Blue Stripe

Day 4.2 - Foxes and Rats

by Meanderling

Tags: #cw:gore #cw:noncon #D/s #dom:female #f/f #pov:bottom #sub:female #anxiety #dom:plant #drugs #graphic_violence #Human_Domestication_Guide #hurt/comfort #medical_play #multiple_partners #nonbinary_character #ownership_dynamics #petplay #pov:top #romantic #scifi #self_harm_is_over_were_still_doing_drugs #slow_burn #transgender_characters #whoops_i_did_worldbuilding_a_little

cw for brief physical violence later on

The teahouse Tetra had mentioned was only a few minutes walk from their hab, down a side path Kira’d failed to notice previously and was, predictably, the very essence of ‘quaint’. The tiny establishment bore a rural old east asian aesthetic that didn’t seem to come from any one place but was artfully assembled nonetheless. The faux weathered feeling of the exterior did its best to conceal the fact that it was most definitely an indestructible, state of the art establishment beneath. 

A dozen or so affini and various other sophonts placed orders and sat in the variable height accessible seating nearby enjoying their drinks, snacks, and conversations. A neon sign above the order counter displayed a cartoon fox head and a name that Bee informed Kira translated roughly to ‘Three Foxes Tea House’. Kira had barely a moment to guess where the name came from before she saw the serving staff.

“Oh what the fuck?

Behind the counter was a trio of florets, clearly marked by their collars and glassy, smiling eyes, though all of them were more alert than the typical floret she’d seen, quick on their feet and eager to help the clientele. Each wore aggressively cute ruffled uniforms and wore a pair of fox ears atop their heads that Kira assumed were headbands. The assumption seemed correct for two of them, but the third…well, the ears and tail moved in ways costume elements shouldn't. 

"What happened to no fucking slaves?" Kira hissed at Tetra with fresh venom.

As always Tetra found her rage and disbelief laughable and made that clear with an actual laugh this time. “Oh don’t worry little one, you’ll not find a slave anywhere within the compact’s reach! The three cuties who operate this shop are very willing to do so. Little Anri there submitted the initial proposal themself! With their master’s enthusiastic aid and permission of course~.” Tetra gestured to the elfish floret with the functioning ears and tail currently finishing an order. 

Kira was unsatisfied and made it clear, “So what, are they compensated? I’m still skeezed as shit by this whole thing. No one chooses to be a full time volunteer foodservice worker, that’s a fuckin lie.”

Tetra looked down at her with perplexed amusement painted on her mask and thrummed not unlike the thrums of thought Cirsi made, though Tetra’s felt…hotter? Deeper? It struck her bones differently. “I swear Kira, every time you speak you elucidate some new baffling facet of humanity’s prior reality. Do you suppose their compensation could come in an immaterial form and still satisfy your concerns?”

Kira’s eyes narrowed, “And what immaterial reward could possibly be worth giving up their time to hock drinks at pissy customers all day? Where’s the catch?”

On cue the customers in front of them cleared away and the front floret, Anri apparently, locked eyes with Bee, gasped, and erupted into joyous hopping and giggling that Bee reciprocated immediately. The sundrop ran forward to embrace Anri over the counter and the two started exchanging rapidfire greetings and pleasantries while still wrapped in each other. A round case next to the two bore a few muffins that looked suspiciously like those in Bee’s studio.

A second laugh buffeted Kira in Tetra's smug aura, "Mmm, 'pissy customers' indeed!"

“Bad example. And what, so you’re telling me there’s not a single rude customer in your little utopia?”

“I can count the number of genuinely, purposefully rude customers I’ve witnessed in integrated affini space in my lifetime on three terran hands, barely using the third. The compact values service and compassion in measures far beyond what you'd see in your little accord. And service becomes a far more rewarding experience when met with appropriate gratitude and respect. You do understand that service can be personally rewarding, yes? I'd hope I don't have to explain that."

Kira huffed and rolled her eyes, "Yes, I know service can be fucking rewarding, I'm not a starsdamned moron!"

