Syringa’s humming went right along with her rhythm, it seemed. Kallie also had to admit that she was at least somewhat impressed, what with her carrying the two of them as well as the Dandelion suit.
The vines supporting her pressed the girl gently into Syringa’s torso, and she had no doubts that they wouldn’t drop her.
Trissa squirmed and chuckled just a little bit. She had all but drifted off in the cradle of vines.
“Florets, huh…” Kallie murmured. She let the word roll over her tongue, her apparent new lot in life. No true independence, no political rights…of course, Kallie hadn’t had much in the way of those before, back in the accord. No one seemed keen on letting a scraggly homeless girl like her into a government building long enough for her to get registered as a voter.
“I promise that you will flourish under my care, little one,” Syringa rumbled down at her, voice reverberating through her vines, carried along the rhythm.
It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t! Kallie’s entire life as a free person had been fraught with misery. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong gender, wrong life. And now she was a second class citizen, if she was a citizen at all…and better off, because of it?
Syringa caressed her chin, her shoulders, softly murmuring her adoration. And it felt incredible. Why did it feel incredible? She should be fighting this, but…maybe it was time to leave the fighting to those, she sighed at the thought, who had to take care of themselves.
“You better be right, mistress.” Kallie let herself be snuggled, as they boarded the tram, left it, and arrived back at the hab. It was nice. She had to admit that it was nice. “Else I’ll…I’ll um…beat you up. Yeah.”
Syringa did that planty approximation of laughing. “Listen to you,” she purred. Kallie felt the briefest hint of a needle, which naturally meant…ohhhh. Her skin came alight with every touch, she’d felt this before…class…As? “I’d like to see a defenseless little cutie like you try,” the plant teased.
“Kallieeeeeeee…” Trissa had regained some fragment of consciousness. “Think we’re gonna be okaaaay, Kallie…mmmm, mistress is so soft…”
Syringa lowered herself onto the giant couch, setting them down while still keeping them close.
“You’re a big…sexy…jerk,” Kallie managed, as vines continued to spread sensations of delight.
“Is that anyway to refer to me, Kallie?”
“Nno…um. Sorry, mistress.” And she was starting to realize that she was sorry, at least a little. Syringa had always known best, but Kallie had done a rather poor job of understanding that fact. To say nothing of how turned on she was right now, xenodrugs or no. The reality creeping in had accompanied a glorious, insidious warmth.
“So what’s gonna, um. What’s gonna happen with Dandelion?” Trissa asked, surprising Kallie with her apparent lucidity.
“You two can still be Dandelion sometimes, don’t worry,” Syringa chuckled. “But the current setup is far from ideal for both of you, don’t you agree? Hard on little Kallie’s shoulders, and you have to put so much focus into staying upright. I think Dandelion will take a little break for now, until…hmmm. Until she’s ready to rebloom, I’d say.”
“What, you’re going to modify it?” Kallie asked.
“I believe it will be more like a complete overhaul,” Syringa said with a grin. “But she will still be the Dandelion Fluff we all know and love.”
“I guess I’d welcome the rest…” Kallie admitted. “Um, thanks, mistress.”
“It’s been far too long since I worked on a project like that,” Syringa reminisced. “There’s a workshop I would use, on a station just at the edge of terran space, these days. It’ll be nice to get back there!” Parts of her rustled with apparent excitement. “And there are so many other things I want to show you two! But don’t worry. I’ll take a reasonable pace.”
Kallie blinked at the brief change in her mistress. A raw excitement that she wouldn’t guess hadn’t been there before, but it wasn’t as tempered. Was it too self indulgent to imagine…that she really did enjoy their company?
“I wanna see it all, mistress,” Trissa responded. “But…um…” she let out a self conscious giggle.
“Will we still…oh, it sounds silly…” Kallie peered up to see that her partner, her…pinnate, as Syringa called her, had turned a bright shade of red. “Will we still have bath time?”
Syringa laughed, which caused Trissa to try and bury herself into the couch, though the former pulled her back up.
“Of course! My vessel contains all the luxuries of this hab we currently occupy.” She tilted her head. “Or it will, once renovations are done.”
Kallie’s eyes widened. “You have a ship?”
