“Why is it even that big of a deal?” Amida asked as she kicked her feet, propelling herself through the cool evening Cladophor water. It was hard to see much other than blurry lights in the distance illuminating the coral spires. It seemed most of the creatures this deep had better eyesight in the dark than Terrans. Halophele was more than happy to guide Amida, though. A vine around her wrist tugged Amida away from bumping into other Sophonts and unseen masses in the water.
“Some sophonts are resistant or have allergies to certain xenodrugs. Discovering various methods to achieve the same goal means everyone has access to every xenodrug.” Halophele responded.
“But is it really that important to have alternate versions of a drug that makes you sleepy and horny?”
“We are post-scarcity, not everything must have a utilitarian use. That being said, it does have one. Some sophonts may need sleeping pills but have an adverse reaction to our other xenodrugs for such ailments. If we can remove the, ehm— ‘horny’ from that equation, Mielyu musk may serve such a purpose— If the recipient can handle the stink.”
“Mm,” Amida hummed in affirmation.
Halophele’s hab looked similar to Amida’s own. Hexagonal, built into the side of a coral spire, and a sterile white color on the outside. A few of the habs bordering Halophele’s were dressed up with decorations, but Hal’s was not. The Affini had a cute little lamp hanging off the side of her hab so it wasn’t pitch black outside, at least.
“I just got done working before I picked you up, so certain rooms may be messy,” Halophele said.
“I can handle it, no biggie.”
Halophele nodded and opened the door to her hab, shaking her head to signal Amida to enter. Within was a wonderful abode filled with plants and art in what seemed like every corner of the hab. Halophele’s kitchen was filled with amazing devices Amida had no clue how to operate, and her walls were covered in bookshelves which the plant life in her hab was growing up and around. The colors in the hab were muted, a carefully curated indoor garden of whites, browns, and greens. There were a few books out of place, some had been placed half-open on the side table adjacent to Halophele’s sand couch while some others were strewn about the kitchen table.
“None of the plants here should be dangerous for Terrans to be around,” Halophele said, closing the door behind the pair.
“This is awesome Halophele! I don’t think I’ve ever seen half of these plants!”
“They are all aquatic, and not native to Terra.”
“Everything here is!” Amida said, throwing her hands up. Halophele swam into the kitchen as the Terran girl looked around for a place to sit. Every inch of the room was massive compared to Amida. Halophele was almost double her size, and the Affini’s furniture followed this trend. Being able to swim meant that at least Amida didn’t have to scale the sides of the fittings. She plopped her rear onto Halophele’s sand couch.
“Would you like anything to eat, Amida?” Halophele asked.
“No thanks, I ate with Hiren like an hour ago.”
“You ‘ate her ass’, yes. That is why you took a trip to the Xenobiologist.”
Amida pouted, “If that was an attempt at a joke I don’t think it came off how you wanted it to.”
Halophele stayed silent, but Amida knew she was smiling.
“Also, she has a cloaca, so I can’t really ‘eat her ass’,” Amida shouted, “Do you even know what that means, Halophele?”
“I just knew it was a reference to oral sex, I do not know what you two were doing.”
“Yeah! Exactly!” Amida said. The air around her took on a smell like that of a vanilla cake. It was subtle, but Halophele had done something. “Hey Halophele, do you smell that?”
“I made myself a nutrient diffusion. I confirmed it is safe for Terrans as well. If the smell is offensive, please let me know,” Halophele said, swimming back into the room and curling her massive body against the crook of the couch behind Amida. “I doubt you mind, given your proclivities.”
Stars, Amida could feel the Affini decompress behind her. She was big. Amida knew Halophele was double her size but— stars she was big. The warm plant serpent smelled briny and fresh, like a crisp fruit. She also carried a sharp musky sweet scent, disguised by the dominant fresh aromas. Her body just barely made contact with the Terran’s as her vines relaxed and spread across the couch. Amida wiggled, her feathers flat against her body and her face filled with a bright red blush.
“Amida?” Halophele asked. Amida turned to face her, and she continued, “May I cuddle you?”
