it's not a walk in the park

three. soften the blow

by cloverfin

Tags: #Human_Domestication_Guide #multiple_partners #nb/nb #polyamory #scifi #bondage #cuddles #D/s #discipline #dom:male #dom:nb #exhibitionism #hypnosis #m/m #m/nb #puppy_play #sub:male #sub:nb #trans_egg #transgender_characters

apologies for the long-ass delay between updates.  The end of the semester kind of crept up on me and all of a sudden it was finals season.  If everything goes to plan I should be able to update a little more regularly over break, we'll see I guess.  

As always, Grammarly is my primary beta reader so if I missed anything, feel free to let me know!!  

[chapter three. soften the blow]  
The morning came eventually, as their hab units programmed cycle changed over the lights from moonlight to sunlight. The assorted sophonts around the cafe began stirring and stretching away sleepiness. Juniper was seeing to breakfast this morning, so it was Irisent’s turn to oversee floret care for the morning.  He quickly sent Micha and Isaiah into the bathroom to wash first. The other three cafe pets, all under some degree of Class-J, would be cleaned after breakfast, as there was only so much bathroom for so many Terrans. brizzen could see to xeir own grooming quite quickly and would find xeir way to a perch on Irisent’s shoulder while Micha and Isaiah were still waking up. 
Valentine was still sleeping deeply, curled up in an adorably small ball around their requested dragon plushy. There was no harm in waiting until the other two finished their bath to wake them up, really, so Irisent let them sleep for a few more minutes, silently cooing over how adorable his new little ward looked. It was easy to daydream about them having a collar around their neck with how very floret-like they looked.  
Eventually, Irisent was snapped out of their thoughts and daydreams by giggling behind them. It was definitely the troublesome twosome, their adorable florets pinnate.  Irisent noticed the giggling and immediately felt the weight of two Terrans jumping onto their back.  He feigned shock, groaning as if the barely noticeable weight of their two adorable pets was the heaviest burden in the world.  But, if they were awake and out of the bathroom, it was time to wake little Valentine up and get them all ready for their first day in the cafe. He dumped the florets into one of the readily available pillow piles scattered around the room and turned to Valentine, scooping up the sleepy ward and carrying them to the bathroom to get dressed.
A quick look through their available clothes found a comfortable outfit with a big hoodie and some soft shorts, though really all the Terran-sized clothes they kept readily available were soft.  The florets and wards they tended to didn’t leave the cafe very often, and cuddles were frequent, so the clothes they wore needed to be up to snuff and soft enough to not hurt their florets’ sensitive skin. Thus, all the clothes in the closet were flannels, fleeces, and knits, soft and stretchy and just absolutely adorable on anyone. Also, like many clothes in the closet, they were in adorable colors.  The hoodie was soft, earthy brown, the shorts were pastel green, and both were adorned with dark green embroidered leaves along the hems.  
The hoodie was devastatingly huge on them and the way they tucked their hands into the sleeves… if Irisent owned this Terran they would never wear anything that fit them properly, it was so adorable to see. They could barely see the shorts under the hem of the hoodie. Yes, they would have to dress their little ward like this more often.  
Juniper had helped Valentine to bathe last night, so Irisent just instructed them to brush their teeth and hair, and clean their face with one of the many different varieties of face soap available to them. By the time that was done, Juniper had finished preparing breakfast for everyone at the cafe, so Irisent bundled up all of the still-drowsy sophonts he could reach and carried them all to the kitchen, settling all seven down into chairs around the large table and settling next to Micha to help him eat. 
Today’s breakfast was thick, fluffy pancakes with bacon and syrup alongside them, and glasses of milk to wash it down. Since the cafe pets were kept on class-J xenodrugs, the two Affini had their vines full feeding them all, it was nice to see that Valentine needed no assistance finishing their meal off. It was also nice to see them stimming, tapping the table in a pattern that Irisent was almost certain mimicked Juniper’s biorhythm. The quicker they got in tune with both Affini’s rhythms, the easier it would be to guide them to recovery. Maybe even guide them to voluntary domestication before the wardship was over? That was perhaps just wishful thinking on Irisent’s part. Valentine would look adorable all snuggled up to their florets pinnate, they were sure of it. 
When breakfast was finished, Irisent and Juniper hurried through prep for the rest of the cafe, settling the cafe pets and their florets into their places and leaving their ward in the kitchen with an instruction to sit tight for a few minutes. As soon as the preparations for the day were finished, a message came through on Irisent’s data pad informing them that the social workers had scheduled a vet appointment for Valentine for that afternoon and that the vet had requested both Affini guardians present to receive care instructions. That was fine, there were other Affini capable of managing the cafe and Irisent wanted to give his full attention to his sweet little ward. Now to figure out the logistics of getting the stubborn little human to the vet office on the other side of the ship… 
Valentine had enjoyed the structured pace of the morning, their worries pushed to the back of their mind for the moment as the new Affini, Irisent, carried them from bed to bathroom, and then to breakfast, a wonderful affair if they ignored the fact that all the other Terrans present were being hand-fed by the pair of Affini, something they considered beyond humiliating. 
As far as they could tell, the other Terrans present were beyond consciousness, on some kind of drug that kept them in some kind of haze. Every time one of the vines touched the girl right next to them, her whole body shuddered in some kind of disturbing enjoyment. While they appreciated the care these Affini were showing, it was obvious that they were responsible for this state, a fact that Valentine found very alarming. 
By the time the hustle and bustle of the morning routine faded slightly, Valentine was starting to get very perturbed by how their fellow Terrans were being treated. It was like they were no more than animals, simply chirping or meowing requests at the Affini to get whatever they wanted, whether that was a particular spot in the main guest area of the cafe, to have their outfit adjusted, or to get wrapped up in the vines of Juniperus or Irisent, something that clearly brought both Affini and Terran great amounts of almost sexual pleasure and that greatly disturbed Valentine. 
As more affini started filling the cafe, Juniper scooped Valentine up and carried them back to the little alcove they had slept in, leaving a small datapad and some headphones with them. Were they just supposed to sit there all day? 
Juniper answered their worries without any pause, “Remember, you’re allowed to go anywhere in the cafe and ask for anything you like. We just figured you didn’t want to be around the other sophonts visiting the cafe since we get a lot of patrons. One of us will always be behind the desk in our living room.” 

