Hellia spent the rest of the dinner largely quiet until Henry had finished his meal and spoke. "So do you just like not eating?"
Henry scratched his arm as he looked down at the empty plate and Hellia responded. "Oh, well little one us Affini get all our nutrients from special types of water!"
Henry tilted his head. "But I've seen Sachra eat before"
"Oh well of course Affini can eat the food you humans do, but it isn't required!"
"Not what you were expecting, little one?"
"Just disappointed I guess"
"Why's that little one?"
Henry tried suppressing his feelings, Sachra was just entertaining his food choices, she didn't actually care. But in spite of his best efforts he still felt bad, he finished off the rest of his champagne and noticed that the bottle was empty.
Henry shook his head and focused again. "It's nothing, don't worry about it. Well, are you gonna leave me alone now?"
"Why would I do that! You clearly seem sad!"
"I guess" Henry thought about getting dessert but he wasn't particularly hungry despite his enjoyment of sweets. He stood up and dusted himself off. "Look Sunflower, you don't have to stick around anymore, you saw I ate and changed clothes. Or do I gotta go see a shrink too?"
Hellia tried to recall her human culture classes but the word shrink failed to appear in her mind. "A shrink? Do you want to be even smaller?"
"Wh-wha.. you know what never mind, it was nice meeting you Hellia" Henry turned to walk away but his arm was grabbed by Hellia and in turn he was pulled into a tight hug.
"Little one we in the Affini Compact want to take care of all you sweet humans! If you're sad my job isn't done here!" She embraced him even tighter into her body, nearly fully engulfing him. Henry tried to get a word out but he was too busy being buried. After a few minutes Hellia finally let go of him and Henry nearly jumped back and had to catch his breath. Henry tried to say something to defend himself but he was cut short by Sachra.
Sachra made herself known by gently coughing in a very human manner. "Hello there Henry......and Hellia"
Hellia discreetly wrapped a vine around Henry and ever so gently pulled him back towards her. "Hello Sachra! How is your evening going! Did you meet anyone nice at the bar?"
Sachra immediately approached and wrapped her own vine around Henry's arm trying to pull him back towards her. At this point Henry noticed what was going on but his words were being drowned out by the two Affini talking.
"Oh it was a wonderful dinner Hellia, how was your dinner with Henry?"
"Henry is just the cutest thing ever! It would be a crime if this wasn't a good time!" Hellia was slightly lying but it wasn't exactly incorrect, she did have a very good time in spite of Henry's seeming illusive sadness.
"That is wonderful to hear, I hope my gift was well received.~"
Hellia gritted her teeth and smiled "Oh it was clearly very extravagant! But you know Henry needs more than just sweets!"
"Hmm, yes but certainly he should enjoy life should he not?" Sachra's vine came very close to worming its way around Henry's back.
"Of course! But his happiness clearly requires more than just pampering! He has to be all properly taken care of!"
"I imagine an independent good boy such as him doesn't need someone so overbearing. Sachra did direct her view towards Henry to try and catch his reaction, but she too was greeted with a strange indifference. The words seemed to have no impact, she made a mental note to try something else in future. She had some ideas. This petty back and forth continued for a while longer before Henry simply gave up any attempts at interrupting. The vines wrapped around him were quite strong but as the two Affini were more focused on arguing over him. He gently retreated without being noticed, or so he thought. It was not less than a few seconds of walking before both of them shouted after him. He sighed and kept walking despite the fact that they would catch up. The two Affini put aside their dispute and frantically caught up with Henry, even Sachra's regal calmness broke for a moment as Henry's quiet sulking concerned both of them. Hellia was first on the scene but Sachra spoke first. "Henry what's wrong?"
Hellia followed soon as well "Oh I'm sorry little one were we upsetting you?"
Henry sighed and graced the two of them with a response. "Just leave me alone, I'm going back to my room."
"Henry, you know you can talk to me if you're having any issues!" Hellia spoke far more reserved than normal.
"What, why are you so concerned with me! Did I do something?"
"Well, I...I am here to make sure you're doing well, it's the nature of a wellness check. If you can't take care of yourself I am more than equipped to do it for you." Hellia continued.
"What??" Henry was just confused at this point. "I have no idea what's going on! Alright, I've just been in my room and all the sudden aliens show up! I don't even know what happened to the war!"
