“You- you do?”
“Well yes, my dear. It had become rather obvious, given the circumstances. Admittedly, I did not know until I arrived, at which point Millie made it rather clear that she was going to attempt to tease me for not having realised sooner. Which is why her speaking privileges have been temporarily revoked~.”
Wait, speaking privileges, that… why was that hot? Petal could feel her cheeks blush.
“Oh, you like the sound of that, do you?” Delphinium takes a vine and strokes it down Petal’s cheek.
“I- what? I mean-”
“It’s okay, when I let Millie talk again you can confirm with her that I’m usually quite generous with such things. I’ve found that the removal of privileges like this can be so much more effective when used sparingly~.” Another vine joins the first; Petal can barely process what Delphinium is saying.
“I… um?” The vines slow down.
“M-maybe?” The vines stop, and Petal lets out a sigh. “This is all, like, a lot. Like A Lot a lot.”
“Well, if you’d prefer, we could just talk. Maybe you could tell me how you got your name~?” She knows, of course she knows. The reason Petal couldn’t tell her is because the moment Delphinium found out about it, she’d know.
“You already know.”
“I want to hear you say it, my dear. Is that really too much to ask?”
“I, well, uh…”
“If it is too much for you, we could always talk about something else. Like, how you feel about domestication, or the haustoric implant? Or the look you had on your face, when I mentioned speaking privileges~.”
“Fine, fine, we can talk about my name.” She was going to get it out of Petal sooner or later. And Petal hated to admit it, but she was kind of looking forward to it.
“Of course, and then we’ll still have more things to talk about later~.”
“... We’ll see.” The only way out of anything to do with Delphinium now was to leave, and even if she would let her, Petal wasn’t so sure that Millie would. She was also pretty sure that the only reason she’d ever try to run from either of them is so that they’d chase her.
“Yes, you will.” Petal blushes.
The only thing that fighting the Affini, or running away, or anything like could ever get you is even more attention. Which Petal had to admit, almost made it tempting, but you could also just ask for their attention. Petal is really bad at asking for what she wants.
“Okay, so… I figured out my name when…” It’s too embarrassing! Delphinium can’t honestly expect her to just say it, can she?
“Do you want to try that again, maybe just a tiny bit slower, my dear?”
“I… it’s embarrassing.”
Fuck. If Petal tells her, it’s embarrassing because it’s just embarrassing. If Petal doesn’t tell her, it’s embarrassing because she’s too embarrassed to embarrass herself and-
Petal feels a cool vine gently stroking her cheek.
“You looked distressed, my dear. If it really is too much, I can stop.”
“No, no, it’s fine.” Petal takes a deep breath in and lets it out as a long sigh. “I realised my name was Petal when you called me petal on the Horizons, as I was passing out from the xenodrugs. What were you even doing on the Horizons, anyway? You’re a v- a doctor.”
“Well, I was offering my veterinary expertise on the appropriate dosage of our xenodrugs to properly subdue the crew of your ship without the risk of any injuries. And, of course, to be ready to treat any injuries that you, or any of your crew, might have acquired in the process of being brought in.”
“Okay, so… I also maybe forgot about the whole figuring my name out thing because of the xenodrugs, and then I figured it out again when… I passed out from xenodrugs and you called me petal, again.”
“That’s… that’s so adorable.”
“… Thanks, I guess”
“No, really, that’s… so precious. You always were. From risking your life in an entirely unnecessary attempt to save mine, which, let’s be honest, is much more adorable than if it were actually necessary, to not even having a loaded gun, and then, and then!” Delphinium holds a small, purple flower out to them in a tiny tendril of a vine. “The flower. And you, you asked for water, for the flower, and it was the cutest thing.”
“W-well, I don’t know, it seemed like the right thing to do?” Petal can feel herself blushing. When she gets home, she absolutely needs to hide the flower. She absolutely cannot let Delphinium see it. Delphinium gives her a Look. Like she knows something is up, even if she doesn’t know what it is.
“Say, Petal, whatever did happen to that flower I gave you?” Rather than force the flower into Petal’s hands again, this time Delphinium slides the flower behind Petal’s ear.
“You wouldn’t have destroyed it, you’re far too precious for that. I doubt you’d grafted it to a root system, or anything, so…”
“I pressed it.”
“You pressed it?”
“It’s like… an old fashioned way of preserving flowers. I read about it in a story once. Anyway, now it’s in a frame in my hab. And I maybe look at it when I get stressed.” Petal looks away from Delphinium in embarrassment, blushing at how much she’s admitting to Delphinium, at how easy it is, and at how much she wants to.
Delphinium reaches a vine out to Petal’s chin and turns her head to look into Delphinium’s eyes. “Petal, you are probably the most adorable sophont I’ve ever met.” There’s a muffled noise from Millie. Delphinium wasn’t lying about taking away her speaking privileges. Fuck. That’s still hot. So unfair. “With perhaps one or two notable exceptions.”
Petal feels herself wanting to turn herself away from the intensity of Delphinium’s gaze, as if it’s only a matter of time before every last secret she has is pulled out and seen, and what happens if Delphinium finally finds something she doesn’t want to see, what happens if Petal can’t live up to being Hers. She feels another cool vine on her cheek.
“Is everything okay, my dear? You looked flustered, which is adorable, but also worried, which is less so.”
