Slamming the door to her hab unit shut, River finally felt safe enough to cry. After merely a half shift, her body and headache with such intensity it made her sick to her stomach. It was just pain, and today was a bad day.
Tossing her back to the side, she mustered up the last little bit of her willpower to grab some water and swallow several over the counter painkillers. Cheap, didn't need insurance to get. The kind she'd lived off of since she was little and her parents told her to just take these pills.
With a mission accomplished she shambled to the couch and flopped over only to grab her plushie and hug. Hug tight and hope the meds would kick in enough within the next hour to help. Maybe she'd need to sleep it off? Not that sleep helped much. Her shitty mattress only exacerbated the plethora of bodily pains she endured on a regular basis.
Pulling back from the plush she peered into its black beady eyes. "I'm not even fucking thirty, why is my whole body pain! Every day another limb craps out and I just… Tiki. I-I don't know if I can keep doing this girl."
Of course Tiki waved its little pawbs and bapped River on the face. In a poorly done ventriloquist act, Tiki said, "Nooo! River, you can't give up! What about your friends! What about me! What about the intrinsic value of all life! If you quit now you'll end up—"
"Dead, yeah I know Tiki. It just sucks!" River rolled onto her back and immediately regretted it as the pain reasserted its existence bringing a few more tears to her eyes. "It sucks and apparently there are terran eating xenos or something on the way? What's the fucking point, Tiki? To suffer more to become fertilizer?"
"River, you've seen the broadcasts, the plants seem nice! And they have nice drugs that can make everything better!" Tiki ever the optimist came in for another snuggle hug attempting to chase the pain away.
Hugging Tiki back, River pouted. "That's propaganda, all conquering imperialist xenos aren't going to be magically nice and fix all my health problems when they arrive in however long it takes them to finally get to this shithole."
"Let's watch something!" The plushie made a strong argument. Watching something might let the poor woman distract herself from her suffering for a few minutes.
Unfortunately, River's dumb autistic ADHD anxiety brain kicked in and shot down the idea. "No… I've got a headache on top of the other aches and also I really don't want to hear sounds… other than us, I guess, but work was stupid loud and I should just quit. It's so loud I want to cry." Of course, Tears already tickled down River's face from the pain but an extra little tear slipped out just for the sensory torture that was her job.
"Browse the web?"
"Fine." River gave into the plushie which was technically and literally just her talking to herself but somehow the plush had a mind of its own when she channeled it. Anyway, River pulled up her phone and gave a few taps to check on… stuff. Whatever others were up to. Friends could distract her a bit, depending on the friend and the distraction.
Silence on all fronts, which honestly wasn't too weird nowadays. River resorted to scrolling down the two unpopular and least toxic social medias she dared to keep. Cute cat, unhinged rambling about horror story analysis, cute catgirl, really nice fantasy art, meme, girldick appreciation post—
Her phone then exited the app all on its own and displayed a video. Upon the tiny screen stood a relatively tiny plant woman. "Hey cuties! This is a planet wide broadcast, but we wanted to let you all know, the Affini Compact is here to help, and while we spend the next few hours dismantling the Navy presence, and government here to please stay safe at home. If you're in need of medical assistance, or are in any danger feel free to say so, and this preloaded app will notify us immediately and we'll send someone over to help! Alternatively, tap the please help button on the screen! Stay safe cuties, and remember to eat, drink, take your meds, and maybe get some sleep!"
The button wiggled there for a moment as River stared down at it. Did her pain count as a medical emergency? Wait no, they never mentioned an emergency, just medical assistance… Well River figured she sure as shit needed help, if only because she was crying from the pain. Then River turned to Tiki to double check she should press the button, and Tiki nodded vehemently.
"Alright, here goes nothing." River's thumb landed on the button.
Ding! "We'll be there in a few minutes, cutie, so just sit tight." The automated voice sang.
River stared at the accompanying subtitles. In a few minutes? They just arrived and they'd be at her home in minutes?! While in the middle of dismantling the planetary government and military!? If even half of that was true, the plants seemed ridiculously over capable.
"Maybe they'll help?" River whispered to Tiki the plushie hugging it tight and sitting tight for a few tear stained minutes.
