Once again, Nix finds herself seated on the couch. Nestled between all of her plushies, while a cartoon that she enjoys despite the fact it gives her constant Deja vu , plays in front of her. There’s two new rooms in their hab, both the added on guest room, and the physical therapy room. Both of her owners are working on getting it ready, because tomorrow they’re going to be getting Sola’s first patient since she arrived.
That thought isn’t sitting particularly well with her, not because she doesn’t want her mistress to be unable to help others, but because it means meeting a new sophont while she still doesn’t look right, and being out of the hab with Mistress Celosia during the days. Two major steps, that she doesn’t feel confident about in the slightest.
After an episode goes by, Celosia pops out of the guest room. Immediately sending a wave of relief through Nix, while having her owners a room away wasn’t the worst, having them here with her feels so much better. “Mistress! What are we going to do today? You had me get all dressed up to match you this morning, so I don’t think your plan was just having me watch shows alone.”
Celosia grins, walking over to the couch and starting to pet Nix. Careful not to mess up her hair, and if anything doing a little bit of restyling in order to fix what had gotten messed up. "Well, I was going to take you out today with me on some errands. I have to meet up with Alistor, who wants to meet you again, and then I figured you would like to hear that we can start your body mods soon, so if you’re good I’m going to have us swing by the vet. To get everything scheduled for that, as well as making sure you are happy with all the selections, before they get prepared."
“Yes!” Nix almost immediately pops out of the plush pile, the excitement causing her arms to flail a little bit. Almost getting consumed by her own excitement about the news, only being stopped by the statement that they’re going to be seeing Alistor today. “But why do we have to see Alistor?”
Sola, hearing all the noise in the living room, pops her head out of the guest bedroom. “Petal, you need to get used to being around him, I promise those bad feelings you have about him aren’t what he’s really like.” She looks over at Celosia. “So please be a good girl for Celly, and try to give him a chance.”
Nix puffs her cheeks out, and crosses her arms. Nestling her chin down against her collar bone. “Fine, I’ll try, I just don’t like how my brain remembers him, which is a whole lot of blurry bad feelings.”
“That’s just because you were having a hard time when you met him petal, he was helping with the domestication paperwork.” Celosia sighs, slowly picking Nix up off of the couch, and walking to the kitchen to grab Nix’s bag and water bottle. “He might have teased you a bit, but it wasn’t done in malice.”
Nix takes her bag, putting it on over her shoulder. Then being handed her water bottle she starts nibbling on the straw once again, taking little sips. Her owners are right of course, they always are, but that doesn’t do much to dissuade the feelings. Nix simply chooses to try to ignore it, after all giving a new affini, who her owner works with a chance to prove himself, shouldn’t be that hard.
Celosia pets Nix gently before turning to Sola. “Make sure you get some rest when you are done preparing for your patient, some quiet time to yourself can be nice, and I know Nix will want plenty of cuddles when we get back.” She takes Nix’s hand, and begins to head to the door.
Sola smiles, and nods. “Thank you Celly, I should be able to get everything perfect. Then getting to have some cuddle time with Nix will be just the recharge I need!” She follows the pair to the door, giving Celosia a hug before kneeling down to give Nix one. “When you get back, let me know how things went for you today.”
Nix nods, giving a reverse salute. “You got it Mistress, even if Mistress Celly doesn’t wanna talk about something, I’ll tell you.” She snickers, and watches one of Celosia’s vines wrap around her collar, doing her best to focus on teasing her owner rather than the anxiety she is feeling, about going out into the ship for the first time since waking back up.
As they leave the hab with Sola waving them goodbye, Celosia glances down at Nix with a smile. “I am very proud of you for being a big girl Nix. If things get to be too much, I can carry you, or hide you with my cloak. You should really only get some comments on being cute, and I’ll make sure nobody holds us up for too long.” She gives Nix a little pet, before happily walking along with her floret, thrilled to show her off, if only a little bit.
Nix for the majority of the walk remains pressed up against Celosia. The pair are waved at, and talked to by several affini, Nix even on a few occasions reintroducing herself, and letting them pet her.