Tetra’s grin stretched in response, her eyes gleaming with molten gold. Her voice was rich, "I never said you were. My darling has impeccable taste in girlfriends after all~.”


"Wh- no, Bee's not my girlfriend! She's a fucking pet that I met two days ago!"

"And Cirsi is an alien you met three days ago, yet you already live with her~!" Tetra’s overwhelming satisfaction was somehow both noxious and infectious at once.


"Quite the little gay terran stereotype from what I've been told~! …Now, what's that thing you're doing with your face?"

Kira wore a strained expression with eyes sealed shut and hissed, "Trying to will myself to have an aneurysm and die so this will end."

"~Oho, it's adorable that you think I'd ever allow you to die in my presence~! Whatever could drive you to such dreadful measures~?" Tetra loomed over her more dramatically than before and flashed a glimpse of razor teeth. Kira hadn’t been properly aware of how dwarfed she was until that moment but she sure as starfire was now. A confused flutter bounced between her gut and chest but she shoved it down and steeled herself. 

“Do you really not hear the fucking condescension in the way you talk? In your insufferable little didactic fucking musings?”

“Oh no, I hear it, I put it there just for you! It’s not my fault you’re so fun to tease~.”

Ec-fucking-SCUSE ME?” She couldn’t remember having ever clenched her fists tighter in her life.

“Wow, you really will just fit them in there anywhere won’t you? And I thought Tam and Mangle were bad.”

"Fuck. You."

"My anatomy would prove something of a learning curve for you, but I'm happy to teach you if you insist~~."


“~~Gutter tongue~~.”

The perplexed voice of Kira’s not-girlfriend finally came to her rescue, “Hooow’s everything over here, you two?”



Bee giggled through the straw of her tea and handed a large bowl of a dark, aromatic liquid over to Tetra, who thanked her pet with a luxurious amount of head patting and held her drink with a single massive “finger” submerged. She pulled a second boba tea from the crook of her arm and handed it to Kira, "I wasn't sure what flavor you’d like sooo I made an educated guess!" 

Hot fumes still clouded Kira's skull from her spat, so she took the tea and sucked it down as fast as she could to smother them. She briefly thought how blessedly comical it would be if this was the first even slightly underwhelming thing she tasted aboard the mandragora, the bittersweet relief she would feel from even a moment of imperfection breaking through. Of course she was proven wrong. It was fucking delicious and Bee did a great fucking job because everything was just so fucking quaint and everyone was so fucking happy but HER and she–

"Ummm Kiki? You uh…you don't have to drink it all at once. It's not gonna run away!" She pulled the now crumpled straw from her mouth and inspected her now over half empty drink. Had she been…rage drinking tea? Who does that? 

"Sorry. It's…good." She rattled her cup and Bee simply smiled warmly.

Tetra turned suddenly to look at a tall, lanky affini with bushy foliage leading a rather dejected terran on a leash at their side. "Ah, that's him now! I'll leave you two to your own lovely company unless you'd wish to join me at any time. Which you are of course welcome to~." The captain turned and bent down to be face to face with Kira, a gesture she recoiled from and called up her best murderous glare. 

A satisfied exhalation from their core washed over Kira, whose intrusive thoughts couldn't help but notice the differences in their smell and Cirsi's. The captain’s had this dark, spicy, kind of nutty quality with something kind of like…like varnish? But without that chemical sting that-this is not important. "Hmmm, apologies Kira for being so merciless in my teasing. If it’s any consolation you were a delight!” It was not and she couldn’t detect a hint of remorse on the affini’s mask. 

Kira mumbled a “whatever”, collapsed onto a nearby bench and watched Tetra stalk away to sit in a more secluded nook with her friend, as disinterested as she could manage. Bee sat in the bench beside Kira, scooching in until their outer thighs pressed against each other so her presence couldn’t be missed if Kira tried. 

“Sooo…how was the flirting?”

“Bee, your mistress is insufferable. And I mean that in the most literal sense possible, I cannot suffer that again.”