Knock knock. "Flower? I'm here to provide assistance. If you can open the door please do so, if not I'll break it down in a moment."
"I-I'm coming!" Voice fallen into raspiness in the intervening minutes, River stood. She shuffled over, clutching her plushie, still wearing her work uniform.
With a hand on the knob, she opened up the door and got a big long look at the giant plant woman squeezed into the apartment hallway. Tall, plant, pretty. River was too distracted by her body being a piece of shit to take in the details.
A vine extended out and brushed aside a few tears. The plant's mimicry of a human face appeared empathetically sad. "What's wrong, flower?"
Clutching her plushie she took a few breaths trying to muster the force of will to answer rather than breakdown crying before the xeno. "It hurts, everything hurts. My useless fucking body hurts so stars damn much. Please help… please? The broadcast's said something about free healthcare and I just…"
The xeno surged forth into the room to sweep River up in a big ole hug. Yet the vines held her gentle all the same. "I'm so sorry, flower. Here, I got a class-A that works as a rather potent painkiller." Raising up a flower to the woman's face she held it over like a mask. "Just a deep breath, let it fill your lungs."
It took River two tries to manage a deep breath, but once she did, the tingling came, radiating in a warm comforting bliss chasing the myriad of pains across her body away. Another deep breath plus twenty seconds later and she felt relief. Every ounce of pain she lived with gone in moments and replaced with her skin feeling so sensitive to touch in a rather sensual way that absolutely wasn't helped by the plant hugging her. Every vine upon her skin burned with delight.
The now very high River looked up into the plant's shimmering stardust sparkling eyes. "Thank you. Thank you, thank you. I could kiss you. If you want to do that floret thing or whatever to me I don't care just thank you for making the pain go away."
Giggling, the plant replied, "You're very welcome, and I'd love a kiss from a cute terran like you." Reaching a finger under River's chin, she slowly guided the woman in for a kiss.
The sensation of planty lips on her own, sent River's eyes rolling back into her head as her body shuddered with ecstasy. The touch sensitive xenodrugs taking a long kiss and turning it into something nearly orgasmic.
As the plant pulled back, the smaller woman collapsed into waiting vines. "Oh stars." She clutched her plush tight rubbing its soft fur against herself. "Th-that was…" River began giggling, effervescent laughter filling the run down cramped home. "I'm gay."
Settling into a relaxed sit, the plant smiled down on the inebriated cutie. "Well hello, Gay, I'm Calla Lustria, but if you want, you can just Calla me Mistress."
River's giggles paused for one moment before she doubled over laughing again in that joyous sound of hers. Stars she'd never felt so alive. The world had color and joy and fuck her, the plant was pretty and flirty. "M'kay, Mistress."
"Well Gay, if you're calling me Mistress, I guess I'll have to treat you like a high little floret. When was the last time you ate? Drank? Took meds, slept?" The pretty gay plant asked like a caring guardian.
"Mmmm, had a bit of water with the first painkillers? And uh…been awhile…" That dopamine surge from the kiss, and the copious amounts of drugs, still had River a bit too out of it to answer better than that. But she figured it was okay, after all she wasn't in pain! Yes! Best thing ever. Stars, she should kiss that plant again… as thanks.
Rising from the vines, she went to do just that before a pair of vines intercepted. "Nuh uh, sweetness. It's time to get you cared for, and you're going to be a good girl for me right?"
"Yes Mistress!" River chirped, just like the terran's in those propaganda broadcasts sometimes did. That's where she got the idea. Honestly River felt like those really high terrans had it figured out. Just chirp yes Mistress, and listen to the plant dispensing feel good drugs from its body.
"Dirt, I might just have to domesticate you after all, for being such a lovely little thing." The plant's words came with a gentle tousling of River's hair that left her melting into it.
River watched in a pleasant melty daze as the big hot plant woman looked around her shitty home. Just enjoying the moment. Gosh she could just exist passively and be happy for once and that felt amazing. Was that how normal folks lived? Just not suffering for daring to exist?
"Hm, hm, hmmm. Well, dearest it seems you lack clean drinking water, food, or a comfortable bed, and it seems you're relying on some rather ineffective terran meds for pain and gender troubles." The plant said after sticking its vines all over the place.
