Resin smiles at the pair from behind the counter, starting to pull out two small gift boxes as she watches Nix’s grand entrance.
Pearl peeks up over the counter, and blushes as she sees the pair. Looking over her hair and outfit, quickly starting to pat herself down to make sure she looks nice. “Mistress, you didn’t tell me Nix was coming!”
Resin smiles "Oh, I'm so sorry petal, but now you can be all flustered and cute for Nix." She grins "Do you want to bring in Nix's order? It is that pad and shell we worked on earlier." Resin stands up, petting Pearl lightly as she goes to talk to Sola and Nix.
Sola smiles and lets a vine curl with one of Resin's. "How have you been today?"
Resin grins, wrapping its vines around Sola’s in return. "I've been pretty great, how was the trial?"
“I won!” Nix does a little pose, pointing to the sky with one finger. “I’m officially Nix Ave, independent Sophont!” She grins back at Resin.
Pearl squeaks as she hears Nix yelling her news from behind the counter. Looking over the tablet one last time to make sure it is perfectly designed, and making sure to turn off the floret accessibility options that both her, and Resin had boldly assumed would be needed.
Resin giggles at Nix’s excitement. "I see, if this is what you wanted. Then we are thrilled for you. I know Sola texted me that you were filing paperwork for a hab, but that could have been an upgrade or new, so not that helpful." She looks over to the counter. "Pearl, come on out, I promise you look great."
“Yeah, we kinda got… distracted last night.” Nix blushes coughing. “But now we’re here to get me started with a data pad.”
Pearl slowly slinks out from behind the counter, her hair a complete mess from Resin petting her all morning, and them rushing making this by hand for Nix. “Hi…” She blushes a bit, waving the pad in her hand. “I’m happy for you Nix.”
Nix’s blush only gets fiercer, taking a quick breath before walking as confidently as possible toward Pearl. “Hey, I love the pad… also I think your hair looks cute.” She chuckles nervously. Reaching out to offer Pearl an incredibly stiff hug.
Pearl gulps and throws her arms around Nix, giving her a firm hug while Sola plucks the pad from her, making sure it’s kept nice and ready for Nix. "So, you got your independence? How does it feel? How do you feel?" She blushes a little bit. "Would you like to hang out for a little bit?"
“Absolutely! I mean… y-yeah!” Nix chuckles, pulling back a bit to look Pearl in the eye. “As for the whole independence thing, honestly I feel the same as I have since I started opening up to Sola. I’m happy to just be allowed to be myself, and now I know whatever ends up happening is entirely my choice.”
Pearl chuckles, and smiles at Nix. "Well, I'm positive that if things had gone different, Miss Sola wouldn't have done anything you truly didn't want, so I imagine you would be the same either way." PShe hugs Nix close again, taking a few breaths, before pulling back. "But I'm so happy to have you be you, no matter what."
“Oh I know that, buuuuut now I get to say that I, in the smallest way possible to be imagined. Beat an affini.” Nix snorts at the concept. “I kinda went on this big rant about what had happened, a bunch of affini who apparently wanted to adopt me were there. And I still somehow got enough votes to be an independent, I bet Celosia was reeling after that!” She blinks a few times. “I should really check on her…”
Resin looks over at Sola, a look of genuine confusion on her face. “So… she actually convinced enough of them? All while Celosia of all affini was making the case against her, if you weren’t saying it was true, I would not have believed it.” She crosses its arms, leaning into Sola’s side slightly.
Sola nods, frowning slightly. "Yeah, she mostly did, I think some of what Celosia got ended up working against her, and for Nix. As for me, Nix said she wanted the independence to make a decision for herself, and I promised to help her, so I voted for independence. I think part of it is that everyone knew that I had put in all the paperwork, so their chances at Nix would only come from a semi independent end, but I know that there were a good number who genuinely wanted Nix to get her independence."
“That would not surprise me, after all Celosia, even with her biases, can never help herself when it comes to obtaining as much accuracy as physically possible.” Resin takes Sola, starting to lead her away from Pearl and Nix. “So that leads me to the most important question, how are you doing?”
Sola winces a little bit. "I'm holding it together. Nix wants to be friends still of course, but after last night… Well, there is a part of me that is positive that Nix will probably tell me she wants to be domesticated. But I will say, she is a sweet and stubborn girl, she hasn't had that much personal control in her life, and I think that is why even when she deep down wants it, she strives to prove that she can be herself, with no help from others. I think others that try to get their hooks in her will fail, because she does not at all respond well to what one may call 'typical' tactics."
