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

Atelophobia: The fear of imperfection. This chapter Nix goes to the vet for the first time, so more talks about how she was treated aboard the free spirit, as well as how she feels about what happened both there and in the rest of her life. 

Nix opens her eye, stretching the best she can manage as she wakes up from her sleep, which she couldn’t deny was much more peaceful now that she’d accepted Sola’s help on keeping the nightmares away.

Of course that’s not why she woke up so early, no it was because of the anxiety of what today's event would be. Bringing her to a psychiatrist, to see what can be done to help the girl with both her trauma, and over all just get her in the swing of going to one.

For once she didn’t feel like rolling over, and nudging the sleeping mass of vines next to her. Electing to give herself as much extra time before the day truly starts as possible.

This of course proved to be a horrible idea, her brain starting off by leading her to think about Jason again. But slowly drifting away from the happier subjects of her new life, back into the same cycle of self hate she’d always known. Why does she need help, why does anyone care about her, after what she’d done, and to Nix most horrifyingly of all, the fact that she genuinely loved having friends in her life again. And is absolutely parilized by the possibility of losing them.

Several vines start wiggling, pressing up against Nix’s back. “Hey Nix, sorry if I was sleeping longer than you were. How about we get up, I’ll make breakfast before we head out.” Sola begins pulling herself together, stretching some before checking on Nix’s back, making sure everything feels right and helping the girl sit up.

While a little bit more stiff, and tense, than even her normal. Nothing seemed to be working improperly, likely existing due to Nix’s already high levels of stress.

“Sure, maybe I can take a bath while you cook or something?” Nix shudders at the feeling of Sola’s vines against her back, especially along her implant. “It’s been almost a week of me being awake. I’m sure I can handle it alone by now, as long as you help me in, and out.”

“Alright Nix, I’ll keep a vine draped by the tub, so you can tug on it if you need me for anything.” Sola carries Nix to the tub, making sure the water is at a comfortable warmth, before setting her down next to it. Helping where requested with the pajamas, then helping Nix into the tub, this time unlooping her vine from her, and laying it on the edge. “I shouldn’t be too long, if you don’t tug on my vine, have a nice bath Petal.”

Nix nods, quietly starting to use the provided products. Happy that Sola had picked up a set of bottles that she can actually read on her own, after the first few days. 

Looking down under the water, Nix can’t help but break into a small smile. Poking her now tiny growing in breasts, squeaking slightly from the feeling. “Yup, the class G’s are definitely working.” She chuckles lightly, shaking her head and grabbing the shampoo, starting to actually clean herself in earnest, instead of allowing herself to become distracted by her new additions however tempting that may be.

After a few minutes of cleaning herself off, Nix’s eye peaks over towards the mirror in the corner of the room. Starting to get curious about what she looks like now, given how Sola had been keeping her away from anything that she would see her reflection in.

Taking a deep breath, she gives Sola’s vine a little tug. Leaning up against the edge of the tub, trying to pull herself up higher to see. Only to have her arms wobble slightly, and send her sliding back into the tub with a splash, only having gotten the smallest glimpse at her hair. Which she already knew is way longer, after all it’s hard to miss when hair goes almost halfway down your back.

Sola rushes in, looking into the tub and smiling. "How are you doing, Nix? You look happy, I'm glad." She slowly lifts Nix up, helping her out of, and starting to drain the bath. "You are very cute like this, would you like to wear a dress today? Or continue to keep it practical?"

“If I wear a dress, you’re going to have to carry me more than normal while I adjust, so if you’re fine with that… I don’t see why wearing a dress would hurt?” Nix smiles up at Sola, taking the towel that has been placed within Sola’s mass, and starting to dry herself off. “Then maybe we can let me see a picture of myself, or a reflection, or something? I kinda wanna know what I look like now.”

"Well, I have been doing my best to make sure you came far enough, before seeing yourself, I didn't want to let you suffer from any extra dysphoria, if I could help it." Sola's vines reach into the bedroom, coming back with some undergarments, and a dress. "I asked a friend to modify a companion dress, making it a bit more like an addition to your style. I hope you like it." Sola holds the garments, vines ready to help Nix with whatever she requests.