Amida nodded, and the Affini wrapped countless vines around her, cocooning the Terran in their thick supple surface. Amida wiggled, but she was only able to move a couple of millimeters. Halophele had her tight and was not letting go. Amida was pulled against the Affini’s body, face squeezed into a soft patch of coral on her chest. It felt like a silk pillow and a fluffy minky plush at the same time. Amida couldn’t stop herself from nuzzling against her aquatic companion. Halophele squeezed Amida’s body, eliciting a whimper. Stars, it felt like heaven. Every nerve in Amida’s body was being wrapped in a weighted blanket with individual care. The Terran filtered water, breathing in Halophele’s scent. The closer she got the more that musky floral scent became dominant. Amida was in heaven.
“Does that feel good? You are very nice to hold,” Halophele said.
Halophele didn’t notice it, but she was rubbing her vines against Amida’s feathers. They felt wonderful to caress, and she could feel her worries melt away the moment they were rubbing against her body. Amida was as soft as the most magnificent down pillow and as warm as a heated blanket.
“This feels wonderful, Halophele, please keep me here.”
“I intend to.”
Halophele spent a few moments tapping on her tablet. Amida didn’t pay much attention to what she was doing, but when the screen opposite the couch lit up it became clear she was about to start watching something.
“Are there any shows you enjoy? Streamers or tubers, perhaps?” Halophele asked her snuggle toy.
“Mmm— yeah, but I want to watch some stuff that’s popular on the Cladophor. I don’t really know about you guys’ media tastes here.”
Halophele hummed in affirmation and flipped through some options. Amida knew she wasn’t going to pay attention to whatever Hal chose, as she was too occupied by her Affini companion. She gazed up at Halophele’s face, staring deep into her golden gemstone eyes. She was mesmerizing. Amida nuzzled into the Affini’s chest again.
“I watch documentaries when I watch television,” Halophele said.
“Sounds good to me,” Amida responded. The Terran’s voice was muffled by the coral on Halophele’s chest.
Halophele selected a documentary about the development of pisces irecubitum, a xenodrug made to be more palatable for Slanmogck.
“This is nice, Halophele. You’ve held me before and whatnot, but committing to a cuddle is— I dunno, special.”
“You are special,” Halophele cooed, clutching her feathered prize close.
Amida blushed and giggled, “What are we watching?”
“This is a documentary about a class-D xenodrug strain’s development.”
The pair stared at the screen as the documentary began. Some establishing shots of a xenobiologist’s lab and a large, dark landscape that Amida recognized as a barren seafloor. A creature floated into frame. This xeno was long and spindly, its head was a small glowing orb. From its head, a thin flap of translucent skin floated behind it. Hidden behind this dress of skin were the creature’s long tendrils. The sophont almost looked like a ghost as it drifted through the water. This xeno was introduced as a Slanmogck. As soon as the narration started, the Slanmogck floated into the vines of an Affini, who cradled the critter against their body and smiled.
“Are you into xenodrugs?” Amida asked.
“They are interesting. I do not have time to indulge my interests often, nor do I have a xeno to indulge them with.”
Amida pressed her nose into the side of Halophele’s wooden visage, nuzzling her chin. Halophele looked down at Amida.
“Hi,” Amida said.
“Hello, Amida. Is this your way of saying you are interested in being my little test subject?”
“Mmm,” Amida buried her head in Halophele’s chest, “When you say it like that it’s— really sexy.”
Halophele tightened her grip on Amida. Amida wheezed, expelling the rest of the air in her swim bladder. She could feel her ribs compressing, squashing her lungs and diaphragm. Good thing she didn’t need to use those.
“Someone likes being objectified,” Halophele said. She squeezed tighter, and Amida’s muscles tensed as she attempted to wiggle. Halophele could feel her bones popping and settling from the pressure.
“Hngk— Hal, please—” The Terran moaned. Halophele pressed her mouth against Amida’s ear. Amida moaned and shut her eyes.
“Please what?” Halophele whispered. Her low, sultry voice sent shivers down Amida’s spine.
“Stars— I’m,” Amida moaned. Every squeeze felt like heaven and hell at the same time. Her bones were buckling, bending like twigs under Halophele’s immense strength. Her nerves were alight, burning with pain, but begging for more. Halophele’s vines were like 50 weighted blankets on top of Amida’s minuscule body. Crushing pressure and all-encompassing warmth cradled Amida all at once.