“I have no doubt about that, even when we were visiting your hab unit. She’d only really accept your help when she already knew she needed it, and Me and Anthurium were basically on no touching orders.” Resin gently guides Sola to sit down across from her behind the counter. Gesturing at the two boxes in front of her. “Me and Pearl have been working on a project for Nix, but I feel like, given this news, swapping them will serve you both better. I’ll let you open it, once Nix, and Pearl have gone to relax in her break area.”
"That is fair. Nix I'm sure will love it either way, even if she puts up a front." Sola giggles a little bit, looking over the boxes. "I am sure you will get a good feel for Nix over time. But I assure you, nobody can think of her as just any sophont, she is quite a bit different in person than that expectation."
“Indeed, she’s basically been with you since she woke up, and the fact that she’s able to balance with your rhythm, and still keep herself away from domestication is impressive.” Resin watches as Nix is led into the back room, before picking up the present that is wrapped with blue floral patterning. It’s almost two feet tall and decently wide. “And here is your gift, I hope it will help you rest better at night.”
Sola carefully opens it, not wanting to rip the beautiful wrapping, before gasping at the Nix plush. Seeing that it now has a flower eye the same color as Sola’s flowers, and a very openly companion dress on. “Oh, I love it! I honestly think I’ll be having trouble sleeping without her now.” Sola hugs the plushing tight. “It won’t quite be the same, but hopefully it will tide me over, and even then I love having it in the first place.” She reaches over and pulls Resin into a hug. “You are so sweet, Resin.”
“Hey, don’t thank me. Pearl has been the one working on this since we met Nix for the first time.” Resin smiles softly, returning the hug. “And I’m betting you can figure out what will be in Nix’s gift, which I bet will help her with keeping a certain someone in mind.”
“Oh I bet she will love it. When Nix gets grabby and stimy, she really loves to just have things to hold, and she would deny it if asked straight out, but she grabs for me more than you would expect.” Sola chuckles a little to herself. “Once Nix is in her home, I’ll make sure you have her address, as we both know Pearl is gonna be visiting plenty… but just, if you see her out and about, maybe do your best to keep a light eye on her. I worry about what could happen.”
“Yeah, luckily, and unluckily, it seems like a good chunk of the petless affini on this ship are hearing about her. Which is good for her overall safety, given they will know to look out for her, but also bad because she’s Nix… and will probably try and bite them if they don’t take no for an answer.” Resin shakes her head, standing up and thanking a few groups coming through for picking out their toys.
Sola laughs at the thought. “They will be so confused. Even with a rhythm she bonds with, she will still manage to go with her own flow, and she doesn’t seem to get lost in my eyes… well… the few times she has looked for more than a moment. I wonder if some of the abuse she has suffered was related to eye contact, because she really struggles to maintain it at all even.”
“That would be something worth asking to an affini who actually understands how terran eyes work. While I wouldn’t say it’s out of the question, Nix does seem to simply avoid eye contact in general, the few times I saw her looking ‘at’ me, it felt more like she was looking at the wall, and I was simply a part of the display. Either she’s very clever, or she just really hates eyes.” Resin giggles a bit at the thought. “Either way it is absolutely adorable.”
Sola frowns and nods, surprised that she’d not noticed this sooner. “I never thought of it that way, then again I always work pretty close with her.” She thinks for a little bit, her form shuddering slightly with each thought. “I’ll have to check in with an eye doctor. I have mostly been helping her with general physical therapy, along with emotional healing. That and I know she wants to keep the flower, even if the nerves heal enough for a more proper implant… I hope I can talk her into at least getting checked out on her vision as a whole.”
“I’m sure she’ll listen to you, and there’s plenty of ways that you can make it seem like her idea. Like just, give her a list of vets she needs to see now that she’s an independent. She already trusts your judgment, so I’m sure she’ll at least look into anything you lay out for her.” Resin sits back down, happy to enjoy actually spending some private time with her friend again. Given Nix’s treatment has taken up a majority of what would have normally been Sola’s free time.
Sola nods, tapping along her vines if only to keep her impulses to overly help Nix down. “That is a good idea. I know she wants to do things on her own for a while, but I can phrase it as something like ‘with all we focused on, there are a few specialists that I think you would do well checking in with.’ or something like that.” She sighs. “Anyway, I am going to be…taking a week off from things, just gotta unwind and…while being available for Nix, I want to spend more time with you and my other friends.” She flashes Resin a small smile. “Try to keep my mind off of not having Nix with me all the time…try to let her do things on her own for a little bit at least.”
