7. Helpless

by Cracked_Ruby

Tags: #cw:gore #cw:noncon #dom:female #f/f #hypnosis #pov:bottom #scifi #sub:female #drug_play #Human_Domestication_Guide #memory_play #petplay #slow_burn #transgender_characters

Time for Nix to actually get to know the first floret she'd ever met! No Cw's for this chapter, just a whole bunch of cute stuff!

The next two days are quiet, painfully so for Sola, as Nix pulls herself back into her carefully constructed persona. Only occasionally giving one or two word answers, in response to questioning. Almost always ending with the girl simply looking away, and refusing to interact further.

While she’d do all the physical therapy that Sola laid out for her, and try to keep her independence while bathing, for the most part. It was very obvious she was only doing it out of obligation, rather than desire to heal. Simply going through the motions, in order to keep up appearances.

The entire time, Sola just keeps giving Nix all the love and attention she can manage, gently trying to pry the girl out of her spiral. Eventually hatching a plot, and sending a few messages to Anthurium. On the third day of this tortuous routine, Sola and Nix are sitting on the couch with Nix after breakfast. 

Sola slowly, and carefully brushes the girl’s hair. Styling it the best that she can, knowing Nix would leave it a tangled mess otherwise. “Hey, I was thinking of maybe doing something fun, and different from the basic therapy we have been doing, does that sound like something you would be interested in Nix?”

“Sure?” Nix looks up from what had become their daily hair care routine. Sola rubbing something into it to make it grow longer faster, while maintaining its health, while she sits silently, and watches whatever Sola has decided to put on for the day.

Which mostly comprised the same series, and type of shows Nix had requested the last time they’d watched tv together. If only because Nix refuses to tell her what she wanted to watch other than this.

Sola nods, and once finished with Nix’s hair, helps guide the girl off the couch, and towards the door. Presenting Nix’s cane in front of her to take. “Well, I’m going to have us open up with a walk outside. There are not many out today, so we should have a mostly quiet time outside. Then I was thinking of maybe heading to the Cyber Cafe, where we can get the waffles you loved so much, and just enjoy the atmosphere.”

“Sure… that sounds, nice?” Nix nods slightly, taking her cane from Sola, as they head outside of the hab. Her eyes remain locked on the ground as they walk down the halls, seemingly playing a silent game with herself, to keep on top of the vine murals. Keeping as much distance from Sola as possible during the walk, not pulling against her leash, but always making sure when there was more slack, to get further away again.

“Nix, I hope you slept well, I want us to have a good time, and get to talk as friends, alright?” Sola begins to hop in similar ways to Nix, stepping on spots between the ‘vines’ in the murals. “I want us to talk again. Really talk, I miss you Nix.”

“It’s just… hard.” Nix carefully keeps her steps focused on avoiding the flowers. Internally berating herself for letting Sola get her out like this, where she couldn’t just go curl up in a corner, and ignore everything. “Everything is different now… I sleep well, but it feels like everything else is so much worse.” She grumbles a bit, stumbling, and accidentally stepping on a flower. Her shoulders slumping slightly in disappointment, as she quits the game.

Sola stops her own game, and looks over Nix. “How so? I’ve done my best to make it better, while respecting your wishes, and I want you to be happy.” She smiles gently, not even trying to hide the clear worry in her voice. “If you want to stop talking about this for now, we can stop, I just… I love you Nix, and seeing you hurt, hurts me.”

Nix nods slightly, continuing to walk forward, if only to avoid looking Sola in the eyes. “I’ve just been stuck thinking about what you said to me. That you think I wouldn’t even do well outside of domestication, and… that just hurts. On a level I can’t describe, it hurts. You were the one person I thought might actually believe in me… but why would you now.”

Sola winces, of course that would come back to bite her. Even if it was the truth. “I do believe in you, but when I do say that, I do think that even getting fully healed up. Well… you show many signs that line up with those who end up going under domestication, because they need what it offers. When I said that, I wanted you to start thinking about what you would get out of domestication.” She brings them to a stop, kneeling down and pulling Nix into a hug, brushing her hair while holding her close. “I did not at all intend it to come as me not believing in you, and I am so sorry that it seemed that way.” 

