Cristal is a bit nervous about the upcoming shunt and partial, but not for his own safety, of course. No Donor need fear any Sime that doesn't outrate him, and in fact he outrates his channel a bit.
Cristal is instead worried that he won't be able to do as good a job as he should be able to because of lingering bodily damage or psychological trauma from all that's happened to him.
Cristal mutters in Simelan:
Cristal: Of course, "as good a job" is just "a horribly poor job" when it comes right down to it, but...
Virginia doesn't know a deproda from a dynopter, but she knows the telltale signs of lingering pain and worry.
Cristal: [English] Sorry, Virginia. I'm still concerned about Bibi's well-being after the inadequate transfer she's going to get.
Virginia: Are you sure you want to try this today? You'll be more comfortable with another few days of recovery.
Cristal: The longer we wait, the harder it'll be on her. This is the best point, when... Oh, I can't explain in English, and I don't have the math for a really sensible explanation anyhow.
Virginia: You want to do it before she gets too desperate to do it right?
Virginia can understand not wanting to take undue risks with a Sime in need.
Cristal: No, no.
Cristal waves his hands about. Shen, it feels good to be able to do that.
Cristal: If I wait longer, I have more selyn for her, but she gets further into need. Normally, that's the right thing. But in this case, my increase in selyn is on a different curve...
Cristal runs out of steam.
Virginia: So you get farther behind, the longer you wait?
Virginia tries to adjust Cristal's pillows to better support him.
Cristal: From this point forward, yes. Doing it sooner would also have been bad for the same reason. So today's the day.
Virginia: You're still healing. I wouldn't normally recommend a patient trying anything strenuous so soon after abdominal surgery.
Cristal: It's not physically strenuous, after all. All I have to do on that level is sit still.
Virginia: Well, I suppose if you sit still enough you won't get those flashes of pain. And you can have your painkiller a bit early, I suppose.
Cristal: Yes. Pain during the process would be... very undesirable.
Virginia has gotten the gist of the "pain and Simes don't mix" lecture.
Cristal: But you need to, umm, titrate the dose carefully. I do need to be able to concentrate.
Virginia: How about half the usual dose?
Cristal: How about giving me a minimal amount, and then we can test it? I'll try one of those forbidden moves and see how much it hurts.
Virginia frowns, then nods.
Virginia: I suppose that's better than finding out at the wrong moment.
Virginia moves to get the pain pill.
Virginia has been reminding herself all morning that Cristal and Bibi are consenting adults, and therefore her own disgust at what they propose to do isn't her proper business, outside of any medical consequences.
Virginia brings the half pill and a glass of water to Cristal.
Cristal takes the pill, waits for the requisite amount of time, and tries to sit up all by himself to see how much his abdominal muscles will hurt. He doesn't bother to actually go through with the entire sitting-up exercise.
Virginia: Careful. Those muscles can't take much strain, whether they hurt or not.
Cristal: [pants] Whoo. No way. More drugs, please!
Virginia: The other half pill may make you woozy.
Cristal: How about half a half pill?
Virginia: I'm not sure that's going to make enough difference, but I suppose we can try.
Virginia obliges in the matter of the halved half.
Cristal takes it and hopes for the best.
Bibi is lying down in her bedroom, doing breathing exercises, trying to relax and convince herself that the problem is all going to be with Cristal's anxiety over her. Last summer proved she can do anything, right?
Bibi decides she's being foolish lying here by herself. She should spend the time with Cristal, building up his confidence, and letting her need work on him.
Bibi isn't in very hard need. She's taking transfer a few hours early to be sure of having effortless control. She's gotten a little spoiled taking so many transfers from Cristal, who somewhat outmatches her.
Cristal: Bibi's coming. Before she gets here, I have to tell you this: Under no circumstances try to interfere, no matter what you hear. You could only make things worse. If I need you, Bibi will call you.
Bibi taps lightly on the door to alert Virginia, and enters.
Virginia backs away from Cristal, careful not to get between him and Bibi.
Bibi: Good evening, Virginia.
Virginia: Hello, Bibi.