“But what am I going to do?” Valentine whined, already feeling nervous at being away from her safe space once again.

“Well, for the morning, you are to rest, relax, and watch whatever shows or read whatever books you like. I know you had a datapad with you in your previous residence, so you’ve experienced the overnet before. You may also chat with other sophonts on the ship and friends who may be back on the planet or elsewhere in the galaxy.”  Juniper ruffled their hair with a vine and gave them a soft grin. “Will you be a good little petal for me and keep yourself busy until lunch? After lunch, we have an appointment with the local xenovet to see what medication you might need and how we need to supplement your diet to keep you the healthiest you can be.” 


“A medical professional trained in the care of cute little sophonts like yourself! The one you’ll be seeing today is the same that my Isaiah sees, she’s just lovely.” 

“I’m not a fucking, sophont, whatever that means. I don’t need to see this xeno-vet, I can take care of myself!”  The huge talking tree certainly didn’t need to know that they hadn’t seen a doctor in over fifteen years. He definitely didn’t need to know that Valentine hadn’t had access to any kind of medication besides the mandated vaccines they had received when traveling to their home planet five years ago. It was simply too embarrassing that they hadn’t had any access to vegetables, fresh water, or whole foods until the affini had arrived in their city with their abundant supplies of food and other goods. They wanted to be independent and independent they would be, Xeno-vets be damned!  They didn’t need yet another vine-covered alien plant thing poking and prodding them, and they definitely didn’t need to be a drugged-up little pet like this Isaiah Juniperus was talking about!

“I’m sure you can take care of yourself, sprout, but there are things that you simply can't help. If you refuse to see Rosali you will definitely be classified as a danger to yourself.  That would certainly be grounds for immediate domestication.” 

