Not Alone

by priestessamy

Tags: #D/s #dom:female #f/f #multiple_partners #pov:bottom #sub:female #bondage #breath_play #clothing #Human_Domestication_Guide #pov:top #scifi #trans_egg #transgender_characters

CW continues for a character going through an obvious depressive episode, vague mentions of suicide (nothing depicted), and hypnotherapy depicted with questionable accuracy. 

Every now and then, Ophelia had these bursts of inspiration followed by periods of intense hard work. She was currently in the middle of one.

As near as she could tell, none of her hab-mates were especially good with improvisation. Or, at the very least, she didn’t want to find out the hard way how hopeless they were. They needed a script, if only for the first few sessions of filming. Ophie was no script writer, but she’d certainly read enough of them to know how to make a decent scene or two. Using the tablet that Cam had recently gifted her, she began furiously typing out a rough draft with some generic dialogue they could use that would feel natural enough for everyone involved.

It was actually kind of fun in a way. She got to think about all her interactions over the last few days and try to break down everyone’s speech patterns. Sera would need to be a bit dramatic and flowy. Cam almost never used contractions, but she had a mean sarcastic streak. Jake… Well, she was still trying to figure him out. They all were. But she was able to come up with a few lines for him as well. He didn’t talk a lot, so that made it easier.

She couldn’t help but giggle a little as she wrote up the last two lines for herself and her fellow terran. ‘I’m doing my part!’ It was perfect propaganda. Just enough of a wink and a nod that hopefully the people watching would understand that this wasn’t obnoxiously self-serious. Why shouldn’t they have a little fun, dammit!

When she finally broke out of her concentration, she had a halfway decent write-up for everyone to look over and give notes. That left her a day to edit, and then a day to rehearse. Not too shabby.

Eager to please, and trying very hard to not think about why, she scampered out of her room to find the others and show off her work.

A new room had recently been added to the second level as a work space for their affini. Since both of them were big nerds, they needed a place for all their papers and books and whatever, where they could work in peace and quiet. It really was incredible, how easily the affini could change up their buildings and add new rooms and furniture like it was nothing.

Ophie strode into their office with her tablet held high, looking quite pleased with herself. “Hey! Check this out!”

It was pretty obvious that Cam was working on something at her terminal, and yet she still allowed herself to be pulled away. For all Ophelia knew, it was something big and important, and yet she was willing to pay attention to her. Stars, she had it bad.

The big, beautiful nerd came striding right over and took the tablet from her, looking it over with a warm smile on her big, beautiful mask. “Oh! How delightful, you have written dialogue for all of us. Serafa, come see.” Ophie was quickly flanked by the other affini as Cam pet her gently and cooed. “Good girl.” Ooh, she was never going to get tired of that.

Sera gave one of her pleasing tremolos as she scrolled through. “What an absolute sweet-lung! Good work, cutie, this is great.”

She probably should have corrected that, but she didn’t want to take away from her adorable double-act with Jake. Speaking of… Ophelia looked around eagerly. “I wanna show Jake too. Where is he?”

Some of the energy in the room dipped a bit as they glanced between one another. Sera sighed. “Down in his room, I’d imagine. He’s been rather private lately.”

Ophie frowned and carefully took the tablet back from them. “Wait, you just left him all by himself? After the way he was acting the other night?”

“We assumed he had taken up some project, like you did, darling.” Cam rumbled.

In spite of the power imbalance between all of them and the obvious deference she usually showed, Ophie started to get a bit angry. She looked back and forth, huffing. “The guy can barely even come up with any favorite pastimes except working out and listening to music. And you two think that he’s suddenly developed a fascinating new hobby? Cam, you’re a psychologist, please tell me you see the problem here!”

“I—” Surprisingly, she shrunk into herself a bit and glanced over at Sera anxiously. “I did not wish to overwhelm him with attention. He needs time to figure things out.”

This was incredible. Worst of all, Ophie was just as much to blame as either of them. She’d let herself get caught up in her own work as well. She had seen the way Jake looked that night, she should have checked up sooner. But it was too late now. Grumbling, she started for the door. “Fuck. I need to go see if he’s okay.”

