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love is more thicker than forget

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Touka is used to working alone.

Since opening Re: it happened frequently enough. Not having enough money to hire more staff meant that she and Yomo ran things entirely on their own. Yomo usually took off nights in order to procure food, leaving her to mind the shop.

And think.

Running a business wasn’t easy. Recreating the safe haven for ghouls that Anteiku used to be was nearly impossible. There was always something to be done - and she wonders how the old man had done it. How had he taken a simple coffee shop and a group of lost, misguided ghouls and created something that the ghouls of the 20th ward could depend on?

There was also the issue of the CCG - or more specifically, one certain member of the CCG. Haise often had a starring role in her thoughts, taking center stage to nearly everything from the moment that he walked through the door. Three years. It had been three years since she had seen him, and she finds herself thinking that not much has changed at all in that time.

He was still a hopeless fool who needed her help. Only this time, he’d gotten caught up in something that was larger than her - where it was impossible for her to be much of any assistance to him. At least, not without biding her time.

It was frustrating. She scrubs the tables hard - until she can see the faint, bleary reflection of her face in the surface and imagines that she is scrubbing away her worries, each mechanical motion making wiping away on her troubles -

That is, until her biggest trouble walks right through the door.

Haise grins when he sees her, waving before shrugging off his coat as he holds it in his arms.

"You're working alone? " He asks conversationally. He was the only patron for the evening it seems. Her shoulders stiffen slightly as she looks over to him, nodding. He had been coming around frequently nowadays. Something she didn’t know what to feel about ever since he confirmed his ties to the CCG.

Still, she can’t help the excitement that curls in her belly at the thought of being alone with him. Without the distractions of customers, would-be students, or Yomo to disrupt them.

It had been so long since she had seen him by herself - had him to herself.

She watches him with weary eyes, "Tuesdays are usually slow," she explains, "So there's no reason for both Nii-san and I to be here." Touka places the rag back down behind the counter and rubs her any lingering moisture from her hands onto her apron.
“Is there anyway that I can help you, sir?” she asks in her best customer service voice. It feels strange to speak to him so formally, especially when he had that face - when he should know that this was nothing more than a facade.

But - she had to keep up appearances.

Haise’s hands clench and unclench in barely veiled excitement. Alone - with her, though that didn't mean that she would be interested in him. He just hoped that she was - that she felt this same strange chemistry that was drawing her towards him.

"Oh," he chirps, "It must be hard taking care of everything by yourself."

She shrugs briefly, "It’s work,” and it was what she was used to - working long hours at Anteiku after class, staying up late to study afterwards. Rinse, wash, repeat.

She moves over to what he assumes was the stock room and comes back out with coffee cans for display. She places them along the counter, stacking them carefully with a practiced eye. She must’ve been doing this for a long time, he thinks. Haise drinks his coffee slowly, keeping his eyes trained on her, and hoped that he wasn't being too transparent, though it was growing more and more difficult for him to keep his interest in her hidden.

He felt - simply - drawn to her.

Haise’s eyes flicker back to the clock - then to the sign which Touka has turned around to read “Closed.” He’s surprised that she hasn't asked him to leave yet, and feels a small flare of hope take root in his chest. Perhaps there was also something from her end as well?

She turns over after putting up the last of the cans, turning over to him with a small smile. "Finished?" Gesturing to the cup. He brings it over to her, his fingers grazing hers as he hands it to her.

She flinches slightly at the contact, and he takes that moment to admire her hands - each finger was long and slender, each nail nicely manicured.

He's struck by the strong urge to kiss those finger tips, but he resists and she quickly pulls her hand away, flushing.

Ah, so she was shy?

"I-Is there anything else that you need, sir?" She asks, her voice slightly trembly - as though she were nervous. He smiles at her, yes - he did need something in fact.

"I would like your number - if that's okay."

“A-ah?” Touka is wonderstruck by his request, the urge to laugh at the tip of her tongue. Who would ever have thought Kaneki would come back - with no memories and as a dove, to ask for her number?

There were plenty of reasons for her not to give it to him. It only seemed to be asking for trouble, and Kaneki had been nothing but trouble since crashing into her life, but she finds herself taking his phone from his hand and typing her phone number into it, against her better judgement.

She grimaces as she presses “OK,” saving the number into his phone. Self indulgence and her own yearning have gotten the best of her.

Haise stares at her name for a moment on his phone address book and grins outrightly. She is floored, never seeing such a free smile on his face before.

