Crim takes a deep breath, patting down her fluffy red and black dress. With flowers of all three of the affini that she’s been hanging around dotting each side of it. An ever increasing anticipation in her chest about their arrival at the hive moon mere hours prior.
Turning around she looks up at Azalia, flashing a small smile as her mandibles chitter lightly. “Soo… are you ready to take me to see the hive for the first time.” As she speaks, her wings are all fluttering in excitement, barely managing to contain themselves as to not wear her out, before they even leave for the day. “I really can’t wait.”
Azalia smiles and nods. “I am, though we are going to start off with just a week. Just because you feel confident now, doesn’t mean your feelings could change after being there.” She rubs Crim’s back lightly. “bramble was really quiet last night…more than usual. Are you okay?”
Crim tenses up for a moment, shaking her head. “he, well he wasn’t excited for the prospect for even my trial week visiting the hive moon.” Her bottom set of arms start to rub her sides lightly, as she shakes her head.
“I insisted that it’s something that I wanna at least give a shot, and then… well he just kinda went quiet.” This is enough to get her to stop talking, as she starts to slowly walk away from Azalia and towards the door to their hab unit.
“he will pull through, and if you want to stay I know he will support that. he is just very attached, you two haven’t spent more than a day and a half apart at a time since you asked him out. I bet you that he doesn’t have an idea about how to be apart from you for even a week at this point. Even when you were recovering he was able to come over, and cuddle a little.” Azalia rushes to catch up and pet Crim a little bit. “Everything will work out, one way or another. The Equabloom will be docked for about a month, so you have time to think about how this all feels, and make decisions.”
Crim nods, tapping the door and watching it slide open in front of them. As she starts to quietly make her way down the hall as quickly as possible, trying to get there before her gnawing anxiety about everything being a horrible mistake can turn her back.
After a few minutes of walking, and hopping onto one of the rails between hab rings. Crim shakes her head, trying to get her thoughts to a less crowded state, the mere mention of bramble throwing all of her excitement right out of the honeycomb and into the dirt.
The door slid open, to reveal the path to the docks. “So uh… you gonna carry me the rest of the way?” She leans up against Azalia as they unload from the shuttle. Taking slow deep breaths, as the excited tone from earlier is distinctly missing from her voice.
Azalia nods, picking Crim up and walking them over onto one of the ships in the docking area. Silently allowing crim to look out of the Equabloom, and get a good look at the massive mass of plant matter that is currently orbiting Nyria. Each and every part of the massive ship seeming to ripple and shift constantly, rearranging itself in unknowable directions, making looking at it for long periods quite straining.
Once they’re aboard the shuttle, Crim quietly starts to take deep breaths. Looking around at all of the other affini who’re joining the shuttle, a few beeple, and the notable lack of any other type of sophont that she’d seen aboard the Equabloom other than herself.
Several vines loop down and lift Crim up to be held close to Azalia’s chest. “I was waiting for you to ask, it looked like you needed a moment.” She plants a small kiss on Crim’s forehead.
“Once we arrive, I’m going to carry you to our guest room. You may lose yourself for a little bit on the way. That is okay, and all you need to do is say something and I’ll make sure you are safe.” She gently squeezes Crim, rolling vines up and down the girl as they take off and are quickly brought over to the hive moon itself.
“Sounds good to me.” Crim mutters, not even really enjoying the feeling of flying from ship to ship, as she struggles to push everything out of her mind and focus simply on the adventure ahead of her rather than all the possible mistakes she could be making right now.
As the ship makes its way into the moon proper, there’s almost a faint buzzing that starts to tickle at the back of Crim’s senses. Not dissimilar to when there are big gatherings of beeple in the Equabloom’s hives. The hairs along her entire body starting to stand on end in response.
This only gets louder once the ship they’re sitting in lands in the hanger. The walls of the ship serving as the last line of defense against the buzzing emanating out of the moon.
Slowly the ramp off of the shuttle slides open, allowing an ambient buzzing to start leaking into the seating area. Crim nestles down deeper into Azalia’s vines, taking a long deep breath as she listens closely to the buzz. Closing her eyes as Azalia carries her down, and into the entry hallways.
The hallway itself starts fairly standard for what Crim had become accustomed to, before shifting around them, going from solid walls to twisting interconnected vines. Hexagonal shapes becoming more openly apparent over time, as the vines themselves glow a myriad of colors. Transmitting data from one end of the moon to the other, and out into the universe.
