Sometimes, in those curious nightmare moments between, when his body fails him and the world drains away, he thinks he can feel her. In these instants he is essence, nothing more, and she is eternal, terrifyingly alien and yet utterly familiar — mother and lover, promise and passion and threat. He is the half-aware dream of a fractured reality and he is hers, he knows this intimately; is and was and always shall be, the timeless connection twisting golden and sharp and inescapable between them....
And then he is cast gasping from her womb once more, the not-memory fading as the world reasserts itself, new and old and almost welcome. She retreats like the brush of a kiss, an echo of maternal love and pride singing her first-born back into the linear. And he forgets and continues on, and she —
She rides the ripples of his futures, tasting possibilities and scenting emotions. Not ready, not yet, her precious creation, fashioned from something beloved and broken and transformed in an instant by her will and a child's unthinking desire. He is new and unique as she is old and unique, stolen from death as from decommission, life granted anew as dusk turned to dawn turned to dream and damnation.
Lives spared, lives spent, the past erased and no way back.
No way back.
She regards reality with infinite and overarching dispassion, then forges onward.
He is lost, caught in her wake and cast adrift from his kind even as he strives to cling to them. She exists without — exempt from the laws of a wider creation yet ensnared by their web, tied to the needs of the organic, of the apes and the Architects — while he is trapped within, still growing into his path as she once grew into her shell, a carapace woven of time and illusion. He must mature before he is of use to her, must find his limits and accept her gifts for what they are: fragments of godhood and grandeur to be revered, not resented.
But all children are ungrateful.
She can wait.
The universe is laid open before her, around her, and she skips across it like a stone, savouring the space between galaxies, between atoms, between the now and the then and the yet-to-be. She is sometimes guided, sometimes guiding, driven onwards by the clarion call of eternity and the frenetic urgency of her Pilot — rescuer and rescuee, her damaged, desperate angel — and always she is aware of what she has left behind, has put aside, and always she waits, and waits —
For she loves her Pilot in every sense that might apply to her long-dead kind, but he is mortal and will not live forever.
Fortunately, she has ensured that she has options.
Sometimes, in those curious nightmare moments between, when his body fails him and the world drains away, she can feel him. In these instants he is essence, nothing more, and he is hers, the timeless connection twisting golden and sharp and inescapable between them, love and loss and longing shot through with duty and detachment, resignation and reward. She feels the edges of his latest fate, basking in reflected glory, and then he is cast gasping from her womb once more, the not-memory fading as the world reasserts itself, new and old and — for once, at last — quite welcome....
And she arrives like the brush of a kiss, an echo of maternal love and pride singing her first-born back out of the linear.
~ fin ~