Her lips purse into a thin line - something about his happiness unsettling her. Maybe he’s happier now, she thinks. Maybe he didn’t want to come back, or remember. Kaneki had always been good at running away from his problems. It seemed natural that he would let himself forget everything in an effort to distract himself from his own pain. She feels a familiar stab of anger - the same one that she had felt all of those years ago on the bridge, when she’d had enough of his pretty words, enough of his bullshit -


And said things that she still regretted to this day.

She grows solemn at the thought, her ire calming as she takes a deep breath to steady herself.

Was running away so bad?

If the CCG had given him a sense of purpose, and if he was allowed to eat without killing, then could she really blame him from throwing it all away - forgetting and living a lie?

Touka sighs.

Turning away slightly, she rethinks her motivation - the purpose of :Re wasn’t just a place for him to return to. She had wanted to pay a homage to Anteiku - create another safe haven for the ghouls of their current Ward.

As painful as it was, she tries to make herself comfortable with whatever decision he may reach in the end. No matter how long that may take - or how hurt she might be at the end of it.

She had waited three years after all.

And she wasn’t a stranger to people leaving either.


She feels resigned tears prick at the corners of her eyes, which she wipes away with the back of her hand. He clutches her wrist again, tentatively, slowly, watching her expression. His imploring eyes question her. He opens his mouth, and she dreads the question about to leave his mouth - and a lie is on the tip of her tongue.

Instead his mouth closes, and his eyes shift before he touches his chin and smiles amicably.

"It's a nice song," he says tilting his head to the side.

"Huh?" Touka blinks, caught unaware and unprepared. Until she hears the soft, lilting melody drifting throughout the shop. She hadn’t even realized the radio was playing and couldn’t say what song was playing either. But he was right - it was a soothing melody, fitting the slow night that was settling over the cafe.

“Um, I guess,” she agrees, allowing her lips to quirk up just slightly.

"Would you like to dance?"

She tenses at the request - back going stiff. She would have never imagined that Kaneki would ask to do something like dance. She feels her cheeks burn - and she almost says no -

At least until he grabs her hand with a smile and pulls her onto the center of the restaurant.

"W-Wait!" She cries, embarrassed and stumbling. She tries to pull her hand half heartedly from his grasp but he pulls her closer, wraps her up in his arms - leaving his hands to drape loosely over her waist as he starts to sway to the beat.

It was a slow song - easy enough to follow but her movements are stiff and jerky with disbelief that his was happening. Slow dancing with Kaneki - who also wasn't Kaneki.

He laughs, "You're so stiff! Loosen up a little," and he puckers his lips and squints his eyes at her playfully, contorting his face in a ridiculous way that that makes her snort. He grips her hips and shimmies them, trying to get her to loosen up.

He is ridiculous - for more at ease with himself than she had ever remembered Kaneki being. The big easy smile that stretched across his lips, was evidence of that. Exuberance seemed to come so naturally to him, to the point that she’s blindsided by it. Where was the shy boy who lacked almost all grace? Who always seemed curled into himself, barely noticeable - forgettable. She feels as though she lacks the rhythm that comes naturally to him - her movements were uncoordinated with her nerves, and she couldn’t follow him well even when she looked down to watch his feet. It was impossible to keep up with him.

She grumbles, "I can't do this," it’s so awkward for her but he is naturally good at it.

He smirks, "I think you're doing just fine,” he gives her hips a light squeeze, making her heart rush.

She gets into it soon enough, wrapping her hesitant arms around his shoulders, peering up at him shyly before quickly looking off to the side. Tentatively, her feet start moving - clumsily with his, stumbling and slow at first. But he doesn’t seem to mind.

He smiles, "That's more like it." Swaying with her, and following her instead with slow paced steps.

He leads naturally and she follows, falling into a rhythm that seems well practiced - despite never having danced together. It was like he knew what she was thinking and vice versa. He twirls her to the tempo of the slow ballad and as it reaches the high notes of it’s climax, he dips her down before pulling her up quickly to their dancing form.

And for a moment - she’s back in the church, back to the time where their thoughts and bodies were in sync, when she thought that just for a moment she had found someone who understood, someone who would always stay -

No, she thinks. Don’t ruin this now.

Touka’s lips upturn slightly as he twirls her again, following her step before dipping her faster this time and pulling her up just as quickly. Her bangs fly around wildly and she doesn’t get the chance to tuck it behind her ear.