“Mmm, they went preeetty hard huh? My miss’s flirting is notoriously…potent. Did it like…work?”

What? What are you asking me?” Kira’s incredulity came out harsher than she meant.

“I mean, like, did you feel the uh-” Bee made a circular waving motion across her chest and stomach with her non-tea hand “-the flutter? There’s still some pink in your face, I figured maybe…”

Kira blanched. She’d felt plenty of rage, that was for certain. Rage could feel like a flutter, that was the most reasonable explanation. She turned away from Bee again and dove back into her tea. “All I felt was pissed off and I’d like to be done being pissed off for now. If that’s fucking permitted.”

“Totally! We can save messy feels talk for some other time~.” Kira didn’t love the implication in the woman’s words but was happy to drop it nonetheless.

Silence stretched between the two broken only by the sipping of tea and chewing of boba pearls until Bee determined Kira was in need of some cheering up. “Hey sooo, wanna know a little secret about Tetra?”

Kira grumbled, “Why would I want to talk about her right now?”

Bee wiggled excitedly, “Becaaause it’s something she wouldn’t tell you about herself. Something a lil goofy to take the sting away.”

Kira chewed on her straw for a minute to get the gears moving again, then spoke, "Fine. What is it?"

She leaned in close to Kira’s ear and whispered entirely unnecessarily, “She talks in her sleep!”

Kira pulled away and gave her a quizzical look, “Wait what? That’s a thing for affini?”

“Oh it’s not common from what I’ve seen! But I’ve heard it liiike a couple dozen times now? It happens in like three different affini dialects and sometimes multiple voices at once sooo I’ve had to record it and look up the words n stuff but I’ve started to piece it together. Last time I recorded and translated it she was flirting with someone, like in a dream! Sooo predictable. But like it was so clumsy compared to when she’s awake and kinda…adorable? Anyway the next time she did it, I uh…I did a little experiment.”

Bee looked coyly in the direction of her affini and, seeing nothing, pulled a smaller version of the tablets she’d seen around the ship from a pocket somewhere on her dress and held it in front of Kira to reveal a video.

“Sooo when she started doing it again I played back another recording from her and…ok, just watch!

On the screen Kira could see the dimly lit components of Tetra splayed across a sprawling bed in some kind of eldritch nest of flora with a tablet placed in the hollow where Bee had presumably been. The tablet projected mumbled strings of affini and parts of Tetra twitched and shuddered as she dreamily mumbled her own responses. There was a wispy quality to the speech even beyond the usual ethereal intonation of affini, though it was clearly still Tetra’s signature rumbling drawl. 

After a moment, subtitles began appearing at the bottom of the screen color coded for the recording or the real thing and true to Bee’s word it was certainly far clumsier attempts at flirting than what she’d just experienced. At one point the recorded Tetra referred to the live Tetra as a “tasty little bug”, to which the live Tetra insisted that she was very much not little and was in fact a “great big powerful bug” instead. It only devolved from there.

“She flirted with herself!” Bee was bouncing with impish joy next to Kira. The combination of Tetra’s slurred, sleep distorted voice and the ramblings of her flirty, dreaming self was almost…goofy? Had she ever seen an affini be goofy before then? Before she knew what was happening she found herself laughing at a particularly absurd line, a small laugh but genuine enough. 

“Heh, hard to believe this is the same dork who’s in charge of a fucking spaceship! And tormenting me, apparently.” She let the smile linger while they watched. It was odd, she couldn’t remember when last the muscles of her face felt this way for more than a second or two at a time. After another round of giggling from the pair she realized Bee had begun to stare at her. She turned and arched an eyebrow, “Why're you staring? Did I do something?”

Bee shook her head lightly and the sunrise in her curls bounced delicately around her face. “Nooo, it’s just…I think this is the first time I’ve heard you laugh or seen you, like, properly smile. It’s nice!”

Kira huffed at the girl but couldn't suppress the stubborn smile no matter how hard she tried. She shoved Bee playfully and chided, “Yeah yeah, whatever! All it took was you sharing your mistress’s little secrets behind her back! Maybe I’ll have to tattle on you~.”

