Negotiations on shaky vines

Chapter 13 - Some mental and physical advice

by Exhausted_ambition

Tags: #dom:female #f/f #hypnosis #petplay #pov:bottom #scifi #anxiety #CW:dubious_consent #cw:violence #dom:internalized_imperialism #dom:plant #drug_play #Human_Domestication_Guide #ownership_dynamics #sensation_play #sub:capitalism #sub:female #trans_egg #transgender_characters

chapter 13, i dont have much to say or warn about except some slight and brief self deprecation. 

Mertha could at least recognize when she was too out of it to make a proper decision. As soon as she got Hendrik to bed she dosed him with some class Z, that should keep him asleep until she could make up her mind. She needed some advice.
[RestlessAnnoyance]: I made a huge mistake and I need help. Is the offer to talk still open?
The answer came a couple of seconds later
[ComfortVoice]: Always, Nora and Darla are all tuckered out and sleeping so we can talk in peace. How is Hendrik?
[RestlessAnnoyance]: he is sleeping. Okay if I come over now?
[ComfortVoice]: I’ll prepare some tea, see you soon
Mertha used all her remaining energy to remain cohesive and exited the hab. The short travel to Serla was far longer than she remembered.  How could she have been so careless with her words? She really couldn’t do anything right. She had failed at the negotiations, she had failed to protect Hendrik and now she had messed with his mind. Every time she felt confident in her abilities the galaxy seemed determined to prove her wrong. 
She almost walked past Serla’s hab before she noticed that she was there. After ringing the bell, it took only a moment for the door to open. Serla stood there and welcomed her inn. 
“The cuties are sleeping in the living room so we can go to the kitchen and talk” Serla spoke softly, probably to not wake the humans from their sleep. As soon as they got to the kitchen and the door closed Mertha collapsed upon one of the chairs.
“It’s that bad? Tell me what happened” Serla placed a small pot of warm liquid in front of her that Mertha slid one of her vines into. The warm and tasty liquid helped her core calm down slightly. 
Serla was drinking her own tea while looking at Mertha expectedly. Trying to keep her discord to a minimum, she explained the situation. How she had hypnotized Hendrik, how she had accidentally forced him to trust her. 
Serla entwined a few vines with her “And he figured it out? it’s always tricky with the smart ones.” Did she not understand the problem? 
Mertha felt frustrated “I’m glad he did! Here I thought I was making progress and helping him, but it was just me manipulating him.” She slouched further down into the chair “I’m a complete failure, I just hope I can find someone else that can help him.” 
Serla looked at her, her tone was serious now “so you are planning on removing the conditioning?” 
It should be an easy answer, she had overstepped his boundaries and should fix the damage “of course I should….it’s just. Well, when I told him I would do it, he reacted……poorly” That was an understatement. 
The sight of how frightened he had looked tore through her “At first I assumed that he was scared because I had betrayed him……but what he said…..he didn’t want to remove the condition. He wanted to keep trusting me, despite the fact that it is built on a lie.” She entwined further with Serla “I know I should just remove it, but he looked so scared….I don’t know what to do.”
Serla looked away for a moment and then looked back straight into her eyes “if you want my opinion, I think you shouldn’t remove it.” what?
Mertha finally managed to form up again in a semi-solid form “he is only saying those things because I made him trust me, he would never have said such a thing without the conditioning.” Serla merely nodded knowingly in response. 
“You are probably right but that does not change the fact of the situation. that boy has so many mental blocks, your conditioning is just one of many in his mind.” Mertha paused it did kind of make sense, but still felt wrong. 
“When we talked about you wanting to take care of him you said that you wanted to make sure he had a choice of what to be, independent if he wanted. I can tell you with absolute certainty that if you go back to your hab, remove the trust you implanted and then leave…he will never make it. He will fall back into those patterns that have consumed his life and in the end, we will not have a choice.” Serla spoke like this was a self-evident truth.
The words felt affirming, reassuring even. Or perhaps she was just selfish, wanting to return to those memories of him smiling like they were anything more than a charade.
Serla spoke each word like roots digging into the ground “In the end, he will be assigned some other affini’s pet and they will tear into his mind so that he can finally be happy. And he will be happy, but that’s not how you want it to go, now is it?” of course she didn’t, but could she really maintain this? keep going like nothing had happened? 
She looked back at Serla “so what do I do, we both know that it’s based on a lie. How can the trust be real after that?” 
Serla smiled “for once I think you should listen to your ward, talk to them in the morning. In time the trust might become real. He has forced himself to mistrust everyone around him for so long. The part of him that wanted to keep trusting you is far more real than you might believe.”