She was having fun doing something so spontaneous and he was too. His hand sticks out and tucks a strand of her hair behind her ear and she finds herself leaning into his touch. The soft caresses of his thumb on her soft cheek, her stomach clenches at the feeling and she finds herself craving more of this contact.

Naturally she draws in until they are but a hairs breadth away. She can smell the coffee he drank mixed with his intoxicating, unforgettable scent.

"You're a pretty good dancer, Kirishima-san," his eyes crinkle at the corners when he smiles - something else is in those familiar grey depths - something that makes her blood rush under her skin.

"Y-You too," she murmurs and she feels his breath brushing over her lips, can see his gaze flickering from her eyes to her lips with interest.

She tips forward without thinking, shyly brushing her lips against his. It's a light brush, like a butterfly's wing fluttering against skin but just that light contact makes Haise's breath catch.

He knew he wasn't the only one feeling this - he was happy that he was right.

She pulls back, cheeks turning even pinker. What had she done? He didn't even remember anything from their past - and she had spent the last three years fantasizing about what it would be like to finally be with him, mourning a relationship that never was.

His lips part - breath coming ragged just from that chaste kiss.

He had never wanted something so badly in his entire life. Somewhere in the back of his mind he hears the bound man writhe - gasp - and claw at his chains.

Touka-chan, He sighs, grasping her cheeks, surging forward to kiss her.

She responds slowly, easing into the kiss, shy at first but Haise's tilts his head, deepening the kiss to coax her to follow. They stumbled back towards the counter, where he lifted her up to sit.

She was at proper height with him like this, continuing the kiss with renewed urgency. "W-Wait - I have to finish - closing the store," she gasped while he kisses along her neck and down her collarbone. His teeth graze the protruding ridges quietly, placing open mouthed kisses that left behind red marks.

He doesn't hear her until she wrenches away. He lightly touches his lips, dazed from her flavor filling his mouth and her scent, his senses. He trembles, feeling his restraint beginning to crumble. He hadn’t thought that it would be like this - hadn’t thought that kissing her would make every nerve within him buzz to life, singing more - more -

Chains rattle in his mind and Haise feels fingernails dig into his skin - feels the weight of another on his back, whispering, “Touka-chan- Touka-chan - Touka-.”

He’s never felt more unhinged.

"I n-need to finish closing up," She repeats, and the flush on her skin is appealing. Gathering what resolve she has, she jumps off of the counter on trembling legs as she tries to continue closing up the cafe. She can feel Haise’s eyes watching her, his eyes following every single movement she makes. It’s thrilling - to be this wanted by him.

Finally, she thinks. Finally - she wasn’t the only one filled with yearning - with want. She doesn’t let herself think that she had to lose him to finally get him where she wanted.



She locks the front door and flips the shutters down but before she could turn around and walk back to him, he is already behind her, untying her apron and strewing it away as he lifts her into his arms.

They stumble, knocking everything down onto the floor.

Touka winces at the loud crash that the items make. She looks down, cringing when she sees the broken silverware scattered all over the floor. She pushes Haise’s chest lightly and tries to pick them up but Haise holds her tight, pressing her back onto the table and pinning her hands over her head. "Do it later," he implores, still grinning down at her.

She turns red - half bewildered and half indignant. He was so different - a far cry from the skittish and soft spoken boy she knew in the past. She couldn’t imagine Kaneki having this confidence, nor could she imagine him being this bold. But, she would be hard pressed to admit that it wasn’t a welcome change. Still, she couldn’t just leave them there.

"Do you know how much those plates and silverware co- ?!" Her words fade into a sharp hiss when his hands go to cup her breasts. He smiles sheepishly at her, kneading them gently in his hands in a way that has her arching up further into his touch.

“Is this okay?” He asks. Her hand grasps his wrist, pressing his hand down harder as the broken silverware becomes the last of her concerns - for the moment. “What do you think?” She retorts with a smile.

"I want you," Haise admits softly, leaning down to nip at the protruding ridges of her collarbone. Her breath hitches and he sighs from the warmth of her skin, nuzzling his face into the crook of her neck. She feels so familiar, and so different at the same time. How can she be different? He wonders, only for a moment before the smell of her skin overwhelms him.

She arches up, eyes fluttering shut when he drags his lips higher and higher until he was kissing along the shell of her ear and back down. She doesn’t tell him, me too, even though it’s all that she can think as she threads her fingers through his hair and clings to him. There’s still a part of her that doesn’t want to give too much of herself so freely. She couldn’t stand it to be left behind again, watching as his figure retreated further and further into the distance.