Nix takes a look over the blue scaled dress, a thick black belt with a flower that Nix could only assume was the same type that had replaced her left eye, as a latch on the front to tighten. “Lemmie guess, you thought it’d look good with my cane?” She chuckles, slipping the dress on with little issue. Taking a few careful steps with Sola’s help, to adjust to the slightly more restricted leg movement.

"Guilty, and I was right, you look absolutely precious." Sola lifts Nix up, turning to the mirror, and making sure Nix can fully see herself as she now is. "Now you can get a peak at how adorable you look."

Nix pauses as she looks in the mirror, her facial features having softened significantly. Clearly no longer the malnourished slightly sunken masculan mess, now replaced with a very soft, and almost plush exterior. Despite this fact there is only one thing on her face that she fixated on, the flower. Its blue petals still damp from the bath, while the core is a crimson red.

Nix gently places a hand on the flower, tracing the rim of it and the vine that grew up into her hair, and over to her back, to keep it in place.

Weirdly, she couldn’t help but feel slightly sad. This flower was going to leave her eventually, she’d get her eye back, and there’d be nothing left of her, that would show what she’d done in that room. “Can I keep it?”

"The implant? Not this exact one but yes, if you would like, I believe that some photoreceptor adjustments could be made. It likely wouldn't be quite the same as a more specialized eye. It does look very pretty with you though." Sola’s vine traces along the flower. Curious on why Nix had suddenly changed her mind about the flower, but keeping quiet on that for now.

“I don’t know why, it’s just… the idea of getting this back.” Nix taps on the center of the flower. “After what caused me to lose it, it just doesn’t feel right. Hell, I’ve gotten so used to the one eye life, I don’t wanna go through the process of learning how to see with a new eye! I just got used to this one!” She laughs, shaking her head and leaning back.

"Well then, it is important that we get your nerves receiving input, but I'm sure it can be done." Sola gently brushes the petals, before turning away from the vanity, and taking Nix to the kitchen. Setting her down at the table, as she goes over and makes some quick waffles. "I may not make as good of waffles as Anthurium, but I figured you would like some before going in today."

"I'm sure they'll be fine." Nix chuckles, giving Sola as much time as she needs to cook. Starting to tap on the table, and think about what she’s going to say at her appointment today. "Anyway, as long as I am here, you'll have plenty of time to practice." 

Sola can’t help but get a wide smile from Nix’s comment, finishing making the plate, and putting it down in front of her. "Of course! I want to get to making more things that you love." She gently brushes Nix’s hair, which she has learned is the closest thing to a pet that Nix will openly accept.

Nix wiggles around in her seat a bit, quickly shoveling the meal into her mouth, finishing it off in barely a minute, before grabbing her water bottle to sip out of. "Well you've done a better job than I would have ever expected already, so I'm sure we'll think of something else to do together."

Sola takes the now empty plate, and brings it to the sink before returning. “I’m sure we will. I’m excited Nix.” She picks Nix up, starting to walk to the door. “Would you rather walk, be carried, or be in my chest, for our way to the therapist? No matter what you choose, I am happy.”

“Probably in your chest, while I can handle walking, and if I have to be seen at this point, but it’s best not to stress myself out too much, before going into that room.” Nix chuckles nervously, curling up, and letting Sola form a little compartment to slot her into. 

Once she’s inside Sola, it is immediately, to Nix at least, proven to be a good idea. The streets instead of the previous day’s slow crawl, are covered in affini, and different Sophonts going about their daily lives. 

Sola happily strolls down the halls, and large common areas, greeting various affini, while making her way towards the medical wing. Once inside she talks with an affini at a desk, before being motioned further into the office. 

Sola takes a seat and opens up her chest, gently helping Nix out. “Alright, the vet will be able to see you soon. Do you want me to come in with you, or wait out here?”

“I’d rather go in alone.” Nix shuffles around Sola’s vines, leaning on her cane, while she looks over at the massive door. “Just… Please wait out here for me, I doubt I’m going to wanna be alone, once I come out of there.” After a few minutes of quietly waiting. Nix’s name is called, taking a deep breath, she walks up to the door, watching as it slides up. Allowing her to step inside.

