at his teasing grin. “…You’re still terrible, Miyuki-san…”
At that, Miyuki chuckles. “So do you want me over or not?”
“Yes,” Furuya answers without hesitation, and Miyuki can’t help the pleased curl of his lips when he turns on his heel to leave the changing room.
It’s just him and Furuya for the training session today again. Chris gives their appearances a raised eyebrow when they come up to the scientist—nothing incriminating in particular, but Furuya’s hair is messy and Miyuki is smugly grinning in a very suspicious way. Chris debates asking but he wisely keeps his mouth shut.
“Right, so, we’ll be doing synchro tests again first,” Chris begins. “And then the usual drills.”
“The usual, usual, huh,” Miyuki says. “What about the usual—“
“Just get into the robot, Miyuki,” Chris says with suppressed amusement before Miyuki can say anything more.
Miyuki heads to Unit-01 while Furuya heads to Unit-02. Miyuki lowers himself into the cockpit and closes the hatch, letting LCL fill from up his legs. He’s piloted the Eva so many times by now but he’ll never get used to LCL rising up his neck. With closed eyes he forces himself to breathe in the liquid when it’s over his head—it burns in his lungs for the first couple of seconds, and then he’s breathing normally again.
“Ready,” he replies to Chris, whose picture lights up over the screen, over the intercom.
“Alright, just relax, you two. We’ll be starting the synchro in five…four...three…two—“
At one, there’s a low hum from under the seat and Miyuki sharply inhales when he feels a tingle through his body. Suddenly his sense of reach feels like he can touch the wall across the simulation room—It’s a reminder for how the Eva is not just a robot but alive as his nervous system synchronises with the functions of the unit.
“Synchronisation at 39…41…53...” Chris intones, while in the background Miyuki can faintly hear another scientist reading out Furuya’s synchronisation rates. “…72…75…81…82…83…82…85…83…I think it’s stabilising to 84.”
“Mm,” Miyuki hums. “That’s higher than last time, right? Did I break a new personal record or something?”
“Higher,” Chris confirms. “But not your highest.”
“Eh, but I’ll never reach that unless I go bersek, or—“ Miyuki doesn’t get to finish his sentence because the scientist in the background calls for Chris’ attention.
It sounds sharp and panicked but the voice is too muddled to hear what’s going on.
“Hold on, Miyuki,” Chris says apologetically. “There seems to be an error in the computer system.”
“Take your time, it’s not like I’ve got anywhere to go,” Miyuki says humourlessly.
The murmuring continues over the next minute, and Miyuki stares up at the cockpit, bored. “…Hey, Furuya,” he tries, bringing up the intercom to Furuya’s Unit in the meantime. “…Furuya?”
There is no answer, and Miyuki frowns. “Fu-ru-ya—“ he calls in a sing song, and gets suspicious when the picture of Furuya on his screen is just grey fuzz.
It’s so abrupt but Miyuki just knows; this is it.
“Furuya?” he calls again, sitting up straight in panic. “Hey, what’s going on? Answer me!” When all he receives is white static, he swallows trying to breathe calmly. “Chris-sensei, what’s going on? Chris-sensei? Sensei!"
“Why can’t I get to Furuya?” he demands. “What’s happening?”
“I told you it’s a technical issue. It should be fine in a couple of minutes—“
“Don’t lie to me,” Miyuki growls darkly. “What’s wrong?”
Chris sighs audibly. “…Furuya’s synchronisation with Unit-02 has gone above 200 percent and it’s still climbing.”
“What?” Miyuki splutters. “That’s impossible—“
Unless maybe the unit has gone berserk, but Unit-02 is still standing still next to his Unit-01.
“Exactly, so stay calm. We’ll get it sorted,” Chris replies.
Chris cuts their intercom, a testament to how unsure they’re going to get this sorted—and deep down Miyuki knows this doesn’t. This is the change he’s been holding out for; the start of the inevitable end.
The Eva Unit-02 suddenly moves—it’s all so quick that no one gets a chance to react; the glass panel of the simulation room shatters, the alarm blares, the floor breaks, and Miyuki stumbles in his Eva unit, looking up to see a hole in the ground amidst the rubble.
And Furuya is standing right at the edge, head tilted up in his direction, blue eyes glowing.
“Furuya?” Miyuki whispers, the same time that Furuya turns away and jumps down the hole in the floor. “Furuya!”
“…zzzt…—Miyuki, are you okay?” comes Chris’ strained voice.
“Y-yeah, I think,” Miyuki exhales. “I. I saw Furuya go down that hole. I’m going after—“
But before he can make his Eva move, Rei comes on his intercom, voice raised sharply over the noise of the emergency sirens. “Miyuki-kun, don’t. Stay where you are. We’ll deal with him.”
“Miyuki-kun, please listen. He’s the 17th Angel.”
“No…no,” Miyuki breathes, disbelievingly. “That’s not possible. It’s, it’s Furuya, there’s no way he can be an—“
He would know, especially after spending so much time with the other, right?
“His synchronisation rate was at 400 percent before he exited the Eva,” Rei tells him calmly. “I don’t know what his motive is, but he’s heading down towards the Terminal Dogma as we speak.”
“What’s down there?” he demands.
“You know I can’t answer that,” Rei sighs.
“Tell me, or I’m going down there to see it for myself,” Miyuki threatens, losing his patience. “You can’t stop me in the Eva.”
