Dangling my legs off an obscenely tall chair, I watch as Aether in her human drone shell dances around the kitchen making something. There's a deep dish with a pale pastry dough lining it. She piles in various vegetables and meat substitutes, seasonings, sauces.... It's all very complex. Then, she wraps the pastry dough over top, and walks over to the preheated oven.
Opening it up and sliding it in, the oven is just a little bit higher up than she is, but she's tall enough to stick it in there. I watch as the timer sets itself. She turns to me and smiles. "40 minutes to breakfast."
I tilt my head and watch her as she shakes off her little apron with flour on it. It collects on the floor in a spot and I hear a little vacuum bot come over to clean it up. "Why do you do it like this?" I ask her.
She smiles and looks up at me in the tall chair. "What do you mean?"
"In your Terran drone... Why not as... Yourself?"
She shrugs. "It's more fun this way. Outside my drone makes everything too easy. I can multitask and get this whole thing done in like 10 minutes. But where's the fun in that! This takes more time and care. It feels more involved and rewarding."
"I see. I guess I understand."
Aether circles around to the table, the morning sun shines in. "You want some coffee, princess?"
Suddenly I feel embarrassed. "W- p- princess? What's with that? And... Sure, I'll have some coffee."
"Mmmm... I dunno, it was just something I got into calling you during your wardship. I carried you around like a princess all day while I was doing my best to take down those bio locks." She looks thoughtful for a moment before walking over to a... Traditional coffee maker!?!?!? What! There's a little black box next to it, and a bag of coffee beans. Holy shit. She takes the little scooper out of the bag and throws a few spoonfuls of coffee beans into the black box. Then she shuts it and a few seconds later, fine grounds start coming out.
I just stare in open mouthed awe as she sticks a filter into the coffee maker and pours some of the grounds over top. She goes and gets a little cup, and fills it with water from the sink before pouring a few cups full of water into the coffee maker. Then she closes it all up and hits a button. There's a little grumbling sound from the coffee maker for a little while.
"Aether... You have such rustic stuff... I'm starting to think you're better at being a human than I am." She looks at me and giggles before leaning over and smelling the coffee maker. This makes her look quite content when she looks back at me.
"Come here, Sera, I want you to smell this coffee."
"I- Okay." I start to pull myself off the chair. I hear Aether start sprinting, and the moment I make it off the chair and fall towards the ground, she sweeps me up in a circular motion and tucks my back and legs under her arms into- into- into a-
"You're a princess, so of course I have to carry you like one." She says with a wink. I bury my face into her shoulder out of embarrassment.
Then she gingerly carries me across the room to the coffee maker. She turns so my face can get close. I take a deep breath in and smell a few things. Roasted coffee beans, the smell of the hot water passing through the grounds, flowers, Aether.... Aether's scent. It emanates off both this body of hers and her form outside of it.
Like roses and a bit of sulfur.
It's deeply intoxicating. Without noticing, I end up pushing my face back to her shoulder and breathing in again just to get another lung full of that delicious smell.
"Um... What exactly are you doing?" She asks me with a giggle at the end.
"Huh... Oh, sorry. You just... smell nice. I realized that you smell like roses and kinda like sulfur... And that your scent comes from either of your bodies."
"That's an interesting statement, Sera. Maybe it's because of how much of myself I keep in this drone."
"What do you mean?" I ask her, she gently sets me down onto the floor, immediately putting her hand atop my head and fluffing me around. I squeak a bit at the touch. It still feels strangely sensitive.
"Sorry, force of habit." She says, quickly taking her hand away.
"Hey.... I didn't stay stoooop." I whine at her. She gives me a little lopsided smile and replaces her hand where it's supposed to be. On me!
After a bit more head patting later, Aether suddenly lifts her shirt up and exposes her tummy. I automatically hide my eyes in shame. She just stands there for a minute before she says something forceful.
It's a command, my arms drop automatically. I see her smirking at me, still covering her chest but with her shirt raised enough to show off her... Very fit body. She's got a bit of muscle definition that I find just oh so attractive to my eyes. "Watch." Another command. I watch.