He snaps her from her thoughts when his lips latch onto her pulse point, sucking on the skin until her breath comes out in harsh, aching pants.

How can he have this effect on me, she finds herself thinking, barely noticing his fingers working on the buttons of her blouse. He pauses when he sees her eyeing him - unsure of whether he could proceed or not.

But she surprises him - reaching up and undoing the rest of the buttons. Haise grins, throwing the shirt open before he reaches inside and cup her breasts in his hands. She was warm and soft - all over and his curiosity to explore more of her gets the better of him.

She gasps sharply - leaning up to his touch, his hands knead the soft mounds until she was shivering with need. She didn’t know what to call this strange new feeling, it was much different from what she had felt for him before. It was turning - transforming into a hunger that was not like the kind that could be sated by food - no, now that she had him like this, she only wished for it to go further.

He feels impish - as his soft exploration turns more daring, his fingers pinching at her nipple over her bra. She squeals, as he repeats the action. Not waiting for another moment, he throws the blouse of her shoulders, helping her shrug it off and throw behind her. His hand reaches up to the clasp of her bra, gently undoing that also.

Touka brings the straps down slowly - watching him closely as she does so until the bra falls on her lap. Haise pulls back to watch her, drink in the sight of her so exposed for him - somewhere, in the back of his mind, he thinks that this is what he had been waiting for. It’s accompanied by the rattling of chains and a pounding on his brain - a light reminder that what he thinks is his, is truly not.

He pays it no actual attention, pressing up against her, and kissing her beautiful lips again. He shuts down all doubts, all these feelings that were constantly like deja vu - like he had felt her this close before.

She leans back when his lips kiss down from her throat to her chest, her breathing heavy. The more that it went on the less hesitant she became on giving herself up. This was what she wanted, right? And it felt so good.


More than words can describe.

She gasps aloud when his lips close over one dusty nipple, slowly he rolls the nub with his tongue, suckling as he peers at her. Her hands thresh in his hair when he switches to her other breast, a wispy saliva strand connecting from her chest to his mouth. He dips his tongue over her areola, tending to the neglected breast with his fingers - pinching them slightly..

The warm sensation between her legs grow more tense, as she now feels the need to rub her thighs together. He pulls back again, licking at his lips, feeling proud of making her look so wanton and debauched from such simple acts. He was buzzing with nerves truthfully, he can pick up on her arousal just from the way she squirms her legs together.

Haise groans, the smell of her filling his nostrils and leaving him light headed. As a half-ghoul, the same sense of smell as a regular ghoul, but all of his senses seems amplified at this moment. He can smell the crisp scent of her arousal - strong and heady as it surrounds him.

It makes his mouth water.

“I-I-I want to taste you," He moans, kissing the underside of her breasts to her ribs. Tracing the ridges with his tongue before he suckles on the patch of skin. Touka flushes at his words, taste her? Not fully understanding what he meant.

Haise feels possessed by the sight of her, half naked and writhing so wantonly on the counter’s surface, he could hardly take it. He moves one of the stools to sit in front of her, pushing her on her back and parting her legs. Her skirt rides up as he bunches it up to her waist, not bothering to take it off.

His fingers trace softly over her underwear - she looks absolutely debauched, with flushed cheeks and parted lips, and the sight of her like this makes him stir in his pants. He pants, presses his fingers down on the wet spot forming at the center of them. She gasps, eyes squeezing shut and she squirms. Her legs press together at the unexpected sharpness of the feeling, making him laugh.

“Is it good?” He asks - liking the way that her cheeks flush indignantly. She kicks his arm, but he catches her foot and kisses her inner calf, which seems to make her forget all about her embarrassment. She watches him, somewhat in awe as he moves higher up her leg - kissing her knee and then higher.

He groans when he reaches her inner thighs - the smell of her intoxicating, and he suddenly can’t have her fast enough. He brushes the edge of her panties with his mouth, before pulling them down with his teeth.

"Haise-," Her lips purse into a choked moan when his fingers brush along her clit. It felt - electrifying, nothing like those times when she indulged herself privately. Haise traces the broad side of his tongue to where her taste was the strongest. Heady and warm, sweet like honey, would be a way to describe it.

He pushes her legs further apart and she brings one of her hands down to spread herself for him.

He feels dizzy at the sight - the way that she parted her lower lips for him like that. He buries his face in the newly revealed skin - slick from her arousal. Looking up at her, he uses the broad side of his tongue to lick from the bottom of her slit right, ending right before he reaches her clit.