Celosia politely informs everyone about Nix’s lack of memories before moving on, obviously wanting to get the news spreading around the ship, to avoid Nix feeling isolated due to affini around her acting odd.
Eventually the pair arrive at the Cyber Cafe, Nix actually managing to pull away, and stand confidently a few feet from Celosia, due to the familiarity of the location. “I thought you said we’re meeting your friend today Mistress?” She looks around, noticing that there’s an affini sitting alone in the booth she normally uses.
Celosia nods to Nix. “We are, I figured you would have an easier time in a familiar location. Also this way if things become too much, we can easily take you into the back to have some quiet time.” She leads Nix to their normal booth, picking the girl up and sitting down across from Alistor. “Hi, I hope we haven’t kept you waiting too long?”
Alistor looks down at Nix, doing his best to remain as still as possible. Unsure how the girl will respond to his presence. “No, I only got here a few moments before you.”
Nix slides over to the corner of the booth that she normally sits in, pulling her feet up on top of the booth, and starting to hug them. “Hello…” She glances up at him several times, shuddering slightly. As the memories of her signing the domestication paperwork, bubble up to the surface, before being quickly quelled by her implant. “Sorry you had to see… everything with the old me. She… wasn’t doing great when we met.”
Alistor puts a small smile on his face, trying to help ease Nix’s obvious fears about him. “It is alright, I was well aware of how the old you was. In my opinion, I think you are doing much better now. I understand that going forward, you will frequently be with Celosia during work. I would like for things to be alright between us, if at the very least for what time we need to work, although if you can enjoy time around me, that would be best.”
“I’m definitely in less pain, just having the context of looking back at what I can remember.” Nix starts casually tapping along the table, doing her best to keep looking at Alistor instead of only taking small peaks. “But now I’m just, well I end up getting confused a lot. Mistress always helps me when I am, but it’s so embarrassing!”
Anthurium walks up to the table, dropping off pancakes for Nix, and some nutrient mix for both Celosia and Alistor. Giving both a silent wave, and walking away again, clearly trying to avoid interrupting the conversation.
“It will get easier Petal.” Celosia gently pets Nix, pulling her floret out of the corner of the booth and into her lap. “If anything, Alistor and I can help you learn anything you're confused about, while we work.” She looks over at Alistor, both surprised, and relieved with how gentle he’s being in regards to Nix after their previous conversations. As well as being more than a little proud of Nix, for trying to talk to Alistor, and not being disrespectful. “Isn’t that right Alistor?”
Alistor playfully raises his hands in defeat. “I will admit, I was a bit harsh before, but I have been working on being more understanding, and aware, of different situations. I promise that I will be better going forward.” He pulls out a few papers. “In other news, I’ve finished up the paperwork to arrange for you to more easily handle work from hab. On top of that, your work office renovations for floret space will be done tomorrow.”
Nix snickers, swaying from side to side in her seat. Letting Celosia start to cut up her breakfast. “Thank you Mister Alistor, I’ve been pretty excited to see Mistress work in person.”
“And thank you for setting it all up while I’ve been busy with Nix these last few days.” Celosia takes a piece of the pancakes, brushing Nix’s cheek and feeding her a bite. Making sure to have it be as agonizingly slow as possible, clearly showing off just to rub in how sweet she is to Alistor.
Alistor chuckles a little bit at the show being put on for him. “I get it Celosia, you have a very sweet and loyal floret. You are welcome all the same. Just because I enjoy paperwork more than most affini, doesn’t change the fact that I will enjoy having you back around the office more. And for Nix and her space, I made sure that there is a sketch pad with colored pencils. It may not be the same as a canvas and paint, but it will be easy to use, alongside several plushies requisitioned from Resin and their floret. Then of course there is the new water cooler for easy refills of Nix’s bottle. If anything comes up, I am sure we can requisition further additions and alterations.”
“I swear, you’ve been putting off actually getting that cooler put in, for nearly a quarter bloom at this point. I was wondering if we were ever going to get it.” Celosia laughs to herself, casually scratching at the base of Nix’s ear. Watching her curl up, and start calming back down. “And I still couldn’t tell you why.”