"Y-Yea…" Mumbled River just staring up at the plampt. She giggled a little, still fluttery and blissed out.
Returning the look Calla glanced down upon the high woman cuddling a soft plush. "Well dear, it seems it'd be best to get you somewhere much nicer to rest. How about I take you back to my place, and maybe turn you into a cute little pet along the way?"
"Yes Mistress!" River chirped before nuzzling the soft vines.
"Good girl!" Mistress patted River upon her little head and River wiggled into moany pain-free bliss. "Anything you want to take with you, flower?"
"Uhm, uh, uhm…" Then River looked down at the fluff in her arms and then held up the plush dramatically. "I wanna take Tiki! She's a good girl."
A little vine gave Tiki a pat on its head. "Anything else?"
"My phone? Uhm hormones? Uh… my purse… and a fidget toy?" Each item listed off was something she lazily spotted as she looked about for things she'd need on her little outing. River definitely assumed she could be back for more.
"Perfect! Time to go pet!" Plucking the items into her vines the big pretty plampt then carried River right on outside the door.
Out the hallway, the duo, or trio with Tiki, hopped into a very planty small shuttle. A few moments later, River giggled as she flew away from her home towards a massive ship so big it couldn't even enter atmosphere.
Long after the sensation of microgravity took hold River realized she was going to space. Space!!! Being born planet side and being poor, River never got to experience space. Excitedly she looked out the big window and spotted the massive affini cruiser and the much smaller but still huge planty cubeship floating behind it.
A single head pat then cut off all of her awe, causing her to look right back up at the affini. "So what now… Mistress?"
"For now I think I'm going to take you back to my place, feed you, get you some water, then collar you. Does that sound agreeable, dear?"
River considered it for a moment, staring at her plush. "Does that sound good to you Tiki?"
"Hmm." Tiki hummed in her cute squeaky little voice thinking it over. "As long as you get more pain meds and hormones it sounds great!"
Glancing down from piloting the space shuttle, the affini patted Tiki on the head. "Don't you worry, Tiki, she'll get much better than pain meds and hormones. I'll keep little Gay here topped up on that class-A until I get her into the vet to get the source of all her little pains fixed forever."
The little plush squeaked excitedly. "You can fix her chronic pain? River has like a messed up knee, and back, and lots of neck pain, and frequent migraines, and also she bleeds out of places that shouldn't bleed regularly, and her arm aches from that old stab wound, and the other one regularly just stops working right, and you can just fix all of that?"
"Oh, dirt maybe I should see if I can't get you into the vet sooner… But yes cutie, we can fix her up, or replace bits as needed to make her into her happiest self."
Turning back to me, the plush in my arms wiggled. "River!!!" yiped the little plush right back at the girl in its cute little voice. Then it bapped River on the snoot. "Told you the affini were super nice and going to fix everything!"
River pouted. "Yea well, giant gay space plampts descending from the stars and giving me free health care sounded outlandish and fake."
"But they were always super nice in their broadcasts. You're just a pessimist."
A rippling lovely laugh echoed out as the Affini Mothership slowly eclipsed them. "Oh you two are just too precious."
A fresh blush bloomed on the very high woman's face at being observed doing her ventriloquist thingy with Tiki. Burying her face behind the plush, River hid, unable to think of what to say.
Thankfully Tiki 'spoke' for her. "We are! I keep telling River she's hecking adorable but she never believes me."
"Then I'll just have to help you change her mind, after all, River's going to be my cute pet isn't she?"
"Yup!" The plushie moved out of the way and gestured with its little stuffed front limbs.
River squirmed for a moment before finally squeaking out, "Yes, Mistress."
"I didn't quite catch that, flower." The affini, landing the ship in an oversized hanger, grinned wide. "Do you want to be my cute little pet?"
"Adorable." Opening the hatch, the affini scooped River up into her vines, doting upon her with loving blissful pettings, before placing the floret atop her shoulders. "Now let's get you both home and collared."