I see a line of separation form down her right side. Slowly, a big hatch opens, revealing circuitry and wires. Lights flash intermittently in her chest cavity. But most pressing of all, is how full of black vines and roses she is. Around each metal joint and socket there's vines holding them in place. Her intoxicating smell is far stronger now. Getting a glimpse at her internals gives me all kinds of funny feelings. And honestly, a lot of jealousy. I wish my internals looked like that.
She eventually closes up her tummy hatch and pulls her shirt back down. I'm still locked in place watching her with awe and bewilderment. When my eyes trace their way back to her face, I see that she's bright red in her cheeks.
"I didn't know Androids could blush." I tell her, still in awe. She turns a little more red.
"Umm. I'm very realistic... As you can uh... See... I keep a part of myself within this body at all times, it's how I can still send my signal out so strongly while not fully being here."
"Thank you for showing me... I've never seen inside of myself before, I always just go by feel... So seeing you open up like that to me is... You're beautiful Aether. Is that weird to say when I'm complimenting your drone?"
She blushes even harder.
"I'll take it as a complement to my craftsmanship."
I smile at her, she smiles at me. Everything feels like it's gonna be okay.
Aether strides away from me after a moment and pulls a cup out of a tall cupboard. Just hardly in reach of her, better suited for her other form.
I just stand and watch her as she fills a cup with hot coffee. Takes a long smell of it before sipping it off the top. "Mmmnnh... This is good stuff, you're gonna like this."
She wanders over to me, I extend my hand out to take the cup from her. She just looks at me and smirks, taking my hand in hers and gently pushes it down to my side. She tilts her head a bit at my confused expression. Then, she places her palm against my shoulder and pushes me forcefully backwards against a wall.
"Kneel." I fall to my knees, she tilts my chin up to look at her. Beautiful red and brown eyes stare back at me with a look of pure dominant happiness. Holding my chin still, she lowers the cup to my lips. "Open." My mouth trembles but slowly opens. She tilts the cup a bit and hot coffee spills into my mouth. Holy stars, she wasn't kidding. It's delicious. But I'm a little bit too distracted with being absolutely completely flustered to fully appreciate the complexity of the drink.
She makes a little cooing sound. "So obedient..." She says. It fills me with a strange feeling of pride... I'm being obedient for her, and she likes it. So I like it.
"You're such a good girl." She coos. I choke on the coffee and accidently spill some onto my shirt.
"Oops, sorry, was that too much?" Aether asks me, concerned.
"I- I- W- W- Huh? What? I- Its okay... I just... Wasn't expecting that to effect me so much..." My hands travel their way up to my eyes, covering me in embarrassment again. She flusters me way too easily.
Offering a hand down to me, I graciously take it as she steadies me back to my feet. "There's a bathroom down that way if you need to dry yourself off. Want me to get some new clothes for you?"
"Uh... Sure I guess. I'm gonna go wash off." We part, and I head into the dark bathroom. Flicking on the lights, I finally see myself in the mirror for the first time in a while. My makeup is all ruined, my dress is messed up and stained, and lastly I... I don't... I don't remember looking this ugly. I used to think I looked nice, what happened? I don't understand... Did I always have this flat of a jaw and this big of a nose? What's wrong with my cheekbones, I don't get it... Why do I look so off.
Realization hits me like an impact at terminal velocity. I look androgynous, and I've always been sorta fine with it.... But now that I've realized I'm a girl... I'm supposed to be a girl... Everything feels different. Hours spent agonizing over my makeup for perfectionism all makes sense now. I was trying to make myself look more feminine and I didn't even understand it. But now that I do, I realize just how much I hate this body. Built by an abuser, forced into the shape it is. I can feel my steel slowly corroding inside of me. I can feel myself dying over time. But worst of all. I can see that my body was built to be male, when I myself am not. That disconnect, that distinction, it hurts more than any self hatred I've had before.
Hyperventilating, my eyes are locked on my face, searching out each and every imperfection. Smudged makeup, strangely placed cheekbones, horrible jaw line, huge nose, my hair is too short, my hairline is too far back, my neck is large and there's a little bump in the center. I can't take my eyes away from the imposter that stands in the mirror. I'm not human, I've never been human, so why does it hurt so bad to realize all this? Shouldn't gender be a useless construct to me? Why do I wish I was a girl so badly....
