There are things that can't be changed, no matter how much one would desire to change them. There are ties made by fate that have nothing to do with will. And some of these ties last so long that loathing changes into something stronger than hate, more binding than love, more invasive than disease.

None of this was anything I would have chosen. I would have preferred to remain alone. But, fate had other plans.

He was young, weak. The only real recommendation was that he was sensitive and intelligent. Neither of us was given a choice. I needed an avatar, he was one. Both traits were so rare that we had to accept each other. He would be open to invasion by any spirit that happened by. Without him, I would fade into nothingness, most likely, despite my strength.

Our joining was not easy. He had hoped that I would not need to join with him. He had hoped that his intellect would keep him safe and free. He viewed me as he viewed any invading spirit. He tried to force me out; he tried to keep me out. He treated me as a trespasser, a rapist, for all I tried to be gentle. But, I was so much more powerful than he was. Regardless of my intent, he didn't want me and there was pain.

I don't remember how long we fought, human time doesn't mean the same thing to me, but, I grew to loath him as well. Our mutual loathing did nothing to aid our training along. There were times I did have to force him to action. He would have allowed us to be killed to be free of me. I, however, had no desire to die.

Our internal struggle was kept from everyone else. No one would know that the calm young man peddling medicines was at war with himself. But, no one knew his name, either. Even I do not know it. Nor does he know mine.

In a way, I understand why he hates me. I stole from him hope. When we fight against mononoke, I steal his reality and turn it into my own. I pull him from the mundane into the hell I inhabit, rob him of everything and fight that which could easily destroy him. I fight things that are not that different from me. That which separates me from them is a fine line of control. Most of my control, I steal from him, as well.

Most of the time, I leave him alone, as much as possible. He has a natural talent for ending up where we need to be anyway, so why should I interfere? At first, he had trouble getting the information we needed, though. To demand that people tell you the truth of their deepest regrets tends to meet with not only resistance but also the fact that people lie to themselves about things that are decidedly uncomfortable means that we have to confront them. We don't have a choice. To do what we must, to remove the mononoke from this plain of existence, their truth and the regret that formed them must be known. Form is usually found through observation, though this can be deceptive, as is the case with nue.

He has become stronger. The enemies we seek out have become stronger. The lies people tell themselves have become stronger. As there are more people living closer to each other, the need to hide becomes stronger. For all humans seek companionship, they are not truly social creatures. They prefer to keep to themselves their truths, locked away even from their own awareness.

Our calling will not allow us to hide from each other, though, as much as we'd like to at times. He hates me. This has infected me so that I hate him, too. Our mutual loathing has become a part of our strength. We have faced it, come to terms with it in some small way. The battles we had between us makes those with mononoke look simplistic and easy. How do you win against someone you cannot hide from? How is victory granted when both must remain after the battle?

The two of us know the truth of what would be were we not one. He would be possessed by some spirit with no care for his being and I would have degraded into mononoke or more likely into nothingness, depending on the atmosphere around me. With the lack of humans at the time, it is unlikely that regret would have found me.

Over time, our battles subsided. An enemy that cannot be made to leave will eventually become an ally. Decades, perhaps even centuries, passed. Time has not real Truth. It slips through the mind in fits and starts.

To say, however, that we are friends would not be quite the Truth. Friends, as the word seems to be used, implies choice. We had no choice in the matter of being thrown together. As time passed, loathing became something else entirely, and it defined us. There isn't really a word for it, though, at least not one that does not carry the burden of being easily misinterpreted as something else entirely. Human language is, by necessity, limited.

Why 'by necessity'? There are many things in this world that, if experienced as they are, the full Truth of them would paralyze the human mind. Since the mind limits what it can take in to that which will not paralyze, expressions of the mind are similarly limited. If you could see the world as we do, viewing your own reflection in a mirror would stop you cold. Your mind doesn't have the capacity to even begin to understand all of the Truth that is held just in your eyes.

How much you miss, though. But, that is not the purpose of this. The purpose of this is to try and explain our relationship as it stands in the present. To understand the present, though, the past is also needed. And, you must understand that we can see Truth as it is.

When we look into a mirror, we see so much more than just our reflection. He sees me, I see him, and we see ourselves as well, but not as we are seen. He sees what he might have been, what we are together. We see everything about ourselves, things that we would change in ourselves if we could, things that we would change in the other if we could, and things we would rather not see about ourselves. We are not allowed to deny anything, not allowed to hide.

And strangely, we do not envy you your limits. For our years, for everything we've been through, we've learned, we've experienced, we understand that our vision must be unhindered. We would not have it another way. Our sight, our knowing, allows us to do what we must. Our purpose makes our life bearable, makes our binding bearable. If there were no meaning, no Truth, our sacrifices, his sacrifices, would be worth nothing.

I have become distracted by nonsensical details. These are things that you do not need to know, nor do I really need to explain them The purpose is to explain our relationship. The past is necessary, but these little side trips are not.

Our relationship is complex, as you have seen. We are older than any humans and we have little contact with them. We loath each other and yet do not seek out other companionship. The body has needs beyond food and drink that must be met. It is distasteful for both us to be involved with any who are in the habit of deceiving themselves. To gaze upon such in more intimate times is distasteful to say the least. It is in these times that deception is most evident since humans will lie to themselves most about that which they consider closest to their truth. However, what they do not know is that their deceptions are more evident and reveal their Truths.

While he was human, still is in many ways, I was not and am not. Together we become more than human and less. This is our Form. Our limits are beyond those of humans, but we are more limited than what mononoke can become. With such limits, we are also more limited than humans since their Regrets are what fuel mononoke. Therefore, we are less than humans can be. We can be defeated by lies, a human strength, something we do not indulge in.

We can only rely on the other. There is no one else. All others are merely human. Therefore, while we can be said to loathe each other and that word be true, there is more to it than that. It is not love, not as the word is used by humans, nor is it love as the word means. What there is between us is both simpler and more complex than the word allows. We have become two sides of the same coin, in a matter of speaking. We, together, are a whole that is more complex than either of us could ever be alone.