“Well I believe Pearl would call Nix a ‘seed’ so I’m simply wondering how long she’ll last alone. After all, while she’s very independent, she was also very reluctant to spend time away from you.” Resin smiles back at Sola. “So I’m sure everything will work out, and I’m positive Pearl will ‘help’ in her own way.”
Sola hums, chuckling lightly to herself. “Well, to take a terran term, I would ‘bet’ on her going maybe a month. I of course hope for shorter, but I think it will depend on how fast Nix gets uncomfortable with either living alone, or other advances that step on her boundaries too much. I would say, the shortest time before she says it will be a week, but still she is stubborn.”
“More than stubborn, she's determined to prove a point. Think about it, most of the sophonts we’ve met would have given up after being told that it’d be incredibly unlikely for them to not undergo domestication, but she went up to a massive group of affini and didn’t stand down. Like even if she was going to lose, she refused to not at the very least try, so I feel like this is going to end up with her really pushing herself further than needed, unless you stop her somehow.” Resin shrugs, chuckling at the concept of Nix going out and talking to other affini. “The only affini I’d be worried about ‘stealing’ your precious Nix, would be Celosia.”
“Oh, the funny thing is, I can see her, while taking advantage of my reports, getting somewhat close to Nix, but with her style, she would push too far too fast soon enough. Don’t tell her, but Nix can be approached and pushed in on to a point, but then you need her to ASK for further steps to be made. Until then, she needs to go through a bit of a slow process, and that is where I think most would have trouble.”
“You see… I would agree that she’d fall for that, if it wasn’t for the fact I don’t think she wants to knock Nix down, not like most affini would.” Resin’s entire form shudders slightly. “I know you haven’t known her as long as me, but when she wants a floret, she has to see something in them that challenges her. It’s the only thing I’ve ever seen her start wanting a floret after, and so far Nix has fought her, root and needle ever since her arrival.” She shakes its head. “I’m not even sure if she will be interested, but if she is. I know Celosia will do everything in her power to make herself appealing, even if it’s normally against her nature. She’s insisted this is how she ‘evolves’ as a researcher of sophonts several times.”
Sola’s smile doesn’t falter, failing to hide her concern, but trying to maintain her confidence. “I’m sure she will try, she may even get far, but I truly believe that getting that far, Nix will realize what she wants and sprout. I’ll be planting a little seed of my own, and making sure she has some emergency contacts that can come, bail her out. This may make Nix try to hold on longer…but in the end, she will know who she can trust with her heart.”
“And you’ll be okay if that’s not you?” Resin raises an ‘eyebrow’ made of bark. Genuinely surprised with how much faith Sola has in regards to Nix. “I’m honestly worried about her, poor thing just got her ‘freedom’, but that just means she’s all the more free for attention. Something I can tell similarly to my Pearl, she hates.”
Sola pauses at the question, her smile finally breaking. "If Nix finds her happiness with another, I would be sad, but… this may sound strange, I want Nix to be her happiest, more than I want her to be mine… ideally for me both would be the same, but I refuse to force her to be mine. The only way I will accept her domestication at this point, is by her own choice. If anyone tries to force themselves upon her, they will then face me." She squeezes her plush a little. "I will of course be continuing with my personal strategy, of being her friend, and inviting Nix to some quiet, and private dates."
“Yeah, well you’ve got me and Anthurium in your corner. After all, I wouldn’t warn you about Cel being a little overbearing possibly, if we weren’t.” Resin nods to itself. “You’ll be a great owner if she chooses it, Sola. Honestly we’d both been concerned about you getting dispassionate in your work recently, so seeing this light back in your eyes is a relief. Dirt, if you hadn’t found her, we were genuinely considering inviting you out to go to a few class J cafe’s to look at the possibility of you adopting a floret. You would always say you were fine with watching them leave after you helped any floret you met, but we could see each time your flowers wilt a little more.”
Sola wiggles a little bit, nodding. "Nix is special. I don't want just any floret, I want her. She likes that I don't passively imitate terrans, she can take care of herself while I work on other cases, but still wants my care, she fits what I need so well!" She flops down upon noticing that they don't have any customers. "I'll allow some advancements on her, but I am very prepared to step in any moment Nix needs it."
