Love Rations

by Flutterpriest

Love the Hive

My eyes opened. I rose from bed with sleep still clinging to my eyes. Our bedroom was dark, with the only sound being the ever-persistent buzz of the hive around me. I reached over to my box of matches and struck a flame. Its light filled the room and I lighted our rationed candle. 

Rising onto my hooves, I lamented the day that lies ahead of me. However, I felt a twinge of... something within me. Not feeling. That is reserved for the Queen. That day was a holiday for the hive. Chrysalis, after two years of famine from the collapse of her previous hive, was finally giving her children a day to themselves.

I had never had a day off before. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself.

There was a gentle knock at our room's door. It opened just a crack, and a small package was pushed through. I dashed to the box greedily and wrapped my limbs around it like a small child, already knowing what it contained.

I ripped off the outer casing, feeling drool form in the edges of my desert-like lips. That day’s love rations were early. However, the small black box was different today. It was larger than normal, and attached to the top was a small note.

"Workers 87 and 34 are to report to work unless performing Hive Holiday Mandate 252. 
- For the Good of the Hive, Your Queen"

My standard book of mandates was sitting on the bed side table, but I tried to keep myself informed by memorizing what they were. However, Holiday Mandate 252 wasn't one I recognized quickly.

I looked to thirty-four, who was still resting in bed. I wondered for a moment how they knew thirty-four had begun staying with me, but I pushed the treasonous thought from my mind. Of course our Queen knew. She always knew.

I picked up the box and placed it on our feeding table. 

"Thirty-Four," I hissed tersely. "It's time to rise."

She mumbled for a moment, before fully waking. Her wings were disheveled and parts of the covers were tangled in the holes of her hooves. She needed a bath, badly. Perhaps she missed her assigned wash this week. It was not uncommon when you worked the 14 hour shift.

"What is it?" she grumbled, her displeasure exposed. 

"The ration came. There's instructions."

"What does it say?" 

"We're supposed to go to work unless we do a holiday mandate. Do you know what Mandate 252 is?"

Thirty-four rose slowly.

"Well, we have to go to work then, I suppose," she mumbled. "I don't think I can follow that this morning."

"Really?" I asked blankly. "We get our first holiday in nearly two years and you want to go to work?" 

"I don't want to perform the mandate," she said coldly. She rose from her hooves and began to notice the covers of my bed pulled away with her. "I had a nice time last night. It feels nice to have somebug to sleep beside again."

I crossed the room, only half listening to her. Sleeping beside another bug was no substitute for a love ration. I also must confess that I was sore. Tired. I hated my job. Mandate 252 couldn't be that bad. I needed that day off.

I opened the book to subsection C, section 5. Holiday Mandates.

"252," I read aloud. "In event of Mandate, use special issue love rations to copulate and bring new workers to the hive."

A silence fell over the room. 

"They took our rations for today?" she asked, moving to examine the box. I turned. The box opened and revealed not the usual two small vials for drinking, but two differently colored syringes, a tourniquet, and a small note. "I guess I should have known..."

There was a push within me towards the box. My eyes looked to the syringe which must have contained five days worth of rations. But it was a different color. A deep red. This must be pure, undiluted love. A small label on the outside had my name: 87.

The note read: "Guard your upper hoof with the tourniquet, inject ration into skin of upper most hoof hole. Ration is mixed with fertility fluid which will allow eggs to form in workers temporarily.”

"No," she mumbled. "I don't want to do that."

"Why?" I asked.

She looked to the ground and glanced away from me.

"I haven't since... the hive divided."

"Are you still thinking about that traitor?"

"I guess," she said quietly. "You weren't born then. You don't know how different it was."

"So you've said," I sighed. "But this is the way things are now. How many hours did you work last week?"

Thirty-four thought for a moment.

"Sixty-eight? No. Seventy-four."

"And you're telling me you'd let a little copulation get in the way of finally having a day off."

She sat on the floor. I could see the way her form began to crumble. 

"Would I be able to sleep again?" she asked. 

"Of course," I hissed, seeing my opening. My prize for the taking. "You could sleep as long as you want."

She nodded and took the tourniquet. Thirty-Four affixed it to her hoof and held herself out to me. I took the syringe and it buried itself deep beneath her skin. Her ears turned down, but she refused to make a sound. I pushed the liquid through with a sense of duty to my Queen. I looked into her eyes as I did the deed. The way her eyes dilated only made the hunger within me grow stronger. I was so hungry and just wanted to rest.

"Come on," I barked impatiently. "Now my turn."

I pulled the needle out of her quickly and a thin trail of blood seeped out of her hoof. She took off the tourniquet as if to affix it to me, but I snatched from her and did it myself. I held the needle out to her. Her body shivered as I stared her down.

"Come on," I growled.

And then she plunged it into my flesh. So cold. So sharp.

Everything began to change.

I felt my body grow 


No. I can feel now.

What is this feeling?

Is this dying?

It is worse. It's dreaming.

I never want to wake up.

The room shrunk to the size of a pin sitting on the dresser near a book of mandates.

For The Sake of the Hive

Queen Chrysalis stood in front of me.

"Don't you wish to serve your queen?" she beckoned.

I blinked.

My vision was filled by thirty-four, standing in front of me. Was she crying?

No, she was dreaming.

"Serve me, eighty-seven," she whispered in my ear, so gently, so sweetly.

"I love you," I said to my Queen. I kiss thirty-four and she welcomed me. Willingly? Willingly enough.

I escorted her to my bed. She rested her head on my pillows and looked into my eyes. She had a duty to perform.

"Be gentle, Thryp," she whispered to somebug far, far away from my room.

That name, that traitor? I thought to myself.

"Ignore her," My queen commanded me.

I felt the world around me grow colder, like the edges of warmth and color were slipping away, just out of my reach. I stared at the ceiling beside Thirty-Four. She remained quiet. 

"Well, now we have the day off," I said. 

She said nothing, but rolled away from me. 

"Could you at least call me by my name? At least once?"

Another pang of something stabbed deep inside me. Was it feeling? No. Feeling was what the ration gave me. It wasn't love. I loved my queen. It was... something new and strange.

"You know names are treason," I mumbled.

"Nothing you’ve said means anything if it's to a number," she said. "My name is Elytra. At least it used to be."

I sighed and looked to her lying on the bed, cradling herself. Do words really have such power over her? Would I perform treason for her?

"I love you, Thirty-Four."

She wept. And I felt nothing.