Trissa shifting brought Kallie back to consciousness, along with the awareness that she’d apparently drifted off. And, of course, that comforting — no, infernal — rhythm was once again present. But wait, pending Trissa’s theory, she could perhaps learn how to better spoof their own biorhythm…
Trissa spoke up first. “Syringa, you’re back!” She was up on her knees to peek over the armrest. “Um. Ahem. Er…”
The plant beamed at them. “It’s wonderful to see you too, petals.”
Kallie eyed Trissa, who eyed Kallie. Was a direct approach what was needed? Or would that backfire in some way they hadn’t thought of?
“And how are my little f…roommates doing?” Syringa continued.
“We’re, um, fine!” Trissa replied.
“Just been here,” Kallie added. “Where have you been?”
“On errands, mostly,” Syringa replied, ruffling Kallie’s hair with two vines. “Getting some orders placed. It’s high time we made this hab more hospitable for cuties like you!”
Trissa raised an eyebrow. “What does that mean?”
“I’m sure you’ve had more than enough of struggling to get on the couch, or use the counters…luckily this unit already had a terran-compatible bathroom, but I simply can’t abide by my very own furniture making foreigners of you.”
“Wait,” Kallie cut in. “Wait wait wait. Doesn’t that mean the…furniture people or whatever…are gonna know that humans live here?”
“Is there a problem with that?”
“Yes!” Kallie said. “We don’t exist! The disguise, remember? Don’t make any orders for, like, smaller furniture or anything, it’s suspicious!”
“I’m sorry to say that the order’s already been placed.”
Trissa screamed. “Stars, we had a good run, but this is the end, nononono…”
“We can’t go to the mines…” Kallie shook her head, and cleared her throat. “When are they coming to install the stuff?”
Syringa manufactured a pensive expression on her carved features. “I’d say about five minutes.”
Both girls screamed this time.
“Kallie where’s the suuuuuuit!”
“I think it was in the bathroom!” Vines caught her as she practically dove from the couch, setting her neatly on the floor.
“Going there now!” Trissa shouted. “Worse comes to worse we can…nnnn…lock the door or something!” She bolted into the bathroom after Syringa intercepted her tumble as well. “Noooo, where is ittttttttt?”
“It’s not there?” Kallie cried, running after her.
“I don’t know, I don’t think so!” The two of them were practically running in circles before Syringa’s vines had them secured.
“Girls,” she started. “May I remind you,” she angled them so that they were facing her, and she carried them back into the living room, “that you are disguised as you are? This is the perfect opportunity to show how believable you are as my darling florets.”
“Nnnnwhere’s the suit?” Kallie protested, but the affini simply put a vine to her lips.
“Shhhh,” Syringa shushed. Her voice was everywhere, once again. Along with her hypnotic pulse. “Trust me, little ones. Trust me to take care of you. I will let no harm befall you, not now, or ever. Understand?” Her eyes were two prismatic suns in the sky.
“I…understand,” Trissa said. Kallie found herself nodding in agreement.
“Hey cuties, you’ve got a visitor!” the hab AI chirped.
“That’ll be them now,” Syringa said gleefully, striding towards the front door with the girls in tow. She delicately placed them on the couch before opening it. Trissa and Kallie clung to each other, as if any other…
No…she’d keep them safe…
The tension rolled off their shoulders. Had there been a small pinprick, Kallie wondered? Had Syringa…oh, never mind. There was nothing to worry about. For some reason, Trissa’s body against hers was setting her senses alight, and her companion seemed to be shivering with pleasure just as much as she. They found themselves cooing and giggling at each other’s touch, even as two plants they’d never seen before came inside, for some purpose they no longer bothered to think about.
Kallie did squeal, however, when one of the remodeling crew gave her an affectionate head rub.
“Your florets are lovely, Syringa,” they said. “Glad we finally had a chance to see them as they are.”
“They’re quite adorable,” the other unfamiliar affini said. “They are this ‘Dandelion’ we’ve heard so much about?”