Soft footsteps make their way up behind me. "Hey Sera, I got you some..." There's a pause for a moment before vines suddenly wrap their way around my shoulders, under my arms, around my legs, and around my hips, pulling me suddenly backwards into a nest of soft darkness.
A few moments later, I'm shifted upwards and out of Aether's body into her hands. She's holding me at eye level, red alien eyes so full of worry and care. "What happened? It looked like you were panicking. Is everything alright?"
I'm still panting a bit too heavily to respond, locked on the image of myself in the mirror. Aether squeezes my body a little tighter and pulls me close to her chest, keeping me there for a while until I calm down.
Eventually, my breathing settles down, it's a bit hard to keep anything in my head when my body is so suddenly drowned in her rhythmic signal. "T-Thank you Aether."
She hesitantly pushes me further forward. I get to see her for the first time in the light, outside of her Terran drone shell. She's made of loosely woven dark grey vines, with little black thorns lining all over her. Aether's face is a mask made of black wood, with swirling red eyes that make my head go all fuzzy. Her hair is many thin black vines flowing over top of her head and styled with blunt cut bangs. Although I'm not sure that her vines actually are cut, they just seem to taper off quickly before her eyes. Then lastly, she has a big black hat on with a wide brim. It keeps her in just a bit of a shadow. It's not very bright in this room, but the sun is coming in from the windows in various places, so I'm sure the hat helps just a little bit.
"Hey.... Hey... Princess, what happened?" Aether asks me again in a calming voice. I can't help but steady and respond to her.
"Aether... I realized just how much... Just how much I hate this body. This... I'm a weapon, Aether. I wish I was pretty like you are..."
Her face gets all crumpled up for a moment while she thinks, then it pulls back into a calm by stern look. "Now that's just not right, you're beautiful, Sera. You're beautiful and perfect to me. But, I understand. Sometimes I get upset over my body as well. Just don't worry your pretty little face, we'll have you on class G's as soon as possible okay?"
She says this, and I shake my head no. "Aether, not just class G's... I want you to rebuild me. Please. I can't stand this body I'm in, it's too tight... It feels like it's crushing me. Aether please rebuild me. I want you to do it."
Aether's wooden mask suddenly pulls together very tight. Her body tenses up a little bit all over for a moment before she relaxes. "I don't know Sera, I'm still not completely sure I'm the best match for you. I don't even know what I'm doing. I'm not fit to be a caretaker, Sera."
Her words hurt me. They hurt because they're wrong.
"Aether, that's not true. You've been taking care of me for so long already. You saved me Aether, please rebuild me. Please. I want you to do it, no one else." I'm practically begging her, lightly struggling against her grip.
"I- but... But aren't you worried I'll hurt you again?" I can feel Aether's worry and guilt flowing out of her.
"I am. But I know that even if you do, you'll be there to help me get better, and I'm okay with that. I can take a little bit of pain here and there, I'm strong! So... Please?" I give my best attempt at pleading eyes. My words may be calmed, but the sheer torrent of emotion crashing around in me feels like my body could explode at literally any second. I need her to rebuild me, I can't live like this.
"But- but what about your need to fight?"
"What about yours, Aether? Who says we can't keep... Fighting after you... Uhm claim me? Is that how they say it? We could spar… Like we did with your androids."
"Yes, that's how they say it. And... Geez. Fine fine, I'll see what I can do. But you have to promise to put up a good fight, okay?"
"Stars!!! Thank you Aether, thank you! I can't wait. It already feels so wonderful when you do maintenance on me, I can't possibly imagine how wonderful it's going to feel when you rebuild me completely!" I'm practically shaking with anticipation. The want in my voice is not simulated.
"That's... Okay. I'm glad you're happy. We'll... Just we'll see, okay?" She says a little nervously. I nod back to her. "Okay Aether."
