Raven sighs, kicking her legs a bit as she sits on the edge of the couch, a small knot bundled up in her chest due to the news that they’re going to be having guests today. Her feet now tucked away inside specialized white boots that assist with balancing, while she adjusts to her new center of balance. “Soooo… how much longer do you think that they’re going to be?”
Looking to the side, she sees Azalia pacing up and down the length of their hab. Externalizing the tension in the air with each of her steps.
“They should be here soon. I’m sorry if I’m stressing you out at all.” Azalia takes a moment to unravel before pulling herself back together. “Alright, I’m good, this will be fun, a nice tea time where we can relax, and be ourselves, and we will see how everything turns out.”
“Are you sure you’re okay, you sound more concerned than if Crim decided to try and pull the disappearing act again.” Raven slowly slides off of the couch, taking very slow careful steps towards the kitchen, her wings fluttering occasionally to help her maintain her balance. “Like I get that these are ‘old friends’ and all, but how bad could it really be?”
Before Azalia can answer, their hab rings. “You have some visitors.” It would ring out cheerily.
Azalia smiles and walks up to the door, opening it. “Hello, it is good to see you, come on inside.”
Delfi is practically bouncing, following the invitation and stepping in, before catching sight of Raven. “Hello there, long time no see.”
Raven groans, not at Delfi but at Azalia. “You couldn’t have just told us they were going to be getting here sooner could you?” She waves all four of her arms at Delfi, before starting to slowly inch her way over to the over excited affini. “I hate to inform you, but Crimson isn’t in right now, just good old Raven… who you’ve never met before.” She sighs at their own past behavior. “So uh… nice to meet ya?”
Azalia shrugs a little bit before sitting at the table, letting Delfi move in to interact with Raven.
“Hello Raven, I’ve been wanting to meet you for a long time now. You look very cute with your body mods. How do you do?” Delfi holds out her hand. “Also, may I hug you? If you don’t want it I’m fine with a hand shake.”
Raven takes a deep breath as Delfi puts her hand out, having her top left hand reach inside of her overalls chest pocket. Pulling out her red inhaler, and taking a long slow hit from it. “Ahh… sorry, anxiety meds basically.” She tucks the inhaler back into the pocket, before slowly walking past Delfi’s arm, and leaning in to hug her leg. Now significantly shorter than their past meetings, when she’d nearly come half way up Delfi’s sight.
“I uh… I’m doing alright, Crim didn’t… make it known to me that we were coming up here, so I…” She shrugs slightly, her wings fluttering as she pushes deeper into Defi’s embrace.
“I’ve been coping the best that I can manage, Miss Azalia has been taking care of me… but I kinda felt like shit about abandoning you.”
“It’s alright, I could have done a better job on making Crim feel like she could have come to me for help with this. My extra visits could have been more casual, and I could have made them out to be more about hanging out than checking on Crim. But the past is the past, and I am on a vacation. I want to spend some time with you, and figure out what feels like a better job that is more my style. The extra time with you is what helped me realize that I felt like I wasn’t doing enough.”
“Oh uh… well…” Raven gently tugs on Delfi, leading her over to the couch, before leaning in and having Delfi pick her up and sit down. Once she’s comfortably seated on the affini’s lap, Raven shuffles herself around, looking slightly up at Delfi.
“You kinda were put through more than a little bit of a messy situation, because… I wanna be a floret, and Crimson vehemently does not. So I kept sending you signs to take care of us, without revealing myself, while Crim kept trying to push you away, and it was probably a really shitty thing to do in retrospect.”
Delfi tilts her head briefly before laughing. “Oh I was so worried I was mis-reading things. It all makes so much sense now.” She begins brushing Raven’s hair. “I was worried that I was pushing too hard, or that my overworking was making me delirious in regards to what I was even seeing from you.” She sighs before wrapping her vines around Raven in a hug.
“How about we find a few things to do together, see how everything goes, maybe see how Crim feels about me, then we can just move forward however it all turns out?”
