After the movie, Lev sneaks away.
The sleepers' room is off the library. It's packed with humans, spaced as closely as possible, some on the floor and some on layers of beds pushed together; each has a label attached to their toe, with their name and the medical procedures that have been tested on them. There's a narrow gap in the middle of the room so people can walk through.
Asher is grinning. It looks exactly like the grin he always had before. His eyes are closed and he's breathing; Lev knows-- he's been like this for almost six months-- but it's so easy to assume that any moment now his eyes are going to open and he's going to kiss Lev and everything is going to be okay. Lev reaches out to hold his hand; it's as warm as it ever was.
"Hey," Lev says. "We got new people today. Twelve of them. Four kids, one of them's an old. She seems competent. I know you'd probably want me to delegate, it wasn't a one-person job six months ago and we've had a bunch of new people since then, so I'm going to try her in the library and see if she picks up the jobs. She had some good thoughts on improving the economy-- maybe we want to treat it more like a summer camp, with more guidance, because everyone's so young--"
They've never woken a sleeper. He doesn't know if Asher can hear him. But he goes through his day, talks about the supplies Rabbit Unit brought and Star Wars and the kids who are fighting and the people who think they shouldn't have school anymore because it's useless, pauses sometimes when Asher would have given his opinion before.
And at the end, like he does every day, he kisses Asher's lips and says, "I love you. I miss you. I'll wake you as soon as I can."