“Fine, gods, I’ll go to the stupid xenovet. Now, will you just fuck off and leave me to my boredom?”  Valentine was pouting, they knew they were. It was childish and rude, but they could be bothered to care at the moment. The idea of being taken to a vet was just, beyond embarrassing. They had finally placed the word choice as the kind of doctor that the rich elite kept for their animals, those that kept zoos or menageries as a status symbol would sometimes employ a whole team to care for them. They were a person, not a pet or caged animal! Surely there were still human medical professionals somewhere in the galaxy, right? 
In the back of their mind, they were filled with anxiety about a medical visit.  It had been a while since Valentine had a checkup, what if something was horribly wrong with them? The idea of being poked and prodded and examined was honestly horrifying.  They sank deep into a pit of dread as the afternoon dragged on.  They tried to find a distraction but all the shows they had enjoyed as a kid were stripped of everything that made them interesting, like sword fights and conflict and tension.  They finally just hunted down a simple color-sorting game and curled around their new dragon plushy and simply immersed themself into the game and the morning finally passed quickly.  
Irisent didn’t really understand why Terrans needed to eat three times a day, but they still enjoyed helping the florets through the process of eating a quick lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, something that he noticed the little ward eating with gusto.  After all, it was quite adorable to see how happy a comforting meal could make all the adorable pets of the cafe.  Today he was feeding two pinnate florets who worked at the cafe together and had matching mods turning them into the sweetest little kittens, his own darling little beeple floret, and just the sweetest little darling boy who had chosen deer mods, with the shortest little nub antlers, soft fur, and droopy little ears.  The three florets that didn’t belong to him belonged to two of their affini neighbors, one around the same age as Juniper and himself, and the other much older. They were present as well, frequent helpers around the cafe, settling in for an afternoon of pet-sitting while they took their ward and florets to the vet.  He had reached out to their vet and inquired about the possibility of bringing the florets-pinnate into a ramp-off from their class-J regimen to be available as playmates for the ward, and they decided it would be best to begin that process while at their ward’s check-up.  
As the pets finished their lunches, Irisent handed off the cafe pets to their assorted owners and scooped the drowsy brizzen up in the small hollow he kept for xem.  His beeple was always sleepy after a meal, and the little napping nook came in handy for such times as these. They scooped up Valentine as well, carrying them over to the bathroom to clean up and speak to them privately as well.  
“Little flower, I know Juniper already mentioned the vet visit to you, but I would like to ask you how you feel about traveling through the ship to their office.  Your file indicates a reluctance to leave the house, would you consent to be drugged briefly for the journey to avoid stress or triggers on our walk?” 

Valentine paused to think, a frown forming on their brow.  “Since you're probably going to insist anyways, I just don't want to be asleep.  I'm damn tired of waking up in strange rooms with strange alien weeds surrounding me.” 

Irisent mentally cataloged their xenodrug grafts. They settled on a mild class-E that would suppress brain activity enough to avoid panic attacks without causing clumsiness or drowsiness. He was hoping they would agree to a more potent drug but at this stage, keeping their ward comfortable was better than meeting their exact needs. 

“Additionally, it’s a long walk. We’d prefer you agreed to be carried since your activity levels have been heavily below standard in the last few months at least. Which of us would you like to carry you?”

“Have the tree carry me, I guess.” They spat out the words, getting redder and redder in the face.  Irisent was sure the ward would like them to think it was the flush of anger, but they were clearly rather flustered at the idea of being carried around the ship.  

“That’s alright, darling. Now, are you comfortable with what you’re wearing? Would you like anything changed to leave the house?”

“I’d like to wear these again, so I don’t want to associate them with whatever unpleasantry this will make me go through.”  Valentine subconsciously moved towards the clothes cupboard, opening one of the doors labeled ‘pants’ and looking through it quickly.  They pulled out a pair of long loose harem-style pants with a vine pattern, turning to the ‘shirts’ cupboard next and picking out a loose sleeveless shirt. They turned to Irisent again.  “Will you at least leave to let me change?” 
“Of course, but please don’t shut the door all the way, petal.”

Valentine nodded, and Irisent stepped out of the bathroom, leaving the door slightly ajar, and waited right outside. Valentine changed quickly, placed their folded pajamas in their sleeping alcove, and picked up their headphones and tablet.

“I’m assuming you’ve got whatever you're drugging me with ready?” They offered their left arm for the assumed injection but Irisent ignored it, placing a large flower over their mouth like a mask. 
“This is the pollen form of a class-E drug. It’s a mild sedative that will keep your brain activity slow enough to avoid an anxiety spiral or panic attack during the walk. It’s quick acting and will be out of your system soon enough for the vet to get an accurate idea of your brain chemistry.” They fitted the flower tightly and released the pollen. “Inhale for me, petal?”