The pair finally reach the end of the hall, and are met with the buzzing going from the initial passive ignorability, to loud as they reach the halfway point, and now it’s absolutely overwhelming. The vibrations themselves pressing up against Crim’s entire body, as she looks out into the first major server room.
beeple of all shapes, sizes, and colors accompanying affini, and flying information around. Even a few break areas where beeple are sleeping, set up around the different work areas in case any get tired.
Crim starts to squirm slightly due to the buzzing, a feeling in her chest almost pulling her out of Azalia’s vines. As if this wasn’t the place that she needed to be in the hive, and without knowing where, she couldn’t help but start to think about where she should be. “Nnnh…bzzzzzt…” Her wings buzz, as Azalia’s grip on her tightens. Keeping her from running off into the labyrinth alone.
“Shhh, stay here sweetie, we are guests, not workers here. You have nowhere to be.” Azalia coos lightly, doing her best to keep Crim close without crushing her. “I looked up what kinds of feelings new florets get here, it should be similar.” She pulls out her pad and follows directions to their room, winding around the corridors, sliding down a few vines, and climbing up a wall, before she finds and steps into a nice looking room, the door sealing behind them and the buzzing halting.
As the door slides shut, Crim lets out a long weak breath, feeling every muscle in her body relax for the first time since the buzzing started. Looking around, everything is similar to their normal shared hab, except only one bedroom, and bathroom to save space.
“Holy bees, or well, beeps in this case.” She slowly crawls down out of Azalia’s vines as she reorients herself. Starting to lightly prod out of the bed in order to give her hands something to do to distract themselves.
“I don’t know what I can even say about something like that… it’s like for a few short minutes the whole universe made sense, like everything was somehow moving entirely in sync without any active direction.”
Azalia smiles, and sets their things down. “So, it looks like our time out and about in the hive will require I keep you on a tight leash. You really tried to get away, I’m betting to try and follow what you felt your directions were.” Once their luggage is put away, she ruffles Crim’s hair playfully. “Do you need some time to organize yourself before we go back out there?”
“Absolutely not, I wanna see everything as soon as possible!” Crim bounces a bit, her eyes remaining locked on the door that they’d come in from. While Azalia wraps vines around her chest to form a harness of vines, both to keep her from running off as soon as they head back out, and because it’s the cutest way to keep a hold of her. “Let’s get back out there now that we’re ready!”
Setting a timer, Azalia nods. “Alright, I’m going to give us six hours, you will just follow your feelings and I’ll be right there with you. After that time I’ll do my best to guide us back here, but if that takes us more than eight hours, I’m going to restrain you and pull you all the way back. No matter how it feels, you will need breaks.”
“I got it, and I promise I’ll do my best not to be toooo much of a hassle.” Crim walks over to the doorway, waiting for a moment as Azalia opens it up, and allows the buzzing to seep back into the room and echo around Crim. The girl simply allowing herself to be pulled into it without any restraint this time, as she starts to quickly buzz her wings, heading down the hall towards an elevator that hadn’t even been there before they closed their rooms door.
As Crim starts to flow around her own mind, riding upward and being let out in a room filled with different growths. Servers to host the many digitized sophonts that reside on this hive moon, she starts to fade away from being consciously in the front.
This is fine for a few hours, Azalia watching over her as she stands near ledges, walks through the safer areas of the onboard gardens, and generally enviously looks out at all the other beeple who she wishes she’d been lucky enough to simply have been born as they are.
Until she finally slips all the way down, Raven starts to flash to the front of their system. Her wings start to buzz more anxiously, as what was once causal exploration becomes a fervent search for something that she doesn’t even understand. An extent of fear starts to grip her mind, as the walls and halls warp around them, the deeper in she goes. Shapes of indescribable nature in her current state overwhelming her senses.
Azalia frowns and pulls on the leash, bringing Raven in close and rushing into one of the break rooms, and over to an isolation cubicle. Once the door closes, the buzzing pressure fades, leaving Raven with Azalia, in a recognizably small, yet comfy room. “Raven? Are you okay? I’m guessing you two switched with how rapid that change was. Do you need anything?”
Once the buzzing fades enough for her to focus, Raven starts to hug herself as tightly as possible. A sense of dread and vulnerability overwhelming her senses. Unsure of what she’s going to say or do, before slowly choking out. “I wanna go home…”
Azalia nods and pulls Raven close, giving her a kiss on the forehead. “Alright, we will be here a while longer, but I will get us back to our room here, then I will book our trip back. You will need to hold it together while we get back to our room. I’ve got some things for you to hold when we get back.” She quietly rubs Raven’s cheek. “Do you think you would be okay with ten minutes out there? If not, we can stay here a while, but I don’t know what to do other than hurry through it.”