Raven flops fully forward, her wings starting to buzz lightly as the vines wrap her tightly within them. Taking deep breaths, trying to keep herself calm before breaking down into quiet weeping tears. The guilt from their abrupt departure from Helios finally hitting her in full. “I missed you too… I’m sorry I couldn’t message… I just felt too ashamed.”
“It’s alright, I felt horrible when I wasn’t able to visit extra, then I got there to find out that Crim had left, I was beating myself up over it, I could have arranged getting over here probably before your second set of body mods were even applied. What matters is I am devoted to setting things right. I’m going to be around, I’m going to be present, and I’m going to be finding something that will let us hang out and get to know each other so much more.” Delfi sighs and rubs Raven’s back. “I should have taken less cases so we could be closer, I’m sorry.”
“Hey, trust me when I say, more time probably wouldn’t have helped us, unless you were going to force us to finally admit that we were a system.” Raven gives Delfi a little squeeze, before leaning back up against her.
“I mean the only reason I revealed myself here, was because I thought that Crim had done something stupid and gotten us taken away to be domesticated…”
Delfi giggles a little bit. “I suppose that is a worry to have, although Crim always was very resistant to even talking about domestication when I was over, so I’d say that worry was very little. However you probably would have gone to me with my request I put in, although now there are a few on the both of you.” She pets Raven’s neck fluff a little bit. “How have you been on the Equabloom? Have you been treated well?”
“Miss Azalia has been taking great care of us, and Miss Ipheon has made more progress in convincing Crim of the merits of at the very least living with an affini than I’ve seen anyone make in several years.” Raven chuckles, sliding her way up on top of Delfi’s lap, before gesturing over at Azalia. “Speaking of, it would probably be for the best if you two get to know one another!”
Delfi smiles and nods, standing up to walk over to Azalia while still holding onto Raven. “Sorry for ignoring you, I was very excited to see Raven.” She holds out her hand. “I don’t want to root in your soil, but I would appreciate being able to share in Raven and Crim’s time, if you don’t mind of course.”
Azalia for her part has been frozen this whole time, watching as the pair reconnected with frightening speed and amicability. “Oh… yes… of course, I was hoping to have all of this go well, and at the very least one half of your reconnection obviously has!” The affini despite the cheery tone of her voice, has her entire body locked in place, a small polite smile etched into her mask in an attempt to hide the torrent of emotions rolling through her.
“Trust me, the only one you’d have to worry about trying to exclude you is Crim, and once I’ve introduced you to everyone, Crim won't be able to try and pull that.” Raven chuckles to herself, leaning back and nuzzling up against Delfi’s chest. “And even then I think that would just be the knee jerk reaction, because she’s still convinced you want to trick her into domestication.”
“Well, I would like her to go through domestication, but I’d never trick her.” Delfi reaches forward to pull Azalia into a hug. “Thank you for letting me reconnect, you were perfectly within your right to not respond.”
She pulls back lightly. “I promise, I won’t get in your way too often, I can tell that your time with Raven and Crim have you very protective over the pair.”
For the brief moment that the affini are hugging one another, Raven squeaks. Crushed between the pairs combined mass, letting out a little squeak, and hugging against Azalia’s chest gently. Before being pulled away alongside Delfi’s movements. “Well then why don’t we all go to the Honey Pot, Miss Ipheon I’m sure will want to meet you, and bramble always wants more time to cuddle with us.”
Azalia nods ever so slightly, her vines relaxing slightly as she takes a step out of the kitchen. “Indeed, introductions will be important for incase you want to spend time with Crim or Raven and they aren’t currently with me.”
She takes slow steps next to Delfi, trying not to be too awkward around the younger affini. Her thoughts mostly focused on when Crim starts fronting again, and finding a way to keep the girl calm. “After all, both Crimson and Raven have been working on learning affini themselves, so they can get around most of the ship independently, as long as there’s not a door slightly too high up for them to reach.”
“You’ve been learning affini? That is so cool! I’m thrilled you have been able to find things outside of the body mods, and bees, to be interested in.” Delfi thinks for a moment before continuing.