He smiles when she groans, face contorting into a look of pure frustration as he purposefully avoided her clit. Haise wanted to tease her - make her beg in pure wanton need, and he loved every desperate shake that pulsed through her body.

"You taste good," he murmurs and she releases an embarrassed whine, beginning to rut against his mouth in impatience. It makes him want to have her - positioned right over his mouth, grinding against his face until he could hardly breathe - until he was completely surrounded by the feel, the taste, and the smell of her.

It would have to wait until they had more time.

"H-Haise," she moans "I need -," she flushes, cutting herself off and covering her mouth. He smiles, raising his head from between her legs. His cheeks and mouth are slick, glistening with her and the lewd sight makes her throb even harder for him.

"What do you need?" He asks - and she goes redder, what else could she want? Would he really make her say it?

She reaches down, and touches her clit directly, jumping at the contact - she was so sensitive. "Lick here," she whispers, looking anywhere but at him.

His eyes darken at the display - and he wants to do just that, but seeing her touch herself has awakened something inside of him.

"Why don't you keep touching yourself, instead?" His voice is playful, but she realizes that he is completely serious when she catches his eye.

She swallows nervously, her features aglow with her flush and perspiration but she felt far too aroused to argue about it now, even with herself. Still there was something highly embarrassing about touching herself when he can see her like this, even though she had done such a thing countless of times before thinking of him.

Her fingers gently graze her clit, drawing circle on the small nub as he watches closely, he draws her fingers away from her clit into his mouth, suckling on the tips. "Now," he whispers, leaning back in his seat and watches her slide her fingers down her slit and push them inside her with a low cry.

"Do you do this often?" He asked raggedly, palming himself through his slacks as he watched her pleasure herself. She shakes her head, cheeks flushed and fingers curling inside - just right. It was hard to handle her trembling self while he watched her with such intensity but he seems to think the same. Haise lowers his lips on her clit, swiping his tongue along it before he drew it inside his mouth.

With each suck and stroke, Touka felt closer to the intense feeling of completion. She arches up towards his mouth, drawing her fingers out and he immediately latches onto them, licking the moisture off while looking at her. She was too embarrassed to look directly at him, but he seemed to enjoy that, somehow.

He holds his fingers out to her in a joking manner, but she surprises him by,running her tongue along the lengths of his long fingers until her tongue slips out to graze the underside of his knuckles and Haise feels his body let out a shiver with each undulation of her tongue.

He wondered where else they'd feel good. However, that was for another time - when he wasn’t consumed by the thought of how warm and wet she’d felt around his fingers.


Haise undoes the buttons of his slacks and slides them down his hips along with his underwear. He stands in between her legs, grabbing her ankle and bringing one leg over his slender hips.

The inside of her thigh brushes his warm skin and she gasps, overwhelmed with need as she watches him grasp the base of his cock and slowly inside of her. .

"A-Ah!" She gasps in surprise. She felt full, incredibly so that as he draws out, she makes a sound of indignation. He smiles, pushing the head of it - just so - against her clit, and somehow, that is what breaks her, and she comes swearing and shuddering so abruptly that even he's caught off guard.

He feels a thrill - she had come only from that? He grins, somewhat smugly, watching as Touka pants - red faced and flustered. He can’t resist running a finger along her slit before bringing it to his mouth. He shudders at her flavor - the moisture that came from her orgasm, even sweeter than her arousal.

He couldn't wait any longer.

He pushes his cock gently against her opening, rubbing soft circles until Touka was a trembly mess again.

"Like that?" He asks - watching as she nods and bites her lips.

"Fuck me," she says so softly that he almost doesn't hear it. The bound man rattles in his confines, against his restraints - until all he could hear were his passionate cries and urges to fuck her, to give her what she wanted until he slid fully inside.

She digs her fingers into the countertop as he stretched her fully burying himself inside of her. "Does it hurt?" He asks concerned but she shakes her head, she was too gone to notice anything like that. Why should she, when she can focus on how good and full she felt - how she had wanted this kind of closeness from him for so long.

She tells him the only thing that would matter, "Move."

He pushes out of her, swiveling his hips as he slams back inside of her, she arches against him, her hands going to his back to hold onto something. "Good?"

"Better," she intones, dragging her fingers down his clothed back, wanting to feel every inch of her. She seems to read up on the request or perhaps she just knew him well already because her hand slides underneath his shirt and scratch over the skin of his waist. He can hardly control the pace of his thrust, that takes a jagged turn then.

