I stared at the fidget cube… could I fit that in my mouth? Hmmm.
Just as the cube was being raised to receive a bite, Abies opened the door snapping me back to the vet visit… I mean doctor visit! I wasn't a pet. Not that anyone seemed to believe me. Just because I was bad at being a person didn't mean I was a pet. I was a grown adult woman who could sorta kinda take care of herself barely…
An affini whose humanoid form was thick with vines, and adorned in blue rose-like flowers greeted us. "Hello! I take it the little one is Evie? I wasn't told she had an owner yet."
I almost blurted out that I wasn't a pet, but I remembered how awful it was to open my dumb mouth and say things. Somehow, I'd say it wrong and feel awful.
"Not yet, but we're working on her ownership status." Abies smugly responded. I balled up a fist and pounded their chest. "Oh, is the little one's fighting spirit finally showing itself?" They mocked me. They mocked me because I was worthless and it was pointless and I should just run away and hide. "Shhhh, it's okay. You're a good girl. We all know that. Now wave hello to Miss Sanctia." I raised a hand and waved at the blue lady. "Good girl~" Abies patted me on the head as he said that.
My eyes were looking down, but I knew I was being judged by the affini doctor. She either thought I was a mess or that I was weak and worthless and-and…
"I think I'm getting the picture." She said to the evergreen. "It's wonderful to meet you, petal. You can call me Miss Sanctia, I go by any pronouns but most use she/her for me. There won't be any overly invasive physical testing. I just have a few questions before we begin. First, do you have a fear of needles?" I shook my head. "Do you have a fear of blood?" Head shake. "Do you have any fears relating to medical procedures?" Shake. "Are you going to be a good girl for me?" Shak-… Nod. She smirked at me before placing a hand atop my head to pet me. "Good girl~"
I-I-I-I-I-I… brain words hard.
The one holding me sat me on a comfortable seat in the middle of this mostly empty room with beautiful flower murals on one half and sterile white walls on the other… weird. I was left alone… it had been hours since I had not been in physical contact with vines and their absence was odd. Strange. I wanted them back.
The doctor placed her vines on me and it was nice. The anxiety that built over the short interim faded. The fidget cube was still in my hands making noise but the drop in intensity of use with the touch of her vine was… very noticeable. The sounds audibly calmed. I didn't want to think about the implications.
Thankfully it was left unmentioned. Instead, Miss Sanctia held up two flowers with needles not connected to anything. "Now be nice and still, and you won't feel a thing, okay?" I nodded before going as still as I could. She brushed a spot on my neck and one on my gut before slipping them in. True to her word, I didn't feel it at all.
"Now, while that begins calibrating, let's talk." She sat in a chair and Abies was somewhere behind me. "Can you use your words right now?"
"Y-yes." My hands were still on the cube. I felt a bit weird. Like I had just ingested a bunch of caffeine and my muscles were a lot less sore and my mood felt weirdly good like after Abies hypnotized me into being happier.
The blue affini smiled. "Good, so I've been informed that you wish to start a class-G regimen, and for that I need to know what you want out of them. With what you tell me I'm going to find or craft a class-G to get you looking exactly how you want. Also, it's okay if you don't know everything or change your mind. Anything that a class-G can do we can undo. Speak freely, little one."
Speak freely… Ah uh um… "I want to look like a uh girl or I guess a woman… w-what else can you change with um, class-Gs?"
"Coloration of your hair, eyes, and skin, change the texture of your skin or hair, remove body hair, add fur, some modifications to bone structure, genital reshaping, chest growth, height alteration, bioluminescence… I could go on for hours. Hopefully that gives you some ideas." Miss Sanctia never lost that professional vibe. She also had a vibe for being open and not judgy too. Then she glanced and tapped at this flowery thing with a built-in screen that had been next to her this whole time… oh wow, that plant thing was like a computer or something. My mood felt a little different after she messed with it. Uh…
I felt very wordy. Super wordy. I worded. "So I'd like to be compact, uh small? Not super small but like enough to not feel big. And I want to be feminine and cute but not like how affini call everyone cute but like in that way terrans do. And uh can I get like blood red eyes. And thicker head hair. Also like no body hair, no facial hair, except for like eyebrows and eyelashes. Hmmm, uh… fangs can I get like little fangs. Boobs. I like boobs and I want these nubs to grow out the rest and stop being sore all the time. And a change in like my uh bits down there to like be the lady ones too. I can't really think of more than that. Cute, small, fangs, red eyes, and girl."