Sola gently rubs Nix’s back, making sure the girl can’t simply run away from what she’s saying, on any level. “You have improved so much through physical therapy, and you have worked so hard to get here, nobody can take that away from you. Scheduled check ups will need to happen, to make sure your implant continues to work as intended, given how vital it is to your life, and how I pushed for it not to come with an implant, but that is just small compared to the leaps and bounds, you have made in such a short time.” She pulls back just enough to force Nix to look at her face. “Nix, I won’t lie to you, I would really like to stay in your life, if as an owner through domestication, I will follow whatever you want, and if not, I would adore to just be your friend who you can rely on. I want you to think about it, what you want deep down. I know what happened, and that could affect decisions to be made about you up top, but that doesn’t change that you are the human girl I love. Always remember that.”

Nix shakes her head, giving Sola a light hug, before pulling back, and starting to lead the affini down the hall once again. “I appreciate that, but at this point we both know that’s not up to me. I gave up that right, when I talked to Cel. Let’s just go, I’m hungry, and I really really don’t want to talk about any of this.” As they get to the end of the hall, Nix looks over the pretty slow foot traffic. Slowly taking a step out on her own for the first time. Refusing to let herself go and hide inside of Sola’s chest again, not because this isn’t nearly paralyzing to her anymore, but because she doesn’t deserve the comfort, and care, that the little compartment provides her.

Sola nods gently, pulling a little closer as they walk, making sure she can stand in the way if anyone tries to get too close to Nix, talking down a few affini sending them away, eventually pulling to stop a few feet from the Cyber Cafe. “We are almost there Nix, then it will be much quieter.”

Nix nods slightly, looking over into the cafe. Noticing that it isn’t just slow, it’s entirely empty, aside from Anthurium and Jason, and has a closed sign put up in the front window. “Um… I don’t think they are open… we should just go home I guess.”

Sola smiles and waves inside, using a few vines to wrap around Nix. Quickly leading her inside the cafe. “Nope, we are just having a private event. The make Nix feel good about herself, event.” Once the door is closed, Sola releases the vines on Nix. “Now, we have games if you want to play any, and if not we can watch a movie in the back room as a group, or just see where the day takes us!”

Nix narrows her eye, glaring up at Sola as they walk over to their hosts. Failing horribly at containing just how annoyed this turn of events has made her. “You tricked me.”

“To be fair Nix, Mistress, and Mis Sola, didn’t think that you’d come if they told you!” Jason has a wide grin on his face, as he waves over at Nix. That same slightly glossy eyed dopey look as every floret Nix had ever seen, painted across his face. “So surprise!” He tosses his hands up doing jazz hands.

Sola smiles, and nods to herself. “Seriously Nix, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if you knew, and like Jason just said, you wouldn’t have wanted to come if you knew. Now if you want your waffles, we can make them easily, and just overall have some fun.”

Anthurium grins, gently petting Jason, while she leans on the booth that Nix had been in the first day that she’d visited here. “Nix, I know you have only been by once so far, but I really want to help show you that life in the compact, no matter how your options unfold, is caring and satisfying. Everyone deserves to be loved and cared for, so today is all about you with just a small group, so you can be comfortable.”

“Sure… comfortable, in a group.” Nix chuckles a bit at the concept, slowly walking over to the booth, and climbing up into it. Sliding into the corner, and curling up slightly, her eye occasionally flicking between Jason and Anthurium. “Well… come on.”

Jason is the first to jump up, virtually skipping over to hop up on the other half of the booth. Anthurium gently lifts him up, and places him down in his seat, giving him a light pat. Causing the boy to shudder and let out a little squeak, before turning back to face Nix. “I promise you won’t regret it! While we did deliver the waffles as fresh as possible last time. I promise they’re so much better in person!”

Nix simply nods, flashing a mixed smile at the boy, starting to tap away on the table to ease her anxiety. It’s not like she can blame him for being this cheery, he’s hopped up on all kinds of xenodrugs, but it doesn’t make the level of energy on display any less uncomfortable.

Anthurium hums to themself. “I hope you don’t mind, normally Jason is only on a small dose when we are working, but I figured letting him have a larger one, as it is just friends here, would be ok. He is good at pulling back and calming down, if you need it, Nix.” 

