He made a sound– almost a moan. For a while, he said nothing.
Finally I asked, “Do you want to leave me?”
“Why bother to ask me that? ” he demanded. “I can’t leave you. I can’t even really want to leave you.”
“Then what do you want?”
He sighed and shook his head. “I don’t know. I know I wish I had driven past you on the road eleven nights ago and not stopped. And yet, I know that if I could have you all to myself, I’d stop for you again, even knowing what I know about you.”
“That would kill you. Quickly.”
This conversation between Shori and Wright feels like a strong turning point in defining the relationship between the two characters. This takes place directly after Shori meets Iosif and the rest of her living Ina relatives and Wright learns what it means to be a symbiont.
In the beginning of the story, because Wright looks physically to be much older than Shori, it’s easy as a reader to feel uncomfortable with their relationship, despite the fact that Shori is truly older and a vampire. However, in this conversation we get a glimpse to just how much of the power in their relationship actually belongs to Shori. Wright feels almost frightened when he realizes the power that Shori has over him. Not only is Shori older and vastly more powerful than Wright, Wright is now bound to Shori to the point where he can’t make himself leave her or even survive without her. The idea of freedom, free will, and consent within their relationship becomes extremely complicated because of how much influence the Ina have over their symbionts.
This dynamic also emphasizes how different their relationship dynamic is from a typical vampire story. Often in vampire stories, the vampire character is male and much older, but looks about the same age as the human character. However in this situation, the female character is the vampire and looks dramatically younger than the male character. It takes the usual dynamic in a vampire story and gives it a notable twist, complicating it without simply just reversing the dynamic.