She did something to the flower tech and… wordiness was back to normal. I was being mood manipulated by that machine somehow. And it had to do with the needles too. The doctor noticed my noticing. "You may ask your question."
"Is that machine like controlling my mind?" I didn't feel mind controlled, but that's how a mind controlled person would feel… probably.
"Not quite, I can tinker with your neurotransmitters, your hormones, your vitamin and mineral levels, and tinker with your biological clock for sleep and meals, along with many other bits of your health. But in practice, I could get you in the right headspace to be open to control. That is of course not why we are here. What I am using this for is to find your healthiest state, so your nutritional and medication needs can be met. Also when we are done, I'll sync your sleep wake cycle to the planet's cycle." Miss Sanctia was at least honest. She was nice like that. I didn't deserve a doctor as nice as her.
The doctor finished up the test thing and took the needle flowers out and placed little flower band-aids on the tiny holes. They were like flower stickers on my skin, or tattoos. I kinda always wanted tattoos but like never knew what to get. Also that costed money and time and talking to strangers…
The chair got a little more plush and I sank in a bit. I thought she was done, but instead she said, "Now for your mental health evaluation, Miss Price. I want you to look right at this flower, and pay careful attention to my voice. Good. You're such a good girl. Now count backwards from ten for me."
I could do that. It seemed like a really weird way to do a mental health test. Like wasn't she supposed to ask me questions? "Ten."
"And we're done! You were such a good girl you get to have a little treat." Between two fingers she held up a lollipop. It was rude to decline so I took it and held it. "You can have it now, little one."
Oh, I unwrapped it and she took the wrapper from me as I stuck it in my mouth. Hmm. There was something off about this. Not the candy, that was oddly great, the situation. Something was happening, or just happened. I felt lucid, but as if I forgot a dream.
Her vines withdrew from me but at the same time, familiar pine-fuzzy vines came up from the side. Abies! I forgot about him, or them. Eh, them this time. "It's time to get you home Evie. Wave goodbye Miss Sanctia."
I looked her way and gave her a small wave. She was smiling kindly down upon me with big green eyes.
"It was a pleasure meeting you, Evie. Abies has your class-G prescription and you should be all set to start feeling like your best self." Stars, she was too nice… Wait, why did Abies get my prescription? I'm an adult. I can handle a prescription. I handled my hormone prescription for months… This was more pet stuff wasn't it? Some weird powerplay thing.
Abies picked me up again and cradled me. Their smirk was plain and evident for all to see. I was being manipulated. They knew, that I knew that, they knew and asdgnfjhasladsjgljdgsaaslkngjh.
These evil plants! I took the candy out of my mouth and stammered, "I-I-I can handle the p-prescription myself and you c-can like stop carrying me, and-and I'm an adult. Stop t-treating me like I'm a pet!"
They smirked so sassily. "I'm sorry. I mistook the little obedient woman in my arms for a floret. Here." Abies sat me down and handed me a slip with affini text on it. "There's your prescription miss Price, I take it you don't need my assistance since you're an independent sophont?"
"N-No, I uh don't!" Fucking stars I did, and we both knew it. I couldn't read this. I could maybe try asking some stranger for help reading it and obtaining it… Yea no. Plus even then, how would I use it? What if I took too much or not enough? I might overdose on it. How in the stars was I supposed to get back to the hotel on my own? Abies carried me super fucking far this whole way and stars I was not fit enough to walk all of that. Internal screaming. A hole had been dug and I was trapped in it.