“Or is Crim the only one to be really into bees? I’m sorry if my assumption was presumptuous.” She nervously rubs the back of her head as they walked out of the hab, reaching over to hand Raven to Azalia, noticing the older affini’s tensed vines, aiming to appease her.
“I mean I am into bees, I just am not obsessed with them.” Raven chuckles to herself, shaking her head as they’re escorted out of the hab. “Also technically learning affini is Crim’s obsession, because she wants to be able to speak to everyone on the hive moon without being misunderstood.”
Delfi nods while reaching over to pet Raven. “Well, you are still learning by proxy. Is there anything you are really interested in learning about? I’d be happy to help, especially since I want to attend lessons for all sorts of things to find what works best for me. We could go to a few together and just have fun, if you are up to anything like that of course.”
“I’d like to just be a comforting companion, like laying on someone's lap, and spending time with them, to make them feel better about themselves.” Raven leans her head up, allowing Delfi to run her hand through it. “But for now, I’ve got my last body mod appointment in a week, so we’re going to be a bit busy getting ready for that.”
“I understand, gotta ramp back up on your xenodrugs for that.” Delfi enjoys their walk, taking note of every shop they pass by. “Oh, I brought a few things from the apiary. After we have gotten you fed and met Ipheon, I can show you both where my hab is.”
"Sounds good to me!" Raven points out the class J cafe during their walk, bringing up how nice the first trip there was, before turning and pointing out the beeple hive that they hang out with clover and blossom in sometimes.
"If you'd like, I could use an extra vine around the hab during this set of mods. I'm working on a xenolinguistics series about affini, and am almost done with the last few videos, and just need someone to do quality control on them, before I make them available to the public." Azalia slows the group down as they approach the Honey Pot, taking a moment to calm herself down. Not wanting to seem too tense around both Delfi and Ipheon.
Delfi brightens up. “That sounds really interesting, are there any unique challenges to teaching affini in relation to other known languages? I feel like I’m still double checking my own words when I speak to any humans, that and understanding phrases was probably the biggest challenge during my wellness checks, especially when I’ve had to listen closely for any wording that could indicate a deeper problem that needs help.”
“Well puns, and wordplay, is actually something that I’ve been trying to add into my educational lessons for those on the affini side. Even if all of the ones I’ve been subjected to, are bee, and beeple, related thanks to a certain someone.” Azalia reaches out, gently ruffling Raven’s hair as the group takes a step into the Honey Pot. Looking around at the fairly sized crowd in the caffe today.
“And we get beetter at them every single day!” Raven grins, wiggling her head from side to side, as they head over to the normal booth that they sit in. Thankfully finding it to be empty, due to the secluded nature of the area.
Azalia smiles, and situates herself as she normally would, making sure Raven is comfortably in her lap, before watching Delfi take her own seat. “So, wellness worker, that sounds like a pretty busy job, especially on some of the colonies. How did you get to be in that position if you didn’t like the work spread?”
“Oh, well, I went to school for relations and caring for sophonts, and it was what positions were open at the time I finished, and I wanted to start helping all the cute little sophonts as soon as I could. I know I helped a lot get what they needed, but I didn’t really realize I wasn’t getting my own fulfilment from the work. I wanted to have maybe a couple that I gave more attention to, rather than several a day only getting a small amount of my attention.” Delfi smiles sadly looking down at Raven.
“It was Crim and Raven who reinvigorated me, I made time to visit her outside of my scheduled check ups. Sure it wasn’t as much as they needed or as much as I wanted to give, but it really made me realize just how stretched thin I was.”
“Maybe you could see about lending a hand at the class J cafe then? They always could use a few extra vines to care for the cuties there, given they need more individual attention regarding their care.” Raven chuckles looking down, and to the side. A bit embarrassed about bringing up the idea.
“Including myself, I… liked going there and being on J’s for a few days without the context of a major surgery. So I might continue to do that once we’re done with the last mods.”
“That could be fun, it would help me get going on helping others pretty easily. That and I’ve always wanted to spend some time with cuties on Class J’s. I think that is a really good idea for where I should start, thank you Raven.” Delfi reaches over, and pets Raven a little bit, giving her some good scratches on her scalp. “Such a good girl.”
