Flotsam Heart (Migrated to AO3)

CH7: Water Still Flows Under Pressure

by Birdlovely

Tags: #D/s #dom:female #f/f #pov:bottom #scifi #sub:female #bondage #dom:internalized_imperialism #dom:plant #Human_Domestication_Guide #humiliation #multiple_partners #pov:top #pressure_play #sadomasochism #size_difference

... CW for medical content (surgery is mentioned once) and a discussion of sex.
The Xenoveterinary center staff had been kind enough to place a wooden chair on the floor of the examination room for Amida. At this point, however, the Terran had gotten so used to sitting on sand mounds or even straddling Xa'a-ackétøth stakes that sitting in a chair was beginning to feel foreign. Most of the creatures living on the Cladophor— even the more humanoid Xenos, like the Mielyu— did not enjoy dry-land style chairs. The gesture was appreciated, nonetheless. Amida wondered how many more steps they had taken to accommodate her which she didn’t even notice, and likely never would.
Gortha was also appreciated, coiled around a stake beside Amida. The Affini always seemed willing to accompany Amida to scary situations. Despite being 26 years old and having been to the doctor numerous times, checkups still made Amida incredibly anxious. She felt as though Xenoveterinary Centers should have alleviated this discomfort (given Affini medical expertise had far exceeded that of Terrans) but oftentimes they just made her more anxious. The last time she had been in a Xenoveterinary center it had just been to get blood drawn for an experiment, but this time it was for a check-up. Who knew how many things were wrong with her that she didn’t even realize? 
Gortha had a vine wrapped around Amida’s hand and another wrapped around her back. The Affini traced small circles on Amida’s back as she squeezed the Terran’s hand. Amida smiled at her Affini companion.
“Have you ever been to a Xenoveterinarian before, cutie?” Gortha asked.
“Oh, I have! I just— it’s still kinda spooky, I guess,” Amida said, “Terran doctors weren’t always, y’know, pleasant. And— and we didn’t really have all this tech. I mean— you already knew that.”
Gortha used a vine to pull Amida closer, placing the Terran’s head against her chest. Amida hummed and leaned her head against the Affini, breathing in her flowery scent.
“I understand, cutie. Terran medicine could be really unsafe!” Gortha said, running a vine along Amida’s arm. The Terran’s feathers ruffled at Gortha’s touch, causing Amida to wiggle and a shiver to run down her spine. The Terran whimpered and blushed, burying her face in Gortha’s chest. “But look at you now. Healthy and happy, thanks to wonderful Affini biotech!”
Amida giggled and smiled at Gortha. The Affini smiled back. Gortha was always so spry. She sounded like a hab computer on floret mode, and Amida loved it.
“When I know what’s happening I’m— generally— fine? I just get scared going into check-ups because I worry there’s going to be something wrong with me. Something new, I mean. I have the heart thing, of course,” Amida paused and looked up at Gortha. She was big and strong and biologically immortal and had probably never been scared to go to the doctor’s office. “Every time I went to eye appointments I would be certain my eyes had gotten worse. Blurrier, more static in my vision, but everything would be fine— 20/20. It’s the same with doctor’s appointments but— vaguer. I always feel like something has gotten worse. Something inside me has broken down and I’ve been falling into disrepair every day and I should have been to the doctor months ago.”
“But it’s always okay?” Gortha asked.
“Most of the time, yes,” Amida stifled a groan, “Since the uhh— I don’t know how to say it in Xa'acan. PFO— heart thing.”
Gortha snuck a vine around Amida’s front and poked her chest where her heart was. Amida giggled, and Gortha kissed the Terran on her forehead. “I understand how you feel. It’s impossible to know every little thing that’s going on in your body all at once. Well, unless you have a haustoric implant! If you want to, we could schedule you more frequent visits, or you could get in touch with the office and chat whenever you’re feeling a bout of medical anxiety!” Gortha said, releasing her grip on Amida, “This checkup is more to make sure you’re adjusting well to aquatic life, cutie! And from what I’ve seen, you are doing great!”
“Thanks, Gortha. I guess those are options,” Amida nodded to herself, she wasn’t sure if those suggestions would help her anxiety or make it worse, but they were options, “I think it’s nice knowing that the doctors actually care. About me as an individual, I mean. And they care about helping for the sake of helping.” 
Part of Amida wanted to ask if she could get a haustoric implant sans domestication. Perhaps she’d give the control to Halophele or Gortha, or joint control to both of them. Then they could make sure she was safe and healthy every second of every day.