Bee gasped in mock offense and pulled the tablet away, “Noooo! You’re really gonna get me punished? Such a cruel rebel!”

Kira reached out to snatch the tablet and mocked a call to Tetra, making sure to be quiet enough not to actually interrupt their fun. The two descended into more giggles as Kira held the tablet just out of reach with Bee scrambling and grasping, falling over her in the process.

In the midst of their fun, for barely a moment Kira’s eyes met those of the terran who’d come with Tetra’s friend, who’d either been released or undone their own leash and begun to shuffle toward the tea counter while the affini thoroughly distracted each other. The other terran’s eyes snapped wide open the moment they met and distress twisted his features. The young man looked eerily familiar but Kira couldn’t place him exactly, something about the garish outfit he tugged uncomfortably at clashed with the faint memory of him. 

The eyes though, the exhaustion was familiar, exhaustion that ran rampant in the crew of the Final Measure. He had to be from the ship, maybe…shit, she remembered, one of the cadets! Something with a G or…maybe a J? Oh. He was walking toward her. That distress looked a whole lot more like fury than it did before, what–

“Blue fucking widow, I knew it!” He growled the words loud enough for Kira but was clearly trying not to alert his affini.

Oh no. 

He was in their space in moments, fists shaking impotently at his sides. “I fucking told them, I said you were a fucking traitor and they didn’t fucking- and you- here you are, already got a f-fucking p-pet for a girlfriend!” This kid's increasingly violent shaking could’ve been fear or fury. Probably both.

Kira stood slowly, placing an arm in front of Bee without thinking. “Look buddy, you got it wrong alright? I don’t care what you heard abou–”

“How long you been spying for em huh?! F-fucking– you starsdamned bitch!–” She recognized the red rings around his eyes from her own reflection for the last half year. She briefly wondered how the xenodrugs hadn’t fixed them yet. 

“Look, you need to calm down!” A number of nearby patrons had noticed and began casting concerned glances. Despite the antagonism she didn’t want this kid to have to suffer through being detained by an affini. Again. She needed to keep him calm, to control this. Bee attempted to speak but she was far too shaken to get anything out in time. “I promise you nothing like that went down alright? If you keep this up we’re–”

The cadet lurched forward and jammed a finger into Kira’s chest, flecks of spittle making it between their faces as he fumed, “Oh bullshit! Everyone guessed it! What, was Captain Carver in on it too?! Everyone knows you’re his f-favorite, y-you–”


This kid couldn’t possibly know. That didn’t matter though.

What the fuck did you just say? The question crawled from some dark oily pit in Kira’s gut, coated in gravel and sharp iron. Bee slipped away from the two and ran in the direction of her mistress and Kira's cuff began beeping steadily faster.

Fear flickered in the man's eyes for a moment before being replaced by new fire. "Y-you heard me! You're both affini spies aren't you?! Just fucking- f-fucking plantfucker RATS!" He shoved her hard with both hands, enough to send her stumbling back into the bench. Not enough to harm but enough to shock. To spark the adrenaline.

A rat.

A man had just cornered her, screamed at her, shoved her and called her a rat.

Kira couldn’t hear the beeping crescendo of her cuff over the crunch of her metacarpals against his cheekbone. He crumpled so easily. She was on top of him with a fistfull of shirt and a fist raised for a second strike when the pinch in her wrist came.

Reality became very different as Kira melted into the ground next to the cadet. The memory of fury and panic only seconds prior started out crystal clear and grew muddier as she fell. By the time she hit the ground she could no longer fathom having room in her mind for things so silly as fury or panic. Had the neighborhood always been this colorful? Prismatic twinkles danced in the afternoon starlight and chromatic aberrations trimmed the surrounding trees and buildings in a fuzzy halo around her vision. 

