A friend inspired this by accident, by forgetting to include the name of a character's hometown in a list where everyone else had a hometown.
Merging had been hard, once. It was a cost that her partner had to pay, and a price she exacted from them just by existing. She had spent as much time as possible separated from her partners so she didn't tax them. It wasn't like that with Saif, though.
She'd only been with him for a couple weeks. Honestly, she was still getting used to things around the house - forgot where the silverware was all the time, and stubbed her toe on the corner of the couch whenever she walked into the living room. But she was happy.
Renee had never been in a position where she was so sure everything would be alright. She and Saif were a near perfect match for one another, and she almost never felt compelled to separate from him.
So when she started to become anxious and unhappy, she wasn't sure why. She tried to hide it from her Partner. He'd pledged to stay with her, forever and always, but... what if she was too great a burden?
I can tell when you're hiding something from me, you know.
Saif's mental voice was gentle. They were merged (as usual) and he was handling setting the table while she fretted. Renee gave the impression of guilt.
I'm sorry. I just... I don't want to... burden you, I guess.
Burden me anyway. That's what I'm here for. I want to help, if there's something wrong.
Renee still hesitated. It was hard to break that habit, but this was Saif. He was the most trustworthy, most dependable, most wonderful person she'd ever met, and he was her Partner. Forever and always.
She nerved herself to give the answer, and opened herself to him cautiously, showing him her anxiety, her sadness. Her confusion over where it was coming from. The world seemed to shift slightly as he probed gently at the feeling, trying to figure out where its root was - where it was coming from.
It feels like you're... afraid. What are you afraid of, Renee?
His tone was concerned, but not irritated or alarmed, which soothed some of her anxiety.
I don't know. I have you, and this wonderful place, and Kasi and Myrna and...
Renee trailed off, shivering a little as she realized what in that list didn't fit with the other things.
Oh? What's oh?
Saif paused in the middle of putting down glasses for everyone's drinks, his attention turned inward and to his Partner.
I... just realized.
Renee could feel her own tears welling up in Saif's eyes as her emotion overflowed to him.
I've never had a home before. Not like this. Not one I knew I'd never have to leave. I keep waiting for someone to tell me to move on, or that I don't belong here. But it keeps not happening. This place is too wonderful for someone like me, but I keep being welcome here.
Memories zipped through their shared headspace like birds through a wind tunnel. A house on a hill, a house by a bridge, a house on a cul-de-sac, a trailer in a nice park, a hotel downtown. They had all been "home," but they hadn't really been a place she felt welcome. A place she knew could be hers.
But this place. This house. These chairs and this kitchen and that table - she felt like they... embraced her. Loved her. Made her part of themselves.
Saif blinked, processing as his mouth went dry.
You were homeless?