I will concentrate. I must put myself back under control. My mind is my own, it is under my control. I am not under its. This is November 2nd, 2006.

My discussion with Rose went well. Not as well as I had expected, since the problem still exists, but I feel a little better about it.

Come in and lie next to me, Rose.

No! Wrong part of the narrative. Describe the scene to yourself first.

I was lying on the bed wearing only my breeches. No, “pants.” Speak in modern parlance or you draw attention to yourself. I was lying on the bed wearing only my pants. For some reason I was feeling sensual as well as broody, and I occasionally ran my fingers over my bare chest just to trace the lines of muscle, sometimes imagining my finger as a scalpel, slicing myself open to physically remove the cancerous flaws I’ve been noticing. Rose arrived in a sari, it’s color and wrap making her appear not unlike her namesake.

Come in and lie next to me, Rose. Oh, and please disrobe if it’s not too much trouble.

I wanted her to feel vulnerable, like me. I knew she wouldn’t, but if I could convince myself that her nudity made her less protected, my own lowered defenses wouldn’t seem like such a sin. She raised her eyebrows, but obeyed without further question. I was, of course, absolutely wrong, and felt no more comfortable with myself. Pathetic.

It is good to know that I can speak with my sister. I can speak with most of my family, but there are certain matters of honesty that only Rose would understand or even care about. Derzhava is about modularity. We each have talents, and we go to the appropriate person when those talents are needed. Rose’s most singular talent, to me at least, is that she understands the remains of humanity and my weaknesses. It is ironic considering her own desires, but she does.

First of all, your fiance is annoying the hell out of me. He doesn’t need to know that he succeeded, but he’s going to get himself killed. I thought for a moment that that might sound like it would be me who would kill him and corrected the statement. As much as Chase bothers me some times, I have to at least respect his naive idealism. Besides, his death would hurt Rose, and I don’t know that I could be the one to do that. Unless the safety of the family as a whole were threatened. Then I’d have to live with Chase’s death. Rambling. Back on topic

Secondly, I’ve been thinking about the question you asked me, and I’m worried. I could see that she was finally concerned, not just doing her duty for breaking protocol. Her features softened as I continued. You asked if I’d ever been in love, and the answer is “no.” Not even when I was alive. I’m worried that maybe I’m incapable.

I had said it, but I’m still not sure what it means. I can control anything else I put my mind to, but I cannot grab a hold of love. I love my family. I love Rose and almost smiled as she ran her hand across my cheek, gently trying to sooth my soul by attending to my body. As strange as that may sound, Rose is an expert. But the love she asked about is a complete mystery to me.

I… do not think I understand.You are not Daeva. As I recall, you do not suffer the loss of emotion and feeling that they suffer. No, Rose. No. You have to understand. You must understand that this isn’t about blood, it’s about a fundamental flaw in my own makeup. It’s about not being able to control something. I tried to explain that if I cannot call love to heel, if I cannot control it both backwards and forwards, then how can I control anything?

Rose, am I flawed? Perhaps it is pure pride, but I always thought my flaws were intentional. Misdirections. I lost control of myself tonight. I will need punishment for that. Nia shouldn’t have walked in, but I shouldn’t have asked permission to do my job. Just quietly done it. I used to be able to control my every feeling until this love question came up. Not that one, but at least I was moving forward, not slipping backward. She was a security risk and her presence a crisis until such time as she was cleared.

Security crisis… Ah, you are referring to Nia. Yes, Rose, I’m referring to the childe that could very well be harboring vengeful thoughts about you, about you abandoning her. I was protecting you and everyone else from a possible leak, somebody who might take our precious secrets and bring them to our enemies. You know this. I know you know this. Please, Rose, understand me. Stop complaining and focus. You’ve lost the entire narrative. Think clearly.

Nicholas, this has really and truly upset you. She understood. I thought that she must have finally understood what I was saying. I wanted to be happy, but I was afraid to allow myself that luxury so long as I couldn’t hold it’s reigns. This need to control everything… do you not think it borderlines on madness? There it was. The words I had not wanted to admit, even to myself, but there is no point in total honesty without being totally honest, which is why I told her, I am sure of it, if it is not madness in full already. But it is a madness with purpose. Like Mozart or Lieba Doomb.

There is no such thing as madness with purpose. Madness consumes from within and destroys all that you build.

Then I can only hope to hold it off long enough. I don’t know for what. It’s ironic that my obsession with control must itself be controlled. It is ironic. How can I let go of control when it is so important to everyone around me? At that point she kissed me, very deeply. I could tell that she was bending all of her skill to that one action and, out of love for my sister, I tried very hard to fully let go. But again, when she asked what I thought about when she did that, I had to be honest and replied, I felt pleasure and wanted to let go, but I also heard the cat walking by outside. And the air turn on, and the click of a light going on in Lorenzo’s room. She laughed. In a way it was amusing, my kissing an undoubtedly beautiful creature and worried about the air conditioning. But it was also troublesome.

By the end of the conversation I could honestly say that I felt a little bit better, but the very knowledge that I couldn’t make myself immediately feel totally better reduced the effectiveness of the whole thing. Another Catch-22.

Nick, I have a request of you. Come to Tampa with me some time. I want us to spend some time together, some time doing… nothing. Yes, Rose, I will visit you in Tampa and try to do nothing. I don’t want to be locked away or entirely free. I want control, and I hope you can either help me fulfill or quench that desire.

12 cars and a lost semi-truck outside. 2 boats, three air cycles, and an upload to the server. Temperature didn’t change any more than 3 degrees one way or another. The nights are getting cooler.

OOC: OK, I realized that I hate pure stream of consciousness, so I’m using some stylistic choices to differentiate between dialog (italics), Nick admonishing himself (bold), and just his thoughts (normal script). Let me know if it’s too confusing and I should try something more standard.