As Cleo woke up she felt a need to not recollect the memories of yesterday. The fact that her mind and skin still tingled was a good enough indicator of that. She was in her bed…with the beeple plushie in her embrace….wearing a companion dress…and the collar still around her neck. The fact that she felt happy about the first, indifferent about the second, and relieved about the third made it clear as day that something was wrong. Despite her wishes, the memories still returned and her embarrassment grew with each moment that replayed in her mind.
She would have to take measures to rectify how far she had been dragged into the floret mindset. First, she left the giant plushie on the other side of the large bed, it might be fuzzy and comforting but not what she needed right now. Secondly, she removed the companion dress and put on some of the clothes she had worn before….they felt rough and coarse, they had been perfectly usable before and would be so again…hopefully. Either way, it was a small sacrifice to pay to regain some of her dignity.
Finally, she needed to take off the collar….she had to…..but it was so comfortable around her neck….it was rather pretty as well, it suited her….it suited her? What was that supposed to mean? She had already concluded that she did not want to be Mertha’s floret. So why did that conclusion suddenly feel so uncertain? It was best if she just ripped off the band-aid without thinking any more about it. Her fingers reached for the back of the collar….she just had to detach it and remove it……she couldn’t.
Cleo sighed out, half in frustration and half in relief. If she worked more on asserting her independence, perhaps then it would become easier. The door opened and Mistress walked inside….Mertha, her name was Mertha. Her affini looked at her like nothing had happened “Good morning! Come eat, I have prepared breakfast.” Cleo felt a bit uneasy….the memories of yesterday evening were filled with her submissive begging and desperate declarations of obedience, a bit of that submissive tingling still remained in her heart. It would surely disappear with time, Cleo breathed in and followed Mertha out of the room.
She was about to climb into her chair when a few vines grabbed her and put her there instead. Mertha did not even seem to notice she had done anything….Mistress was treating her more and more like a floret…a line had to be drawn….not that it was very impractical to not have to climb up the far too tall chair. On the table there was already a large stack of pancakes with ice cream…it looked very tempting.
Mertha was sitting in the chair on the other side of the table “so how are you feeling? A bit exhausted?” She did in fact feel a bit worn out after…all that had happened yesterday. Just thinking about that brought a blush to her face…
Cleo was about to reassure her that she was fine but hesitated….was she going to lie?…why not? “I am fine…” She felt a bit uneasy, it was almost a bit uncomfortable...“just a bit tired, that’s all…” admitting that made her feel a bit more at ease.
Mertha smiled and moved a fork full of pancakes and ice cream up to her face, a vine tapped on the side of her mouth. Cleo focused and kept her mouth shut, mistress was….Mertha was taking this too far. To her relief she found a bit of indignation still remaining “I do not need you to feed me, I can eat myself.” Mertha looked a bit disappointed but put the fork down on her plate, Cleo took it and began to eat….trying to ignore the slight sadness of not pleasing Mistress….what had happened to her?
Cleo put the fork down “what did you do to me? I am not thinking as I should.” Honestly, she was not angry, but this was crossing a border they had established long ago. Direct influencing of her mind without consent was off-limits.
Mertha talked gently “except for a few unexplained blushes and pauses you don’t seem to act much differently, what part of your thinking is ‘wrong’?” Even beginning to explain that would be far too embarrassing.
She cleared her throat “don’t play games with me, we both know what you did. I thought we agreed that you were not to change my mind directly.” Mertha just continued to smile…could she not see how much of an overstep this was?
Her affini’s voice was laced with a bit of satisfaction “so you think I changed your mind directly? Well, that is simply not true. All I did was bring forth some repressed emotions to the surface and instructed you on how to behave better.” repressed emotions? Was Mertha implying that she wanted to feel and think this way?
Cleo was once again getting frustrated by the affini’s endless arrogance “so what about the class-A? Anyone would have done what I did in that situation, this had nothing to do with ‘repressed’ emotions. And I remember that you used class-H on me as well, was that also ‘not interfering with my mind directly’?” Despite her protests, Mertha remained far too calm.