She didn’t even wait for input from the big, beautiful idiots. Clearly they didn’t understand terrans as well as they thought. Jake didn’t need time alone. He needed to be surrounded by people who wouldn’t force him to repress so damn much. She could only hope things weren’t too bad.

Even though it was only a short hop down the stairs and over to his door, that was still just enough time for her to conjure up all the worst possible things that could have happened while Jake was alone. He was a soldier, maybe he had a big scary knife that he could use to do horrible things to himself. Or maybe he would just compile some rope and— Stars, please not that.

Her nerves were just frayed enough that she knocked on his door a little bit too loudly on the first go. “Jake?” She only got silence in return, so she knocked again, a little gentler this time. “You in there?”

A good thirty seconds passed before the door finally slid open.

What she saw on the other side did not exactly fill her with confidence. While this was not one of the terrible scenarios that she had imagined, it still wasn’t great. Jake stood on the other side in a well-worn sleeveless shirt and tattered pajama pants. Under different circumstances, she might have enjoyed seeing the muscles on display. But she was far too distracted by the heavy bags under his eyes and the distant expression on his face. He clearly hadn’t shaved in days, as his five o’clock shadow turned closer and closer to midnight o’clock darkness. “Mn? Ophelia?”

“…fuck,” she mumbled, realizing too late she’d said that out loud. Just as well, now was definitely not the time for subtlety. “You look like hell.”

“Extremely astute of you. Now if you don’t mind, I’d like to go back to wallowing.”

For a moment, she thought about leaving him alone. But judging by the state he was in, she knew the greater kindness was to press harder. So she reached out, took him by the elbow, and dragged him through the door. “Nope!”

“Ophelia, I’m serious,” he said, though he wasn’t fighting her.

“So am I! Come on!” She dragged Jake toward the kitchen, looking back over her shoulder. “Have you been drinking water?”

“…kind of.”

“You don’t ‘kind of’ drink water. You either do or you don’t.”

“I had a little bit. Last night…”

This was not good. “When’s the last time you ate?”

“I-I don’t know.”

“If you can’t remember, then it was too long ago. We need to fix that.”

They had finally installed furniture around the communal parts of the hab that had been designed with terrans in mind. So Ophie was able to set him down in a reasonably-sized chair at a reasonably-sized table before whipping around to go to the compiler. “Hey, sweetie, could I please get two glasses of water and two sandwiches? Thank you!”

The compiler beeped, having received the appropriate level of politeness from the terran user. A dinging noise signaled when it was done, and Ophelia took the tray of food and water back over to the table, sitting across from Jake. She took a plate and glass for herself and then shoved the rest in his direction. “Eat. Drink. No buts.”

He seemed to be too surprised to complain. “Hm. Yes Ma’am…”

The two of them sat in silence for a while, eating their awkward little meal. Once it felt like an appropriate amount of time had passed, she pressed him again. “Alright, spill, what’s going on?”

Jake ripped a bit of crust off his sandwich and pressed it between his thumb and forefinger for a while before popping it into his mouth. “The other night, it felt so… fucking good to just open up. But then just as quickly, I was left feeling empty. It’s been years since this happened to me. I got so good at fighting it, because there was always something to do. But now that I’m ‘free’, I have no distractions. I can’t even say that I feel sad, exactly. I don’t feel anything. I… think it’s better than repressing? Or at least it’s healthy that I’m not doing it anymore. But it’s definitely not good.”

He finished the last of his water, and Ophie was quick on the draw, grabbing his glass up and refilling it. She planted herself back into her seat and leveled him with a serious look. “Probably depression. I may not be some fancy science nerd like Cam, but I played a therapist for this old weekly vid. So I remember a little from that.”

“Great. So we just replaced one problem for another?” He fiddled with his glass for a moment before taking another gulp of water.

“Hardly. Look, I’m not saying it’s fun or easy. But we already had meds for stuff like this in the Accord. And now we have giant alien plant monsters with super-drugs better than terran medicine could ever hope to be. And they do it for free. Shit, they do it for kicks.”

“No, that’s the thing, this should be easy. I’ve destroyed pirate cruisers from inside-out with a squad of four and a pea-shooter. Why should I need a crutch because my brain doesn’t want to cooperate?”