Valentine took several deep breaths as a calm expression drifted over their face. When the pollen cloud under the flower mask dissipated, the flower detached and Irisent tucked the vine back into his tightly woven form again. They saw Juniper gathering their pair of florets in the front room, so they scooped up Valentine as well, heading towards the door.  
As they went outside, they swapped with Juniper, trading the ward for Micha. Since their floret was still pretty solidly on class-J they just curled him tightly against their chest. His long fluffy tail was hanging down and they could feel it brushing against their legs in a slow wag. Stars, this little Terran was unceasingly adorable! After a brief pause to press kisses to his forehead, Irisent caught up to Juniper and they began walking to the vet in earnest. 
Rosali’s office was somewhat similarly decorated to the cafe, with soft surfaces and pillows everywhere to allow florets comfort while they waited for their appointment. However, none of their florets would separate from the vines holding them, not even their little ward would move an inch. Iris waved to the Terran receptionist, a lovely independent named Andrew who would occasionally visit the cafe when Micha and Isaiah were off their class-J’s.  They had been from the same colony and were vital in helping the Affini involved in domestication figure out that Micha and Isaiah were not to be separated.

Luckily, the wait wasn’t long at all, and Rosali called Valentine first to come back. Juniper slipped off their headphones and tucked tablet and headphones both into a small chest cavity for safe-keeping before settling Micha down onto a large green cushion.  Irisent decided it would be best to wait with their florets until needed.  Valentine scrambled up from the vines holding them to Juniper’s shoulder, reminding Irisent briefly of the old Terran predator, the squirrel, with fewer claws and teeth.  

Even Juniper waited outside the door, giving Valentine the privacy they preferred. The room was strange, a big soft seat that reminded Valentine of the one time they went to a dentist, a strange machine-like thing with an interface screen.  Vines trailed out of it that did gods-know what.  Worst of all was the large, pleasantly smiling affini that filled most of the room.  This new affini, who Valentine assumed to be Rosali, seemed to be covered in every herb and medicinal flower Valentine could name, and some they couldn’t.  
While this new affini wasn’t threatening at all, Valentine was not comfortable in this room at all.  Something about the way Rosali’s eyes spun, and the machine that sat quietly humming in the middle of the room, put them on edge. Unfortunately, as soon as the door slid shut behind them, vines began wrapping around them, scooping them up to settle them quickly into the chair.  As soon as they were in place, the chair itself wrapped soft, moss-covered vines around their chest, arms, and ankles. 

“This is just a precaution, little flower.  New wards such as yourself can be so very squirmy, and it’s important to hold you still!  Now, you shouldn’t feel much more than a pinprick, but I have to stick a few needles into you to test how your body chemistry is looking.  I’ve been told by your guardians and social workers that you seem particularly uncomfortable about drugs.  I’m terribly sorry, but to make this appointment go smoothly, I will have to use just a few tasty little druggies that will make it easier to answer all the questions on this little batch of paperwork!”  The affini gestured to the sizeable stack of thick, white paper sitting on the desk in the corner of the room.

Rosali bustled about the room, unraveling her form to fill most of the empty space, vines doing what must have been thirty things at once.  Despite all the bustle, her “face” was focused on Valentine, keeping an eye on them to ensure they were sitting still in the chair.  Valentine felt three pricks in their neck, chest, and right arm as three vines, each ending in a flower, attached to them.  It looked as if the vines were growing from them, flowers bright and blooming in their places.  
Slowly they grew both numb and overwhelmed with feelings, the room shimmering as whatever drug they'd been injected with rushed through their system.  Suddenly the vines holding them down were overwhelmingly lovely, they wanted more vines on their skin, maybe even stroking them, clothes burdensome and in the way.  They whined softly, wishing the affini that was holding them down was one of their own and not this stranger who was continuing to focus more on the machine than the human that was hooked up to them. 

Rosali was busy checking numbers on her tablet, filling out Valentine's paperwork, and adjusting the machine that they were connected to.  When she was finally satisfied that everything was recorded, she turned to Valentine.  With a press of a button, the chair’s final piece settled over their face, a large plant-tech headset that would kickstart the next part of the exam. At that, Valentine finally succumbed to the class-H xenodrugs in their system and fell into trance, time simply slipping away.  

The next update will hopefully come pretty quickly, hate to leave y'all on this cliffhanger but I really have put off updating for way too long :-:

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