“Oh, it’s much smaller than this one, I assure you. But you didn’t really imagine that my travels involved me gracefully swimming through the void like one of Terra’s horses, did you?”
“The navy…ah…it was kind of a common…misconception,” Kallie said. She could only imagine that she was blushing as fiercely as Trissa had been a moment ago.
“Now that is fascinating,” their planty overlord mused. “But certain things are, in fact, beyond even the affini.”
It was getting ever harder to imagine what really could be beyond them. The more the newly minted floret considered, the more apparent it was that the Compact had swept into Terran space like gods.
Not human gods, at least, since they were all assholes.
“Yes, little Trissa?”
“If you’ve got a ship and all, that’s really cool, but, like, what if we run into rebels?”
Kallie, who’d been getting comfortable, raised her head. “I…oh damn, the things our crew mates would say about humans like…er…us…”
“I assure you it is not something you need to bother yourself with,” Syringa replied. “For one thing, we’ll not be in the same places as the remaining feralists.” Her eyes twinkled. “For another thing, I give those cuties a month at most before we finally bring them home.”
“Ah…well that’s good…” Kallie murmured. It was good? She took a moment to survey her surroundings. Terran warships were cold and hard, while Syringa was soft and warm. Okay, yeah, it was good. But Syringa certainly couldn’t take all the rebels, could she? “But…can we really trust other affini to be merciful?”
“Let me tell you a secret, petal.” She gazed down from on high. “Are you listening? Good. You will believe me when I say that no affini would ever DREAM of harming a human, or any other client species. You will trust other affini just as you trust me.”
“Okay, mistress….nnnnng…” Kallie squirmed with delight as Syringa stroked her as one would a cat. It was so damn…demeaning…and hot…and stars, she felt like her mind was melting in the most perfect way. She meant it when she added, “I trust you.” Saying that was bliss inflicted on herself, like a seal had been released, a final confirmation that the fighting and hiding was over.
“Wonderful,” their mistress said. “Simply wonderful, flower.” She motioned with a vine to turn the television on for her florets, but Kallie wasn’t there for it. She had finally drifted off in mistress’ warmth.
The florets eyed each other. It wasn’t their first time, at this point — Syringa had held true to her edict that Dandelion would be “taking a little break” and led them about in only their collars and “companion dresses” a number of times over the past week.
Still, there were parts of it that Kallie hadn’t become completely accustomed to, yet. Their mistress had replaced their collars with similar models that she could link a vine to, leading them about on literal leashes. Syringa was still very accommodating, of course, walking slowly enough for them to easily follow along, and she’d even had the clever idea of Kallie and Trissa holding hands so they wouldn’t get separated.
Syringa came to a stop in front of a clinic. But really, it wasn’t even that — as a sign scrolled between all manner of xeno languages, when it came to their own, it read “Terrific Terrans Veterinarian”.
“I mean, I guess we are pets,” Trissa said, giggling nervously. Both girls knew what was coming next.
“Do not worry yourselves over the surgery, little ones. I will be with you all while it happens.”
“Thanks, mistress,” Kallie said. She blinked. “I-I mean, you better!” Trissa chortled, before it turned to a small gasp of surprise, or maybe delight; Syringa had scooped them up into her vines in a single fluid motion. Clear doors soundlessly opened for them, and the florets were led into one of the more familiar interiors of the ship. Though sized to accommodate affini, the layout brought to mind a normal, if upscale, doctor’s office from old Terra.
If one, of course, disregarded the colorfully condescending posters all over the wall that reminded them of what good pets they were.
Kallie peered down at the desk to see it manned by a human, because of course it was. They didn’t seem to have a collar, however. An independent.
“Miss Syringa? And you two must be…let’s see here…Kallie and Trissa Persica, first and second Florets Pinnate?”
“Dang it, why’d I ever let you go first,” Trissa whined. “That’s how we’re gonna be referred to foreverrrrrr!” It was Kallie’s turn to laugh as she shared a wicked grin.
“It’s a big day for them today!” Syringa said jovially. “I’m very proud of them.”
The receptionist cracked a smile. “They’re Dandelion, aren’t they?”
“Kallieeeeee, we’ve been found out!”
“Guess we’re gonna die.”