Gortha nodded and pet the Terran on her head, “Not much will be different from your typical dry-land care! You’ve had your blood drawn, so you know the Vacutainer needles are a little different. Other than that, the plant tech is the same!”
A rhythmic knock resounded against the organic door before it slid open. Through it walked a veritable disco ball of an Affini who twirled her body as she entered the examination room.
“Hello again, Amida! I believe we met the other day?” Seril said, swimming closer to Amida and her Affini companion.
Amida felt relief at the sight of Seril. Though they had only met for about 5 minutes due to her appointment being impromptu, Seril was the Affini who had drawn her blood. Xe was kind and professional, if a bit more affectionate than your average Terran doctor. Okay, maybe a lot more affectionate, but Amida didn’t mind.
“Hey, Seril! Nice to see you again!” Amida beamed.
“You as well, cutie! Apologies that we didn’t have much time to talk during our first meeting. I wanted to take your blood personally, seeing as you’re in a unique situation, but I had other duties to attend afterward,” Seril said, swimming close to Amida. Their faces were mere inches apart. Seril’s iridescent eyes were mesmerizing, half hidden by Xyr vines and leaves, “But now I’ve got all the time I want with you.” 
Amida blushed and wiggled, watching the Affini undulate xyr body idly in the water before swimming backward and retrieving a tablet from Xyr vines.
“So, let’s just go over some basic questions. First, I just wanted to double-check you’re okay with Gortha being here, you have a right to privacy and all.”
Amida nodded and squeezed Gortha’s vine.
“I guess to start, any new pain? Anything out of order on a surface level?” Seril said, tapping on Xyr tablet.
“Nope, everything has been fine, no surprise.”
“In specific, we wanted to pay special attention to the interactions between your lungs, heart, and blood,” Seril said, gesturing with xyr hands, “All the oxygen stuff. Any— shortness of breath after exiting the water? Low energy?”
Amida shook her head, “Actually, y’know, when I initially jumped into the water from the pressurized maglev cabin my ears popped pretty hard and I got nauseous, but it went away quick.”
Seril tapped on xyr tablet and nodded as Amida spoke, “We may have to make some adjustments to your gills and swim bladder for that. It would be easier if you had a haustoric implant,” Seril said, shrugging.
“Maybe one day!” Gortha said, petting Amida’s head. The Terran gave a wry smile.
“Has this happened again? When you jump into the water in the morning, perhaps?”
“Mm— no,” Amida responded, “It was just the one time in the maglev. I think it was at, uhh— 500 meters?”
Seril nodded, “Any changes in your mental state? Do you feel groggy?”
“Nope, I feel great, actually!” Amida smiled at Gortha, who pulled her close and kissed her on the cheek. Gortha was so soft. Her vines were fibrous and lanky compared to Halophele’s, but they still felt wonderful against Amida’s skin. Silk was an apt comparison, Amida thought. “Honestly I was expecting more side effects.”
“Well, you haven’t been very deep yet. The deepest you’ve been was 756 meters, your hab being at 210 meters,” Seril paused and smiled, “Well for you cuties that’s probably pretty deep, but as you’ve seen the average habitation range for aquatic life on the Cladophor is deeper than that on Terra. Nevertheless I say this because you should still be on the lookout for potential side effects.” 
“I don’t plan on going too deep anytime soon,” Amida said.
Seril nodded and stored xyr tablet in her vines, “Alright, let me go get the transthoracic probe,” Xe said before swimming out of the room, “Hang tight cutie.”
Amida leaned against Gortha and the pair sat in silence for a moment.
“How are you feeling, cutie?
“Mm— I’m okay, I think,” Amida responded.
“What’s on your mind?”
“I dunno, I still feel a bit directionless. When Seril asked about my mental state it reminded me that I’m a bit— Iunno,” Amida said, “I mean— I love it here, it’s absolutely breathtaking and I really feel like I’m in my element. But I— I don’t have any hobbies or any work and my degree is still useless.”
“You don’t need a degree to exist in the compact, cutie!” Gortha said.
“I know, but it’s like— I want to do something.”
“I know, I know, it’s a bit of a— cultural habit to remind xenos their education doesn’t define them. I understand what you mean, cutie. Maybe we need to find you a new hobby! Or ways to engage with your hobbies underwater?” Gortha said.
“I— Uhh— I didn’t really have many, to be honest. I swam a lot, but that’s my whole life now,” Amida furrowed her brow, “Maybe I shouldn’t have even done this, making my hobby my daily life, stars.”
