Sitting in front of the counter, Nix looks over her legs and tail’s bandages. Not daring to budge a single inch while her owners slowly unwrap the last of her mods. This set had been a bit easier to adjust to, thanks to the preexisting training Sola had already given her while she was healing from her spinal injuries for the first time.
She’s now lost almost a full foot of her height, putting her on level with Jason at 5’5, her tail as soon as it’s released from the bandages, starting to flick from side to side from excitement. Her legs have a nice scaled texture, leading down to feet that are a combination of her old, and almost clawed. Perfect for assisting in her balance, as well as climbing on her owners.
She slowly stands up out of her owner's arms, wobbling slightly at first. Taking a few tentative steps as practice, one hand staying on Sola the entire time to help her balance.
The buzzing feeling of completion dancing in her chest, finally able to see her reflection and feel like the person, the pet, who’s standing there is able to be seen. No longer hidden from herself, or anyone else.
Sola and Celosia both kneel down beside Nix, each one rubbing her shoulders before Sola speaks up. “So Nix, our beautiful little lizard. How does it feel to have all your mods in place? I know we had to wait a while to get it all stated, but we are so proud of you for being so patient.”
Nix grins, wiggling around under the affectionate touch of each of her owners. “It’s amazing, and everything I’ve ever wanted!” She nestles her head down slightly, letting the fluff on her neck push up against her face. Providing the most amazing little tingles, while her feets claws tap along the ground exploratively.
She swings herself around, throwing her arms around Sola and Celosia’s combined form. Taking a bite at her owners, starting to bite down as hard as she can, giving little affectionate tugs, against the now significantly thicker vines, that they use for when she’s bite stimming.
The pair giggle, letting their stimming vines intermingle for Nix as they pull her into a hug. Celosia allows some of her vines to flow down to Nix’s feet, experimentally tapping each claw. “It’s a good thing we got our new grafts while you were recovering, because I think you would have bit right through, even with your teeth adjusted to not be that dangerous.”
Nix’s feet take hold on each vine, as she grabs onto her owner's form. As if she’s clinging onto the side of a mountain, with vines helping support, and keep her in place rather than letting her climb all over them.
It takes a minute for Nix to spit her bite-stimming vine out, grinning up at both of her owners’ heads. “Yeah, I’d never wanna hurt either of you!” She giggles, tentatively trying to climb up higher into her owner’s arms, in order to nuzzle them directly. Her claws instinctively wraping around each vine, as she moves further up, Sola providing just enough support in order to make the climb easy on her.
“You could never hurt either of us, little lizard, but it’s nice to hear you are so concerned.” Once Nix gets to the top of their combined form, Sola leans in on her left side, nuzzling her cheek. “Such a good girl.”
Celosia brings her vines down Nix’s back, rubbing over her implants and down her tail. “You may be shorter now, but you have grown so much, we are both so proud of you Nix. That is something that I want you to always remember.”
Nix nods, buzzing as she relaxes into her owner’s embrace. Her tail slowly bending and twisting, experimenting with its ability to ever so slightly wrap around Celosia’s vine.
“For now though, I think you’ve waited enough to see your friends again. I know they’re really excited to see your completed transition, and I know you can’t wait to see Pearl again.” Sola slowly turns around, keeping Nix bundled against their chest as her and Celosia head to the door. “We’re even going over to Jason’s hab this time.”
The second Pearl is brought up, Nix’s tail thumps against Celosia’s vine even more excitedly than before. Not only is she finally complete, she gets to see her friends again! “Thank you, thank you, thank youuuuu! Bzzzzzt!” She wiggles around, keeping her head resting on her owner’s shoulders.
Celosia chuckles, and twirls one of her vines with Nix’s tail. “You are very welcome, our little lizard. I know they have been excited to see you again too, but to be honest, if Pearl had been around, you most likely would have tried to move your restricted limbs, and then we would have had to sedate you more than we should have. This way you could recover fully, and now you can be a cute surprise for your girlfriend, and best friends.”
Nix starts giggling, rolling her head back. Only to have it caught by one of Sola’s vines raising up, and starting to pet her. “Yeah, I can totally see that happening. Thank you for making sure everything worked out right, Mistresses!”
“It’s absolutely no problem petal.” Sola smiles softly, walking down the halls of the Equabloom. Gently repositioning Nix to be instead of hidden, pressed up against their combined chests, instead be seated in a hammock made of her, and Celosia’s vines, intermingling with one another.