Sola nods, sitting down next to Nix in the booth. “Seriously, it is amazing how Jason responds, I don’t see many getting this hyper while still being in control. If I remember correctly he is on As and-?”

Anthurium’s body shudders, in a way that to Nix seems like prideful purring. “Some Ds, very small dosage, he doesn’t like being too shy in public… then of course there is his G dosage. I’ve adjusted them all to a few settings for preference. He also likes to use Js, but that didn’t seem suitable for a meet up like this, unless Nix also wanted to give them a try.”

“Hahahahaha noooope, not me! Also anyway, I can’t take any of the drugs that would mess with my ability to move right now, because I’m healing!” Nix as she’s talking backs more and more into a corner. Remembering the terran cuddle pile that was being shown off the one time she’d seen a class J cafe. Failing horribly to hide the crimson flush across her cheeks.

“Awwww, well I hope you get better quickly! then you’ll be able to try any type of xenodrugs you want!” Jason bounces up and down, Waiting for Anthurium to get into the booth, before sliding up onto her lap. “So if you ever wanna try it out! I’d totally love to see you blissed out, while we play, and Mistress and Mis Sola talk!”

Sola smiles gently, watching her friend and floret together while sitting next to Nix. Pushing down the little pang of jealousy that she can’t do that with Nix yet. “Well, that will depend on what Nix wants. Her healing is moving at a slow and steady pace, but more time is needed.” She looks over at Nix, and keeps a vine near, in case she needs it for stimming, or just to hold. “Right now, like Nix said, it is imperative that she maintains a clarity of mind, and body, for everything to settle correctly. Beyond that, she has a right to always be comfortable too, but regardless of what happens, I’ll always be there to watch over what happens.”

“Yup, so I don’t think I’ll be doing anything of the sort, when it comes to… that.” Nix shakes her head, taking a deep breath as she continues tapping on the table. Trying to find something to change the topic. “Soooo food?”

“Oh right!” Jason turns around, climbing up Anthrum’s side, and whispering into the affini’s ‘ear’ for a few seconds. “Alrighty mistress will make the meals, and while we wait. Would you like to play anything?”

“Maybe a board game or something? Slower strategy game type thing?” Nix looks over at all the computers, and a small shelf of tabletop games that weren’t there last time she visited. “Are you really into games or something?”

Jason nods rapidly, gesturing at his personal collection of board games. “Yup! Before the accord surrendered, I liked to collect various board games, and I have a small collection of computer strategy games. While Mistress, and I, remade some of my favorite ones with a bit more of an affini twist, my old ones are still on my drives, and in a container. Once a week we have a game night, and she beats me every time, sometimes we have friends over. If I’m feeling extra confident, I go without the Ds, and we just play games and have snacks. For this, we figured a second game night, but with just us, would be a good way for you to have fun. I can help you pick some games out if you want!”

Anthurium chuckles lightly, giving Jason a few light pets. “I’ll let you two decide what you wanna play. Then once we’re done with breakfast and cleaned up, I’ll pull out something.” She lightly boops Jason on the nose. Causing the boy to wiggle around one last time, intently watching as his mistress walks into the back room of the cafe to start cooking.

“An affini twist? What does that entail?” Nix raises her eyebrow, curious on what the explanation would be, but entirely certain that whatever it was, it would be damn near impossible to beat whatever player is playing the affini. Or literally impossible! She hadn’t seen the rules, for all she knows they put in. ‘at the end of the game, all the cuties get domesticated even if they are winning’, just because they thought it would be funny. Given the boy's current personality, she couldn’t deny the possibility.

Jason nods to himself a few times. “Well, I do have a few that are… unfair and all, but like, we made our own art for a remake of chutes and ladders. I’ve got fair and unfair versions of Risk, our own carved chess pieces… aaaaas well as an unfair set of rules for chess, but that is mostly fun for when it is over getting into some fun cuddling!” He giggles a little. “I’m still working on artwork for some others, and I’m thinking about asking if other artistic florets want to help me on designs.”