Gortha wrapped her vines around the Terran and hugged her tight. Amida whined and laid her head on Gortha’s chest, wrapping her arms around the serpentine Affini’s back.
“Oh, petal, shhh—” Gortha cooed.
There was that word again. Petal. It felt so nice. It was like an audial caress that sent an explosion of warm endorphins from Amida’s midsection to every millimeter of her body. Pleasure crept up her spine and nerves and filled her with a blissful warmth. Amida’s muscles relaxed, mouth releasing a moan. She wanted Gortha to say it again, whisper it in her ear every hour for the rest of her life and every life after that. Petal. That was her.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, I’m happier now— I just— I know moving to the Cladophor wasn’t going to fix all my problems by itself,” Amida said, face still buried in Gortha’s chest, “I’m still a bit of a mess.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being a mess, cutie. That’s what we’re here for!” Gortha said. Amida giggled. “Want me to help you find some hobbies? I’m sure all your friends would be willing to help. Halophele knows a lot about literature, Oooh and Melvol is super into interior design! And Hiren is into music! Did you know she can play the Nixuphon?”
“I don’t even know what that is…” Amida groaned.
“Well then, maybe Hiren will show you, cutie!” Gortha said, booping Amida’s nose.
“But yeah, I think I would like that, Gortha,” Amida said, “Thank you.”
“You’re very welcome, Amida.”
Seril knocked at the door again, “Here we are,” The Affini said as xe swam into the examination room. Xe was carrying a plant-tech device, a short handle attached to a glass plate. A vine connected the device to xyr tablet. This device, a transthoracic probe, had been used on Amida before to take diagnostics on her heart and lungs with minimal intrusiveness, “You’ve been taking your blood thinners nightly, as prescribed?”
“Yessum,” Amida responded, nodding her head.
“A haustoric implant would make that easier, too,” Seril said, giving Amida a wink. Amida made a grumpy face, but the emotion was lost on the Affini, who found the expression adorable.
Amida stood up straight in her seat, puffing out her chest. Seril placed the device against Amida’s ribs, near the neck-hole of her sports bra. The probe began beeping. Seril moved the glass plate down the length of Amida’s chest until it met her solar plexus, then withdrew it.
“Nothing out of order here. I just wanted to make sure everything was in tip-top shape given this is your first time living aquatic,” Seril said, “What you experienced could very well be a natural reaction to entering deep water after being on dry land for a few days. If you experience it again, just make sure to let us know, cutie.”
Amida nodded, Seril swam close to xyr patient and inspected her face. Amida blushed. She couldn’t keep her attention off of those dazzling eyes, iridescent like the feathers of a pigeon. Seril placed xyr hand on Amida’s jaw. The Affini’s hand was warm, a firm wooden appendage. Amida wondered how strong it was as well. Seril appeared to be quite lanky, but every Affini Amida had met was far stronger than herself.
“Open for me,” Seril said.
Amida opened her mouth wide. Seril stuck a vine in her maw and pressed it against the Terran’s tongue. Amida whimpered. This giant sexy plant alien had xyr fingers in Amida’s mouth. Amida couldn't help but blush. Seril pressed xyr vine down harder, pinning Amida’s tongue to the floor of her mouth. Seril’s vine tasted like a fruit, maybe a peach? It was soft like one too, not dissimilar from balsa wood. Amida had to resist the urge to run her tongue over the appendage. She knew Seril wouldn’t mind, but she had to maintain some semblance of dignity.
“Can you contract the muscles in your throat for me?” Seril asked.
Amida wasn’t sure what xe meant, so she let some air out of her swim bladder through her mouth. That seemed to satisfy Seril.
Seril removed xyr vine from Amida’s mouth and placed a hand on the Terran’s right arm. Xe pulled on a few of Amida’s feathers, inspecting the skin underneath. Amida enjoyed this part of checkups; it was nice to have her feathers inspected. Given the grafts were Affini biotech, there was rarely anything wrong with them. Feather inspections were nothing but a massage and light preening. 
Seril seemed to be suppressing a smile that grew the more xe moved through the inspection, but Amida wasn’t sure why. After all her years living around Affini, Amida had never been able to get a consistent read on their intentions. Part of this was because Affini could turn off their facial expressions should they not wish to betray emotion. There were probably subtle emotional tells common to all Affini, but hell if Amida knew them (and she wasn’t all too sure she wanted to know them, at that). Amida’s thought was cut off by Seril ceasing xyr inspection. The Affini squeezed xyr hands together and spoke:
“Alright! just one more thing, cutie. I was curious as to whether you would be willing to participate in a xenobiology experiment,” Seril said, letting xyr smile shine through.