Alistor laughs a little before shaking his head. “I get it, ha ha, yes we are finally getting a water cooler.” He slides some papers across the table. “Here are some things that will need your approval, and a base readout on our next case.”
Celosia starts to quickly shuffle through the paperwork, her eyes darting over each line, checking off and signing where needed. “Here’s hoping that this one is a little more predictable. Or maybe not, I hardly got to enjoy the paperwork with Nix’s file, thanks to someone.”
Nix looks over the forms that her owner is going through. If her eyes weren’t already, seeing these detailed of forms being worked through at this speed, and enthusiasm, would have made them glaze over entirely. “Howwwww, how do you enjoy thisssss.” She wiggles a bit, turning away from the stack. Trying her best not to be too distracting, but starting to get antsy just sitting around without any attention.
Alistor shakes his head, nodding to the paperwork. “I love navigating through our bureaucracy. Finding just how everything can fit into the framework of our forms is fantastic. Then of course when it comes to entering data, figuring out the order that it should be put in, all of that. Then of course there is figuring out how particular ones can be streamlined, making things better for others who work on those who come after myself.”
“I was being sarcastic!” Nix groans, flopping onto her side, only to be met with Celosia’s vines snaking up under her dress to start petting her midriff. Sending gentle waves of warmth throughout her whole body, guiding her to calm down. “Bzzt!”
“Now Nix, you need to be polite, or I’m going to have to take speaking privileges away.” Celosia pats Nix on the head a few times, while she continues to idly pet the girl. “But I can say for certain. Alistor is more invested in the paperwork side of things, than most affini I’ve met outside of the major xenoburocurusy facilities.”
Alistor simply sips some tea, enjoying the sight of Celosia having fun with Nix. “I’m glad to see you so cheerful Celosia, I hadn’t really taken into account just how much having Nix around meant to you earlier. Still though, I think you would find some of the things we deal with rather interesting Nix, even if the act of signing, and checking sheets of paper to be rather boring.” He then nods towards the remaining food on the table. “Perhaps Nix should finish her meal, before you have too much fun.”
"As long as it helps people, that's what I care about." Nix slowly pulls herself back up, taking advantage of Celosia pausing to escape the feedback loop of relaxation.
Celosia nods, taking more bites of the food and guiding Nix through the process. "Well then I think you will like our jobs. Because it's entirely about helping precious little pets like yourself find homes that will love them." She gives Nix a little squeeze, looking back over at Alistor. "And of course having Nix around means everything to me, she's such a loving, and bright lizard. I've never met a sophont who's challenged me this much, so having her melt under my touch."
Celosia swipes along Nix’s cheek, feeding her the last bite of pancake. A shudder of both pride and joy running through every inch of her foliage. "It's the most exhilarating feeling in the world."
Alistor grins, and starts to hum. Tilting his head back and forth several times. “Well, I have a feeling that you are trying to make me jealous, and it may be working. Although I will need to find just the right one. And yeah, our work is to help out sophonts in particular. If one has a dangerous history, we comb through to find if they are predisposed, or have just been put in bad situations. If one is looking for their own affini, and has struggled to find someone they connect with, we can put them in the right direction too. If someone suspects something dangerous, we will investigate, determine the actual danger, and take care of things moving forward. If it helps others, we handle the work behind helping them.”
"I have no idea what you're talking about Alistor. I'm simply enjoying time with my pet, not everything has to be me teasing you." Celosia runs her hand in circles along Nix’s back. Guiding her floret to lay down on her lap.
"Well, then I need to thank you for helping me find Mistress Sola and Celly!" Nix rocks her back up and down, making sure to get as much contact as possible with each pet.
Celosia’s entire form tenses up as Nix calls her Celly. Her calm mask cracking into a far more flustered expression, as she starts petting Nix more intensely, in order to distract the girl without directly reprimanding her. "You never heard her call me that, Alistor."
An unnaturally wide grin breaks out across Alistor’s face as he leans forward on his elbows. “Oh I have no idea what you are talking about… Celly. I see that everyone close to you can’t help but call you as they see you. After all, it fits you and that soft spot so well.”