“Unless calibrating jump drives properly is an art, I doubt I’d be able to help with that.” Nix snickers a bit at all the mentions of these ancient tabletop games. Expecting to hear about them in a museum rather than in a personal collection. “But I’m happy you’ve found hobbies that you find fulfilling. I’m… honestly not even to a point where I can think about that yet.”

Jason flashes Nix a small compassionate smile. “Just give it time, settle down, however things go for you, find peace with it.” He nods to himself, before looking between both affini. Fairly certain of why he’d been asked to meet Nix at this point. “I was… very scared at first, but I was willing to embrace everything that the affini had to offer… but between that, and my mother finding out I am-” He grits his teeth for a moment, before almost immediately calming back down, shaking his head.  

“She rejected me, and eventually I almost took my own life. After being deemed a danger to myself, I was put on the domestication program, and my mistress took the time to help me love myself, and move forward into what makes me happy. I guess what I am saying is… you are now here, retreating inwards will just hurt more in the long run. Miss Sola is super nice, and I think you need to hear other stories, from people who came into the compact. If you would be open to it, I would be happy to be your friend Nix.” His smile only grows warmer, as he looks down at where Nix is curled up. “I like to play strategy games with my friends, get others into them. In my free time I like a couple different xenodrugs, and on the job I have a specific dose to help me be outgoing, because I do really love just seeing smiles on peoples faces!”

“Wow… just throwing that all out there aren’t ya.” Nix chuckles lightly, shaking her head. Trying to process his colossal dump of words, alongside the newly reopened stabbing feeling in her chest thanks to them. “Is that a xenodrug thing, or just a you now thing?”

“Mistress makes me feel safe talking about this kinda thing. It doesn’t matter if she uses xenodrugs, I’m happier like this, and even despite that. You don’t seem like the kinda person to judge anyone but yourself.” Jason nods to himself, as if he was entirely sure of this fact, about a person who he’d in all reality only just met.

“Got it… soooo what about we start off with whatever affini version of chutes and ladders you’ve got. I’d not be surprised if it’s something like vines and florets, and whoever gets to the end gets to be domesticated first. Because after all ‘there’s an affini for every floret’.” Nix bobs her head during the quote, clearly mockingly mimicking one of the propaganda broadcasts that she’d sat through.

Jason giggles, nodding rapidly. “Yup, usually getting to the end leads to some play, but we can just have fun with it without the rewards, if that is what you want.” He hops down, and jogs over to the shelf, grabbing the game and returning, laying out the board and a few pieces. Each of the pieces is a different sophont species.

Nix grabs one that looks kinda like a bioluminescent jellyfish. Placing it at the beginning of the map, which oddly reminded her of the floor mural in the hallway outside of Sola’s hab. “Just food, and board games. Please and thank you.”

Jason grabs one that looks like a snake, putting it at the beginning. “Alrighty, we can do that. Also here, you can go first.” He hands over a beautifully carved set of dice. On the 1 place, flower petals had been engraved around the center dot. The rest had various vine and flower patterns, while still being easy to read.

Nix picks one up, holding it to her good eye to get a clear look at the dice. “Wow… ya really went all out on making even this simple of a game, feel incredibly detailed…” She playfully tosses the die down. Watching it roll a 1. “Yeah that’s like my luck.” She moves her piece forward once, slowly starting to relax into the flow of the game. Using it as a way to get outside of her own head, for even a few minutes.

“Well, while we could compile dice easily enough, but I really like to just add my own touches when I can. My first few were a bit rough, and were not balanced well for even rolls, but that is just part of the learning process.” Jason gives a little huff as his roll lands him once space past a flower ladder, failing to climb it.

Nix tosses the die again, landing another one in a row. Which ironically works out in her favor, as she is sent up a vine covered in orange flowers. “Ha ha! Bad luck strikes its way to victory again.” She rolls her eye, snickering as she inspects the dice some more. “I do think it’s really cool though, honest.”

Jason playfully pouts, before immediately shifting back to a massive smile. “Thank you, if you want I can make you some custom pieces. I’ve done all sorts, this one being for this game specifically, and less of a personal set.” He rolls and gets a decent roll at a 4, closing distance a fair bit, but still at least a turn behind.