Nix rolls around in the hammock, getting onto her knees, and looking over the edge. Excited to look around the ship for the first time in weeks, along with wanting to be extra cute to show off for her mistresses.
On their walk, many affini couples and individuals, all with their florets came up and comment on how cute they all look together, how adorable Nix looks and how shiny her scales are. Sola and Celosia just grin and pet Nix, allowing a multitude of pictures to be taken, on the condition of them getting copies later. Having to dissuade several affini from getting their hands too close to Nix’s mouth while they’re still training her about her new mouth. Soon enough, they walk up towards a new hab to Nix. “Here we are petal, would you like to go in first?”
“Yes!” Nix climbs over the edge of the hammock, her claws helping her keep a grip as she slides down onto the ground, and starts to bounce. “I know I’ve seen it before somewhere, but actually being here is so much more exciting!” She starts to knock on the door to Anthrium’s hab several times.
Sola looks down at Nix’s excitement, standing outside of a place she’d never been before, and responding with joy and interest rather than fear and mistrust. She feels her vines tighten around her core slightly in joy, as the door to the hab slides open.
Anthurium standing on the other side with Jason, the boy dressed in a cosplay of his commander for the boardgame the group had played. Making him look like a mix of cyberpunk and post apocalyptic, with a more cute flair. All of the pieces of armor still having flowers embroidered into them. “It’s been a while Nix, it’s good to see you again.” Anthurium looks between Sola and Celosia, flashing them a playful grin. “And I’m sure you two have a lot to tell me, if that form is anything to go by.”
Celosia smiles, and glances at Sola who is still entirely enamored with Nix. “Oh a lot has happened, we can talk over tea, while our florets all have fun.”
Jason chuckles, glancing Nix up and down. “Wow, between you and Pearl, I am feeling a little left out, I may need to see about getting some body mods of my own.” He throws his arms around Nix. “Seriously though, we’ve really missed you, although I know a lot of healing, and recovery, needed to happen with this extensive mod work. Come on inside, Pearl has had to be on her M’s to keep in one place while waiting on you. Let’s get Resin to let her go.”
Nix returns the hug, wiggling Jason from side to side. “Your cosplay is absolutely amazing!” She takes a minute to hold him close, before pulling away and rushing inside. Her hand now significantly larger than Jason’s with her claws, wrapping around, and tugging him along.
Resin is sitting on the couch, with Pearl in its lap. Dressed up in a costume of her commander as well. “Hello you two, it’s good to see you finally back with us little Nix.”
“Oh my stars, Jason, how could you not tell me we are doing costumes!? You monster!” Nix giggles a little bit, walking up to the edge of the couch, and starting to climb up it to reach Pearl. Mostly as an excuse to show off to Jason, her tail wagging all the while.
Jason chuckles, and shakes his head. “We got you a copy of your costume in my room. We just wanted to surprise you first.” He laughs a little, and pats Nix’s tail. “Resin, I think now would be a good time to give Pearl control back. After all, I hardly think Nix will hold back from cuddles either way.”
Resin eyes Nix curiously, a small smile sitting on its lips as it watches her sway from side to side. Barely holding back from pouncing on to Pearl immediately. “Well since Nix didn’t just ram into us immediately. I guess I can part with my Pearl, for now.” It slowly injects Pearl watching its pet come back to the moment.
“PEARL!” Nix grins, pouncing from all fours on top of Pearl, and starting to nuzzle her. Giving little affectionate nips at the points on Pearl where her scales are placed. “I’ve missed you sooo much.”
Resin shakes its head, carefully picking the cuddling duo up off of its lap. “You three have fun, I’m going to go and talk to Nix’s owners for a minute, call out if you need anything.” And with that she walks away, walking over and giving Sola and Celosia a hug.
Pearl gasps, and returns Nix’s nips with her own. “I missed you so much too Nix! And look at you! You look amazing! Your scales are so pretty, and your tail is perfect! And each of your claws are perfectly grown!” She grins, and kisses Nix on the cheek. “Now then, I think you need to join Jason, and I, in costume.”
Celosia and Sola give Resin a hug, before looking over and smiling at Nix’s interactions. “We’ve missed you all these past few weeks, but making sure Nix didn’t hurt herself trying to interact while still healing was important.”
Resin and Anthurium nod, looking over the trio as Nix is dragged into the bedroom to get changed. “I can see why you two were so concerned about that, if I didn’t know better I’d think you’d put her on something, to make her more hyper than normal!”
Anthurium leads Celosia and Sola to sit down across from them. “But really, how are you two doing? I get the distinct feeling Nix isn’t the only one excited about permanent changes in her life.”