Everything was soooo vibrant, soo…ooh the moss? Kira had never laid on moss before but it couldn’t be this soft could it? The barest sensation of it tickled and brushed in ways that sent little shivers cascading through her, running down her spine and through her squirming limbs, stretching out her toes to release the building energy and grab at the earth but…

Wait, she had something on her feet. Shoes? Uugh, that was dumb. She stuck a toe into the heel of each flat, kicking them off with a satisfied grunt, and plunged her open toes down into the endless bed of green. She wasn’t conscious of the little gasps and groans that accompanied her scrunching the moss between her toes, but she was very very conscious of the delightful tingling the action sent rocketing up her spine to wherever her brain was hoarding all the endorphins and serotonin. 

Figures had begun to crowd around her into the edges of her vision and two figures in particular finally moved directly over her. Oh, she recognized these two! That was good, she liked being with people she recognized, people she knew. The bigger one left a sour taste in her mouth to look at but not too sour, like…like the kind of sour you kinda wanted to taste again even though you knew it’d make your face scrunch up all funny. 

The smaller one though, she was pure, uncut natural sugar from the moment she came into view, warm in all the ways a thing really could be warm. She reached a hand up to the smaller one and the hand took a hot minute to get the message. It drifted toward the phantom sensation of where she’d meant to place it but the tween frames never seemed to run out. 

“Kira? Kira, can you hear me?” The words hacked away at a layer of the pleasant fog, lifting her awareness the barest inch above the surface. Tetra and Bee. They were here, she was…she was on the ground, something…something bad had happened but she felt pretty darned ok about it at the moment. Her eyes caught on her cuff. Right. The cuff. The beeping. 

“Mmmmbeeeee, ‘m on druuggss...”

Bee smiled but her eyebrows did that thing they did when she was worried. Why was she worried? “Yeah, you sure are sweetie. Tetra messaged Cirsi ok? She’s getting her out of work early so she can come take you home.” Home? She wasn’t sure what that really meant, usually home was in a chair or a tank of goop looking at a black void full of stars and occasionally non-stars and she was pretty sure she wasn’t allowed to do that right now. But Cirsi probably had a good answer right? 

Her hand finally obeyed her long enough to grab Bee’s dress and the texture was just unbelievable. She made an excited gasp and reached out with her other hand, pulling Bee closer so she could run her hands over the plush being and revel in the unending soft caress against her palms. 

Bee cooed down at her, “Mmm, needy right now aren’t you?” The worry crept back in far too quickly. “As cute as you are, this definitely isn’t normal. Do you have a counteragent miss?” Bee looked up to Tetra, who descended as a vine grabbed Kira's cuff and pulled it into her view. Another vine tapped the side of it a few times, revealing a small formerly opaque screen of some kind along its side with some sort of readout.

“Hmm, not for this mix. Wow that's strong… Cirsi won’t have one on her either but she has a master at her hab, best to get her home. Roots, why would Calluna give you this?” The last part was muttered to herself but it hardly mattered. Kira was perceiving very little of the actual speaking happening around her.

After what may have been a second or an hour of feeling Bee’s silky dress and skin, she felt vines wriggle beneath her and hoist her upward and against the Amazonian torso of Tetra. She caught a quick glimpse of a limp terran figure being lifted from the ground next to her by another affini. Thinking about who the figure was or how they got on the ground made something in her head ache so she let it fade from her thoughts. 

The affini's view of the neighborhood was breathtaking, capturing the concave curvature of the winding paths and nature-choked buildings around the ring in a way she couldn't perceive before. 

"Mmm, it'sooo biiig."

Tetra began moving and one of her thoughtful thrums assaulted Kira's drug-addled mind with warm vibrations. The husky rumble of her voice only compounded the effect, "Indeed it is, little one. Now let's get you to your warden, she'll take immaculate care of you." Kira had never heard Tetra's voice from this close to her chest before. It felt endless. 

"Tetraaaa. You soun' so biiig. A grea’ biiiig pow’rfulll bug…Wha's gooin onn?" Her fuzzy tongue threatened to loll out of her mouth if she didn't pull it back in. 