“Well I don’t even know what I’d ask for. Maybe a cool eyepatch, once we get this flower off of my face.” Nix rolls again, getting the mystical three ones in a row. Breaking out into laughter. “So you’re absolutely positive that these dice aren’t weighted?”

Jason holds back from breaking out giggling, peeking over at the box, “I am pretty sure I didn’t open the weighted dice one, for our game.” He rolls a three and moves his piece, before reaching into the box and pulling a couple obviously lopsided dice out, checking them. “Nope, the weighted ones are here, we both have normal ones.”

Nix face palms, surprised at how genuinely the boy had taken her joke. “Well then, good to know my luck is consistent at the very least.” She tosses the dice again, getting a two… and landing on a vine, and being sent back down to the beginning. “Noooooo.”

Sola meanwhile picks up the instruction manual. Starting to read through it, to see if there’s any rule that she can use in order to help Nix in the game.

Jason grins, starting to sway side to side. “Well, we do have weighted dice if we really want a game to be one sided, buuuut that is much more for fun with our affini.” He rolls once again overtaking where Nix was, narrowly avoiding the slick vine that sent her back.

“Oh here’s a rule!” Sola giggles a bit, placing the guide on the table. ‘Helpless cutie’ if a player rolls less than three five turns in a row, they can ‘pretty please’ ask an affini to roll for them. The affini gets a plus four to whatever is rolled and never slides down a vine. “So if you don’t get going soon Nix, you can always use this!”

Nix’s cheeks turn crimson as she grabs her die. “I’m not ‘pretty please’ asking you for anything!” She then tosses the dice down… just a little too hard, hitting her piece and knocking it back towards her landing on a two. “Nooooooo.” She places her piece back up, making sure she’d not damaged it in the process. Pouting all the while.

Jason snorts, covering his mouth as he watches Nix fumble around. “Don’t worry, the pieces, and the dice, have been reinforced after I finished, and even if they broke, I can always make more.” He rolls and gets a five, giving a little cheer as he pulls further ahead, nearing a flower ladder.

“Yeah, but I wouldn’t wanna be an inconvenience.” Nix sighs, looking at the dice and at the board. Taking a deep breath before tossing it out, looking away in horror of what would happen if she gets another low roll.

Three, Sola picks up Nix’s piece and moves it forward. “Well little Nix. It seems like you’re able to activate the helpless cutie clause.” She giggles, patting Nix on the head, just barely refraining from petting the girl.

Nix shudders slightly, pulling away from the vine, and glaring at the die. Holding it up to her eye, as if she was trying to make it spontaneously combust. “You are CURSED! You have cursed me to this fate! I thought Sola was devious for dragging me out here, but nooooo it’s you. Cursed dice! How did I not see it coming!?” 

Jason laughs, quickly trading dice with Nix… aaaand rolling a six with her dice, landing on the flower ladder. “I dunno, they seem to be working just fine for me.” He playfully sticks his tongue out… before breaking out into more giggles. Clearly immensely enjoying Nix’s bad luck.

Sola grins, leaning down next to Nix, almost purring her words out. “It is your call, if you want to use the clause Nix.”

Nix tenses up as she looks at the die. Eyeing Sola, and then looking over at Jason. Taking a deep breath, she pushes herself up against Sola’s side, mumbling into her vines. “Please roll the dice for me.”

“Now Nix, you have to say pretty please! It’s in the rules!” Jason grins, giggling more as he tosses the dice around in his hand.

Shuddering Nix looks up at Sola. Narrowing her eye, fine if they wanna play that game, she’ll play that game. “Oh Miss Sola, pretty please roll the dice for this helpless terran! She can’t seem to roll anything good!” Her cheeks are burning as she finishes, and pulls back into her corner, crossing her arms and nestling her head into them.

Sola gently winds some vines around Nix’s shoulders, before rolling the dice, getting a four, with the plus four being an eight, getting them to a flower ladder to skip up, still behind but doing a lot to catch up.

Jason rolls and gets a two, leading to him pouting over not getting to keep as large of a gap. “Why did I ever include that stupid claws.”

Sola giggles, reaching a vine out to pet Jason, turning back to Nix. “So, there is no need to be this embarrassed among friends. You can keep having me roll, or you may start up again Nix, either way is fine.” She keeps the vine hug as loose as she can bring herself to have it, easy to shrug out of, while still giving affection.

