Petal wakes up with a groan, stretching her arms across the… couch. Apparently she fell asleep on the couch last night, which would probably explain why she feels stiff. Not as much as she used to before the Affini had rescued her from the Horizons, but still, an unpleasant reminder of the frailty of her body.
Petal stands up, stretching out the rest of her body, and is surprised when she hears her tablet clatter onto the floor. With another groan she reaches down to pick it up, blinking at it in confusion.
Is that a picture of an affini? It was a vaguely humanoid shape, wrapped in vines, but…
Oh. Right. That.
Petal hears the clatter of her tablet falling to the floor again. She should probably stop dropping it, although it was probably just as indestructible as everything else the Affini had their hands- vines- whatevers on.
She picks it up. Again. She quickly changes away from the messenger, to be confronted with Delphinium’s Notice of Intent. That might actually be worse. She changes away from that, too, and checks the time. Seven minutes to noon. She’s slept in later than that before, it’s no big deal. Besides, yesterday was exhausting. Good, but exhausting.
Petals starts to stifle a yawn, but it quickly overtakes her control. There was something about the date… Stars, she actually went on a date with Millie. It feels tame, in comparison to what Millie’s mistress had sent her afterwards, but that doesn’t make their date feel any less special. If anything, seeing how the intensity of pleasure that the Affini could give her, it made it even more special that Millie would choose to spend her time with Petal. But that wasn’t the date that caught her mind… Petal looks down at the tablet again, and blinks at the clock. Six minutes to noon. There was something important about noon, maybe? Like…
Oh shit! Her appointment! Fortunately her clothes were still… relatively clean, and Affini-make fabrics didn’t seem to get creased in the same way that the clothes she used to have to wear did. If she’s quick, she might be able to make the distance in five minutes. She briefly considered asking an affini to help. She’d seen one in a hurry once, as it glided across the street, faster than she’d seen a lot of cars move, but without even disturbing any of the other passersby. Even just walking, affini moved a lot faster than humans, what with their legs being that much longer.
Five minutes to noon. Involving the affini doesn’t seem like a good idea right now. She’ll just have to hope she can make it in time. She tosses her tablet in her bag, which she slides her shoulder through as she runs out her door. She pelts her way down the streets, almost running straight into a floret, before their affini simply lifted them into the air, allowing Petal to simply run underneath them.
She arrives at the Happy Vines Human Clinic with just over a minute to spare, and takes a few seconds to catch her breath, an affini passerby watching her curiously. With all the Affini food, she’s probably in better shape than she’s ever been in her life, but that really isn’t saying much. When she’s confident that she isn’t actually going to pass out simply from walking through the door, she does just that. There’s a woman sitting at reception, with the clear eyes and bare neck of a fellow independent.
“Hi, I, uh…” Petal takes a few deep breaths. Still not quite up to talking normally, it would seem. “I have an appointment. Sorry if I’m late.”
“That’s fine, I’ll just need your name.” It was a bit of a relief to Petal, that this place seemed to have a human staff. She definitely didn’t have a problem with affini, but she could probably do without needing to think about… any of that for a bit.
“Jez Michaels,” she lied.
“Oh, of course. Doctor Vinia's last appointment finished early, so feel free to head in whenever you’re ready.”
“Thanks.” Petal steps over to an honest-to-goodness water cooler, staring at it in confusion for a moment, before taking a cup of water. As she takes the cup she can see another cup being compiled at the top of the stack, and when she finishes her drink, and drops the cup in what she assumed was a bin, she can see it decompile in front of her eyes. Strangely, though, the water in the watercooler actually seems to have blooped and gone down. It even tasted a bit different to what her hab gave her.
Petal takes another deep breath, steeling herself to open the large door to the doctor’s office. She swipes a hand past the control, the door slides open, and she steps in. The desk is big. Almost concerningly big, and there’s a nameplate that says… oh no.
Delphinium Vinia, DVM
“Please, take a seat,” the pleasant, musical voice comes from what Petal assumes she had defensively thought of as some kind of giant office plant, as Delphinium gestures towards a tall, but not unmanageable seat, which Petal finds herself mutely climbing into.
