Chapter 34: I Will Save You From All Your Fear

"Your name," Gemini said. "It's more meaningful than a generic surname. You are Smith. You're my Smith. It's not just a syllable anymore.

"When you're around, I feel better. Your presence is important. Adding to that, your well-being is important to me. I want you nearby and healthy all the time. That's love."

"I won't…"

"I know you won't! That's why I keep crying, why I'm so angry. I'm going to lose you."

Smith frowned slightly. "That is inevitable. Why you should waste emotional energy fighting it is not logical."

"I thought you said you were going to fight it!"

"Would it achieve what you ultimately want?" He looked deeply at her. "No. Its inevitability is fixed."

"Good God, Smith. Not only are you a Nietzchean, you're a fatalist."

Smith merely raised one eyebrow a fraction of an inch. Their talks never seemed to follow the norm. He had inquired as to the usual subjects of pillow talk, received the usual vague answer from the Mainframe, and the usual frustrating answer from Gemini. After an exceptional lovemaking, they rose from the bed and ensconced themselves on her couch. Circuit wandered past a few times but left the people to their talking.

Gemini couldn't stop touching Smith. She couldn't stop holding him. He allowed it, if only to disguise the fact that he couldn't let her go either. He'd returned to his red sweater and slacks. The suit was not appropriate now.

For now, their mutual silence was not like darkness. Smith watched the cat stretch out in a beam of sunlight from the window. Finally he knew the importance of light. Not that knowing the importance now would serve much purpose, or even last long. Smith did not consider himself a fatalist in his thoughts, merely practical.

"Smith," Gemini murmured from her place ensconced in his embrace, "if I say 'I love you' enough times, will you remember it?"

"You know that's unlikely." He watched the cat as he spoke, "If you love something, let it go, Gemini. That's all I can offer."

Gemini gulped back a sob. "I know. But it's very, very hard to let go."

"Leaving is not my choice." There was a soft kind of resolve to his voice. Smith lifted her chin with a finger beneath it. "Gemini." His eyes stunned her. "I remain yours."

Later, Gemini would pride herself on not falling to emotional pieces. Somberly she stroked Smith's face before kissing him with as much tenderness as she could muster. "And I am yours, Smith. I didn't choose to fall in love with you. I chose not to regret it."

Smith kissed her again. "Mine, Gemini. Yours."

Quietly, Gemini rested back against him again. Their bodies fit even now in this fully clothed embrace. Gemini felt a kind of suspension in the moment, though she'd given up trying to slow time for them. The warmth of Smith as he reclined behind her on the couch comforted her.

"Smith…tell me a story."

She could hear his eyebrow arching at that. "That's an odd request," he said. But his voice sounded indulgent, and she only had to wait a short while before he spoke again: "I'll tell you of my first memory."

Gemini wove her fingers with his and closed her eyes to better savor his voice.

"I remember my activation," Smith told her. "The first sight to register in my receptors was a silver ceiling vent. I didn't know what it was, then." He paused. "I had no frame of reference."

Gemini squeezed his hand. "I was afraid that was how programs first woke up. It's not fair to have to wake up like that…no reference for anything. How terrifying!"

"The Mainframe isn't fair. It has no need for fairness."

"Defending your god again," Gemini said with a sigh.

"It isn't…"

"It's close enough to the machine God to count." Gemini nudged her head against his shoulder. "But I interrupted your story. Go on, Smith."

"I laid there, receiving sensory input for an undetermined time. I had no frame of reference for time, either."

"What was your first sense? Besides the view of the ceiling vent…"

Smith didn't answer right away. Gemini was about to tell him to forget it when he said, "Cold."

"Cold?"

"Through my suit I felt a metal table. It was cold. Hard. Later I learned those sensations were thought of as unpleasant."

"So when you say I'm soft and warm…?"

Smith remained silent at her prompt. But his silence answered for him.

Gemini sighed again. "I love you, Smith." She pulled his arms tighter around her middle.

There was a knock at the door.

It was Tyger.