Raven takes a deep breath, curling up in Azalia’s vines and almost trying to burrow into her affini’s vines to hide from the universe around them. “Just please… hurry and keep me trapped in your vines, I’ll… try and keep calm during the trip back… Crim’s gonna be so mad with me.” She whimpers out, tears starting to stain Azalia’s vines.
“It’s alright Raven, I did my best to be clear that whatever you both end up with, it has to be okay for both of you.” Azalia takes a breath and rearranges her vines, pulling Raven in, very close to her pulsing core.
“Just do your best to focus on my rhythm. It won’t be perfect, but it should help a little bit. I’ll get us to our room as fast as I can.” She gives Raven a firm squeeze before opening up the door, introducing the buzzing back in as she begins to move quickly.
The world begins to whip around Raven as the buzzing is reintroduced, the girl’s arms wrapping around Azalia’s core like a lifeline. Focusing on the tiny amount that she can feel under the waves of buzzing all around them, her anxiety builds up to greater heights, only to have the buzzing direct her to stay where she is, safe in her protector’s vines.
Her thoughts pouring back in with the sound of the door thumping closed behind them. Cutting the buzzing away, and leaving Azalia’s familiar if currently discordant rhythm to lean into and allow to comfort her.
Azalia loosens her vines, but does not fully release Raven as she flops back onto the bed. She reaches into one of their bags, pulling out a bramble shaped beeple plush, bringing it close to Raven. “Here, I have your plushie, and you can stay as close as you want for as long as you want.” She brushes her charges hair slowly. “I’m here for you, if you want to talk, or just quietly stay like this, I’m here for you.”
Raven squeezes the plushy, closing her eyes and taking slow deep breaths. Appreciating the extra effort that Ipheon had put in to make the plushy even have the same honeysuckle smell that bramble’s fluff carries. “Can… you call him, please…”
Azalia nods, mostly unraveling aside from the vine blanket she was forming around Raven. Her pad is brought forward and after a few clicks, Ipheon appears on the other end. “Hey, sorry to call so abruptly. I know you were taking a day off, but Raven needs to see bramble.”
Taking a single look at Raven, Ipheon nods quickly. “Of course, he would love to see her anyway.” She dips out of the screen as she passes her own pad to bramble who looks for once not in a state of constant contentment, noticing just how upset Raven is.
“hey, what’s wrong? i’m here for you raven.”
Raven sniffles a bit, shaking her head. “I had a really hard day sweetie.” She nestles her head up against the side of the life sized plush, taking a deep breath. “Crim had lots of fun, but then when I got forced out, it was all so loud, and I felt like I was drowning… we’re coming home soon.”
bramble nods rapidly. “alright, when you have your ship back here is scheduled, let me know and i’ll have us there to welcome you back, and the girls will set up just a small, quiet get together.” He smiles and gently brushes his hands across the screen. “i miss you and crim, and i know she was really excited about this, but we will figure something out as a family. you both are a part of our hive, and we all love you both.”
“Y-yeah… it kinda hurts knowing Crim was… actually happy at first when we arrived. But this is just, unlivable for me.” Raven squeezes the plush, and wiggles it around trying not to break down into a fit of sobs. “Once we are home, please promise me you’ll never let me or Crim do anything this stupid ever again.”
bramble nods, starting to smile to try and comfort Raven. “of course, i’ll make sure that you both are kept under control. enough of us in our hive, should have a similar effect that is more manageable, if crim wants a little of what she liked, and it shouldn’t be as bad for you. then we can have lots of quiet and small cuddle times for you. and of course Mistress should have plenty of little things for crim to keep occupied with.”
“Heh, yeah, that’ll be wonderful.” Raven shuts her eyes, taking deep breaths and embracing the calm of being safely in Azalia’s vines and calling bramble, letting out a little yawn. “Tell Miss Ipheon I love her when you get the chance…”
Little rapid nods shake bramble’s head as he smiles. “of course, i’ll tell mistress right away. If you need me again, please call.” He buzzes rapidly, leaning in as close as he can get to the screen. “i love you raven, and i love crim too. when you get back over here, i want a full day of hugs and cuddles for you being away for a day.”
“That’s a deal honey, I… think I’m gonna try and sleep until Azalia can get us home.” Raven shuts her eyes, shuddering as she hears the call drop from the other end, rolling up to at least be facing Azalia’s head. “Can you… talk to Crim for me please.”
“Of course sweetie. She should already be slightly prepared. I did tell her that while I wouldn’t force her to do anything she didn’t want to do that you would, at the same time that offer goes both ways, and like bramble said, we will find a happy medium for both of you. I think that while Crim will be a little disappointed, she will probably be happy that you held through long enough for her to even have this chance.” Azalia gives Raven a few little scratches around the base of her antennae. “Rest, we will try to set it up so that Crim is fronting while we leave.”