Ophelia could feel herself getting angry again, but she pushed it down. It was one thing to be aggressively helpful, it was another to just be aggressive. “If your leg didn’t want to ‘cooperate’ would you feel ashamed needing an actual crutch? It’s the same damn thing. Only they can do the equivalent of growing you a whole new fucking leg. There’s no shame in accepting help when something is wrong.”

“Yes there is!” He instantly recoiled the moment he yelled out, his face a mess of emotions. “Fuck. Sorry. I— There is shame. That’s the thing. It’s just like I said the other night. Everything about who I am was put there by someone else. But this? This is all me. Isn’t that fucking sad? I finally start discovering myself, and what I’ve discovered is a big empty pit.”

This is so heavy. I’m way out of my league here. He needs actual help, and I am way too inept to do this right. I’m just an actress. For just a moment, Ophelia felt like she was letting Jake’s mood overtake her own. She wanted to wallow and be miserable about how useless she was in situations like this. Big deal, she knew how to pretend real good, and she could write a passable chunk of dialogue. She couldn’t fix a person.

But there was something else Jake had said that night, and it came back to Ophelia in blazing letters. “Okay. Then let’s all do this together.”

He winced. “Great, I’m so broken we need three people to put me together?”

Ophelia didn’t feel equipped to coddle him. So she didn’t bother trying. “Maybe you do. Luckily, you have three of the best around. You’re going to be amazing when we’re done.”

Neither Camilis nor Serafa ended up going back to their work. They sat together awkwardly in their shared office for a while, but eventually curiosity got the better of them. Together they made their way down into the main area of the hab. They could hear conversation through the door into the kitchen. “Should we join them?”

Sera shook her head and sat down on the couch. “I’m pretty sure this is another ‘just us terrans’ thing.”

“We were just yelled at for giving Jacob too much space. Are we not committing the same error again by doing so?”

“I don’t know, Cam. It’s all a bit of a mess right now. But I think Ophelia deserves a chance to do her thing, at least.” She sighed dramatically and reclined, looking up toward the ceiling. “They’re not ours, after all. We can’t just barge in as we please.”

She did so hate to admit when Serafa was right. She joined her on the couch to wait. “Just because we do not own them does not mean we are not allowed to worry. We are still well within our rights to check in.” She idly toyed with one of Serafa’s stray vines before quietly admitting, “I care about them. Whatever our status may be. I want the best for them both.”

“You absolute softy.” She piped pleasantly before leaning over to give her a gentle nuzzle. “I guess I’m a softy too. We’ll sort it out somehow.”

The kitchen doorway opened and Ophelia walked through with Jacob in tow. They pulled up short when they saw Camilis waiting with Sera in the main lounge. “Oh! You’re here! Convenient.” She resumed pulling until she could drop poor Jacob into one of the newly added terran-sized chairs, then flopped into the one next to it. “Jake’s depressed. We gotta do something.”

He looked at her with clear shock painted across his face, but it didn’t escape Camilis’ notice that he wasn’t raising any objections. “Stars, you don’t have to say it so bluntly.”

“I kinda do. It’s pointless to try and deal with it alone, all stoic and shit. You’ve got three people who want you to feel better, and at least two of them are perfectly designed to do it well.” Ophelia looked back at them with eyebrows raised suggestively.

Some of the pieces locked together in Camilis’ mind and she started to understand what she hadn’t seen the other day. She felt a bit foolish for not realizing sooner where part of the problem lay. This was supposed to be her area of expertise, and yet she was making so many errors. Familiarity was breeding sloppiness.

The nyx victorium had indeed done its work. Jacob’s internal walls had been weakened. The issue was that other, more complex problems had been partitioned away alongside the simple desires and behaviors.

They wanted a challenge, and now they had one. “Yes, I believe Ophelia is right. Serafa and I are certainly in a good position to provide help for Jacob. However,” she quickly reminded them, “ that is provided that he still wishes for us to meddle. Our first attempt has created new issues, and I will understand if he is uncertain about making yet another attempt.”

She brought her full attention to him, waiting patiently to hear his thoughts on the matter. It was good of Ophelia to dig in and pull Jacob out of his slump. But they were both still independents, ultimately. Neither affini could act without consent.