Stars, Trissa was so soft…
“They are indeed!” Syringa said, with more than a hint of pride. “Such clever and crafty sophonts. Now, I think we’ll give you some space while you work. And thank you so much for coming on short notice!”
“Anytime,” one of the other plants said. Kallie found herself lifted up into Syringa’s vines once more, alongside Trissa. They were pulled right into the warmth of her chest, cradled much closer than they ever had been in the past. Naturally, all the plant flesh caressing them felt incredible.
“Syrinnnnngaaaa why do you feel so gooood,” Trissa moaned, as the terrans were further engulfed by vines.
“I’m going to have to work on them addressing me the correct way,” their plant cooed. “But for it being only two days, they’ve come along so fantastically well.” With a further, but small, exchange of pleasantries, Syringa took her florets into her room.
Kallie was dimly aware that it was her first time being in here. The space was dominated by Syringa’s absolutely monolithic bed, which would fit an affini, two humans, and maybe a small army besides.
“Who the hell nee’s a bed this big,” Kallie murmured, as Syringa gently set the two upon it. “Ohmyfuckinstars it’s softer than the couch…”
“Ohhh the ship jus’ had, like, ev’rything wazjust like, cold and metal and stuff and this is mmmmm…” Trissa said, flailing about in an apparent attempt to sink deeper within the mattress.
“You’ll never have to experience anything like what you did on that ship, never again, precious petals.”
“How d’you know?” Kallie managed to reply, as Syringa’s words cut through a pleasant pink fog.
“I simply wouldn’t allow such misery to fall upon my florets,” the affini replied.
“Y’don’t have to keep pretending if we’re safe in here, silly!” Trissa replied, giggling madly as she started to fondle herself.
“Uh, yeah…um…cut it out…” Kallie added. Fear was starting to penetrate the pleasure.
“But would it really be so bad?” Syringa said, making Kallie moan as a vine caressed her chin. She had mostly abandoned her humanoid shape to cover them in a floral lattice, but her piercing gaze still fell upon them from an upraised mass.
“Um…hey Kallie…where are the humans?”
“Um…” Kallie replied. Syringa, even in her current form, still managed a quizzical look. Her omnipresent rhythm quieted, just a bit. “Maybe…maybe she’s remote controlled?”
Vines and flowers alike shook as the plant chuckled. “My darling pets, what are you talking about?”
“We know you’re a human…or more?… in a suit just like us,” Trissa said, before yawning. “We figured it out, uh, while you were gone.”
“Oh petals, stop! You’re going to make me…oh, I believe the expression was, bust an organ?”
“Now I’m confused,” Kallie slurred.
“Kallie!” Trissa began in a mock whisper, managing to partially sit up. “Y’see that door over there? I’s like a closet or something…the one who’s driving Syringa must be in there!”
“Oh shit you’re right!” Kallie exclaimed, scrambling towards the door. Vines stopped her before she could careen over the edge of the bed.
“Let us goooo!” Trissa whined. “We know you’re in there!”
“You…are truly some fascinating terrans,” Syringa said, bringing the two of them together. “I hate to thwart your…shrewd deductions, but I’m as affini as the day I first bloomed.”
“Then…why…I just don’t get any of this…” Kallie said, trying to shake the fog from her head. Syringa had a thoughtful look at that remark, lifting a modeled eyebrow.
“One second petal, if you have a question, let me disperse the Class As from your system.” Another poke to both of them, and Kallie felt the haze fall away.
She suddenly felt…cold. Cold, and lost, and…the tears started to fall, unbidden. “Why do you care about us? Me? I’m just…I’m just a dark stain on this…bizarre fucking fantasy world you plants just…have for some reason. Even among other humans I’m less than nothing! I…I became homeless after falling for a scam! Just…throw me in the mines and at least I’ll be worth something!”
“Kall…no, don’t say that stuff…” Trissa said, reaching an arm around her.
“When I thought we had you xenos fooled, I actually started to feel good about myself!” Kallie continued. “B-but…you saw through us immediately, didn’t you?”