Rei exhales again, obviously hesitant. “I’ve not been there myself, but the core of the Eva units…the organic part that makes it alive…is from the Terminal Dogma. There will be a massive reaction if an Angel gets into contact with any of them—“
“I, I don’t know how many there are, they come from Lilith, the source—Miyuki-kun!...Miyuki-kun!”
The intercom goes into static when he descends down the hole in the ground—he freefalls for a few seconds before landing to a side and making his way down by jumping at the edges of the hollow tube that seems to go downward in a never ending route. Furuya has already gone ahead of him for several minutes, and he hopes he can catch up before the other does whatever he planned to do.
Nothing about this makes sense; he’s already accepted that NERV keeps plenty of fucked up secrets, but Furuya, how could Furuya do this to him?
When he finally hits the bottom, he lands in something like a pool of blood—but the liquid is not viscous, splashing easily around the feet of his unit. The true horror reveals itself when he straightens up. Right ahead of him is a grotesque mass of white flesh twisted in a vague humanoid shape pinned by a long spear against a cross.
And Furuya is—floating?—right in front of it, at its head level.
Furuya turns when he comes closer, and the other’s eyes are burning so fiercely in blue. The next thing that Miyuki notices is the red sphere that’s embedded into Furuya’s chest on the plugsuit; it’s never been there before but Miyuki knows exactly what it is—an Angel’s core.
“You really are an Angel,” he breathes, hands shaking and cold on the controller.
The glow in Furuya’s eyes seem to dim at his voice. “Miyuki-san…” Furuya murmurs, gaze flickering to meet his through the screen.
“…Why?” is all Miyuki can manage, trying keep his voice from cracking.
Devastation is clear on Furuya’s face. “I shouldn’t have…”
“You shouldn’t have what?” Miyuki seethes. “Told me that this was going to happen? Because damn right you didn’t! Why did you do this? How could you do this—to-to me?”
Furuya hovers closer to him hand reaching out to touch the screen of the cockpit where he’s seated, but holds himself back at the last minute. “I want it to be you.”
At this distance Miyuki can see the small smile that curves up on Furuya’s lips but doesn’t reach his eyes and it hits him at once—NERV will kill him. They have to kill the 17th Angel.
And he realises what Furuya is asking.
“No,” he shakes his head. “No, I am not going to kill you!”
“Miyuki-san, you have to,” Furuya pleads.
“…What if I don’t get see you again?” Furuya says, and Miyuki stills. “Please.”
He’s never thought about that detail of the time loop before; and he will never know if he has to be the one to kill Furuya for it to continue, or maybe it’ll stop and they’ll never have another life again together, no matter short it will be.
The ground shakes, and the faint sound of the emergency alarm starts to get louder; NERV is coming, they don’t have much time.
“I’m glad that I was born to meet you again, Miyuki-san,” Furuya smiles at him, a true smile this time, and Miyuki refuses to let it be the last.
So what if the time loop restarts? Furuya will live through that again remembering all the times they could’ve been so much more. How can anyone be satisfied with that? How can anyone not get tired of that?
And maybe next time he’ll dream again. He’ll dream of killing Furuya right here with in his Eva unit and he won’t even have the memory of having Furuya’s body to hold.
And he’ll fall in love again, and he’ll say it too late; again.
Miyuki reaches out the hand of his Eva unit to enclose it around Furuya who shuts his eyes acceptingly. When nothing else happens, Furuya opens his eyes and spies Miyuki climbing out of the cockpit, the other coughing out LCL as he shakily makes his way towards him over the arm of the Eva unit.
“Miyuki-san—“ Furuya starts, surprised, and Miyuki is breathing heavily when he gets across, barely a hand’s width away from him now. “What are you doing? It’s dangerous!”
Miyuki throws his head back and laughs. Dangerous? It could be worse.
“You said it yourself, Furuya,” he says when he’s caught enough breath to speak with a quirk on his lips. “If it’s you or the world.”
He reaches out with his real hand his time, electricity cracking at his fingers when he gets too close—an A.T. field that Furuya dissolves immediately—and tilts Furuya’s chin down to look at him straight in the eyes.
“And I choose you.”
The blue glow in Furuya’s eyes fade, leaving the irises clear again as Furuya trembles under his touch. “…This doesn’t mean that the time loop will…”
Or without them?
Neither of them know.
“But you won’t go without me this time.”
“Are you crying?” Miyuki asks jokingly when Furuya just stares at him with his bottom lip bitten hard and hands curled gently around Miyuki’s wrist.
“I love you,” Furuya says quietly, and all the air in Miyuki’s lungs rush out. “The previous times, or this, or next; I love you, Miyuki-san.”
Miyuki feels his eyes burn—but he’s not going cry, definitely not. “…I know.”
There’s someone screaming his name in the background—it’s all vague but Miyuki thinks it might be Rei or his father—but nothing else really matters.
“Go ahead,” he says, smiling, cocking his head to the white flesh just hanging next to them.
Furuya takes his hand, looking at him uncertainly until he nods, and together they touch the humanoid form.
It’s a dead ringing in his hears like audio feedback but all he feels is the finality of peace with Furuya’s fingers interlocked with his.
We will meet again.
According to the SEELE Communications report, a gigantic explosion occurred in Japan on this date. The cause has yet to be announced, but experts believe that it was caused by a meteorite impact. The force of the explosion is estimated to be upward of 18 billion megatons of TNT. East Asia itself was almost entirely pulverized, accompanied by earthquakes and tidal waves of extreme magnitude that occurred all over the world.
This event is known as the Third Impact.
“and I’d choose you;
in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality,
I’d find you and I’d choose you.”
― the chaos of stars // kiersten white