I stood there. Thank the stars Miss Sanctia left us to whatever this was. It was just Abies and I. Standing here. In an examination room. Just us. Waiting… What to do… Small steps. I just had to break it all down into the tiniest subtasks. Door. I could walk to the door. There was no way out of the room without heading through the doorway.
I walked out and into an unfamiliar large hallway. This whole building was comically huge, and clearly built for ten-foot-tall plant people. It was all designed specifically so I couldn't do this alone. This was just another layer of their manipulations. The affini couldn't just be normal evil aliens they had to be super nice and manipulate people into dependency.
Tasks, subtasks. The hallway was labeled and I needed to leave… except what if the pharmacy was in here. I needed that class-G. Leaving without it, if it was here, was off the table. My eyes went back down to the alien note. I stared longingly as if it would give up its secrets after long enough… It didn't work.
Eventually, I glanced up at Abies. Yup, they knew. They knew I was helpless and wanted to give up. Just me standing here, and them waiting off to the side. I remained indecisive. One hand held the note, and the other had the cube, and in my mouth was the candy and…
Abies wasn't helping. I was stuck. This was awful and I was getting sleepy-tired. It had only been a couple hours awake, why… The machine set my sleep schedule back to normal. It was around evening. I was getting tired because a machine made my body think that it was almost bedtime.
Shame, humiliation, indecisiveness and the slightest smidge of stubbornness had trapped me. I spent too long standing there to ask. I should, but I couldn't. Something needed to change. Abies wasn't doing anything other than humming behind me. They wanted me to admit I needed help. I wished I could, but I didn't deserve it. Especially not after insisting otherwise.
Stillness while really sleepy, uh, made me feel more sleepy. My eyelids were heavy. I needed to get back to the hotel and my stuff… but the prescription a-and… vines. Warm soft vines wrapped around me like a cozy blanket. My body practically collapsed into them. Maybe it was already collapsing. "Just relax, I've got you."
I fell asleep in their arms.
* * *
Groans escaped me. Sleepy groans. The bed was warm and soft and getting up was awful. The bed hugged me a little tighter… Wait, beds didn't hug… asfekjhseafhdjkssfdahsdafhfdslhkdslfkh
"Morning little Evie!" A familiar yet slightly lighter voice said. "Ready to get up, flower?"
Abies slept with me… I curled up reflexively. T-This wasn't happening. It couldn't be happening. I-I-I-I-I-I-I fdsagjkasljkaljfsda what do I do? They were trying to make me a pet. I couldn't even pull off being a functional adult. I was a failure and a mess and-and I should leave. I needed to leave and get up and just do something on my own. Get up. GET UP!
I mustered the will to unfurl and scramble out of the coverings of blankets and vines. My poor eyesight failed to visualize the room properly without my glasses. It didn't stop me. Anxious pain gripped my chest as I tried to leave. The vines waited until I was at the edge of the bed before they decided to seize me. My limbs struggled against the hold. I-I-I had to get away and-and leave and leave and be home and-
The evergreen held me tight. "You're okay. You're safe. I've got you. Little Evie is nice and safe…" They refused to let me go. To let me run and hide and never come back. My glasses got placed on my face. "You're going to hurt your teeth clenching your jaw like that. Here, bite my vine." A small needleless vine was placed before my mouth and I hesitated. "You can't hurt me if that's what you are worried about. Now, bite."
My teeth sank into the vine. It was just firm enough to properly gnaw on, to bite, and soft enough not to hurt when I kept using more force. As I was held tight and pet, my teeth pressed down on the vine. Their vine.
"Good Girl~" I-I got pet and praised for biting Abies and-and I held on. I adjusted my bite periodically. My gnawing faded quickly into nibbling.
"It's time to get you fed, medicated, and hydrated." They were still treating me like a pet. I-I-I wasn't a pet. I wasn't allowed to be a pet. Abies should have let me leave. I'd mess up. I'd fail. Eventually, Abies would realize I was no good and should just throw me in the trash like I deserved. I was defective useless trash. That's why no one wanted me. Why no one should want me.