Sola’s vines tighten slightly as she nuzzles against Celosia. “Well, we have been obviously growing closer. Trying this out more often, honestly outside of our individual work we are pretty devoted to staying like this.”
Celosia chuckles a little, returning the nuzzling. Feeling a little awkward doing this in front of their friends, but refusing to part with Sola because of something as trivial as her own insecurity. “We have been talking about name changes, but we are still figuring out what feels right for us.”
“Well I’m happy you two have found something that makes you happy.” Resin nods slightly, leaning back in its seat keeping an eye on the door to the bedroom, for when their florets return. “I guess you really did ‘evolve’ after all Celosia.”
Anthurium nods, going over to the kitchen to start cooking while they all talk. “I’d say they both have, so do you think Nix’s increased energy is going to be a permanent thing? Or will she calm down after a few weeks of having her implants in?” She flashes a grin at Sola. “Because I know you could keep a better hold on her, if you really wanted to.”
Sola giggles a little bit. “When we took off her bandages from the first half, she calmed down slowly, though she ramped back up quickly for the second half. I am sure that Nix will be back to her quiet self in a week or so. And we could keep a better hold on her, but we felt letting her ‘off the leash’ when we got here would be healthiest for her.”
“That and seeing her this excited…” Celosia chuckles, shaking her head. “It’s been what we’ve both waited all of this time to see, so it would be absolutely criminal to pull it away from her. I do agree with Sola though, once the high of new experiences slows down, I think she’ll go right back to snuggling up in our vines.”
While the group talks, Nix jumps out of the bedroom, now dressed in a bright blue overcoat, with a red cape. A blue half dress that goes down to her knees and has imitations of her eye flower coming up and along the right side. “Mistresses! Look, I’m a super cool space pirate now!”
Pearl giggles, rushing out behind Nix. Her outfit is deliberately made to look more worn down, with rips along each pant leg. Imitating her being slightly oversized from what she’s wearing. As well as a mechanical tail stuck to the back to give her the appearance of having a tail without getting one installed. “Nix, calm down! You almost forgot the hat!” She plops a blue captain’s hat that has a blue and yellow flower on the side, down on top of Nix’s horns. “There we go!”
Sola and Celosia both look over, shooting out of their seat from raw excitement. Their entire body purring at the sight of their floret. “Such a cute little space pirate we have, although I suppose they must need domestication, otherwise they could hurt themselves trying to take on something too big.” Sola giggles.
Celosia grins in response. “Oh I agree, these little cuties all on their own, it would be a shame to leave them unattended.”
“You’ll never take my codes Mistresses!” Nix takes Pearl’s hand, puffing her chest out as much as she can. But with her significantly reduced height, it just looks like she’s showing off her neck fluff.
Pearl snickers, leaning up against Nix’s side. “Yeah, we’re all here to protect Nix’s secret codes!” She leans forward playfully pretending to take a swipe with her claw.
Jason walks out behind the pair, a grin on his face as he rolls his eyes. “Maybe not telling them about the secrets in the first place would be strategically wise, captain.” He snickers, standing on the opposite side of Nix from Pearl.
Resin and Anthurium watch this exchange, leaning in slightly to see where exactly their florets are intending to take this little bit. As well as how Sola and Celosia will react to it.
The currently fused pair chuckle in tandem before both speaking at the same time. “Your skipper is correct, revealing vital information is a poor tactical decision. Run while you can, because the armada will soon find, and tame all of you little cuties, as well as gaining your secret codes.” They make their arm unravel into a storm of vines, playfully reaching out for the three.
Nix squeaks as her owner's vines reach out towards them. Clearly moving just slowly enough to allow her a chance to react, rather than immediately being tangled in their grasp. “Scatter!” She pivots, pulling Pearl with her as she starts to giggle at her owners chasing them around.
Jason simply steps out of the way of the chase, starting to slowly skulk his way over to Anthurium and Resin. A smug grin on his face as he leaves his crewmates to their fate.
Anthurium giggles, and reaches down to pick Jason up. “Why hello there, are you being a good little fishy and giving us information?” She runs her fingers through his hair, giving him little scratches. “I promise you will be treated well, little pirate.”
“I am! I mean, have you seen my captain?” Jason chuckles a bit, watching Nix and Pearl playfully duck, and dodge, around each of Sola and Celosia’s vines grabbing at them. “If I don’t help you capture them, they’ll just end up stranding us on an abandoned planet!”