“There will be no dying today, petals,” their mistress sounded down at them. To the one behind the desk, she added, “Dandelion is on a trip for the next few weeks, I’m afraid. But she’ll be around in the future, I assure you.”
“Right,” the receptionist chuckled. “Well, in the meantime, Mx. Gramineae will be ready to take them back shortly.”
“Wonderful, thank you.” Syringa found a seat, keeping the two humans planted on her lap.
And then a rather bushy looking affini strode through a far door, and Syringa stood back up again. “Shortly” indeed.
“Now,” Gramineae clasped their hands together. “The surgery will be over, quite literally, before you even know it! You will be unconscious for the duration.”
Kallie and Trissa nodded up at them. They'd been taken back to what was, again, surprisingly normal -- an operating room adorned with all sorts of techy bits, with a padded table in the center. Gramineae was briefing them in an adjacent sitting room.
“There is about a week of recovery afterwards, but you won’t feel any pain. The xenodrugs will make sure of that!”
“It’s going to be lovely seeing the two of you too blissed out to think,” Syringa’s voice came from behind them. Trissa emitted a nervous giggle.
The doctor turned her luminous eyes to the affini holding them. “Now, which of these cuties will go first?”
“Based on my understanding, Trissa wished to go first,” Syringa said, failing to disguise just a bit of sadistic glee.
“Uh…hey, let’s talk about this…” Trissa protested, as Syringa handed her off. Both affini chuckled.
“Have fun in there,” Kallie said, smirking. Syringa turned towards her.
“I’ll be following Gramineae back to keep Trissa company. Will you be okay out here, or would you like…” she looked at the doctor plant, who nodded, “to come back too?”
Kallie was paralyzed with indecision for just a moment. Did she dare watch the procedure that would be performed on her before actually receiving it? She’d personally settled for the mental image of Syringa unscrewing a little door on the back of her neck and then putting a little bit of plant flesh in. The reality was…likely far more distressing.
Maybe she should’ve gone first…
“Um…” Kallie murmured, withering under her mistress’ expectant gaze. Syringa eventually wiped the thoughts from her head with a gentle caress.
“It’s okay, little flower. You don’t need to choose.” Her mistress scooped her up once more, and Kallie, for her part, heaved a sigh of relief. “I know it’s scary, but I’m so proud of both of you.” Without a further word, the floret felt herself becoming entirely subsumed into Syringa’s body, until her warm, soft flesh completely surrounded her. Kallie curled up in her impromptu cradle, taking in the floral scent and the gentle rhythm which calmed her soul.
Distantly she heard voices; Trissa’s high pitched chirps, the bushy affini’s deeper tones, Syringa’s reverberating around her, speaking in her own language.
“Are you ready to be a good girl, Trissa? Then follow Mx. Gramineae’s instructions, dear.”
“Your little ones remind me so much of my own floret. Kylie’s at home right now, having sweet little dreams.” Some rustling, some silence. “Are you ready, Trissa?”
That would be her soon. In fifteen minutes? An hour? A day? Receiving a permanent addition, the thing that would ensure that she was only ever moving to Syringa’s tempo. It was terrifying. It was thrilling. But most of all, it was happening.
Sooner than she thought. Her world expanded dramatically as an opening allowed light to pour into her hiding place.
“It’s your turn now, little one,” Syringa said. The first thing Kallie saw as she peaked out was Trissa in their mistress’ vines, curled up like she had been, but completely out of it and softly giggling to herself.
She didn’t look any different.
“Nno, too sooooon,” Kallie whined, futilely.
“You’ll be a good girl for me?” Syringa asked, though she knew it wasn’t really a question.
“I…yeah, mistress, I will.” Kallie briefly tried to reignite some illusion of her own agency — she was only doing this cuz Trissa looked so comfortable! But no, that wasn’t the truth. Her mistress, her affini, her guardian, had been so pleased with her in the past, happier to be near her than anyone (perhaps barring Trissa when the two of them had been keeping each other sane aboard the Distant Thunder), and…Kallie wanted to keep pleasing her. It felt good to please her. So the human allowed herself to smile back, as she was passed into the doctor’s waiting vines, and then gently placed on a cool operating table.
“You’re going to do so very well,” Syringa said. Gramineae echoed the sentiment, and then the world faded to a warm oblivion after Kallie felt a needle.