The poor thing gave a weary sigh and sank further into his chair, clearly uncomfortable with all the attention. “Of course I’m nervous about it. I know I was a house of cards before, but at least I was still standing. Now I’m just—” Losing the ability to properly explain, he settled for gesturing vaguely to himself.

“Sweetie, I feel awful about this!” Sera rumbled and her very body language exuded her waning confidence. “We should’ve worked harder to make sure you were stable instead of assuming everything was alright.”

Ophelia clicked her tongue and waved her hand dismissively. “You’re not perfect. Big deal. He’s still here, and there’s still time. So quit moping about it and figure out a more concrete solution for this next round.”

Surprisingly, Jacob actually nodded in approval when she said that. “She makes a good point. If I know there’s a proper plan laid out, that might help me decide.”

Camilis looked between the two terrans, then to Serafa. “I understand it can be uncomfortable for you when we speak in our language, but it might be easier if we strategize without needing to translate. Will that be a problem?” They both shrugged, which felt like permission enough.

Changing to the affini tongue would make it easier to talk through something so thorny. She looked curiously at Serafa once again. “Thoughts?” Already she had some ideas, but she wanted input from her friend on this matter. While ownership was not a legitimate issue here, there was still an element of… fondness that complicated matters. Jacob was not Serafa’s floret, and yet her connection with him was arguably still the strongest. And so her opinion mattered immensely.

After a thoughtful tremolo, Serafa looked at her curiously. “Do you still have that cluster of veritsom pura?”

A shiver ran through Camilis’ form as she caught up to what Serafa was contemplating. “And then we can combine it with your nyx victorium?”

“Drop him just deep enough that his subconscious can still respond, and then give it free rein to explore for a while. Carefully examine any traumas we may find, and come up with ways to address them. If it’s an issue of chemical imbalance, I’m sure you can find the right mix he needs. We—” She frowned, looking momentarily uncertain. “We can do this, can’t we?”

“I believe that we can. There is only one thing that gives me pause.”

“You’ve been thinking about it too?”

“He glossed over it so quickly the other night, I almost did not think to consider it. He said that those things that had been pushed onto him may not define his true self. ‘Big strong soldier man’. I suppose I assumed only the first three were important. We may uncover an issue with dysphoria. In some terrans, that is solved easily enough, especially with the ones already sorting it out for themselves. But his strict upbringing may not have allowed for that kind of self-reflection. As far as revelations go, that one could be especially difficult.”

Serafa turned and looked down at her ward, deep in thought for a few moments. “He may not like being ‘strong’ in the narrow, militaristic way. But I think he’s still plenty strong. He’ll be okay Cam.” She finally switched back to speaking in terran. “I think we just might have something here. We’re planning on starting with a stronger dose of this,” Serafa said as she withdrew the black flower from within her vines. “Then we’ll use a little something from Cam’s supply to place you in a hypnotic trance.”

Jacob appeared unimpressed. “You know I don’t believe in that stuff, right?”

Camilis rumbled with gentle laughter. “I think that you may be surprised. Class-H xenodrugs rarely care whether you believe in hypnosis. But if that feels too fantastical for you, then think of it instead as a sort of guided meditation under the effects of a truth serum. It will allow you to examine yourself from an objective point of view, and speak plainly the things you have not allowed yourself to see. And even if something especially difficult should arise, you will not properly remember it once the session is over. This will provide us with the knowledge necessary to understand you and address your issues directly in a healthy way.”

It seemed as though her friend had regained some of her confidence as Serafa emitted a familiar high-pitched rumble. “And if there’s anything else bothering you as a result of boring old chemistry, then Cam’s got you covered, darling. She’s brilliant.”

The leaves along Camilis’ arms trembled in a show of surprise and embarrassment. Things between herself and her friend had become more defined. But there was still room for further clarity. Which left a small gray area to wonder when she was being flirted with and when she was simply receiving excessive praise. Knowing her companion, it was likely both simultaneously. “Serafa is being hyperbolic. But I am very good. Believe me, Jacob, we are prepared to help you in whatever way you need.”

He looked defeated, which was perhaps not the most ideal reaction they needed. The goal was enthusiastic agreement, or at the very least confident understanding. But then, he was depressed. Neither of those were realistic, given the circumstances. He was not outright combative, which would have to be good enough. “Well then… tell me what I need to do, I guess.”