In fact, she seemed even more satisfied “you are right that anyone might have done as asked in that situation. Anyone could have read the words, but you…you believed and internalized them. When you spoke it was not just a person in dire need of some cuddles, it was also a person that wanted to submit. There is no shame in that.” That had to be a lie…the only problem was that Mertha almost never told those.
Mistress smiled with a bit of mischief in her eyes. “And for the class-H, all I did was capture your adorable feelings of submission, and the rules that were so concrete in your mind at that time and made it so you can recollect them in an instant with a certain delightful trigger.” The concept itself was terrifying, and the fact that Mertha was likely speaking the truth made it even more so.
It could not be true, she did not want to submit…but would it not be so much easier? it would be so easy to just have Mertha take care of her, make all the difficult and easy decisions alike, and make sure she was happy….But that did not make it right.
Cleo looked up from the plate of melting ice cream that she had been staring at “Did you do this to push me towards domestication?” Finally, Mertha seemed to react.
Her affini leaned back and looked thoughtful “No, this was to improve your behavior, that is all. I want you to become my floret, but that is your choice to make, just as it has always been.” Cleo believed her, not that it improved the situation…
Mertha took her silence as a sign to continue “I understand that you have had to adopt certain behavior to survive in the environment you lived in. Lies and manipulation might have been necessary before, but not here, not anymore. With your….track record, even a lenient committee will hesitate with giving you independence if your behavior is still much the same as before becoming a part of the Compact.” Mertha was making some good points….
It still did not feel fair “you have xenodrugs, biorhythms that can affect sophonts, hypnotic eyes, and mind-controlling implants. You affini are masters of manipulation, the only reason you don’t like to lie is that you are bad at it. I don’t have any of your fancy tools, so I lie, and I figure out how to make people think like I want them to. I think the only reason you affini dislike what I do so much is because I am good at it, perhaps even as good as you.” She met Mertha’s eyes definitely, the affini were such hypocrites.
Mertha looked a bit taken aback, before she leaned forward “why do you lie?” Cleo blinked a bit confused, the question was far too broad. Mertha seemed to realize that “okay, hmmm, why did you not just ask me if you could do some paperwork? Or if you could work there in the future?” The answer was obvious.
Cleo straightened her back “you would have said no.”
Mertha tilted her head “but later, when you explained yourself, I said yes.” That was true…. “The truth is that you did not trust me to make the choice you wanted. You wanted control over the situation, did you not?” That was also true…
Cleo looked down at the plate again “is that so bad though?” As on an involuntary command, her mind dragged up examples of what happened when she did not have control.
Mertha nodded “it is the main problem and difference in how you and we affini do it. Manipulation for the sake of individual control will inevitably lead to someone getting hurt. You don’t need that control and fighting for it will just hurt you in the long run.” Even if Mertha was right….
Cleo felt something in her throat “but if I don’t have control….” She saw the street where she had hidden for months in fear, the cell where she had awaited execution, and the cell where she had been tortured. If she did not have control…her hands were trembling.
Suddenly there were vines lifting her up and into Mertha’s embrace “Cleo…you are safe here, nothing will be able to hurt you. No one in the compact has any bad intentions, we just want you to be happy.” Being closer to Mertha did make her feel better but the specter of what could happen still lingered.
What Mertha said was not even true “what about the committee or that simulation? even if you affini have good intentions, you can still hurt me.” She regretted saying it almost immediately, Mertha was looking shameful… “Never mind that…I know that you affini can make mistakes, even if you are too arrogant to accept that…What I mean is that….control does make me feel safe…and giving it up….it’s scary, I just don’t think I can do that…” The vines tightened around her protectively.
Mistress was looking at her with both regret and compassion. “I am so sorry these things happened to you…Understand that I will never, never, allow anything like that to happen to you ever again.” Her mesmerizing and beautiful eyes softened “You can give up that control, and I know that you want to…I can feel how it weighs on you.” There was a reason she had wanted to be on class-J…
But to give up control for the long term “I want to….but I don’t think I can…” it was too scary, too difficult.