“Thank you Miss…” The words barely escape her, as her head flops fully to a relaxed state. Allowing Azalia’s class Z flower to slide up over her mouth, taking long deep breaths to allow sleep to take her away from the moment.
Azalia immediately begins scheduling their trip back, and arranging for their room to be cleaned early from their stay before flopping her head back. Her core pulses a steady rhythm with Raven sleeping right against it. “I should have organized more full hive meetups, it could have helped ease this, or make this conversation come up sooner.” She begins to pet Raven, trying to do her best to calm back down.
Crim frowns, sitting on the ground in their bedroom as her eyes repeatedly glance over to the door. Fully aware that she’s no longer allowed to go out there, even with supervision, for Raven’s safety. But still longing to feel that flow one last time, eventually just shaking her head and looking over at Azalia who’s sitting in the corner at her temporary desk. “How much longer until we go…”
“About ten minutes before we should head out. I’ll take some time for you to enjoy it, but I need you to also hold on to being in front.” Azalia looks down. “I’m sorry Crim, I’ve just been running over all the ways we could have prepared Raven, helped her be ready for if she were pulled to the front here.” She tenses up, her mask locked into a smile so emotionless Crim could easily tell it was exclusively for her own comfort. “I expected her to be a little uncomfortable, but I wasn’t ready for her panic attack to be so rapid and extreme. I feel like I failed both of you.”
“Nah… this was.” Crim pauses for a moment frowning at the truth of the situation. “Just another one of the things I did to us because I have no impulse control, I mean everyone warned me it was going to be ‘bad’. Which yeah, it wasn’t for me… but I was ignoring Raven even existing when I made this plan.” She sighs, her shoulders slumping slightly. “I’ve been reckless, and an ass, ever since I came to the Equabloom. I just need to work on it I guess.”
Azalia wraps some of her vines around Crim’s hands. “I promise you, right here and right now. I’ll help you be happy as yourself, and I’ll help Raven be happy as herself. I don’t know what needs to happen, but I want both of you to be happy with each other too.” She smirks. “Although first you are in for a literal full day of bramble cuddles, his demands for being apart this long.”
“I am… not surprised in the slightest.” Crim slides her hand into her pocket, pulling out the little can filled with her inhalers. “So uh… when we get there, can you all just leave me and bramble alone for a moment.” She picks out the one with the class C’s in it, gripping it tightly. “I have something I wanna do with just us.”
“Of course, I’ll make sure Ipheon doesn’t interfere, and I’m sure your other friends will understand giving you two a little time, even if when you are done I’m sure they will insist on a picnic or something. They can be pretty pushy all things considered… then again they all are very protective of you.” Azalia ruffles Crim’s hair lightly.
“Alright, I’ll have you on a leash, but other than that, I want you to get your chance to enjoy just a little more on our walk to the shuttle. Does that sound okay to you?”
“Alright, I’ll do my best, and I know you’ll keep me on a tight enough leash to take care of anything if it comes to that.” Crim slowly pushes herself off of the ground, and steps up to the edge of the door. Watching as Azalia recreates the harness from the first day, before the door slides back open-
Buzzing, relentless all consuming buzzing hits her ears once again. Causing her to tense up and start to buzz in response, following the pattern of the hives rhythm as Azalia walks past her and starts to guide her toward the hangers.
The route this time is… different, as if the moon itself had moved since the last time that they’d walked through it, despite it only being a day prior. Crim buzzing around and looking into any rooms they can get close enough to on the way out, mostly to beeple watch.
Running into several that give her hugs, and curiously prod at her. Exchanging buzzes and nuzzles, before Azalia informs them that they must be going, and the beeple buzz away back to their assumed owners.
The ending of their walk is a bit more rushed, as Crim starts to fade slightly due to all of the stimulation. Forcing Azalia to pick her up, and rush the back half of their trip through the moon, jumping and swinging over gaps that would have been impossible to navigate quickly for Crim on her own.
The end of the trip is a very harsh stop, as Azalia nearly slams up against the side of one of the shuttles. The buzzing now distant if still even barely present as Crim exhales, happy to no longer be tossed around in the affini’s grip. “Sooo… are we home yet?” She laughs to herself at the question, smiling up at Azalia.
Azalia giggles and hugs Crim. “Not quite yet, while technically not fully accurate, I’m sure Solosia would jokingly say something like ‘We’re halfway there’.” She brushes Crim’s hair before continuing.
