“There’s no need to apologize, Kaworu-kun. Your feelings are just as valid as anyone else’s, and a birthday is just another day, after all.”
His smile radiates enough warmth to melt the coldest snows of winter as he looks at the other boy with tenderness in his eyes. Kaworu’s hand delicately covers his. The other boy’s cheek, though pale and smooth like marble, warms his palm with body heat. Shinji wonders if the angel can hear the pulse that pounds just below the thin skin of his wrist.
“I’m always happy to help you in any way that I can. You can tell me anything you want… burdens become lighter when shared, or so I’ve heard.”
Obfuscation had never been one of his strong points — Ikari Shinji has always worn his heart on his sleeve. The affection in his gaze is as clear and plain as day. Here is someone for whom he would willingly do anything.
“Only because you have a soft heart, Kaworu-kun. When you say things like that it’s a miracle that every Ikari Shinji you’ve spoken to hasn’t fallen for you.”
The moment crystallizes. A tableau, the two boys standing face to face, hand to cheek, hand to hand. His own gaze softens at the look in the other’s eyes, the pull of the other boy’s heart to his own. Unbidden, the music box begins to play once more.
A soft laugh. Dangerous, more so without the existence of his other self as a reminder.
“I have heard something similar, yes.”
At the other boy’s final words, he laughs again, slightly louder this time, yet still a delicate silvery sound. His own gloved hand gives a gentle caress, a soft squeeze to the other boy’s hand to assuage any hurt feelings at his reaction.
“You greatly overestimate my allure, Shinji-kun. Far beyond the natural pull of Nagisa Kaworu to Ikari Shinji.”