Mertha smiled and lifted her up so her face was only a few centimeters apart “You proved that you could yesterday. It might have been difficult, but it will be far easier if I use the trigger, and it will be easier and easier each time.” The part of her mind that had kept her alive all these years was terrified, but the rest of her was so very tempted.
A few vines moved some hair out of her face “life might have forced you to pretend to be hard and in control…but we both know that inside you are just my soft little kitten.” Upon hearing the last two words an immense feeling of submission welled up inside her heart. Cleo felt her body relax, she was in Mistress’s vines, she was safe.
Mistress gazed down at her lovingly, her heart skipped a beat “there, is that not much better?” Cleo nodded in agreement. She received a few pets “while you are certainly very cute while on class-J it is not the same as submitting without it. I think you need to experience how safe, nice, and relaxing it can be to submit with no xenodrugs involved.” That sounded tempting…
Mistress used a vine to pull gently on her collar. “So, I have a proposal: for the next couple of days, I will treat you as if you were my own floret. You will have no control, no responsibilities, and I will take care of you in every possible way. You can stop this…let's call it a trial, at any point, as long as you are honest with yourself and me. Do you want that?” Vines were already caressing her cheek and neck.
Her mouth felt dry, for a moment there was a struggle in her mind. Her trust in mistress and need for relief won over the fear in only a few seconds. Cleo almost felt a bit excited “yes…mistress.” In an instant, vines began to smother her, and she could feel mistress’s happiness from her biorhythm.
Mistress sat her down on the chair again and looked down at the plate “you have spent all this time talking and now the pancakes have gotten soggy. This is why I have to feed you, I will go and get some more.” Cleo waited patiently as mistress got more pancakes and ice cream out of the fridge and deposited it on the table. The fork was available, but she waited for mistress to begin feeding her. She received a pat for her obedience “such a good girl.” The sparks of joy traveled through her mind, she was a good girl!
While she was being fed she realized that mistress had not specified how many days this trial would last. She was a bit tempted to ask but mistress probably had it handled. The pancakes and ice cream were amazing as always, the food just kept on tasting amazing no matter how much she ate. After she was done eating, mistress picked her up and brought her to the bathroom where she was thoroughly cleaned.
After she was dry Cleo went to put on her clothes when a vine stopped her “no, these just won’t do. They hide far too much of your cute form and are…..” oh, she wanted her to answer.
Cleo looked at the hoodie and baggy pants “boring?” Mistress smiled and patted her on the head, Cleo was happy, she made mistress proud.
Mistress collected the old clothes. “I will be back in a moment, just wait here like the good kitten you are.” Cleo sat down on the edge of the pool, the submissive surge had not redoubled so the trigger used both of the words. Cleo had also been tempted to comment that kittens were not known for being patient...though she had never seen a cat herself, she doubted that Mertha had either.
A few moments later mistress returned with some clothes…and a few things more. a vine pointed for her to stand in front of the mirror and Cleo did as asked, she was proud to obey her mistress.
A dozen vines moved and soon she was clad in the comforting softness of a companion dress once more. The dress was sleeveless and green, with a red flower motif, though almost all the companion dresses seemed to have flower motifs. This one however was more vibrant and far less pastel than many of the others she had seen…and worn.
After that mistress began to groom her hair. “I was thinking of adding some color to the tips, I think it will look absolutely amazing.” She was not asking for her opinion but was giving her a chance to protest…not that she had any reason or want to do so. Mistress applied some red creamy substance from a container and began to apply it. In a matter of seconds, the tips of her hair turned into a vibrant red. Cleo had to admit, for what seemed like the hundredth time this morning, that mistress was right. Mistress made sure that her hair was flowing down her back in large waves, before adding a cute purple bow as a finishing piece.
After that her teeth were brushed, her nails filed, and her collar inspected and polished a bit. Once she was done she looked absolutely beautiful, just like mistress wanted. The lack of glazed-over eyes was the only sign that would distinguish her from your average floret…she blushed a deep red.