I was placed in a chair at a table and realized this wasn't the hotel. This was a habitation unit. Judging by the decorations around. The colorful dim lights accenting the place. The large paintings on the walls. That pile of large and small plushies in the corner… This was someone else's habitation unit. Possibly Abies's… They took me to their home on the ship.
"Oh, are you interested in the plush corner? Nilla likes to hide in there when she stays with me. You can too, after I get you taken care of. Here's your class-G injection." Abies held up a pink and purple flower with a needle and quickly and painlessly injected me in the arm with it. Another small flower sticker got placed on that too. "Now be a good girl and wait there while I whip you up something to eat." They kept that same vine I was nibbling in front of me while the rest of the giant was in the kitchen.
I blushed and looked down. That pile of plushies was for the deer girl, not me. I kept stealing glances at it. All the while, I was stimming with vine nibbles…
I shouldn't be just sitting here… but Abies told me to and leaving would disappoint them. The affini was too nice for me to disappoint like that. At least with a manager I could occasionally ignore them out of spite. On small stuff. Stuff I wouldn't get in trouble for. If I'd get in trouble then I couldn't do it. Not even if it was only a chance of punishment.
My thoughts stewed while I rhythmically nibbled the vine. The smell of food and the sound of pan sizzling could be heard. The vine nibbling was the only thing keeping me calm adjacent, and the order to remain sitting here was the only thing keeping me from trying to leave. I was pathetic. A pale imitation of an adult woman. I didn't even look like one.
The owner of the vine eventually came over with a plate full of food. Hash browns, eggs, and bacon. It all looked so much better than the fast food knock offs. A muffin I could handle but this was too much. An entire fancy meal and only for me. Abies put too much effort into it. The food was wasted on me.
The xeno I was nibbling on tapped the side of my jaw. Then again. It was about the fourth time I got tapped that I realized he wanted me to let go. My mouth opened and the vine slipped out. A hand landed on my head. "Good Girl~" My cheeks were red. I could feel it.
A glass of water was beside the plate, but the utensils were in front of the evergreen xeno. When I made eye contact with the knife, fork, and spoon, they were picked up. For the briefest of moments I thought Abies was going to hand them to me in some weird power play… it was worse.
Abies scooped up some of the eggs and held them up to my mouth. They were going to feed me. Oh stars. This was wrong and too much. I wasn't a pet. I didn't need to be fed. I knew how to use utensils. My hand reached up to take the spoon…
"No." The word was firm and forceful. "Evie, put your hand down."
They tapped the side of my jaw, and it took a moment to realize they wanted me to open it. Abies humiliated me. I needed to stop being a pushover. Boundaries. I needed to establish boundaries.
My mouth opened to protest but the food was placed inside of it. A tap came under my chin. I froze. Another tap came and with it a little force pushing up. I closed my mouth around the food and Abies slid the spoon out with the food in my mouth.
The eggs had no right to be this good. The seasoning, the consistency, the texture… Absolutely, no right. I didn't even like eggs. Or I used too? This wasn't even fair. Abies was a plant! Plants shouldn't know how to cook!
I was about to chew, but I was interrupted. They ordered. "Wait."... Internal screaming. I was about to curl up, but several vines prevented me. One massaged my throat opening it up for swallowing. The food flowed down and-and I was shaking. I didn't know how to process all of this. The feelings. I was overwhelmed with humiliation and embarrassment and shame. If I could have curled up so much I vanished from existence, I would have.
A hand landed atop my head. "Good girl~ You're doing so well. I'm very very proud of you, Evie." They couldn't just say that! I-I-I wasn't a good girl. I was doing terribly.
A spoonful of hash browns was next. I opened my mouth beforehand but a vine shut it. Once the food was right in front of me, I got the jaw tap and the vine let me open my mouth. Abies wanted me to wait for the taps and gestures. The chin one came and I shut my mouth. I waited for the movement of the vine on my throat and then swallowed.
"Evie, you are such a fast learner. Good girl~ So smart and so cute~ A wonderful little Evie." The praise was accompanied by a pat on my head.