"I can't believe this is happening again." Celosia huffs, running her hand through Nix’s hair. "I can't help but soften around Sola and Nix. Sola is basically a walking pile of innocent sunshine, and Nix has been through enough hardship in her life for thirty sophonts."
Nix simply giggles, and basks in the attention. Finding Alistor's form of teasing her owner, incredibly entertaining. "See Mistress, Mister Alistor agrees you act all tough, but you are a big softy in your core!"
“You are absolutely right Nix, your mistress is the biggest softy around. Oh I remember the first time I called her Celly, the sounds she made were amazing, on top of being ones I did not know an affini could make. I’m glad to know that even now we can get such similar reactions out of her.”
Celosia pulls Nix fully into her mass. Wrapping her vines around each of the girl's limbs, and pulling out an injector quickly slipping it into her florets eye flower. "There we go, some nice W's and A's. I think you've helped Alistor more than enough for one day petal."
Nix squeaks as her ever present need, skyrockets out of its normal controllable range. Her owner's rhythm is far more intense and flustered than normal, but oh so easy to let herself follow. Burrowing her way deeper into her owner's mass, and starting to actively buzz in appreciation.
Alistor chuckles, watching Nix disappear into her buzzing, before focusing back on Celosia. “You know, if you both hadn’t determined her to be a lizard, between Nix’s sounds and how you hold her, I would assume her to be a beeple. Have you thought of introducing her to one? I bet it would be entertaining watching the two interact.”
"Well I was going to have it be a surprise for you but." Celosia pulls her datapad out, pulling up the render of Nix’s desired body. "She'd bet with me before accepting domestication, to allow me to give her neck fluff if I convinced her." She grins, running a vine around Nix’s neck right over her collar. "And you say that now, you should see how Sola holds her. It's exactly like an oversized beeple." She flicks over from the render, to pictures of Nix curled up inside Sola’s chest.
“Okay, that is beyond adorable, both the mods and how Sola holds her.” Alistor smiles at the pictures, before focusing back on their work and speaking in affini. “You have picked a great time to really come back to the job. The line was cast and some more fishies have taken a bite. One of the ships was doing some awful things, and we have a lot of sophonts to help find homes.”
“At least we found them, and are getting them in safe vines.” Celosia sighs, glancing down at Nix occasionally. While catching feral ships had always been good news before, it’d never sent such a sharp wave of relief through her to hear they’d been caught. “Any time we’re dealing with the ferals, please if Nix gets curious, and starts pestering you, just tell her they were sophonts who were lost. While she won’t be able to remember the farelist movement, or her time within, she very specifically asked to never be allowed to be reminded of them.”
Alistor nods. “I promise, I’ll do my best to keep it at that. Still, we will have quite a few cases to take care of, some forcefully displaced that were on one of these ships.” He sighs, and shakes his head. “Some of the things terrans can do to each other terrifies me.”
“Thank you.” Celosia starts looking over the paperwork once again, this time going far more slowly to get a better idea about the situation.
Nix very slowly rolls over in Celosia’s arms, mostly due to the fact that the constant pets that had been keeping her relaxed finally stopped. Looking up and around to find that she’s no longer in the cafe with Alistor, not even remembering saying goodbye, and instead being held up against her owner's bust, in a waiting room. She stretches a bit, before starting to poke at Celosia’s cheek. “Aaaaaah?”
Celosia looks down at Nix with a smile. “Back to being aware of your surroundings petal? Just in time for the vet, and you can see your mods one more time before they get prepared to give you them, just in case there are any last minute decisions to make.” She grins and scratches behind Nix’s ears a bit more. “That is, if you can say anything like a big girl.”
“Baaaah!” Nix leans her head up against Celiosia’s hand, sticking her lip out slightly to both beg, and pout at the same time. “Baaaaaah, Aaaaaaah!” Reaching out she grabs onto Celosia’s shoulders, her hands starting to stim on the vines, in order to keep herself from losing focus.