Nix hops up on top of the back of the couch, swaying from side to side as she looks at the vines that are slowly surrounding her on all sides. Taking little snaps at each, her tongue running along her sharpened teeth as she virtually drools over the opportunity to latch on.
“Oh don’t you worry little one, we will take in your friends, and give them loving homes. Our best agent is actually pursuing them right now.” Anthurium giggles, and begins to pet Jason. Looping a vine loosely around his neck.
Pearl gasps, and falls back into the combined affini vines. “Captain, I’m not going to make it! Don’t worry about me, save yourself!” She makes a dramatic movement with her hand over her face, tilting her head back as the vines encircle her.
“Noooooooo!” Nix growls, pouncing at her owner’s combined form. Latching on to where their combined neck rests, and starting to jerk her head from side to side. Hardly noticing as the vine that she’d actually had placed in front of her mouth, starts to drip a thick honey colored sap down into her mouth. Her bite only growing more fierce as she sucks on the vine. Her hands and feet latching down on her owners as well, slowly being pulled in against them without notice.
The pair giggle as they pull Nix in, keeping her between their faces, and beginning to talk at the same time. “Such a good girl, biting the special vine. Just drink up, and calm down, little lizard pirate. You will be able to be comfortable, and with your lovely first mate. All you need to do is keep drinking, and let yourself fully calm down.” They bring some vines up to stroke up Nix’s spine, and the back of her neck.
Nix wiggles around, continuing to make little bites, and nips at the spot. Eventually calming down enough to give up on biting through the vine, and starts to slowly lick the holes where her treat is leaking from. Each and every one of her owners touches providing waves of both relief, and absolute calm. Reminding her how nice it feels to nuzzle into their vines, to let go.
Resin grins, walking over and plucking Pearl out of Celosia and Sola’s vines. If only to turn her around so they can watch this part of the little role play together. Running a vine up and down Pearl’s cheek.
Pearl leans into Resin happily, enjoying the show that Nix and her mistresses were putting on.
Sola and Celosia slowly shift around, reforming into a somewhat humanoid appearance with Nix in their lap. “Such a good girl, enjoying her treat, and calming right down. Are you having fun? Should we put you back down with Pearl and Jason?” The pair grin and lean down. “Or should we keep hold on our new captures, and show them all of our loving vines?”
Nix rolls around on her owner's lap, her tail the only thing still moving as it thumps against the vines that comprise her owner's chest. “Bzzzzzt!” She giggles a bit at the sound she made, starting to tap along the vines that are holding her arms down. Little pinpricks of warmth and pleasure being elicited by each.
“Oh my stars.” Pearl claps, nestling more into Resin’s lap. “When did you get grafts to be able to do that Miss Sola? Miss Celosia?” She looks over the vine Nix had tried to bite into, noticing that she’d only barely managed to break the surface due to how thick it is. “I was worried nothing short of a high dose of E’s would calm Nix down at that rate, but she just looks soooo cuddly now!”
While Celosia is focused on Nix, Sola smiles and speaks up. “Well, Nix has gotten very stimmy with biting, and knowing how her teeth and jaw would get, we looked into what options would be best.” She raises the thick vine to show it off. “We can flush this vine with several xenodrugs just in case, but for the most part, it is just a sweet sap that Nix loves to drink up. We are also making sure that she knows she can only bite on this vine hard, everything else she needs to control her bite strength.”
“That’s good.” Pearl nestles her way into Resin’s vines. Letting her owner wrap around her, and pin her down. “It’s amazing to see Nix this happy, but wow.” She chuckles a bit, letting out a sigh of relief. Her heart rate finally starting to calm back down. “I think maybe Tina has had more impact on her physicality than she realizes. That, or you’re just that good at keeping Nix exercising Miss Sola.”
“It’s a little bit of both, Wisp and Tina have both been pushing Nix to get more physical just by being around them.” Celosia smiles, gently using her hand to pull Nix’s head up to look over at Pearl. Showing off how her eye flower has drooped down, and her other eye is nice and distant. “And Sola has really loved having Nix around for the patients she’s working with. So Nix has been working out more there.”
Sola giggles a little. “She does still like to just have her quiet art time, but having Nix at least be a little more physically active is very nice. I have her on a daily routine to keep in shape, on top of whatever she will do. I know she may go on a few jogs with Wisp from time to time in the future.”
Pearl wiggles a little, and smiles at the dopey look on Nix’s face. Giving her girlfriend a little wave. “Depending on our plans for any day, Mixtress may let me go out on a jog too, right?” She looks up at Resin nestling herself just that extra inch deeper into her owner’s lap.