Her face shifts back to a calmer smile, though I can still feel her anxiety. She pulls me close for a second, and then a little closer... And a little closer. I end up sinking into her mass a little bit. When she realizes she's done that, she almost drops me out of reflex. "I- Ah! Sorry Sera, I'm not really sure what you're comfortable with. See? I'm not very good at this... I'm not fit to be an Affini, I don't even know how to properly ask you for consent...." Her voice trailing off at the end.
I burst into a laughing fit at her unbelievable words. Loudly and hysterically giggling at her. "W-What?" She squeaks out.
"Affini? Asking for consent??" I laugh heavily again. "They never do that!!!" Then I keep laughing and laughing. She has no idea.
After a minute or two, the giggles fade out of me. I don't know if I've ever laughed that hard, but I just couldn't help it.
"Aether Aether... You're so funny."
She looks confused. "I am?"
"Yes! You goofball. The Affini are known for doing things with dubious amounts of consent. Hell, my father was a forced domestication case. And you're worried about if I was comfortable with a hug? You're hilarious!" I giggle again a few more times. "Aether. You can hug me all you want, whenever you want. Trust me when I say I love it."
She whines a bit and squirms around. "Okay okay... Just don't get too used to it alright?"
I give her the absolute most pleading look I possibly can. Trying to signal her back that I not only want her touch, but I want her. I think the signal went through, she she whimpers a bit and suddenly pushes my entire body into her mess of thorny black vines.
A few scratch me here and there while my body is so suddenly touched in every place at once. My form held so completely. Instinctively, little whimpers escape my mouth while I feel her.... Everywhere at once. It's so overstimulating. She squeezes me tighter and tighter until suddenly I feel warmth bloom out from somewhere in my core, and all of her touches are suddenly all the more intense. Pleasure abruptly slams its way through me, carrying off all my thoughts with it. Aether keeps holding me tighter and tighter like I'm gonna vanish if she doesn't. I'm full on moaning and writhing in her grasp now, brain completely shot by the blast of mind melting pleasure coursing through every part of me at once. Until one single thought breaks through the tide of ecstasy and love. "Aether~" my voice struggling to pick up any traction within her little mess of soft darkness. She gasps, pulling me out of her and taking away all her touchy vines except for those who are holding me at eye level.
"I- I'm sorry! I wasn't thinking, I didn't mean to... To drug you like that, it just happened, it was a force of-" I cut off her rambling speech, I was hardly listening to it anyway.
"Aetherrrhhh..." My words are slurred and slow. This feels nothing like it does when lillina or Raynor does it. When they did, I felt funny but like I could push through it if I tried. But now, I feel completely victim to the fuzzy wall between me and my thoughts.
"Yes... Sera?" She asks, full of worry. Big dummy, she thinks I'm upset with her.
I tilt my head over to the side, exposing my neck to her. "Aether please, I need you to bite me... It's all I can think about." It's true, it's the one damn thought that sticks in my head for more than two and a half seconds.
I watch intently as her eyes focus down to little points, her teeth suddenly flare out, they look a little wet with something. Maybe it's her venom. Her breathing hitches. The look on her face just makes me want to scream my need. But all I can push out is a needy gasp.
Suddenly, I'm up against a wall, pinned in place by several vines. I've never felt her use this much pressure before. I'm completely locked in, and I'm not sure that even if I tried I could escape. Not that I want to of course.
Her wooden mouth presses itself up against my neck, and I feel the points of her fangs lightly press up against my skin. It sends electric pulses out through my body. I can feel her simulated breath on my synthetic skin. It's warm and damp. Or... Maybe I'm the one who's warm and damp.
"Pleaaaseee" I beg her. Her teeth press a little harder, just ever so barely breaking the surface when she pulls away suddenly, looking exhausted and full of intent. "I- I can't. That's too far. I can't do it, you're not mine." She says.
"But I want it..." I beg. She sets me down and backs away. I see now that she never formed a bottom half, from her torso down is just a squiggly mess of sharp dark vines and black roses. "I can't. I can't do that. That's too much... If I did, I wouldn't be able to stop myself."
Squirming around under the intense desire I feel to just be utterly used by her. I keep begging. "Please Aether just do it... All I can feel is need... Take me please... Please!!"