He was always so sensitive there.

He keens encouragingly, dragging both her legs over his hips and bringing her closer with each thrust. She gasps, pants, arches against him, feels that emotion building up inside her again until she freezes with her back bent and lips parted, clenching around him.

He almost thinks he wouldn't make it, with the way she clamps around him, clawing at his back.

He pulls her legs up to his shoulders, driving inside of her fast and hard. Her hands clench on the base of his head, arching up to him with each thrust. "K-Kiss me," she whimpers and he can't help but comply.

He swiped his tongue along her pink lips, savoring the taste of her. She was flexible enough for him to do this and he feels that hot feeling knotting up his stomach as she tightens around his cock with each thrust.

"You feel so good," he rasps, pressing all of the way inside of her until there was no space left between them, until he was all of the way inside of her.

Touka wails, scratching his back with long fingernails that sting, but in a way that he can't get enough of. "You too," she moans, and rolls her hips, keeping him buried inside of her and causing a friction that causes him to bury his face into her shoulder.

He's surrounded by her scent - coffee and the flowery, earthy scent that was distinctly Touka. It feels so familiar, as though he'd smelled it before like -

(//"Touka-chan!" He calls as he watches her limp ahead of him. She's bleeding freely from her wound and it looks as though just walking is taking all of her energy.

"Shall I lend a hand?" He asks, concerned. She scowls. "I'm fine," though he can tell that she's just trying to put up a tough front.

"Come on!" He implores but she only glares at him. "I don't need your help!" She tries to walk faster, but it’s impossible with how much blood she's lost.

Quietly, he grabs her arm and throws it over her shoulder, angling his shoulder beneath hers to support her, and she seems to give up then, leaning on him with a defeated sigh.

"You don't make any sense," she says, and even though there is a thick smell of blood on her, he notices her sweet scent for the first time -).

He'd had that dream for some time now, though the girl had never had a face before - but now? Now she had Touka's face and he finds himself pushing inside her even harder - it feels as though he's come home -

And when Touka whines, calling him a name that isn't his own, he doesn't even mind, tumbling over the edge as he calls her "Touka-chan."

In the back of his mind, he can hear the bound man laugh in relief.

He bites at her throat as his release rushes through him, muffling his groans in the crook of her shoulder as she runs her fingers through his unruly hair. Haise's entire body feels light, his head buzzing in a way it never had - from relief, from happiness, he didn't know, but he wouldn't trade the feeling for anything.


He withdraws from her slowly, tucking himself back in his pants while Touka laid there on the table, covering her flushing face. He cracks a smile, picking up a few napkins up to clean her with. Her head jolts up at the feeling and he gives her a slow smile, "How was that?"

He would have preferred to have her on a bed, in his especially. But that would take a bit more planning on his part, to keep his team out of the home, at least. She shrugs, face pink as he runs the wet napkin up her thighs and beneath her skirt. She shivers at the cool feeling but doesn't stop him.

“It was - good,” she admits, covering a smile behind her hands. Better than she had imagined, and she sits up - feeling somewhat awkward now in the aftermath.

Haise regards her, thinking back to the recently recovered memory. So - he had known her? Before? Is that why she had always been so solemn around him?

There was just so many questions that he now had from that one small piece of memory. He was sure, he was nowhere close to every aspect of his previous life, but seeing that one small event, he couldn’t help rethink everything he had thought about himself and his supposedly bloody past.

His thoughts hit a pause when he sees Touka redressing herself - she was softer somehow than how he saw her in the dream. They had - both changed he supposed (guessed) - for the better or for worse, he wasn’t sure of yet.

There were more questions that came with it rather than answers and he didn’t want to think about that now when she was still in front of him, half dressed. He decides to keep his discovery to himself for the moment.

Of his own volition, he reaches over and smoothes out her blouse, lifting it up behind her. Quietly, she stares at him as she put her arms through the sleeves and he fixes the collar, buttons it up slowly, his fingers brushing her skin every once in a while until he reaches the top.

His hands rest on her shoulders, his eyes on hers. Somehow everything made a little bit more sense now, in a way he couldn’t quite describe. He felt a more renewed connection with her now - like he could anticipate her next breath as she his. Perhaps that’s what he had been thinking back to the entire time - the feelings all too real and too strong to be something out of his imagination.

He smiles, wondering if he’s finally found what he’s been searching for.