All at once, Calla dissolved into a mass of vines that then started hurling the trio through the massive microgravity chamber. Vines clung tight to the floret and Tiki as they accelerated. Wind rushed past whipping River's long hair in a frenzy. They crossed the distance to a large set of doors in moments and then entered a large lift.
Part way through the journey, a thought wormed its way into Tiki's head, or rather River's head because Tiki was just an inanimate object and not a sophont. The plush poked the mass of vines beneath the pair. "W-Wait, why'd you mention collaring me?"
Soaring through a light residential district light on sophonts, the affini gave Tiki a little head pat. "Well you're going to be my adorable floret too. I'll see about getting you fixed up by a plushsmith later."
"B-But I'm not real!" Tiki protested with little wiggles animated by River's hands. The plush small enough that River could manipulate its front limbs and head in very lively emotional gestures, while still being big enough for a good hug.
"Depends on how you define real, cutie. You seem like a perfectly social sophont to me."
Coming to a slow stop, the plant reformed her towering womanly shapely terran-esque body before the door to a massive hexagonal structure that had a little sign on it reading 'Lustris residence!'. Tapping open the door, Mistress Calla waited for her home to open up and walked inside.
Tiki wiggled in place feeling very very confused and turned to look up with its beady eyes towards River. "Is this affini broken? She thinks I'm a sophont!"
River for her part still felt that nice hazy bliss from all the vines doting on her the entire trip. "Look, as long as she gives me pain meds, and I don't have to work, I don't care." Already, she'd divided life up into the during pain, and after pain segments, and the after pain one seemed really really great so far.
"River dearest, you don't need to be a pet for either of those things." Plopping them down on the couch, Calla drifted over to the kitchen and spread out her vines. "However I'm still happy to take you on as a pet regardless."
Tiki would have pouted if her little plush face were capable of the feat and instead snuggled into River's embrace. The plush had a lot to think about, mostly that the big plampt was a bit crazy. Clearly, Tiki was just River's imaginary friend affixed to the plushie so River could feel a bit less lonely. Imaginary friends didn't count as people. Tiki knew that. She'd always been a cute helpful optimistic little plush friend to River ever since River was little. Not the same plush. Tiki obviously went through several iterations as the plush critters fell apart from wear and tear.
Then of course Tiki considered that long absence where she didn't have a plush form. River got convinced that plushie's were for girls and tried to 'man up' during first puberty. Tiki didn't remember a whole lot from that time. Not until River got on hormones, and then finally got herself a plushie, because all the trans girls on the internet talked about plushies.
River for her part just nuzzled Tiki's soft little body, high as a kite. Textures felt soooo good and vibrant and River just needed to feel that plush softness. Then of course her mind drifted to the plush softness of the couch beneath her and flopped onto her side rubbing up against the cushions.
After a bit, she stopped rubbing to look at the common mass produced object in her arms and imagined all the little thoughts going through its head. Lots of thoughts. "You okay, Tiki?"
"Uhm… maybe? I don't know. I'm imaginary right?"
"Yea… Am I insane?"
Tiki looked offended. "River, that's not a nice thing to say about yourself. You're a perfectly normal autistic girl."
"Mmm, doubt." River looked up at the plant in the midst of cooking. "Am I insane?"
"You're adorable, as is Tiki. I'm placing my petals on you two being a pluribus. Though if you're not I still think you're both cute." A flurry of vines chopped and stirred and concocted things. Then a vine stretched all the way across from the kitchen to the couch holding up a glass of water in front of River. "Drink your water, dear."
"Yes Mistress!" River plucked the cup out of the vine and drank it in three gulps. Then she handed it back over.
"What's a pluribus?" asked the imaginary friend. Two scrawny arms then raised Tiki into the air so it could peer at the affini—not that the plush itself could truly see anything.
"Having more than one sophont in a body." The answer was short and sweet between sizzling succulent food being prepared.
It took the plush and pet duo a second to piece that together… Wait, they definitely weren't plural. They definitely both felt very firmly in agreement there. River unfortunately had to be a person, and Tiki got to be the cute plush toy that comforted her when she was sad. Not plural. Very normal to talk to yourself and have conversations with yourself and to have yourself point out things that didn't occur to you. Totally normal. Very singular.