She shifts around again, flowers blooming and budding everywhere around her sporadically. She's conflicted, I can feel it. Then suddenly, with force, she speaks. "No."
The need evaporates from my body like water on hot pavement. "I- I'm sorry... I didn't mean to push you." I tell her, my voice edging what I can only think would be tears, if only I could cry.
She gasps and picks me up again into a hug. "You're okay. You haven't done anything wrong, I promise. I just... I can't yet, okay? I'm sorry. I'm too scared right now."
It takes me a little while to calm down again, but I need her to know it's okay. "Okay Aether. I won't try to push you again like that."
She responds by taking a vine and messing with my hair. "It's okay, princess. It's okay. Now, for the reason I'm out here like this. I brought you some clothes."
"Wait, couldn't you have just done that while in your drone?"
She smirks, suddenly looking devilish. Excitement blooms out of me once again.
Then her eyes get sharp and wide. I feel her signal pour into me and drown out every inkling of resistance or thought. "Wuh..." I stammer. She leans down and presses her forehead to mine, her swirling red eyes completely freezing me in place. I feel vines all over me for a moment, and a sudden breeze flows across my shoulders. Then, she backs away. "Done!" She chirps.
"Done with wh..." I look down, I'm in a completely different outfit. A big sweater and shorts so small it looks like I'm not wearing anything beneath the sweater. Wwooahh, when did that happen?
"You like it?" She asks me playfully.
"How did you do that? I didn't even notice?" I say, confused.
"I'm very good at multitasking, princess" her words send a sudden shiver up my wired spine. The thoughts of what that could possibly mean tickle my imagination.
Aether then swoops me up once more and places me back onto the chair. "Foods done in just a few minutes, cutie. You want anything else to drink with it other than the coffee?" Oh, honestly, I forgot we even got coffee. Now it's all cold since it was left out... Do I want something to drink? Oh, I've got it. "Yeah, I'll take some sap." I say with as much seriousness as I can muster. As casually as possible.
"Oh yeah?" She responds absentmindedly, moving over to the big refrigerator.
"Yes please." I chirp back, when all of the sudden, two hands push me out of the chair. I'm falling and then I'm caught up once again in dark vines.
I gasp, shocked, but far too late for any of the actions. Spinning my head around, I see Aether wave at me from behind the chair. Terran. Then I look back forward and see Aether... Extending a slightly wet looking vine towards my face. Woah, that's trippy as fuck. The vine edges at the side of my lips, leaving a sticky trail across my cheek.
"Is that the look of someone who likes or dislikes the fact that I can pilot both myself and my drone at the same time?"
Thinking for a minute, I open my mouth to respond and-
Exactly what you'd think happened. Several vines slither their way down my throat, eliciting a gag reflex that's instantly stifled by numbing, blissful sap flowing down my throat.
So mind meltingly sweet and delicious. My breathing is choked and barely provides me with any oxygen. But it's okay, not a lot of my body even needs the oxygen. So I'm more than happy to be rendered useless against the sensation of being filled up by Aether's delicious, sweet sap.
After a few orgasmic seconds, my entire upper body is completely numb to everything but sweetness and pleasure. I can feel Aether's touch, but only from the pleasure that burns on my skin from the contact.
Terminal once again alerts me to high levels of toxins in my body. I respectfully ignore it.
Eventually, maybe after only ten seconds (can’t tell, too blissful) Aether pulls away, leaving a sticky trail from my lips to her vines.
My arm automatically reacts to grab one of her vines and try and pull it back to my mouth, but my grip is too numb and weak so it just slips out. I try to speak, but I can't. My brain is cloudy and my mouth is totally fuzzy. But I have an easy workaround, send a quick program file from my core to my mouth to act out a function through my mechanical parts, rather than my biological ones.
“More.” my voice spits out, monotone and mechanical. “Please.”
“More.” my voice spits out, monotone and mechanical. “Please.”
Aether smiles at me, but pulls me back over to the table. “Nope, breakfasts done. And I need to get you out of that fuzzy brain so you can eat properly. Or, I could just take care of that for you.” She says with a wink.
I absolutely love indulging in the fuzzy ecstasy that Aether’s given me. I don’t feel like coming down from this, so I program another answer. “You do it.”