“It’s good to see you again. I’m glad to see that I didn’t make a mistake in recommending you be allowed to maintain your independence.”
“Um… yeah. It’s… it’s good to see you again, too.” Maybe. Was Petal’s appointment with her on purpose? “I just… I didn’t realise you were here, on Cordola.”
“Oh, this was always our destination, dear. I was just helping out the crew of the Asturtium while they were so helpfully ferrying me here.” That does make sense. There were quite a few affini who got off on Cordola, it makes sense that Delphinium might be one of them. It was just an alarming coincidence, what with that Notice of Intent. Wait, our?
“Our?” There she goes blurting out personal questions, again. She never used to be this invasive before she met the Affini.
“Oh, yes. I came here with my darling floret. I thought it would be a good place for her to make some new friends, and there’s plenty of humans in need of medical care.” That also makes sense. But doesn’t that mean she already has a floret? Is she allowed to have more than one? If she was on the Asturtium to bring her floret to Cordola, then that must mean that she wrote the Notice of Intent when she already had a floret. Does that mean that Millie’s mistress was trying to take her as a floret, too? That would explain why she seemed so interested in… meeting Petal. “Are you okay, dear?”
“Oh, um… yep. I just… I wasn’t expecting you to be my doctor. It seems like a pretty big coincidence, I guess.”
“Oh, not at all! Verne, that is to say Vernonia Latlens, down at the records office, knew that I was already familiar with your case, and so he probably thought that it would help for you to have a familiar face, as it were,” Delphinium says with a smile that Petal can’t help reciprocate. Vernonia. He had to know about Delphinium’s Notice of Intent. Didn’t the Affini care about conflicts of interest?
“Right. Um… what does DVM mean?”
“Hm? Oh, that’s my accreditation, of course.”
“I thought doctors got MDs, or something, or DMs, maybe?”
Delphinium leans towards Petal, the facets of her eyes flickering purple and gold. “That’s very true, and you’ll notice that I do have two of those letters in my accreditation, but I happen to specialise in the treatment of domesticated species, which would make me a...?”
Domesticated species? Oh. Petal blushes. Delphinium's eyes start to gently pulse gold and purple as she raises the leaf that seems to be serving as her eyebrow. Apparently she wanted Petal to say it. Petal couldn’t help but blush harder. “You’re a vet.”
Delphinium gave Petal that same damned smile that she couldn’t stop herself from smiling back at. “Good-” Delphinium paused. “Your appointment form said that you were interested in a class-G regimen?” Petal nods. “Are there any changes you’d like me to make to your name and pronouns in our records?”
Petal goes pale. She can’t tell Delphinium about her name. That would be… she just can’t. “I’m, um… still working on a name.” It wasn’t quite a lie. She still wouldn’t mind finding a name that fit her but wasn’t quite so… floret-y. “But, uh… she/her pronouns?”
“Excellent.” Petal can hear Delphinium tap something on her tablet. “Now then, where was I? Ah, yes. Good girl.” Petal’s blush returns with a vengeance, almost as intense as the first time Millie called her that, although she was still more-or-less aware of her surroundings this time, so that was a plus.
If the girl didn’t clearly enjoy it so much, Delphinium might almost have felt bad for teasing her like that. Besides, in her experience, terrans that were new to their genders could use all the affirmation they got, and by phrasing it as part of the usual affini tendency to teasingly praise other sophonts, it often slipped past the unfortunately common denial that terrans exploring their gender so often fell in to. She’d even used it to help a few seeds start to realise how exactly they wanted to sprout.
Getting the girl to acknowledge Delphinium as a vet was less necessary, but still incredibly adorable. The way she’d reacted when Delphinium asked for her name, though… there was definitely a story there, but she could afford to be patient in taking it from her. Maybe she’d be more inclined to tell her darling Millie, although Millie seemed to have her sights set on somebody of her own. Well, Delphinium certainly wouldn’t object to a third floret, assuming that they all got along. Although she might have gotten a little bit carried away with Millie’s new friend. She did hope she hadn’t scared the poor thing off.