Nix’s eye widens slightly at the sight of this new affini. Mostly due to how peculiar it was to see an affini with any even slightly directly frightening features. Instead of flowers, there are several venus fly traps of different colors draped over her vines. Her eyes are dark red and copper, accented by oak cheek bones. Black and red leaves draping back down her back, as a replacement for hair. Immediately reminding Nix of one of her professors during her stint in college. 

Taking a moment to herself, Nix closes her eye. Taking a deep breath, and stepping forward, intent on at the very least making a good first impression instead of staring at the affini. “Hello, I’m Nix. It's very nice to meet you.”

“Hello Nix, I’ve been looking forward to our first appointment. My name is Dinaea Venu twelfth bloom, She/Her it is a pleasure to meet you.” Dinaea holds out a hand to shake Nix’s, guiding her to a set of chairs of various sizes. “Please, pick whichever one seems the most comfortable, then we can begin.”

Nix’s eye traces over the various seats, eventually spotting a massive beanbag. Walking over to it, and simply flopping down. Letting her cane bounce off slightly, and fall over onto the ground. “Thank you, soooo… I’ve never actually been to a therapist, or psychiatrist before… what do we… do?”

“Well, we will just talk about whatever comes to mind, I want you to just tell me anything that pops in your head. However, I will state that I want absolutely zero lying in my office, that doesn’t do anything except prevent any real progress from being made. I already have your file, so I do know what has happened to you in the past, you don’t need to worry about hiding anything… but the way you talk about your thoughts, dreams, concerns, and worries is what will help me help you.” Dinaea smiles gently, leaning up against her desk. Trying to get a good feel for Nix’s body language first and foremost. “Does that make sense, Nix? Just start wherever you feel like you can handle.”

Nix nods slightly, her eye darting to the side. Great, talking about herself. The one thing she’s unequivocally worst at. “Well, I guess I’ll start at the beginning then? When I was little I thought I was mostly normal, quieter than the other kids, maybe a little more anxious.” Her shoulders slump down slightly. “But then my family saved up, and got me into a doctor for the first time… I found out in no uncertain terms that I had scoliosis. And was put into a way too expensive for its quality brace, to try and prevent it from getting worse, which led to kids bullying, and mocking me.” She groans. “And it didn’t even help, for all my trouble, all I got out of it was an eating disorder, and an even more fucked spine than when they started.”

“I have heard much from other patients, about the cruelty of terran medical care. Did your parents try to help you beyond taking you to the doctor? Any attempt to stop the bullying?” Dinaea starts writing in her notes. Avoiding looking too intensely upon Nix to prevent her from feeling like she’s being backed into a corner.

“No, just a whole ton of being told to toughen up, that’s the teran way after all, suffer, grit and bear it, because there’s no other option, it wasn’t easy to do. I’d get into a whole lot of fights.” Nix snickers bitterly. “The kinda brace I was in, was made of this really thick plastic, that covered my entire waist all the way around, so kids would try and sock me in the gut, and end up getting hurt.” 

“And that made things almost tolerable until of course, side effects started. I couldn’t tell you why, but my measurements for that brace were just slightly off, making it too tight on me. Then before I fuckin knew it, it’d started passing out randomly, a few doctors said restricted bloodflow caused it, but the legal teams for the hospital I was going to were very insistant, that there’d not been any flaws in their treatment of me. My parents of course dropped it at that point, after all no one beats the crushing weight of Tera’s corruption. Especially not a family who’s barely making enough to fund their child's hospital bills.”

Dinaea leans back slightly, frowning openly. “I just want it known that I would like to hug you, for having to go through that, but I understand that you prefer to keep the affection to a minimum.” She takes a breath. “Overall, that is terrible, the fact that the failing had to be dropped, and that the hospital had been able to just sweep the issue under the mat.”

“They didn’t just do that, in typical teran procedure from my experience. My parents sold them some of my blood, and time, to help pay for the process, apparently I am a mutation in regards to my condition, so they wanted my blood in order to research it.” Nix rolls her eye, stretching a bit, finding no issue with the explanation. “Most likely, just so they wouldn’t have to give people discounts in the future. Of course the whole time this was going on, I was obsessing over finding a talent that would get me out of the financial pit, my childhood had set me to languish in, for the rest of my life. Conveniently, I proved to be at least for teran standards, very quick on the uptake in regards to science. So I was set up with everything my parents could afford to teach me about being a jump technician, and the rest is history.” 