“It might actually be ‘she’, we talked about it before…the episode. he is still thinking it over, but I removed her facial hair and he seemed quite happy with it.” Serla looked at her in shock before she began bristling with amusement.
The laughter only continued “in two days you have managed to make them agree to therapy, eat real food, and even helped them with discovering their gender identity. Why are you sulking? you have done amazingly.” Mertha could not quite believe that she had done ‘amazingly’ but it lifted her spirits, nonetheless.
Now a bit calmer, she looked towards the door to the living room “so how is Nora doing, adjusting well?” She needed a distraction and Nora was important to her as well. 
Serla smiled “she has been adjusting wonderfully, she and Darla have really struck it off. They are almost inseparable, they are absolutely adorable together.” Serla got a bit more serious “does Hendrik know that she is on the ship, has he asked? Nora is worried about him of course, but I have told her he still needs to rest.” 
Mertha’s form was almost back into a presentable shape now “not yet, I don’t think he is quite ready for that. Hopefully soon.” She wondered how he would react to the news. 
Serla’s smile turned predatory “well as much as she has been staying here I might just collar her soon. She would make an excellent floret and Connivent with Darla.” 
It was Serla’s connection to Nora that had allowed her to save Hendrik, but still “you really are incurable. And what will Hendrik think?” she tried to sound more annoyed than she was. 
Serla just smiled more “he will have to cope, maybe seeing his bodyguard become a floret will allow him to consider the same. I think he would make an excellent floret, told him as much earlier today. And I’m sure you have thought the same.” Serla’s tone and eyes were teasing her. 
Mertha stood up and tried to look as dignified as possible “I have no idea of what you are insinuating and would rather like it that you stop.  Either way, I should get back and make sure he is sleeping safely….thanks for the talk, it means a lot.” They untwined and went to the door, making sure to not wake the two sleeping humans. 
Serla gave her a last teasing look before she left “just make sure to guard him well, when he becomes public knowledge I’m sure you will have plenty of competition.” Mertha let out an annoyed sigh, trying to cloak how embarrassed she was. 
The way back felt shorter. As soon as she was inside she made sure Hendrik was still sleeping, he looked so peaceful.... she would have to steel herself for both the possible outcomes of tomorrow morning. That primal, selfish part desperately wanted him to remain with her.
Hendrik felt the shadows recede as he was slowly forced back to consciousness. He held his eyes closed, perhaps if he just continued to pretend, he would fall asleep again. And if he opened them? Would there now be a stranger affini preparing him a meal? A person he would mentally dissect, try to manipulate….distrust at every opportunity. No, keeping his eyes closed was a far better strategy. 
His foolproof plan to avoid encountering reality was shattered in a moment “I know you’re awake, dear. You didn’t get to eat yesterday, I have made you those pancakes you liked so much.”  She was still here! 
He opened his eyes and looked toward the voice. Mertha was standing in the door opening, the smell of the pancakes was trailing in from the kitchen. Hendrik traced his mind, no schemes, no suspicion. He felt safe….thank the stars. He felt tears well up in his eyes, for the first time in over a decade, it was of relief.
Part of his mind was enraged, he was still being manipulated, neutralized. The overwhelming wave of relief silenced those thoughts. Hendrik looked up at her “thank you so much….”
She looked unsure, nervous “are you sure you want this? I will do my best to prove that you can truly trust me, but this choice is yours.” As she got close enough he hugged one of her arms.
He buried his face into her hand, the vines were nice and soft “I am sure. Maybe it’s because of what you did, but I don’t care. If it means I can be a real person then I can stand some mind control.” She picked him up, he did not resist. 
She carried him over to the living room “it might be selfish of me to say but I am glad that you chose this. Now then, you also did not eat your ice cream, so I have added it to your breakfast.” She put him down on the chair, a huge stack of pancakes stood in front of him, ice cream covered the top and the sides. 
He hesitated for a bit. Was he getting too comfortable, if he got complaisant….perhaps he could ask for a nutrien-. There was a fork of pancakes in front of his mouth “eat, and if you were considering asking for one of those bland bars of garbage I can tell you that you won’t get your hands on them, ever again.” He opened his mouth hesitantly and a pancake with ice cream was inserted. It tasted…oh so good. 
Mertha had already readied another fork “once I figure out why you eat them I will make sure that you never want to even look at one ever again.” This sounded terrible, she was promising him a pathway straight into the abyss. The pancakes tasted very nice……. He opened his mouth and received another portion of bliss.
It soon settled into a pattern of him opening his mouth to receive more pancakes, chewing, and swallowing before the next fork was ready. He allowed himself to fall into a nice blissful state. He almost didn’t notice when the plate was empty. He quickly closed his mouth as he realized no more forks of delicious food were coming.
