Akash and Elvira are sitting in an otherwise empty intraship transit pod, the affini’s vines holding onto the human’s leash. “It’s hardly as if I have anywhere to go”, Elvira objects, gently tugging at the leash. “True, but”, Akash smiles broadly, “those indignant noises you keep making are just so cute~”.
Elvira looks down at her outfit, a colorful ensemble, with almost-lace arranged in floral patterns, a medium length overall-skirt featuring said pattern, and many convenient metal rings to allow easier leashing. Her shoes were far simpler in design, a simple dark grey with hidden clasping mechanisms. She scoffs.
The transit pod begins to slow down, and the plain shipmetal wall outside gives way to a vista of a vast forest of flora with winding rivers and an artificial sky. The human gasps, her eyes widening in awe. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it? I made sure we’d be on the Helianthus till we reach my home.”
Elvira rubs her brow. “H-home..”
“That’s right dear, your home too, now~”.
The pod passes beneath the tallest trees as it slows and stops. Akash stands, gesturing for Elvira to stand also. The door to the pod slides open, and they both walk onto a wide stone pathway surrounded by lush flora.
They walk for several minutes passing by numerous other affini, humans, and various xeno species that Elvira didn’t recognize. Akash seems to recognize some of them, waving or giving a short greeting. Elvira pulls closer to Akash with each step, desperate to hide from the curious eyes of the xenos.
They reach a smaller path leading to a secluded pond. As they start to round the final bend, Elvira sees something unexpected — someone unexpected. Sitting on a bench next to the pond is Mara, laughing alongside an affini who Elvira can only assume is Mara’s owner. Mara’s captor, she corrects herself.
Elvira catches her breath, darting behind nearby foliage. Akash allows Elvira to pull away, letting some slack into the leash. With condescending concern, Akash asks Elvira “Are you alright darling? I thought you’d be happy to see your friend”.
Elvira is shaking slightly, her voice wavering “I can’t.. Can’t let her see me like this, wearing this!”. She gestures downward at her blouse and skirt.
Akash tilts her head in mock confusion “And why would that be? I’m sure Mara would be happy to see her friend, especially in such an outfit~”.
“You know what I fucking mean!” Elvira whisper-shouts, desperate to not draw Mara’s attention.
“Language, darling” Akash reminds, but Elvira just scowls and continues.
“You’ve only brought me here to humiliate me further, damn weed!” Akash’s physical expression momentarily flashes with hurt, perhaps even a bit of anger. Elvira swallows nervously and averts her gaze.
Akash sighs. “We’ll deal with your language issue when we get back to our habitation unit, but for now”, she starts to pull Elvira past the foliage she is hiding behind, “we’re going to go see Nikhila and Mara, understood?”
Elvira continues to pull against Akash’s tugging at the leash. “I can’t! Not like this..”
Akash closes her eyes in thought for a moment, sighing “Look, either you can walk with me and we can meet our friends, or I can carry you. It’s your choice dear.”
Elvira takes a deep breath. “I.. I’ll walk..”
Akash extends a hand towards Elvira, and she grabs hold shyly, her eyes fluttering for a moment as she adjusts to the pleasurably tingling of skin-skin contact. The sensation was weaker than she’d felt earlier, and she reasons that the xenodrugs from the bath must be finally wearing off.
The two of them walk further down the path, Elvira’s head faced firmly at the ground, her face burning a bright red. The affini sitting next to Mara notices, and stands and waves “Greetings Akash! I see you’ve brought your new ward!” Akash grins broadly, increasing her pace, Elvira almost having to run to keep up. The two affini clasp hands and vines, quickly beginning to converse. Akash unclips Elvira’s leash, gently pushing her in the direction of Mara.
“Elvy!” Mara runs up to Elvira, hugging her closely. Elvira holds onto her tightly. “Mara! I.. I thought I’d never see you again!”
“Don’t be silly, silly, nothing can keep us apart for long!” Mara is beaming.
Elvira softly laughs, for the first time in weeks. “Not even being captured by some damn xenos, huh?”