I absolutely love indulging in the fuzzy ecstasy that Aether’s given me. I don’t feel like coming down from this, so I program another answer. “You do it.”
Aether makes a cooing sound, halfway between an “awww” and an “ooo”
Watching as she pulls the... Whatever it is from the oven, it smells fantastic. Though it's a little odd to watch what was essentially a perfect copy of a Terran put the thing in the oven, then a big plant girl take it out.
Aether still hasn't formed a bottom half, electing to just squiggly around everywhere. A funny dynamic to how human she acts sometimes.
She grabs some kinda spatula looking thing and busts through the top layer of golden brown crust. When she pulls a serving out from the dish and onto a little plate, I see that it's a lot of vegetables and what looks like... Chicken pieces in some kinda white sauce.
Turning back over to the table she sets only one plate in front of herself, I'm about to ask her why when she scoops a bit onto a fork and puts it in front of my mouth. Now I like being fed as much as the next robot girl, but my face is literally completely numb aside from occasional spikes of pleasure whenever it's touched. I don't think it would be such a good idea.
Aether seemingly realizes this, as instead she props my mouth open with a few vines and puts the bite of food into my mouth. Tastes like fuzzy nothing. But the sensations I'm getting from her touch are pretty nice. Then she takes a hold of my jaw and gently moves it up and down to do... What I assume to be helping me chew. Then she massages my throat in a strange way and I feel the bite of food pass my palette.
"I think... I think I'm gonna give you a counteragent now. You can't taste any of this can you?" Aether asks me, preparing another bite of food.
I try to shake my head, but I'm still a little wobbly feeling so I end up getting a little dizzy. Giggling, she presents to me a little black rose with a dripping needle right in the center. Kinda looks like a- then she pricks me and warmth floods my system. After a few moments, feeling follows suit.
"Wwaooahh" my tongue still feels like a foreign mass in my mouth. But after a couple of seconds I'm back to normal. Terminal tells me that the toxins have been purged from my system. Thanks terminal, I had no idea.
"Ready to continue?" Aether asks me
"Sure." I reach over for the fork when she gives me a look that.... Ohh I'm not supposed to go for that am I? I put my arm back down on the table.
"You get it." She says, putting the bite of food in front of my mouth and strangely tapping on my cheek.
I'm confused. "What are you doing?" I ask her. She doesn't answer and just taps on my cheek again. Eventually I get the idea and open my mouth for long enough for her to put the bite in.
Then she taps my chin and I close my mouth around the bite. Huh...
Chewing for a couple of seconds.... Holy crap this is great. A wide smile crosses my face. The seasoning is so fantastic, the crust is so perfectly browned and all the vegetables are properly cooked. Wow.
"I knew you'd like it, it's called pot pie, I think." She says thoughtfully, massaging my throat in a strange way that makes me swallow automatically. Then she grabs up another bite and taps the side of my cheek again.
"Pot pie? Like.... Marijuana?" I open my mouth for her and she puts the bite in. A tap under my chin and I close it.
"No... Not like marijuana... How do you even know what that is? This planet hasn't had stable crops in decades..." She massages my throat and I swallow.
"How do I know about it? How do you know about it, Aether? I'm actually from this planet." I watch as she picks up another bite and continues this little game.
Tap on my cheek. "Internet mostly. You?" Tap on my chin. A few seconds of chewing delicious food later, she massages my throat again.
"Same here to be honest, internet." She nods at me and I nod back. Internet.
"I'm actually not sure where the name came from, I haven't ever searched it. I make food not read it." Weird phrase. Tap on my cheek, then my chin, then my throat. I've kindof stopped noticing what she's doing when we get into this little routine of her feeding me a bite while talking and me responding after I swallow. After a few minutes, the plate is clear and I didn't even notice.
"Thank you Aether, this was really fantastic. I wish I needed to eat so I could appreciate the nutrition of it better." She smiles and shrugs.
"I'm just glad you liked the taste. I'm pretty much in it for just that at this point anyway."
