by Fractured Puppet

Tags: #cw:noncon #consensual_kink #D/s #f/f #pov:bottom #sub:female #accidental_hypnosis #bondage #cw:chronic_illness #dom:plant #drugs #Human_Domestication_Guide #hypnotic_music #music #pov:top #power_exchange #power_struggle #scifi #spoiler:theyre_both_useless

Sia would give the Affini this: When they put their mind to something, they did not screw around.
Within a few days of Presa’s decision to move herself lock stock and barrel to Tau Ceti, they had started a discussion about living spaces. 
“It’s my house,” Sia said firmly as she gestured towards the music room. “Bought and paid for, and equipped at…considerable cost, even with the money I had in the bank.”
“A bank that no longer is necessary,” Presa noted as she used a tendril to lightly stir a steaming concoction she’d brought with her in a dull grey vessel that seemed to be the Affini equivalent of 
A travel mug. “But I understand you made this place to be a space for your comfort and safety, and to protect your collection. Not to mention the garden. Remodeling it to accommodate me - or even connecting it into one of our habs - could be challenging.”
Sia found herself smiling just a little at the way Presa tended to understate things - particularly when they were trying to find a way between her needs and the Affini culture’s assumptions about what she would want. 
“So. How difficult would it be for us to live separately?”
She had noticed early on that when Presa was thinking deeply, she tended to hum to herself or lightly tap rhythms against her own bark. It was cute, but it was also an indicator of how seriously her “Owner” was considering her question.
Most of the Affini she had tried to work on pairing with rarely gave any sign of doing more than humoring her in their attempts at these kind of discussions, and it had pissed her off to no end.
“I think the difficulties, such as they are, would mostly be social - and reasonably easy to avoid most of the time. Some might look at it as a neglectful living arrangement, or question why I would want to be parted from such a lovely being as yourself -”

“It’s not flattery if it’s the simple truth,” Presa countered, and Sia could feel a skip in her heart that had nothing to do with cardiac stress. “But I think the easiest thing is not to tell someone unless it’s somehow relevant.”
Sia’s eyebrows rose as she reached for her own mug of turmeric and ginger tea. “I thought that your people usually gushed about your Florets to each other at the drop of a hat.” 
Presa’s face went a bit odd, the soft needles and folds of bark twisting a bit in confusion. “Why would a dropped hat be a reason to…oh. This is another idiom, isn’t it?” 
“I don’t get that one either, but I grew up with it.” 
“Mm.” A vine dipped into Presa’s mug, and she could catch a faint scent of coffee, salt water, and wax as Presa started to drink. “Well, that aside - I’ve never had a Floret to speak about before, so I can’t say how often that occurs, but I’m always happy to talk about my work, and there are many topics I would happily share about you that have nothing at all to do with where either of us spends our time.”

Sia felt her face flush at ‘many topics’, but managed to cover it with a sip from her own mug. 
“Well, that’s…good, then.” 
Presa nodded, and from the way her mouth had turned up into a smile, Sia knew the mug hadn’t done a damn thing. 
“Daea would need to know, I think, just in case of emergencies. I imagine she could keep that information restricted to those with a genuine need.”
“Hah, yeah, she would.”

It had been interesting to see a softer side of the Administrator when she’d invited both of them over to celebrate and enjoy a meal, but Sia knew exactly how much steel was in the woman’s spine. They’d had enough “discussions” that had turned into heated debates for her to know that Piceoideaea was not going to let anyone bully her into anything - to Sia’s great frustration.
“I would have some…preferences, though.”

Presa sounded a bit too casual about that, and Sia had to force herself to stay calm and listen rather than slamming on the brakes.
“Which would be…?”
Presa gracefully gestured out at her hybrid garden, and the land beyond. “It seems like there is space in this…neighborhood…? Where I could have a hab close by. I’d prefer not to be halfway across the colony.”
Sia nodded. “Reasonable enough. What else?”
“I’d like it if you spent time with me regularly - especially once we start teaching each other more about our respective instruments. Perhaps staying overnight on some occasions?”

That…also didn’t sound unreasonable, really.

“Would you be willing to spend a night or two here, if I asked?”

Presa’s face lit up. “I’d be delighted. Which…brings up something else, actually.” 
“Something good, or something we’re going to fight over?” 
Presa made an awkward sort of ‘ack’ noise, and it was interesting that her Owner was the one to look away first. 
“Good? I think? I’m just not quite sure how to…oh, dirt. I am not going to say this right, am I.” 
Sia put the mug down on the end table. “Just come out and say it, then.” 
A couple of Presa’s branches were ready to audition for a kettledrum solo before she finally let it out in a near torrent of words.
Sia had to process that statement for a moment. “I take it you don’t mean in the academic sense. Or the medical.”
“Ah…no…” Presa had somehow picked up using a light cough as a way to break off of a conversation for a moment. Affini didn’t even have lungs! “But as much as I enjoy that lovely painting, we haven’t really discussed…that. And your file from the Domestication Program didn’t really cover any preferences.” 
Sia snorted. “No. No one ever got to the point of having that conversation.” She considered how to answer for a moment, but didn’t look away from Presa. She was going to have a lot of fun flustering her if this kept up. 
“I’m not sex-repulsed by any means, but I am…picky. I generally kept things to myself, but I have had a few partners over the years. I very much wanted someone who would work with me on what my body could and couldn’t do. But I haven’t been…involved…since before my…” She looked away now, and took a breath to steady herself. “Since well before the 30 day tour.”
A few branches and intertwined vines came to rest on her leg in a sympathetic touch. Sia had noticed how Presa was very, very cautious about not touching bare skin without asking permission. 
Was her new Affini…partner…shy?
“I think I understand. So you do enjoy sex, but like many other things, you prefer it on your terms?” 
Sia almost missed Presa’s teasing little grin, and it turned what might have been a hurtful question into something much warmer. 
“I’m sure that my file mentioned that I can be a control freak. Several times.”

