Sometimes, she dreams of the labyrinth, the universe where she's Yoko Bachika and Kittan's alive and they're happy and --
And it's wrong. She can feel it even when she's most distracted -- those moments when Kittan places a warm kiss on the back of her neck, when Kittan snakes a finger under the strap of her bra and gives her that look that makes her melt, when he's inside her. Because the labyrinth Kittan is not her Kittan. Her Kittan's gaze would burn clear through her. Her Kittan's passion would be a tangible thing. Her Kittan would inspire people to be more than they are.
"It's about time you let me come see you."
Yoko raises her head from her desk. She must have fallen asleep, because that voice...that's her Kittan, but he's dead. "Sorry. I forgot I had..."
Kittan is leaning against the doorframe, his arms crossed over his chest, and he's giving her that cocky grin she remembers more fondly than she should. He's wearing the white suit from their wedding in a wrong reality, but his tie is deep blue and dotted with the Gurren Lagann Brigade symbol, and something between a sob and a laugh catches in the back of her throat, because that touch is her Kittan.
"...an appointment," she finishes weakly, rubbing her eyes. "I'm dreaming."
"Yep." Kittan saunters into the room. He takes in the bookshelves, her schoolmarm attire, the class photographs, the papers strewn on her desk, the two straight-backed chairs placed in front of her desk. "Principal, huh?" He swings one of the chairs around and sits down, arms draped over the back. "You happy?"
"Of course." It's not a lie this time. She blinks again, because the fact it's true -- that she is happy -- surprises her. How many times had Rossiu asked her that after she'd turned down another governmental position? And how many times had she lied?
"You always had a soft spot for kids. It's almost a pity you had to stop being a teacher to become the principal, but you're good at this, too." His grin widens. "Shame you can't wear your real clothes, though."
She smiles. "They're a bit too much for the kids to handle."
She laughs, softly, because she's afraid she'll wake up for real if she's too loud. And...well, she knows this moment will have to end, but there's so much more to be done with it. She'll make it last as long as she can.
"You don't need to be afraid of that." He stands, and then he's moving around the desk to her.
She rises to meet him. He's warm and solid and real -- so much more real than her other dreams -- that she can almost believe he'll still be in her office when she wakes up for real.
"Of course I will be. My universe is your universe." He pulls her close, fingers bunching in the skirt over her hips. "You know I'm a little jealous. Kamina got to help you back." He looks wistful and sad, like he's remembering the Death Spiral Machine, like he's remembering the reason for his sacrifice, and seeing him like that hurts. "You can't really argue with him, you know? I wanted --"
She kisses him. Hard, because this is a good-bye of sorts, and she's going to make it one she won't regret. No, one neither of them will regret.
Kittan makes a surprised little squeak. It's a little undignified, and she almost laughs, but Kittan recovers and returns her kiss properly. Confidently. He threads his fingers in her hair.
Yoko slides her own hand up to the nape of his neck. His short hair is prickly under her fingers, and she can feel a small knot of tension at the base of his skull. She doesn't want the kiss to end, but it does, finally, and Kittan pulls her closer. She rests her head on his shoulder and inhales his scent -- sharp and masculine, with an undercurrent of his Gunman.
"Well," he says, and Yoko doesn't need to look up to picture his expression, sheepish and frustrated, because he's better with actions than words. "I wanted to meet your kids."
She tightens her fingers, feeling his suit jacket wrinkle under her touch, the arch of his shoulder blades. "You would have."
"I know." He steps back, hands on her shoulders. "I'm here for you. Always."
The tears are hot in her eyes. She doesn't blink. "I know." And she does. She can feel it now, a...loosening in her heart. Kittan's here with her now, forever, Kamina and the others too, and she may never have another moment like this, when she can hold Kittan, kiss Kittan, but she'll always be able to feel him. And that's comforting. Reassuring.
She wipes her eyes. "You can read minds now?"
He grins. "Maybe." He kisses her forehead, then guides her back down into her chair. "Time to go."
"I love --" but the dream's over, and Yoko's raising her head from her arms. Light from the sunset slices through the blinds, makes the room fiery orange. Fitting for Kittan. She lets out a shaky breath.
One of the chairs in front of her desk -- the one Kittan used -- is turned around. Yoko rises and strokes the back. She'll straighten it later. Right now...well, it's been awhile since she's walked through the halls when school wasn't in session.
"I love you," she says, and she feels Kittan smile.