Raven’s wings start to buzz, as she nestles her head up against the vine. “Well then I guess we know what we’ll do a week or two after I’ve healed up!” Her legs kick absentmindedly, as she looks out over the caffe, seeing bramble buzzing excitedly from table to table. “And look, there’s bramble!”
Azalia nods slightly, reaching over and scratching on the opposite side of Raven’s head. “Indeed, I’m proud of you for being so open toward Delfi pet.” As the last word snakes out of her mouth, she flashes a small smile down at Raven.
Raven squeals at Azalia’s comment, starting to more fiercely kick her legs out of embarrassment. “Misssss, that’s no fair! I’m trying to seem cool to Delfiiiii!” She whines out, only to melt into murmurs as Azalia pets her more.
Delfi breaks down into giggles. “Oh my, I didn’t realize you two had gotten so far.” She gives Raven’s nose a little ‘boop’. “I won’t give up on such a cutie, but I’ll make sure everything is fun for all of us. I don’t want any hurt feelings, but getting to hear these sweet sounds, I bet it is amazing.” She smirks a little bit. “So Crim not wanting to be domesticated is the only reason you are still technically on paper independent.”
“Indeed, I consider Raven mine in all but name, and Crimson is perfectly fine with our relationship as long as it doesn’t impact how she’s treated when she’s fronting.” Azalia gently scratches on the bottom of Raven’s chin, watching as she melts ever so slightly.
“Ipheon even tried waving bramble around in front of her, Crim still managed to resist the urge, I swear I was right when I first met that girl. She’s no seed, but Raven most definitely is.”
Delfi humm, and brushing Raven’s neck fluff causally. “I’m happy they have found an arrangement where they can both be comfortable, and while I wish Crim had told me what she wanted, I could have taken time off to guide them. I'm happy they got help from such a patient, and loving affini such as yourself.”
“Absolutely, it was a miracle that we ended up running into one another, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Azalia gently guides Raven over and against her side. Using a vine to pull out Raven’s blue inhaler and pressing it up against her lips. “Deep breath petal.”
Raven inhales as Azalia presses down on the top, the taste of sweet blue raspberry helping her be lulled more deeply back into rest. Her left set of arms wrapping around Azalia to get herself more deeply into the cuddles, content to just relax and let the affini talk with one another until bramble shows up.
Delfi pulls out her datapad to start snapping a few pictures. “She is just so adorable, also I really like that use for xenodrugs.” She soon stops and stammers lightly.
“S-sorry, I couldn’t help myself with how cute Raven is. So, what would you like to talk about Azalia?” She puts her datapad down and laces her vines together to keep herself focused on the conversation.
"You can take all the pictures you want, Delfi. I can assure you that Raven doesn't mind, and if she's okay with it so am I." Azalia slowly loops her vines under Raven, scooping the girl up and starting to wiggle her flopped over form in front of Delfi. "And I'd like to just talk about you, while I saw your name a few times on the paperwork I did for Crim. Other than her propensity to give you no end of frost, Crim didn't actually mention what your time together was like. I'd like to compare notes!"
Delfi smiles and quickly takes a few more pictures. “Of course, I’d love to compare, although I think you have more time with her now.” She sighs lightly “I did my best, and I never officially met Raven, which led to mixed signals which made my interactions with Crim strained at times. That and she would open up a little bit, only to clam up whenever she seemed to interpret us as getting closer.”
"Yeah, I honestly got incredibly lucky. Raven blowing the secret because she was confused, was the key to a lot of me and Crimson’s bonding." Azalia runs her hand along the nape of Raven’s neck, watching as the girl lets out a squeaking moan. "After that was blown open, it was like Crim was suddenly forced to accept who they both are, and want, rather than hiding everything from everyone all the time. That and bramble, I swear if she hadn't accidentally told me, that boy would have gotten it out of her one way or another."