Tiki responded for the pair. "Uh, we think we'd rather be one sophont and her imaginary friend."
"Alright cuties, but I'm still making pets out of you both." With that conundrum settled—and dinner finished—Calla plucked River right off the couch and into a large seat at the dining table. The towering plant woman with a cascade of flowers then took one look at the pair as they observed the stir fry with a frown. "Something wrong cuties?"
"Uhm…" River fell silent. The meal looked photogenic, perfectly made, a colorful bowl of cooked vegetables with protein soy chunks and noodles and some sort of faint glimmer of whatever it got fried in. The autistic girl with sensory sensitivities that left her a very very picky eater didn't know how to politely decline the meal without offending the plant who just spent all that time making it. Plus she hated wasting food. When you're as poor as her you don't waste food. Ever.
Shooting the plush a look, River wondered if her imaginary friend could maybe explain it hopefully in a non-offensive way.
Tiki unfortunately shied under the pressure. Used to supporting River, but not like… doing things for River. River was the doer of things, not Tiki. Stars, Tiki hadn't ever even spoken to a sophont besides River until this turn of events and the plush faltered.
That's when someone else walked into the room, and promptly sealed Tiki's and River's mouths shut as the pair went very very nonverbal. On big bappy pawbs, a cat girl lazily strolled up to the kitchen table and miaowed, "Welcome back Mistress… who's she?"
"This is River." Pat pat pat, went a vine on River's head despite her being frozen in anxiety. "And this is Tiki." Calla then patted the trembling plushie in trembling hands. "River, Tiki, this is my floret, Angel, my beloved cat."
Angel approached and with two pawbs, rose to sniff the silent still sophont and plush. "Hi! I'm Angel, she/it! are you going to be Mistress' pet too?"
Calla watched the pair remain idle and shaking, her own vines curling in anticipation before finally asking. "Girls, is something the matter?"
Tiki nodded her plush head.
"Is it anxiety?"
"Is it from Angel being in the room?"
River wiggled the plush in neither a yes nor no way.
"Is it the food?"
Pulling her legs up, River cuddled the plush tight. The duo trembling as River couldn't look in the direction of either of them. Anxiety drowning out thought leaving them silent and scared. River remained in her awful work uniform, but now on some alien capital ship high on alien drugs. Stars, River had been pretending Tiki was sort of real, and now she felt trapped instead of blissfully high. She wanted to run but there was nowhere to run to, and her legs certainly wouldn't take her there regardless.
Kneeling beside River, Calla gently petted her. "It's okay, I can make something else for you. And you can dine separate from Angel if you need to."
"As my pet to be, I'm going to give you another xenodrug for the anxiety." She held up another flower to River's face, but River wasn't exactly breathing, rather she kept holding her breath and taking a single one every time her brain forced her to. "Breathe deep for me, River." Waiting several moments with the affini then withdrew the flower mask.
A moment later a light poke in River's thigh blossomed out, not a vibrant warmth but a soft relaxation as her shaking slowly stopped and her body melted into limp bliss. Vines caught her as she nearly fell off the seat from all of her muscles relaxing at once.
"You two feeling any better?" Calla waited a moment carefully watching River whose eyes lazily looked side to side but remained with mouth shut. "Oh dear." She looked to her side. "Angel I'm going to tuck these two into bed, I'll be back to feed you in a moment, kitten."
Picking up River and Tiki, she drifted over to a rather large bedroom, dimming the lights on the way in. Peeling back the plush covers, she slipped the pair in and gave them both a kiss on the head. "I'll let you two rest. Let me know if you need anything, okay cuties?"
A torrent of things that River wanted to say welled up inside but none got far enough for her brain to translate into words. Instead, her blissed out mind got lost in the silken sheets. A cozy bed without a lick of pain involved.
Calla gave the inert pair one last look before leaving them to rest.
Lying there, River wished she could speak with Tiki, but her mouth failed to move, and her mind failed to properly form words. She lay physically relaxed in the bed and suddenly the long day and short 2nd shift job caught up to the girl. That and a chronic mismanagement of her sleep schedule.