“I just… I have a question. A hypothetical.”
“Oh, of course, a hypothetical. please, go on.”
“What… what happens if, like, a floret has something bad about them, like, I don’t know, something that upsets their Mistress, or owner, or whatever.”
“Well, it depends, but in most cases, their owner would simply correct whatever flaw happened to rear its head.” Delphinium gently poked Petal’s nose with a vine. “Unless they find it too cute~. For instance, I need to apologise on behalf of my marvelous Millie. For all her wonderful features, of which there are many, she isn’t exactly the best with… directions, or locations. Things like that.”
“Are you saying that we… that all of that, was the wrong address, because Millie got confused?”
“In my defense, she’s utterly adorable when she’s confused~. Still, I’m sorry for the distress it caused you.”
“It… I guess it could have been worse? I mean, I got to see that Millie’s a fucking badass. That was hot. I mean, cool.”
“Ah yes, you terrans do love to refer to things as temperatures, don’t you? Such an adorable little quirk~.”
“You know exactly what I mean!”
“Oh, do I, now?”
“Yes! I’ve used both of those words with you, multiple times, and you fully understood what I was saying!”
“An interesting point, my dear, on the other hand, have you considered this?” A pair of vines snake out from Delphinium, and start to pet Petal’s face; another vine sneaks out to start ruffling her hair.
“Hey! That’s completely unrelated.”
“Is it? How so?” Another pair of vines snake in from the sides, and start stroking Petal’s arms.
“Nooooo!” Petal squirms joyfully in the Delphinium’s vines. “Stooop!”
Suddenly, Delphinium pulls all of her vines away, leaving Petal squirming from the sudden absence of touch.
“Do you really want me to stop~?”
“I... I don’t want you to stop.”
“‘Who don’t you want to stop exactly~?”
“I- you! Delphinium.”
“Hmmm, is that really who you want to keep going?”
“Of course that’s who I want! I want you!”
“You want me…~?” Delphinium draws it out, as if it’s supposed to be obvious what Petal’s supposed to say, but what else is she even supposed to call her?
Oh, right. Mistress. Delphinium wants Petal to call her ‘Mistress’. Petal can feel herself shrink, trying to shed the parts of her that aren’t ready yet, so she can just have this, just this once! “I…”
Ugh! Why does this have to be so hard? Petal takes a deep breath, gazing deep into Delphinium's eyes. She takes another breath, letting herself breathe along with the glow in the affini’s eyes. Along with her Mistress. Why can’t she just say what she wants? Why can’t she just let go and be Hers.
“I… I want…” Petal’s voice is weak, trembling. Why can’t she just say it? They’re just words! “I want you, m- mmm-”
“You can do it, my dearest, darling Petal, you’re already so close~.”
“I… want you mmm- m- mmistress.” Petal’s voice is barely more than a whisper, and grows quieter with every word.
“Good girl, Petal~.” Delphinium gives Petal just enough time to let her words sink in, before her vines come back to start petting Petal’s face, and ruffling her hair.
Petal squirms, as Delphinium slides more vines down Petal’s body. “Now, my darling Millie mentioned before that you’ve been on your feet all day, my dear. She also mentioned that she had suggested that I might be able to help with that. Would you like that, my dear~?”
“mm, yes, mm- mistress~” Petals voice is still weak, but what little is left is trying to follow her Mistress’ lead.
“And would my dearest Petal like some xenodruggies from the nice vet lady?”
“ummm… x-xenodruggies please, mis- mistress~”
Petal feels a pinch in her thigh, followed by warm throbbing that’s pulsing in time with her heartbeat, and she suddenly she can feel every touch on her skin as bliss, from the gentle breeze of the hab’s circulation, to the blanket of flowers holding her in place, to the vines caressing her face, to the vines slowly sliding off her shoes to firmly squeeze the aches out of her feet. Even the warmth in her leg where her Mistress gave her this gift of sensation was tingling with utter bliss.
Delphinium was getting carried away. Petal in person was much cuter than Petal in text, or Petal pretending to be somebody else, like she’d been dealing with at the clinic. It did somewhat explain her reaction yesterday, and while her initial reaction to discovering that Millie had such a direct connection to her wasn’t ideal, it definitely seemed as though her darling Millie had helped Petal realise that this was something to celebrate, rather than fear. Delphinium pulled Millie in closer, to give her some petting of her own.
“You’ve done a very good job with her, my dear~.” Delphinium whispered through a vine by Millie’s ear. “Oh, and yes, you’re allowed to talk again.”
“Thank you, Mistress. But I didn’t do it for you~.”
“Oh really, Millie? Do you honestly think that there’s anything you do that isn’t for me~?”
“I… no, Mistress. There isn’t.”
Millie squirmed in Delphinium's vines, before she continued. “Sorry that you’re only getting one cute new floret, by the way.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that, dearest, Petal’s more than adorable enough for two, wouldn’t you say?”
“Yeah! Um, in fact...”
“Yes, of course, my dearest, under the blanket you go~.” Delphinium slid Millie in under the blanket of her own flowers, and cuddled her up against Petal, helping each of them wrap their arms around the other.
There’d be plenty to talk about later, not to mention the almost endless variety of other things that Delphinium could do to and with them, but for now, she wanted to just watch how adorable the two of them were, wrapped in each other’s arms, and her vines.