Tetra's chuckle nearly incapacitated her again, “I am rather big, little thing, so I suppose my sound is appropriate. You need not worry yourself with what’s going on dear, just relax for me will you? On cue a dozen vines snaked around Kira’s limbs and dragged her backward into a reclining position, bathing her in a barrage of strokes and pets across her little form. An old instinct buried in her psyche blared warning sirens that she was being touched without her permission, an instinct that warred with the sensate joy of soft, firm plant matter on hyper-sensitive skin and sent her mind tumbling into conflicted overstimulation. She was helpless to voice any objections between the moans, not that they would be any more articulate than the confused cries for more.

Tetra must have noticed the mixed response to her caresses, as they reduced until Kira's brain quieted enough to enjoy the ride. The rest of Tetra’s trip was a lulling blur of soft sensations and affirmations whose length she couldn't have guessed even if she were conscious of time's passage as a concept. That was, until something important graced her ears.

Warm rain.

She perked up, head spinning, tracing over her surroundings until–there. Making her way briskly toward them was the affini with storms in her limbs and willows in her gown. Kira saw the tempest of emotion washing over Cirsi. Worry in the twitching leaves, agitation in rippling vines, relief in a restrained smile. She was on them in a second, hands pulling her into a tight embrace before her brain could catch up with the flurry of activity. Cirsi and Tetra spoke rapidly back and forth but Kira had no hope of detecting any of it. 

Silky vines twisted absently around her limbs, caressing a hundred little pressure points and crooks that sent her blissfully squirming deeper into the new cradle. Her head pressed into the spot where a sternum would’ve been but instead found the velvety, fleshy green plates that covered Cirsi’s center, speckled with those creamy white petals whose texture immediately became stoned Kira’s latest addiction. 

She couldn’t say if she’d ever heard it properly before that moment, the music buried inside Cirsi. Sure she’d heard scraps of it, or at least imagined she had, but this was different. Finding a groove along the center of Cirsi’s chest, she pressed an ear desperately against it. There it was. The fae melody, louder and clearer than ever before. Feeding through pleading ears, saturating the interior world beneath, like a song you were only meant to hear in the privacy of the still half-light that birthed and killed the day, it was…it was peace. Peace she had never known. Peace she would never un-know.

Her new pillow committed what felt like a war crime against her when it placed hands under her armpits and pulled her away from the music box, holding her face to face with Cirsi. The affini sighed in relief and that wonderful fragrant earthy scent filled Kira's nose again. “I’m so happy you’re alright little one!” Stars, Cirsi’s voice was soooo preeettyyyy, how did she never realize before? Shit, if it came in liquid form she’d bathe in it with a glass in her hand so it could coat her inside and out. Could affini do that? Hmmmm…

“Oh, that’s um…that is quite the face! The trip home should be enjoyable for you at least…I will have words with your vet tomorrow.” What was she doing with her face? She just let the muscles do happy face things, was that wrong?

“Yerrr prettyyyy, anyone everrr say tha’?”

“I…yes, people have. Though…not you.” Another acute tempest of emotion coursed through Cirsi, too rapid and complicated to pick apart this time. That little ache in her brain whined at her, called forth flashes of that limp terran on the ground unbidden. She'd hurt someone.

"Umm…Cirsiii I think somethin baaad happenedd…" her eyes fell away, but a vine lifted them back up by her chin.

"It's alright dear, everything is settled. We can speak about it later but no frowns allowed right now. Alright?" 

She felt a dopey smile tug at her face and melted in Cirsi's hands. "Oookaayy~."

Kira was pulled down into the same carrying position Tetra used and turned to see the red amazon with Bee on their shoulders. Cirsi bid them both a farewell and Kira managed to fit an enthusiastic wave in that Bee matched before they turned to leave.

A horrified, humiliated fraction of Kira's neurons were aware that this wasn’t how things usually were, how they were meant to be. They screamed at her to remember what happened when people touched her without her approval, damning her for not fighting harder. They understood on some level that she was blitzed out of her skull on alien chemicals, that not on her most open minded day would she allow even one affini, let alone two to hold her this way and never, ever would she lean into such treatment.