“If you want to go out on a jog, then I would be more than happy to clear up some time to go on one, or two, a week.” Resin grins, crushing Pearl with a massive hug of vines, and nuzzling the top of her head. “Just hearing you be so willing to go out through the ship without your class M’s, makes me so happy, so having you get extra exercise at the same time, is a win win in my books.”
Pearl squeaks as her cheeks turn a little pink. “Well, having Nix there will help, but I do really want to get better in general. I’m, tired of being scared of being outside like that.” She cuddles in, enjoying the firm vines. “Maybe we can drag Jason out too.”
Jason chuckles, and shakes his head. “I deliver food from our cafe more commonly now, so I am already used to going around out, and about. Although if Mistress is alright with it, I would enjoy going on some jogs with my friends.” He smirks at both of them, happy to have them all captured by their owners, just like he’d planned. “Hearing that both of you are interested kind of has me taken aback, but I’m looking forward to going on a good route around the ship.”
“It’s not that hard to convince Nix once you know the right tricks surprisingly. While it’s not in an unhealthy way like she used to, she obviously likes to experiment with her body, and show off how much she’s improved physically.” Celosia runs her fingers through Nix’s hair, looping them around their florets horns and starting to slowly rub them. Giggling as Nix starts to absentmindedly drool into their lap.
“So by giving her opportunities to socialize, and feel accepted without her disabilities being brought up, while she’s exercising. Has been such a useful tool in getting her to actually enjoy doing it.” Sola nods, reaching into her chest, and pulling out Nix’s flower chew toy. Slowly sliding it around their florets neck, before placing it in front of her mouth. Watching as Nix ever so slightly leans her head forward to start nipping and nibbling on it.
“Then it looks like we’re going to be making our own jogging group!” Pearl nods to herself, keeping a confident smile on her face. “I’m happy Nix is able to do it all without feeling judged. I still need to meet Wisp and Tina in person, I think I saw Wisp, and Alistor in the toystore a few days ago, but I’m not sure.”
“Yes you did petal.” Resin sighs, giving Pearl a little squeeze. “And I’m sure you’ll meet them soon enough, but if Celosia is to be believed. Wisp is getting their implant in a week, and Alistor made it very clear we wouldn’t be vine nor root of either of them, until after they’ve recovered.”
“Yeah, that sounds like Alistor for you.” Celosia shakes her head, a small grin finding its way onto her face. “I’m sure by the next time we see them, they will be absolutely inseparable from one another. Not that they weren’t already, but I think having some time spent not in our hab constantly, will do them both some good.”
Sola giggles, and continues to pet Nix, her vines tracing up and down her back. Nix ever so slightly arching it alongside each and every stroke, letting little mewling whimpers out all the while. “Well, I know that Tina wanted to get Nix to try a few easy sports, and Wisp seemed very interested in ‘basketball’ if I remember correctly. I think beyond jogging, things like an occasional game could be fun for all our florets. Also Alistor and Wisp have the strangest relationship, but they seem to really get along, which makes me happy.”
“That definitely sounds like Alistor.” Anthurium rustles slightly, bouncing Jason up and pulling him a bit tighter against their chest. “And I’m sure Jason would love playing a more physical game every now and then.”
“I’ve never played basketball… but it shouldn’t be that bad!” Pearl nods, a few times. “After all, if Nix is going to play, I can’t see it being the most competitive place in the world.”
“Oh no, Nix is going to be the cheerleader!” Celosia laughs, ruffling Nix’s hair with her free hand. More than happy to milk more mewls of pleasure out of their drugged up pet. “So you’ll be able to have your girlfriend rooting for you, the whole time.”
Pearl’s cheeks turn flushed as she considers the promise of Nix as her cheerleader. “I uh, Mixtress can we please do this! I really wanna do this now!”
Resin laughs, and nods. “Of course, I think we should take some new measurements, so we can make Nix a good cheerleader outfit. That and some cute pom poms. I bet it would be a good idea to make her some gloves with them sewn on, just to be careful with her claws. That and I bet her mistresses would love having to give her sips of water themselves.” It smirks at Sola and Celosia.
“I will have you know, we have already started to design Nix’s outfit.” Celosia chuckles lightly, shaking her head. “But you’re right, we would appreciate you making her some pom poms for her new hands. Given general design is my specialty rather than the more detailed parts that you’re describing.”