Dinaea nods, writing down some more notes, while keeping both eyes on Nix the entire time. Deciding now is the right time to start pivoting the conversation. “I see… I have to ask, just because you were good at it, did you want to be a jump technician? Or were there other things you would have preferred to be or get into? What kinds of hobbies or interests would you have liked to pursue?”

“Like I’ve told Sola, I never really had much time for that. Too busy with school work, but now that I’m here, I guess I’ve taken a small interest in tabletop games? A floret named Jason introduced me to one of their ‘affini cut’ versions of an old teran classic, and I had fun with that… mostly finding another teran who I could tolerate was nice.” Nix shrugs slightly, leaning further back into the beanbag, and looking up at the ceiling.

Dinaea smiles at this news, satisfied that Nix had at least found one floret who she not only trusts, but seems to respect. “Having friends is important for terran mental health. People you can confide in, ask for advice, those who will be there if you need.” She then shifts the focus once again, hoping that sweet spot would be a nice enough bandage for what they need to talk about next. “So, if I may spark a point to focus on, how were you treated aboard the Free Spirit?”

“Beatings, almost every day. Not always in obvious ways, but being tripped while I was walking through the halls. Occasionally shoving me, so I’d fall wrong and hit my head on the wall. It was kinda like a game of seeing what they could do to me, and still have me repair the ship, and get us where we need to be.” Nix closes her eye, taking a deep breath as her fists clinch. 

“Then when the war ended, I was so happy, I thought that I’d just walk out into the universe, and disappear. I didn’t trust the affini in the slightest, but anything was better than that life, but my captain never gave us the choice of being dropped off. I saw one person smile when they heard, and they were vented immediately, so I did the smart thing, and became a slave to the jump drive. Taking whatever they’d deal me, just to avoid being killed, while I took bits and bobs that broke, to make that SOS signal I sent out to all of you, over the course of almost a year.”

“How about now that you have been here? I know it is not what you have voiced would be ideal, but how are things going with Sola? I understand she is a very good help, for aiding with healing from life changing events, and disability adjustment. Have you been happy with her, at the very least?” Dinaea nods, keeping as still as possible, while still taking notes the whole time.

“There’s definitely a culture gap, but honestly, considering the other affini I have met. I wouldn’t really wanna be with anyone else.” Nix mumbles out the last few words as she calms down from her previous admissions. Happy to be mostly hiding her face from Dinaea. “She knows what boundaries I have, and respects them, even if it was very clearly reluctantly at first. I would call her a friend at this point.”

“That is very good, I’m glad you are happy with her. I can say that most of us can be more than a little bit forward, but that is part of our culture, which you brought up.” Dinaea pauses for a moment, frowning as she considers her next words very carefully. “Now, there is one thing I would like to ask you about, but it may be a little more difficult, especially as we kind of skirted around it. Would you like me to start it, or would you rather be the one to broach the subject?”

“No… I know what it is… but I really don’t wanna start it, just ask me your questions, and I’ll do my best to answer you.” Nix pushes herself deeper into her seat, the beanbag starting to cave in around her. Clearly trying to hide from the conversation on some level.

Dinaea sighs, not moving to pull her out to get a clearer view. Happy to be getting any form of compliance at all. “Alright Nix, this session, I am going to be just asking you about your feelings at the moment, and if you want to fill anything in please feel free. If this ends up just being a talk about the moment, and leaving it in the past, I will respect your wishes. When everything before your rescue happened, emotionally what were you feeling? What was running through your head? You don’t need to explain your setup or anything, just focus on what you were feeling and thinking.”

“Rage and crippling fear, the type that gnawed at the back of my head. Telling me if they came to get me, everyone who mistreated me, was about to get exactly what they deserved, like even if I didn’t live to get saved from their abuse, I’d at least get a tiny spec of vengeance, after all that they’d put me through.” Nix slams her arm into the beanbag. “And even now I don’t feel like they didn’t deserve what I did. Even now… I don’t regret it, not in the way I really wish I could.”

Dinaea nods, starting to write down exactly what they are both saying for future reference. “Feeling that was perfectly valid. Long term abuse does nothing but build up fear, and hate toward the abusers.” She leans up to at least make vague eye contact with Nix. “What I want to establish here, is that while those feelings, and emotions, were perfectly natural in that situation, we should work on finding you safe outlets, within the compact. Do you understand? While aboard the Free Spirit, you did not have an outlet for anything, but here, there are many methods to relieve tension safely. We won’t allow you to ever hurt like that again.”