“I could flatten you right now. But it would be much more fun to pump you full of drugs and make you beg for it,” Halophele whispered, “Beg me to smear you across the walls.” The Affini loosened her grip, allowing her little bird to reply.
“Please do— I need it, I need you, Halophele. Stars— this is wonderful,” Amida whimpered.
Halophele relaxed her body, allowing Amida a much needed reprieve.
“I will give you a class-A dosage if it pleases you. You have not had experience with xenodrugs before if I am not mistaken. As such, a class-A strain will provide a comfortable introduction,” Halophele said.
“Mmm— so no crushing me like a bug, then?” Amida said, half-joking.
“Not yet. Apologies if I made you excited, I got carried away.”
“No— no, you’re right. Probably not smart to jump right into the deep end.”
“I can assure you I would oh-so love to indulge you in intense xenodrugs, but you must be introduced slower. I cannot indulge you in long-term xenodrugs, either, as you are not my floret and I cannot assure your constant safety,” Halophele stated.
Amida stayed silent. What did Halophele mean by that? Intense, long-term xenodrugs? Several scenarios rushed through Amida’s head. Being reduced to a wiggling pile of pleasure, Class-J’d into a pet bird, being used as an immobile piece of furniture for Halophele. Every scenario made Amida melt, sinking further into Hal’s arms.
“Long-term?” Amida questioned.
“Some xenodrugs have ramp-up and ramp-down times. They are usually intense and mind-altering, and these ramp periods require days if not weeks.”
“W-wow.” Amida shuddered.
Amida felt a pinch in her arm and looked down to see Halophele had stuck her with a thorn from a pink leafy plant, which she then withdrew. A warm feeling worked its way up her arm, as did a dull ache. It was a sensation of sluggishness akin to having a light cold, but instead of being averse to touch the warmth made it feel that much better.
Halophele ran a vine down the Terran’s arm, preening her feathers against their growth, being careful to give each one individual attention. Amida whimpered, every touch felt heavenly, sending shivers through her body. Amida leaned into Halophele. She didn’t want to move, she wanted to go limp with utter bliss and let Halophele caress her body all evening. The dull ache spread to the rest of her body. Amida felt sleepy. She tried to move her arms but it felt so much better to let the Halophele take over, so she did just that.
A thick vine caressed Amida’s stomach, eliciting a giggle and a few wiggles. Amida couldn’t feel anything but warm pleasure in her torso. Halophele applied pressure, squishing Amida’s belly against her body and pinning the girl in place. A blossom of endorphins exploded from Amida’s belly and spread to the rest of her body. The Terran’s muscles relaxed, and she let loose a moan. Amida’s talons wiggled, the only part of her body that hadn’t surrendered to Halophele’s drugs.
Halophele placed a vine on one of Amida’s toes. The moment she did, it relaxed, releasing every bit of unspent energy. She moved to the next toe, and did the same, giving it a light squeeze. Halophele did this for every one of Amida’s talons until her feet fell still, and her body was covered in a blanket of warm bliss.
“Your beauty is unmatched Amida,” Halophele said as she scratched Amida’s head and feathers simultaneously. The Terran whimpered and moaned. “You are a treasure most precious.”
Amida shivered as pleasure coursed through her spine. Her feathers relaxed against her body.
“Shh— shh. That’s right. Don’t fight, let me shower you with all the affection you deserve.”
Halophele clutched her whimpering toy tight. Stars, Amida was all she wanted. She wanted to wrap her body around Amida and squeeze her into a pulpy mush and then put her back together and do it again.
Amida’s head was awash with pleasure, but she could still hold herself at attention. She watched Halophele’s beautiful visage as the Affini scanned her body, squeezed her appendages, and pet her feathers. Every sensation was all the more wonderful when Amida knew that Halophele was the one behind it all. She was doting on Amida like a precious toy and Amida loved it and Amida loved her.
“Hal—?” Amida groaned.
“Yes, petal?” Halophele said.
Petal. The word caused butterflies in Amida’s stomach.
“Do you— like me?”
Halophele wasn’t sure what Amida meant. Ramblings in her drugged-up state. Halophele used a vine to tilt Amida’s head towards her and spoke:
“I love you, Amida.”
“I— Hnngh—” Amida buried her face in Halophele’s chest and began to cry, eyes going blurry as her tears dissipated in the water around her. Amida didn’t know when the last time someone said they loved her was, but it had been years.