Both Hellia and Sachra were entirely caught off guard. Sachra spoke this time. "Henry dear, how long have you been in this hotel?"
Henry got quiet but still answered. "Se...seven months...maybe eight?"
Hellia's entire body shook with the immediate urge to domesticate. Every predatory instinct was burning hot. Even Sachra's reserved demeanor nearly shattered simply out of shock. Hellia spoke very softly. "Y...you have gone...int...into the city right?...yo...you weren't just alone in there??"
"I..mean...my friend Johnny was there.....but he hasn't been around much this past month or two."
Sachra picked from here. "H..henry, do..do you have a radio?...."
"Nope...just some books"
The two Affini looked at each other, they were used to humans who hadn't heard of them or their mission, but they have never met someone so cut off in the middle of a major city and previously warzone. The Affini have been here for nearly a month! This was nearly unheard of! They...had to do something.
Sachra continued. "He...Henry dear, wo..would you like for us to explain more?"
"Uh....sure I guess....can we not do it here though?"
Sachra and Hellia looked around and finally noticed that a significant chunk of people were watching them at this point and both of them could see nearby Affini just as concerned as they were. They had to get him out of here lest they have more competition.
The small group moved out of the restaurant with Sachra apologizing for the disruption. A temporary truce was signed between her and Hellia, for now. Henry asked if they could go to his room to be in private and the two agreed. They arrived at his room and both Hellia and Sachra had to crouch just to fit in the room so the two sat on the floor as Henry went to get a drink from the sink in the bathroom. They looked around and saw that like the hotel it was generally suitable for temporary living Henry needed to be moved to a proper hab. They also noticed the very very distinct lack of real personal affections or items. The one thing they both immediately clocked was a copious amount of empty bottles. Henry almost certainly had developed a drinking problem. As Henry got back and sat down in his desk chair he just quietly said. "So like...what exactly happened?"
Sachra took the lead as she had far more experience in this topic. "Well dear Henry, we are from the Affini Compact, an...interstellar civilization dedicated to aiding people all across the galaxy. We're here on a mission to uplift humanity to its best possible life. We also provide extensive guidance and protection both on a societal level and individual one. We are, as Hellia as most certainly put before, here to help."
Henry nodded. "But I don't need help?"
Sachra would have burst a vein if she had any. But she continued. "Well... we received a report of concerning behavior so Hellia was sent to help. We want to make you your best self Henry. There are more details but that is the simplest explanation"
"Right.." Henry scratched the back of his head, best self? What does that even look like? He didn't understand at all but he at least got that these two were just trying to help. He got the gist. "Well I guess it's nice to know we're not alone and that aliens are just big helpful plants."
Hellia smiled. "Yes, you won't have to suffer anymore, we can help!"
Henry felt like that was pointed more directly at him, but there wasn't anything overtly wrong in his life? At least he thought so.
"Well that's nice, so like you guys cure diseases and stuff?"
Sachra nodded. "Yes Henry, we can cure every illness known to mankind with few exceptions."
"Huh wow, I guess science fiction really is accurate."
"Do you like fiction Henry?" Sachra was more genuinely curious at this point.
"Oh sure, I mean its basically all I've been reading since I've gotten here." Henry pulled up a book from a small pile next to him, a variety of pulp fiction stories all very worn at this point. Faded covers cracking and tearing and yellowed pages. "They're fun. I don't know if they're better than TV but like I don't have one here."
Hellia found an in. "Would you like one cutie!"
"A TV? I mean like you don't have to go through the trouble for that, I'm fine as is."
Sachra rubbed her forehead, even she was starting to feel frustrated. This was not going anywhere. "Henry dear, how about a different question. Do you want to go home?"
Henry went quiet, very quiet. "I....I" Hellia couldn't contain herself anymore and essentially threw herself and Henry and started hugging him tight and rubbing his head, all the while rocking him gently. Henry seemed too locked up to notice, but after a short while he snapped himself out of it and tried to push Hellia off. "Hey..hey i'm fine Hellia." Hellia seemed to be on the verge of tears but Sachra easily pulled her off Henry. Sachra essentially had to pet Hellia to calm her down now. This was going to take a while.....but this was the job! They want to help him