Delfi grins, turing to watch bramble doing his deliveries. “He is very cute, and knowing Crim’s obsession, I have no doubt he would have succeeded at figuring out her secret. I don’t even want to think about how much pain Raven would be in if she stayed secret. I’ve done a little research into pluribus sophonts, and in some systems each of them need their own turns controlling their body from time to time. Or at the very least the ability to do so to perform their role in the system.”
"Well from how she was talking to you, she was at the very least allowed to be active. Even if it was while having to pretend to be Crimson." Azalia continues the gentle pets as she leans back in her seat.
"But I'm glad it was sooner rather than later with us. Getting to know Raven and seeing how quickly she trained herself into docility has been a wonder. I would nearly say she came pre domesticated thanks to someone." One of Azalia’s eyes gets covered up by her leaves emulating a wink as she leans forward toward Delfi.
Delfi’s vines shudder happily, as she copies Azalia. “Well, I’m happy I was able to guide her at least a little bit. I’m sure Crim would act like I was nothing but a bother, but she did quiet down a few times, especially when I set up an animated movie about a little bee person interacting with humans.” She smiles before shaking her head. “It was silly, but entertaining, and Crim seemed to like it a lot.”
"I'm glad." Azalia looks down at Raven for a moment, her body tensing up ever so slightly. Her expression shifting to a slight frown, concern for the younger affini creeping into her chest. Unable to help but wonder exactly how badly had Crimson hurt her to cause her to come all the way here.
Slowly running vines over Raven’s ears, blocking out any noise given she knows enough affini to make switching languages pointless. "But are you okay? Really, ever since you got here you've been focused on Raven or Crimson, but… I just wish I'd known more, I could have contacted you before we left, but given Crim wasn't doing official wellness checks with you anymore I thought you'd just moved on until she told us."
Delfi winces and allows herself to slump down, looking down at the table. “Well, regardless of how strained we started, I really saw Crim as my friend, for what time I could spend with her. I now know that Raven was coming out at some points, but when I treated Crim the way Raven wanted me to treat her, Crim would get very upset, and angry at me for a fair bit of time. She would be fine after cooling down, but it always kind of hurt me when she got worked up like that. I hadn’t really thought of having a floret other than her, but I just didn’t know how to handle her. The last month of her leaving, I had a particularly busy schedule, and then finding out she was gone scared me so bad. I’m not really sure how to even put into words my feelings on all of this.”
Azalia nods, pulling Raven a little tighter against her chest. "I understand completely, and honestly the most frightening thing to me about the situation, is Crimson didn't seem to be lying when she spoke with myself, and Ipeon, about you." She forces her vines to loosen slightly, pausing to consider her next words carefully.
"She seemed almost scared of you, not in the traditional feral way of finding an affini frightening, but on an emotional level. Like she didn't even know how to interact with you without antagonizing you. When she found out you were coming, the first thing she wanted to do was prank you by speaking in affini to see your reaction."
"Have you ever felt like… Crim would try to outsmart you during appointments? Having done all her chores before your arrival, having a checklist of self care routines before you provided her one?" Azalia leans back in her seat, relishing in the small squeaks and movements that each of her strokes down Raven’s back elicits. "Because I think she's developed a craving to prove herself capable to you, and I believe that seed was planted the day you two first spoke."
Delfi pauses for a moment, before nodding slightly. “Our first meeting was…not great. She was mostly starved and had been avoiding getting any resources, focusing on caring for her bees over herself. Honestly, if she hadn’t shown such improvement, she was well on her way to forced domestication. I was not taught how to handle the situation, and tried to just get her back up and not… well, starving to the point of passing out in her fields. I was feeding her a bit with some berries of mine while a vet was on the way, but she kind of hit this point where she argued with me helping her. To be fair, I did not know about ‘refeeding syndrome’, but with how she kept arguing while I was doing what I could think of to help led me to losing my temper a little bit.”