Not too long after, River closed her eyes cuddling Tiki, and drifted off to a pleasant sleep…
Only to wake up hours later, sober, and in pain. Silken sheets lay beneath her with none of the grandeur of touch that the xenodrugs gave her. Her neck ached as a soft pillow embraced her head. Her knee throbbed. River's back felt like someone was stabbing it. Her shoulder was sore. One of her elbows felt like it was about to fall apart, and all the while her forehead felt like someone had just punched it.
Tiki was gone. Her plush that she'd cuddled to sleep now missing from tossing and turning. River searched around, almost in tears over her stupid awful fucking body that existed just to torment her in every way possible. Eventually her hands found a lump that upon further probing turned out to be the missing plush.
"Tiki, it hurts." River whispered, seeking comfort in her friend.
"I know, I know. Hugs." The plush came in for a hug before pulling back. "We're still in the affini's bed, we just need to call out to Mistress." Tiki thought about it for a moment longer and realized that her asking for the affini Mistress was an option. Taking the initiative, Tiki called out. "C-Calla! Mistress?"
A heartbeat later, the door cracked open letting in a soft light. The towering woman of plantlife rushed in, sitting down upon the massive bed beside River. "What do you need, dears?"
River managed to rasp out. "Pain."
"Right, right!" A flower emerged and covered the girl's face. "Deep breath."
Two lungfuls later and that wonderful high chased the pain away again. A vine brushed away one of River's tears as the flower mask pulled back.
"Thank you." The pair said unsure of whose voice they used. "Mistress." added River.
"You're so very welcome, flowers. It's the middle of the night, so—" A growling sound cut off the affini mid word. It took everyone in the room a moment to process that the loud noise came from River's own body. Her stomach. "So I best get you something to eat, hmn?"
A knot formed in River's stomach as she remembered the meal she failed to eat before. A meal carefully made for her before she went and froze up and went nonverbal and fuck. "I'm sorry."
Calla giggled a bit, peeling back the covers. "Feeling hungry is nothing to feel sorry for cutie. Come on."
"Not that." Tiki answered for her sophont. "Uhm, River feels bad she couldn't eat the food you made before because she's got strong food preferences from her autism. Taste and texture being sensitive enough she can't stomach most things and usually just… doesn't eat."
"Mhm." Hummed the giant as she scooped the pair up into her arms. "And Tiki, when was the last time River ate?"
Tiki took a moment to sift through River's memories, as River also thought on it. "She last ate about a full day before we met."
The big plant carried them out into the equally dim living room and past, into the dining room. As the lighting rose a smidge, she halted before a large indent in the wall with a fancy touch screen above a built-in shelf. With a tapping vine, the screen lit up in perfect brightness to match the rest of the night time hab unit.
Several options displayed on the screen and 'food' got selected with another tap. "Alright, Tiki, what's River's favorite food?"
"She really likes chicken tendies!" Tiki chirped.
"I-I uhm… Tiki." A blush blossomed on River's face as she watched the plant holding her in big powerful arms tap through the menu with little vines, only then to be presented with around fifty different options for breaded artificial chicken meat substitute… Except some weren't substitute, some were synthe meat! Aaaaa?!? Real meat?! River had only tasted genuine meat once, and it was pretty good.
"See anything you can eat?" Teased the plant.
Reaching over, Tiki tapped one made of synthe meat with a thick golden breading. "That one."
"That one, what?" Another teasing inflection spelling out rhythmically what Calla wanted to hear.
Tiki shrank and poked River to answer. With a flushed face looking into the plant's own dimly lit bosom vines, she said, "May I pretty please have that one, Mistress?"
Golden shimmering and almost glowing eyes narrowed in on her at the sound of the cutesy begging words. "How could I ever say no, when you beg so adorably?" Calla tapped the item and tapped the sub option for french fries.
Now River assumed that it'd order delivery or something. River assumed wrong. The device then lowered a clear screen over the shelf which sparkled to life as the exact food slowly came into being. The glittering lights washed over it layer by layer, to the utter bewilderment and amazement of the floret and her plushie.
Then with a last little magical spark the food finished appearing, plate and all.
"H-How?" River looked upwards in search of how the miracle happened.
