When he himself might his quietus make
Romanticism hadn’t made Jason’s boyfriend suicidal — that was an stereotype — but it was what was going to get him dead.
Jason had never any problem with this ideological quirk. It wasn’t part of the attraction and it wasn’t something he had had to tweak his own feelings to be comfortable with. For all of the marvelous spontaneity (unhealthy lack of self-control) boasted of by Romantics (denounced by those with an anti-Romantic bias) Jason had dated enough people with a mainstream attitude towards neurotechnology to know that Romantics weren’t more difficult than others; those at the other extreme, the fast-tweakers, could be so drastically mercurial as to be impossible to spend time with unless you were also in the habit of adjusting your emotional state at the enhanced limit of neuroendocrine plasticity.
By the standards of some of his exes, Jason’s boyfriend was stable.
Except that now he was so severely depressed Jason felt he was — as absurd as the concept was — at risk of killing himself. He was attempting to handle what would have been for almost everybody a minor problem with the long-obsolete tools of talk therapy and brute-force chemicals.
Generally speaking Jason respected other people’s beliefs and emotional ideologies, and had the basic manners to tweak down any stronger reaction in a social setting. But this was the man he loved. The man he chose to keep loving. It had been more than a generation since that had been a turn of phrase.
Jason knocked at his boyfriend’s apartment door. Tweaking somebody else’s emotional state was a capital crime since the first days of the technology, a violation of human rights, a political red line that had triggered enough revolutions few governments had tried, never twice.
As Jason heard noise behind the door he checked the very illegal device hidden in his back pocket, his fear long tweaked off.
There was a gunshot.
Jason stopped breathing.
A second. Two.
Then he turned around, calm and resigned, and went back home.