The cold front that had kept all but the heartiest mammals confined to the indoors for the past several weeks had finally passed. The morning had started with a crisp frost but the local star and sent more than enough energy angling thought the upper atmosphere to melt the frost and raise the ambient temperature far enough the crystallization point of water to lure most of the inhabitants out of their warm enclosures. Notes the Passing Changes gingerly eased tendrils up towards where the best interaction pile had been before the cold snap and was pleased to find the vast majority of the biomass still in place. Perhaps it might have digested a little more and released more nutrients; it was a rather delicious mass of orchard leaves and fruit, but there was some free nutrients and more importantly it allowed a cozy nook to observe the humans interacting.
As expected, the young mated pair, Sandy and Pat, Notes the Passing Changes ran their names over memory nodes carefully, were interacting only a few meters from the observation pile. Pat was laying in the ground with his face pressed into a rolled up jacket and Sandy was kneeling on his back articulating one of his limbs. Notes the Passing Changes had just settled his light receptive tendrils as there were no leaf eyes to speak of at this time of the year when Pat let out a howl of pain. Notes the Passing Changes perked up. Human apology rituals were still a significant mystery and this would be a good chance to observe them.
“Suffer ya’ daft man!” Sandy snarled out as she gave her mate’s arm another twist. “Ya’ deserve worse!”
Pat gave a muffled groan into the rolled up coat.
Notes the Passing Changes was, even by the standards of Gathering, a rather slow reacting personality. It had also been presented that interfering in human domestic matters was not usually and advisable course. However given that this assault was happening in a public place Notes the Passing Changes decided to at least attempt an intervention. The first attempt at vocalization came out rather chaotically but it served the attention of getting Sandy’s attention. She ceased articulating Pat’s limbs and glanced around with a grin.
“Ey, Notes!” She called out. “Gettin’ some sun?”
“Don’t stop,” Pat muttered in a weak voice.
“Don’t worry,” Sandy said with a grunt, returning her attention to her mate and readjusting her grip on his limb. “I’ll do you but good.”
Notes the Passing Changes felt some relief at this and took more time to tune up functional vocal chords. Pat gave another groan as Sandy dug an elbow into his ribcage.
“What exactly are you doing to Pat?” Notes the Passing Changes asked.
“Ya ken that storm that blew through last week?” Sandy demanded.
“I recall that,” Notes the Passing Changes agreed, wondering if the question had been miss-framed.
“Dropped a bunch’a branches an’ stuff all over the paths?” she went on with a grunt.
“Yes,” Notes the Passing Changes prompted.
“Well,” she said as she released Pat’s limb and began digging her fingers into his back muscles. “This idiot slipped and sprained his shoulder.”
Pat gave a groan of pain.
“Was the slipping the result of his idiocy?” Notes the Passing Changes asked.
“Nah,” Sandy admitted. “Could’a happened to anyone. He’d ‘a been fine if he’d rested proper.”
“He did not rest proper?” Notes the passing changes asked.”
“Went out yesterday and spent the day clearing more branches,” Sandy said curtly, turning her attention to another portion of Pat’s back. “After he’d been told to rest the arm. Now he can hardly move!”
“Why did Pat do that?” Notes the Passing Changes asked curiously.
“Ask the idiot yourself!” Sandy spat.
“Pat?” Notes the Passing Changes asked.
The human heave a pained sigh.
“Felt guilty about not pulling my own weight,” he muttered.
Notes the Passing Changes digested that and Sandy began vigorously kneading at one of Pat’s muscle groups in what Notes the Passing Changes was beginning to suspect was some form of medical aid.
“Why,” Notes the Passing Changes asked, “did you knowingly take steps that would further injure yourself and extend your recovery time if you were feeling guilty about not contributing enough?”
“Cuz I’m an idiot,” Pat muttered into his coat.
Sandy heaved a sigh and slapped her mates back.
“Now be honest Patty,” she said in a rueful tone. “It was cuz ya were afraid the others would think ya weren’t pulling your own weight. Now roll over and rest on the ice-pack a bit.”
“Might of been,” Pat grudgingly admitted as he obeyed, “just a bit.”
Notes the Passing Changes settled back to digest this in the sun. At the very lest it was reassuring that there was no pair-bond disharmony to worry about. Though Pat’s behavior did still raise concerns of a different sort.
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What does it mean when your human friend says “Watch This?”? Why does this simple phrase seem to terrify any alien that has first appendage experience with humans? #HFY #HumansAreWeird #HumansAreSpaceOrcs #EarthIsADeathWorld #EarthIsSpaceAustralia
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