But she leaned in. And those neurons tired of kicking and screaming the moment Cirsi's vines descended. A dozen of them curled around her limbs, sinking into her skin with a precise pressure that sent waves of heat echoing through her flesh and made clear to her the presence of a few stray thorns. Thorns that she certainly wouldn’t have expected to be so…stimulating. More vines snaked along her spine and around her skull in a symmetrical dance until she was held perfectly aloft along every meridian, weightless, secured, protected. And yet, she still had skin that went tragically untouched, itches that weren't being scratched. She tugged against the vines to press herself close to the music again, shuddering with every shift of flesh against flesh. 

The iron grip relaxed and Cirsi cooed down to her, "Ah, apologies little one. Didn't mean to bind you so tightly. Old habits…"

"Mmm 's okaayy, feels niiicee…mmmoore mmm." She was nearly burrowing into the affini now, grasping at any vines loose enough to drape over herself.

A dry chuckle's vibrations scattered her meager thoughts. Cirsi was trying to cover the apprehension in her voice but something in Kira could still feel it, "Perhaps something to tide you over then…"

Massive fingers cradled her cheek before drifting behind her ear, rubbing sweet semi circles along the tender skin behind it, coaxing breathless purrs from her throat. As if the ensuing electrical storm weren't enough, yet more fingers wandered to the pressure points on the back of her neck and skull, stroking and scratching and presssiinnnggg and mmmnn the parts of her that surrounded her brain, her self, erupted in static fire. She wasn't conscious enough to perceive her own needy moans, her own writhing, the vines now servicing the rest of her body, nothing outside of the joyful tempest consuming her.

"Nearly home now, little one. Then…then this will all be over." Almost home? She didn't even remember the train. Cirsi was sooo faaast and…something was wrong. It was in the voice, in the song. Discord, hidden below the surface. Cirsi was sharing her joy, she could taste it in every nerve ending, there was no question of that. But something soiled it, something she couldn't decipher in her touchdrunk haze. It wasn't fair, Cirsi…Cirsi deserved this too didn’t she? 

Kira reached a shaky hand up to the affini’s cheek, “Mmmnnn Cirrrrsss whaaaa…was’ wronnggg?” 

“None of that now, dear. Nothing is wrong at all, understood? Nod for me if you understand.” 

Even the simple motion of nodding demanded more concentration than remained in her shaken mind, but she did it. Of course she did, Cirsi had asked her to so how could she not?

“Hmm, good girl~.” Ooooh that– that was different. Was she…giddy? Did giddy feel like hot static flooding through your stomach that made your fingers and toes grasp and fidget? If not, she didn’t really care about the difference. When they finally settled, the touches slowed to a trickle and Kira’s perception drifted back to her. She was looking up at the interior of Cirsi’s hab and, more importantly, Cirsi’s concerned face looking down over her. In the affini’s hand was a small silver cylinder with a needle gleaming at its end.

Cirsi spoke, “Alright Kira, you did very well for me. Now let’s get your head on straight and talk about what just happened.” The silver cylinder began to descend and something in Kira’s exhausted consciousness lashed out.

Waait, stooop. Don’ wanna talk ‘bout it, jusss’…jus’ a lil morre.”

Cirsi’s hand halted and that concern returned, “Kira, your judgement is impared, I know how you feel about this so just–” Kira reached both sluggish arms up toward Cirsi’s face and, failing to reach, settled for her hair. Both fists grabbed a bough and pulled downward with miniscule strength that the affini graciously bowed to and allowed herself to be pulled down until their faces nearly touched.

“Jus’ a liiiiidle more?” She wrapped her arms fully around the affini’s neck, nuzzling her face deep into the boughs. She felt the warmth of a long sigh wash over her and matched it with a content sigh of her own, letting their breaths mingle in the air.