Bibi does her calm and harmless act, although her need makes it an annoying thing to have to do.
Cristal: I'm glad to see you, Hajene. How much time?
Bibi: As much time as we want, Sosu.
Virginia has a slight sense of ~~ unreality ~~ about this whole process: deliberately facilitating this sort of thing is not covered in her job training.
Bibi carefully sits on the bed, zlinning to make sure she doesn't hurt Cristal. She touches his hand and a drop of ronaplin falls on his wrist.
Cristal: Thanks for everything, Virginia. I'll be fine -- and remember: don't interfere.
Cristal smiles at Virginia.
Virginia: I'll be outside, then, if you want me.
Virginia circles around the bed, to keep her distance from Bibi, than slips out the door.
Bibi's eyes follow Virginia.
Bibi: Do you think we should lock the door?
Bibi has typically need-paranoid imaginings of Virginia bursting in to disrupt the transfer.
Cristal: No, I think her sense of professionalism will be more than plenty. Anyway...
Bibi nods, and caresses Cristal's hand with a few tentacles.
Cristal closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and allows his need-to-give to surface tentatively to attempt to stimulate Bibi's intil.
Bibi: I thought I might just lie down here with you, so we can both get in the mood.
Bibi carefully reclines, takes Cristal's hand, and stops suppressing her need.
Bibi sighs too as she zlins Cristal's need-to-give.
Cristal: In the mood, or in the mud? So what's your decision: shunt first, or partial first?
Bibi: Oh, shunt first, definitely. I want your selyn to be what fills me right up.
Cristal: Ahh, excellent. Let's do the shunt now while we wait for the right moment, then?
Bibi sits and leans over Cristal, sliding her handling tentacles sensuously over his arms. She takes a gentle grip, makes the fifth contact, and evaluates Cristal's selyn reserves.
Cristal enters the zone of concentration/relaxation needed to present a strong neutral field for a shunt.
Bibi shifts more than enough selyn to make up for Cristal's deficit from her secondary system to her primary. She wants to leave him plenty both to heal and so that they will have a good chance of matching by her next transfer or the one after.
Bibi kisses her Gen's forehead. A ripe Gen, more or less, marked exclusively for her. A true pleasure to zlin for a Sime in hard need.
Bibi: Thank you, Sosu.
Cristal: My pleasure, Hajene.
Cristal smiles happily.
Hrayna is waiting downstairs, with a fresh pot of trin. She hears Virginia leave Cristal's room, and heads up the stairs with the tea tray. She reaches the top of the stairs and spots Virginia.
Virginia is watching the closed door with a mixture of ~~ concern ~~ and ~~ revulsion ~~.
Hrayna: I have brought tea, Virginia. Will you come into my room and share it with me?
Virginia: I should be nearby, in case something goes wrong.
Hrayna: I am just down the hall, here. If there is trouble, you will be able to hear it. We can leave the door open.
Virginia measures the distance.
Virginia: I suppose that's all right, then.
Hrayna ushers Virginia into her room and gestures for her to sit on the only chair. Hrayna herself settles onto the edge of the bed and pours the tea.
Virginia sits, keeping one ear cocked down the hall.
Hrayna is ready with half a dozen nonthreatening topics. She gestures towards the window.
Hrayna: The snow is beautiful, is it not?
Virginia glances at the window.
Virginia: I suppose so. Cristal's been very worried about this.
Hrayna: He is a true Donor. His first thought, always, is the wellbeing of his channel.
Virginia: I know. He's not necessarily the most objective judge of what he ought to be doing, just now.
Virginia still can't comprehend why Cristal feels so strongly about this, but she can't deny that he does.
Hrayna: He will be making no effort of the muscles. Only of the mind and the nager. And if it goes even half well, there will be pleasure in it as well as healing.
Virginia: I admit, I can't see anything remotely pleasurable in... that.
Hrayna: It is... I know this only from being told, because an ordinary donor such as myself has nothing similar... it is the same pleasure the Sime feels. Better than sex, they say.
Virginia: I suppose he gets something for his trouble, but...
Virginia's face twists in ~~ distaste ~~.