“Yeah, and anyway it’s not like I even have it in me to be really violent. I chose the most cowardly way to defend myself, and even then, it was just because I was more worried about my survival, than holding to any of my morals.” Nix’s entire body is shaking as she tries to force herself to stay calm. Her collar giving a yellow flash of warning. “So unless random affini start beating me every day, I don’t see any way I’d get that desperate.”

"I understand, I just want to make sure you understand that we will help you with it." Dinaea finishes taking her notes, placing them down, and leaning back in her seat. "Well then, how has this last week been for you? Pleasant I hope? Anything you want to share? Everything said is mostly confidential, even the previous topic will just be a personal note from me in your file, given what is being discussed up above.”

"It's been the best week in my recent memories. Which is both a massive surprise, and something I'm happy to have been the case." Nix takes deep breaths, pausing for a minute to calm herself back down. "I just… I don't want to be told I'm being domesticated, and be sent away. I actually don't want to leave Sola…"

Dinaea laughs to herself, astounded that Nix hadn’t been told. “Well, if it means anything, on file Sola has declared intent in a multitude of forms, for if you should either choose, or be made to go into, domestication, she has first ‘dibs’ so to say.” She giggles a little bit, and pulls up some files showing them off to Nix. “She is very specific in her requests, that you get the last call on anything regarding domestication. I’m unsure about that part, but I do try my best to support her, and would adore seeing you with her as an owner.”

“Well… I guess there goes that worry.” Nix snickers a bit, trying not to think about how Sola choosing her would be a massive mistake. Not just for Nix, but for Sola, the affini being forced to deal with her, for the remainder of apparently very long life expectancy under affini care. “I guess at this point, I’m trying to find a hobby of my own. Other than watching tv with Sola, and that one time hanging out with Jason, I don’t really have anything that makes me happy.”

“Well, that is something that will come to you. I suggest just being open to trying out different things. I’m sure Sola would be thrilled to explore activities with you. Further than that, perhaps look into something artsy, writing, or painting perhaps?” Dinaea starts to get out a few stacks of paperwork. Happy to have pulled away from the more difficult subjects, before Nix had gotten deeply upset.

“I’ll consider it, maybe painting?” Nix shrugs, her body at this point fully slumped into her seat. “But for now, I’m sure you have some kinda prescription for me? Hopefully not more xenodrugs, but I’d not be surprised if it is.” She runs her fingers along the beanbag.

“Well, technically all our drugs are ‘xenodrugs’, and I do have one, just a bit of an alteration to what you are on already. It will be fine to move you onto this blend, and once you finish with what you are on for your spine, this should stand on its own just fine.” Dinaea smiles, patting a large stack of paperwork. “Here is a print out, Sola has the proper grafts, and can help you apply it directly, or if you want to do it yourself, she can show you how to get your dosage.”

Nix looks at the pile of paperwork the affini is holding. “Yea… Sola should be right outside, I’m sure she’ll hold… that.” She chuckles a bit, slowly dragging herself up to her feet. Taking this as a sign that this session is coming to an end. “Sooo… I’m probably gonna be seeing you again soon aren’t I?” She flashes Dinaea a weary smile.

Dinaea nods, getting out from behind her desk. And helping Nix get ready to head back out. “Indeed, I would like us to see each other at least once a week, for a couple months. Not all the times will be like this one, but I want you to come in, ready to talk about anything. We can figure out what any particular subject of conversation will be then. If you ever want to talk earlier, I can fit you into my schedule pretty easily, whether you just want to talk, or need advice. I am open to helping you with anything Nix.”

“Alright, I’ll keep that in mind.” Nix lets Dinaea open the door for her. Revealing Sola sitting in the waiting room, looking more tightly wound than the girl had ever seen her, sitting pressed up against the corner. Clearly anxious about Nix possibly having another breakdown, given the situation. “Heeey Sola… everything went well, and Dinaea has a big set of notes? Paperwork? My meds, she has notes on the meds she wants me on.”