“And of course we’d love having Nix need to ask us for her water. The way she sips it when provided, it’s just so adorable!” Sola’s form rustles excitedly, jostling Nix around enough to wake her up ever so slightly from her stupor.
“Neh?” Nix looks around at the group, starting to grab at, and press down against the vines under her. Pawing at them, and clearly trying to level it out and stop them moving enough, to go back to being cuddly, and getting her owner’s attention. “Neh!”
Celosia and Sola peer down at Nix bringing their lap back under control. While wiggling a few of the thicker vines in front of Nix’s face. One of Celosia’s hands slipping around to sit on the back of Nix’s head, giving little light scratches. “Such a cuddly girl you are, and so pretty too. Do you want to be the cutest cheerleader? Getting to cheer on Pearl, Jason, Tina, and Wisp?”
Nix nuzzles into the pets, nodding slightly and letting out little hums of appreciation and approval. Reaching out with her mouth to start nipping lightly at the provided vines, a thrum of satisfaction running through her entire body. As she manages to latch onto one of the presented vines, being far more gentle with this one. Rather than her more vicious pounce from earlier, mostly savoring the taste and texture of her Mistresses filling her mouth.
“We will get those gloves done for her right away Miss Celosia!” Pearl pumps her arms excitedly, observing Nix’s more instinctual behavior. Fascinated by the differences between this and the Nix of just a few months ago now. Both of them are definitely the same person she’d fallen for, but this Nix is so much more instinctual.
Free to explore and let herself be curious, rather than constantly wincing at the smallest of surprises. “I promise it’ll be ready, by the time we’ve all set up for the game! And Mixtress will definitely hold me to that.”
Celosia grins at Pearl. “Thank you Pearl, I know Resin will hold you to that. Would you like us to work on a basketball jersey, or outfit for you? The offer goes towards you as well Jason. I think I could make something super cute for all of you, while being suitable for this much activity.”
“Absolutely, after all if we’re all going to be on the same team for once, we have to show at least some level of solidarity!” Pearl leans to the side, poking Jason on the cheek. “And that means not abandoning your captain at the first possible opportunity, to cuddle more with your owner.”
Jason chuckles, rolling his eyes as Pearl’s teasing. “I will have you know, I only abandoned ship because Nix wasn’t keeping control of the situation! I’m more than happy to play basketball with all of you! Just after I’ve gone through all of the rules a few dozen times.”
“Well then I guess I’ll have to make outfits for the whole team, I’m sure Wisp and Tina will be more than happy to be on your side. Then we can have all of you play against one of the other ship groups, oh it’ll be so cute!” Celosia laughs lightly, making sure that their combined form doesn’t accidentally jostle Nix out of her comfortable nest.
“Jason, please don’t go too hard into trying to figure out how to cheat the rules.” Pearl rubs the side of her head, glancing over at him with a small playful grin. “After all this is for fun.”
“Winning is fun! And I’ve never played basketball, let alone a version that definitely has rules for florets! I am simply keeping properly informed!” Jason flashes a grin back at Pearl, crossing his arms and sticking his tongue out.
“Don’t worry little one, I’ll keep Jason from obsessing over the rules too much.” Anthirum nods to themself, giving him a few light pats on the head. “After all, we’re still working on the game we’d shown off when Nix first woke up from her implant, so most of our game time gets taken up with that.”
The group goes on talking around Nix, her flower closing shut as her eye slowly drops closed. Letting out little breaths, as she falls asleep to the sounds of everyone talking. A small smile on her face all the while.
Celosia kneels down next to the couch, splitting apart from Sola and slowly pulling Nix out of her partner’s chest, placing Nix down in front of them. Looking at their florets resting form, a small smile creeping onto her face. “There we go, home from the party, and all tuckered out.” She looks over at Sola. “So… how did that feel for you?”
Sola stares at Nix, before tilting her head up to meet Celosia’s gaze. “I never wanted to leave that state. Not just having Nix happy and running around, but us being… US. Every moment of it brought me peace, happiness, and so much joy.” She shivers lightly. “Talking to everyone felt so nice being with you, and they seemed so excited that we worked so well like that.”
Celosia nods, leaning forward and reconnecting a few of their vines. Feeling a bit awkward while not holding Sola even for a brief moment. “I couldn’t agree more, after all, I get to be in sync with the kindest affini in the whole compact.” She leans in, gently squeezing Sola in her hug. “And I never want that to change.”
Sola wraps her own vines around Celosia, and squeezes her right back. “Well, I suppose we should get more in sync, and figure out a name we are both happy with. I know that being in harmony with one of the smartest affini on this ship, we will get all the paperwork for such a life change through in no time.”