“Oh, Amida— here—” Halophele pulled Amida up to her face. The Terran looked up at the alien, weeping softly. “I am here, Amida. Are you alright?”
“Just— emotional,” Amida whimpered, “I— I love you too, Halophele.”
“Are the drugs too intense for you? I have an antidote,” Halophele said.
“No— this isn’t— bad. I needed this.”
“Why are you crying? What has made you sad?”
“Oh— no, Terrans cry when we’re emotional, not just when we’re sad,” Amida said. She giggled and pressed her head against Halophele’s face. The Affini smiled in response. A pleasant tickle caused Amida’s nose to wiggle. Oops, almost forgot she was on xenodrugs.
“Interesting. And what was this?” Halophele reached a vine towards Amida's head and booped the Terran’s nose.
Amida laughed and pulled away, covering her nose, “That— that’s just because the drugs are still—” Amida gestured towards her face, “You know!”
Halophele smiled, “I do, I am teasing you. Your nose is cute.” Halophele leaned in and pressed her lips against Amida’s nose. Her lips were soft, much like her vines.
Amida giggled. When Halophele pulled away, the Terran placed her hands on the Affini’s cheek and pulled her in for a peck on the lips. Her lips tasted like a mint leaf. When Amida parted from the kiss, she let out a yawn.
“You have had a long day. Would you like to sleep here tonight, or should I take you home?” Halophele asked.
Amida’s heart skipped a beat, imagining herself sleeping with Halophele wrapped around her body. “You have another bed?”
“No, you may sleep with me or on the couch. I would prefer you sleep with me, as I do not like the idea of you sleeping alone on a couch,” Halophele said, running a vine across Amida’s chest.
“I— I’d love to, Halophele!” Amida said, unable to stop her face from contorting into a wide smile. She wrapped her arms around Halophele. The Affini returned the hug.
“Wonderful. We must acquire toiletries for you, as I doubt bodily maintenance is the same for Terrans and Affini,” Halophele said as she swam off of the sand couch, clutching Amida against her body. The Affini swam over to her hab’s compiler and pressed a few buttons.
“Amida, what teeth-cleaning supplies do Terrans use, and would they work underwater?”
“Oh, I use a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. They should work underwater, but I’ve only used them dry.”
Halophele went silent, typing the names of the supplies into her compiler before generating them and swimming to her restroom.
Halophele stopped in front of her mirror and showed the tube of toothpaste to Amida, keeping the Terran pressed against her body.
“That’s right. Uhh— where’s the toothbrush?” Amida asked as Halophele began squirting the toothpaste onto one of her vines.
“We do not need one. Open your mouth, please.”
Amida opened her mouth and Halophele slipped a vine inside, running it across her front teeth. Halophele was careful to brush each one of Amida’s teeth and ensure they were covered in toothpaste, front and back. Amida whimpered as the alien probed deeper into her mouth, rubbing those thick vines along her gumline. On xenodrugs, even teeth-brushing felt nice. It was like taking a shower after a weekend camping trip and feeling all the residual oil and dirt leave your body. It felt as though Amida’s teeth could breathe again. Halophele was very gentle with Amida, careful to press just hard enough to remove plaque without hurting the small Terran woman. When the teeth brushing was done, Halophele used a thin string of fiber to floss Amida’s teeth. Given the vine was an actual piece of her, Halophele had great control over her treatment of Amida’s teeth. By the time she was done, Amida’s mouth was cleaner than it had been in ages.
Halophele released Amida from her grasp, and the Terran touched down on the floor below her.
“Have you washed yourself?” Halophele asked.
“I did this morning, and I still have to use a Terran shower because of my feather oils.”
“I understand. Do you take any medications?”
“Oh shit, yeah. Can I compile my rivaroxaban here?” Amida furrowed her brow.
“If you identify yourself to my compiler it should print all your nightly medications for you,” Halophele said, giving Amida a reassuring pat on the shoulder.
“Oh, awesome!” Amida swam from the restroom, leaving Halophele to stare at herself in the mirror.
