Humans are Weird - Just Pink
First Sister carefully tilted the fountain over and let the water wash over into the soil. Then she gave the fountain a quick shake before clutching it to her chest and ducking out of her sleeping chamber. Second Cousin and Fourth Cousin didn’t even stir and the tunnels of the hive were muted with the presence of the resting day shifts and the cautiously active night shifts. It gave First Sister, far more used to the day shift an odd feeling as she clutched the damp fountain to her and skittered over the soothing coolness of the packed floor.
The feeling was heightened as the deep resonant voice of Human First Father drifted to her as she approached the outer chamber. The soft lights of the nightshift, a dim red for the comfort of their human guests’ mammalian eyes, cast odd shadows around the towering mass of the human and First Sister felt her antenna prickle with fear. When she had darted off to her room to fetch the fountain for Second Cousin Betty Second Father and Second Mother had been merely politely bemused at the appearance of their unexpected guest. Now Second Mother’s frill was taught with some suppressed emotion and Second Father’s antenna were set with frank horror.
“Not really a serious medical issue,” Human First Father was saying, his face as tight as Second Mother’s frill. “Happens all the time. We wouldn’t be bothering you except our water system is down for repairs and flowing water really is best for drawing out the heat-”
The human’s bifocal eyes darted from Second Father to First Sister and he very deliberately smoothed his face and altered his posture, greeting her with a smile that radiated calm and ease. The ruse would have been far more effective if humans had any control over their pheromones First Sister suddenly realized as fear prickled over her frill for the first time that night.
“Why does Second Cousin Betty need my fountain?” She suddenly demanded.
Second Father gave her a scandalized look and Second Mother gave a tired click of reproach.
“I’ll explain later,” Human First Father said reaching out for the fountain. “Thank you so much for lending-”
“Clip that!” First Sister snapped out, vaguely aware that Second Father had gone from scandalized to horrified and Second Mother looked like she was suppressing an amused chuckle. “Your soft fleshy hands would drop this before you got home and I can’t send a father out alone at night in a half civilized forest!”
She drew herself up to her full height. What with her most recent molting, and if you counted leg length she was taller than Second Father now.
“I will escort you back to the human hive and I will give Second Cousin Betty the fountain myself,” she said firmly.
Human Second Father stared down at her for a long moment with a chaotic mix of pheromones filling the room and an unreadable expression on his face. Then his entire body gave a small contortion that she knew well. A laugh was trying to escape and he was throttling it down out of respect. Good, a determined First Sister deserved respect, even if you were three times her mass.
“I would appreciate the escort,” he finally managed to say.
In her side vision she could see Second Mother actually physically restraining Second Father from interfering and she stoutly ignored the interaction. She slipped out through the curtain of vines into the front garden and the ground vibrated with the footsteps of the human following her. The path lit up from behind her with the wash of the red head mounted lamp the humans used at night. She pushed her newly long legs to keep ahead of the humans loping pace and by the time they reached the human front garden she had to paused to collect breath as he opened the massive door that guarded the house they lived in. Calming herself First Sister stepped into the bright yellow light of the interior. Her vision whited out a bit and she had to lick her eyes to clear them.
The place was chaos. The humans were expanding their hive as Human First Mother produced more tiny humans. Even now Human First Mother was expanded with the act of creation, it visibly altered her balance as she knelt beside Human Second Cousin Betty.
“Tendrils!” First Sister snapped out. “What is wrong with your hand?”
Second Cousin Betty shot her a glare and her face was a truly horrible sight. She had been crying for some time and her skin had puffed up like it was infected, as well as being covered in the dust from the construction. Still, that was within First Sister’s experience, she knew it was just how this particular mammal species vented excess stress hormones. Second Cousin Betty’s larger, dominant hand was curled as if it was grasping something, but where it would have been a pale tan it was now bright pink and on one finger was turgid fluid blister.
“I did something stupid!” Second Cousin Betty snapped.
Human First Mother made soothing sounds and used a cup to dip water out of the basin below Second Cousin Betty’s hand. Second Cousin Betty visibly relaxed and with a start First Sister realized why the fountain was needed. She darted forward and set the fountain in the basin. The reservoir quickly filled and the chaotic room was soon filled with the soothing sound of flowing water. Second Cousin Betty shoved her hand under the flow and visibly relaxed. Human First Mother waved to her mate and he assisted her to stand, she murmured something about getting a bit of ice for the reservoir. First Sister sidled closer to Second Cousin Betty and slipped a hand into the human’s good hand. Second Cousin Betty gave her hand a careful squeeze and gave her a week grin.
“What happened?” First Sister demanded.
“It’s a long story,” Second Cousin Betty said.