Serafa shifted to the side slightly until there was a terran-sized gap between them. “Hop on up here. Would you like Ophie with you as well?”

The two humans shared a look, after which he nodded.

Following a bit more rearranging, Ophelia was seated cross-legged between the two of them, while Jacob’s head was propped up in her lap. She looked down at him with one of her characteristic warm smiles and gently held his hand. “I’m so proud of you.”

His cheeks turned a bit red, and Camilis shared a brief glance with Serafa, though they each fought to hide any further amusement or laughter. Fire and flame, they were precious! Sooner or later this entire complicated business would be behind them. And then perhaps they could really, properly enjoy their time together.

While Ophelia kept him distracted, Serafa carefully injected him in the neck with a dose from the nyx victorium. After a few seconds passed, his body visibly relaxed and he sank a bit more into the girl’s lap. Ophelia gently brushed her hand against the top of his head, and the worried, caring smile on her face spoke volumes.

“Alright now, little one, eyes on me…” Camilis put on her best thrumming voice. She knew it had an effect on Ophelia, and she could only hope with enough emphasis it might also affect Jacob. His eyes turned up toward her as she adjusted the vines of her arms until a small bouquet of bell-shaped white flowers appeared. “This will feel a bit strange, at first. But you are in a safe place. There is no danger here. Everything is warm and safe.” She dangled the cluster of flowers from her wrist right above his face. Slowly, a dusting of fine silvery powder fell out of them, coating him with glittering pollen. “Safe enough that you feel like taking a nice, large breath.”

He did as commanded and sucked in air through his mouth and nose, inhaling the dust in the process. They all watched as his pupils began to dilate slowly. His eyelids drooped and she very carefully pressed a finger to his chin. “Eyes open. Keep looking at the flowers, darling.” The five white flowers at her wrist started to rotate in a slow circle around one another until their stems could no longer twist, then reversed. In a rhythmic ballet, they flowed this way and that. “All you need to do is lie there comfortably, breathe deep, and watch the lovely flowers as they dance for you.”

Ophelia continued to gently stroke the top of his head, which seemed to be helping as well. Despite Jacob’s doubts, he was doing a wonderful job falling prey to her flowers.

Careful, or you might end up enjoying yourself. Though I suppose there is nothing wrong with that. “Now… Slowly, each of these darling little flowers is going to take a bow and exit the stage. Every time one of them does, I will count them out. And whenever I count out a flower as they leave the stage, you will feel yourself sinking deeper into this warm, comfortable safety. Ah, the first one is already taking their leave. Five.”

The first flower closed in on itself and slid back inside her arm. “Four.” Another quietly followed. “Three.” They continued to bend back into her arm as she counted down. “So warm. So safe. Two. You are perfectly at peace. One. All is well. The stage is empty, and it is time to leave the theater. All the lights go out.”

As she spoke, Serafa subtly retrieved her tablet to turn down the lights in the hab.

Camilis briefly looked over at her and nodded appreciatively before bringing her full attention down to Jacob. “Now it is just you in the darkness. You can go anywhere, do anything. And so… you go inside yourself. Your eyelids grow heavy. It is so safe here, you know you can do that and nothing bad will happen.”

Right on cue, his eyes closed.

The gentle petting stopped and Ophelia released a shaking breath. “That was so fucking hot…” she whispered softly.

Camilis shot her a look, and the girl instantly looked away bashfully.

“Normally, it is very scary inside here. With so many walls, it feels as though it is a labyrinth. Not today. Today, it is wide open and inviting. This place is more of a museum. Everywhere you look, there are paintings and statues, moments from your life. You see exhibits you remember — medals you earned, friends and squadmates, planets you’ve visited.”

She paused for a moment, giving his brain time to conjure the images. “We are going to explore a wing you have not visited in a long time. Jacob did not like to come here. The things in here sometimes made him sad, or scared, or angry. But you are not Jacob, are you?” She waited, momentarily wondering if this particular thread would get a response. Camilis was shocked to watch him shake his head, quite firmly. “You are who you are. No more, no less. And you can explore this place safely, without being hurt.”