“Our next few wellness checks after her hospital visit were…strained, while affini specialists started working at her apiary, she was having less to do, and she seemed to be aiming to blame me for them taking her work away. She apparently had been trying to make them go away, and leave the work to her, but given how vast the apiary was, they did not budge for a second. They still made sure she had some hives to work on, but…well Crim was a spicy sophont. After our first three weekly visits being awkward, this then led into me finding out that she was still not keeping herself stocked up on food, or keeping herself clean. This led to her pouting as I helped clean up her home, as well as insisting on a shower, either on her own, or with help.”
“When we were in our second month, I had put together some fun trivia cards on bees and beekeeping, and a documentary on our understanding of pollinators like bees. Even when I got her to loosen up, she just always seemed to be on guard, like I would find something about her self care that she wasn’t doing, even when she was doing it perfectly.”
“Yeah, that… sounds like the Crimson I met on our first day together.” Azalia quietly sits there, processing Delfi’s perception of Crimson’s past behavior. Comparing and contrasting the changes she’s personally witnessed.
“Hearing about this is… interesting, from my perspective, because one thing that has happened with Crim since she started getting her body mods, is that she’s become a lot nicer. Both to myself, cuddling with me, and allowing me to help her, as well as accepting her physical therapist’s assistance.”
“When she arrived on the first day, she’d hardly let me touch her at first, and viewed every single interaction with an affini in terms of them wanting to domesticate her.” Azalia shakes her head, her vines shuddering and creating the sound of a sigh.
“It took basically letting her run me around the ship, doing whatever she wanted, in order to get her to believe that I wasn’t trying to do that to her, and even then I found out in order to get up here she’d skipped breakfast, and by the time we finished with her little run through the ship lunch as well, and I had to drag her to go eat.”
“Well, regarding being touchy, Crim didn’t like her body, and our first interaction opened up with her waking up to me opening her suit to check on her. That and I had struggled with getting her to even have three small meals in a day, so hearing that she skipped breakfast and lunch doesn’t surprise me. Although if you have gotten her on a better schedule of eating, that makes me really happy.” Delfi smiles lightly, reaching over to pet Raven a bit more. “They are both responsible for their shared body, and neither of them can let its health slide.”
“Indeed, and we’ve gotten her up to two a day without skipping, and multivitamins for anything that they are missing out on.” Azalia watches Raven squirm around, rolling over to bask in all of the attention that the pair are providing her.
“But enough about that, we can discuss it more when Crimson is around to speak for herself. Would you like to actually meet Ipheon now? I’m not sure what’s been taking her so long.”
As she talks Azalia leans out of the booth, looking into the kitchen, and noticing that Ipheon is standing against the edge of the wall. Gawking at the pair, likely having watched the majority of this conversation play out. “Ah eavesdropping.”
Delfi giggles, and leans out to wave a little bit. “Would it be better if I invited her over? Or will she just make her way over now that she knows we have seen her?” She pulls back into the booth, returning her attention to Raven. “I’m fine either way, we came here to meet her after all.”
“Oh I’m sure this is just her being playful, on a normal day bramble or her would have dropped dirt near anything for the chance to come and coo about Raven or Crimson.” Azalia slowly reaches over, waving her hand a few times where Ipheon can see it. “So this is probably her trying to give us some privacy, while still being nosy.”
After a few minutes Ipheon walks over, a plate filled with a complete breakfast of eggs bacon honey and pancakes. Sliding it onto the table, and leaning down to give Raven a few pats on her head.
Azalia noticing that Ipheon’s form is more put together than normal, her eyes not covered by the normal mess of vines and bristles, and instead parted to each side. Alongside the overgrowth that normally drags on the ground behind her, instead being wrapped up like a ballroom gown. “Hello everyone!” She flashes a wide smile as she looks over at Delfi. “You must be Crim and Raven’s old friend, it’s very nice to meet you!”
“Hello, my name is Delfi, it is a pleasure to meet you. And thank you for helping pull Crim out of her shell. I’ve been worried about her not making friends, so it means a lot to know that she has some.” Delfi holds out her hand with a smile.
Ipheon gently takes it, shaking the newcomers hand gently. “And thank you for making sure she was able to remain independent long enough for her to meet me!” She laughs to herself, sliding her way into the booth next to Azalia.