Soon enough, Dinaea walks up to the pair. “Well hello, I’m glad to see you two in. Come along, we will finalize Nix’s body mod choices, and schedule her time to get them installed.”
Celosia stands up, smiling at Nix’s stimming as they walk into the back and towards Dinaea’s office. Once there, she sits down and turns Nix in her lap, making sure that Nix is facing the screen as Dinaea brings up the so far decided upon model. It looked mostly as she remembered, except with the addition of the sharper teeth, and black stripes that fade to blue. Giving her scales a clearly bee inspired pattern.
Dinaea smiles, and leans forward. “So, are you ok with this, or do you want to make some changes Nix?”
Nix nods rapidly, noticing the little changes that her owners had made. Unable to repress her excitement in the slightest, her entire body nearly vibrating out of her owner’s lap. “Bzzzzzzt!” Her fingers dance along the length of Celosia’s vines, while she continues to just stare at the body she’ll have apparently sooner rather than later.
Dinaea giggles at Nix’s excitement, and reaches forward to pet her. “That sounds like approval to me.” She then looks up at Celosia. “Well, I can have the mods ready to go in a week or two. Make sure that there’s enough time to adjust to her implant before moving onto this. You will need to keep her entirely relaxed during her recovery, given how extensive the process will be. Just keep her close, and make sure she doesn’t mess with the bandages.”
“Thank you, we’ve all been excited to finally get to this point.” Celosia slowly stands up, holding Nix out slightly to Dianea can pet her as much as she wants. “And after seeing Pearl’s mods herself, that excitement has only skyrocketed.”
Dinaea begins to eagerly pet Nix, barely resisting plucking the girl out of her owners’ arms. “Oh I bet, I helped with her mods myself, and Pearl turned out precious. I can’t wait to see the end result with Nix here, the simulation doesn’t ever do it justice. After a few more weeks you will finally be the most adorable lizard on this station, with just some extra beeple aesthetics, you will be so cuddly too!”
“Bzzzzzt!” Nix kicks her legs, taking a moment to just enjoy the sound of her own buzzing as Celosia starts scratching her under the ear, on the opposite side that Dinaea is working over.
Dinaea’s hand gets just a little too close to her mouth, causing her to try and bite it, out of instinct and a need to stim on something due to all the attention.
Dinaea pulls back a little before chuckling. “That is right, you like stimming in that way too. I don’t want you hurting yourself.” She pulls away briefly, looking around her desk before returning and unwrapping what appears to be a large plastic flower attached to a necklace, sliding it over and sticking it in Nix’s mouth. “Here you go sweetie, something to enjoy in the meantime. It’s also durable enough to survive your future teeth.
Celosia smiles, continuing to pet Nix. Making a mental note to start telling affini who are interested in petting Nix, that she bites if you let her. “Thank you, I’ve been worried about getting the right vines for Nix’s stimming, and keeping them close by. Something like this will be helpful when I am working, even if I will have Nix with me a lot of the time. Sola will probably still use her vines most of the time.”
“Of course, she’s probably going to always prefer your vines. Especially after the mods, this should give her something to relieve that urge, without needing your undivided attention.” Dinaea watches Nix start to gnaw at the flower, clearly growing more curious, and fond, of the flower’s texture with each bite. “In regards to this, I have a bunch of graft recommendations that I’ve put in the paperwork. One in particular is already being grown at Sola’s request.”
Celosia looks through the paperwork, reading the recommendations. “I would like to request these grafts be prepared for myself as well. I want to have everything needed to keep Nix as happy and comfortable as possible at my disposal. I think I can work some of these recommendations into a new look as well.”
“Well have fun going to the nursery, those are just some recommendations I’d gotten while helping with everything.” Dinaea slowly takes the pair back out of her office, leading them all the way out into the halls of the ships. “And tell Sola I say hi will you, I’ve been looking for an excuse for us to catch up outside of work, for a while now.”
As they get out into the hallway, Nix shuffles around in Celosia’s arms. Nestling up against her owner’s chest, and starting to nip at her new stim toy more intently.