“Just roll the stupid dice, they clearly like you more anyway.” Nix grumbles a bit, not pulling out of the hug, but still trying to keep a little bit of distance. “And don’t take this as anything more than what it is. I wanna win, and if this will make sure I have a higher chance, it’s a sacrifice I’ll make.”

A few more rounds of rolling go by, Sola basically doing everything except for moving Nix’s piece. Meaning the girl was only really playing the game in the barest meaning of the word, but given the subject matter, she couldn’t help but feel that was kinda the point.

In the end Jason’s head start was able to triumph over even Sola’s ridiculous plus four movement each turn. Mostly due to the fact the dice when it’s Nix’s turn, really did seem to be cursed to roll as low as they could, and never land on a vine to go up.

Nix grumbles, actually taking the dice, and rolling for the last round. Actually getting a six as she walks her piece up to a domestication center, Jason grabbing two much larger affini figures to place each with. “I guess everyone wins then?”

Jason nods, having the two smaller floret pieces cuddle with the affini. “Well, sitting here and just talking while rolling dice is fun, regardless of the outcome! That is the point of everyone winning in the end. The real question is who gets to the end first, and you did really well! I’m just lucky.”

Sola sighs, rubbing Nix’s back, glancing towards the kitchen as Anthurium comes out with fresh blueberry ‘cyber’ waffles. 

Anthurium smiles, and helps put the game board away, before setting down the plates. “The reward for cute winners is a nice meal, dig in! I feel this batch turned out extra good!”

Nix’s eye locks immediately onto the waffles, her stomach growling, and reminding her exactly how hungry she actually is having missed breakfast due to their excursion. “They look…” She pushes back some saliva as she reaches out, grabbing the plate, and some utensils. “Really good, thank you Miss Anthur- Anthr- Anthurium. Bleh, sorry about that, longer names can get to me sometimes.”

Nix takes her first bite, cutting carefully along the far more complex patterning than the previous meal. As if it was a challenge, to see if she’d even be capable of eating it alone, without messing up the puzzle, and at the very least she couldn’t deny that she loves a challenge. 

Jason on the other hand, simply leans back against his owner, letting her deal with cutting up the meal, and feeding him little pieces. Noticing Nix glance over at him occasionally, but far too distracted by the meal, and his owners return to actually say anything about it.

Sola simply leans back, observing the two terrans, and staying on standby for Nix, her vines still comfortably draped across the girl's shoulders. Almost astounded she’s made it this long without Nix retreating. “So both of you have been working on artwork for various board games? That is really impressive, do you have a favorite?”

Anthurium grins, and nods. “The human game Risk required probably the most work out of our projects so far, but it has been a lot of fun, learning the rules and how to adapt them to a compact setting, avoiding all the horrible implications of the original.”

Once Anthurium finishes up with his meal, Jacob leans back up from his relaxed position. Squeezing Anthurium, and nuzzling them lightly. “Yeah, so much of old tera culture surrounded war, so adjusting those games has been such a pain. Until of course my amazing mistress told me to try adding affini choices into the game, as the way to win it. Either by pasification, or simple public opinion victories!” 

Nix finishes her meal, satisfied with how she handled the mini puzzle before her, taking her water bottle from Sola, and starting to sip from it. “Guess we’ll have to play something a little more complex… next time?” She smiles over at Jason, an unusual for her standards, heir of hopefulness in her voice. 

Despite the clear difference in their personalities, this was the first teran who didn’t look at her, and call out her spine, or her missing eye. It felt nice, to just be her, and have someone actually enjoy spending time around her. Even if she can’t understand why he does.

Jason nods eagerly. "That sounds great to me Nix! I can't wait to play more games with you!" He stretches a little bit, before getting some help to hop down to the ground, and come over to Nix's side of the booth. "Here, before you leave, let me show you to the break room. If you ever come over, and need some space, you are welcome to it."

Nix nods slightly, scooting over, and gently getting herself down from the seat with Sola’s help. Putting one hand on his shoulder, as she leans on her cane, stumbling slightly and having Sola place a vine to keep her stable. “Thanks Sola… okay let’s go.” 