Halophele removed a sheet of paper from her chest. It was similar to and different from traditional paper. White and thin, it would flop and bend over itself if not held a certain way. This paper was different from the dry variety in that it had a plastic-like coating that made it waterproof. Halophele ran a vine across the paper and scanned every word printed on it. It took some straining, as every word was typed in Putonghua, the standard form of Chinese used within the Terran Accord. Her expression betrayed no emotion, but she felt one stronger than all others: Yearning. The sixth line in particular made her heart ache.
Your full name is Amida Marit, First Floret from this moment forward.
And the final line; quite literally a line drawn in black ink. It was intended to denote the signature of the floret signing the contract, but as of now, it had gone untouched.
“Amida Marit,” Halophele whispered to herself.
“Hey! Are you studying Putonghua? I’m flattered, but Gortha told me I can’t let you work while I’m around,” Amida said, swimming back into the room.
Halophele stared at Amida for a moment, expressionless, then placed the piece of paper back in her chest and smiled.
“Oh yes, you have caught me. I have been studying Putonghua. I wanted this to be a surprise!” Halophele said.
Amida smiled, she couldn’t believe this giant space alien was learning a language just for her. The Terran couldn’t help swimming up to Halophele for another hug, which the Affini accepted.
It was not a lie per se, Halophele had been learning Putonghua for Amida, but she had acquired the Putonghua version of the Human Domestication Contract from the local Office of Xenoveterinary Bureaucracy. Nevertheless, on the way to bed Halophele and Amida practiced their Putonghua.
“How are you?” Halophele asked in Putonghua, though her tone sounded more like she said it.
“I’m good! Hanging out with a super sexy alien woman who is about to sleep with me and snuggle me all night,” Amida replied.
“I understood maybe half of that,” Halophele said in Xa’acan.
Amida laughed. “That’s alright. You need to work a bit more on your tone. It’s ‘How are you?’, not, “How are you.’”
“Understood,” Halophele said. Her emotions were hidden as usual, but in reality, Halophele found it incredibly sexy when someone corrected her linguistically. “So why does such a tone indicate a question in Putonghua?”
“Oh because—” Amida paused. They were in Halophele’s bedroom now, but there was no bed, just more plants and a deep gel-sand pit. “Hal, where’s your bed?”
“I do not have one. I sleep in a sand-concealed alcove. Are you alright with sleeping underwater? I have forgotten to ask.”
“I mean— it can’t be that different from doing everything else underwater? We’re underwater right now and all, uhh— I should be fine,” Amida responded. She wondered how long it had been since Halophele had left the water.
“I have a feeling you will enjoy this,” Halophele said, before diving under the sand.
Amida was plunged into darkness, dragged through the sand behind her Affini companion. She was thankful once again that habs only had gel-sand. The Affini squeezed into a hole in the wall, cushioned with various gel pads and soft underwater plant weaves. Halophele nestled inside and curled up, then pulled her Terran companion in as well. Amida was squeezed through a crevice between Halophele and a cushion. The Terran’s arms were squeezed against her body, and her face was smashed against Halophele’s chest. Despite this, Amida felt like she was in heaven. She was warm, being cradled and surrounded by her lovely Affini.
Halophele began to wrap her body around Amida, starting at her talons and working her way up to the Terran’s head. Amida felt her legs being bound in place, thighs mashed together by thick vines. Then her stomach was squeezed, the sensation causing a shiver of pleasure to escape Amida’s body. The Terran’s arms were bound against her sides, and her shoulders were locked in place. Amida’s body was consumed by coils except for her head, Which Halophele curled some of her body under to make a squishy, natural pillow for the Terran.
The Affini placed her head beside Amida’s, nuzzling her smaller companion’s cheek.
Amida was in pure bliss, able to think about nothing other than drifting to sleep beside Halophele. She felt euphoric, almost numb to her body. It was as though the Terran was floating in a bed of clouds, Squeezed from all sides in a loving hug. Amida filtered water, taking in Halophele’s scent. Her briny, sweet musk was all that Amida ever wanted to smell. The Terran’s muscles relaxed as she wiggled in place. Halophele was more than happy to accommodate, giving her companion a bit of slack so that she could let out that excess energy.
“Hal— Halophele,” Amida whimpered, face red with an uncontrollable blush.
“I love you.”
“I love you too, Amida,” Halophele said, giving Amida a gentle kiss on the cheek.