Sola stands up and rushes over, kneeling down and immediately hugging Nix. “I’m glad everything went well, I kind of wound myself up with the wait.” She squeezes Nix, and looks up at Dinaea, using a few vines coming out of her back to take the papers. “Thank you for your patience, you can send Nix’s appointment schedule to me, and I’ll set our alerts.”

“Of course Sola, it’s nice to see you finally bonding with one of our patients.” Dinaea grins at her fellow affini, despite being a solid smaller than Sola, the older affini obviously exudes authority in comparison to Sola. “I was starting to get worried you’d end up like me. Waiting for far too many blooms, before taking a floret of my own~” She gives the affini a playful wink.

Nix looks between the pair of affini, groaning as Sola pulls Nix protectively inside of her chest. “Seriously, I’m right here!” She huffs, as one of Sola’s vines wraps around her chest to keep her in place.

Sola huffs, and looks away. “Sorry Nix, we have a long working relationship, but SOMEONE always likes to poke fun at me, over how I’ve not found someone who connects to me, not like you have.” She gives Dinaea the most stern look she can muster, mostly to make sure Nix feels protected, before breaking into a smile. “I’ll see you around, maybe over tea?” One of Sola’s vines gently rubs Nix’s back, as she stands up and holds the paperwork.

“Absolutely, have a nice week little Nix. I look forward to seeing you next time.” Dinaea turns around, walking back into her office clearly very pleased with herself, if only for getting Sola this flustered.

“So Sola, is there a single affini other than you, that doesn’t think I need to be domesticated. Or am I well and truly up the creek without a paddle.” Nix frowns slightly, nestling into Sola’s vines.

“Why would you need a paddle? That doesn’t seem like something you’d use on a boat?” 

“I was referring to a long wooden stick called a paddle not… whatever you’re thinking of.” Nix giggles a bit, taking this distraction from her question and savoring it. 

“I need to learn more of your terran sayings, they seem fun. And well… I’ll be honest that at least part of all of us want florets, so many are quick to suggest it. I would… love to have you as my own, but I would want you to make your choice to become a floret, either on your own, or with some gentle encouragement.” Sola giggles a little bit, her form rustling around Nix. “But like I have previously said, if you are given the ok to be independent, and you don’t want to be my floret, I still want to be your friend, I like spending time with you.”

“Well I’m sure that no matter what happens. I wouldn’t just abandon my ‘best friend’.” Nix leans forward out of her cubby to look Sola in the eyes. Her smile is incredibly forced, almost cringworthingly so, but still an obvious attempt to see Sola’s reaction to being called her best friend. 

Sola’s smile widens, to the point that it nearly splits her face while she looks down at Nix, reaching around to playfully ruffle her hair. “Thank you Nix! It means a lot to hear you say that!” She takes a moment to pull back a little bit. “So, we have a decent amount of day ahead of us, is there anything you would like to do?”

“Well Dinaea recommended I try out a few hobbies… so if you don’t mind, I’d like to go get some art supplies? Something so I can try to paint?” Nix blushes as her hair is entirely messed up by Sola’s enthusiasm. “Then maybe something to make my hair blue? Really commit to the look.”

“Alright, that sounds great, I know that there’s an art place nearby, and I’ll see about an injection to turn your hair blue while you shop. I think it will look fantastic.” Sola begins walking happily, any affini who looks their way smiling, and smirking as Sola keeps her vines possessively wrapped around Nix. 

After a few more minutes of walking, they arrive at the supply shop very quickly. Sola finally starts to loosen her grip on Nix, realizing the girl is squirming against her. “Alright, I’ll just walk along, and if you see anything that catches your eye, I’ll grab it.”

“Wow Sola, really doing a good job not acting like you own me.” Nix snorts, slipping out of Sola’s vines, leaning on her cane as she lands. Starting to look around the shop, to see what options she has, eventually running into one massive canvas in the back. Almost as long as one of Sola’s hab’s walls. “So… if I said I wanted this one, and enough paint to make something out of it… how annoying would it be to get it into your hab?”

“Well it wouldn’t be too hard petal… but what would you want to do with it.” Sola grins down at Nix, patting her gently a few times. “And even if I don’t own you, I still love giving you a little extra affection, that you clearly crave dear.”