She looked up at mistress “could one of the rules not have been that I don’t feel embarrassed?” it would have made things a whole lot easier.
Mistress’s eyes were filled with adoration “and miss all your cute blushes? Not a chance.” It had been worth a shot. A vine attached itself to her collar “we soon have an appointment with Vonzin. After that, we will find something fun to do.” The leash gave a tiny tug and Cleo followed mistress as they moved out of the hab.
While in the elevator on the way down mistress looked at her “you might not be my floret legally, but I still expect you to behave like one during this trial. Lies, defiance, swearing, or general rudeness will reflect poorly upon me as an owner. Okay?” Cleo understood, she did want mistress to be proud.
She nodded “yes, mistress.” A few vines scratched that point on the back of her neck, she purred slightly in response, kittens loved to behave after all.
Once they got out onto the streets Cleo made sure to follow mistress closely, not straying too far or trying to take the lead. The street was filled with affini, not filled to the extent that oxygen could be lacking like in a full Centhian street, but rather a comfortable and alive kind of full. As they walked, several affini that passed by gave her quick head pats with long extended vines. Her first instinct was to dodge them, but that would not be very floret-like, so instead, she accepted them gratefully.
Sometimes one or two affini would stop and talk a bit with mistress while she received pets. The conversations were usually about how cute she was and the slight jealousy the other affini felt for not owning a pet yet. The fact that they talked over her and about her like that was irritating at first until she realized something surprisingly pleasant. No one was looking at her for answers or even required her to engage in Smalltalk, something she loathed above most things in the galaxy. Instead, she could just exist, entirely without conversational responsibility.
Over the course of the walk, the submissive surge from the trigger began to ebb and disappear slowly. Mertha…or mistress as she was supposed to use had certainly pushed her into this. At the same time, it was something not entirely unexpected. One would almost assume that she had seen this coming, something a part of her most likely had. In addition, mistress had said the trial would end if she asked for it honestly. There was the root of the problem, in a good deal of ways she did want this, so stopping this with an honest answer was probably not possible. That was the problem with playing chess against yourself, no matter what you do, you always lose.
Before the committee trial, she had told Mertha two main reasons for not wanting to be a floret. In retrospect, the first reason she had given, that she wanted to be in charge of her own life, was likely a rationalization of her fear of not having control. Rationalization…she was frightfully good at that, it might have been ‘practical’ for suppression before but now it was just as likely to cloud her real feeling as it was to help her figure it out.
So, what was she to do now? She was essentially stuck in this position for the foreseeable future, mostly because she actually wanted to be in said situation. The nature of her situation meant she had very little if at all, effect on the result. Said result would either be that she eventually rejected it and could honestly tell mistress that she wanted to stop…perhaps the most unlikely of the scenarios. The other option was that she would be dragged further and further into the floret mindset and lifestyle.
Cleo realized that the way she conceptualized ‘being dragged into the floret mindset and lifestyle’ was perhaps a bit flawed. All this time she had treated it like she had once treated comfort, like a dangerous corruption. Could it be…perhaps…maybe…instead just be that she liked it? and if she did like it, was that a problem? The historic test was to check if it would aid or hinder her goal…but without The Game she did not really have a goal anymore…
She had to admit it scared her a bit to be without a clear goal. She could imagine future goals, but they were out of reach at the moment and domestication was likely to put them even further away…or at least so she assumed. Could she live without a goal? Maybe, but it did not feel right, it was not who she was. The fire inside her was smoldering, but she knew that a slight spark could set it in full blaze….the thought was scary, the last blaze had made her hurt so many people….part of her was so afraid it wanted to put out the fire….but what would she be left with then….why was a future without the fire so impossible to imagine? Perhaps what she ne-
“Cleo?” Mertha’s voice broke her out of her thoughts, they had arrived at the clinic, and she had not even noticed. Mertha smiled with a bit of concern, she had probably called for her far more than once “Are you okay? You seemed quite lost in thought.” That was an understatement, if she did not have the leash she would probably have walked into a wall.