“Hey hey, I wasn’t recommending we get you just any floret, I just meant if you’d never met her.” Resin gently rubs Sola’s back. “Everyone is able to see how much she means to you, and ironically, thanks to Celosia, we have the papertrail to prove it. Why don’t we go check on her, and Pearl? I’m sure they’re just cuddling right now, and I feel like you need to see her being cute right now more than ever.”
“You’re right.” Sola nods, flopping around on the counter a few times as she pulls her body back together, and starts to walk towards the back of the shop. “I just need to see her being happy, and my day will be infinitely brighter.”
As the door to the back room opens up, Resin and Sola are met with Nix. Face first on the ground, next to Pearl who’s relaxing on top of a massive beanbag. “Nix flustered herself to death!”
“I… d-i.” Nix shoves herself to the side, rolling to be face up on the ground. “I did not! I just, you got close, and nuzzled me!”
“Yeah, because you were being blushy, and adorable!” Pearl snickers a bit, curling up on the beanbag as Resin walks over and starts running its fingers through her hair. “Seee Mixtress agrees.”
“Well I do have to admit, there’s hardly anything you do that is not adorable Nix.” Resin nods, starting to pet Pearl a little more thoroughly, in order to distract her, and give Sola a moment with Nix. The floret quickly pressing deeper into her resting place, and nuzzling into the contact.
Nix smiles up at Sola, squinting slightly as she notices something in her compartment. "Sola, Solaaaaa." She pushes herself up, using her cane. Narrowing her eye trying to figure out what exactly she's seeing. "Hmmmm…"
Sola's cheeks darken slightly, opening the compartment up to show off the lizard Nix hybrid. "It's just a gift from Resin and Pearl for me! They have one for you up front."
"Indeed, Pearl wanted a gift to give each of you, no matter what happened with your case Nix." Resin nods to itself. "Why don't you go out front with Sola to check it out, I'm going to give my precious floret some extra attention."
Nix nods slightly. "You better, Pearl was feeling a bit anxious for a minute there." She grins to herself, turning around and walking out into the main shop. Immediately noticing the massive green present, that she'd initially ignored in lieu of talking to Pearl.
"Here, I'll grab it." Sola picks up the gift that's nearly Nix’s hight. Passing it down to the girl, and letting her step behind the counter to open it.
Nix simply looks at the gift, blinking a few times as she slowly starts to open it up. Carefully peeling the wrapping paper away, before opening the top of the box. Being immediately met with a massive mass of green vines. "Um… okay?" She carefully pulls on one of the vines, only to have a massive tangled mass of them tumble out of the box on top of her.
Sola simply pulls the rest of the box away, letting the last of the massive plush slip out. "Note that these gifts were made, before they knew if you were going to be domesticated." She chuckles lightly, picking the head that had gotten caught up inside of the vines out. Showing off that this was a massive plush of Sola.
"Oh my stars… I'm gonna totally put my lizard plushie in this, and snuggle it to sleep every night." Nix immediately pounces at the plushy, pulling it into a massive bear hug. Impressed with how detailed it is. Noticing how it has several of the same flower grafts as Sola, as well as being designed to have a second smaller plush placed into it.
Sola immediately whips her data pad out. Taking a picture of Nix cuddling with the plushy, before slipping it back into her mass. Resisting the urge to pick the girl up, and snuggle her into mindless bliss again. "I'm glad you love it, petal, why don't we go thank Pearl, and Resin, for the gifts. Then we can hang out at my hab, until we get a text about your new one."
Nix looks up at Sola, raising her eyebrow as she continues to squish the plushy against herself.
"I mean, if that's what you want to do! It's not a demand, I just figured we still need to pack a few more of your things!" Sola waves her vines, her chest tightening around the plushy in embarrassment.
Nix starts laughing immediately, shocked at how apologetic Sola’s acting. "Sounds good to me, after all I'm still planning to lay low for a few weeks, until everyone forgets about my little case… they will forget right?"
"Some will, those interested in you won't. If anyone does give you any trouble, you can always call me, or Resin and we'll sort it out for you. While I know no affini would knowingly cross your boundaries, I also know you are not very fond of the normal behavior most of us have towards sophonts. Just please, Resin seems convinced you would bite an affini who annoys you. I doubt you would, but please try to avoid it."