Virginia: It's... obscene. Oh, I'm sure Bibi's very polite about it, she always is. And she can't be blamed for what her body makes her do. But still, feeding off another person that way...
Virginia sets her tea aside as her stomach roils.
Hrayna: Some might say the same of sex, if they had never tried it. The pressing together of bodies, the slippery fluids, the thrusting of flesh into flesh. Yet you know how delightful that is. Or breastfeeding one's baby. That is feeding another person too, but there is joy in it. And the release of the ache and pressure in the breasts.
Virginia: Those are natural things that we share with other living things. What Bibi is... isn't.
Hrayna: You think Simes are unnatural? But they are half the human nature. Just as men and women are each only half.
Virginia: Male and female have always existed. Simes are a new thing. To feed off another, even in a civilized fashion, is....
Virginia wonders if she should change the subject before she loses her lunch.
Hrayna: You are not an Ancient, Virginia. You are a Gen. If Simes are unnatural, then so are you.
Virginia: So I'm naturally intended as food for someone else?
Hrayna: Would you not say that is true when you breastfeed your baby? And yet, the Ancients did that, just as we do. It is part of being a woman.
Virginia: Being a woman is a natural thing, as is nurturing a child. But Simes are not children, nor do they ever learn to subsist on other food. They are... parasites. Human parasites, much like an intelligent tapeworm.
Hrayna: What is unnatural is keeping Sime and Gen apart, as you were raised. If you only could see Simes as I do. Some of my earliest memories are of the touch of my father's tentacles. Holding, soothing, caring, protecting. Warm, gentle, strong, beautiful. Curving and graceful, as fingers can never be.
Virginia imagines what Hrayna describes, and swallows desperately, looking around for a washbasin or trash can.
Virginia: Please, don't...
Hrayna: You are a strange woman, Virginia. You have the courage to help a doctor cut and sew human flesh, yet you fear such a simple, natural thing.
Virginia: I suppose a tapeworm is natural, too, but I'd rather not make a personal acquaintance of one..
Hrayna: I cannot understand your comparison, Virginia.
Bibi is still holding Cristal's arms. She has retracted her laterals, but they're leaking a little ronaplin onto Cristal's skin.
Bibi: It'll be all right, Cristal. After last summer... this doesn't seem like much of a problem for me.
Bibi really wants to believe that, and letting her nager engage with Cristal's willing field is very soothing.
Cristal shifts his emotional state, slowly releasing his barriers so as to tempt Bibi.
Cristal: See? This... and this... and this... and all for you. And this... and this.
Bibi's eyes lose focus as she lets herself drift hyperconscious.
Bibi: Mmmmm. So skillful... so irresistible...
Bibi could, of course, resist Cristal's temptation if it were necessary or desirable, but she's really glad she doesn't have to.
Cristal allows his ~~ remembered pleasure ~~ in transfer to rise, matching his ~~ need-to-give ~~.
Bibi closes her eyes and zlins Cristal's delicious field, sliding her ronaplin-wet laterals over his arms.
Bibi allows her intil to rise freely, luxuriating in what Cristal offers her.
Cristal tries to control his ~~ eagerness for transfer ~~ so that Bibi doesn't end up feeling rushed.
Cristal: Isn't it nice not to have a Tecton schedule to keep? To take transfer exactly when you want, exactly how you want?
Bibi smiles dreamily.
Bibi: Like a couple of rogues.
Cristal raises the ~~ need-to-give ~~ a few notches.
Bibi: Ah... when you're ready, Cristal.
Bibi unconsciously tightens her grip on Cristal's arms and slides her laterals into the best position.
Cristal ~~ lets go of his emotions completely ~~ for the first time in his life in a transfer situation, and finds that what he feels naturally is ~~ desire to give ~~ and ~~ anticipated joy ~~.
Bibi gasps, overwhelmed.
Bibi: Now, Sosu?
Bibi bends forward, almost unable to resist making the fifth contact.
Cristal gasps too.
Cristal: Now. ~~ NEED TO GIVE ~~
Bibi presses her lips to his and begins to draw. Her pleasure is intensified by Cristal's. The zlin of his eagerness to give, his need to give is indescribable. Of course, she's far beyond words.