“Your pinnate is right, Kallie,” Syringa said, voice firm. “I will not allow you to make such false statements about yourself, especially not ones that are steeped in such barbaric notions as one’s worth being tied to what they can provide. You are worth everything to the Compact, and you are worth everything to me.” Vines cradled her as the girl sobbed.
Kallie was allowed to cry it out while Trissa and the plant held her. Eventually, she ran out of tears, and discovered that…they hadn’t gone anywhere. What was...were they...really going to stay?
“Hey…Kallie?” Trissa started.
“Thanks for being the legs, y’know? It’s a hard job.”
“Heh…I’ll say,” Kallie said, managing a chuckle. Was it ever.
“Oh, you watch what you’re about to say,” Trissa giggled, affecting a severe expression. “I don’t think I like what you’re implying!”
“I mean, I know it’s not all you,” Kallie added, starting to smile. “Just…most of it!”
“Argh, that’s it!” Trissa motioned to tackle her, while Kallie fell back laughing. “This heavy bitch was in the navy, y’know!” Syringa watched the exchange, gold glinting in her eyes.
“Yeah, so was I!” Kallie said, pushing back. “So was…” she yawned.
“Awww, Kallie’s a sleepy bitch,” Trissa cackled, before yawning herself. They came apart to sit back down.
“Why don’t we get your teeth brushed, and then I’ll get you in bed,” Syringa said.
“Nooo, can’t go back out there until…” Kallie started. Syringa opened what did turn out to be a closet, to fetch them some night clothes. “Oh. That’s where Dandelion got to.”
The suit was there, hung up neatly on the far wall. It was still tiny when compared to everything that was Syringa…
“Indeed, that’s where I’ve been keeping it safe for you cuties,” the affini said. “One of these days perhaps I’ll make some modifications of my own. I am quite, ah, what is the phrase…handsy!”
“I don’t think that’s the phrase,” Trissa said.
“But she is handsy,” Kallie added. Trissa giggled at that. “Woah!” The handsy plant lifted them up and peeled off their dresses, replacing them with very similar but apparently night-specific ones.
She carried them into the bathroom, humming as she went. The furniture installation has been completed at some point, Kallie observed. They were alone in the hab once more.
“Syringaaaaa, we know how to brush our own teeeeeth,” Trissa whined. But the plant angled her around and a vine prompted her to open her mouth.
“So you claim, little flower,” Syringa replied. “But I’m afraid I’ll insist on helping you.” Opening a small panel on the wall, she withdrew two human sized — did the affini have teeth? — toothbrushes that she apparently had. Kallie also found her mouth opening when prompted.
“Appreciably easy to train,” Syringa hummed, before undertaking her self-appointed task. Her movements were gentle and thorough, and the girls found themselves falling into the same beat they’d chewed along to as she fed them earlier. Mouths open for the plant’s ministrations, they eyed each other with slightly self conscious looks. Now just swish this about and spit…wonderful. You did it, cuties. Now let’s get you to bed~”
“Okay,” Trissa acquiesced, taking the moment to yawn again. Kallie nodded along. A bed sounded nice. But Syringa didn’t carry them back to the couch, instead plopping them on her own mattress.
“You’ll be sleeping in here tonight, petals.”
“But…you’re here?” Kallie argued, cocking her head back at the plant.
“Indeed I am. I will take it upon myself to keep you two snug and secure all night.” Thrumming, and eyes. “Doesn’t that sound nice?”
“I…uh…I guess it does?” Trissa said, briefly wondering why it did.
Syringa spoke a command in her own language and the lights dimmed. And Kallie found it easier than she’d thought it would be to drift off in her vines. The biorhythm was everywhere, but it was gentle, reassuring. She’d…allow this. Just tonight. Then they’d fill out those papers and get that ship for sure. Maybe Syringa could come with them!
Wait…when had that been part of the plan? But Kallie’s thought processes fell away as sleep claimed her.