"Yeah so.... What were you doing with me? Not that I mind, but your little tapping thing... I'm new to that, what is it." I ask. She rewards me with a gentle smile that makes me feel all fuzzy inside.
"Gesture training. It's for when an Affini needs to feed their Floret, or usually their Floret. We actually have a lot of.... What are you looking at me like that for?" (I'm giving her the most devilish smirk I can, on par with her usual smirk.)
"So I'm your Floret now, am I?"
Aether tenses up for a minute, a wave of blooming passing from her top to her bottom. "Um! No! I said usually a Floret. You're not my floret you're just..." She trails off and doesn't continue.
"Not yet I'm not." I giggle at her.
She rolls her beautiful red eyes. It makes me giggle a little more.
Then I pull a serious face. "Aether... I have some questions for you. I've been thinking about it since yesterday. Do you mind?"
"I don't mind, princess."
"First of all, how did you come up with the name Seraphim for me?"
"Oh that's easy, that's the serial number on your generator. SR4:FM. Seraphim. I just happened to say it while working on you for the first time, and you looked at me. Which was huge, because at the time you weren't really looking at anything. So I just stuck to calling you that for a while."
"You know a lot about me Aether... It kinda makes me feel guilty that I can only remember snips of you from throughout my life. When you rebuild me, can you reinstate those memories?"
"That's if, not when, Sera. And... I don't know, I tried to wipe them completely. Every time was because I did something to trigger a failsafe, this is the first time I've spent more than a day with you in person without you going into an overload on me."
"Damn... I'm... I'm sorry Aether."
"It's not your fault. I promise."
"Well it's not yours either, okay? You're not the one who did this to me in the first place, and honestly, I'm thankful that you were the one to help."
"I'm just glad you don't hate me."
"I should not! This isn't your fault."
"But I'm dangerous."
"Hey I'm dangerous too you know. Don't forget I've already taken down two of your kind before." I add a confident smirk at the end.
"I'm hardly one of them. I'm an imposter." She says, voice full of guilt and shame.
"So am I. And plus, I don't care. I want to be with you even if you were secretly... I don't know. Something else. I wouldn't care. I like you. Plus, if you don't want me to be yours so bad, why are you even keeping me here in the first place?"
"That's not what I said, princess. I said I shouldn't have you, not that I didn't want you...." She pauses. "Can we change the topic? Is there anything else you wanted to ask?"
"Yes, I've got two more questions. Firstly, how did you keep track of me over all these years?" Aether looks a little nervous at this question. Shockingly more nervous than she has for any of the others.
"I uh... I'm pretty good at infiltrating certain systems. I've been watching you through cameras since the moment you left my care... Or I've just been following you around as a Terran... One of the two."
"Damn, girl you freaky." I say, biting my lip. She doesn't take the flirt and just looks down awkwardly.
"I- I know Sera."
"Aether." I say firmly. She looks up with me. My train of thought tries to practically ascend from my brain under the weight of her gaze. "I think it's really hot. At first I was confused, but honestly I think it's really hot you've been stalking me."
She looks away awkwardly, but she's smiling. Good. Her smile is beautiful.
"Okay okay, last question Aether. Where do you want to fight?"
Aether drags her eyes back into mine with a smile. "Why not my workshop? It's large and we can even mess with the terrain for fun. If you want to, of course."
"That sounds good.... But where exactly is it?" When I ask, she visibly deflates.
"Like... Ten minutes across town from here."
"Oh... How are we gonna get there without me being seen?"
She mulls it over for a minute. "I could hide you within myself. But that would require me to go outside... Like this... It's been a while since I've done that."
"I'll help you put on your sun block." I say with a shrug.
She smiles and backs up from the table. The lower part of her starts pulling together tighter and tighter until she stands for the first time since I've remembered. On two legs. She's wearing a long black dress with white and red accents. It goes perfectly with her hat and eyes. There's just one thing though.
"Holy stars Aether, you're so fucking tall." I say, craning my neck back to meet her eyes which are now several feet higher up than they used to be. She's taller than any Affini I've ever seen before. It makes me feel... Things.
"You look cute down there." She teases me, crouching back down to my level.
"And you, Aether, look so hot from up there."
(End Of Page Thirteen.)