Cristal: ~~ JOY ~~ PLEASURE ~~ NEED-TO-GIVE ~~ JOY ~~ PLEASURE ~~ JOY ~~ JOY ~~
Bibi increases to her maximum draw speed, wanting to give Cristal all the pleasure she can, even if it will be shorter than usual. She reaches a peak of ~~ ecstasy ~~, then tapers and stops, ~~ satiated ~~.
Cristal's emotions continue to ~~ whirl ~~ as he feels, senses, Bibi's satiation. He knows that actual satisfaction is too much to expect.
Bibi savors that timeless moment before she drops hypoconscious, then releases Cristal and lies down next to him, moving cautiously because she can't zlin whether her motion hurts him.
Cristal: How... do you feel? ~~ excitement ~~ anticipation ~~ joy ~~
Bibi: Good. Very very good. A beautiful transfer... intense...
Bibi trembles and then begins to sob.
Bibi: Oh, Cristal, I'm so sorry I made you let that doctor cut you up. I couldn't bear to lose you... even if you weren't my Donor.
Cristal smiles and strokes Bibi's hair.
Cristal: It's all right, it's all right, it's... all right!
Cristal's body reacts to the relief of the good transfer by releasing a surge of ~~ sexual desire ~~.
Bibi: But you've said you'd never do it... never let a surgeon cut you up. I made you change your mind. You did it for me. You went against your beliefs...
Cristal: I went against my prejudices, you mean. And about time too.
Cristal reaches out and touches Bibi gently, attempting to return her to duoconsciousness.
Bibi is too consumed in the intense, irrational emotions that can swirl within a post-transfer Sime to let Cristal help her duoconscious.
Cristal: Thank you, Bibi, for keeping me alive.
Cristal wraps the sobbing Bibi in his arms instead, trying to calm her by non-nageric means.
Cristal only then realizes just how much of a mistake that was, and hopes Bibi is still hypo. ~~ pain ~~ pain ~~ pain! ~~ He gasps again.
Bibi comes duoconscious just in time to feel the pain. She screams a little in shock.
Bibi: Oh, Cristal, lie back down. Here let me help you.
Cristal tries to lie back down, and wrenches himself further. He screams in ~~ PAIN! ~~.
Bibi slides her arm under Cristal's shoulders and eases him back.
Virginia hears the screams, and jumps to her feet.
Virginia: Something's gone wrong.
Virginia hurries down the hall, hesitating momentarily in front of the closed door.
Virginia: What's wrong?
Bibi has spread hands and tentacles over Cristal's bare abdomen, soothing the pain.
Bibi: Nothing, Virginia!
Virginia: That doesn't sound like nothing!
Cristal is in too much ~~ agony ~~ to speak.
Bibi really doesn't want to zlin Virginia's disgust right now.
Virginia's ~~ distrust ~~ of Bibi, which has never completely gone away, comes to the fore.
Bibi: Cristal moved in a way that hurt his abdominal muscles. I'm working on him.
Hrayna catches up with Virginia.
Hrayna: Be calm, Virginia. You hurt Hajene Bibi with your fears.
Cristal gasps out a few words.
Cristal: Ginia. Fix pillows?
Virginia takes this as evidence that whatever's going on, it's not a transfer, and therefore she's no longer banned from the room. She pulls open the door and charges through.
Virginia: What's gone wrong here?
Cristal: Careless. Hurt self.
Virginia hurries over to the bed.
Virginia: I told you you should have waited to do anything strenuous.
Bibi can zlin that Cristal's pain is under control, he hasn't herniated the wound or anything serious, and self-consciously withdraws her hands and tentacles, shifting to just holding Cristal's hand.
Virginia rearranges the pillows for maximum comfort, then inspects the wound.
Bibi: It was just an incautious move.
Cristal: Very. It wasn't strenuous. Just a hug after transfer. I messed it up, that's all.
Virginia: Cristal, you're lucky you didn't pull the stitches loose and reopen the incision.