Nix quietly follows behind Jason, as they head into the back room. Past the kitchen, and over to a door next to the freezer, revealing a still affini sized room, filled with all kinds of painting, and artistry tools. An affini sized couch in the corner, next to a desk several miniatures are sitting drying. “W-wow… and this is all just so you can take breaks while you’re here?”

"Yup, sometimes even with the xenodrugs, I just get overwhelmed, and I need a quiet place to calm down. Most of the sophonts who help out here do too. I've got my art supplies, my old minis, new minis we have made, and a few spots where anyone can just rest. I want you to know, you are always welcome to this space." Jason chuckles to himself, rubbing his arm. "When I am off most of my D xenodrugs, I'm a lot more quiet and reserved, and when I need a break, I get it."

"Hard to imagine you being reserved in the slightest… but I get it." Nix walks over to one of the chairs. Sitting down, and leaning on her cane, letting a small genuine smile slip onto her face, now that they're alone. "I know I've said it before, but thank you for being my… friend. I haven't had one of those in- stars knows how long."

"Everyone needs a friend, and I like to pass it forward, and be a friend to those who need one." Jason nods, sitting down next to her. "I have a specific xenodrug regime to loosen me up for working in public. But when I'm not working on games or art, I like some more… recreational classes."

"Guess that makes sense, honestly most of the classes seem horrifying. Losing my ability to talk, actually hypnotizing someone! And don't even get me started on class J's." Nix snickers slightly, shaking her head. "Not trying to rain on your parade, guess I'm just extra cautious about this kinda thing. Achieving any kind of independence was a hard fought battle growing up, and now being told that independence isn't even necessarily a good thing, and they just have drugs that can hack my brain into agreeing with that." She shudders slightly. "Worries me."

"Well, if I can alleviate some of your worries, most of those are more intended for recreational purposes. On the independence issue, Accord society really hammered in that being dependent on anyone was a bad thing, while at the same time making us dependent on a system that for all intents and purposes, sucked the life out of everyone dependent on it. With the Compact, they do encourage everyone to look into domestication, as their system doesn't suck the life out of all of us… and they do enjoy just… spending time with us. They typically won't use things like hypnosis or xenodrugs without us asking, unless they know we like it, and they are trying to give us a treat. Also, losing the ability to talk is surprisingly liberating, just getting to have moments to zone out, and have no reason to communicate that you are non verbal. It is kind of hard to put into words how it feels."

"Yeah, well I already have my body shut down my ability to talk to people whenever I get anxious. Hell, ask Sola, I don't know if she just knows it for me, or if she knows me because of it. But I communicate using Morse fucking code taps on her vines sometimes." Nix laughs, shaking her head as she leans back in the chair. "Still definitely not sold on the whole xenodrug thing other than the obvious necessary ones, like class G's and whatever I'm on to keep my back from causing me insane amounts of pain."

"That is kind of cute, I know there are quite a few other affini know Morse Code, but it is just something for you and Miss Sola. As for your feelings on other xenodrugs, I'd say give a few a try, once it is safe for you to. It is like making your anxiety just melt away for a while, letting all that stress just wash off." Jason nods to himself several times. "Yeah, that is a good way to word it. I'll say Class Js are pretty intense, but fun, and with all the others, when you are safe to have them, maybe describe to Miss Sola what kind of feeling you want, and she can recommend what would give it. Just because some have a 'hard' description, doesn't mean that there is not a dosage blend that can have other results."

"Yeah, I guess I'm just concerned about what they will find." Nix taps both of her temples. "In here, because I'm positive I'm going to be seeing a doctor about all my mental junk, to get on medication for… whatever it actually is, I doubt even if I get to remain independent, Sola would allow me to not." She groans.

Jason grins, sliding his seat up against Nix’s. "Well, it is very obvious Miss Sola cares a lot about you, mental and emotional health is just as important as physical health, so I would imagine she is setting things up so regardless of what happens, you will have the hard part taken care of, and will have a reasonable schedule. I have a vet who is my therapist that I see pretty regularly, though I am at the point where I could go once a month, I like going twice a month, just because I like them, and they are available."