"An atomic compiler, dearest flower." The smug dripped from her every word. "A cute little device we made to assemble anything you could want, whenever you need it. Say for instance, a meal in the middle of the night for a starved pet." She picked up the plate and stepped over to the table, setting down the food, and sitting with the floret in her lap.
Reaching out a hand, River attempted to begin her midnight meal—only for a vine to grab the arm and pull it back down to holding Tiki. She glanced up at the towering creature. "Wha—"
A planty finger sealed the girls lips shut. "You're a pet, dear, and as my beloved pet, I'm going to hand feed you your meals." Picking up a piece of breaded chicken in hand, the affini offered it up to the relatively small woman sitting in her lap clutching a plushie.
River and Tiki both pondered what hand feed meant, only for Tiki to arrive at the answer first. Tiki's cheeks flushed upon River's face. "River, I think she wants you to nibble out of her hand."
Embarrassment sunk its nasty claws into River causing her to hesitate. Cheeks burned as her mind imagined leaning forth and biting bits off while her new Mistress held the food in her grasp. But stars, River hadn't eaten in over a day and that food was her favorite meal.
Leaning forwards, her lower lip brushed against the planty palm. The act sent a needy shiver down River's spine as the painkillers turned every sensation into a hedonistic bloodbath. Crooked teeth sank into the offering and with a satisfyingly crisp crunch, River pulled back with a delicious, perfectly breaded and cut piece of food. If the pain killers hadn't reduced River to a needy begging pet, the food would have. Every little thing she'd seen from the affini so far seemed like such a luxury that she could scarcely comprehend it was all free for everyone all the time for the rest of existence.
Then the understanding that River was a floret sank in. A pet. Her feeding so strictly controlled that she was forced to eat only from the very hand of her new owner. The most basic of tasks became an intimate moment of control by the towering plant, and a moment of blissful submission by River herself.
River went in for a second bite, once again feeling herself brushing up against the hand that feeds, reveling in its touch and worshiping its benevolence. A headspace blossomed in the shared mind of River and Tiki. One of being a cute little thing. An obedient thing. A good girl for her Mistress. The high of those thoughts alone exceeded that of the xenodrugs. Hers. River got to be all hers and she loved it more than life itself.
Like a tame little animal she finished off the morsels of food in the hand's grasp before licking the crumbs left upon the palm clean. Idle worship of her tongue upon her owner, cleaning her up, tasting perfect breading.
"Good Girl, River. You're a natural at this aren't you? Born to be a pet, hmn?"
River simply watched the hand, awaiting more food with a distant hazy look, and an empty smile to match. A light petting punctuated the verse of submission.
That same hand then returned from its journey to the plate with several beautiful golden fries in tow. Thus the cycle of prayer began anew, River bowing her head in supplication and being rewarded in kind with perfect food. Over and over until the act of thinking need not apply. An instinctual auto pilot taking root in the neurodivergent creature.
Between verses, the high floret began nuzzling her owner. Her rough cheek against smooth vines. Little more than animalistic instinct and submissive bliss guided her actions despite before behaving akin to the common terran.
Calla, Mistress simply indulged the starving pet, humming happily as she went about plucking bits of food off the plate for her pet. Gentle praise washed over the simple animal again and again. The occasional petting gifted from above. All the while the hand that fed maintained a steady pace rather than the autistic pet's conventional feeding pace of, needing to remember to breathe between bites.
Then as a tongue lapped up the last few crumbs, River slumped wearily against her affini. Small hands clutching the giant's torso, before sleepy nuzzles followed. Yawn.
"You both are such an adorable pet. To think you both struggled with independence for so long, poor things. I'll take care of you just like my precious Angel… speaking of which." Mistress stood up, a dazed River, and a tiny Tiki in her arms and journeyed over to the couch to pluck a curled up Angel into her vines. Calla brought the duo close to Angel and the florets sleepily snuggled each other.
Finally to bed. River was vaguely aware of her owner all around her. A purring cat curled close, and her precious plush sitting within her arms. Not a drop of pain left in her little body, or at least not to her fading awareness.
Soft lips pressed against River's head, and then Tiki's and then Angel's. "Night night, flowers."