Bibi squeezes Cristal's hand comfortingly.
Cristal sighs and relaxes again, which ~~ diminishes his pain ~~ substantially.
Virginia sees copious smears of ronaplin on the incision, and frowns.
Cristal: [Simelan] I'm so sorry for shenning up your -- post-transfer.
Cristal knows Bibi can't possibly be post in the traditional sense.
Virginia: It looks like you have some seepage, there.
Bibi: [Simelan] It's all right, Cristal.
Virginia reaches out to touch the smear with one fingertip, and frowns at the odd tingle.
Virginia: Some kind of odd toxin?
Bibi: Uh, no, it's normal. It's ronaplin. Simes secrete it to lubricate the lateral tentacles.
Bibi cringes a little, anticipating Virginia's reaction to this bit of biology.
Virginia tells herself sternly that this is not an appropriate time to gag, and settles for wiping her finger clean on the sheet.
Cristal: It's sterile, Virginia. You can just wipe it off with a tissue, and if it doesn't touch your skin it won't affect you.
Virginia: All right. As long as you're not getting an infection, I suppose it won't hurt anything.
Bibi feels uncomfortable at the way her post-transfer with her Donor is being disrupted by this well-meaning but ignorant Gen.
Virginia follows Cristal's suggestion.
Bibi: Cristal, I expect Gitl has baked some kind of treat for us. I'll go see and bring you some with some tea in a little while.
Cristal: No no. Stay, please.
Bibi squeezes his hand again.
Bibi: Okay, I will.
Cristal: Virginia, thanks for being concerned. But go, please. Bibi needs me now.
Virginia gives Cristal a quick assessment, then nods.
Virginia: All right. You should rest.
Hrayna: Virginia, let's go downstairs and find that baker-ing. I can bring some up.
Virginia is satisfied that her patient is not likely to be an idiot for at least a little while, and allows herself to be led from Cristal's room.
Bibi sighs and lies down with her Donor again, with even more care.
Bibi: "Some kind of odd toxin", eh?
Cristal giggles, cautiously.
Cristal: That's life in Barbarian Territory, as my old friend used to say.
Bibi: Disgusting parasitic monsters drooling their toxic bodily fluids all over helpless real humans.
Cristal: Don't make me laugh, Bibi! I might split my incision! ~~ not really distressed ~~
Bibi: Sorry, sorry.
Cristal carefully strokes the nearest convenient bit of Bibi, which happens to be her side.
Cristal: It's all right.
Bibi: Good transfer, Sosu. Very good transfer.
Cristal: Shuven. You know it wasn't that satisfying; no partial is. ~~ creeping uncertainty ~~ Or was it?
Bibi: Your emotional responses really intensified mine. And yours were very intense.
Cristal: Yeah. I think something kind of -- broke loose. A result of all those discussion sessions we were having a few months back, maybe. I let myself go, and it turned out to be Good and Right.
Bibi: It was overwhelming, marvelous, so intense... your need to give, and your joy.
Cristal sighs ~~ happily ~~.
Cristal: Wow. If our proper transfer next month is anything like that -- well, you better get Hajene Seruffin back here, is all I can say.
Cristal gives a ~~ nageric wink ~~.
Cristal is ~~ pensive ~~.
Cristal: Poor Virginia. Not only not a Donor, but not even a donor -- she'll never know the natural destiny of a Gen.
Bibi: I think she'd be disgusted at that notion. Poor woman, I suppose she's too old to change.
Bibi: Even with Hrayna determined to change her.
Cristal sighs again, this time ~~ resignedly ~~.
Cristal: Will you help me get to sleep, and maybe sleep yourself a bit? You may feel ready to kick down brick walls just for the fun of it, but I certainly don't.
Bibi: I could use a nap. I haven't slept much in the past few days.
Cristal: Okay, go for it. You are feeeeeling sleeeeepy, very sleeeeepy ....
Bibi sits up and turns carefully, then gently takes Cristal's arms, makes the fifth contact and sends Cristal to sleep.
Bibi lies down with equal care, immerses herself in Cristal's nager, and drifts off to sleep.