“You’d be surprised with how easy it is.” Celosia gently presses her core out of her mass, and into Sola’s compartment in her chest. “We can take as long or as short as we need.” She slowly guides them both to sit down, having their mass cover Nix up like a weighted blanket. “I’m sure Nix will be shocked to hear her name changing a third time since arriving here.”
Sola giggles, pressing her own core into Celosia’s. “She may be shocked, but I think Nix will also be happy. She loves being around both of us as much as possible, and this change will make that even more of a recurrence.” She begins sliding her vines into Celosia’s mass, pulling their forms back into a singular one.
“You’re going to make me need to grow when I rebloom, if only so I’m not constantly dangling off of you. I like to have my roots on the ground sometimes, thank you very much.” Celosia wiggles around, redistributing most of her weight and vines to create a companion dress appearance around Sola’s loose vines.
Sola giggles, and shifts around a little bit. Looking over how well they accent each other, while in this state. “Well, I know I am due for a rebloom soon. I don’t plan on getting smaller though, after all, I have grown to this size for a reason.” She vibrates against Celosia briefly. “How close are you to a rebloom? If we can hold off and do it together, I think that would be wonderful! I wouldn’t want one of us to get hurt holding off though, if it ends up being too far apart.”
“I’m getting pretty close to it myself, maybe thirty or forty terran cycles before I would need to, as long as nothing happens. But if you need to do it sooner I’d be more than willing to simply rebloom early. I’ve been starting to feel a little slower recently, and I know you sustained your first major burn injury while aboard the Free Spirit.” Celosia sighs, running vines along the right half of Sola’s body. “Those injuries were worse than you let on, I actually saw the report.”
Sola winces, nodding slightly as her massive form seems to shrink in on itself. “I couldn’t let Nix be without medical attention any longer in that situation, but I’ve never been burned like that ever before.” She shudders against Celosia. “I didn’t know that fire from an overcharged plasma gun would hurt that bad, but I knew I had to be strong for Nix. When she was being operated on, I got some quick grafts when my vines were not coming back nearly as fast as I expected them to.”
Celosia nods slightly, pressing their cores up against one another. “And you made the right choice, if you’d hesitated for a moment she’d have died.” She smiles, pressing her head against Sola’s. “I just wanted to tell you that I’m so proud of you, for saving her. For being strong enough to make sure that she was safe, and able to be taken on board to be treated.”
Sola whimpers quietly, smiling before muttering out. “Thank you. It was all so scary, and once we were back on board the Equabloom, everyone was more concerned with me being too soft on Nix. I know I’m younger than most, and had no prior live rescue experience, so I’ve just kind of felt like I needed to push through on my own. I couldn’t show weakness, I had to be confident in my decisions about Nix’s care.” She tightens their vines while her core leans into Celosia’s. “Even after the time that has passed since saving Nix, I’m not regenerating there like I normally could, and I’ve been trying to think of how to tell Nix that I will need to rebloom soon.”
Celosia pauses, her grip on Sola going from passive to one of complete leverage. “Sola Verse, have you been putting off reblooming this entire time, because you thought you needed to keep Nix safe?!” She looks her partner in the eyes, speckles of gray swirling in her own. “Tomorrow morning, I’m going to get us floret sitters, and we’re going to get you rebloomed properly.” Her words, much like when telling Nix to stop playing around when she needs to focus, hold nothing but absolute weight and clarity. No anger, but instead a simple overwhelming concern.
Sola looks up, and nods along. Letting her form go limp, her vines giving up on covering one another to hide the faults. “I was thinking I could make it one more Terran cycle or so, I’m not wilting yet. But, well I don’t think I can really hide it much longer anyway.” She shivers lightly. “I’ve been pruning myself when I’ve noticed any leaves, or vines, that look like they are going to start wilting. I didn’t want Nix to think she’d gotten me hurt that badly. She already blamed herself.”
Celosia slumps down, releasing Sola from her grasp if only slightly. “I can understand that, but you still should have told me sooner. According to all your reports you were healing ‘fine’.” She flashes Sola a small compassionate smile. Doing her best to remind Sola that she’s not upset, simply worried. “Looks like Alistor is going to have to correct that paperwork while we’re busy.”
Sola giggles lightly. “Well, it is the least he can do for me putting up with some of his snide remarks, playful or not.” She slumps a little bit herself. “Thank you for understanding, and I am sorry for falsifying my reports on my own condition. It is something I have felt really conflicted on, and I know I should have been honest the whole time. I still would have been fine enough to get through Nix’s trial if I didn’t hold off, then I could have used that week to rebloom if I had been smarter about it.”