Elvira could’ve sworn that she saw a flicker of disappointment or concern on Mara’s face for the smallest moment, but before she had a chance to consider that further, Mara grabs onto the other human’s hand, clutching it tightly. “Nothing!”
Mara steps back, taking a good look up and down at Elvira. “That’s an adorable look you’ve got!”
Elvira scratches her head sheepishly, trying to push down the almost lace with her other hand. “..It’s not as if I chose it myself!”
Mara giggles, “It’s still cute!”. She spins herself around dramatically, showing herself off to Elvira. “Besides, I didn’t choose this outfit myself either~”
Elvira takes a long look at Mara, her gaze following the handful of colorful stripes leading up from her shoes, over her leggings, up past the flared pant legs of her shorts, onto the loosely fitting blouse. Mara did look very pretty, she had to admit.
Just then, she felt Akash’s hand rest on her shoulder, gently rubbing her exposed neck. She moans unbidden, quickly clasping her hands over her mouth in embarrassment. She spins around, glaring at Akash. The affini has a smug grin on her face, resting her chin on a vine.
“You’ve never mentioned that adorable name Mara called you sweetie~,” Akash starts to address Mara, before stopping herself, “May I?” she asks Nikhila. The other affini nods, “Mara, what was it exactly that you called my darling pet here?” Mara smiles shyly and begins to answer, despite Elvira’s frantic gesturing to stop, “I called her Elvy, miss Akash. It’s a nickname I made up for her when we were serving together in the cosmic navy.”
Akash swings her gaze onto Elvira theatrically, the poor human’s face somehow even more flushed than earlier. “Oh, that has such a lovely sound to it, wouldn’t you agree, my little Elvy~” Elvira responds immediately, “I’m not yours!”, she continued, quieter, “and only Mara can call me Elvy…”
Akash and Nikhila both laugh, the former tilting Elvira’s head up to face her, “But you are mine, and I can call you whatever I please, Elvy.” Elvira roughly pulls away from Akash, her eyes beginning to tear up. “I don’t have to like it!” Her fists are balled at her sides, shaking. “You might be able to control my body, but you’ll never get my mind! I am a free terran and I —”.
One of her wrist cuffs tightens, icy cold xenodrugs flooding up her arm. She gasp-coughs, collapsing onto the ground as she tries to pry the cuff off. Through her rapidly blurring eyes she sees Mara start to step towards her, only to be blocked by Nikhila’s outstretched vines. Elvira reaches an arm out “..Mara! I swear I’ll get us out of this! I promise!”
With her dwindling strength she turns her gaze towards Akash, struggling to keep her eyes focused. She coughs “F-fuck you, damn xeno weed! I will never give in, I will neve —”. In the blink of an eye, she’s been pulled up into Akash’s embrace, vines twisted around her body. She tries to scream, but just gasps instead.
Akash smiles bemusedly and tiredly down at the barely squirming human. She runs a leafy finger down the side of Elvira’s cheek, listening intently to her adorable squeeks. Exhausted tears run down the sides of the human’s face. “What are we going to do with you, little ‘free terran’~”
Nikhila steps forward towards Akash and Elvira, Akash gesturing for Nikhila to proceed, “The sooner you accept that we have your best interests in heart, the sooner you will feel more comfortable living with us.” Elvira just barely manages to rotate her head to look in the other affini’s general direction.
“My dear Mara certainly has learned quite well how to enjoy living here~”
Hoarsely, Elvira coughs out a single word, “Liar”.
The two affini smile coyly at each other. Akash blushes some hair out of Elvira’s face, “Perhaps it would be best if I took my Elvira,” Elvira was certain Akash was further mocking her in the way she emphasized ‘my’, “back to our habitation unit for now, she certainly seems rather overwhelmed at the moment~”
“Perhaps we could join you. Our habitation unit is nearby to yours. Are you getting tired also, Mara?” Mara nods softly at NIkhila, taking her outstretched hand. “Ah, what a good girl you are Mara~” The human smiles up at the affini.
As they make their way back towards the transit pod bay, Elvira allows her eyelids to drift closed and her senses to fade.