Mertha looked at him with a smile that made him slightly warm inside “good girl, eating your whole meal! Now then, if I had my way I would simply spoil you all day, but we have an errand to run.” He broke out of the deep blush and embarrassment. An errand? Perhaps a possibility.
As she placed the dish inside the compiler it simply de-materialized. “The vet is very anxious to meet you, she has been pestering me about a checkup for the last 40 hours.” The vet? Was she serious? 
He tried not to look insulted “is that how you look at us, like animals?.” Mertha might be nice, but she was also an affini. Small amounts of condensing were tolerable, but calling the doctor a vet? That was a bridge too far.
She simply smiled and ruffled his hair with a sneaky vine “not at all, but affini medicine and sophont medicine is very different. It’s just a classification.” He was not entirely convinced but at least their medicine was effective, on that he had more than enough intel.
Mertha looked at a data pad that she had retrieved from somewhere “are you ready to go, your appointment is in a bit over half an hour. Its only 10 minutes from here but I think we can use some extra time.” Oh right, he was still recovering.
He looked around, there were no papers or presentations for this meeting “unless I’m supposed to bring something, I’m ready.” As they both headed for the door he stopped in his tracks.
This would be the first time that he stepped out of the hab “what if anyone recognizes me? Or someone is looking for me?.... I don’t.” he felt several vines wrap around his arm.
Mertha dragged him a bit closer to her “don’t worry, the Agraria is quite empty and no matter what happens I will protect you. No harm can come to you.” Right, he might not have Nora but an affini bodyguard was probably even better. The chance that any human managed to get onto the ship with weapons was very unlikely.
The air outside of the hab was fresh and at a perfectly warm temperature. The corridor outside was not a tight and cramped metal tube but rather something he would expect in an apartment building. This was not too far from the truth as Mertha guided him to an elevator that they took down to a cozy street. Hendrik knew they were on a spaceship, but it looked more like a city, just with far friendlier planning and more cafes.
They began to walk in a direction, Hendrik decided to stay as close to Mertha as he could. The streets were mostly empty. Some of the cafes had a few affini visitors, some alone, others with their florets. The sight of the florets was intriguing. It was the first time he had seen them in real life.
The florets looked either supremely blissful or were looking at their owners with undying adoration. Was that how he had looked while Mertha shaped his mind? better not to think about it.
The longer they walked the more obvious it became that he did not have the stamina to keep up with Mertha. He began to trail further and further behind, Mertha slowed down but in the end, he could go no further.
She looked down on him concerned “perhaps I was a bit optimistic, do you want me to carry you the rest of the way?” Mertha wanted to carry him? in public?!
He looked down the street, his legs felt like jelly. The idea of reaching the clinic at this pace was a pipedream. He relented “I guess I have little choice. Could you cover me? it’s a bit embarrassing.” A second later he was scoped up in her vines, a light cover of vines and flowers formed a protective sheet against the eyes of the world.
After making sure he was safely secured Mertha began to move. they made the same distance in 30 seconds that they had made the last 10 minutes. In no time at all they had made it to the clinic. A small green and yellow building made of the same plant matter that dominated affini engineering.
As he was carried in he saw that the waiting room was not that different from what he would have seen on Centhia. It was far quieter and only a few patients were in the room. There was also no sight of a place to pay.
Mertha walked over to the check-in desk, the plant sheet made it a bit difficult to see but it was clearly a human. Mertha sounded quite friendly “hi there little one, I’m here so your mistress can give my ward a checkup.”
the human chirped in reply “finally, mistress has been quite worried. I will tell her right away.” He heard a few hurried steps. Despite one part of his mind, he allowed himself to relax into the bed of vines.
His relaxation was interrupted “mistress is ready for you now, it’s the door at the end of that corridor. Good luck!” So, a human was still allowed to work despite being a floret...Allowed to hold any power? Doubtful.
He heard a door open and then the plant sheet was gently pulled away. He let out a soft yawn as he was gently placed on the ground, he heard Mertha give a quiet “aww” behind him.
The center of the office was dominated by a short desk, behind it sat a rather large affini. There was a small chair on his side of the desk that he was gently guided to sit in. 
The affini was almost 3,5 meters tall, most of it was covered with a dark brown bark with patterns that seemed to be either carved or grown. Around the shoulders was a break in the bark creating a collar of green vines and numerous different flowers.
The stranger gazed down at him from above “hello there, I’m glad you could finally make it. I’m Vonzin Therli, seventh bloom, she/her” The affini extended a vine for him to shake, that voice sounded familiar.