“Agreed, both about Alistor, and about you needing to be honest about this kind of thing.” Celosia sighs, giving Sola a small kiss on the forehead. Hoping that it would provide at least some of the relief it does for Nix for Sola. “Imagine what Dinaea would say.”
Sola shakes her head, rolling both of them around to cuddle around Nix. “I can already hear the hundreds of hours of her classes she’s going to make me retake now.” She lets out a weak chuckle. “But for now what do you say we join our precious lizard in resting.”
“That sounds like the second smartest thing you’ve said all night.” Celosia gently runs her vines along Sola’s. Making a special note to actually explore more deeply this time, noticing that the lump she’d normally slide a vine over, is now uncovered. Revealing a dark black almost charcoal in texture patch of vine. “Good night.”
Sola Verse, Fourth bloom, shifts around. Her form is just all tall as ever, bright petals flowing down her back, still emulating the appearance of the setting sun, on the planet she’d been born on.
Dinaea sighs, looking over the new form of her pupil. Entirely lacking any of the many grafts that she’s going to want back. Whether it be for cosmetic appeal, or for Nix. “Sola, I’ve ordered all your new grafts during your reblooming.” She crosses her arms, with a blank frown on her face. “But next time, tell me if an injury gets this bad. I would have been more than happy to pet sit Nix during your reblooming.”
Sola almost wilts under Dinaea’s gaze. “I know, I’ve already been guilted over holding off like this.” She looks down a little, tapping her roots against the ground nervously. “Thank you for ordering my grafts, it means a lot to me.” She cautiously brings her eyes up, meeting Dinaea’s own. “I know that looking strong in front of everyone is not worth hurting myself over, it won’t happen again.”
“Good, and I’m positive it won’t, not with your other half keeping an eye on you.” Dinaea sits down behind her desk, slowly shifting into a more relaxed state. Even allowing herself to smile. “And now that I’ve gotten your warning out of the way, congratulations. While it isn’t how I would have done things, your work on the Nix and Wisp cases have really shown how much you’ve grown as a vet, since coming to the EquaBloom. I can’t wait to see more of your work in the future.”
Sola perks up, her petals fanning out in pride as she bows her head. “Thank you Ma’am! I always strive to help any sophont in need. I know there is always more to learn, but I will make sure to continue helping any sophont who needs a proper PT instructor.” She looks up smiling at Dinaea. “Honestly, Nix and Wisp have both taught me a lot. Then Celosia has really helped me with our own culture, that I have kept myself away from.” She smiles, and holds some of her vines over where her core is. “Honestly, I should get back to my girls soon.”
“That you should, Nix really missed you at this week’s appointment. Celosia said that they’ll be waiting for you at your first date spot. Apparently Nix is helping, and Pearl is doing a small remembering today.” Dinaea waves Sola off, leaning back in her seat with her smile only growing. Obviously trying to remain at least somewhat professional rather than just sweeping Sola’s mistake under the rug. “Now get on out of here, your grafts will be in your hab by the time you get back, think of this little period without them as a chance to reflect on being too reckless.”
Sola quickly turns and rushes out, her vines slithering along the ground. Leaving the office, she waves at several of the other affini nearby, being polite but not stopping if she could help it, outside of making sure she doesn’t run anyone over on her way out.
Arriving at the park, Sola can see that Nix and Pearl are sitting together, under the white flowered cherry blossom tree.
Nix holds Pearl against her chest, as the girl quietly cries. Not daring to move, or say a single word. Simply being there, humming a gentle toon, and allowing Pearl to process these emotions.
Celosia, and Resin, both are sitting on either side of the pair. Keeping their vines pressed against their florets, and available if needed, but not forcing their way between the moment. Resin’s expression is actually a slight smile, happy to not be hearing Pearl blame herself externally this time around.
Sola slows down, quietly slithering up to Celosia, and resting her vines against her partner, choosing to not interrupt the moment with Nix and Pearl. She glances around, thinking on the peace that this park seems to always have, particularly around this tree. She catches Celosia’s gaze and leans in some more, nestling her head into Celly’s while listening to the quiet sounds the florets are making.
For just a moment, everything is quiet. Nix pulls back slightly, as she realizes that Pearl has stopped crying. Looking down at her partner, she can’t help but smile even wider, because for the first time in her life. She finally feels like everything is going to be alright.