Azalia chuckles to herself, looking over at Delfi. “I’m sorry about Ipheon, ever since the day Crim showed up, she’s basically declared war on anyone else who wants Crim as a floret.” Sliding Raven to sit up fully, she removes the vines that are covering the girl’s ears to start to help her eat. “This includes myself, but you must make her feel pretty threatened to actually bother making her form into anything other than a shaggy mess.”
“I will have you know bramble just wanted to see me show off today, and what my adorable floret wants he gets!” Ipheon tilts her head upward in a pout for a moment, huffing silently to herself, as bramble flies over, and lands on her lap.
“Mistress!” bramble huffs, bonking himself up against his Affni’s chest, all four arms wrapping around his chest in the same type of pout that Crim does constantly, that he’d begun to emulate. “please do not be mean to Miss Delfi!”
Delfi giggles a little bit, and reaches out one of her flowers to bramble. “It is nice to meet you bramble, I’m just taking it as a little fun, at least for now. Hearing that you are Crim’s friend makes me really happy. She really didn’t try to have any friends back on Helios, and that made me very worried for her.”
“yup! crim came here on her first day, and cuddled me lots!” bramble leans forward, nuzzling the flower gently, before pulling away and starting to crawl over onto Azalia’s lap. Intent on getting into Raven’s lap before lunch starts.
“Azalia held them both until it was nearly closing time, and I had to gently peel bramble away from his new cuddle buddy, to avoid waking her up.” Ipheon shakes her head, starting to cut up pieces of the meal and guiding them over in front of Raven’s mouth.
“I just couldn’t help myself, Crim seemed so tired by the time we got here, and it was just so cute to see her so open to cuddling anything.” Azalia taps Raven on the cheek, watching as her mouth slowly drifts open, allowing Ipheon to deposit the first bite of eggs before tapping again and causing her to bite.
bramble grins rolling over, and wrapping his arms around Raven. “well they are both so much fun to cuddle with, i never want to stop if i can help it.”
Delfi takes a few more pictures. “You are both so adorable together, and seeing Raven so relaxed is one of the best gifts I’ve received, especially given how tense Crim kept them on Helios. The fact that she can relax this much without stopping this makes me so happy.”
“I couldn’t agree more!” Ipheon continues to provide little bites of Raven’s meal. Giving both her and bramble copious pets after each and every bite.
“You haven’t seen it yet, but I got little Crim the most adorable mask for whenever she’s fronting, so they actually wear different outfits than the keeper’s uniform. I’m sure you’ve grown accustomed to seeing them hiding away inside.”
Raven hums to herself as they make their way to feeding her the pancakes. Even sliding bramble in front of a few bites of it to share with him, as they cuddle together in Azalia’s lap.
“I’ve actually got the girl’s bag, with her mask, in my mass right now, in case Crim decides to join us.” Azalia pats her chest, as she continues to give Raven gentle taps on the cheek to guide her through the process of taking each bite.
“Oh I can’t wait, well… I can because I want Raven to have all the time she wants, but having Crim be comfortable out of her bee keeper suit is just the best! I hope she will want to see me, because I do really want to see her.” Delfi looks over at the food briefly. “Do you think I could feed them a few bites?”
Raven starts bouncing more fiercely, grinning at Delfi as Ipehone slides the plate over in front of her. “Absolutely Miss Delfi!”
Azalia nods, scooting a little bit to the left to get Raven closer to Delfi, without letting her pet out of her lap. “It would be quite the shame to deprive her of the experience with her already this excited about it.”
Delfi takes the fork, and gets about the same amount of eggs on it before bringing it over, one of her own vines tapping on Raven’s jaw before sliding the food in, giving her another tap. “Such a good and obedient girl, you look so happy being taken care of like this.” She gets another bite ready, waiting for Raven to be ready before repeating the process.
Once the last of her meal is finished up, Raven stretches ever so slightly, going from a more active posture, to flopped up against bramble. “Honestly, I’ve never been happier in our life, and being a fake floret instead of a dedicated one has it’s perks!” She giggles to herself, squeezing bramble gently. “Means I get to wander around the ship, and beg for whoever's attention I want!”