"I'm not gonna bite an affini, or a sophont. It would both probably taste bad, and also be way more trouble than any reasoning I could make would be worth." Nix snickers a bit, starting to drag the plushy to the back with her. "I know even being free, I'm being watched for my past behavior. No one in their right mind would just drop watching me, because I pinky promised not to do anything, so I'm not going to do anything that would risk the tenuous independence that I’ve managed to carve out for myself, with the help of my super cool affini best friend."
"You are entirely correct, I was simply raising the concern given that Resin of all affini believes it, and it is not the type to exaggerate… ever." Sola shakes her head, opening the door to the back room once again. This time being met with Resin holding Pearl in her arms, rocking the floret against her chest.
"Oh hello you two, you were right Nix. My little Pearl worked herself up over the news of you visiting today, and needs to rest." Resin walks over to the pair, kneeling down in front of Nix. "Thank you for being nice, Pearl wants to see you again soon, and her account is already opened for direct messaging on your new data pad."
Nix attempts to give an upside down salute, only to be stopped by the massive plush in her arms. Starting to giggle instead. "Well I'll make sure the first thing I do with it is send her a thank you message and picture. Also I will have you know, I wouldn’t bite anyone. They'd probably taste bad."
Resin grins, nodding at Nix. "Good girl, I didn't expect Sola to go and say that to your face, but then again I shouldn't be surprised with how open you two are together." She slowly gets back up, being careful not to invade Nix’s personal space. "I think we are going to close up early today. It's slow enough, and I need to go lay Pearl down for a bit. You two have a nice day."
Sola nods slightly, following behind Resin as the group heads to the edge of the shop. "We will, I'll see you for lunch again sometime soon."
Sola and Nix pause at the exit, to get everything on them sorted, as Resin simply walks away after closing up. "Alright, so as much as I love this plushy, I can not walk home while holding it. For a multitude of reasons, but most of all I'm probably gonna need my cane. My legs are feeling a little stiff."
Sola quickly plucks the plushy, wrapping it up as gently as possible and holding it against her chest to make it look like extra plush vines. "There we go, so no one thinks you went out and ordered a plushie of your best friend."
"Thank you." Nix sighs, leaning on her cane and starting to walk towards Sola’s hab. "Oh, Sola, I've been thinking about going out more alone, and how I don't have very much hand space. So I was thinking about ordering a satchel to hold my things in, is there anywhere you'd recommend me getting it from?"
"Well… Celosia has been the one helping with the designs I've given you since you arrived." Sola represses a frown, trying not to focus on Resin’s comment from earlier. "So if you want something well designed I'd talk to her. That is if you're comfortable with seeing her after yesterday."
"Eeeh, I'm sure it will be fine! I like to think of it like friendly rivals, neither of us wanted to harm the other, it was just both of us trying to prove our own points of view." Nix nods to herself, having them pause so she can take a break for a minute. Stretching her left leg to try and get the stiffness to go away. "That and I did promise to hang out with her anyway, so I'll give her a message once we drop me off at my hab. I'm thinking of it as a beta test for interacting with affini, without your help!"
Sola smiles weakly and nods. "Alright, though if you want, we can link our pads, that way if you run into a situation you can't explain, I can help." She writhes some, trying to hide her discomfort with Celosia being near Nix. "I don't want to imply you can't handle something, but…look I know when you get too overwhelmed, you need your quiet alone time, and I'm afraid some others may take that for you needing different 'help'."
"I get ya, that's why I am going to Celosia first. Other than you and our close friends, I feel like I can handle her the best." Nix nods to herself, starting to pick up the pace again. "And if I get overwhelmed, I'll make sure I have messages already typed out that I can use."
Sola smiles “Alright then, thank you Nix. That would make me feel a lot better. I am happy when you are happy, and I feel we have pushed too much to let anyone take that away by misunderstanding you.” She notices a restaurant. “Hey, this one looks new. As long as we are waiting a little longer for your hab, wanna stop by and give it a try?”
"I don't see why not!" Nix pivots, turning to look at the new restaurant. Relieved to see very little excess in the details, just a simple place to eat while surrounded by blooming flowers. "Seeds paradise… huh. Neet!" She immediately starts walking inside, occasionally glancing back at Sola as she heads over to one of the booths.
Sola hops in opposite Nix and hands her her own data pad “Here, with how excited you and Pearl were being, I didn’t really have a chance to give this back earlier. You should be able to pull up the menu from your pad, and we can check it out from there.” Sola begins pulling it up herself, just sticking to mentioning the menu thing to Nix, and letting her try to figure it out herself.