Cleo smiled reassuringly “don’t worry Mert….” She sighed “I am fine, mistress.” It came out a bit more forced than she had anticipated.
Mertha looked at her with an analyzing gaze “if you say so. The trigger seems to have worn off, do you want me to use it again?” Just as she had gotten the ability to think any non-submissive thoughts?
Cleo frowned a bit “I don’t think that is a good idea.” Her plan might boil down to seeing where the chips fell, but to measure correctly she would at least need a good sense of judgment.
Her affini looked at her curiously, “do you want to end the trial already?” She was giving her a chance to back out…Mertha might be playing hardball, but she was as soft as ever.
Cleo sighed again “not what I meant. If this trial is to be a valid experiment then we can’t rely on the trigger too much, would you not agree?” A vine began to ruffle her hair affectionately.
Mertha was proud “I am so happy you are giving this a chance, I promise you won't regret it.” Now that was the real danger, wasn’t it? There was a small tug on her leash “now we need to go, you can’t be late for your checkup.” Best to just follow along…that was the plan after all.
When they got inside the clinic Cleo saw something she had not seen a lot of, other humans, and non-floret ones at that. Each one was accompanied by an affini, most of them had either metal collars or armbands. They had to be wards woken up from stasis, probably some of the people who had cooperated or surrendered. Some of them looked scared, some of them looked angry, and some quite despondent. All of them had probably fought and worked to kill or overthrow her for most of their lives.
She noticed that they had noticed her, a few of them looked shocked, a few horrified and one feisty woman looked downright disgusted. If this was their first day awake then she might be the first floret, or more correctly assumed floret, that they had ever seen for themselves. The woman looked at her and spat on the ground “stardamned plant-fucker.” Before the affini could even correct her wards behavior Cleo stared directly into the woman’s eyes.
The fight left her in a second as she recoiled like she had seen a ghost, something she in many ways had. Cleo looked around the room, the other humans had seen what had happened and they averted their gazes. For a few satisfying moments she commanded fear again, then Mertha tugged on her leash “Cleo? What are you doing?” Before she followed, she would make one last comment.
She smiled adoringly at Mertha “nothing mistress, just looking at these to-be florets, I think they will make adorable pets once they have been broken in.” Her words made the humans around her react in such a terrified and satisfying manner. She would have to apologize to Serla, no wonder the affini had teased her so. Cleo followed Mertha as they left the waiting room, her former enemies quaking in fear behind her.
They rounded the corner and were met with a very tired Ida, it took a bit of time for her to recognize them “oh my stars, it’s been too long….” The floret looked at her, then up at Mertha, and then back at her again “ummmm…is she still on class-J?” The embarrassment would never end.
Mertha smiled proudly “no, she is sober, except for some class-C-t. She is just trying out being my floret for a bit, to see how it fits her.” Ida started to grin mischievously, despite the situation Cleo managed to keep her composure.
The floret was obviously enjoying her predicament “Just like I said, you are a total seed! Bet you won’t deny it for much longer, the floret try-out thing never lasts long. I guess it won’t be long before you come here for your very own implant.” Ida was probably right in some regard….but being on the defensive was never the answer.
Cleo looked up at Mertha “she looks overworked, don’t you think mistress? Perhaps you should talk with her owner.” Her tone was filled with performative concern.
Mertha nodded, she was playing along. “You are right, I will have to talk with Vonzin as soon as your checkup is done.” The total shift in the conversation left the short-haired floret bewildered.
Ida’s grin had faltered completely “wha….” Cleo gave her a slightly playful and innocent smile. Ida tried to compose herself, pouting slightly “I’m just a bit tired…Mistress is ready to see you, we have a lot of patients right now so don’t keep her waiting.” She was probably a bit miffed that her teasing had been stopped by such a vindictive counterattack.
Mertha moved and tugged on her collar before she even had a chance to follow “it was very nice to meet you, Ida. Don’t worry, you will have plenty of time to tease my little flower later.” Cleo began to blush, and Ida grinned once more as she waved them goodbye.