Once more, she allowed some time for the true self to go wandering. “What do you see here? What exhibits do you find?”

“Jacob is stopping pirates…” he mumbled. “I tell him, we shouldn’t hurt them too much. They’re scared, just trying to survive. The Terran Accord can be cruel.” For a moment, his face contorted, and then relaxed again. “But he’s threatened with a court martial if he doesn’t execute them. A good soldier doesn’t show mercy.”

Serafa fully joined in on the unique therapy session, lightly brushing a finger across his cheek. “But you know the truth. Mercy is vital. Forgiveness is paramount. You’re so good.”

He nodded again without missing a beat.

She allowed some time for the moment to settle while Serafa and Ophelia doted on the hypnotized soldier. “What else do you see?” Camilis gently prompted him to continue.

“Jacob is in class… at the academy… They’re learning about the glory of the Terran Accord, and the rightful conquest of the rinan. I tell him that sounds wrong. It’s not just conquest — it’s oppression.” Again, his face screwed inward for a moment before releasing. “They yell at him. They remind him of their strength. He is silenced.”

Once again, Serafa provided the necessary comfort. “The rinan are so cute and sweet. They needed to be rescued. Just like you.”

His nodding was even more emphatic now, and he actually started to smile.

Camilis helped soothe him before prodding further. “Yes, you know better than he does. Better than any of them. Let us take another look around. I am sure there is more.”

His internal journey resumed until he found something new. “Oh… Poor Jake… He’s in bed. He’s sad. Sad about something. Laying there doing nothing, trying to figure out how to stop it. I’m there with him, and I try to explain the issue, but he can’t hear me. Before I can get through to him, his mother reminds him of all the things he should be doing. The list is endless. He hides the sadness away and gets to work. He’s not allowed to solve it… so he ignores it.”

Camilis shared a silent look with Ophelia and Serafa. This was it. They were so close. “You know why, though. You always have. Show us, please, darling. You are so smart and so kind. You can still help him.”

His face lit up a little from that gentle praise. “I think it’s just over here. Yeah… He’s… I’m… six. We’re six.”

The point of view was shifting. This was where the split had occurred. Oh, burning crops, please do not break him. I believe in you, little one. Whoever you are, whatever you are. There are many kinds of strength. Please be strong. “Do not worry. You are witnessing a memory only. The things you see there are far in the past, and cannot hurt you where it is so safe and warm.”

Ophelia resumed scritching at his scalp while Serafa stroked his cheek.

He continued speaking, his comfort renewed. “Mom is going to a big party. She looks so beautiful. This black gown, covered in sparkles. She looks like the night sky. Her earrings are like little chandeliers. She’s wearing make-up! She never does that. I tell her that I want to look like her when I grow up. I wanna be that pretty. She’s… upset. Dad is too. Mom storms off, and dad tells me we’re not like other people. We don’t get to change who we are. Jake tries to keep me, but it’s too scary, too painful. He puts me away to hide. He says it’s for my own good. He sacrificed his happiness to keep me alive.”

A piping tremolo filled the room. Serafa was beaming. They all were. “He’s so thoughtful. You are too, cutie. He kept you alive, all so one day we could help rescue you. Like we rescued the rinan and the terrans. Jake is still pretty scared, so it might take a little while for you to reunite with him. Can you keep being brave and sweet and thoughtful until then?”

“Yeah!” His body shifted slightly with a tiny wriggle of excitement.

Ophelia gave him a gentle pat on the head, giggling as quietly as she could. “Hey, one last thing, sweetie. Did you ever get a name?”

“Mn, not really. Maybe soon?”

“That’s the spirit,” she said, smiling broadly.

Camilis rumbled happily. “You have done wonderfully. Now, though, you are very tired. You have walked around this museum for quite a while. So it is time to rest. You walk back through the halls and toward the exit. You are once more in the warm, welcoming darkness. It pulls you into its embrace. Holding you tightly, it lifts you up. From the deep, you rise. One… higher and higher. Two… rising further. Three… the world is returning to you, as you return to the world. Four… your eyelids no longer heavy. And… five. You awaken, refreshed and at peace.”

Jacob’s eyes slowly fluttered opened. “…did it work?”

Now it was time for the difficult part.

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