“Indeed you can try.” Azalia nods, watching as Raven curls up, tucking her legs under brambles. “But I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want even more of the ship dreadfully confused, and chasing down Crimson to try and get a contract sorted for them to own you.”
She gently scratches under Raven’s chin, watching as her wings flutter slightly from the pleasure. “After all, I’m pretty sure everyone at this table has already staked their claims to you cuties.”
Ipheon grins reaching over and booping the top of bramble’s head. “You are cuddling with my floret, and I have my own claim staked in getting you cutie. Because you are unclaimed willingly, I don’t mind sharing, but you better make sure you only flirt with those who are in on your game, or you could get too many affini after you very easily.” She reaches over to give Raven some pets. “So, welcome to the club Delfi, be ready for Crim and Raven to be super smug in their own ways.”
“I am not super smug!” Raven puffs out her cheeks, wiggling around under the pets as she clings to bramble with all of her might. “Tell them bramble, I’m a very good bee!”
bramble simply smiles, and pulls Raven in closer. “yeah raven isn’t super smug, Mistress is the super smug one!” he points over at Ipheon, who has begun to feign innocence in this situation.
“Indeed, but Crimson absolutely is.” Azalia slowly rubs her vines along the base of Raven’s wings watching as they flutter ever so slightly, just enough to let out a little buzzing. “So yes, welcome to our rather unconventional family.”
Delfi can’t help but let out malotic laughter at the group’s behavior. Actually overjoyed to be in a conversation for once. “Well, thank you for having me, and I’ll make sure to not hold onto Raven too much.” She reaches over to give Raven some more pets. “Although with both Raven and Crim, I’d like to take them on a few dates, just for fun of course.”
“Well you can definitely be the one to take Raven on her trips to the class J caffee if you’re going to be working there.” Azalia nods, watching as Ipheon starts to clean up the remains of Raven and bramble’s meal.
“She’s wanted to hang out there more while high to cuddle with the other class J florets anyway, and now that the mod work is almost done, we won’t need to worry about Crim being unable to handle it if she comes to the front soon.”
Delfi smiles wide and nods. “Of course, I’d love to. I can also make sure no trouble happens.” She bounces lightly in her seat, her body starting to unfurl, before pulling it back together. “We could show everyone just how cute she is, as well as bringing attention to the fun an independent sophont could have, as well as letting independents know that the workers at the cafe are worth their trust.”
"That sounds good to me!" Raven nods, giving bramble a few more squeezes, before starting to crawl her way out of Azalia’s lap, and toward the edge of the booth. "But for now, I'd like to go home. My nerves are fried even with my cocktail of xenodrugs in my system."
Azalia nods slightly, watching as Raven crawls out of the booth. "Indeed, I apologize for not informing you in advance about Delfi’s arrival, what do you say? We have a nice walk to the class J cafe, and drop her off, then we can get you home and lay you down with a nice quiet show to nap petal."
Delfi nods and quickly gets out of the booth. "Sorry for surprising you, but thank you for coming out with me.” She reaches down to gently pet Raven. “I’m looking forward to seeing you more, and maybe we can keep it in quieter places when we go out.”
Azalia slides out, placing bramble in Ipheon’s vines, before looping a vine loosely around Raven’s neck. “I’m sure we can arrange that, it could be fun.”
“Absolutely, there’s a few nice quiet spots around the ship that I’m sure you’ll figure out over your time here.” Raven lets out a little yawn, her wings buzzing alongside it. “We’ll message you next time Crim’s at the front so you can come over, and see us.”
With one last nod, the group all go their separate ways, Delfi sticking with Aliza and Raven until they make it to the class J cafe, being dropped off there. “Have fun with Miss Silica I promise she’s really nice!”
Delfi nods slightly, giving Raven one last pat on the head, before slipping inside and quietly walking up to the front desk. Trying to run through everything that’s on her mind now that the main event of the day is over.