The rest of the appointment went fairly professionally. When dealing with independents, Delphinium tried to keep her flirting to the start and the end of her appointments, although the girl was quite shy throughout the appointment. A lot of her answers Delphinium had to infer from the colour of her cheeks, which wasn’t the most precise, but was rather fun.
“So, I believe I have an idea for what would be an appropriate first treatment in your regimen. If you’re comfortable with needles, I would recommend an injection, although other treatment methods are available.” Delphinium twisted her wrist, and a pink and yellow flower with a sharp looking needle emerged from the vines that made up her forearm.
“Um… yeah. I guess that’s okay?” The girl clearly didn’t seem thrilled about receiving an injection. A common reaction, especially given the state of Terran medicine before the arrival of the Affini.
“I could administer the treatment some other way, my dear.”
“No, no. If this works best, then that’s what I want.” Delphinium let a sigh pass through her vines. It wasn’t a great sign that she was so ready to ignore her own misgivings, but injection really would be the most effective method.
“Very well. If you would, I’d like you to look into my eyes, and breathe along with me.” The girl nodded, looking up into Delphinium’s eyes, and quickly adjusting her breathing to match the gentle expansion and contractions Delphinium set her vines to. She pressed the needle in flower past the girl's skin. She barely even seemed to notice it. “Just like that, good girl.” She pressed the dose in, and the girl let out a gentle sigh. The biggest downside to her job, thought Delphinium, was the need to hold herself back when she had someone so wonderfully receptive. She could be patient, however.
The next thing the girl said put that to the test however. After Delphinium had withdrawn her flower, and let the girl start breathing to her own rhythm again, she let out a gentle whimper, and asked, “Um… could I also maybe get some… recreational xenodrugs?” Her voice got quieter and higher pitched with each new word.
Delphinium smiled, eliciting the same soft smile from the cutie that she had before. “Of course, my dear. Would you like that now, or for later?” She was sure that the girl had intended to ask for drugs to take with her, but the idea of getting drugged now clearly had an effect on her, judging by the glow it brought to her cheeks.
“Um… later. A… friend maybe suggested that I might, well… enjoy my time with her more?” Again, her voice grew quieter and higher with every word. It was the most adorable thing Delphinium had seen since, well, last night. Millie had been very adorable last night.
“Oh, of course.” Delphinium reached out a vine behind her, and took out a small inhaler of a mild class-A xenodrug, passing it through her body and into the waiting hands of the girl. “I’d recommend waiting until you’re somewhere comfortable with this friend of yours before you take it, although you may also find it rather enjoyable to use on your own.”
The dear thing started to stammer out some sort of thankful response, but when it became clear that she wasn’t going to stop any time soon, Delphinium stopped her with a vine to her lips.
“I couldn’t help but notice that you also have some facial hair, would I be correct in guessing that you would like to change this?”
The girl nodded, her response slightly muffled. “You can do that?”
“Rather easily.” Delphinium slid out a special vine of hers, which was already exuding sap. She reached it out towards the girl, who hesitated for only a second before nodding. Delphinium held the girl’s head in place with another pair of vines, eliciting another blush, and then she added a third a third on the girl’s chin when she tried to open her mouth. She spread a thin layer of the sap over the girl’s chin, jaw and neck, and then gently cleaned it off with a tissue.
The girl already looked cuter from it, especially with the flush on her cheeks enhanced with the minor dose of topical class-As that come along with the hair removal. To help the cuties remember to gush over how smooth their cheeks have become, as well as because it’s adorable. Delphinium also passed the girl a small bottle of a hair-growth lotion, with a playful instruction to make sure she “Doesn’t get it anywhere you don’t want hair.”
Eventually, the girl is sat on the chair, looking up at Delphinium with an adorable expression of what she can only assume is uncertain adoration, or perhaps adoring uncertainty. She’d really love to spend more time with this cutie, but unfortunately she did have other appointments today.
“Well then, assuming you don’t run out of this before then,” Delphinium tapped the class-A inhaler, “I’ll expect to see you back here in a week for your next injection.”
The girl slid off the chair, adorably. “Th-thanks, Delph- I mean, doctor.”
“Delphinium is fine.” She swiped a vine past the door controls, and just before the door closed behind the girl, she called out “Unless you’d rather call me Mistress~.”