Presa drank more of her…tea? Fertilizer? She really should ask about it sometime soon.  

“I am sure I saw the term somewhere during my trip out here, but I can’t quite remember where.”
They managed a good five seconds after that statement before both of them started to laugh, and when they came up for air the mood was even more comfortable than it had been. 
“So. Would you like to take me on a date, Presa? Dinner, dancing, and perhaps back to your place?” 
“Very much, yes. Once I have a place, that is.” 
Sia could almost feel the admiring heat in Presa’s gaze, like a fire that had been carefully banked so that it would warm through the night, but ready to blaze up at the addition of a bit more tinder. 
“I think I would too. So - anything else?”
Presa stilled, settling herself before she looked at her with obvious concern. 
“When you receive your implant - or if you need to have any other significant procedures - I would like you to stay with me for any recovery you need, in case there are any complications.” 
Sia turned that over in her head, and decided she really needed to know more. The idea had merit, but the reasons behind it could change things dramatically.
“Can I ask why? I thought Affini medical science was beyond things like ‘complications.’”

Presa hummed again, tilting her head a bit. 
“Generally, yes, but I have been reminded recently that we are not perfect. More to the point, you pointed out that your condition is complex by human medical standards, and as much as we are working to improve things, there is always the possibility of something going wrong - especially since your immune system is so weak.” 
Sia grimaced. Presa wasn’t wrong, but…
“I’d really prefer if you didn’t call it - or any part of me - weak.” 
Presa gave a contrite nod, without the condescension that often went with Affini apologies. 
“I apologize for my choice of words. Compromised, then?” 
Sia sighed. “Compromised is true enough. I can accept that condition - but the usual terms apply. No Xenodrugs.”

“No Xenodrugs,” Presa agreed. “I have been looking into how to handle a haustolic implant for you that would be limited to human formularies.”
“You’re moving fast,” Sia teased. She was starting to really like the idea of being in a real relationship with Presa. “Do Affini have U-hauls, too?” 
“I do understand that reference. But as I said the day we met, I tend to throw myself into things when I am inspired.” 
Sia wasn’t quite sure when she decided to get up and cross to the other couch, but she knew it had been her decision to climb up onto Presa’s lap and pull the Affini’s face towards her own for a kiss.
“I can work with that.”
Not even a day after that successful negotiation Presa had acquired a plot of land to the northwest of Sia’s property, close enough that on a good body day she could walk from the edge of the garden and onto what would be Presa’s back yard.
The hab module was being grown into place as much as it was built by compilers, and it had been fascinating to watch the progress of a mix of Terran and Affini crews handling the hab’s setup and landscaping. 
“And all this will be done in another week?” 
Presa nodded. “Possibly sooner than that, which is why I wanted to talk to you about something.”
Sia nodded, gesturing back towards her garden. She might see if she could have the landscaping crew put down a paver path between their homes. 
“Thinking of throwing a housewarming party?” 
“Not quite yet, if you say yes to my idea.”
Sia stopped at the edge of the garden to turn and give Presa a cautious look. “I think that’s going to depend on what exactly the idea is.”
Presa seemed to realize the deliberate boundary she’d made, and stayed on her side of the ‘fence’. “I spoke to a few friends about your needs, and one pointed me to a person who is
very skilled in xenomedicine and customizing molecular patterns for haustolic implant medications. I gave her a rough outline of the situation last night, but she’d like the chance to speak with you directly about what your concerns are - and what you want.”
Her mouth felt dry and tongue tied all of the sudden. “You…want me to go meet another Affini. About what I want. About getting an implant.” 
Presa nodded. “Alathea seemed very interested in the challenge.”
Sia forced herself to swallow so she could wet her throat. “She’s on Tau Ceti, then?” 
Presa’s needles moved very distractingly when she shook her head. “No - she actually recently completed an adoption of a group of Florets, and they’re relocating to her homeworld. The ship is going to be crossing Tau Ceti’s local space and taking on some new passengers in 36 hours, and Alathea felt there would be plenty of time for you to meet with her and possibly meet her new charges, if you like. She thought one in particular might be…interesting for you.”
Sia chose to focus on that last part rather than the way her heart rate jumped at the idea of leaving the planet. “Interesting how, exactly?” 
“He is on some very high doses of anti-anxiety xenodrugs, and from what I understand he has no loss of any function. Alathea formulated them herself.”
“Just talking,” Sia asked. “No ulterior motive, no excuse for her to…formulate something on the spot.”
“I promise, Sia.” Presa settled herself down onto the ground, tendrils and roots sinking into the earth to keep her in place. “You are my Floret, not hers, and I did not give her permission to do anything more than speak with you unless you specifically consent to it and let me know what you want to do. You have my word that nothing will happen that you do not allow, or may my roots get the blight.”
Sia felt a bit of awe at the sincerity she could feel in Presa’s oath. There was no need for an implant to tell her exactly how seriously her partner was taking this.
“Then in that case…I had better figure out what I want to pack.”

Thanks to Lady SunnyBunny for allowing me to borrow Alathea from her wonderful "How To Tame A Polycule"! 

Expect to see a bit more collaboration between us over the course of the next chapter or two. ;)

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