Nix nods, looking around the area as she logs into her pad. Looking at the screen name she'd been given by Pearl. EquaNix.
She simply looks up the restaurant, and starts looking over at the menu, a bit overwhelmed by how busy it is here in comparison to her normal wishes, but pushing it back down slightly knowing this place apparently is just as new as the Cyber Cafe. So it should be slower next time. "I'm going to get a burger and fries."
“I’m gonna try their tea, simple, yet they infused some new flavors into it. I’m curious as to how it will taste. Some say it’s similar to the type they have on terra.” Sola leans forward. “And I may be keeping an eye out for any of the others who were at your trial…just in case.” She looks, seeing a terran girl come up to their table. Giving their order, then smiling, watching as she leaves. “So, is there anything you would like direction on with your data pad?”
“Nah, stumbling into stuff accidentally, if you’re asking me, is totally part of the fun. Also this thing is incredibly user friendly.” Nix rolls her eye at Sola’s mention of other affini looking out to scoop her up. “And I get that you’re worried, but I’m going to be fine. You already have told me about several affini tricks, and while some of them are harder to avoid, I’ve come up with strategies to deal with them.” She gives double thumbs up as she puts her pad down.
“Oh, that reminds me Nix, while we have been working together on your physical therapy, and emotional health, but Resin reminded me, that we should probably bring you to a vet for your eye.” Sola smiles. “I know you want to keep the flower, but we do need to see if it has been done with its initial job of repairing your eye socket, at least as far as it can. I’ve done a few checks to make sure everything is going well during our time together, but it’s about time for it to come off and be given a more permanent replacement.”
“Yeah I figured that would be one of the next steps.” Nix shrugs, shaking her head. “I mean I’m not sure if it’s missing an eye, or I just need glasses now, but things that are more distant I really need to squint and it’s still a little fuzzy.”
Sola nods, paying more close attention to how often Nix has to squint slightly to see. “That and my hab being smaller than normal, we were always pretty close, so I didn’t notice you struggling to see. But Resin also mentioned that she had noticed that when you looked at her, it was more of… like you were looking at the wall, and she happened to be there.” She sighs, shaking her head. “I should have made a point to bring you to visit one earlier, I’m sorry it never came to my mind.”
“Oh no, that's just how I look at people. I look past them, so I don’t have to deal with exact eye contact, while still being polite. That, and once you told me about the funky stuff with affini eyes, I’ve just stuck to doing that with affini in general.” Nix chuckles at the thought. “I’m sorry if it came off as rude.”
“No not at all, It is perfectly ok.” Sola begins pulling up some info. “Here, I’m going to send you the information on the optometrist that helped with your surgeries in the first place. If you want someone to go with you, I’m available, as are Resin and Pearl usually, unfortunately things can get a little busy at the cafe. It's been getting more popular, so Jason and Anthurium tend to be busy during the day. Going to this one, they should have all your info right away, they did make the flower implant you’re wearing right now. But if you end up not liking them for any reason, you can then link your medical info as well.”
“I’ll give it a shot, thanks.” Nix looks over at the waiter walking back with the meals. Placing each on the table, getting an appreciative pet from Sola. “But now for a meal! I’m starving after the morning we’ve had.” She chuckles, starting to dig into her meal.
Sola nods and takes her mixture, slipping her roots into it and relaxing into the booth. “Oh, this is a very unique tea indeed, if their burgers are as good as this is, I bet you are having a good meal.” She smiles at Nix, calmly taking a few small sips of her tea. “So, what would your ideal date be? For us? Just having fun of course.”
“Well I saw an arcade earlier, I bet we could go to one of those? I’ve never really gone to one myself, so seeing what one here would be like sounds super cool.” Nix shoves another few bites into her mouth, quickly swallowing between sentences. “Along with just staying inside, we could learn to paint together, and maybe I could help you look for a floret, or something? Ya know, so you won't be lonely without me around.”
Sola shakes her head. “I’m gonna say no to the floret thing. I need…something special. You are the only one who has really filled that role for me, but as I told Resin, I value your happiness more than my having a floret to dote on. As for the arcade, I would LOVE to go to one with you! But, first you should see if you need glasses, gotta make sure you are alright on that front to see the screens well. As for the painting, I’ve never tried it before, but I bet we could have a lot of fun making something.”