“I wanna paint on it? Honestly I’ve not gotten a good idea yet, but I just… seeing this, it feels empty, and I wanna fill it.” Nix shakes her head, blushing a bit as she backs away. Slightly embarrassed about asking for something this big. “It’s okay if we can’t.”

“Oh no, we are absolutely getting it for you, especially if you’re going to be this cute about it.” Sola gives Nix one last firm pat on the head. “Now why don’t you find some paints that you want, and I’ll go start filling out the papers to get you this.”

Nix nods, walking away from the display, and over to a shelf filled with different painting supplies. Trying not to feel overwhelmed, or think about how much it would cost her, given the answer was of course going to be the low low price of free, and maybe a little or a lot of Sola embarrassing her. 

After a short bit, Sola walks up. “Well, we are getting the canvas delivered. It should be installed by the time we get back, as long as we take our time with selecting the other supplies.” She looks over all the options, fairly lost in her own right regarding painting as a hobby. “I also requested a spread to keep the floors clean, along with a few other things to help, this way you can just do whatever comes to mind without worrying about the mess.” She gently lays a vine on Nix’s shoulder. “So, what colors do you yearn for?”

"I mean, I'd prefer to get at least one of everything on the color wheel… it's just, there's so many variants of each color, it makes my head spin!" Nix chuckles, grabbing a one of each color, and then six different versions of blue. If there was one thing Sola could tell for sure, it is that the girl loves her some blue. 

“Alright, how about we get all the blues, then all the primary variants. I’ll then put us down for speed communication, and ordering of the other colors. This way we can get what you want, and get the rest later.” Sola grabs a large basket, putting in the various paints, brushes, and a few palettes. “Are you happy with this, or would you like to add anything?”

Nix looks around the isles, shaking her head and failing to find anything of interest. "Nope, I think that's everything that I need to give this a genuine shot." She walks over to the edge of the shop, looking out into the street, to see if there was anything interesting around here. Her eye lands almost immediately on a shop that's filled with different stuffed animals, immediately becoming transfixed on it and not even noticing Sola's return.

Sola smiles, and quietly finishes the paperwork, silently creeping over, and picking Nix up. “Hey, looks like they have fun things over there, let's go take a look.” She begins to walk across the street, heading right to the stuffed animal shop. Inside was like the inside of a giant toy box, various sophonts, and affini, alike browsing, and picking out what they want. “Alright Nix, I’m going to set you down, and be right alongside you, pick out anything you like.”

Nix starts stuttering, and steps backwards a few times not realizing her legs aren’t making contact with the ground. "I- uh, what, why did you bring me over here?" She looks up at Sola, a crimson flush coming over her cheeks. "I- I don't need anything from here." She chuckles nervously, tapping her fingers on her cane anxiously.

"Oh you don't? Then why were you frozen looking over here for a whole minute without noticing me?" Sola pulls Nix tighter against her chest, making a hammock for her. "Or does my little Nix just wanna be carried while we are here?"

Nix squeaks, wondering what has gotten into Sola today, while she wiggles around in Sola’s vines. Her blush only growing deeper, as she notices a few affini watching her, squirm against Sola. 'Aww'ing at the sight, and obviously assuming she was Sola’s floret, as they walk into the plush shop. "If I pick something, can we just go?" She grumbles out, crossing her arms, doing her best to hide her blush behind them.

"That sounds good to me petal. Is there anything in particular you wanna look for? I know you've shown an interest in scaled creature's before." Sola bounces Nix slightly, her vines rustling excitedly. Relieved to be able to show her precious ward, all of the affection she'd so carefully held back from providing previously.

"Yeah, I've always been partial to lizards I guess." As they turn one of the isles, Nix sees a floret and affini pair. A rianon holding a stuffed bee looking thing, and nuzzling it. While their owner gives gentle pets. Congratulating them for picking one out all on their own. 

Nix's chest tightens, causing her to immediately look away from the display. Not due to the display itself, but because for the first time it didn't feel uncomfortable, or especially foren. It is so similar to how she was treated by Sola, and she doesn’t even wanna consider the fact doesn’t hate it. 

Look for a distraction, anything you can grab and then we can go. Come on, there's so many here there's gotta be something. Nix’s eye starts darting around the shelf next to her, a plush affini? No, that feels wrong on so many levels, one of those big bee plushies? No, nothing that could make her feel even more like that floret. Find something, find something simple!