Kira was pulled away and laid back down with Cirsi’s perfect liquid gemstone eyes hovering above her again. Massive fingers gripped the sides of her head, locking their eyes together. Cirsi’s gaze crackled with predatory light in time with the twisting of ever more vines around Kira’s limbs, pulling her into the storm she’d so desperately burrowed into before. 

A low, chittering sound emanated from the affini’s core, a sultry, primal growl of want that built over what felt like an hour but couldn’t have been more than seconds. And when the building grew unbearable, when the pressing of vines and fingers sent her head spinning, when the climactic break hung on Kira’s tongue, Cirsi spoke, “Mmmnn, you have no idea how hard you’ve made this for me, Kira. But…NO.

A pinch in her arm sent a familiar rush of cool calm surging through her, hacking away the haze. The stark change in her perception stunned her, the razor sharpening of her thoughts and numbing of her nerves. With her head clear, the internal screaming became clear with it, reminding her the horror she was supposed to be feeling at everything that'd just happened. She scrambled backward out of Cirsi's tangled grasp into the couch's farthest corner. Her voice came shaken, but with steel, “W-what the fuck was all that?”

Cirsi sighed heavily and began, “During your altercation with that other former rebel, your stress elevated enough for your cuff to do as it was meant to, but the mix it was stocked with was…unorthodox. A potent mix of class A and E well beyond what would be needed to calm and subdue you. I have no idea why the dose was so high but I will find out at your appointment tomorrow."

Kira simmered in silence for a long moment before noticing the injector still in Cirsi’s vine. “And that?”

“Ah, this is a master counteragent that works for a wide variety of xenodrugs, usually an emergency resource. It is perfectly harmless, I promise. Now…how do you feel? How much do you remember?”

Kira stretched her legs out with a groan, sinking into the couch’s corner. “Em…that’s a question. I remember the less…intense parts more clearly, then when things got heavy, it was…I dunno. It started to blur together then. Can we just not fucking talk about it? I…I feel gross.”

Cirsi pulled her still grasping and shuddering vines back together, stood from the couch and sighed, “...very well, Kira. I think you know I will have questions at some point, but for now everything has been resolved well enough. Now, Bee advised me that you may feel better after some…oh, what did she call it? Carb therapy, I believe.”

“Fuuuck some carbs sound good right now. Bee’s got it right.”

Cirsi made a sound that might’ve been a chuckle if she were in better spirits, “Then I shall return shortly with carbs, any preference?”

“Surprise me.”

The affini disappeared into the kitchen, first sending a vine down the hall to deposit the silver injector in Cirsi’s office somewhere out of sight. Kira’s planning center booted up to make a note of it, then tried to keep running long enough to open the tablet Cirsi had left on the nearby side table and begin some of her escape homework, but she quickly found her heart wasn’t in it. 

In the event that she actually succeeded in her plan, she’d been on the fence about whether or not to return to the incompetent fools in the rebellion, but after the day’s events that door had firmly shut in her mind, leaving her a whole new kind of alone. It was almost freeing in a way. The same familiar way that endless vacuum was freeing. No more attachments, no more duties, no more…no more Him, if the stars were kind. Her thoughts seized and soured, echoing with the events from earlier. Why did that fucking cadet have to say that? To invoke his fucking name?

She slipped off of the couch and stiffly to the floor. The cloying memory of caressing vines slithered over her skin even in sobriety, leaving her body touch starved but her brain revolted. The fragmented visions of how she’d acted nauseated her, had she really been so easily turned to a weak, simpering mess? Was one little drop of xenodrug aided affection enough to silence every boundary and survival instinct she’d carved into herself? Was Cirsi’s embrace really so…so…NO. Enough.

She trudged over to her favorite part of Cirsi’s hab, her window to the void, and began searching for new nebulae to bury her thoughts in. Nice and distant, nice and alone.

Hey dread, how ya been? I bet you’re thrilled about today, plenty of food for you. It’s fine, I’ll be out of here soon and I’ll…I’ll find some way to shut you up, somewhere out there. I’ll never have to deal with Her or Him ever again. It’ll be fine. It’s FINE.

I’m fine.

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