Naomi let out a long, deep sigh, and slumped forward onto the counter, enjoying a moment of peace and rest to collect herself. She’d been having a long day, not a bad day, mind you, just a long one. For whatever reason, in her endless quest to find meaning in the universe she’d created, Alcea had decided to try her hand at running a restaurant of all things. And, as Alcea’s dear friend, and also on again off again fuck buddy slash semi romantic partner, Naomi didn’t want to leave the overgrown bundle of leaves and vines to herself. For someone who played an indispensable role in creating a utopian eternal paradise for every living being across all of reality, she really could be pretty useless sometimes.
But anyway, somehow Alcea’s little bistro had become a rousing success, certainly no small part of which came from Naomi’s peerless charm and capability. As it turned out, the place was especially popular with affini floret pairs (or triads, or quadriads, etcetera) from the early terran pacification days—which was entirely due to some intangible appeal that drew them all there and not at all a flimsy excuse to make series of unprovoked targeted attacks aimed at a handful specific sophonts who write stories about gay plants on the whims of a shitposting lesbian hopped up on stimulants and unable to write the things she was actually supposed to be writing. This all was to say, the restaurant could be quite busy at times, and full of some very colorful clientele.
Of course, Naomi wasn’t complaining. As much as she enjoyed playing the role of the sarcastic, ineffable flirt queen, she was more than happy to help out her dear friend, and bring smiles to the guests of Alcea’s fine establishment. Besides, it wasn’t as though she could be coerced into overworking herself or anything outlandish like that. Who’d even heard of such a thing, anyway? Naomi took a few slow breaths to recover, then sat up. Coincidentally, as she did so, she got a fresh pair of customers. She stood, and crossed to the front to greet the pair, who appeared to be a very goth looking affini being walked by a large tiger. Naomi gave them a friendly greeting, and seated them with a pair of menus. She gave them a few minutes to consider what they wanted, and strolled back over.
She stopped just before the table, and spoke to the tiger. “Hi there, are you ready to order?” She asked.
Off to her right, the goth affini spoke up, “Yes, dear, I think we are just about good to—”
“Sorry,” Naomi interrupted. “I was asking your caretaker, miss.”
“Wha—” before the plant could say anymore, the tiger let out a series of sophisticated growls, yowls, and moos. Naomi listened intently, nodding along and taking notes as they spoke.
“Mhm!” she chirped brightly. “So a mai-tai for you, and nothing for your, erm, ‘owner?’”
Incredulous, the goth plant again butted in. “Now listen here little terran, I will have you know that I—” at the sight of Naomi raising an amused eyebrow, she let out a defeated sigh, and hung her head. “...Brought my own drink.” At that, the affini reached inside her torso, and pulled out a large metal bucket, which was nearly completely full and sloshing with dark red liquid. Attached to the side was a piece of scotch tape, with something written on it in black marker, but the handwriting was so messy, smudged, and covered in the dark liquid that all Naomi could make out was an “um,” an “‘s” and the word blood. Still, that was enough.
“Uuumm, right, yeah okay,” she said. “And for food?” She asked, turning to the tiger.
Another string of tiger noises erupted from their lips, and Naomi resumed jotting down her notes.
“Okay, so the club sandwich and a platter of raw meat? Sounds good.”
“Now hold on just one stars-damned moment. I am fully capable of ordering for myself, this is ridiculous!” The goth plant protested.
“Oh?” Naomi asked, “and what were you going to get?”
“I… um,” she sighed in defeat. “I was going to order the platter of raw meat,” she admitted.
Naomi flashed a big customer service smile to cover up the much more smug smile that was trying to play at her lips. “Well I’ll get right on it, I wouldn’t want to place an order without hearing from the person who was actually in charge, of course.” Just as Naomi was about to turn around, the head of a twinky little robot ratboy suddenly burst out of the goth plant's chest like one of those little dudes from Alien.
“What about me?” It called.
The goth plant stared down in shock, “Whu—Qiru? What in the everbloom were you doing in my chest cavity? How long have you been in there. Pyrus has been worried sick about you!” She exclaimed.
“I dunno,” it shrugged. “Last thing I remember I was squeezing through the little crevice between the wall and the fridge and then I just kind of woke up in there. It took me a while to find my way out, you wouldn't believe how big it is in there.”
“Well go find Pyus!” The goth plant exclaimed, hiding her head in her hands in exasperation.
“Okay!” The twinky rat chirped, and immediately disappeared back into the plant’s torso.
Naomi tried to pretend she didn’t see any of that, and headed back to the kitchen to give their order to the chef. With that out of the way, she moved on to her next table, who had asked for a bit of time earlier, and seemed to be finally ready now.
Once more, Naomi put on her best smile, and approached the table. This one was, predictably, another owner pet pair. Though this time the affini clearly had a handle on her pet. That being said, her pet seemed to be the only thing this affini had a handle on. She was an absolute mess, completely unkempt, with tangled vines and a mess of overgrown leaves where they really shouldn’t be. Then again, the way her pet was looking at her was almost enough to convince Naomi she was actually looking at some sort of otherworldly beauty beyond comprehension—almost, definitely not actually enough, though. “What can I get you?” Naomi asked brightly.
