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The room was hermetically dark and the cot under him sufficient to its purpose.

It was the work, the work, always just out of reach; man's eternal frustration to see clear with his mind what he cannot yet hold in his hand! Venat's instruction struck at the core of the principle, exposing subtleties fifty-three lifetimes could not have comprehended; how it galled him that posterity would betray him. His mouth was dry, his head pounded, his very bones seemed to ache: not even she could halt mortality's march. Oh, how could he think of rest when the work now rested on him alone?

Then, out of where there had only seemed darkness before, he heard, "your humanity does not make you less," and with it felt a touch he recognised that caressed deeper than his skin. Venat-- his teacher, partner, muse-- was not of the body, but the mind, and it was his mind that ardently received her. No heat, nor pressure, but pure enervation flowing from she to he to she and so again until he was full to burst, and burst he did.

With a sigh, Cid rose, seeking a handkerchief to tidy himself, and then he slept.