Before I could delve into thoughts of humiliation and how I wasn't a pet, another spoonful of food came. The taps followed. I swallowed. I was praised. The rhythm followed again and again and again and again. I didn't have space to think. Just taps and food. Taps and food. When I fell out of rhythm the vines corrected me. It kept going until…
"You finished it, little one! Such a talented, good girl~" Abies's words snapped me out of whatever weird headspace I had fallen into. T-That just happened. I-I just got fed an entire meal. akjsgjhksdghasdhkgasdhkagjhgkasdhkgashkdgjaskjdghashdh
My breathing picked up and my hands shook a little. "Y-You-you just. Th-That was… I-I'm not a pet. I'm not."
The melodious tone of Abies cut in. "Not yet, but let's fix that." I went to get down from the chair. "Stay." I wanted to cry. My motions to escape halted.
"Y-You did something to my head! The vet visit, sh-she messed with my head and you made me like this. You did like hypnotism or something."
"No I didn't, and neither did Miss Sanctia. You're just like this little one. You know it. I know it. You just can't admit it, but don’t worry. We'll help you with that."
I glanced up at him. "W-We?"
A smirk adorned his face. "Yes we. Now see this document.” He tapped a paper he placed on the table. “This is a domestication contract. If you check off these little boxes confirming the statements and then sign here. You'll be a floret, my floret." Abies placed a pen next to the page. The plate of food was long gone. "Pick up the pen and hold it."
"Pick up the pen and hold it." That tone made me whimper.
My hand reached out and grabbed the pen.
"Read the first item and check it off."
I was trembling. Looking down I saw the first section.
- Above all else, you, Evie, must obey your Guardian, Abies Fir, Fourth Bloom in all things. This is for your safety, wellbeing, and care.
I read it. I stared at it. The words sinking in. It was just like Abies explained of signing away one's rights. The process of becoming a pet. I needed to drop the pen, tear up the paper, and leave.
"Check the box."
I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I moved the pen forward, and with a shaky hand, I checked the box.
The alien pet me. "Such a good *obedient* little Evie. It's okay. You're okay. You are safe. You did so very good, and you don't have to worry. You won't be signing this."
I looked up into the golden eyes of the evergreen affini. "R-Really?
"Of course. After all, this would make you mine." Abies was holding something back. That wasn't everything. This was a game to them.
The worst part was… the rejection. I was being rejected. I knew he'd realize I was worthless and broken and a mess. No one wanted me. They toyed with me. All the affini. Just like with Paeonia and Dianthus. They acted like they wanted me but really they didn't. It hurt like Abies telling me that the two affini women could have made me theirs but chose not to. I didn't deserve them or anyone.
A finger brushed a tear out of my eye. "Signing this would make you mine. The one you'll sign will make you ours. I would never deny Paeonia and Dianthus ownership of you. They want you so very badly and I am more than happy to share."
Abies was so evil. Toying with me like this. Pretending to want me. Pretending that Paeonia and Dianthus want me. Acting like I deserved this. Acting like I could have this. It was cruel. The lies were cruel. No matter how sincere Abies said them I knew they were all lies. Nobody and nothing wanted the broken defective useless mess that was the thing that declared itself to be Evie Price. No one.
Abies pulled me into their unrelenting embrace. "It's okay Evie. You're going to be okay. I won't ever let something bad happen to you. Neither will the others. You're a very good girl. You are wonderful, beautiful, and adorable. You just need a bit of repair and lucky for you your new owners are rather good at repair. Especially those two."
He kept saying stuff and-and I just couldn't handle it. My heart felt like it was about to give out from the pain. I cried and wailed myself into exhaustion. I cried until I was limp and tired.
Abies gently lowered me into the plush corner, and the affini placed a large plushie of a big white cat with black stripes into my arms. My body had sunk into the mass of soft that surrounded me. I curled up tight around the cat plush.
The evergreen went to handle cleaning up everything and messing with their tablet. He remained within eyesight the whole time. I heard him. I knew they were there…
One thing became clear while stuck curled up and cuddling in the plush corner. I really really needed to leave.