"Now that's something I never thought I'd hear about any form of medical professional. Available." Nix snorts, clearly finding the concept hilarious in comparison to Jason’s concerned expressions. "But yeah, I'll try anything if it means I'll be allowed to take care of myself, at this point."

"You know, depending on the set up you can get a lot of independence, even within a domestication. My mistress doesn't interfere with what I want to do, unless it would turn out to be harmful to myself, or others. It makes what we do together extra special, and what I do as myself important to me."

“I have heard as much.” Nix shakes her head, considering the very real possibility of her forced domestication given her actions aboard the free spirit. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot, especially given.” She tugs on the collar around her neck. “This thing, and while I definitely do not want it, Sola at least… Doesn’t seem like a horrible person to be around if it came down to it.”

“Well, Miss Sola has always seemed really nice to me, though I haven’t seen her take this much interest in her patients before. So you must be really special!” Jason winks at Nix, nestling up to her side to get the point of Sola’s level of infatuation across. “I’ve heard from several ex-military who have been forced in, and a few who have surrendered, and chosen domestication anyway. A lot of them like to reminisce on how far they have come from how they were, many very… VERY anti affini previously… you know the type.”

“Oh boy do I.” Nix laughs, shaking her head and slowly pulling away from Jason. “But I’d rather not think about those kinds of people. Lots of bad memories jingling around up here.” She taps her head as she slowly stands up. Her smile faltering, shifting back into that same empty frown from when she’d first arrived. Reminding her just how little she deserves the boy's kindness. “I think it’s about time for me to head home though… I’m kinda drained from this much talking.”

Jason nods, walking up to give Nix a hug. “Alright Nix, I had a lot of fun with you today. And always remember, everyone deserves to be happy.” He rubs Nix’s back gently, leading her out of the ‘employee lounge’ and back to his mistress and Sola, the two affini chatting animatedly, making vine gestures while some of their vines were entwined with each other.

Nix looks up at the two affini, sighing as she walks up to Sola’s side. Tapping the woman several times before finally getting her attention. “Hey Sola… can we go home. I’m tired, and not feeling great.”

Sola frowns, scooping Nix up in her vines. “Of course sweetie.” She glances back at Anthurium. “I’ll message you later, have a good night. And make sure to give Jason plenty of cuddles, for being such a good host!”

Anthurium giggles, reaching down to pick up Jason. “Oh I will, he always has been great in smaller meet-ups like this.” She pets Jason, drawing a groan of happiness out of him. Clearly trying to keep the boy’s mind off of how worried Sola obviously is about Nix.

Sola stands up, and starts walking out of the cafe, continuing to hold Nix to her chest as they walk, letting Anthurium close the door behind them. “Do you need anything Nix? I can order something to be dropped off at our hab, by the time we get there.”

“I don’t know, I was having… honestly a nice time, we got to talking. Everything was fine enough, and then he mentioned feralists, and all of the junk in my head. That I’ve been ignoring in order to enjoy this trip at all, started pouring back in.” Nix slightly tugs against the vines to try to get back down, only to have the vine around her chest tighten, and keep her firmly in place. “I just feel like a bad person… but everyone here reminds me how loved and appreciated I am, in spite of me being a literal fucking murderer. It’s confusing, and hurts, and I hate it.”

Sola pulls Nix up to her face, so she can nuzzle into the girl. “Nix, I understand, but even then you do deserve happiness, and kindness. You have made hard decisions in the past, you have made decisions that made sure you lived. Sure, the decision you made on that ship, it killed several others, but they were going to kill you, before we could get there… before I could get there. We are sad about every single death, but some things will happen, and cannot be stopped. What is important to me, you are feeling bad about it, only good people feel bad about things like this.”

Nix shakes her head at this response, simply closing her eyes and relaxing into Sola’s embrace. Wondering if she really even did feel bad about what she’d done, wondering why she should even feel bad for giving all those bastards what they clearly had coming. That question sitting in the pit of her stomach as they return to Sola’s hab.

And that's it folks, the fist mini arc of Recovery! Moving on from here I'll be posting one or two chapters a day until the entire backlog is eaten up. Next time on Recovery Chapter 8.Atelophobia

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