“Alright, but just don’t wait for me if you meet one that you’re actually interested in.” Nix rolls her eye, keeping a smile on her face in spite of the sudden pang of guilt that had just stabbed through her like a knife. “And I’ll figure out what I need to do for my still working eye, I promise. As for the painting thing… you literally saw the first art piece I ever made, I’m pretty sure we’re at a similar starting point.”
“Fine, but if you ever find someone you want to be domesticated by, can you let me know so I don’t keep my hopes up?” Sola smiles at Nix “Either way, I keep a pretty small friend circle, and even being friends means a lot to me. You have met all of them too, so you know I wont be going out of my way to introduce you to more.” Sola looks at a few pages on different types of painting. “This ‘water color’ paint seems… interesting, looks like it has a different look than normal paint.”
“If by some miracle an affini convinces me I want domestication, you will be the first to know.” Nix snorts. “Okay, second to know, they’d be right there and I doubt I’d be able to hide it at that point.” Leaning over Nix checks out the pages on watercolor painting. “Oh yeah that could be cool. Just go with whatever you think will make you happy. I’ve been sticking with simple for now given my lack of experience, but if we both learn how to do one type of painting, we can teach each other about the other!”
“That sounds like fun then! I’ll do some more research into it, and we can just have a fun painting day, maybe later this week? I’m gonna be taking a week or so off to just relax and catch up with Resin and Anthurium, maybe even see a movie. You are of course invited to all of these as well.”
“I do not think I’m ready to find out what an affini-made movie will look like. Or worse yet, not be able to understand the movie at all because I don’t speak affini.” Nix rubs her shoulder. “I actually think I’m going to just be going around the ship for the next week, on my own. See how it feels, adjust to not having constant company, that kinda thing, but if you wanna have a ‘date’ at the end of the week I think that sounds great.” She nervously slips out of the booth, given both of them are done with their meals.
“For now let’s just head to your hab. I still need to pack, and I know both of us are going to put off going there indefinitely unless I force us to.” Nix starts walking ahead of Sola, putting a bit of distance between them. Not wanting her friend to see her frowning, feeling a bit pushy.
Sola moves just fast enough to catch up. “Alright Nix, if that is how you feel. If you change your mind, I’m sure Pearl, and Jason would like to come to the movie too. But if you don’t, I just want you to know that you are wanted, and perfectly free to make such a choice.” Sola lets Nix keep a little distance, but still makes sure that no affini could say they weren’t together.
“I know Sola, and I really appreciate the offer.” Nix shakes her head, why’s she acting like this. Just because she knows Sola wants her? That was always known, but now it feels different, less like an inevitability of failing to be set free, but rather a consequence of if she gives up.
After a few minutes the pair arrive back at Sola’s hab. Nix held her pad under her shoulder, really wishing she had a bag. After the door opens she quickly rushes over to the bedroom, without Sola, to start packing. Not wanting to give herself a chance to get caught up in the emotions of the moment, the now seemingly ever present hole in her chest breaking open, larger, and colder, with each moment she doesn’t have a distraction.
After a few minutes, Sola comes into the bedroom. “Nix…I…got you a going away present. I know we will be close enough and all… but, I wanted you to have something to help you casually through a normal day.” She pulls out a blue scale patterned bag, looking a bit like a computer bag in size. “Here, I hope you like it… if you don’t I can make another.”
Nix turns around, looking at the bag and gritting her teeth. Of course the big softy of a bush had considered that she’d need something to hold other things while she used her cane. There’s even a slot on the side to put a water bottle on the side. Tears start welling up in her eyes, as she takes the bag and puts it on. Noticing how it’d been perfectly sized for her as well. “You big stupid…” She clenches her fists, quietly wrapping her arms around Sola, and hugging the affini tighter than she’d ever managed to before.
Sola wraps her vines around Nix in a hug, releasing a few sounds that sounded almost like Sola forcing herself not to cry. “Nix, you are my friend, my closest friend, the only independent sophont I have worked with… someone so special, who has wormed their way right into my core.” She shudders “I’ve done what I can so far to get you, and if you only want to be friends, I can live with that. But I will always be letting you know that I am thinking of you, and care for you. I want you to go out into the world prepared for anything. If you want to be independent, then I can’t just let you go without something to help hold everything you need. You are such a special girl, and I love you so much.”
Nix’s knees buckle slightly, simply leaning further into Sola’s embrace. Caught in between two incredibly conflicting desires, both wanting to live her version of life, but not wanting to spend her life without Sola there every day. “Damn it… Sola, trust me when I say. This isn’t about you in the slightest, you’ve been the best prospective owner I could have ever asked for.” She slowly peels herself away, tears flowing down her right cheek. “And that’s why I… need space.”