Celosia slowly shifts her cloak around, covering Nix up to the best of her abilities. Despite not having the amount of size needed to hold her like Sola would. She can easily tell that Nix is starting to get overstimulated, and tired from so much socializing in one day.
Upon getting back to their hab, Sola rushes over to give Celosia and Nix hugs. “You two were gone longer than I expected. I’ve got some tea ready, and I’m all done moving things around, so we can have everything be nice and quiet.” She gently takes Nix from Celosia’s grasp, rocking their floret. “You look worn out petal, I bet some cartoons and juice would help you relax.”
Nix nods, leaning her head up, and using her teeth to present her new stim toy to Sola. Finally able to relax as the feeling of both of her owners’ rhythms starting to slowly harmonize with one another runs through her body.
“Dinaea went out of her way, and got Nix a gift.” Celosia takes a step back, starting to go around the living room and double checking everything now that they’re home. “And Nix was able to have a very nice and polite meal with Alistor. She’s been a very good girl all day.”
“I’m so proud of you sweetie, I know how off put you were this morning.” Sola pets Nix gently, before sitting on the couch and turning on the TV. “Come and sit down Celly, I know just because you had things under control, I can tell that you are also worn out. Sit down and have some tea.”
“I will in a moment, I just wanted to check and see how the guest room looks.” Celosia peaks into the guestroom, while it’s fairly simple everything is large enough for either a single Sophont or a floret and their owner to stay there. Moving over to the work out room, it’s filled with almost an entirely new selection of devices, a small corner strictly reserved to Nix’s stations.
“I think I got things put together fairly well. It’s not the most extra room, but it should be just enough for either my patients, or if we have guests stay over for any reason. Then of course I had to make sure we had a comfortable area for Nix to do her work outs. Just because she is healed does not mean that she should stop working towards good health.” Sola puffs up proudly as she pets Nix slowly. “I know getting this all together was a little tricky, but the fact that we were able to work it all out, has me thrilled.”
Celosia chuckles, happy to see Sola taking genuine pride in her work again. “I couldn’t agree more.” She walks back over, sitting down on the couch and nestling into Sola’s side. Her vines start to casually loop with Sola’s, in order to create a shared hammock to hold Nix in.
Once they’re finished, Nix crawls out of Sola’s arms, flopping down into the hammock and starting to buzz happily. Starting to stim the side of the vines, adding her own little tune alongside both of her owners rhythms.
Sola smiles at Nix’s buzzes, and tune before looking at Celosia. “So, do we have a time frame on Nix’s bodymods? I’m excited to see her get what she has wanted all this time.” She wraps a few more of her vines around Celosia, rubbing her back while keeping the hammock stable for Nix.
"It's going to be another week or two, so Nix has more healing time, and so they can make sure everything is perfect." Celosia nods, leaning back and starting to watch the painting show that Sola has on. "I heard you're ordering a new graft from the nursery, I was looking over the recommendations Dinaea gave, and found several interesting choices myself."
Sola grins, nuzzling Celosia gently. “Yeah, I have felt like while I have a good nibble vine for Nix, I could have a better one. I also checked to make sure it would be good for Nix’s new teeth when everything is done.”
Celosia leans in against Sola, starting to rock the hammock gently. Watching Nix’s eyes drift shut, rolling over to cuddle deeper into the embrace. “That will be great, so if you have the time, do you want to be the one to take Nix to Dinaea for therapy next time? I feel like she would like it better having you there with her, especially depending on how much time you end up needing to dedicate to your job.”
“Of course, honestly if I hadn’t needed to set things up the way I would like, I would have come with you today. You and Nix are my highest priorities, and really, most of my patients, while they need a lot of focus, Nix needed more than any other before.” Sola keeps the rocking steady while happily looking at Nix. “Just because I love my work, doesn’t mean I will slack at all in taking care of Nix.”
“I never thought you would, and as nice as it would have been to have you along with us today. Having a smaller group really worked out in keeping her calm.” Celosia pulls out her datapad, starting to casually go through the paperwork to get more grafts. Occasionally shifting it over to show off to Sola, mostly so they will both have one of each graft, in case Nix wants or needs one of them while the other isn’t around.