They entered Vonzin’s office a moment later, just like her floret the doctor looked tired. Vonzin was looking over a datapad as they entered, she looked up and a grin spread on her face. Cleo stifled a groan for the humiliation to come, Vonzin almost sounded relieved “finally, was the class-J ‘vacation’ the final straw that broke the turtle's back?” Cleo rolled her eyes but could not fault Vonzin for her conclusion, something that made it all the more irritating.
Mertha patted her head as she answered “she is not my floret, she is just trying it out. Also, I think it is the ‘frog's back’ not turtle’s.” At least Mertha could explain the embarrassing situation, so she did not have to.
Vonzin raised an unconvinced eyebrow of dark green moss “I see…well Cleo, let’s make sure that you are healthy at the very least. I am very interested to see how your vacation has helped your recovery.” Mertha released the leash, and she went over to lie on the tilted chair-bed thing. While Vonzin started to test her body the affini tried its hand at some small talk “How are you finding it? ‘pretending’ to be a floret that is.” The word she pronounced ‘pretending’ made it quite clear she did not expect the ‘pretending’ part to last for long.
Cleo sighed “pleasantly relaxing but also incredibly humiliating.” Vonzin gave a slight chuckle as a response, then something seemed to catch the vets' attention.
A few slim vines pushed the dress away from her shoulder, revealing a quite large scar “you are not opposed to removing these scars, are you?” Cleo cringed a bit as she remembered the sniper rifle bullet that had almost shattered her left shoulder.
She nodded “no problem at all, in fact, I would love to have them gone, they don’t hurt but….the memories sometimes do.” Vonzin nodded reassuringly and gave her a small pat on the head.
The vet pulled up a data pad. “I will also have to replace those fake teeth of yours, so they stop irradiating your mouth and do a full medical cleanup.” There was a slight frustration in her voice “You have hidden a lot of ailments from me in that little body of yours. I am going to examine every cell to make sure you don’t have any explosive bone marrow, poison-filled nails, or any other abominations of medical technology.” Despite the sarcasm in Vonzin’s voice, Cleo felt a bit guilty.
The machine made some beeping noises “I promise that there is nothing more but feel free to check….is the sonic transmitter that dangerous?” it felt strange that the affini would not have noticed if it was.
Vonzin walked over to the machine analyzing her body “the tiny generator is creating some low-level radiation, your chances of cancer would be substantial over the next 60 years. So far it has done some extremely minute damage to the tissue around it. I brushed it aside as some sloppy surgery work, does it hurt?” a vine moved into her mouth and pressed against the fake teeth.
It didn’t hurt but talking was a bit off the table so Cleo shook her head “good, I have a large influx of patients as you may have seen. It will be most practical to replace the teeth and remove those scars after your surgery.” Her surgery?......hold on, was she implying? Cleo felt a deep frustration, it was one thing to tease her but to act as if she had already made that choice…it was very disrespectful.
Before she could rebuff Vonzin, Mertha interjected “don’t worry little kitten, I will handle this.” The frustration disappeared, Mistress could handle it for her. Vonzin looked a bit confused at their exchange, mistress voice was firm “She has still not made that decision, I would like for her to have an appointment scheduled for this medical procedure, in the case she wishes, and the committee allows her to be independent.” Mistress spoke so eloquently on her behalf, it was far better to let her do the talking.
Her vet scoffed “And here I thought you had finally seen reason! The fact that she is going to be your floret is obvious for everyone except you two.” Vonzin’s attention turned to her “Cleo, if Mertha gave you a domestication contract, would you sign it?” A look of surprise crossed mistress’s face.
It was a difficult question…on one side she was still unsure about it….on the other kittens love to belong to their mistress and do not lie “maybe…yes.” Vonzin looked back at mistress, an air of ‘what did I say’ permeated her face.
A few of mistress’s vines were wiggling but she did not back down “it is still her choice to make when she wants to make that choice. I still want her to have an appointment independent of possible implant surgery.” Vonzin scoffed again but took up her data pad.
