It seems frustratingly paradoxical: We spend our lives longing for someone with whom can share intimacy, connection, and love. But when we find them and understand that they aren't going anywhere, something inside of us wants to run away. Why is love so scary?
Evrey das'Miles clutched her House amulet to her chest. The crumpled scrap of coded instruction she had been furtively given had contained a mere scrap of information. She was, however, certain that the clue pointed nowhere but here. There wasn't much to see, and she wasn't even sure exactly where she was anymore, or even if Humanne was nearby or not. It did not matter yet. She brought stillness closer, her focused awareness on the center of herself, the Love she knew would never desert her. It was time to wait, and to exercise her growing mental aptitudes.
Her mind emptied for a split second, and the words of her mentor and lover rushed through her consciousness, just as if they carried great mass and momentum in the place where she communed with her thoughts.
"I am the right Person, even thought I still experience fear." Humanne's cybernetic features flickered across Evrey's 'retin-i. "Love is scary. Love is treacherous because what we learned of love at a young age was not really love." Evrey's luminous eyes reacquired the blinking cursor at the corner of the 'retin-i's thoughtspace and brought it front and center, waiting for the mind-link Humanne was requesting to create a retinally projected avatar. Humanne, although something not quite human, had taught Evrey more about humanity than anyone else she had loved in her many decades of existence. As their face-cams synced, the semi-transparent representation of each other's faces resolved themselves rapidly on the left sides of their enhanced field of view. The effect was still startling to Evrey, even thought she could not remember speaking with someone remotely in any other way besides manipulating the long obsolete holoscreens.
Evrey recited the next phrase of the mantra as Humanne's avatar smiled ever so slightly and joined in without hesitation. "Pure expressions of love feel free, and give room for the Other to grow into who They really are." Humanne's arms started to move, rising and falling with an eerie grace as she began a slow kata of tai qi, the movements measured, balanced, and ever so potent if directed against an unarmed enemy. Evrey reached over her shoulder for her psi-staff, materializing behind her as she 'willed the nanites from their many capsules beneath her synth-cloak.
The two lovers continued their steady, synchronized recitation of Humanne's mantra opus. "Love is usually offered conditionally, if One behaves the 'right' way; Love is often no longer Love at all, because a demand, or a punishment is attached. Many of Us are shown, so incorrectly, that Love is an invasion of Ourselves, or even a violation of our Being, because the motive of the Other is not pure." Humanne's form was beginning to blur in the edge of Evrey's visual workspace, but the Android's spoken words were as immutable steel in her awareness, caught and matched to her own vocalizations, her energies pulsing faintly blue and white here and there. Her fingerless gloves creaking almost imperceptibly as the matte surface of the fully composited psi-staff whipped over, past, and around her, its density and solidity reassuring as it obeyed her 'mind and hands. Almost as one, linked and united in a way they accepted more and more easily, the pair came to an wordlessly agreed standstill, continuing to recite the next several sentences of the mantra in unison as their mental energies expanded beyond their immediate surroundings, ebbing and swirling into slightly visible auras of concentration. Separated slightly in the fog, both began stepping cautiously towards the other, enhanced senses on high alert, but relatively calm, nonetheless.
"Of course, acts such as these are not Love at all, but how confusing for us, hearing the words 'I love you' followed by actions so abhorrent; actions that don't feel loving at all. The wires cross and love scripts are burned deep in the tender psyche, causing fear-based scars." Evrey brought her foot down on a small patch of what must be sand, more giving than the surrounding soil, and noticed this, even though possibly irrelevant, flicking a note of it to the edge of her visual field, immediately sharing it with her compatriot. Evrey and Humanne, as deliberately as if contemplating mortal danger, turned slowly this way and that as their measured footfalls brought them within arm's reach, each protecting the other's back, by second nature.
The intrusion, if it could be called that, came slowly and steadily, implausibly from the fog nearby. Not an attack, as they both seemed to tense for, but a unwelcome swirling of the fog accompanied by a rising hum that vibrated Evrey's reinforced bones and Humanne's titanium chassis. The rest of the mantra's verses flowed across and through their mind-link even though now shifted slightly back from their linked thoughtspaces in response to the ominous vibrating crescendo.
"When we open our hearts to another, we not only risk being hurt, but we must continually will ourselves to dissolve the boundaries that protect our 'Small-Self' from a loss of control. This reluctance to lose control may have its roots in early primary interactions. but it may run deeper than that and affect even those raised in the healthiest of environments. Facing fear seems to be an integral part of the 'Journey of Being' that human, beyond-human and Other must face. Early humans who constantly faced physical fear and actual danger as turmoil threatened their lives seemed to know this in a way that the sentient Awoken are just now seeming to realize as a whole."
Humanne gently blinked the finished mantra away for them both, as Evrey glanced over her shoulder, a question half-formed and then discarded as the hum coalesced into a drop of piercing, hovering light. The two averted their eyes, looking toward the unfathomable brilliance, but not directly at it. Humanne relaxed a second before Evrey, who realized the light no longer was accompanied by an audible sound, but felt, tasted, undeniable somehow, exerting an impressive force on several of their senses. Abruptly, the mote of brilliance vanished, leaving them to puzzle silently for a moment over its existence and the echoing calm that rushed into the space it had occupied so briefly...