“An experiment?” Amida said, furrowing her brow. She was sure this was innuendo, almost positive. Maybe half-innuendo.
“It may sound a little scary, but we just wanted to monitor how Terrans react to Mielyu musk for further study. It’ll be fun! And sexy.”
Half-innuendo, then.
“Uhh— I mean,” Amida stuttered, face filling with a blush. Sexy? It would be, but it also seemed a bit invasive. It wasn’t like Amida minded Affini watching her do weird sex stuff, and it was just for science, right? Is it really sex stuff if you’re doing it for science? “I think I’d need some more information, but I— I think so, yeah.” 
“Excellent!” Seril said, the most excited xe had been since Amida met xyr. The Affini took a packet of papers from xyr chest and handed them to the Terran woman.
Amida began to scan the paper. An experimentation waiver. It went over the procedures, potential dangers, and objectives of the experiment. Amida gleaned that she would be made to filter water near a Mielyu’s body for some time, then her vitals would be taken using a combination of her grafts and data from her brain which would act as a pseudo-haustoric implant. Amida loved the sound of being forced to huff Mielyu stink for an extended period, but the Terran was on the ropes about being forced to huff Mielyu stink outside the privacy of her hab. Or Hiren’s hab, for that matter. Amida was cut off before she made it to the packet’s section on privacy, though she had a feeling there would be very little content in said section.
“You don’t need to have it read and signed until the day of our experiment. Or you could sign it without reading if you’re into that,” Seril said, winking at Amida.
“Thanks, but, I— I think I’ll give it a read-over. When is it?”
“Info’s in the packet, cutie.”
Oh, that’s right, Affini have a paperwork kink. Reading the packet was just as sexy to Seril as signing it without reading was. Amida was trapped in an alien kink-bureaucracy checkmate. Seril knew it too, smiling ear to ear. Xe wasn’t even trying to hide xyr enjoyment of the situation. It was cute, in a way— maybe even sexy— but also frustrating. Amida could just throw the packet out, but that would be rude and she did want to participate in the experiment. Stars damn it. Amida wanted to go through that packet and circle every small error like a Terran professor who had it out for one specific student. ‘Seril, I noticed you wrote ‘it’s’ instead of ‘its’ here. Could you print me another copy of this with the correction?’. That would show xem.
Wait, would Seril interpret that as Amida flirting?
Was that a bad thing?
Amida looked at Seril’s gemstone eyes. Xe was beautiful, aetherial. An otherworldly angel from the depths gracing the shallow waters with xyr divine presence. Seril’s body slithered in the water, undulating to keep xemself afloat. As xe did so the light reflected off of xyr leaves, stretching rainbows across the surface. Fuck if Amida wouldn’t let that stars damn beautiful alien biologist cut her open then sort and label every one of her organs like some kind of—
“You okay, cutie?” Gortha asked.
Amida snapped back to lucidity and realized she had been staring at Seril, who was now giggling. Amida blushed and scooted back in her seat.
“My eyes tend to do that to sophonts,” Seril giggled, “My little Lukalani practically goes limp when they stare into my eyes!”
“That’s absolutely precious!” Gortha exclaimed.
Amida shook her head, “What— what was that?”
Seril hummed to xemself. It wasn’t that xe didn’t hear Amida’s question, nor that xe didn’t want to answer it. Seril was simply deep in thought.
Oh, she’s begging for it. You can practically taste how needy she is. If only Halophele wasn’t so sodding indecisive she’d have a treasure under her care. And she would be so easy to break, too.
“Uhh— I’m sorry, I think I stopped paying attention for a second. I’ll get this read through, Seril,” Amida said.
“And don’t forget to sign it.” Seril added.
“Obviously,” Amida rolled her eyes and smiled.
“Hiren will also be participating in this experiment. We assumed this would be alright with you, is that correct?” Seril asked.
“Yes, I'd love that!” Amida beamed. She sounded a bit more excited than she intended to, but at this point she had lost the mental battle against the plants. The pair of Affini were mask-off toying with her at this point.
“Ooh! That’s perfect! You two cuties are going to have so much fun!” Gortha said, hugging her vines around Amida’s midsection.
“And so will I,” Seril cooed, “Alright, If you think we’ve covered everything, then you’re free to go, Amida. The office should message you to set up your next appointment, and I’ll see you on the day of the experiment!”