After a bit of time, her vet spoke again “I can set her up for an appointment in 8 days. That is the day after the new committee has made their decision….In my opinion you are giving her way too much agency, but it's your decision.” Vonzin walked over to the machine once more and typed away with her vines and hands in unison. Cleo was inclined to agree that it would be much easier if mistress just pressured her a bit into domestication. But that was not how mistress, or she wanted to do this.
Her vet did seem a bit more pleased at what she found “I really should write a report about this, Class-J certainly has a great benefit for overworked and stressed humans. Her brain chemistry is now balanced, her adrenaline production is finally at a normal level, and her body has almost made a complete recovery.” Mistress looked happy at the news, Cleo felt a warm happy feeling spread in her heart.
Mistress helped her out of the chair “is there anything more? I have planned a lot of activities for my little flower. That sounded fun, for a second she thought to ask, but she did not need to know, it was more exciting that way.
Vonzin smiled genuinely, a vine patted her on the head while another offered a lollipop “no, all done for now. You two deserve to have some fun.” Cleo gratefully accepted the lollipop, it was nice to not have responsibility for her own health. As long as she was truthful with mistress and followed her instructions, nothing would go wrong.
The vine leash was attached to her collar again “The first place we are going to visit is actually not too far from here, are you ready Cleo?” There was a playful undertone to her mistress’s words.
Cleo looked up at the person who brought so much joy to her life “yes mistress.”
Mertha’s core was filled with joy and pride as she walked Cleo back to their hab. Cleo seemed to be lost in thought again, her ward was thinking a lot lately and she could give a good guess of what she was thinking about. Her little kitten had a big decision to make, so best to leave her to it.
It had been another wonderful day, so many small events that had filled her core with unrelenting happiness. After their visit to Vonzin, she had taken Cleo to look at the possible bio-mods she could be interested in. There had been a lot of adorable blushing and very little speaking from Cleo, perhaps she remembered more from the class-J vacation than she let on. While Cleo had not come with any clear indication of wants her biorhythm had betrayed a certain level of excitement.
After that, they ate at a nice little restaurant not far away. She had made a big showcase of deciding what Cleo was going to order much to her ward’s embarrassment but also slight enjoyment. Once, or rather if, Cleo got the implant Mertha would be sure to always pick whatever the sophont was in the mood for, perhaps even before Cleo knew what she was in the mood for.
Then they had used the mag-rail to travel to one of the more expansive and out-of-the-way parks on the Agraria. While it was very gratifying to have so many other affini envy her ‘ownership’ of Cleo, it did still make the human embarrassed. More than that she also wanted it to just be the two of them, no other interruptions. They had found an excellent spot in the park with a great view of the rings, then they had talked about nothing and everything for several hours.
The best part was that throughout the day Cleo had been happy, Mertha could feel it like rays of sunshine streaming from her biorhythm. There was a bit of worry, a bit of irritation, and a great deal of embarrassment in a few moments. If not, she would have been worried that she had gone too far. Most of the time however Cleo had smiled, laughed, and behaved like she did not have a care in the world. She behaved just like a happy and safe floret should….just like a floret….
Mertha’s mind jumped to the vet appointment. While Vonzin’s question had certainly been improper, Cleo had said yes…and finally it had not been out of fear or guilt or any other negative impulses…Cleo had said openly that she wanted to be her floret, Mertha could not even attempt to hide the pride. The trigger had likely played a part, the last rule ‘kittens loved to belong to their mistress’ did perhaps push Cleo towards a yes. But she had made sure that none of the rules would stick if Cleo did not want them to.
Mertha looked down on Cleo for the hundredth time that day, her little kitten was absolutely precious. Cleo walked softly and without the worry of falling, the slightly high pace was the only part that betrayed a life full of stress. Her long and flowing hair with the red tips was so much better than that generic and unkempt mess she had before.
The red companion dress fitted her so perfectly and the collar…oh, the collar looked like it had always been there. A much better outfit than the rigid and dark suit that had displayed so little of her personality.