Eventually Nix’s eye lands on a far simpler plushy design. A about chest sized dark blue salamander looking plushy, with a lighter blue stomach, two little stubs for legs at the bottom and yellow eyes. "That one! Let's get that one, and let's go!" Nix squeaks out, quickly covering her mouth as she realizes how excited her voice sounded.

Sola gently reaches out, picking up the plushy. "Oh this is precious, here you go sweetie." She gently places it into Nix’s arms. Watching the girl quickly snatch it out of her vines, burying her face into it. "Well time to go check out, and you can thank them for the plushy. Then we'll go home, I can tell someone's getting a little overwhelmed, and could use some quiet time."

Nix only manages to mumble out a small affirmation. Enjoying the feeling of being hidden behind her plushy, more than she'd like to admit, while Sola brings her over to the counter. Revealing an affini, and a teran floret pair working together, on hand crafting a plushy. Which appears to be a detailed recreation of affini Nix had never met.

"Hello Resin, I see you and little Pearl are hard at work, I don't wanna take too much of your time. But little Nix here, just had her first vet appointment, and wanted to thank you for her new plush. Isn't that right petal?" Sola lowers Nix slightly to be on the level of the pair. Allowing her to get a better look at Pearl.

True to her name, the floret has definingly white hair. Along with being dressed in a white companion dress that has purple flowers growing up one side, and black across the other, meeting in the middle and beginning to mingle. Her eyes are of note to Nix given they are less glassy than most florets she has seen, even Jason, keeping a bit of that edge. Putting a hand out to Nix. "It's very nice to meet you Nix! I'm glad you like that plushy." 

Nix just nods slightly, giving a small thumbs up from behind her new unnamed plush. 

"Awww she's absolutely adorable, does she have an owner yet Sola? You know I’ve been looking for a covenant for Pearl." Resin leans in, picking Pearl up, and placing her on her lap. Deciding this is more than a justifiable reason to take a break from their project. The affini, much like the dress that its floret is wearing, is covered in purple and black flowers. Dancing in a similar pattern to the dress up to her head, where a pair of deep metallic black eyes sit. Flowers that are a mix of black and purple sitting on each side of her head, as if they were meant to appear as hair clips.  

"No, little Nix is the first possibly independent sophont, I've worked with." Sola gives Nix’s cheek a gentle pet. "She's a rescue from that little fishy a few weeks back. Very shy, but the sweetest thing you've ever seen in private." 

"Aww, so she's the elusive Nix Ave." Resin smiles wide at Nix. Keeping her distance given Nix’s stated anxiety. "So little Nix, would you be okay with me giving you a small pet?"

Nix shakes her head no, burying her head into the plush, and starts to shake slightly at all the attention. 

"That’s fine little Nix, I hope you have a nice evening with Sola. You must be doing something right, if she's taking you over here as a treat. We normally only see her at the end of her time with florets, who she's working with." Resin takes a small step back, going back to the project they’d been working on in order to give Nix space.

"I'll have you know we are only here, because I caught Nix scoping out the place, while we got her some art supplies, and I figured she'd never go on her own, so here we are!" Sola's vines rustle slightly, pulling Nix into the cubby that they normally use for travel. Able to feel the girl getting upset at all the attention.

Pearl grins at the sight, fascinated by Sola’s way of holding Nix. Seeing how the girl curls up to become nearly half her natural size to fit, being held in a way that Pearl could only describe as similar to an oversized beeple. 

Once she realizes she's been staring a moment too long Pearl blushes, shaking her head and looking away. "S-sorry! Have a nice night Miss Sola, I hope we see each other again Nix!" She gives a little wave, fully turning around and starting to work on the plushy again. 

Sola nods gently, reaching out and giving Pearl a small pat on the head. "I'll see if Nix wants to hang out sometime. She's actually friends with Jason, so maybe you three could have a game night sometime." And with that Sola turns and walks out of the shop. Intent on getting her ward home to calm down for the night.

Given it's not going to be said in the story for a long while, in this chapter you met Resin Wils third bloom She/it and Pearl Wils her floret. We'll be getting to know them better in the future, but for now I'll see you next time in Chapter 9. Revelations!

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