“Ipheon and bramble will be waiting for us for sure, and I have no doubt that Delfi has heard what happened and will be there too. Then I would say clover and blossom most likely are also there and want to give support. I’ll make sure to run interference so you and bramble can have some initial time together.”
“Thanks, bees… I never thought I’d be so excited to leave this moon.” Crim chuckles to herself, as they both are led over and taken aboard one of the shuttles that are on their way back to the Equabloom. Waiting in silence as the ship takes off and the gravity from the massive station starts to lose its pull on them.
The ship very quietly lands on its designated spot in the landing area of the center habitation ring of the ship. The rest of the affini onboard quickly make their way off, leaving Crim lazing in Azalia’s vines in the back of the shuttle. The pair taking a moment to take in being home once again, far more quickly than either had expected.
Azalia stands slowly, using her vines to pick Crim up before walking out of the shuttle. “Alright, how do you feel now that we’re back?” She smiles before strolling out of the dock, starting to rush around looking for the nearby park their friends are hanging out at. “So, Ipheon or Delfi, who do you think will give me more trouble holding back?”
"Delfi is going to be fighting you to cradle us both the whole time, Ipheon can at the very least respect my desire to be alone with bramble, for a short period." Crim chuckles, shaking her head as she's carried down the hall, out into the nearest garden a white cherry blossom tree standing proudly surrounded by all of her friends that she'd made since moving onto the Equabloom. All the beeple in a massive pile cuddling one another, and comforting bramble as he's very obviously squirming around waiting for Crim and Raven to return.
Delfi looks over and waves, running over only to have Azalia use some of her vines to stop Crim’s old case worker. “Alright, first and foremost, Crimson would like to have some time with bramble before we crowd her too much. I’ll help set up whatever still needs to for a picnic, but she gets her alone time with him first.” Azalea lowers Crim to the ground with a smile. “Go ahead, rescue your boyfriend. We will give you the time you want.”
Crim nods slightly, before starting to buzz her wings, and charging into the detracted mass of beeple. Starting to climb over indigo and blossom as she grabs onto bramble and tries to tug him out of the pile. "Everyone gimme my boyfriend!"
A collection of buzzes and giggles rise up around her, as bramble is basically crowd surfed into Crim, and the pair are shifted over to the edge of the pile. indigo pats Crim’s back as they are pushed out of the pile.
bramble hugs Crim hard, his wings buzzing louder with each second. “your back! i’m so happy!” He nuzzles into Crim’s neck before steadily leading Crim away from the group. “you want us to be alone? where to?”
"Uhhhh." Crim looks around the area, spotting a point in the garden that is more secluded. Tugging bramble over, and sitting him down in front of a cavalcade of roses and flowers. "I… want to do something special with just the two of us."
Reaching into her dresses pockets, and pulling out the yellow and black striped inhaler. "This is uh… the third of my inhaler set, it's made for bonding with whoever I want, it was intended for if I wanted to belong to an affini." She shakes her head, putting her bottom set of hands on top of bramble's.
"But I want to use it with you, I want to be with you bramble. Even if I'm not a floret, I never want to leave your side, and I don't want to have any class C's preventing me from fully bonding with you… if that's okay?"
bramble smiles and rubs Crim’s hands. “i would love that crim, bonding with you, regardless of your floret status would make me very happy.” He pulls her hands up, his top set wrapping around their joined bottom hands before leaning in to kiss her fingers. “you don’t need to be a floret to fit in with all of us. you are you, and i love you for it, the rest of our hive love you for it, our Affini love you for it. if you only want to have this level of bond with me, i would be honored, although our Affini will always look to give you all the love you deserve. both of you need so much love, and i will give you the bond you need.” He giggles lightly before leaning in. “Mistress will be so excited, and i bet we will need to adjust our rooms for wherever we stay.”
"Oh I'm sure I'll settle down someday, but that won't be until I'm kicking around in the hundreds." Crim winks at bramble as she raises the inhaler to her lips, taking a long deep puff as a cotton candy taste coats her mouth. Causing her to flop forward, leaning her head against brambles chest. Taking in the texture of her partner's fluff. "The first terran beeple hybrid to be domesticated after being 100 years old, hold me to it I wanna set that fuckin record."
bramble giggles and slips his lower arms around Crim, his upper pair shifting to brush through her hair and fuzz. "i suppose i'll need to keep a close eye on you." He nuzzles into Crim's hair, chittering lightly before pulling back, laying down with Crim on his chest.
"Well if you don't then who will." Crim lets out a small content sigh, the honeysuckle smell of her partner helping her heart rate slow to a crawl. Her eyes drifting shut, trusting her boyfriend to care for her.