The frantic eye movements, the tense shoulders, that cold and uncaring look in her eyes, a face so solid that smiling looked unnatural, all of it was gone. There was still a slight bit of fear and worry in Cleo’s biorhythm, but they were so slight and utterly incomparable to what one could see before. Mertha could also hear a bit of uncertainty now, the accident with the SAPS had left its mark. It was nothing that could not be overcome and the fire in Cleo’s eyes was still there, even if it was just sparks and not that determined and engulfing blaze of before.
It was almost hard to believe that this was the same sophont that had been hauled onto the Agraria on life support over a month before. Together they had, day by day, removed the many layers of armor that had weighed on her heart and slowly drained the poison from her mind. Because it was the same person, just one without all the terror and struggle, with the joys of life reintroduced, a person in love, and not in fear of the world around them. It had bee-
“Mistress? Mertha?” the slightly worried voice of her ward brought her back into the real world in an instant. They were in front of the elevator, Cleo was waiting for her to bring it down…standing so obediently by her side. She tried and failed to stop her vines from wiggling as she brought the elevator down.
On the way up she could not help but indulge herself “you have behaved so well today, I am very proud of you.” a large blush appeared on Cleo’s face for the 43rd time this day. Mertha decided that once Cleo stopped blushing from small comments like that she would have to find something new, that reddened and bashful expression was far too cute to not exist in this universe.
Cleo looked at her “thank you…mistress.” Each time Cleo called her that the predatory instinct inside her grew a bit stronger. Cleo was so close, so ready, entwined in her vines with no hope of escape, that instinct was tired of waiting. She had indulged in it more and more over the last few days, acting more and more possessive over her little kitten for each passing moment. It had not been helped by Cleo seeming to enjoy it, hopefully, she would be able to restrain herself until Cleo had made her choice.
She walked Cleo into the hab and with a bit of self-restraint removed the leash from her collar. Cleo began to move towards her room “little kitten, where are you going?” The sophont stopped in her tracks and the delightful surge of submissive urges bloomed from Cleo’s biorhythm.
She stopped and took a few steps back “where do you want me to go?” So adorable! So obedient! So absolutely precious! Mertha moved forward and scooped her ward into her vines.
She looked into the adoring and wonderfully warm eyes of her kitten “You deserve a treat for being such a good girl.” Cleo smiled happily, at this point it might be less the trigger and more her ward’s love of the affection. She let a vine inject Cleo with some class-A while savoring the moment as the human started to react to the Xenodrugs spreading through her system.
Mertha began to caress and squeeze and scratch all the spots that she knew Cleo reacted adorably well to. At the same time, she sent a vine to pick up the bowl of red berries, she placed it on the table, and selected a single one. She brought the berry up in front of Cleo’s face, the eyes of the human focused onto it in a second. Her kitten seemed to be a bit unsure of what to do, she was not used to this life, yet “beg.” Another blush spread across Cleo’s face.
Her ward was momentarily silent, then in the cutest voice imaginable “can I please have my treat mistress.” Every single word gave her such utter delight, one of her vines poked Cleo on the side of her mouth, and then she carefully moved the berry into her mouth. Cleo played with the berry for a moment before she finally ruptured it and her face melted into bliss.
The soft smile, the closed eyes indicating that she was savoring every second of the taste was too much. Mertha had to indulge the predator for a moment, her vines moved faster and with a bit more force. Cleo melted into a sublime puddle of joy for her to play with, something she very much did.
In one of the slopes of cuddle intensity, Mertha looked over Cleo one more time. All the fear and worry were gone at the moment, replaced by utter joy and total submissive adoration for her mistress. Cleo did not just look or behave like a floret, she was her floret, in all but legal status. The floret moratorium was still in effect so in truth this was as close she could get to owning her little kitten. In the end, despite all her wild fantasies and wishes, it was still Cleo’s decision to make…she had fought too hard for that choice for her to take it away now.
She kissed a slightly dazed and glassy-eyed Cleo “I love you, my little kitten.” Cleo kissed her back and hugged her around her neck.
For a long second their eyes locked “I love you mistress!” How could she have ever deserved to be this happy? it did not matter.