“Oh, I’m not really hungry at the moment, is there anything you want, kitty?” She asked, turning her attention toward her floret. Aptly, the floret in question appeared to be some sort of cat creature, though she was a little bit too uncanny to be the classic terran catgirl, or terran at all really. There was something about the way she swayed in perfect time to a beat Naomi couldn’t hear, about the way her eyes, normally distant, focused completely the moment her owner spoke up, something about the unusual glowing collar around her neck, that told Naomi all she needed to know about this creature to say that she was not simply a terran girl with an affinity for cats.
Naomi turned to the girl expectantly, waiting for a response. The floret looked up at Naomi, and let out a matter of fact “Miaow!” Naomi, of course, did not speak cat, and yes this was completely different than her being able to understand tiger-speak flawlessly.
“Oh roots,” her affini exclaimed. “Sorry about that, dear. Give me a moment.” She produced a tool from inside her vines, Naomi couldn’t get a good look at it, so she wasn’t exactly certain how to describe it. This was entirely because of things like the angle from where she was standing and how the affini she was holding it, and not at all because an unseen author didn’t have the spoons to look up what the tool actually looked like. Regardless, she held the tool to her pet’s collar, and appeared to take a moment to tune something, the gem pulsing and glowing for a moment, before she sat back in satisfaction and looked to Naomi. “Alright, should be good to go now,” the affini said. “Go ahead, kitty.”
“Hola, me llamo kitty, yo quiero comer el—”
“Okay hang on. That wasn’t right,” the affini interrupted, immediately. “Let me try that again, make sure I configure the language settings to English this time.”
“Is this—um, is this normal for you two? Should I come back?”
Just as Naomi asked that, the plant seemed to finish what she was doing, and sat back, indicating for her pet to speak. “Why of course it’s normal, muffin!!! And no need to come back at all, but thank you for asking permission like a good girl!!! Now, did you want something from me? Make sure to say please!!!”
“Dirt, that’s English: floret. Hang on hang on I can fix this.” The affini immediately got right back to fussing over her pet. After another bit of tinkering, she sat back, with a look of certainty and satisfaction on her face. “Alright, try now.”
“How did she just say out loud with her mouth?” Naomi asked.
“Dirt, roots and leaves, I swear I’m normally much better at this.” Like that, the plant was once again fully engrossed in her task.
“I um, I think I’ll just give you two a bit more time,” Noami murmured, backing off slowly. At this point, the affini seemed to have forgotten all about her. She turned heel, and headed back toward the kitchen to check on orders, where she ran into Alcea. “Hey hot stuff!” she greeted.
“Sorry I’m late, are things going okay today?” Alcea asked.
“About what you’d expect. Some odd customers, but nothing at all like last week when we had that entire herd of snugglies come through. I swear I’m still finding cups that were knocked off counters and the bathroom definitely still smells like snuggly heat.”
“What else would it smell like? Nobody pees or poops in the post ascension universe unless it's something they actually want to do. The bathrooms are just there for people to give their florets baths and fuck.” Alcea turned and faced the fourth wall. “This is canon. The canonocity of every other part of this postscript is dubious at best, but that last part is absolutely cannon.” She turned back to Naomi. “Anyway, is there anything I can do to help out?”
“Oh yeah, do you see that pair over in the corner there?” Naomi gestured to an affini seated with what was probably at some point a terran. “I tried talking to them, and now I taste colors. They’re a little bit too eldritch for me, especially the one with the visor. I’m not actually certain she is experiencing the same plane of existence as I am. When I asked what she wanted to eat she just stared at me and licked her lips, then I’m pretty sure she spoke forwards and backwards at the same time. Either way I didn’t get any of it. Would you mind taking care of them?”
“Of course, dear,” Alcea said.
Just as Alcea began to turn, Naomi remembered one other thing. “Oh, and also [Redacted] and [Redacted] from [Redacted] are here and that story is a secret so I’m not allowed to interact with them on screen so would you mind taking care of them for me as well?”
“If you wanted to include a reference to a work by that author why didn’t you just make it the one everyone knows?” Alcea asked.
“Because I thought this would be funnier”
Noelle Noami answered.
Alcea shrugged. “Fair enough.”
The rest of the day was very eventful also and full of many other colorful characters and cameos but there was a time skip so they didn’t get portrayed. At closing time, Naomi and Aclea finished cleaning up, then closed shop.
“Any plans for the evening?” Alcea asked.
“Yeah I’m gonna head over to meet a couple friends for some pegging,” she responded.
“Oh? Will you be doing the pegging or receiving the pegging?” Alcea asked.
“Or?” Naomi responded, completely confused by the question.
“Nevermind that,” Alcea answered. “Mind if I tag along?”
“Not at all,” Naomi said. With that, they set off, hand in vine.
As they disappeared off into the sunset, the restaurant disassembled itself to make room for a lush public garden for all to enjoy until it was again time to open up the next day. Just as the last bits of the building disappeared off and out of sight, two florets, one looking very bubbly and hyper, and one much more sleepy and dazed, strolled right up to the spot where it had once stood.
“Huh, I guess I got us lost again,” the bubbly one said.
“Oh well, let’s just get back to Mistress.” The other replied.
“Sounds good.” With that, the floret broke off into a run back in the direction she came from, only to be (consensually) tackled to the ground and fed on by a vampire. She then responded by (consensually) suplexing the shit out of the vampire and continuing on her merry way.