Sola weakly nods “Alright, I understand, H-how about, for the next week, unless you call for help, for any reason at all, I leave you to…whatever it is you want to do. After today, the next day we see each other will be our date day. That way, we will have things to catch up on.” Sola pulls back slowly “However, seriously, if anyone makes you uncomfortable, call, text, anything, I’ll come and put them in their place.”
Nix simply laughs, rubbing her eye as she leans back against the bed. All of the emotions completely overwhelming her, and leaving her with nothing, but this hole, and a deep knowledge that all of this, is just because she can’t give up on her dream. “Yeah… yeah I’ll message you right away if I’m given any trouble. Now, let’s get the rest of my things together, my hab will be ready soon I'm sure.”
Sola nods and unfurls, letting her vines fold all of Nix’s clothes, neatly packing them away into the honestly, rather boring suitcase that had been supplied when Sola took Nix in. After making sure everything was neatly packed, if a little overstuffed with all of her new clothes, Sola took Nix’s water bottle and left to go fill it up. While Sola was out of the room, Nix’s datapad would get a ding, showing a message from Sola, inside was a list of important contacts, from medical needs, to friendly faces.
Nix looks down at the pad, putting it into her bag. Electing to look through all of those once she’s at home alone, seeming like a better distraction than anything else. Grabbing her suitcase, and starting to pull it behind her towards the couch in the living room. Watching as Sola, thinking she’s not being observed physically mopes around the kitchen. Her vines loose in comparison to even her normal, as her flowers are all wilting slightly.
Sola quietly fills the water bottle, making sure it is sealed and set to the side before she starts to put together a little care package of snacks. Making a couple sandwiches, and reaching up into a cupboard to get a bag of chips, Nix’s favorite, sourcream and onion. She then puts these in a basic bag that she had before turning around. “Oh, Nix, I didn’t hear you exit the bedroom.”
“I would say I’m known for appearing behind people without making much noise… but you’ve never actually let me out of sight long enough to experience it happening.” Nix looks at the care package. “But now I’m pretty sure I need at least some form of correction for my eye. I can kinda see what you were making over there, but I’m not quite sure on the smaller details. It’s just a little fuzzy around the edges.”
Sola smiles gently “Would…you like me to set up an appointment? If you don't, that is perfectly alright, but even taking this…time to each do our own things, I want you to be taken care of either way.” Sola gets closer to Nix and makes sure they are close. “I know you don’t like to maintain eye contact, but if you get glasses, can you send me a picture? I want to see how pretty you are with them.”
“Well if I end up with glasses I’ll send you a picture, and I’m going to set an appointment up, once I’m in my hab tonight.” Nix nods to herself. “Oh speaking of tonight, do you have like… medication for me to take rather than just having it injected into my eye flower. I don’t feel comfortable putting a needle to my face for a multitude of reasons.”
Sola nods and takes a little bag out from her compartment. “I had the blends I’ve been giving you in here. The pink one is your Gs, the blue one is your Zs. Then there’s the white ones which are your blend from Dinaea, for intrusive thoughts and the like. Your Gs do have some general vitamins in them too, just to make sure you get those. Now the Zs won’t be as fast as when I inject them, I would suggest taking them before you lay down for bed in the first place. And make sure you have an alarm set, your hab unit system can be set up to do it easy enough.”
“Alright, I’ll keep that in mind.” Nix waits to be handed the three containers. Slipping them into her bag next to her data pad, seeing a new unread message on it. “Oh looks like someones messaging me.” She pulls it out, noticing a new DM log from someone using the screen name TreeHouse.
“Well I’ll be damned, they did find me… and my hab is ready for us to head over now.” Nix takes note of everything they’ve gotten together. Clothing suit case, check, her bag and everything inside check, her cane, literally in her hand, plushies… “Oh right! I feel silly.” She laughs walking back into the bedroom and quickly returning with her plush salamander. “Wouldn’t wanna leave you behind!”
Sola giggles and grabs the plush ‘Sola’, opening up the cubby and helping Nix put the salamander inside. “There we go, both plushies nice and together.” Sola then takes the suit case. “Here, I’ll walk you over, make sure you get in safe and unbothered.” She begins to slowly walk towards her door, watching it open before shakily stepping outside.