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Ian held the door as Sonora went through it. The light material of her gown caught his eye as it flowed behind her when she moved, then lightly patted the back of her legs when she stopped. Just for a moment, she hesitated and looked at the floor before moving toward the room she was using. Knowing that after this, nothing would be the same, Ian said, "Sunny, we do need to talk." He could only hope that there was something more in her then he had yet felt.

After all the nagging she had done to tell her more, Sonora now seemed afraid to hear anything at all, refusing even to face him. "I'm tired. I'm going to bed. We can talk tomorrow."

Ian shook his head. He had put this off long enough. "No, now. It can wait no longer."

Sonora's shoulders moved with the soft sigh she exhaled. Ian could feel her reluctance; it was almost a feeling of dread. She turned toward him, allowing him to lead her to the soft chairs near the window. As Sonora sat, she clenched the arms of the chair causing the material to pucker under her whitened fingers. She did not let go.

Ian sat on the edge of his chair, his elbows on his knees and scrubbed his hands over his face a couple of times before starting. How does one begin to explain the impossible? She had seen so much already, could she accept one thing more? Something that would change her life forever, if she accepted it or his if she did not. 

He'd taken his time telling her because he was afraid, something he had rarely been. But if she didn't agree, he could not fathom what his life would be like after this conversation. From the first moment he'd seen her, it had been working toward this, there was nothing to do now but open his mouth and speak.

"As you know, we are all humans, so in most ways we are alike." Ian cleared his tightened throat. "However, there are the fundamental differences you have noticed, we are a bit larger, more muscular, faster, breath less, and as you now know, we live longer. Being down here so long, we have adapted.  

"Some of the differences we understand, some we are not sure why they've happened. There are a few other minor ones but one major one. That is what I need to speak to you about." His gaze strayed from her wide, blue eyes to the window before bringing it back to her. How to explain it to her, she wasn't raised with this; it would seem ludicrous. Humans switched bed partners, let alone mates like it was a dance floor.

"My people have a tremendous capacity for empathy. Much more than the average human ability. This leads to more harmony, more unity. We think less of our own needs because we understand on a deeper level how the other person feels too. It is a good thing. It helps us keep peaceful relations between all the Clans.

"That empathy is exponentially greater when we meet the person we are intended to spend our life with. As our, as you would say, husband or wife. We somehow know this is the person who is ideal for us from the moment we see them." Ian blew out a short, hard breath. "It is hard to explain."

Sonora sat forward in her seat, her hands now folded in her lap, a little smile lighting her face. "I understand. Love at first sight, like in the storybooks. Some people, humans, say that has happened to them."

Ian frowned as he tried for words that would explain it more accurately. "Maybe but so, so much greater. Our emotions and thoughts become so entwined with theirs, we almost feel like they do."

Sonora's brow now creased in her effort to understand. "Like esp?"

"No, it is not a mental thing, it is emotional. If one is sad, the other feels the emotion along with them. If the other is happy, the same. Do you understand?"

"I think so," she said slowly, then glowed as she smiled. "That is beautiful."

Ian nodded. He felt his stomach muscles tighten and his own hand grip the arm of the chair until it protested as he hauled in a breath to say his next words. "And when we are side by side with our Intended as they fight for their life we feel that too. Just as I felt you will yourself to hold your breath, as I felt your pain as your lungs burned for air, and as I felt the light of life leave you."

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