author's notes: Pretty broad spoilers for the entire series.

Two Men Yoko Kissed
(and one she didn't)

She thinks she might have been fifteen at the time. (She's always looked mature for her age. Age didn't matter when you were fighting for your life every morning.) Maybe that was why she fell so hard. Or maybe he really was as fantastic as they remembered him to be.

When you're fifteen, you tend to talk about first times as being something sweet. First kisses are not ones where his mouth tastes like the soup you brought him and you still feel like you're going to lose him, like he's going to explode into so much magma and trickle out and die.

He promised to repay her for that one time of sneaking up on him and kissing him like there would never be another chance, and he's repaid her all right. Ten times over. She can't make a single move without something (or someone) sneaking up on her from behind and yanking her heart away.

-

"I like kids," Kittan's voice crackles over the comm. It's not like they're worried about other people listening in anymore. It's the closest he gets to a confession.

He kisses her. Suddenly, she sees a vision in her future of him scooping up little red haired toddlers with unruly hair while she watches from a white railed porch. The deck vibrates under her feet with the sound of distant explosions, somewhere above their heads.

The vision fades when he pulls back and looks at her, and suddenly behind the brash exterior she sees a very different person. "I'm being selfish," he says. "Sorry."

It isn't selfish. It's her dream, too.

-

Simon turns 18. They have a small party, among government officials and gunmen pilots; maybe a few too many drinks. The Dai Gurren Brigade's Leader sneaks outside about the time karaoke starts, and Yoko follows him outside.

They stand underneath a sky full of stars.

"It was worth it," Yoko tells him. It isn't the first time she's reminded him. Or the first time she's been reminded. Sometimes, even with all the reconstruction, it's hard to believe that this is really what they wanted.

"Bro was seventeen," Simon says, looking down at his feet. "He didn't even make it this far."

They stand shoulder to shoulder and the moon looms high. Beyond them, the lights of the city twinkle on, like comm channels rapidly blinking. Yoko has to look up at him. She's never felt particularly short, not like Nia, whose charm is that she is petite; never around Kamina, never around Simon. Now, she looks up to him.

"He made it this far," she says. She reaches over, taps his chest twice, tap-tap right over his heart. "He's made it every step of the way."

Simon isn't Kamina. But for a moment, under that same full moon, he feels like it.

"I'm sorry, Yoko," Simon says. "I'm sorry I'm not Bro. I can't do what he can. Not all of it."

He catches her hand before she can pull away. It's an awkward kiss, and they both know they don't really want it, but for a moment it's fine.

(When Simon turns 18, Yoko is so far away from the capital she isn't even on the map. Nia bakes him a cake, and while Rossiu isn't looking, Kittan throws it at Simon's face to save them from having to eat it. Simon and Boota eat it anyway.)