“Bye, Seril!” Amida said, waving to the Affini as xe exited the examination room.
“Feel free to message me if there are any questions or concerns!” Seril said. The door shut behind xem and an awkward silence filled the sterile room. Gortha was smiling, staring at the little Terran next to her.
“Uhh, why didn’t xe kick us out?” Amida asked.
“Oh! Some florets and their owners have medical play kinks, and sometimes they’re quite worked up after an appointment! So—”
“They fuck in the exam rooms.”
“Er— They don’t always have sex, but Yes! Most doctors just show themselves out.”
Amida laughed, “Honestly, I was expecting an answer like that.”
The pair left the Xenoveterinary center behind, swimming into the warm midday water. Amida was still suffering from a bit of rocket lag, waking up later than she would prefer to. Amida wouldn’t have minded, but Halophele usually began working the same hour Amida woke up, meaning there wasn’t time for morning hangouts with the Affini. Gortha and Halophele would hang out almost every morning, and Amida was starting to feel like she was being left out of something special.
“So! You’re on the prowl for some new hobbies?” Gortha asked as the pair swam back to Amida’s hab.
“Mhm— I don’t even know where to start, to be honest. I’ve never really had hobbies, and before the compact I just sorta worked all day and tried to make extra money when I got home.”
“How awful!” Gortha said, wrapping a vine around Amida’s hand as another pet her head. “I can’t imagine how horrible that must have been for you poor Terrans!”
“It was exhausting, yeah. But don’t worry about me, Gortha,” Amida said with a smile, “Life’s better now. I’m so glad the Accord is gone.”
“Me too, cutie!” Gortha said, giving the Terran some feather rubs, “So, there are a lot of analogs to Accord hobbies in this part of space. Xa'a-ackétøth wargames are very popular on the Cladophor!”
“Wargames? Doesn’t sound very Affini,” Amida said, sticking her tongue out at Gortha.
Gortha giggled, “I understand the concern, there are floret versions of all the games if the violence is too intense for you, cutie!”
Amida waved her hand, “Oh no, I’m fine. I was just teasing you.”
“Hey! I’m supposed to be doing that, cutie!”
“You can’t have a monopoly on all the teases, Gortha,” Amida said, nudging her Affini companion’s side.
“That’s the only kind of monopoly we support in the Compact!” Gortha said, nudging Amida back, “You were into competitive swimming when you were younger? There are lots of aquatic sports you could try!”
“I’d have a massive disadvantage Gortha, I’m slow as all hell in the water— compared to other xenos, at least.”
“Well, maybe, but you excel in other ways! Poewai is a popular sport here. You could probably compete in the Likino league!”
“Why Poewai?” Amida asked. Likino translated to ‘small body’ in Xa’can, and Amida didn’t consider herself that small.
“Do you know how sports leagues are divided in the compact, typically?”
Amida shook her head. She assumed based on gender identity, given that was how the Accord did it, but then realized that wouldn’t make much sense in the Compact (Given, it often didn’t make much sense in the Accord, either). There were a diverse array of xenos in the Compact, big and small.
“It depends on the sport! Some may divide up leagues by the number of appendages, size of the xenos, and a slew of other factors. You can’t have a 20-meter tall xeno in a wrestling league with Terrans!” Gortha said, “You would qualify for the Poewai Likino league and wouldn’t be at much of a disadvantage!”
“What’s Poewai like?”
“Team sport! There’s a ball and an endzone, a bit of light wrestling. It isn’t complicated, but being in water means you have 3 axes of movement!” Gortha said, “It’s super fun! I remember watching it when I first moved to the Cladophor.”
“Like underwater rugby?”
“I don’t know what that is,” Gortha giggled.
“Sport with a ball and wrestling. I’ll check Poewai out, though. And uhh, Gortha?” Amida said.
“What’s up?” Gortha said, pausing her movement to turn and look at the Terran swimming next to her.
“Will you come to this experiment— thing with me?”
“If you’re okay with that, I’d love to!” Gortha said.
“Good. I’m going to see if Hal can come too.” Amida said.
“I think she’d love that, Amida!”
Amida wasn’t sure why she wanted Halophele and Gortha to accompany her, but it was a major motivator for her going through with the experiment. She wanted Halophele and Gortha to see her brain shattered into pieces, unable to do anything but whimper and meekly grasp at Hiren. She wanted them to see her broken, and Amida could not parse her own reasoning. It was something deep within her, a primal emotion, one she would not admit to out loud but one that filled her with an irresistible flame of desire.

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