It felt like something from a half-remembered dream “have we met before? I can swear I recognize your voice.”
The huge affini let out a slight chuckle “so you remember me, how nice. I was the one who first treated you as you got aboard.” Her vine was still waiting in the air, right, he had yet to introduce himself.
He indulged her and gave the vine a light press and shake “I’m Hendrik Hansen…….he/him I guess, at least for now.” It felt weird to even consider saying this to anyone other than Mertha, he should have prepared a reply.
The affini stood up, oh stars she was tall “doing some self-discovery? That’s wonderful. If you ever decide to start on class-G I would love to be the vet to start your treatment. But that is for another time. Now then, how are you feeling? Have you gotten enough to eat? and what about sleep?” The last two questions seemed to be more directed a Mertha than him.
He could answer for himself “I have almost done nothing but sleep the last 15 days and have eaten plenty. Despite this I am still ridiculously weak, don’t you have any medicine to get me back into shape.” He allowed the frustration to seep into his voice. 
Vonzin looked at him with cool eyes for a moment “I shall be honest with you, when you got aboard you were a mess. Wounds, burns, broken bones, a polluted blood supply, malnourishment. None of that could compare to the damage your overzealous work had done to your body. If you had maintained a situation like that for a couple more days, you would probably have fallen into a coma, or worse.” The words hit him like a bag of bricks, had it really been that bad?
The vet continued the presentation on how utterly miserable his health was “I can heal your bones, burns, and wounds. That overwork however has destroyed your body from the inside out. Forcing your body back to normal conditions would send your system into shock. All we can do is wait and provide you with the best care available.” She was inspecting his arms, legs, and face.
He swallowed “how long until I can operate normally?” the affini seemed to mull the question over.
She finally came to an answer “it will depend on how much you sleep and eat, but in good conditions, I would say around 6 weeks.” He had hoped for a couple of days, feared a full week, but 6? The improvement would likely be gradual, but a future of him managing himself seemed far off.
Mertha put a vine on his shoulder. Right, she would help him, for now at least things were not too bad.  
Vonzin was done with her inspection of him “seems fine but I still need to make sure everything is good on the inside as well. Please sit in the chair and I can make sure your levels are developing as they should.” She gestured to what looked like a dental chair with a strange device next to it.
He stood up and almost slipped but Mertha steadied him, that walk had really taken a lot out of him. with only a bit of help he got into the chair, at least it was made for human height.
The large affini typed on the device before looking down “now you might feel a bit of a sting.” A second later he did indeed feel a little sting in his left arm. Vonzin looked back to the screen on the device and began mumbling to herself. Mertha stood on the other side of the chair, gently stroking his arm with a vine.
Vonzin pressed something on the screen and the machine made a low hum “there, that should about do it.” There was a surge of refreshing cold released from where the thorn was piercing him. Mere seconds later he was feeling far less sore and more clearheaded. The vet handed Mertha a paper “most of this is fine, but he is still eating too little. There was also somehow a bit of residual blood pollution, it must have been in his systems a long time to not be flushed out during the last treatment. I did an extra test, and it looks like we got it all out.”
Vonzin lifted his right arm and inspected the cast “it looks like it is healing well but those ferals really mangled it up, you can probably take it off in about a week. There was also the issue with the teeth” without asking the affini sent a few small vines as he opened his mouth to ask a question.
He did his best not to gag, the vines left his mouth a few seconds later. The vet looked content “does not seem to be much of a problem for now. If they remain for a decade or two they will probably damage some tissue. We can replace them with something better once he has fully recovered.” Again, she was mostly talking to Mertha, he guessed the vet’s name did have some legitimacy.
After the inspection, the two affini talked a bit in their alien langue. The fact he could be separated so easily from information was frustrating. Perhaps they were planning something? Vonzin was definitely the type of doctor to use their leverage over their patients.
When they were finally ready to leave Vonzin took out a lollipop from a large bowl. She presented it before his face “you did well today. Have a lollipop.” There was no sense of sarcasm or taunting in her words. Did that make it worse? Yes, it definitely did.
Just as he was about to protest the indignity, the affini used the opportunity to put the lollipop in his mouth. He was about to spit it out but…..why did all the food here have to taste so nice?
He was scooped up into Mertha’s vines once more and the plant sheet allowed him some respite. He heard Mertha say something, but he was already drifting off to sleep.

This was a nice chapter to write, finally a bit of prolonged fluff. I need to get to bed 😴

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